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Everything posted by binkyboots

  1. right now... butteries baking (not entirely as I'd hope they would turn out, but nevermind), blackcurrant jelly boiling, coffee and dog.
  2. binkyboots

    Preserving Summer

    ah, thank you! I have the banana and chocolate mix in the fridge right now, just chilling till I get time to boil it up. I'm glad you posted, I was wondering if the slices were going to stay sliced or disolve into banana mush. I'll try leaving them as are this time. the chocolate raspberry is delicious, I'd love to fill a cake with that.
  3. binkyboots

    Preserving Summer

    Finally my copy of mes confitures arrived at borders (been on back order, oh, forever!) today we went to a pick your own berry farm, brought back three kilos of raspberries and two of tayberries (like huge raspberries with an earl grey/smoky edge to them) raspberries are being done three ways, raspberry and bitter chocolate jam, raspberry and star anise jam and finally raspberry with rosewater. the rasp/rosewater one is finished and jarred (I always did the upside down jar thing, so far I've had perfect results, no troubles with keeping) my tester bowl was delicious. the others are chilling overnight. the chocolate one is heavenly, I cant wait to boil it tommorow, I swear if I didn't have guests sleeping upstairs near the fridge I'd go get it right now! tayberries, I'm planning to do one lot as straight tayberry jam and am doing one as a tayberry tea jelly... with their smoky flavour that might be delicious. so far I've made the juice for jelly, 2 kilos of tayberries, the contents of one earl grey teabag (lady grey might have been better) a few green apples and a lemon sliced, cooked a bit with two litres of water until the apples are mushy and the berries gone to pieces. will measure the juice and then the usual sugar pint/pound maths.... will see how that works out tomorow. going back to pyo farm soon for tummelberries, jostaberries and redcurrants! my next project, banana jam, I'm fancying the chocolate banana one, but, I'm worried, will it be horribly slimy? in fact, banana jam in general worries me, got a foolproof and delicious recipe? I'm all ears.... will most likely try miss ferber's choconana one tommorow or monday.
  4. I concur. Though I cook a lot from scratch there are prepacked foods I use, I'm sure nobody here could claim otherwise! I enjoy the process of making fresh pasta, I do it when I feel like it, but on a busy day when the important thing is to get a meal on the table fast I use dried or prepacked fresh. I dont use tinned ready pasta sauces, it's cheaper and nicer to make our own., but I do buy prebagged salad fairly often. It is true though that I no longer buy ready meals, premade pizzas, shepherds pie, etc, partly budget concerns, it's always cheaper to buy the bits and make them into food than to pay someone else to do it. Partly health, I know what's in my families meals. And finally, I get a great deal of satisfaction from cooking, strangely as I cant eat the things I make, but the sight of a loaf of bread cooling gives me a feeling which is like (sounds wierd) watching a cat curl up in a pool of sunlight. Warm and happy. I know I'm lucky, I have the time to do this (just) by juggling my other responsibilities and getting up early. But, when I got married I coudn't cook, our school never did any cooking with us, we lived on frozen meals or fast food. I'm so ashamed, lol, then one day I made a batch of cookies and that was that, I started reading cookbooks, experimenting and finally realised that not being able to cook was a state of mind. But yep, there was a time when bread was white sliced, pizzas and lasagnes came from the freezer and the biggest descision I had to make about dinner was whether to microwave it or put the oven on.
  5. thank you, ok... ginger or root beer, good idea! I'll look up some sites and see what we can find. I'm sure she'd be pleased to get a drinkable end result. our motivation for making beer is, her uncle's birthday, she'd like to make some for it. her suggestion after noticing a homebrew shop while we were out for a walk. she goes to a steiner school so there is a lot of focus on making things with real results, tangible evidence that learning has happened. I am a coward and was too intimidated to go on in and have a chat that day, however, armed with more information I think a visit to check out his beer kits will be the next step. I suspect there is more to mead than I realised too, that the stuff is drinkable is down to luck I imagine we will update as we go, might take her out tommorow to have a talk about kits. do you think a homebrew shop would have the ingredients for root beer too? something fast and more suited to her age might be a good introduction for us both.
  6. Ok, I'm on childminding duty for the holidays, six glorious weeks of domestic bliss! I've a few plans, cooking as a (basic) science and maths primer, we plan pasta making, rolling our own couscous, more breadmaking than you can shake a stick at and perhaps building an outdoor brick oven (though that may be shelved for next year) I thought a nice complement to our cooking activities would be homebrewing. We made wine at school as part of a chemistry lesson, fascinating stuff, but not drinkable at all! last summer I made mead, accidental mead, lol, I bought a bottle and air lock, boiled some honey and water, dropped in some wine yeast and hoped for the best... it's certainly alchoholic and pretty tasty. however, I'd like to approach this in a more organised way. child is seven and enthusiastic, not because she likes beer, but because she loves making things. so, I fancy making something which is easy, tasty and will be ready in time for halloween. beers I've drunk and loved include hobgoblin ale and oatmeal stout, chocolatey, toffee and fairly smooth. so, I need some help, some really easy to understand help. I have a hydrometer, some demi johns, an airlock, siphoning tube and a lot of interest in learning more. I need a big bucket I guess. then, grains? hops? how much? and once I have it what do I do? I've read threads here and elsewhere, but all are too technical (or sound like they are) for this first timer! pictures will be posted as we go.
  7. someone or something boring can be called vanilla. small children and loved ones are my little dumplings when my friend was preganant she was carrying a little peanut
  8. 12" high... I think what I would do is make a lot of large cookies and stack them with some kind of frosting glue.
  9. for a mold I use a plastic pudding basin like these it has a fitted lid and spares me the faffing around that pleating cheesecloths and paper always caused, I'm clumsy
  10. binkyboots


