Saturday, 29 March 2008

Make mine a Sledgehammer!

I have often considered writing about the Sledgehammer, but for some reason to have never quite managed it. Well consider it no more! The Sledgehammer is absolutely brilliant, and I often credit it for it's cold-fending-off properties. Really it's best enjoyed right before getting into bed - what more can I say, the name does it all - a good night's sleep shall follow. Basically, it's honey and lemon, with a good few slices of ginger to give it a kick and a healthy dose of whiskey.

Tip 1 - You might want to make sure that the honey's not commercial - they pasturise commercial honey for some reason, wasting all of it's healthy goodness.

Tip 2 - Whilst this can still be made without ginger (or whiskey for the teetotal) NEVER attempt to make it without the lemon, it becomes sickly and horrid.

Tip 3 - Why even wait for bedtime? I'm enjoying one right now ;)

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Converting to vegetarianism

I have often gazed hungrily at Yotam Ottolenghi's New Vegetarian recipes in the Guardian magazine each Saturday, but never attempted one before this evening. Shame on me - if the rest are like this - they're amazing!

Admittedly, half way in I did wonder if it was worth all the faff, but please do persevere. Sadly I have no photo, as the camera was the last thing on my mind, but surely that's got to be the sign of a bloody good feed?

Anyway, Iain and Sophie, if we do ever manage to sort out dinner, I promise I will cook these for you.

** sorry, in my excitement last night I forgot to mention what exactly it was that was so amazing - the answer my friends is Green Pancakes with lime butter - yum.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Beer - in a cake

I want these - a lot! I want to make them (and EAT) now, but obviously it's a little late in the day, and I don't have any Guiness at hand... or cream cheese... Still, come this Friday, I'll be gorging on 'em :)

PS - have since cooked these and am frankly underwhelmed - boo!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

The latest...

... in my ridiculous thrifty d.i.y. projects in the kitchen. This time, my first pickling attempt, and seriously, what could be better than making your own pickled onions? Well, exactly, that's what I thought - not a bloody lot! And I've been waiting a long time to sample these babies... oh yes. Forget the two weeks of the ginger beer - I'm talking about three months here - at least. This takes some serious patience and self-discipline.

Again, from my trusty Good Housekeeping Family Library: Jams & Preserves these are really too easy and too good to be true. Anyway, here's the recipe, go ahead and try 'em.

Pickled onions
Choose small, even-sized onions; the silverskin kinds are best(I couldn't get these and just went for normal pickling onions from a greengrocer). Place without skinning in a brine made from 1lb salt to every gallon of water. Leave for 12 hours. Skin, then cover with fresh brine and leave for a further 24-36 hours, Remove the onions from brine and drain thoroughly. Pack into jars or bottles and cover with cold spiced vinegar (recipe to be found here, although you might want to try less cloves). Cover in the usual way. Leave for three months before using.

Moules Mariniere

I really love seafood, a lot. In particular, mussels. When I lived in Falmouth local ones from the Helford River were a given on the menu of any self-respecting restaurant. Usually the Helford River is better known for its Oysters (which, you can buy here in London incidentally) but the mussels win it for me every time. Unassuming, and ridiculously affordable at a mere £4 a kilo on Broadway Market (alas, from Wales, not Cornwall) I'm slightly embarrassed that I haven't cooked them before. Still... there's a first time for everything and tonight was such an occasion. No fuss, I went for the classic Moules Mariniere, recipe courtesy of my good friend Sarah, chef at the Seafood Bar in Falmouth.

Moules Mariniere
Melt a healthy knob of butter in a large saucepan and cook a finely chopped onion and garlic for a couple of minutes (I opted for two garlic cloves, but would actually use three next time). Add 1-2 glasses of dry white wine, season and turn up the heat high. Once the pot is sizzling away add the mussels (de-bearded of course: we had 1kg between 2) and put a lid on - they'll need to be steamed about 4-5 minutes, until they have all opened. Once opened, give a good stir, add a healthy amount of chopped parsley and some double cream and allow to thicken. Serve with chunks of fresh bread after a minute or so.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Bake your lawn

(pic. courtesy of The Cornish Mill and Bakehouse)

I really like this. A chap called Andrew Whitley (baker and all-round organic food champion by the sounds of things) has started a campaign called 'Bake Your Lawn', encouraging people to start growing their own wheat at home. Sadly, as pointed out in the article, if most people were to grow enough to cover the average family's bread requirements they would require 297 square meters - still, it's a step in the right direction, and I never heard of anyone not growing vegetables because they wouldn't be able to cover the entire year's worth.

I'm not sure if I've blogged about this before but I've been making my own bread now for a while, and it certainly does taste better and takes sandwiches to a new level of comfort-eating. I dream that at some point in the future I will have enough land that would enable me to do something like this, but for now I'll stick to using flour from Shipton Mills, or The Cornish Mill and Bakehouse.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Another day, another pie

For the first time since New Year David and I managed to get down to Broadway Market together. And it was nice. We got there early, so it was still quiet and the selection was good. One thing I was particularly keen to show him was a discovery made last week of Les's Game (his choice of grammar, not mine).

Les is a fantastic poacher (and if you're reading this Les, I hope I'm not offending you by calling you poacher, I just don't know the proper term without saying "He's a great hunting, shooting-type person"). Anyway, I digress - he pretty much lives up to all you'd imagine a great hunting shooting type person to be. Fully decked out in army green with a few choice hunting badges proudly sewn onto his waistcoat - let's not be squeamish, it'd be rude not to make the most of the season. This is organic proper meat at it's finest (if not cheapest) so I'm getting stuck in. Last week I bought a rabbit, this week we decided to try his Mixed Game pie - and mighty fine it is too!

With a strapline like "Fine Game, Posh Poultry and Pies" what's not to like? (excusing the veggies out there, of course). Get down to see him at Broadway Market whilst you can - the season's end is upon us.

Les - 07799 176013
6 Whielden Lane, HP7 0NP

ps - have since met Les' insanely cute Jack Russel terrier, named Gooner. It just gets better!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

No Catch Cod

It's a shame, reading in the Guardian today I see that the No Catch Cod company (the world's first organic, sustainable cod-farm) has gone into administration. Although it expensive (it costs around 50% more than wild cod) it is sustainable, and might I add, really bloody tasty too!

Let's hope this doesn't mean the end for guilt-free fish.