janewilliams20: (Default)
The answer to a lot of questions. On Friday it was the answer to "what am I going to do with all these slightly manky bits of things, and that out of date can of pumpkin?". Stick them in the slow cooker and eventually apply a stick blender, that's what.
Tonight, it was the answer to "I fancy a curry". Ladle a portion out into a bowl, add spices, microwave hot, eat with a chapati. Note to self, that random jar of Thai Five Spice Mix is quite hot.
Tomorrow it will probably have some meat added to it. Looking at what's in the fridge, that means chunks of black pudding.

janewilliams20: (Default)
Reading Burns on the subject, and taking note of the warning. On the whole, I think Aldi is the way to go.

Humphrey, the Sinister Haggis

The heather was blooming, the meadows were mawn, 
Our lads gaed a-hunting ae day at the dawn, 
O'er moors and o'er mosses and mony a hill, 
At length they discover'd a Haggis to kill


I rede you, beware of the haggis, my son,
I rede you, beware of the haggis, my son;
Take what you may get, 
as it fa's in the net, 
But ne'er chase the beast the way Phoebus do run

Sweet-brushing the dew from the brown heather bells 
His white tail betray'd him on yon mossy fells; 
The nooses and trappings, the nets that they bair
They placed them with cunning downhill of his lair.
I rede you,&c.

As still as the fairest he sat in their sight
The horn it was sounded, to put him to flight
But the crafty wee beastie did not as they kent
He had supped wi' the de'il, and widdershins went!
I rede you,&c.

They chased it oe'er gowans, they chased it round hill,
The best of our lads wi' the best o' their skill;
And into the gloaming, and almost to night
Around glaizie craigies continued its flight
I rede you,&c.

Auld Phoebus himself, came and stared in surprise
His rays sae did glitter, it dazzled their eyes
They ne'er saw the cliff till t'was under their feet
An owre they warsl'd: by Haggis well beat!
I rede you,&c.

janewilliams20: (food)
 I seem to have found a few videos on ways of doing this, and all the methods I've seen so far have been faster than the one I know.

Next to no knife work, same end result as I get.

Turkey. This splits it at the breast, not the back. Pliers to pull tendons out - that's a new one on me.

Both of these separate the fillets from the rest of the breast, where I usually try to leave them in place.

Thats econd video has links to all sorts of interesting things, which I wish I had time ot be distracted by. But
 will resist.
janewilliams20: (Default)
They said it couldn't be done. I disagreed. 
I went to a card-making group - I couldn't have the cake on offer due to sugar overload. "What can we do for you next time?" they asked.
"Don't worry, I'll bake."
So far, so easy. But another lady also wasn't eating cake. Her limits are:
  • No gluten
  • No eggs
  • No dairy
When it comes to sweet things, she eats chocolate.

So, after a bit of research, an Experiment hasd come out of the oven.

200g gluten -free flour (I happened to have white bread flour in stock)
20g Splenda
50g / ml coconut oil
3 tsp bicarb of soda (not baking powder, that contains flour)
About 200g finely chopped apples
250ml boiling water.

Mixed the lot, sprinkled the top with Xylitol to make it caramalise, in at 200 for 45 minutes.
The quantities filled Small Loaf tin and Tiny Loaf Tin.

It's cooling now. We'll see.

janewilliams20: (Default)
Yesterday was full of them!

Browsing the Lego site and online shop, I discovered that if you have the product code of any kit, the area for "there's a part missing" will list every part in that kit, with their code numbers. What's more, I discovered how much it costs to get a replacement part (nothing), how much they charge for postage (nothing), and how much proof they require that you really did buy a kit with a part missing (none). I'm going to assume they have mechanisms in place to stop this being abused, but I was impressed.

More browsing found me the "pick a brick" area, which was much more use once I'd figured out how to get those codes. Once you've found something vaguely like what you're after, you can look for the same thing in all colours, or everything else in that colour. Prices are usually a few pence per brick, and the postage is lower than most Ebay lego. OK, you can only get things that are currently being made (hardly surprising), so I won't get getting my Romans or Spartans here, but it's still an excellent service.

