Monday, August 20, 2007

August 23rd, 2007

A big thanks to Linda over at In My Canadian Garden blog for this lovely surprise!!! It is going to be difficult to choose who to pass it along to, as there are so many talented bloggers I have gotten to know lately!!! So these are the ones I have decided to bestow this honour on...although there are several more that are worthy of it also!!!
Fiona at The Cottage Smallholder She has such a creative way with words and such a lovely garden and Mrs. Boss and the Keets!!
Haalo at Cook (almost) Anything Very creative chef!!! The photos make my mouthwater and I just can't wait to try the recipes.
Amanda at The Little Foodies Very creative in how she is teaching Little and Small about food and the different cultures of the world we live in. And a lovely garden too!!
Nettie at Nettie Is a long time pal that is very creative in an artistic way!

The Garden
Our little garden is producing some food for our table, not enough to preserve, but enough to enjoy some simple little pleasures!!!

A few years ago my stepson and his partner bought us a fig tree for a present. It was a tiny little stick of a plant. We tried growing it in the conservatory where it wasn't very happy. It would get little figlets on and then they would all fall off before developing into much. Well we finally stuck it outside in a pot near a wall for protection and I give it loads of water and this year we have been blessed with two figs!!! And it now has lots of little figlets on there at the moment. They are soooooo delicious and sweet and I served them as the crowning glory to a lovely goats cheese salad.

Besides the Fig, these are some of the other veggies our little garden has produced for the table. The mini carrots I grew in a pot on our patio, the potatoes in a potato barrel, the tomatoes in a growbag, the beans are in a huge trough like planter(which next year I hope to house some sweetcorn with the beans) and the courgette I grew in pots this year also. It may not seem like alot, but for our tiny garden. It is quite amazing the variety I am finding I can grow in pots. I can't wait till next year now to try even more veggies!!!

Blogging Events
Being fairly new to this blogging craze I am just starting to understand blogging events.
Michelle over at Je Mange la Ville was participating in an event for Remembering Julia Childs on August 8th. I remember this lady back when I lived in the US. She was so funny, much like Fanny Craddock over here in Britian. There would be lots of dramatics and the occasional accident and a bottle of wine would disappear in no time. I always got such a kick out of watching her and the dishes she prepared. Michelle cooked a recipe from one of Julia's books and I thought I would also give it a go. Not only was it a fitting tribute to Julia, it reminded me of a trip Brian and I had to Brugge. Sitting outside a little cafe watching the horse drawn buggies and tourists go by. Brugge is such a lovely city that we both really love visiting when we get the chance.The recipe is for Waterzooi. It is a bit of a cross between a soup and a stew and has such a lovely flavour from the tarragon. I can highly recommend it!!! Waterzooi

Waterzooi is a combination of celery, carrots, leeks and onion,surrounding a breast of chicken in a flavoursome tarragon broth. I can still taste it now!!YUM!!!!

The weather has been rather autumnal here lately and I am not sure but it starts me wanting to prepare for winter and hibernation. So I have this strong urge to preserve food. When I lived in the US and had my huge garden it seemed like I was spending the whole summer canning green beans, freezing vegetables, making jams and jellies and making pickles. Since moving over here I have found that it is very hard to get the equipment for putting food by. No giant pressure cookers or canning jars with removable lids. Instead there are kilner jars. Now I trusted the company that made the glass jars at home to make sure their glass wouldn't break during the processes of high pressure and temperatures, but these jars here have me a bit unsure if they can withstand such processes. So I have almost given up putting food by. But sometimes I just get hungry for things from my past and this is one of those times. So while Brian was watching the football match on telly (he supports Liverpool) I made myself some Bread and Butter Pickles. I cut the recipe in half as I didn't want to be eating them for a whole year.

Bread and Butter Pickles (the whole recipe)

Slice 1 gallon cucumbers, 8 medium onions, 2 green peppers(capsiums) and place into a large bowl or container that will hold them all. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup salt. Add 1 quart of cracked ice and 1 cup cold water. Mix together and let stand 3 hours.
Mix together in as large a pan as possible I use my large soup pan:
5 cups of vinegar
5 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. mustard seed
1 1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp. celery seed
1 1/2 tsp ground cloves (or less)
Heat this to boiling. Drain your vegetables and add to the vinegar mixture.

Heat to boiling and boil for 5 minutes. Pack into hot pint jars and process 10 minutes in a water bath. Makes about 7 pints.

I only had two rather large cucumbers and I used about 5 onions as I love the onions better than the cucumbers in this. Cut all your other ingredients in half and I would say to take th sugar down to just 2 cups. Maybe my tastes are changing but it was rather sweet. And I ended up with one rather large kilner jar of lovely pickles!!These would be great served with a lovely ploughmans lunch!

