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Food, general thoughts, food…


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A little bit of crumpet

To continue on with my theme of making things that I can easily buy in the shop, I made crumpets over the weekend. I have been wanting to make these for a while but needed egg rings. Luckily I also wanted egg rings for our camping gear so it wasn’t too much of a frivolous purchase.
Granted these don’t look much like the store bought, holey, squidgy crumpets that you get from the supermarket in packets of 6 but when you slice them into 2 rounds you get that holey profile that soaks up butter and honey like an edible sponge.
These are great straight out of the pan with whatever you prefer on them but any that you don’t consume straight away freeze and thaw beautifully and toasted with your fav topping drizzling into the holes they make a fabulous breakfast/snack.

One word of warning, use a BIG bowl, this batter rises a LOT and be prepared to do some washing up after. This is the stickiest, gooiest, messiest batter I have ever worked with and it gets on everything! That could just be my cooking technique though…and don’t put huge amounts of batter in the rings, it expands quite a bit. (I think that was considerably more than one word but we are all friends here)

Anyway, if you have nothing better to do this weekend and you like spending hours making things that you could otherwise buy easily and cheaply, give crumpets a go. As my daughter says, it is all part of the journey.

Crumpets

450g white bread flour
550ml full cream milk
2 tablespoons dried yeast
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
butter or oil for greasing a fying pan (spray oil is fine)
Egg rings

Warm milk in the microwave or a saucepan until “finger warm”
i.e. you can keep a finger comfortably in the liquid but it feels warm. If it is too hot, let it cool down.
Add the yeast and sugar to the milk, stir together well.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place to ferment for 10 minutes.
A sunny spot on the bench is fine.
In another bowl, sift the flour and the salt together. Make a well in the centre.
When the yeast mixture has become frothy, tip it into the flour and using a whisk, beat the flour into the liquid using a circular motion. Beat the mixture until it is smooth.
It should be like a thick globby batter, if it is too thick, add a little more milk but don’t make it pouring consistency otherwise it won’t hold its structure.
Cover the bowl and leave the batter in a warm place for 45-60 minutes to double its size.
Heat a heavy based frying pan to medium/hot. Grease the bottom with some butter or oil.
Grease egg rings on the inside and put them in the frying pan to heat up.
When the rings are hot, spoon into each one about one heaped tablespoon full of batter.

Cook five to seven minutes until the top is full of holes and no longer looks wet. Remove the rings with tongs (they are hot dummy!).
Using a spatula, flip the crumpet and cook on the other side for a minute or two or until golden.
Eat while still warm with butter and jam or your favourite topping.(Honey all the way!)

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It’s raining in my head

I am listening to 10hrs of rainfall – ambient sounds.

It beats listening to other people chattering on and blocks enough office sounds for me to concentrate on the 3000 word report I have to write today. I consider this a break from the mind bending legalise that I am having to spew forth onto paper at the minute. Writing in plain English is as restful to the mind as the pattering raindrop sounds gracing my ears.

Please, do me a favour, do yourself a favour and try this meal. Just thinking back on it makes me hungry.
It was simple to prepare and delicious to eat. Rustic and full of robust flavours and ingredients, I will make it again in a heartbeat .
I struggle to have a chorizo in the house for more than an hour without the husband devouring it but even he would step aside for a promise of this meal!
As you can see, this smelled so good coming out of the oven that I almost forgot to take a snapshot, this one was taken with a delectable mouthful on board, I could hardly bare to stop.

Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes
Serves: 2-4

4 chicken thigh fillets, diced large
30 mL regular olive oil
1 Spanish chorizo, cut into 4 cm pieces
4 large potatoes, quartered
1 Spanish onions, cut into wedges
1 teaspoons dried oregano
Grated zest of 1/4 orange (I used a lemon)

Preheat oven to 220°C. Put the oil in the bottom of 1 shallow oven tray.
Rub the chicken in the oil, spread potatoes around the oven tray and rub the potatoes in the oil.
Spread the chorizo on the tray and add the onions into the gaps.
Sprinkle with oregano and orange zest.
Bake for 1 hour, basting with the orange juice at the bottom of the oven tray after 30 minutes.


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Sticky Ribs and do I have to be a bitch?

I am sick, I hate to be sick and this is particularly nasty. Without going into detail, let’s just say as I was up every 2 hrs all night last night I am feeling pretty miserable today.

Currently I am working and trying not to bite off everyone’s head. Luckily I work from home so, if I need a rapid exit it is doable. As for other people, well there is only 1 other person here today and they have been warned to keep their distance (which I prefer anyway given I have a personal space the size of Jupiter).

Sadly it has become apparent to me that my cranky, bitchy persona seems to elicit more of a response from people than my usual nice, easy going persona. I have sent out several emails since this illness began yesterday and instead of my usual very carefully worded pleasant emails requesting assistance that is sorely needed these have been uncharacteristically caustic and to the point, I want it, do it kind of thing. I have received a response to all of them (something that never happens) some of these issues have been going on for weeks, and today, after a bitchy email, they are solved or on their way at last.