We'd decided to have a day out in Milton Keynes, and visit the Lego store there. They have a pick'n'mix wall that's potentially quite useful if the random assortment of items there matches what you want. They also have another area for making your own minifig - and on asking, no, it doesn't have to be one each of head, body, legs, headgear, accessory. The price for one minifig means five bits - any bits. If there's something you're after and can't find, they'll go and search the stockroom for you. So, my Lunar army is now fully equipped with red cloaks, the Vingans all have auburn hair, and there are scimitars and flagpoles, plus arrows and quivers for when I decide that Shooters would be a good idea.

T.G.I. Fridays for lunch. Starter was surprisingly delicious as well as virtuous, and something I may try to reproduce. Wedge Salad:
"Crisp iceberg wedge with Bleu cheese dressing, diced tomatoes, crispy bacon pieces and Bleu cheese crumbles", to quote their menu.
Mains: note for future reference, their ribs are wonderful! Loads of meat that falls off the bone.

On the way home, dropped into a farm shop I hadn't visited for ages: Summerhill, in Cardington. The plan was to investigate what they did in the way of turkeys, but we were picking up meat before we got that far. No, their list did not include a stuffed turkey leg, which is what we wanted: but they could do one, no problem. Discussion of number of people to be fed, and suitable sizes, followed. What we're after is four people, but more than just the turkey as a roast: beef and gammon as well. Did they do beef? The butcher started listed the breeds of cattle he could supply. I think I know where we're going for our Xmas meat - and from the look of what was there, also the veg.

I "need" to go back, anyway - if you have a recipe for sausage (who, me?) they'll give it a try, and if it works, you not only get a discount on buying some, you get some sort of claim to fame when it becomes a regular product. I'll have to look back to that sausage-making frenzy of a few years ago, it sounds as if some of my low-fat chicken ideas will be new to them.
After all that walking, today has consisted mostly of sitting down with my feet up, assembling and basing two Lego HOTT armies. There's a few minor details still to sort out, two of which are in the post from Ebay, but I very nearly have a Gloranthan matched pair ready to go.

janewilliams20: (Default)
I have bratwurst left, I fancied having them in rolls, I only have sliced bread and can't face going round the shops for one item. I could make them....

OK, so I used the breadmaker to make the dough, but it was "real" ingredients, not a packet mix, and one experiment worked: using Xylitol instead of "real" sugar does activate the yeast. I can have low-sugar bread.
Second step foward is working out where to put the result to rise. Turn on the top oven. While it's heating up, put the rolls to rise on their tray, covered in a cloth, at the bottom of the bottom oven. Time and temperature - perfect.
Haven't yet tasted them, but it looks good. Two long ones for sausages, three round flat ones for burgers.

janewilliams20: (Default)
 I cooked it. He ate it.

"That was nice, What was it?"
"Sausage, quinoa and fennel pilaf."
"Fennel? But I don't like fennel."
"Well you just ate half a bulb of it. Remind me, you don't like aubergine today, do you? And you never like beef sausages?"
"No..... it's different when they're all together."

I think I'll count that as a success. 
janewilliams20: (food)
Started with devilled kidneys for breakfast. Mmmm. Other things got delayed until we'd been shopping, and then...
Put the lemon "frosting" on the Splenda carrot cake I'd made yesterday, sliced the result, froze most of it (greaseproof paper between slices).
Finally found an easy recipe for banana bread on the Good Food site (and, of course adapted it a bit). That also got sliced and frozen.
Did another jar of BBQ sauce from the same site (sub 8g Splenda for 85g brown sugar)
Given a grossly excessive amount of cabbage-like things even by my standards, tried the Abel & Cole "Magical Green Pesto" with some cavelo nero and kale. I cooked the greens for 4 min in the microwave, but it still seems a bit bitter.

Banana bread adaptation )

janewilliams20: (Default)
 From an advert:
"Many people who have a reaction to milk often self-diagnose themselves as lactose intolerant without realising that not all cows’ milk is the same…
Milk contains different types of proteins including ones called A1 and A2 – both of which are in regular dairy cows’ milk. Studies show that the A1 protein can often be the cause of uncomfortable symptoms, similar to those associated with lactose intolerance.

a2 Milk naturally contains only the A2 protein and no A1 protein, so now you too can enjoy your milky coffees without the discomfort....."

