Most of us know someone who has an apple tree if we don’t ourselves. At this time of year if you live in a particularly friendly area you might find a box of apples outside someones house that says ‘please help yourself’ so do help …
Month: September 2017
Now we are heading into Autumn it’s time for good proper comfort food. I had this for brunch on Saturday but it would be perfect for tea to. My version gets all the taste but with a lot less time than the traditional one. Another tip if you are short on money is to pick up smoked fish when you see its reduced or on offer and freeze it until you want to use it. Also with the rice I always cook extra when I’m having it for tea and then either freeze the extra for another time or use it the next day for this or an egg fried rice or my quick rice pudding (both of which will be coming up in future posts). Also if you don’t have peas another green veg would be fine, broad beans or broccoli for example.
- First of all put your eggs on to hard boil. Another option is to have poached eggs on top if you prefer.
- Slice up an onion and fry until a deep golden brown then add 1tsp (heaped) garam masala, 1/2 tsp turmeric and a few chilli flakes to your taste.
- Give the spices a minute or two then add 4oz of frozen peas or other green veg and a splash of hot water.
- Add the rice and mix well together. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Take the skin off the smoked fish and chop into bite size chunks add to the pan and mix well.
- Add a splash of hot water put the lid on and leave to steam for three or four minutes this will plump up the rice and make sure everything is well heated through.
- Peel and quarter the hard boiled eggs or prepare your poached eggs.
Place the eggs on top of the rice mix and if you have some fresh parsley or mint add some of that for an extra pop of taste. Serve and enjoy! I think it goes well with a lovely cup of lapsang souchong tea which has a lovely deep aromatic smokey flavour which matches well with the smoked fish, but I’m a bit weird so up to you!
At the weekend I met up with a couple of friends Emily and Amber who I have several things in common with. We all love to draw, we all love to make books and we all like to eat cake. Emily and I like to make paper to but that is another story.
It had been a while since I had seen them as I have been away so much over the summer. We decided to meet up for a drawing session at Hillsbourgh walled garden in our city of Sheffield. I had never been before so was intrigued what I’d find. It is quite small but perfectly laid out with different areas for different plants including some quite impressive veg patches sporting some great squashes on the go and different varieties of beans amongst many other things. There are a couple of big green houses full of plants, with some impressive red chilli’s that caught my eye.
The area that most drew my attention was the Dahlia beds. I have to confess I thought they were chrysanthemums but the nice people who run the garden put me right! I’m not an expert on flowers I’m much better with veg.
Anyway the structures and colours of these flowers were amazing. I’m not sure I’ve spent quite so long staring at these particular flowers before. The structures of the petals were so intricate and perfect like some kind of geometric three dimensional puzzle. I decided to have a go at drawing some of them and quickly got engrossed and the time flew by. Fortunately it was a sunny day so very pleasant to sit and draw.
When we had all done with drawing Emily had made us a lovely gluten free lunch. I am always so grateful to friends who go out of their way to make me something tasty! We had a quinoa salad but it was so good and we were so hungry that it was gone before I remembered to take a picture. But I did remember to take a picture of the delicious gluten free orange and almond cake with chocolate frosting that Emily had made for pudding.
I asked Emily very nicely if she would be happy for me share the recipe with you as it was so good, she said yes! So here it is in her own fair hand…
…and just to top off a perfect day I was asking her what spices she puts in her masala chai tea (I’m conducting extensive research at the moment!) and she made some just to show me, just perfect. In case you’re wondering she uses a half milk half water mix with cardamom, ginger and cinnamon.
I think there should be more days like that.
Over the years I have learnt so much from my Indian sister about cooking Indian food. This week she showed me how to make paneer cheese the same way as her mum had shown her. I had assumed that it would be complicated and a bit tricky but actually its very straight forward. At the same time we inadvertently worked out how to make ricotta cheese too so bonus!
4 pints of whole milk (not UHT)
The juice of two medium lemons (which should make about 1/4 cup of juice)
- Pour all the milk into a large heavy bottomed saucepan and sit on a gentle heat to slowly bring to almost a boil but not quite. It should be the stage when little bubbles have formed around the edge of the pan and there is steam coming off the surface of the milk.
2. Take the milk off the heat add the lemon juice stir well cover and leave to sit for at least ten minutes.
3. After ten minutes or so the milk should have curdled with clumps of curds floating on the top.
4. Line a colander or sieve with a clean piece of muslin or a tea towel and place in the sink.
5. Gently pour the contents of the pan into the muslin and let the whey drain out.
6. After a while it is a good idea to hang your cloth of curds to encourage more liquid to drain out. A tap is ideal!
7. When it has cooled down enough to handle twist the cloth at the top to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
8. Then shape the curds into a block and wrap lightly in the same muslin and weight down between two plates.
9. Leave to press and pop in the fridge. I put a folded bunch of kitchen paper under it to soak up extra liquid.
After about 24/36 hours it should be set in a reasonably firm block that can be cut into cubes and eaten or used in your favourite curry. If you want ricotta cheese you just leave out the pressing process its as simple as that. We talked about adding flavours to the cheese and I have a few ideas brewing…so watch this space!