    ooh.. it's a tough one, sandwiches are so good I like raspberry jam and strong cheddar cheese, on white bread. toasted sandwich, would this count, if so apple puree with melted cheddar ir great. bacon, fried egg, buttered white bread, ketchup if the mood is right, that is it, my favourite sandwich.
  11. this morning I'm waiting in for a delivery, so we have "emergency cupboard breakfast" in this case it's quick cooking porridge in golden syrup flavour could be worse though, one time it was cereal mix (all the "not quite enough for a bowlfull" bits from the bottom of cereal packets)
  12. remembered overnight, I had blueberries a while back (in fact, it must have been last summer ) that were very flat tasting. I made a compote using balsamic vinegar (just a cheap brand) and a little sugar... end result was very nice
  13. this sounds pretty sublime... you may be able to pick up a miniature. otherwise, would a lemony liqueur work? lemons and blueberries are good together.
  14. mint! yum... I love a minty ganache in a chocolate cake
  15. binkyboots

    The Basics

    ooh.. ok, my crucial recipes are good tomato pasta sauce, either with or without meat bechamel sauce, for pasta, mac 'n cheese, cauliflower cheese etc a soup, whatever you like, my standby soup is lentil roast chicken
  16. ah! ok, next time (hehe, next week) I have a chicken carcass I'll have another shot, 6 - 8 hours, wow. does slow cooker stock work? our hob is electric and things tend to get pretty hot on it, I miss my gas hob so much at moments like these.
  17. in the past I've simmered for about two hours, sometimes more, sometimes less. I've tried a few things, extra herbs, a pinch of saffron, a glug of chicken stock concentrate and chilling, degreasing and boiling down. always ends up like dishwater
  18. great minds think alike (ish) we had leftover chicken, chunked into bite size pieces, boiled some plain rice and fried an onion till soft and sweet. had some leftover "new england" dried fruit mix, cranberries, blueberries, golden sultanas and raisins, put them in hot water to plump up a little. put the lot together in an oven proof dish, covered with foil and heated through... at the last minute I snipped some chives and spring onion in. this stretched our roast chicken to feed two adults last night, three adults and one child tonight and still leaves a tiny portion of the chickeny rice to go into a salad tommorow. I'm very bad at making stock, no matter what I do it comes out watery, thin, greasy and poorly flavoured. this could be my greatest kitchen crime, a terrible waste of a good chicken carcass. my other culinary nemesis is home made mayonaise no matter what I do it comes out thin and greasy instead of thick and gorgeous.
  19. ooh.. just home from a wander in the charity shops, managed to get "the art of eating" by M.F.K.Fisher for £2.99! looks like fascinating stuff, it includes "how to cook a wolf" as recommended upthread
