Wednesday, 21 October 2009


I had some double cream which I had frozen. I defrosted it and it looked all weird, so I decided to try to make some cheese. I boiled the cream, added lemon juice and then strained the curdled liquid into a muslin over a sieve which was over a bowl and weighted. And waited.

I was left with a soft cheese, some very yellow fat which solidified over what I presume was the whey.

I drained away the whey, have salted the yellow fat and put it away since I'm not sure what to do with it, which leaves me with the cheese.

On its own it was disgusting. I have since added salt, crushed garlic and herbs and it tastes a bit better, a bit like Le Roulé. I may brave it on a cracker.

I am going on a short vacation soon, so I hope to report some good eating here soon.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Muffin update

I did it: my muffins have muffin tops, albeit slightly small ones. To a mix of 6 ounces each of fat, self-raising flour and sugar with 3 eggs, I added one heaped teaspoon of baking powder. Also, the muffin tops are stable.

I think I'm going to e-mail my friend now.

Another pictureless dinner

I made dinner last night and it smelled like Christmas. Maybe it's because I put cinnamon in the gravy- by mistake but it worked out.

Pie- this was mushroom, tofu, leek and cannelini bean. I fried the mushrooms in garlic with salt to get the water out of the mushroom and hope that some of that flavour would go into the tofu chunks I threw in. With sliced leeks and cannelini beans from a can (they were just added for bulk, but it worked out all right), I put in mustard, pepper, smoked paprika, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, lemon juice, Henderson's relish and a teeny tinny drop of shoyu. There was also fresh sage chopped in and the last of the oat cream.

Gravy- I slivered two medium onions and fried with some toffee / caramel I had made. This was left over from the chocolate toffee muffins I made 2 days previous, which I guess makes this non-vegan as it had cream in it. The pinch of cinnamon powder was a mistake. Then I stirred in yeast extract and sieved in some cornflour and stirred well. I guess this saves you making a roux. My liquid of choice was red wine and water, and I added a rosemary twig.

Potatoes- I cut these into small chip sizes to roast. After the oil, salt and pepper, I dusted these with polenta grain to improve texture. You could use semolina, that's where I got the idea; I heard this is a good trick for roasties. So, if your body doesn't like wheat you have an alternative.

And to think I made all this effort just to have something to go with my curly kale.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

A Reader Writes in...

With the subject heading "Foodness Sake", the following came to my inbox:

so yesterday i woke up and it was cold cold in the valley, soooo autumnal, and i immediately lusted after a hearty comforting warming stew. amy came over and i made a slow-cook flageolet bean stew with chunky carrots and halved sprouts (an Amazing stew ingredient in my opinion) and Just The Right Amount of chorizo sausage. like a hundred grams for a three-portion stew, put in in small small chunks right at the beginning as the onions are softening... the flavour spreads through it all, making a huge huge difference but not being Meat with a capital M. it was perfected with whole coriander seeds, a little mustard, lemon zest and oregano and served with thin crispy roast parsnips piled on top.

Doesn't that sound wonderful? In fact, because of this, and because of this nippy weather we have suddenly been having, last night I made my own stew. It was a black-eyed beans, carrot, potato, brown lentils, browned onion, prunes, sun-dried tomato, garlic, haw jelly from ages back, the last of the sosmix, the last of the smoked lancashire rind chopped up tinily, rosemary, sage, a dash of vinegar, ground cloves, salt and pepper and somehow, it just thickened itself without lentil, bean or potato disintegrating. I think that was down to the cheese and the sosmix. A good result. No pictures, sadly.

In fact, there were leftovers, so I am off to eat some this minute.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Your Letters

I got a very nice e-mail from a reader the other day, which I only just read a few minutes ago and it made me think: I want to use this patch of cyberspace create some food dialogue. Have you cooked, concocted, brewed something that you are damn proud of? Have you had successful forays into foraging and made something good with your spoils? Food enthusiasts, I want to hear from you! I would like Stir, Season, Taste to feature guest writers. If you have photos to accompany your words, that would be even better.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Bakemaster and the Cookie Crew

No cookies were baked any time immediately before or after this post. This is just a reference to a late 80s house track.

I am keen on using up leftovers, and there was a half a jar of black cherries in their own juice just waiting to go all green-white and fluffy. Something needed to be done. So I threw some fat, self-raising flour and sugar together, along with a stray egg, some baking power and vanilla essence and stirred the cherries in. I contemplated adding almond essence but then decided it was too overpowering and I just wanted the sour taste of the cherries to shine through. I tried to make a strudel topping for my pudding, but having failed to consult any resource ended up with a sweet crumble topping and something which looked like this after 45-60 minutes on Gas Mark 4 in the oven:

It was designed to be eaten warm with custard or ice cream or cream. And it was. And, boy was it good! I recommend any glut of tart fruit be used up like this.

The excess crumble topping I tried to make into muffins by adding more fat, more flour and a bit of milk to wetten it. Wetten isn't a word is it? Well, it is now. I didn't think much about flavouring, and chucked in a bit of cinnamon powder as an afterthought, forgetting we had apples in the fruit bowl. I also added baking powder and filled the cake cases liberally to see if I could pull the "spilling -over-the-top" thing which I mentioned in my last post. Lo and behold, I did:

The muffin top was not very stable. It fell off as soon as I touched it. I need a more stable muffin top. This isn't over yet folks...

I seem to be reporting the a lot of sweet cookery here. This is something I want to change. I mean last night I made a spinach potato and pea curry but it wasn't very good. It tasted all right, but I could not abide what I consider to be a lack of salt and oil. I'm such a trashy eater.

I've recently become an omnivore after being pescetarian for about 9 years. This has been a bit of a problem when eating out. Yesterday, I went out for breakfast and ordered a vegetarian one because the thought of all that meat on my plate was too much. Not a big problem: I could just ask for a hybrid breakfast next time.

However, I am concerned about the welfare of the animals before they get brutally butchered for my plate, but I am as yet too self-conscious to ask, in fear that I might sound dreadfully wanky. I really shouldn't care about the staff at the cafe / restaurant think, surely it's up to me to make them aware that I care and that they should switch to more humanely treated animals. And it's not that I am scared of how I will sound to the people in my company. It's just that I know with some places I have set foot in and ordered food, it will be a really stupid thing to ask because it's highly probable that they won't have thought about it. Maybe I should just bite the bullet with this one.