Is this just coincidence? After a long hard slog have things just suddenly all come to a head today? Or do I need to transform myself into someone other people don’t like (someone I don’t like myself) just to get things done?

Right now I can’t think about it too much, I am starving and too afraid to eat. I feel like death warmed up and am terribly emotional to boot. I think I will cry if I conclude that I have to be someone nasty just to do my job.

I’ll think about these instead….Mmmm Sticky Ribs and rice noodles…..

Sticky Ribs

1 kg ribs
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 garlic cloves crushed

Mix all together.
Place on a baking tray and cover with alfoil
Cook for 30 mins at 180C.
Uncover, turn and cook for a further 30 mins.


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Pork and pasta

I made this a few days ago for dinner. It was all good.

After frying them off on the stove I popped the pork chops in the oven along with the pasta bake as they were quite thick and I wanted to make sure they were fully cooked through.

The chops were crunchy and succulent, about the only thing I’d change is I’d use pork steaks, so I could pound them a little flat and not worry about the cooking time.

Savory Baked Noodles

227 grams spinach fettucine (didn’t have it, just used regular spiral noodles)
Boiling salted water
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream (I used Greek yoghurt, I always do)
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
3 green onions/scallions (including green tops), sliced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon liquid hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Following package directions, cook fettuccine in boiling salted water until “al dente”.  Drain well.
In a bowl, mix cottage cheese, sour cream, garlic, onions, Worcestershire, liquid hot pepper sauce, and butter.
Gently stir in drained pasta.  Turn into a greased 1 1/2 liter casserole; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake in a 175C oven until heated through (about 30 minutes).

Crunchy Pork Chops
Serves: 4

4 loin pork chops
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon lemon zest

Cover chops with glad wrap and beat with mallet until thin.
Mix mustard and egg together. Combine remaining ingredients and place in shallow dish.
Dip pork chops into egg mixture. Roll in breadcrumb mix and refrigerate for half an hour.
Fry in hot olive oil until golden brown.


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Waxing Lyrical over Choc Chips

I have discovered two signs of aging in myself. These are not the moisturising, youth creams ‘7 signs of aging’ (whatever they are, they never really explain…) these are the little habits you find yourself engaging in as you get older. Little things that you never thought of when you 20 years old, didn’t have the time? Just didn’t give a rats one way or the other? But now at 40+, for some reason these things become supremely important to your mental well being and if they are not ‘just so’ then you just can’t sleep at night.

The current 2 items that I have noticed over the past year becoming an important issue for me are:

  1. The toilet roll must have the end of the roll at the top, facing forwards. None of this hanging down the back, flapping around willy nilly creating anarchy behaviour.
  2. My clothes have to face the right way around on the coat hanger. I don’t want them facing each other or rudely hanging back to back. No, they must all face the left like a little military contingent marching smartly down the road. If I hang them the wrong way around, I just HAVE to change it, it just isn’t kosher otherwise.

Now at 20 I was just happy to have a toilet roll there. Too many times another house mate would use the last square and leave the next toilet goer high and dry (so to speak). If a roll did make it into the toilet it was often perched precariously on top of the empty roll, still on the holder or just sitting on the floor amongst discarded rolls like an enormous dust bunny. Which way it was hanging was of total inconsequence.

Frankly my clothes at this time were lucky to see a hanger. Mostly it was wash and wear. I didn’t have much so if it wasn’t on my body it was in the wash or in an untidy pile in a basket somewhere waiting to be folded. Normally it would go directly from that state to wear again, bypassing the wardrobe or cupboard entirely. What did find its way to a hanger was hung higgledy piggledy where ever it fit in the wardrobe, pants, shirts, jackets all bundled in together facing where ever and whatever they happened to end up next too. Total chaos, how did I ever get any sleep?

So along with my wrinkles, my grey hairs, the odd facial hair that seems to have migrated from my husbands pores to mine in our sleep and the squiginess around my middle that I have a hard time caring about these days… I have these things, whatever you want to call them. Aberrations of focus, wrinkles of the mind, reverse diffraction of thought? Whatever. I am sure there will be more of them, I might make a list. See if I can outdo the cosmetics companies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

125g Butter or Margarine
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, lightly packed
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Egg
1 3/4 Cups Self Raising Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
125g Chocolate Chips
60g Walnut Pieces

Cream together with butter, both White & Brown Sugar and vanilla.
Add lightly beaten egg gradually, beating well after each addition. Mix in
sifted flour and salt. Add chocolate chips and chopped walnuts, mix well.
Shape teaspoonsful of mixture into small balls, place on lightly greased
oven trays, allow room for spreading. Bake in moderate oven 10 to 12 mins.

I usually cut the sugar a little. I don’t like things too sweet…