Sounds like something to find out more about.
janewilliams20: (food)
That's chutney as in "I made it myself, and I did not fill it with sugar". Mango chutney is bubbling away, BBQ sauce will follow, then there's bean pickle and banana chutney to consider.
But first, I needed to arrange jam jars to put the results in.
Read more... )

Chutney recipes, by the way: the mango one is a Delia one, but done as quarter quantity, and with the sugar replaced by Xylitol
Mango still has high natural sugars, so I'll need to be careful, but it's got to be better than shop-bought.

The BBQ sauce will be from the BBC Good Food site, with, again, sugar replaced by Xylitol.

Bean pickle will be the adapted version of the recipe Helen gave me, and banana chutney is a quick no-cook one I've had for ages.

I may even have time to cook dinner tonight - or we might grab a pizza.
janewilliams20: (Default)
Given a visiting friend plus the two of us, I'm dealing with gluten-free, diabetic, and my semi-lactose intolerance. So, hot cross buns, Easter Eggs, and eating out.
A hint to start with - Pizza Express do a gluten-free pizza base.
Another hint - the darker the chocolate, the lower the sugar content.
Roast lamb, with spuds and veg - not a problem, I just need to be a little careful what I thicken the gravy with.

But hot cross buns, gluten-free, and low sugar - that's hard. There's some recipes on-line, and I adapted from there.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2119644/glutenfree-hot-cross-buns and
http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/656017 are almost identical, and that's what I was working from in an attempt to get the gluten-free side right.

I wish I'd seen this earlier

I substituted Lactofree milk for the lactose-rich sort specified, and didn't expect that to make any difference.
I substituted Xylitol for the sugar.
I substituted low-fat spread for the butter.
I dropped the mixed peel completely, cut the sultanas down to 50g rather than 75, and doubled the quantity of apple.

First problem was a stubborn refusal to rise: that third link suggests that this is hard. In fact I think I'd fallen foul of the usual problem of yeast cookery: finding a "warm" spot that's warm enough, without killing the yeast. I'd thought next to the radiator was good enough, and it wasn't.
Next problem, as I mixed in the fruit and spices, was that the dough holds an all-time record for being the stickiest I've ever met.
Second rise worked better: for future reference, I was using my top oven at 220 to cook something else, and put the tray full of buns on the bottom shelf of the bottom oven.
The crosses were a pain due to lack of piping bag, but also because by now it was gone midnight.

This made 12 buns: I've worked out the nutritional values, and it's only 8.7% sugar, which is a lot better than commercial buns. Their idea of "healthy" tends to concentrate on low-fat rather than low-sugar. This is 6% fat, which isn't too bad.
Weight watcher points: 6 each. Same as WW own recipe for "normal" buns. Sainsbury's healthy ones come out at 5. I could improve this by using semi-skimmed milk instead of whole (Dave did the shopping) and cutting down on the fat: not just low-fat, but less of it.

Photos to come later.

janewilliams20: (Default)
Bought in one of those "it' a fish, and it's half price" moments. Today Dave is on days, so I've defrosted it, and will be having it for lunch once I've figured out what to do with it.

BBC says: "A white-fleshed sea fish found in European waters, John Dory (also known as St Peter's fish), is an odd-looking creature with an oval, flat body and a large, spiny head. The white, boneless, meaty flesh is firm and flavoursome and can be cooked in a variety of ways: grill, sauté or poach it. It’s popular with chefs because it goes well with a wide variety of ingredients and flavourings and the bones from its head make an excellent stock."

"John Dory is an odd-looking fish with long spines and a large dot on its side, and its bones are excellent for making fish stock.
John Dory is sometimes referred to as St. Peter fish (or versions of that in Italian or French) because of a legend that the black spot on its side represents St. Peter's fingerprints.
John Dory is best prepared with its skin on. While it is considered a delicacy, and can command a high price in fine-dining restaurants, it also is often used for making that most prosaic of dishes — fish and chips."

Yes, it's certainly an odd-looking thing, and while I've got a whole one, every recipe I can find talks about fillets. I learnt how to fillet a fish on the cookery course, but this.... hmm. I have found a site that admits it's a bit tricky, and gives me a video of how to go about "butchering" a John Dorey. Equipment needed - decent pair of shears. My kitchen scissors are either too small or too blunt. I forsee shopping in the near future.

Or, I could go for a recipe for the whole fish that got posted on the Facebook echo. Braised in saffron and white wine, with celery and mushrooms, both of which are sitting in the fridge needing to be used.
janewilliams20: (food)
Because I can't really justify the word "recipe"...
I read a few. Delia book 2, a Jamie version online, a few others. Then I decided I was cooking for two, not six, and examined what was in the fridge, what we both like, and the price of shell-on prawns.

