I ate a salad and I liked it…

I have never been able to eat a salad.  I really can’t eat raw tomatoes so had visions of just leattuce and cucumber.  Hhhhhmmmm, not so appealing.  I had no problem with side salads with meals but could not understand how people could eat a salad as a meal in itself and be satisfied.  Seriously, boggled my mind.

But then I went to our local Harvesters Pub.  They have a free salad bar with main meals, so you take a bowl and fill up.  I dubiously walked over to it and it was like a light flicking on in my brain.  Could you really have this stuff in a salad? Baby potatoes? Grated carrot? Beetroot? Light mayonnaise? Crispy Onion? I know this will be old news for everyone but for me it was a revelation!  I stocked up my bowl with all these foods and took it back to my table.  I ate it.  Then I was kinda feeling a bit full.  Ok, really full, and I had fish and chips on the way.  Uh.

This was a little while back now it it was only just recently when we started to look at healthy eating that I said to The Husband “Hey, we could recreate the salad bar at home!”  So I went to Aldi and bought some cheap plastic clip-boxes and loaded up with salad-stuff that would curb the craving for not-so-healthy food (We have to be careful at home because we don’t want the girls thinking that any food is ‘bad’).

Today I was starving by midday so I took a plate to my fridge.  A couple of minutes later I chastised my eyes that are bigger than my belly.

 

 

This is not a side plate.  I looked at it and figured that I’d eat half of it and leave half to finish with dinner later.  Only I ate the whole thing.  The whole yummy, beautiful thing.  And man alive, I was full.  But full on really great stuff: Lettuce, Spinach, Cucumber, grated carrot, diced beetroot, wafer ham, cold baby potatoes, a drizzle of ‘lighter than light’ mayo and a sprinkle of crispy onion type things.  The only indulgent stuff on there was the mayo and crispy onion sprinkles and to be fair, there wasn’t much of it.

So, go me! I ate a salad and I liked it….

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Freida.

You know when you’ve grown up with something, you don’t even think to question it right? So as a young adult, making my way in the world I just could not understand why people didn’t serve Freida with pudding.

In fact they (being all other people on the planet) not only didn’t serve it but they gave me strange looks when I asked them about it.  Weird I know.

A life is better with Frieda in it.  Trust me. and to make it better you need only three ingredients:

Double Cream.

Natural Yogurt.

Soft brown sugar.

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The is less of a recipe and more of guidelines.  Because people make Frieda to their own taste.  But a rough guide is equal parts yogurt to cream (I like a little more cream to yogurt but that’s just me).  Mix the two together and whisk until thick and forming stiff peaks. 

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side not: I was given this mixer second hand from Rob’s aunt and I absolutely love it.  Very retro.  I’m pretty sure I’d mourn its’ loss if it broke on me.

So spoon it all into a bowl and sprinkle the sugar over (and when I say sprinkle I mean cover with as much as you think you can justify!).  DSCF3129DSCF3130

Cover the bowl with cling film and pop into the fridge OVER NIGHT. Don’t ask me why, it’s just how I was taught. Now I need to warn you that the when you take the bowl out of the fridge the next day it looks a little…weird.  What happens is the sugar kind of caramelises/liquifies (is liquify a word? Can I use that?).  So it looks a little gross, but do not let that put you off.  Because it is just so good.

And that’s it! like i said, it doesn’t really qualify as a recipe, but it’s too good not to share.

We had some guests come to Emmanuel this weekend.  They were two Scouse guys with very colourful pasts but had found redemption and healing in Jesus.  With all my heart I could not have felt more privileged serving them a meal at our home.  Seriously, all-out humbled and privileged.  Anyway I made some Freida and guess what? they hadn’t heard of it either.  Go figure.  I’m starting to wonder if me ma made it up all along.  And if I’m right then who the heck is Freida?!?! So, Darren and Peter…..they looked at the brown gooey mess and graciously tried it and said it was great. God bless ‘em.

So if it’s good for those guys, it’s good for anyone, so go get your double cream!

rock buns

My mum’s been over to ours helping out with the girls while The Husband has been off gallivanting on the Isle of Man.  When I chat with my mum conversation often jumps all about the place – and somehow, I really can’t work out the conversation trail that lead up to it, we got onto talking about rock buns. 

These are not my rock buns – I’m way too lazy to go downstairs to get my camera and upload my photos.  image source: www.goodtoknow.co.uk

I’ve not made Rock buns since I was in high school.  It was about the only thing they taught us to make in food tech apart from a sandwich.  I kid you not.  I remember making a couple of batches at home too.  But then life happened and I forgot all about those little pieces of heaven.  Until yesterday when chatting with my mum!  So of course we had to make some just to see if they were as yummy scrummy as we remembered.  And indeed they were.

Rock buns, I think, are a mix of cake and biscuit – not as fluffy and light as a cake but not as crunchy/chewy as a biscuit.  On of the best things about them is that they are so so so easy to make.  The intentional shape of them lends itself perfectly to little hands, where uneven and messy ‘clumps’ of batter/dough on the baking sheet is not just acceptable but required.

The original recipe calls for raisins in the rock buns.  I replaced them with chocolate chips.

I used the Be-Ro recipe (you can find it at http://www.be-ro.com/recipe/showrec5.html) and for that you’ll need:

225 g (8 oz) Self Raising Flour

pinch salt

100 g (4 oz) margarine

75 g (3 oz) mixed dried fruit (I used chocolate chips – and I reckon they’d be amazing with nuts in too!)

25 g (1 oz) mixed peel (I didn’t use this)

50 g (2 oz) caster sugar

1 medium egg

milk to mix

 

Heat oven to 200ºC, 400ºF, Gas Mark 6. Grease two baking trays.

