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DianaB

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  1. Hoping that this isn’t off topic but here, as promised, are George and Prune discovering their new catio for the first time. The second picture is Prune, she spent entire days in that spot, a kiwi fruit vine now covers it so she had shade on warmer days. Can’t get used to walking past the Prune Shelf and seeing it empty. The prune picture shows our tiny greenhouse and raised beds, this is our entire space for growing fruit and veg, except for a couple of apple trees and one pear tree at the front. The wind was strong yesterday and most of the apples are now on the ground. Any brilliant ideas for preserving those windfalls would be very welcome! I hate to waste food but the freezer is already crammed to capacity. More or less…
  2. Yes, the one remaining cat has this area as his space. Comes and goes as he pleases through his little door. When we acquired George and his sister, Prune, we were obliged to sign a contract to agree that they would never be permitted to roam freely. Not sure that I would do the same again but it is all that George has known. Will find a picture of the pair in their space tomorrow.
  3. Welcome from another ice cream aficionado 🍦 There are numerous discussions on ice cream, recipes, equipment, you will certainly find plenty of lively and friendly advice. Looking forward to hearing about your favourite recipes and techniques. 💐
  4. Sun Gold tomatoes have been amazing this year. Have grown plants from a ‘parent’ gariguette strawberry now planted around the walls of our catio. Hoping to have fruit from these next summer having given up on strawberries in recent years. The parent plant was found at the back of what was once a strawberry raised bed, must have been lurking since we cleared the rest.
  5. San Marzano tomatoes still ripening both in unheated greenhouse and outside. Certainly plenty of fruit per plant but they are not as amazing when cooked as we had hoped.
  6. Canning is something that I have never tried but having enjoyed reading the posts above I’m thinking it might be something to try next year. This year garden produce has (as always) filled our freezer. Small house limits storage space and even our small garden produces more than we can easily accommodate. Tomatoes have either been dried in the oven or transformed into sauce to save on freezer space needed. Fruits such as black currants and blackberries are frozen as they came off the plants. We have a first batch of cherry tomato sauce cooking this morning. It is the first year we have grown more cherry tomatoes than we can eat so it will be interesting to see how the Sun Gold in particular transform. They are certainly delicious just roasted as a side dish. Just hoping that there will be a spare corner in the freezer to store it….. The greenhouse is still full of San Marzano tomatoes that we grew thinking that they would be ideal cooked. They are fine but we have found that other types of tomatoes make a tastier sauce. Not sure what we will grow next year but that decision can wait a few weeks yet. Have really enjoyed this thread, all of those bottled veg look amazing 😻
  7. Many thanks for identifying the variety; Mountain Magic seeds are indeed available in the U.K. so one to try for next year….,
  8. I should have guessed that Campari tomatoes are hybrid! Sad this year that seeds for our favourite garden tomato, also a hybrid, have been discontinued. The choice of replacement that I picked is nowhere near as good so scouring all sources in hope of one last packet of Ferline F1 seeds! We grow Sungold every year, each plant is laden with gold globes of tomatoey sweetness that we will be picking until the frost arrives. I had assumed that these were open-pollinated until recently, the seeds are available very easily and at much less cost than most hybrids. Just hoping that these don’t disappear, as you say they ripen early and are often our first sign that summer is on the way.
  9. Can’t go wrong with a charcuterie selection! One of our favourite lunches when in Paris where a number of bars offer a sharing “assiette de charcuterie” at modest charge. Certainly better value than buying the stuff local to home in North Yorkshire where a couple of slices of decent cheese will cost la peau des fesses. 😁
  10. Intriguing, have never come across a Campari tomato in England or France. Has anyone tried growing plants from the seeds?
  11. Both ice creams look amazing! I transformed a mint choc chip already made with a freeze the bowl machine using the NC, the texture was beautiful but of course we lost the texture of the choc chips having already incorporated them into the mix when it was frozen the first time. With hindsight I should have sieved the melted sorbet and then re-incorporated the chips as a mix-in. One question - how much Campari did you use with your grapefruit? Are you able to share the recipe? One of our first efforts was based upon a tin of grapefruit segments, that was good but I would like to try with fresh fruit. So impressed with your serving and the accompaniments!