Two big chicken thighs, skin-on, boned and halved. Browned in a pan that had been sprayed with Fry-Lite (I later realised that using Real Oil would have had advantages)
Once they were browned (and I'd done the next bit of chopping, carefully ignoring all the advice about prepping first and cooking afterwards), I put them to one side, and fried
  • some chopped up chorizo (about 3 inches of 1/2 inch diameter, that being what was left, and I'd have preferred more) 
  • half an onion (chopped up),
  • two cloves of garlic
  • about half a red pepper (thin slices)
Once they were nice and browned, I put in a splosh of chicken stock with a pinch of saffron soaked into it, and about a tsp of smoked paprika, the liquid being added just in time to stop things going from "browned" to "burnt". Two tomatoes, diced, went in at this point (no, not skinned, life is too short and I'm not that picky)

This was when I started working out quantities of rice and water (me, advance planning?) The rice box said 500g and a litre of stock, for four. So I halved it. 250g paella rice, and about 400ml of stock, since I'd already put some liquid in (I used 1/2 tsp chicken Bovril, not having real stock around for once, and should have made it stronger).

Put the chicken back in, brought it up to the boil, then covered and simmered for 10 min.

Pulled the frozen peas and prawns out, put a suitable quantity in a jug (10 king prawns, "yeah, about that much" of peas), and applied boiling water. When defrosted, moved the peas to the paella and let it carry on simmering.

After the 10 min was up, gave it a good stir, added the prawns, half a pack of mussels that had been on half-price (no, not in their shells, neither of us like fiddling around getting our fingers burnt) and a can of squid in olive oil from Aldi. Tested the rice, added a splosh more water. Realised that it was a bit lacking in flavour, and maybe I should have added some of the missing spices. Added salt, and a cautious sprinkle of Cayenne.
Put the timer on for another 10 min simmering. Towards the end of that, realised that while the rice was as soft as it needed to be, it was sticking, and chucked the oil from the squid in as well. Wished I'd done that to start with.

Served. Totally forgot to add the finely chopped parsley on top. Realised that while chicken quantities were fine, I had about twice as much as I needed of everything else.

On tasting, that cayenne had been a mistake.

janewilliams20: (food)
I was asked for the recipe, so I may as well make it fully public to all my friends, not just John

Here's the link:

What I did was based on that, but with quantities more like "what I have got left?", ending up as
350g Cox apples after the waste was chopped off (I didn't skin them), chopped in my mini food processor
A 500g bag of dried mixed fruit, a variety with no peel.
2 tsp Sainsburys mixed spice (mixes vary a lot from shop to shop)
420 ml of an extremely dry cider
1 1/2 tbsp brandy

No added sugar.

As it says:

1. Grate the apple and put into a pan with the mixed dried fruit. Add the mixed spice and cider and stir well.

2. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid has almost gone and the mixture is soft and pulpy.

3. Stir in the brandy, whisky or rum and leave to cool.

That made enough to fill about 1 3/4 jam jars.

janewilliams20: (Default)
I've discovered lactose-free milk - "real" milk that's been treated with lactase. It doesn't make me ill, and it behaves just like the real thing. So, I'm going back to using milk again, and trying to remember all the things I used to enjoy when I could take it.

Can I still make a roux-based sauce? Cauliflower cheese says yes, I can.

Angel Delight? Dave made me one up, as he does for himself though in raspberry flavour rather than his preferred butterscotch. Nice, but while he may think a packet in one go is a reasonable quantity, I think that's about three servings.