  20. organic food is not always a winner, I bought some organic split yellow peas from a farm shop, brought them home, soaked, drained, boiled for hours, they never got tender, like gritty, flavourless little bullets in my pan. happily we only wasted £1 on that, I guess the turnover of split peas is rather low in that shop, leading to ancient split peas sitting around their shelves so, today we'll be making lentil soup, I love lentils, I really do, they're so cheap and so versatile. lentil soup lentils, half a pack, 250g? more if you want more soup, less if you want less an onion or two, chopped, doesnt really matter how fine, it gets liquidised a potato, peeled, only if you want a creamier texture, otherwise plain lentil is good water rinse the lentils, then put them in a large pan with the onion, potato and water to cover, better to top up often than end up with watery soup. simmer till tender, liquidise and season spiced butter 1 tsp baharat spice (I use this a lot, I rationalise, it costs £2.50 a pack, but it's strong so I use only a little per recipe) two or three crushed cloves of garlic a few chopped chives 2 tsp clear honey butter, softened, about 75g? I just take a chunk off the end of the pack mix together, chill, serve with the soup, you take a little slice and drop it in the soup, wait a minute, it melts into a delicious, concentrated flavour boost. not for everyday perhaps because of the butter, but it is really good. could vary the spices too of course to get other flavours..
  21. binkyboots

    Dinner! 2005

    split pea soup with spiced butter and crusty bread and a roast chicken salad tonight. maybe a stewed peach and rhubarb pudding if I get the time.
  22. I usually dont stress about leaving cream cheese icing out for a couple of days... unless it's high summer (but hey, I live in Scotland, lol)
  23. sorrel, lots of it, basil, rocket, lettuce, mixed salad leaves, nasturtiums (pickled nasturtium seeds, yum), pansies, mushrooms (well, not in the garden but the shed), pumpkin plant, oregano, thyme, dill, rosemary, mint, chervil, hanging basket tomatoes, pink garlic and a bay tree. love homegrown stuff, so much tastier when you can just pick it out of the pot....
  24. oh man that sounds good I shall be trying the daniel rogov pate recipe later this week, and making some sourdough (from my resurected starter) to serve with it. mussels are a good bargain, but nobody in the family eats shellfish, at all I wish they did, that winey, mussel, cream dish (I will not embarass myself by getting it's name wrong) sounds good and so fast! (I dont eat much in the way of solid food so it's out for me) we used to have a cool shop, the scoop-a-market great big plastic bins of flour, sugar, peas, grains, all sorts really.... I dont know if they just were no longer profitable or if there is some sort of new rules about that kind of shop in our area, but they've all shut down. the organic/whole food shop has bins with various flours and cereals, but are expensive compared to the old style scoop-a-markets. last week we had a truly delicious chilli kind of thing.. lamb mince, tinned tomatoes, passata, a teaspoon on chillis in oil and a teaspoon (largish) of baharat spice. cooked till done then cooled, on top of that I made the batter for cornmeal muffins from the magnolia bakery cookbook, I switched water for buttermilk though as I had some in the fridge, spooned that in lumps on top of the cooled chilli, baked it till the cornbread was golden and fluffed up looking. served three on two nights plus one for lunch. I have a chicken roasting just now, roast chicken tonight with jersey royals (so good, my yearly treat!) and brocoli tommorow chicken and feta salad, maybe a ricey chicken thing with apricots too if it stretches.
  25. not so, I adore peanut butter, oh yes, it's contraband in our house though as my niece is allergic
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