Posts Tagged “cooking”

 

My helpers and I have handmade sausagemeat to then handmake scotch eggs. Very tasty teamwork, and I love the taste of the sausagemeat. I pan roasted fennel seeds, coriander seeds and peppercorns, then added some salt, dijon mustard, nutmeg, onion powder, and a little ground clove. It came out really, really well!

Stocking up the freezer

Since we recently bought a freezer, I’ve been cooking up a storm to fill it up. So far, aside the pizza bases and sausages, it contains carrot & coriander soup, broccoli & stilton soup, pasta sauce and beef chili. Any comments on what I should do next?

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All planned out, over and done with!

In the past few weeks, I have been working on the planning of:

the PST group xmas party
the main EBI xmas party
– mince pies & mulled wine for 100 people at work
– booking 50 tickets for Stomp
– booking 150 tickets for a cinema screening
– getting 500 mugs printed for work

and a boatload of smaller tasks, none of which are actually my actual day job.

It’s been stressful, to say the least but the good news is that everything is now done and over. The office paella potluck went down a treat. It was held at the Great Chesterford community center and the comments about the food and the venue were uniformly positive (many thanks to the paella chefs!). The day had a rocky start with a trip to Addenbrookes A&E after Bean dropped a chair on his big toe but bounced back once the food started being served. We already had all of the food prepped and packed in the car, but there was a ton of last-minute stuff we needed to deal with. Still, with a few phone calls, everything got sorted out and in the end, we were in and out of Addenbrooked in about an hour and a half. I have to give mad props to the guys who helped clean the place up afterwards, it was a big help!

The EBI xmas party was last night, at La Raza in Cambridge. The comments I got on the night were also very positive, with people saying that it was a better party than in the past couple of years. I can personally vouch that the food was not only feckin’ plentiful, but very very good as well. Given all of my allergies, the fact that I was stuffed at the end of the night was a very positive fact IMO. The jalapeno poppers were great, but those beef and horseradish yorkie puds were pure crack! Plus, you know, 5 drinks for a fiver is a deal you can’t beat :) The only critiques I would give for the night was that the music the DJ put on wasn’t what I would have preferred for a xmas party. Other than that, and the totally unfounded rumours of a rigging of the raffle draw (hehe!), the night was a success in my books.

Becky had a bit of karmic retribution when Bean woke up at 11 and, realizing that we weren’t there, cried for an hour before getting himself back to bed. Becky was a bit frazzled when she called, I think…

So now, I only have one more week of work before I get some leave time to chill out and cook stuff for the holidays. I’ve already started tonight, with a braised beef topside and some chicken stock that I’m going to use to make a hamhock terrine in the near future. Katy and I are trying to finalize the list of all the recipes we want to try out for new years :)

The prezzies are mostly all bought and just need wrapping, so that’s a load off as well.

Go us, for being productive!

Current Mood:Happy emoticon Happy

So, first off, Tolstoy is starting to feel better after being a very sick boy. He went downhill very quickly two weeks ago and, after several tests and a week’s stay at the vet, they diagnosed pancreatitis. He also had a bout of E.Coli and some anemia. Fun stuff. The good news is that symptomatic treatment has been effective and, after having had cage rest for the past two weeks, he seems to be perking up. The bad news, as it were, is that in the course of diagnosing the pancreatitis, the vets discovered that he’s had a herniated diaphragm as a result of being hit by a car two years ago. Part of his liver and spleen have herniated into his chest and that’s compromised his lung capacity and constricted his heart. All of which can be rather, well, fatal and needs immediate attention.

It’s a weird situation. He was fine, and could very well stay fine for years, until he’s not. Then he’s dead. To avoid this, he’s going under the knife tomorrow. The vets wanted to make sure that he’s gotten over his previous malaise before they operated. He’s a lot better now, but he’s still not out of the woods yet. Because the hernia’s been around for so long, there is the possibility of nasty complications. He’s in good hands, and we’ll find out how things went tomorrow. Poor little guy. He’s not even 5 and will have had two major surgeries and a minor one. Yay, insurance…

On a more positive note, we went to visit Annie this weekend. Bean’s very excited about the prospects of getting his dog. Everybody at nursery knows the name of *his* dog :)

 

She’s really good about not pulling on the leads, so when we went for a walk, we were only loosely holding on to the middle of the lead while Bean was trotting along behind Annie. It was a case of not being sure who was walking who :)

We had very nice visit of Cambria Farm, which is run by a lovely lady called Jane Wilton-Clark. She runs a rare-breed pig farm that produces some truly excellent pig products. We bought some sausages and patties and had some for lunch when we came back. YUMMAY! Definitively have again, and driving back there with Annie will give us an excuse to go visit and buy some more :)

Speaking of food, I made a lasagna and a roast chicken, neither of which I’d done in a very long time – both of which were very good and therefore must re-enter the rotation of weekend dishes. Note to self.

Current Mood:Giddy emoticon Giddy

1 rabbit, jointed in 6 portions
6 sausages, cut in chunks
6 rashers smoked bacon, cubed
6 large roma tomatoes, cut in segments
4 onions, sliced
3 bay leaves
1 rosemary sprig
500ml white wine
salt, pepper
olive oil

0. Preheat oven to 180C.
1. Brown the rabbit pieces in olive oil on high heat in an oven-proof pot. Remove and set aside.
2. Reduce heat. Brown bacon, sausages and onions in some more olive oil until well caramelised.
3. Deglaze with wine. Add rabbit pieces, tomato segments and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Roast in oven for 1 hour.
5. Remove rabbit pieces and set aside. Return pot to oven for another 20 minutes to further stew the vegetables.
6. Check stew seasoning. Place rabbit pieces on top of stew and return pot to oven for 10 minutes to re-heat.