Tonight - custard. Banana custard was the plan. I've acquired a tub of instant custard powder, and on reading the instructions, I see it can be made in the microwave. Great! Mix and cook in the same measuring jug I need to use to get the quantities right, eat from it as well, save washing up. I'm a bit cautious, so when I saw the cooking time and the "stir half-way" instruction, I started it off with a third of the suggested time. This was good. It had indeed splashed a little, and definitely needed stirring. Back in again for another minute and a half, this time with a plate on top. Go and stir other things. Beeep.....
That's the first time I've seen something in the microwave jump out of a covered jug so effectively that there was nothing left in there at all. Every drop of custard was on the turntable. The plate was clean - how, I'll never know. Nothing on the walls or roof of the microwave, and only a few stains left on the inside of the jug. Fortunately with a bit of care I could pour the whole lot into a bowl, add banana, and eat it.
Next time, I think I'll do it on the stove-top.
janewilliams20: (Default)
After Saturday's early-morning army construction, up to Wisbech for the Four and Twenty Blackbirds AGM, which was more fun than it sounds.(things to do with that lot usually are). We'd considered eating out somewhere on the way back, but were so stuffed on the "few little nibbles" that we didn't bother. Did investigate the new Tescos at Sandy, though, and buy lots of fun things at reduced price, including some cheap diced lamb.

So, Sunday, finally managed to sleep in until gone 7! Nine whole hours! Plans for the day had included finishing off the Spider Army, but I haven't got round to it yet. What I have done is make kedgeree for breakfast,  Lancashire Hot Pot from that lamb for lunch (and it was great! the suggestions of adding more bits like Black Pudding would just spoil it IMO), another crustless quiche for breakfasts next week (broccoli and blue cheese, this time), some jacket spuds for reheating later in the week, and there are beetroot roasting at the moment. In non-oevn things, the slightly dodgy cucumber has been trimmed and turned itno a cucumber and dill salad. The kitchen is tidy (what?) Dave has mowed the lawn for what will presumably be the last time this year.

Again, we have vouchers to use for eating out, but don't feel like doing so.

The other planned activity for this weekend was more PHP coding. Again, haven't got round to it yet.

janewilliams20: (Default)
 It got slow-cooked with wine and celery and carrots, and then had the bones and big bits of fat removed, and left to cool overnight. I then removed the fat that had congealed at the top, and was surprised to find that the rest had jellified to the point of needing to be removed from the pot with a knife rather than a spoon. Of course, you boil bones for hours, this is what happens, I shouldn't have been surprised. Just had some with a jacket spud and some cabbage, and it was very nice.

janewilliams20: (Default)
I expect better reporting from the Guardian than this :(
"Is this the stomach-turning truth about what the Neanderthals ate?"
Nothing stomach-turning about it, for one thing.

The previous theory, that Neanderthals had been vegetarian, has had a setback. But the way it's described...
"These were not brainless carnivores, in other words. These were smart and sensitive people capable of providing themselves with balanced diets and of treating themselves with health-restoring herbs..."
Since when has being a carnivore meant being brainless? What's "sensitive" about eating plants?

It seems that "There are other, equally valid but decidedly more grizzly explanations to account for those microscopic fragments of herbs and plants found in Neanderthal teeth" Grizzly? Were they eating bears, or grey hair? Or is the Grauniad living down to its reputation?

The actual article is quite interesting, the comments are mainly intelligent, and it does give a link to the relevant paper, but the silly emotional baggage that comes with it... oh dear.


Oct. 19th, 2013 01:32 pm
janewilliams20: (Default)
I've just pulled a kilo pack of oxtail out of the freezer, planning on doing something with it tomorrow. My thoughts at the moment involve the slow cooker, and the end of a bottle of red wine that was a bit disappointing when we tried to drink it.

Anyone got any recipes, tips, other ingredients that absolutely should go in there, suggested accompaniments....?

janewilliams20: (Default)
Crafting update"

Read more... )

Cooking - I did indeed make bean pickle, and very nice it is too. Using sweetener instead of sugar, the only WW points in there are from the tablespoon of cornflour and the mustard powder, so in sensible quantities, it's zero.

New skirt got the pocket fitted, and it got worn. Crafting time was cut down somewhat yesterday - I got a lift into work with Dave. He works 6 to 6, so that's a very long day for me even before we add in a visit to Hobbycraft (paints and Very Useful Boxes) and a pizza out.

Work was good. Attended a very productive meeting, caught up with people, got to know a new task management package, diagnosed and fixed a bug, did an on-line training course that had slipped my memory, and proved that yes, I can cope with normal office life (though next time, I'll be taking in some aids to carrying takeaway lunch while one hand is occupied by a stick).

Today - latest step forwards is driving the "big" car (the Clio) rather than the little one. Only to Sainsbury's and back, but I walked round the whole store without a stick, as well as driving both ways.

Tomorrow, next physio session - and I'll be driving there without a co-driver. Dave's on nights, and he'll be asleep.


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