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Daphne

In the kitchen

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32 minutes ago, Patricia W said:

That recipe is very similar to the one my Grandma passed down to me yeas ago.  Only difference is that she used fresh yeast. Haven’t been able to get that for years.   Soapy, where is this Wessex flour place near us?  Did you know that Degustibus Artisan Bakers is based in Abingdon though? 

It's Wantage based.....I think you can get the flours in Notcutts (or could at one point!) but not sure. Certainly can in the little bakery in Thame opposite what was the fab sports shop and is now another bloomin' winebar and also a good range in The Granary, Watlington. Maybe if you Google Wessexmill it will give you local stockists? Def worth hunting out! Didn't know about Degustibus!

 

Edited to add; Yep, just Googled and there's lots of info. If anyone likes their home made bread do check it out (no, I'm not on a percentage of sales :lol:)

Edited by soapdragon
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Ok.  Will look next time I’m in Thame.  Going today but not till after the shops close.  I’m at Oxford Summer art and Craft School all next week so won’t get a chance till the week after.  

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Just belatedly Googled Wessex Flour.  It’s actually more or less equidistant for me as Thame.  They do tours Monday -Friday!  

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For any bread making forum peeps further away they do mail order! I've used the tomato and garlic flour for flat breads.....nummmms!

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OH has redeemed himself.  Gorgeous crusty spelt bread.  Unfortunately I broke another tooth on popcorn last night so had to chomp carefully.  I keep forgetting to get another broken tooth fixed - all part of when I slipped on the ladder years ago and they cracked.  I knew they weren't quite right but the dentist at the time said nothing wrong with them.  Hmphh!  So I now have symmetrical fangs. 

But what else has he been up to?  Onion marmalade - oh my goodness the smell is soooooo yummy.  I feel hungry again!

 

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What do you use to cover bowls of veggies in the microwave? I love steaming veggies in it. It's so quick and easy and the veg is always crisp and colourful. The problem is that I still use clingfilm on a glass bowl. So I'm trying to use a method that cuts out clingfilm. I've seen stretchy silicone lids for your own bowls or specially designed microwave dishes. I was wondering if they're as efficient as using clingfilm or what other method I can try. 

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I have a floppy silicone lid that fits on bowls and can go in the microwave, but also on cooking pans. Very useful!

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If I microwave anything I just put a sheet of kitchen towel over the top. Obviously not air tight but really to stop splatters. Haven't used clingo in the microwave for ages ever since seeing a really scary article about carcinogens in the plastic being activated by the heat :o

Edited by soapdragon

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I just put a saucer or plate in top of the bowl but usually just steam the veggies as we don’t use the freezer and there’s very little time saving with fresh veg 

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1 hour ago, soapdragon said:

If I microwave anything I just put a sheet of kitchen towel over the top. Obviously not air tight but really to stop splatters. Haven't used clingo in the microwave for ages ever since seeing a really scary article about carcinogens in the plastic being activated by the heat :o

Ooh! Scary. I'll stop that little game today then. 😱 

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Be careful with kitchen towel too!  My mum used it over her things and it started sparking and set itself alight!  Apparently some might contain little bits of metal (who knew!) so she quickly turned the microwave off at the plug!  Luckily the microwave is fine, but her food was covered with bits of burnt paper.  I wonder if baking parchment would be better?  I tend to use that when I do meringues in there - but on the turntable with the egg mix on the top.  Otherwise it's glass casserole dishes or the takeaway containers - sadly plastic, but better than clingfilm stuff.

 

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How do you do meringues in a microwave?

Ive almost completely stopped using cling film now but covering apple to make apple sauce in the microwave is one of the two things I do still use it for (the other is covering the bowl whilst my pizza dough rises - I’m very childish and have to have it perfectly right with no creases so I can use it as a drum 🤣).

The only time I’ve done veggies in the microwave was when we had no kitchen (I use a steamer on the hob) and I put a plate on the bowl.

Edited by mullethunter
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Really easy if you are in a hurry!  You just mix an egg white with icing sugar.  Roll into a dough then make small balls no bigger than a £2 coin - the bigger they are the bigger they puff up and spread.  I usually cut the baking parchment to the size of the turntable - I do use it a few times.  Set the balls well apart on the paper and just do a thumb imprint into the tops.  I usually set the timer for a minute on high - but check as it's possible to overcook them and they are very fragile.  Too soon and they sink.  After a while you get used to the size you want and what to look for.  Put on a rack to cool while you set up the next innings.  They are great for individual portions of pavlovas or even with cream sandwiched with a bit of strawberry or raspberry puree drizzled over it.  Then there's Eton mess - but they are done last minute as they can blend in with the cream very quickly.  Orrrrr - one thing that seemed to go down well with my guinea pigs was a fairy cake with the centre cut out, mix cream with crushed meringues and fill the hole - sliced strawberries (done before you add the creamy mix) like butterfly wings and top with the cut out bit of cake.  Dust with icing sugar.  Or fill the hole with a strawberry and then meringue cream on top with the cut out sponge on the top deck - great for messy eating!!!!

Any meringues not used can be popped into a plastic bag and sealed.  They keep for weeks - if you don't have a sweet-toothed daughter that helps herself!  

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My Christmas cake is the lovely forum boiled fruit cake with added brandy and glace cherries and will be iced and marzipanned (if I don't gannet the marzipan first 🤣). I make it regularly as a standard fruit cake along with Parkin - which keeps for ages, if I can exert sufficient self control. Recently YS and I have been making 'energy balls' with dates, ground almonds and oats plus various others things (grated carrot, cinnamon, nuts etc) whizzed up in the food processor and then rolled into walnut sized balls and covered in dessicated coconut or chopped hazelnuts. They are great for the boys to take to school for snacks. 