  12. Not sure about it being cheaper than Paris, bars have used ‘un petit café’ at €1 to entice customers across Paris (and much of France). At this address in North Yorkshire an espresso is very good (husband being perfectionist coffee brewer), sadly coffee shops trade more on the “dessert in a mug”, piles of cream and other stuff that hides the taste of the coffee. Mark ups are huge of course so no doubt good for small businesses. Plumbing in Paris is much improved in recent decades, thankfully! It was never very practical to attempt to use ‘the waters’ as a female wearing trousers. 😁
  13. I enjoy Elizabeth David’s writing hugely and can happily read her books without any real thought of using the recipes. That said, we have cooked and enjoyed many of her dishes over the years. I understand that for some Elizabeth David might be considered a fairly modern author but I do enjoy learning about the Europe that she knew in the middle of the last century. It is wonderful to have access to older texts, often without charge. Project Gutenberg was the first source of such materials that I came across but of course there are so many others. My Mrs Beeton is not a first edition, from memory it was printed in the 1860s. I really don’t think that I have ever made any of the recipes but I have read the book many times, again it is the social history that keeps me interested. My copy was restored earlier this year so it feels a lot safer to read now that all of the pages are attached properly! Photo of beautifully restored spine attached. 😁. (I have yet to learn how to place photos in an eGullet contribution)! For those interested in older recipes Max Miller makes short films that combine history with his attempts to recreate a dish. Of course there is only so much that can be achieved in a short film but we find his work interesting and entertaining nonetheless. Videos can be found here: https://youtube.com/c/TastingHistory If I have copied/pasted correctly! The price of older books can vary enormously so it is certainly worth looking around if there is a particular text wanted. Max Miller did a short series of films about food on the Titanic. We were told that the recipes came from a book: Last Dinner on the Titanic, Max was happy to report that he had tracked a copy down at an affordable price. This book was published in 1997 and I was amazed that copies had any value at all after just 25 years. When I searched there were a small number of ‘collectable’ copies available on Amazon.com, the prices were incredible to such an extent that I thought the decimal point must have been wrongly placed. The error was mine, Marketplace sellers were requesting vast payment for this (less than) rare publication. A quick visit to a certain on-line auction site and I discovered sellers not yet aware that the book is now for collecting rather than reading. I bought a copy for less than £5 with free delivery. It is a relatively interesting text for a rainy afternoon. I have long been interested by the history of Titanic (not the film, can’t quite understand why one would choose to watch a film when the ending is so well known and so grim - personal taste of course). The book deals swiftly with food for each category of persons on board, there are some recipes and photos of original menus etc. Willing to part with my copy to any avid collector!!! 😁
  14. Sounds similar to the copy that I inherited from my mother, I was probably in my 20s when I discovered that the booklet would have had a cover originally. Still have mother’s copy somewhere, baked from it lots when first married. Baking quiche today with BeRo flour and it feels good somehow to use ingredients that would have been much the same when the recipes were published. A welcome link to my long departed mum. The format and style of the edition linked to above is very similar to our copy, not come across that archive before but looking forward to exploring further. Many thanks @Anna N for the information. 💐
  15. I’m sure that I am not alone in having a large number of recipe books from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The older the book the less detailed the recipes in many cases but with a little thought many dishes can still be created or adapted. Does anyone cook from 19th century editions of Mrs Beeton or Alexandre Dumas or similar. How about Elizabeth David or the briefer Bero book of baking that must have been present in just about every UK household into the 1970s in various editions, it was given away for purchase of so many packets of flour. I admit that I have yet to try Mrs Beeton’s recipe for a toast sandwich, or her toast tea (for the invalid). Happy to photograph a few pages from this and other somewhat dated publications if anyone is interested. Would love to hear of any recipes from these or similar that are in regular use.