I used honey and wholegrain mustard sausages we get from the Giggly Pig people at the market and a nice Riesling for the wine. All in all, a very good first try and the recipe.

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A weekend in food

So, from my last few posts, you’ll have noticed that I was a bit busy in the kitchen last weekend. I made won ton soup for Saturday lunch, chawanmushi and dobinmushi for Saturday dinner and we went completely mad for sunday dinner (and our Valentine’s day feast) by making a 3 course meal of baked Camembert fondue starter, t-bone steak with mushroom sauce and baked potato entrée and a dark chocolate tart for pudding. Calories be damned, we needed it.

The food was good but the health was bad. I had a horrible throat for most of last week and now it’s moved upwards to my ears. I think I have some sort of ear infection because my left ear was completely blocked yesterday and every time I coughed or hiccuped, it felt like I had a rusty nail shoved in my lughole. Yay, fun times!

Current Mood:Sick emoticon Sick

Week in review

Not a lot to report for this past week. Work’s been up and down. I’ve been working on cleaning up code written up during a recent student project. The code does some very nice things in truly god-awful ways. I shouldn’t be too harsh about it, as it was from a student who’d never programmed in Java before. Still, it gives me nightmares and for the first time in a very long time, I feel stupid because I’m having a hell of a time trying to wrap my brain around what it does and how it does it. It really doesn’t help my morale when a coworker just looked at the spaghetti mess and said “oh yes, it does this here and that there. it’s quite simple, actually”. Bastard :)

On the home front, the BenBen has mastered the art of sitting up unsupported and his first tooth has broken through. More are hot on its heels. The clever beast managed to barf on me this morning and, as I put him down to clean him and myself up, he kicked my tea cup off the coffee table. Triple-score points!!! Otherwise, he’s generally in a good mood these days and he’s discovering new foods at a good pace. The ladies at the nursery are impressed in his ecclectic tastes. It’s not every baby that likes asparagus and olives, apparently.

Some lads from work came and helped me move the old sofa into the office. It took two tries and a bit of swearing, but we managed to get it to its final resting place with a minimum of pain or injury to either myself or the house. It smelled of cat wee so we nuked it with the odor remover and washed all the covers. The office is starting to look nice and usable now. I borrowed some homeplugs from a guy at work and I can now connect the SunRay console to the house network. I haven’t tested it out yet but it’ll hopefully mean that I can work from home on the days that I need to stay at home. I have to say that I’m impressed with the technology. I’d never heard of it before but they allow you to create a home network using the electrical wiring in your house. Very clever. I’ve ordered my own set and they should be in next week.

Katy and I have been on a Sopranos marathon. We’re starting season 3 now. Brings back memories of watching it Michel and tearing large chunks of the floor in that apartment in Montreal (hee hee hee, screw you Mister Silver!!!) We went to the Saffron Screen to watch Star Trek. I really, really liked that movie and it’s one of the few Star Trek movies I’d consider buying on DVD. Beckie, our babysitter, had an easy night last night but I think that she’s going to be a life saver in the months and years to come.

On the cooking front, we managed to have only one BBQ this week but that’s because the weather was mostly crappy. I made beef koftas. They were nice. I took the beastie for a walk to town to pick up stuff from the market. The fruit and veg stall is going to be beneficial to our budget, but the butcher and the bread stall might hurt our wallet so it might be a mixed blessing. I made spahetti with a creamy bacon and seafood sauce. Very, very nice. We’re going to have to buy more of that seafood mix from Aldi.

I poached some chicken breasts in some apple juice and some herbs for the beastie. I whizzed some up with some mixed root veg (swede, parsnip, sweet potato, carrots) and some leek. It’ll complement his lunches of pasta with meet sauce and chicken with veg and cous cous. It seems that I’m cooking more for the beastie than I am for us :)

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Meat + flame = GOOD!

BBQ Chicken Salad

With the weather being so nice recently, the BBQ has had a good dusting off and has seen more usage in the last week than in the last year :) I think that having it so close to the back patio door will be a good thing. We had Bratwurst, veggie kebabs and steak last Sunday and we had BBQ chicken salad last night. If the weather holds out for tonight, it’s going to be burgers :)

Oh, and as a side note, makes a really good BBQ sauce :)

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Last weekend, Katy and I were watching an episode of the Hairy Bikers on the Beeb and they had really, really! good looking recipes that we said we just had to try. So we did.

We made medfouna and lamb kefta tagine (though without the tagine bit).

In a word, NUMMAY!

So far, this week, I've made a batch of homemade salsa, some porc pies (though I'm less than pleased with those results, but meh. They taste ok even if they look rough), another batch of scotch eggs (which turned out great!) and a ham.

While I was doing that, I finished wrapping up all the prezzies, dropped off the xmas cards at the office and generally kept everything clean and tidy. Katy, who has seen me cook, can testify that that last one is a feat :) I also managed to not kill the cat and that, given his general pain-in-the-assish behaviour recently, is also a feat.

It's getting down to the wire, but I can maybe hopefully begin to think that I'll make it :) We're going into town tonight to get some more smoked brisket from Bottisham and picking up the last of the ingredients we'll need over the holidays.

On my way to campus yesterday, I saw something that I'd never seen before. Freezing fog. Campus looked really eerie, but pretty. It was really funky to see all the spiderwebs that are normally hidden from sight covered in a layer of frost.