Mix the flour and salt, rub in the margarine.

Stir in the dried fruit, mixed peel and sugar.

Mix to a stiff dough with egg and milk.

Place in rough heaps on the baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Warning/Disclaimer – Please be aware that once you try this recipe your family, friends and your own taste buds will hound you for more, so do so at your own risk.  I take no responsibility for the financial cost of having to buy ingredients over and over again, nor will I take responsibility for weight gain caused by eating the rock buns by the batch when your loved ones are not looking.

 

 

 

 

 

choices choices.

Saturday afternoon The Husband took the girls to a soft play so he could get some work done and they’d be happy.  That left me with a couple hours to myself.  I know that sounds a bit weird because I have had a ton of time to myself over the last six months.  It makes me laugh that before October one of my aims to hit before I turn thirty was tohave a whole morning or afternoon to myself.  Little did I know.  But that vast majority of these past six months I’ve been in so much pain  the painkillers have made me really drowsy.  And it’s not much fun enfoying some time to yourself when you’re out of it.

But saturday afternoon I was feeling good (I have been having a couple good days since seeing a new osteopath). I wondered what I could do.

I had not one but two new magazines to peruse and enjoy.

I had a hem to sew on a skirt for Chloe and some bias binding to sew on another little surprise.

I had a million and one things things to organise.  I’m a list person.  A lot of lists needed to be made while it was quiet and I could concentrate.

Or I could just bake.

Actually, the sewing won out, but almost as soon as I started the machine started playing up and for the life of me I dont know what was wrong with it.  I didn’t dare try and fix it so for now it’s out of action.

So with no sewing to be done, it had to be the baking.  I’m not sure this is a wise choice because I’m always left with a mess to clear up and wanting a nice sit down afterwards.  I did try something new though and I baked a Bakewell tart.  Get Me!  No photo yet, I’ll try to grab one before it’s all eaten up.

The Therapy of baking: Fudge

I recently bumbled on about the splendid TV entertainment that is The Great British bakeoff. I love it! I wouldn’t take part in it for a squillion quid, way too much pressure, but I love to sit on my pressure-free sofa and watch it. It made me want to try and bake everything they were baking. They made it look so easy. Ish.

I have loved to bake since I was little. When I was a young teenager, my parents would often come into the kitchen and find a cake resting on the cooling rack. I can’t say I’m a tidy baker. On the contrary. I openly confess I am incredibly messy in the kitchen. Drives the husband potty. But he gets yummy treats to eat so it all balances out.

So, inspired by The Bakeoff I was. And since I’ve been most comfortable standing recently, thanks to my stupid sciatic nerve, it’s been a pretty good way to pass the time. And so far, (possibly speaking too soon) I’ve not had any culinary disasters. So this week I’m going to share some yummy and easy recipes.

First up….Fudge.

I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been a massive fan of fudge. When I thought of fudge I’d think of that rubbery sickly stuff that tastes of artificial nothingness. But this stuff….Oh this stuff. It’s crumbly, melt-in-the-mouth, gotta-have-another-piece delicious. Honestly, try it and then I’ll be your hero for bringing it into your life.

You’ll need:
397g can Carnation Condensed Milk
150ml (¼pt) milk
450g (1lb) demerara sugar
115g (4oz) butter

A few things first. I used Condensed milk light. Therefore I consider this fudge pretty much a health food. It is also important to use proper butter, not the low fat spread rubbish. And it’s totally ok because you used Carnation light. Here’s how I make it.

1. Choose a good CD and have it to hand.

2. Bung all the ingredients in a pan and put a dead low heat on. Stir. Keep stirring. You don’t want any sugar to stick to the bottom and burn. That would make for awful fudge.

3. After a few minutes the sugar should have dissolved. You know when it has because it looks all smooth and glossy. Keep stirring. Turn the heat up a titchy bit. Are you still stirring?

3. At this point you might be a bit fed up of stirring. Put your CD on and have a bop to your selected tunes. But the dancing must involve stirring. STIR! The mixture will start bubbling soon.

4. Let the mixture bubble away for about ten minutes. Is your arm aching yet? it should be. But don’t think the worst is done, they is way more stirring to come.

5. When the fudge mixture has started to look like frothy lava, give it another couple of minutes and then do this cool test, which should tell you when it’s cooked enough. Drop a bit of it into a glass of dead cold water. If it forms a soft ball, you’re onto a winner. If it kind of flops to the bottom of the glass in a mess, keep it on the heat for a little while longer and then try again.

6. Take the pan off the heat. Now go mental beating the life out of the mixture. Seriously, make it therapuetic. Missed the gym this week? Give it welly with a wooden spoon. When you think you can’t possibly stir it anymore, you need to stir it for about five minutes after that.

7. The mixture will turn from a shiny runny liquid, to a matt, almost paste-like consitency. If you can pour it into the tray, You’ve not beaten it enough. What you’ll get is a really smooth fudge that doesn’t quite set properly. And you don’t want smooth. You want crumbly.

8. Oh yeah, you’ll need a tray. Cover it in baking paper. Jobs a good’n.

9. Spoon the fudge into the lined tray, and pat it down nice and even. Let it cool and when it is cool, bob it in the fridge.

10. After half an hour or so, take out the tray, slice up the fudge and try not to eat it all in one sitting.

Voila!

I’d have put a photo of the fudge up but it didn’t last long enough to get my camera out.

The canny thing about this fidge is, you can totally put your own stamp on it, when you take it off the heat and beat it to within an inch of its life, you can add all kinds of wonderful yummies. Raisins, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, nuts. For christmas I’m going to make a load of Baileys Fudge. I’m salivating already.