Thursday, July 15, 2010

Four-Syllable-Vegetable Soup

Celeriac Pictures, Images and Photos

I couldn't think of many vegetable names with four syllables until I started to write this post. All of a sudden, "asparagus" hits me; followed closely by "cauliflower". And while both of those would make a nice soup, today's recipe calls for celeriac.

I had no idea what this was when I first saw it in the grocery last summer. It looks quite odd and inedible. But I used it in soup and hope to again when it's back in season (which should be any time now).

Serves 2
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

4 tbsp olive oil
1 celeriac, chopped
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups fresh chicken stock

1/2 cup double cream

1/2 tsp instant coffee granules
salt & pepper to taste

1. Prep
Peel the celeriac, taking off the bits and bobs and the brown covering.
Chop the celeriac into small cubes.
Peel and chop the onion and garlic and set aside.

2. Stovetop
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and gently fry the onion, garlic, and celeriac for about 5 minutes, stirring gently.

3. Stovetop
Add the stock, bring to a boil, then allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Add the cream and coffee granules; stir well to dissolve coffee.
Season to taste.
Remove from heat and mash or blend until smooth.

4. Serve with warm rolls and enjoy!

[Adapted from BBC FOOD recipes]

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Grasmere Gingerbread

I went to LucyCooks a couple of weeks ago. A Taste of Cumbria was the theme for the day's workshop and I was pretty excited about going. I love learning more about local foods and recipes and was curious, and a bit nervous, about how the day would go.

Verdict: it was fun. I'd definitely do it again, especially if my mom or one of my friends come to visit. It was a nice way to spend the day.

A couple of disappointments:
1) We made Westmorland Tattie Hot Pot (which I've made before). Our recipe also called for black pudding and I already know that Dave doesn't care for that so it wasn't going to go over well when I brought my creations home. It didn't.
2) We didn't actually measure out any ingredients. Sounds silly but I was looking forward to figuring out how to use the scale and getting some other measurement hints. Everything was already measured out for us.
3) This is the last grumble. I lost my favorite hooded jacket. It was new and, unlike most of my dark drab clothes, a bright blue-green color. But I took it off, laid it over some chairs and forgot about it. When the day was over, it was left behind. I emailed (no response); I drove out there two days later and asked for it - not there. I asked them to take down my name and number and description of the jacket but I got the feeling it wouldn't help. It didn't.

Anyway. Grasmere Gingerbread was our treat and this is the recipe.

Makes 8 2x4 inch bars

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Note: We used baking parchment to line the 8 inch square pan; first time I've used this. It works really well so I'll have to take a look for it in the grocery store.

225g plain flour
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp ground ginger
112g brown sugar
112g butter
1 tbsp golden syrup

1. Prep
Preheat oven 170°C
Let the butter soften a bit.
Line an 8 inch square pan with baking parchment (or lightly grease).

2. Prep
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and ginger.
Blend in the butter with your fingers until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.
Add the sugar and golden syrup and continue to blend with your fingers. Mixture should still be quite crumbly.

3. Prep
Spoon two thirds of the mixture into the pan and press down firmly with the back of a spoon. Really flatten it.
Evenly sprinkle the rest of the mixture on top.

4. Oven
Bake for 50 minutes.

5. When cool, cut into 2x4 inch bars. Enjoy!

Friday, July 9, 2010



Big bowl of gooseberries

We haven't made it back to the Braddylls yet (maybe tonight) for gooseberry crumble so I decided to pick some up at the grocery store -- and perhaps offset all those crisps I've been eating lately. Morrison's didn't have any on their shelves on Monday so I stopped at Booth's yesterday. Success! They're expensive so I only bought a couple of handfuls.

The woman at the checkout told me that they were goosegogs but she was pretty sure that wasn't the correct name. She asked a nearby colleague who laughed, shook her head in amusement, and said they were "gooseberries".

They're covered in fur!

Gooseberry close-up

I pinched off the tops and bottoms and rinsed them off... We just ate them fresh: no pie, no crumble, no cream. They tasted like little plums. The darker ones were tart; the whiter ones seemed a little squishy and sweeter. I like the tarter ones a bit better. After eating a dozen of so, I started to notice that the skins felt funny. Furry even. Putting on my glasses and taking a closer look, I could see that the skin isn't smooth at all; very interesting.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Peanut Butter and Lemon Curd Sandwich

Today we're completely out of jam. I thought I had another jar in the pantry but, unless it's hiding somewhere, it won't be found until too late.

And it was to be too late for I had already made half of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch (sans the jelly). Usually, under normal circumstances, I would have slathered on some marshmallow fluff instead. No problem. I love fluff! But, seeing as how we're on this island and there is no marshmallow fluff available, I was stuck.

So I smoothed on just a little layer of lemon curd.

Edible but disgusting. Not a good combination.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Black Pepper Mills

 title=I always have trouble with pepper mills. I admit that I've only bought one or two in my life: a salt and pepper set of real ones: nice wooden grinders like what you'd find in your waiter's hands in a nice restaurant as he asks "Would you like fresh pepper?"

I don't know; they never last; they stop grinding.

So I've resigned myself to stick with the cheap little grinders sold in the spice section of our local grocery. First I bought this little Schwartz model which wasn't, as I recall, inexpensive. It worked wonderfully. But then it ran out of pepper and, damn thing, I can't open it and fill it with more whole pepper. WUWT? I really hate throwing anything even remotely useful away so this just irritates me to no end.

After careful scrutiny of other pepper mills, I ended up with this Morrisons brand. It's great. It works wonderfully AND I can refill it! Yippee!