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They are very crispy and melt in the mouthy - well, mostly icing sugar while the egg white puffs it all up!  You don't need to whisk it to peaks either, just a little bit with a fork is enough.  :D  Just don't inhale when you take a bite because the dust can make you cough!  LOL!

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Well I haven't been cooking up a storm or anything in the kitchen lately, but we went to a local community thing on Saturday which was all about sustainability, organised by friends of ours.  The hook to get people along was free food.  They cooked up a feijoada (bean/tomato/cabbage stew with bits of unmentionable pork/chorizo/blood sausage) which is a traditional rural dish.  The cooking pot was enormous (2 batches, enough to feed 100 people).  It turned out the pot was in use in the biology lab for sterlising things but had been borrowed for the weekend!   Later in the afternoon we had roast chestnuts which are traditional everywhere at this time of year.  They had bought a sack full of them, you sling a batch into a terracotta pot with holes cut in the side, cook over oil drum filled with wood and pine cones, cook and eat.  Everyone just tucked in, including small children.  The weather was pants, but we were in an open sided marquee, glass of the local wine in hand, not bad!

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Just made some grape jelly from the remnants of our grape harvest,  Easy as all I did was strip the grapes from the bunch ( ignoring the odd bit of stalk) then cook as usual ( nomadded water), blend with a stick blender, then sieve out the bits.  It’s a lovely colour.   Lovely with yogurt or ice cream,  The rest of the grapes are a the winery near Birmingham being turned into Rose.  Last year’s was lovely. 

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Wow - are these grapes you grew in UK?  It sounds interesting that there is somewhere that will press them for you, what a good idea.  We made a small batch this year, involving nieces and feet!

Yesterday we picked and salted a very few table olives for a friend, it will be a surprise for him as he is away at the moment.  Last weekend we picked 20 small trees worth with another friend and took them to be pressed at a commercial mill, coming home with 18.5 litres.  This took 4 person days of effort and cost 25 euro at the mill, you can see its not exactly financially lucrative as a day job!  I have been doing a bit of research and although 95% of our trees are the most common variety in Portugal, we also have a few trees of a very local variety, named after the local regional capital.  

Today I plan on cooking something I saw on Jamie Oliver yesterday.  Its leek carbonara, which basically involves a slow sweating off of the white parts of 2 leeks, finely sliced, then gently poaching them in water for 40 mins.  Cook your pasta, beat up an egg with parmesan and seasoning, combine, eat.  I wait to see if I am going to miss the smoky bacon flavour!

 

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Not done much either - it's OH that has taken over.  Pity he doesn't wash the sink or the hob when he's done.  Actually, add the work surfaces to that too.  I have to walk away or it drives me nuts.  He's in London at the moment so I have my chance to blitz while he's away.  Although it would be nice to enjoy the time without him rather than have to clean!

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 Well hopefully you have had some quality time too!

This morning I made yet another batch of quince jelly with the juice of some late fruit and I have been making batches of marmalada with the pulp.  Its basically a quince paste which sets if you are lucky after 90 mins of cooking, then you cool it, and next day you can cut it into squares.  I store it in greaseproof in the fridge.  I have been using bay/cardomum/thyme/clove & black pepper for my flavouring, alongside sugar and lemon juice. Traditionally you might use cinnamon/cloves and I have seen a recipe with rose petals, which would be delicious if you like that sort of thing.  I think I am addicted to it!  Its sweet, perfumed and cardomummy and we stir some into porridge for breakfast.

I also made some anzac biscuits, and gave some to neighbours to try, although not heard any reports back yet from them.   According to OH 'these are horrible' as he ate two!

The JO recipe for leek pasta was bland, and OH made a JO broccoli/cauli recipe with pasta and that was also bland.  Recently I saw JO make something out of aubergines, which involved boiling the aubergine, which I can't think is very flavourful, so I have gone off these recipes.  This evening I roasted root veg with some bacon and had it with purple cauliflower.  If you could grow them in the UK, I'd give it a whirl, I thought it was very flavourful as well as keeping most of its colour.

I have also had to throw away a jar of homemade lime pickle.  Not sure what went wrong, but the top had dried out and the bottom was still full of fruit floating about in liquid and spices.  I think I must have got the proportions wrong somehow, and it didn't bind together.  Its annoying as it takes a few months to develop the flavour, so I need to get going on a new batch.

Isn't it sad about Gary Rhodes?  He was so full of energy about food and cooking, even if you didn't always feel as though you could make his creations.  I think he has left a legacy of personality, which not many people do.  And I can't quite believe that Clive James and Jonathon Miller have also died today.  Very sad indeed.

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Yes, so sad those three icons passed away the same day. And Gary Rhodes was so young!  End of an era.   

Daphne, you asked about the wine making place our cooperative uses. It’s near Birmingham and makes wine for a number of English wine labels.  English wine is coming along in leaps and bounds with global warming! 

I’ve been making artichoke dip to take along to Christmas ‘do’s of my various clubs etc.  It’s really easy.  A tin/ jar of artichokes mixed with a cup of mayonnaise, handful of grated Parmesan, squeeze of lemon juice,sprinkle bread crumbs and more cheese on top,  cook in the oven at 180for 20 mins.  I was asked for one without mayonnaise so substituted cream cheese and a dollop of yogurt.   Seemed to work,  

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