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17 May 2014

operation; flavour

My mum was cooking a lovely, sticky honey thai chicken for out friends, and i thought, what a brilliant opportunity to test out my skills on other people. I decided to make a starter and perhaps receive some feedback from them rather then just my parents and brother! I decided to get my flavour combination skills brain on and make spring rolls...with a twist! (although i actually ended up doing triangles!) i am ashamed to start off with saying that did not in fact, make the filo pastry, but this seems a big challenge to attempt. but perhaps I'll give it a shot in the not to distant future! Anyway, i did the usual, bean sprouts, carrot, sweet chilli sauce, spring onions and pepper. Then to spruce it up and give it a bit of "oomph" i added lime juice, paneer cheese and corriander. i ummed and ahed about perhaps adding a little ginger and garlic, but i was worried that it might not go with the cheese, or over power the original flavour of the traditional spring roll? what I am pleased to say about this starter is that they came out the oven crisp and flakey, and with a bit of hot chilli sauce to get the taste buds going, my family and friends loved them! I am also proud to say that the spring onions and peppers were local and the chicken my mum made was entirely free range!
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13 May 2014

growing herbs

I have various herbs growing in my garden, it is absolutely brilliant knowing that we don't need to stock up because its right in our back garden! And as always, a meal always tastes better with homegrown produce! Knowing there are no pesticides or preservatives on them makes it so much easier.
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12 May 2014

growing my own fruit!

the fruit trees and plants in my back garden are starting to blossom. i have strawberries, apples, cherries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, red currants, rhubarb, even blackberries in the field behind us which looks beautiful in the afternoon sun! i am hoping to buy some raspberry canes to add to our collection of berries and fruits! i always think that a good crumble or pie tastes better with lovely home grown fruit and veg!
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12 May 2014

Home grown vegetables

We went to the local plant sale in my village and bought some vegetable plants to grow in out back garden. Two tomato plants, one chilli plant, one marrow plant and a bean plant! hopefully they will be growing soon and will be ripe enough to pick, then made into a ratatouille, a vegetable bake or something else wonderful!!!
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12 May 2014

developing an idea

i decided to expand on my flavour of bruchettas from last time and decided to do garlic pesto,(which i made myself) basil, aubergine and gruyere and then another flavour with homemade garlic pesto, basil, tomato and mozzarella. My family really loved them!
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12 May 2014

Cooking for my family

we were having spaghetti Bolognese for dinner, so i decided to follow it up with a theme of italian! To start we had pesto, red pepper and mozzarella on grilled cibatta slices and then for desert we tiramasu, which is so quick and easy, i was very surprised!
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12 May 2014

using home ingredients

okay, i haven't blogged for a couple of days as the website wasn't working, but i thought i would blog a picky of my ducks. i have 3 females and one male. we get three eggs a day and make wonderful cooking, very rich!! they make brilliant cakes! the white ducks are called Englebert and Apple Dappy and the brown ones are called Twiggy and Hazel! (Twiggy is mine, the loudest of them all!) the colour of the eggs are white/brown and the others are green/blue!
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3 May 2014

Increasing food efficiency - having your cake and eating the leftovers too

Currently I am practicing macaron recipes in preparation for a friends wedding at the end of May. For a day of celebration that is every bit in their character we are going to be partying in a Yurt somewhere south of the city with no wedding cake, but a tower of biscuits and cookies supplied by the guests! I once made macarons for a friend several years ago with a perfect turn out (if I say so myself) on my very first try. Now, two attempts in, and I've still got cracked domes, hollow shells, and too much buttercream filling (quelle horreur!)... BUT, this makes for an interesting conversation about food efficiency. Macaron shells are essentially meringues that require only egg whites, almonds, and sugar, leaving behind a good deal of unused egg yolk. Stuck with what to do about this I researched the fillings for macarons. A traditional buttercream filling is just that, creamed butter with powdered sugar; however, if I had taken this route I would have been left with a bowl full of egg yolks that I would inevitably put in the fridge and forget about. Instead, I found a recipe for French buttercream filling (apparently a variation on Italian buttercream filling, who knew?) that involves warming egg yolks with sugar over a bowl of simmering water and then whipping with soft butter. The result is a glorious (and, of course, dangerously calorific) bowl of thick, shining buttercream - the perfect filling for macarons. Having said this it transpires that if you use 6 egg whites to create your macarons, 6 egg yolks will make roughly two times as much buttercream as you need to fill them (hence my over-filling issues).On my second attempt this left me with 3 egg yolks doomed to a short life on the top shelf of the fridge before a swift slide into the trashcan afterlife. But all is not lost, since if you happen to be making these close to, or on, the weekend as I do, you can turn those egg yolks into a homemade Hollandaise sauce by similarly whisking over a bowl of hot water until they thicken before taking off the heat and whisking in some melted butter. Pour over poached eggs and bacon for a Benedictine breakfast! And remember to put your egg shells into food waste recycling, whether that's your own or the council collection service (you can request one for free here http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/bins-recycling-and-street-cleaning/order-new-bins-boxes-and-nets).
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