  16. On “ YouTube” can be found an American/Italian couple producing weekly videos on Italian cooking. Recipes are generally simple, we have made quite a few. Some are surprising, eg chocolate mousse with blood (I think from a pig but my memory may be wrong), American husband announced it delicious. They dedicated an episode to Spaghetti Carbonara including a “scientific” method cooked sous vide. That recipe we found amazing and it is the only way I have made carbonara since discovering it. A search for “Pasta Grammar” will find them (Ava was a language teacher in earlier life).
  17. Perhaps “don’t want to cook” meals mean different things to different people? My thrown together veg in an omelette of kinds certainly falls into that category for me. I do batch cook but in summer those things (bolognaise sauce, bœuf bourguignon etc) don’t really appeal when the garden is full of salad. Last week when we were just getting our appetites back after Covid we had cheese and onion sandwiches but I had made the bread and frozen it a while back. Does that count better than my omelette thing? 😁
  18. This summer we have discovered the pleasure of all but burnt cheese. Stuck in the house for the best part of 3 weeks thanks to Covid saw supplies running short. We had potatoes in the garden and a kind neighbour brought us very fresh eggs on a regular basis. Once appetites began to return we turned to omelettes. Potatoes coated in a mixture of oil, cumin, black pepper and salt roasted in the oven, also the odd courgette from the garden thrown into the mix. Ossau irate cheese from the freezer grated into a frying pan and cooked until golden brown in a cast iron pan then set aside. The potatoes were then reheated in the pan, eggs added to form a sort of omelette around the vegetables. Finished under the grill until eggs cooked but not overly so. Browned cheese then crumbled over the top. Had we had more energy we might have made a salad to go with but in the recovery days from Covid that required too much energy. The ‘omelette was divided between 2 serving plates and just eaten as it came. When feeling under the weather this made a tasty and satisfying meal. Will certainly explore further variations as we resume normal service. Delicious in this simple form and it seems that there are so many possibilities to use “burnt” cheese in other recipes. A happy accidental find from the misery of Covid.
  19. From my brief research there are very many variations of “ants on a log”, according to one account the original involved celery, peanut butter and raisins but other recipes use cream cheese. 😁
  20. Well that’s me educated for the day! I had never heard of Cheez Whiz or “ants on a log” until I read your post, now, thanks to a quick search, my mind has been expanded! I guess you are right about blue cheese with celery; we tend to be very boring with a cheese course restricting non-cheese content to crusty bread. The two might pair nicely in a salad though, or with a poached pear.
  21. This is our recipe for pikelets, I really can’t remember where we appropriated it, quite possibly from my mother’s handwritten recipes. We have made them this way for a few years now having been lured back to such calorie laden delicacies thanks to Betty’s Tea Room in York (worth a visit if in the area). 230g plain flour 5g instant yeast 255g water 70g milk 5g salt 5g baking powder added once the batter has stood for 2 hours. All dry ingredients go into the Magimix (food processor, other brands available 😁) except the baking powder. Pour liquids in through the tube while the mixer is turning, once added, blend 3 minutes. Decant to a jug and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours Whisk in the baking powder. To cook, we use a cast iron pan heated to about 160c. Brush cooking surface with melted butter (less is more with our Le Creuset pan). Pour batter into pan, size is a personal thing but the above mix makes 7 or 8 pikelets depending on how the batter is dosed. Remember that they will rise as they cook. We find that they cook in about four and a half minutes, flip once the upper surface shows signs of being cooked if you want browning on both sides. The same batter can be cooked in buttered metal rings to give a slightly deeper result, we call them crumpets when cooked in rings but frankly it isn’t worth the bother. Allow to cool just so that mouths aren’t burnt. Apply generous amounts of your favourite salted butter*, it will of course run through the holes onto your plate but you can mop it up with the pikelet as you eat. Mmm, pikelets, delicious. Mouth watering now. *The very best butter available to us is Yorkshire Butter (https://yorkshirecreamery.co.uk/our-range/), not sure if it is exported but if you come across it I highly recommend it.