I was going to try the stew recipe for supper that night, but by the time Football had finished and the pickles were done it was rather late so I decided to whip up an impromptu supper of a Brie and veggie tart. First take some Puff pastry and spread into a baking tray prick the base so it doesn't rise too much. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Then top with some tomato puree and some slices of Brie. Then some sauteed onion, chopped garlic and courgettes. Add some fresh tomato slices and a sprinkling of Oregano and some pine kernals. And bake till crisp and bubbling.

The newest gadget to enter my kitchen is a timer. On the old cooker we had a rather loud one and the new cooker for my aging ears isn't all that loud. So I thought I would invest in a seperate timer. That way if I decide to leave something baking in the oven and go work somewhere else in the house, I can take the timer with me. It has a cute ring, much like the old telephones used to make.

Another Gadget that I inherited since moving here was Brian's first wifes Crockpot. It is very very retro!!! And not a thing wrong with it. I even have the manual that goes with it. So I have delegated it a place on my countertops so that I will use it more.

So when David over at Book the Cook posted his recipe for Stifado I thought I would give it a try and use the crockpot. I reduced my sauce down a bit on the hob, as when you use a crockpot the sauce doesn't boil down like on the hob or in the oven. I can definately recommend David's recipe it was delicious!!

I did change one little thing in that the tiny little carrots that I grew in pots on my patio, I added these to the stew, thinking that they desereved to be cooked in a great recipe.

Brian enjoyed it as much as I did and only requested maybe not so much mint ontop next time. It was really really Yummy!!! Thanks David!!!

More Zucchini!!
Okay a couple of weeks ago I made some Zucchini Banana nut bread and was hoping that Linda's son Elliot would enjoy it, but he wouldn't give it a go. I think he guessed we were up to something. So I decided okay I will get sneeky. This time I made some Cookies and some Brownies using Zucchini. I haven't heard back whether he has tried them yet or not. But I do know that Linda, Naomi(her daughter), Brian and I really like them both!!! So here are the recipes for you to try...

Zucchini Drop Cookies from Cookin' with Maudie (one of my Amish cookbooks)
1 cup zucchini, peeled and grated
1 cup white sugar(granulated)
1 egg
1/2 tsp cloves (ground)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup rasins
1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate)
1/2 cup butter or Crisco
2 cup flour (plain)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
Beat sugar and butter till creamy, add in the zucchini pulp and mix together. Add flour and remaining dry ingredients. Mix in raisins. Drop onto a baking sheet and bake at 375 F for 15 minutes or till done. Frost or eat plain. (we are eating plain!!) YUM

Zucchini Brownies

2 cups flour
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup chopped nuts(optional)
Mix together in a bowl and then add
1/4 cup oil and 2 teaspoons vanilla and 2 cups grated zucchini.
Mix using a wooden spoon until moistened. Pour into a well greased 9x13 inch baking tin. Bake at 180 C for 25 minutes. Cool before cutting.
Now I did make some changes to this recipe... because it seemed too dry. I added 1 egg and some milk until it was moistened. Also I added on another 5 minutes to the cooking time.

These aren't overly sweet. but they are very very moorish!!!! And you know what? You wouldn't have a clue that you were eating your veg in them either!!!!

Late breaking update...... He loved them!!!! Have checked to see if he likes beets..... .....


Cynthia said...

Pat, I love the fact that you assemble an assortment of dishes and recipes for us for each of your posts. They are always inviting and inspiring.

My name is Pat said...

Thanks Cynthia, it is just things I like to cook and eat. Not really any plan. I do alot of cooking like that. Just what I happen to have on hand. Tonights supper was Curried chicken thighs on a bed of rice covered in cauliflower, potato and pea curry. Not too spicy though.

Joanna said...

Love the recipe for pickled cucumbers - I've never done that myself, and am going to give it a go, so thanks for the inspiration. And don't worry about the Kilner jars .. I know that it can be worrying using stuff you're not familiar with, particularly if you're going to boil it hard, but they really do withstand heat. Perhaps the French le Parfait jars would suit you better?


Pat said...

Thanks Joanna!! These are very very sweet. I think next time I make them I will cut back on the sugar a bit. Thanks for the jar info too!!! Will have a look for those.

Crafty Gardener said...

More delicious recipes Pat ... yummy. You had a lovely collection of veggies from your garden. Bet they all tasted delicious.

Pat said...

Thanks Linda, Yes they were very tasty!!! Oh and the figs are getting bigger!!! Yippee!!!

Cottage Smallholder said...

Thanks for the award, Pat! I am handing out awards today and you had got one

Pat said...

Thanks Fiona!!!! Wow!!!! Another award and the sun is shining here too!!! Super day today!!!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hi Pat, we've returned from our travels. Thank you so much for the award and I'll do the meme too when we've settled down. Love your new splashback and the beef manhattans looked really good!!

Pat said...

Thanks Amanda!!! And welcome home. Can't wait to read about your travels!!