  22. Is celery perhaps one of those foods that our taste buds adapt to with a little age? I use it in mirepoix but had never really experimented with it beyond that due to a misguided belief that I didn’t like the flavour on its own. A year or two back OH requested celery for his salad, I was quite happy to prepare some for him (yes I do remove the strings, it only takes a few seconds with quantities appropriate for 2 people), I decided to taste a chunk and, quelle surprise, I thought that it was ok. I wouldn’t whip my cat across a field of broken glass to acquire celery but I can now appreciate it on its own. I guess that other things in this category include blue cheese - still remember the day that I discovered that I love the flavour Roquefort - couldn’t tolerate any blue cheese until at least in my mid-20s. Same for parsnip. Can’t think of others for now but am certain that there are quite a few. I think that age also permits us to distinguish flavours more, certainly it is only in recent years that I have properly been able to identify one type of potato from another. In the UK our key potato moment is the arrival of Jersey Royal new potatoes and I have been known to pay a small fortune for those at the start of the season because there are no other spuds with similar flavour. In winter I appreciate King Edward potatoes, thankfully these are inexpensive. Not sure that 10 years ago I would have been able to detect a King Edward from a Maris Piper. Perhaps it is just me 🙃
  23. Many thanks @blue_dolphin and @Shelby for advice with regards making better use of the NC ‘pints’. I will try the plastic bag inside my clean jar this afternoon, I can’t see why that won’t work….. I am in the UK at the moment where Amazon doesn’t own up to having any ‘pints’ to sell me, this was not the case a week ago when I bought the machine so I imagine that they will reappear soon. If I can get away with bags I will do that until I work out how much we will use the NC once the novelty wanes. Frankly it is so quick and the results are so delicious that I don’t imagine it collecting dust anytime soon. Last night we had our first go at adding praline to my basic vanilla gelato as a mix in. Stunningly good result, 1 tablespoon of hazelnut praline paste transformed the already excellent vanilla to another level. Highly recommended, guess a pistachio paste would also be excellent. I seem to recall promising a neighbour pistachio ice-cream a while back but she is yet to provide me with any pistachios and given their cost I’m being mean about donating the nuts. Might just give in, easy enough to make pistachio paste in the Magimix. I made mint and chocolate chip sorbet a while back in our freeze the bucket and churn machine. It tastes delicious but the texture is extremely hard so what is left of that is in the fridge just now so that I can decant it once melted into a ‘pint’ and then let the NC do it’s thing. Guessing that we will lose the texture of the chocolate chips but the taste should still be good. Since Amazon didn’t have any pots for me I have ordered an ice-cream scoop that should arrive this afternoon. Perhaps I might get servings worthy of photos in due course!
  24. What’s left of today’s pickings, the little gold cherries don’t always make it into the house let alone onto a plate, just little globes of sweetness. The long red tomatoes are San Marzano, ripening well now, the bunches/trusses on the plants remind me of cow udder clusters somehow. The other red tomato is a Fantasio; not sure about these, they are supposed to be happy outside as well as in an unheated greenhouse but fruits growing outside don’t seem to have the usual shiny skin.
  25. Interested to know of any techniques to remove a frozen block from a NC jar in order to keep frozen for later use. We are regretting not buying more than the 3 jars that are included with the NC. I had a pint of blackberry sorbet frozen overnight that I wanted to set aside so that a similar mix could be frozen ready for the NC at a later date. Immersion of the frozen jar in a bowl of hot water eventually freed the block but I’m not convinced that this is the best approach. For now the block is wrapped in cling film and a decent freezer bag, yet to discover if it will slide back into the jar successfully. There was certainly some loss in the process. Does anyone have a perfected method to reuse jars in this way? Tonight we finished the sorbet that began life as a tin of grapefruit segments in light syrup. Another spin on ‘sorbet’ to soften then addition of a tablespoon of Irish cream on ‘mix in’, delicious, a great value dessert.
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