27 August 2013

Welcome Home Cornish Crackler!

A few weeks ago when we went to top up our supply of one of the most wonderful cheeses in the world, evah; Davidstow Cornish Crackler, we found, to our horror, that the price had gone up somewhat. "In the current financial climate" this was not good news and I am ashamed to say that we chickened out and bought a cheaper cheese.  We haven't eaten it though!

A couple of days ago feeling sad and cheese-less we invested in the real thing and am so glad to welcome it back to our home, our hearts and our palates.  Never again will I put petty considerations such as having no money before the morality of cheese.

What's so good about it you may ask, if you've never tried it.  Well ...

~   A good strong complex delicious real Cheddar flavour,

~   A wonderful crumbly texture which not only makes it ideal for cooking with, as it melts very well, but also comes with a bonus; you absolutely have to have a Cook's Treat of the crumbs whilst preparing a meal and may I suggest a Chef's Coffee with that?

~   This is the best thing - throughout the cheese are tiny salty crunchy nuggets of what I believe to be protein crystals but whatever they are - gorgeous!

~   It is not only British and English it is Cornish so for me it is also local produce too for which, as you know, one gets brownie points.

Anyhoo - if you like cheese you'll love this, Gromit.

I'm afraid I haven't done cooking with Crackler recently, just nibbled on it and grinned. However see ... 

~   Here for Twice Baked Cheddar Souffle recipe

~   Here for Glamorgan Sausages,
~   Here for Cauliflower & Cornish Crackler Fritters

and here for Davidstow Cheddar website with lots of recipes.

In other news ...

Sadly, we still have no phone or internet (see here for details) ... which is why my blogging is a bit sparse.  When I do manage to get online at a friend's I have hundreds (literally) of emails and lots of other stuff to catch up on.  Hopefully one day I'll be back to normal!

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13 August 2013

May I suggest ... Munging!

I'd like to suggest a simple cooking method which is ideal for using up leftovers; squishing! (Click to Tweet). For instance a recent dinner comprised cod in a buttery leek and lemon sauce, new potatoes and veggies.  As is so often the case I couldn't eat the lot so put my leavings on a tea plate in the fridge in the hope inspiration would hit by lunchtime. 

It did - I'd squish it!  I just put everything except the lemon slice in a bowl and squished it together with my hands till it was well merged 

I formed the result into a cake, coated it with panko crumbs and fried myself a lovely lunch which I much preferred, in fact, to the original meal!  

I think this "method" would be useful for all sorts of leftover dinners, so long as there is some potato involved and not too much gravy or sauce.  Give it a go!!!

My New Store-cupboard Essential

I have added a new item to my list of "storecupboard essentials", which already includes quite a few items not normally considered basics. The new addition is chorizo.  Frequently whilst cooking recently I have thought "hmm, if only I had some chorizo" (must be my age!) and now I have.  It keeps very well indeed (the pack of sliced chorizo I just bought is good till 21st September) and just a little is needed to give all sorts of dishes a boost.  Here is one I made earlier ..

My leftovers of the day consisted of half a can of cannelini beans and a small piece of monkfish I know - posh leftover! but I had a bigger piece for dinner the night before and knew it would be a waste if I cooked the whole lot.  I love eating but sadly don't have a huge appetite.  So

~   I cooked some very finely chopped red onion in a little olive oil.
~   I added 3 slices of chorizo, shredded and let it melt and ooze a bit.
~   Then the beans and sliced monkfish were tossed in together with  some chopped tomatoes (from a carton of Tesco's chopped tomatoes with chilli) and a weeny bit of dry white wine.
~   To a simmer, turned down the heat and cooke gently till I had toasted a slice of Vicky's most marvellous bread.
~   I added a dollop of M & S roasted garlic mayonnaise (even posher!) and this was a fabulous lunch thanks in part to chorizo.

Other excellent things to do with Chorizo include ...

2.   When sautéeing potatoes crispen a little chopped or shredded chorizo in the oil first then set it aside whist cooking the potatoes and stir back in towards the end
3.   Add to pizza, pasta etc. obviously!
4.   Most egg dishes could benefit from a smoky spicy addition.
5.   White fish is excellent with it and so are beans - hence my recent lunch.
6.   Toss with diced red onion and chicken thighs plus seasonings of choice including garlic, of course,and a little olive oil and roast at 400ºF/200ºC/180C fan/gas 6 till the chicken it tender and brown.  Maybe toss in a few cherry tomatoes for the last few minutes of cooking. 

So that's it - I'm still having huge problems with BT (see here) which is why I am not so apparent online as usual, just in case you were wondering!

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6 August 2013

Talk about a bargain!

Have you ever bought one of these?

And then after a few salad days it looks like this? 

Well if you stick it outside in the sun (if such a thing should occur) and water it occasionally (if it doesn't rains as much as usual) and have a friendly chat with it now and then it will, after a week or two, look like this ...

Which is quite a saving, n'est pas? 

My friend Carol who knows a bit about plants and stuff says it would better still if planted in the garden and as soon as/if ever our garden is sorted out I will do just that. 

Carol also gave me a couple of courgettes from her garden, just babies with the flowers still attached ...

... so I had a delicious impromptu lunch.

Tagliatelle with Courgettes, Lemon & Chilli for one

1 lovely fresh courgette from a friend
½ tbsp olive oil
½ tsp crushed garlic
finely grated zest of half a lemon
juice of half a lemon
a few chilli flakes to taste
90ml or so double cream
1 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
a handful of cooked tagliatelle

                     Cut the courgette into julienne.
                     Sauté in the olive oil together with the garlic and when touched with colour but still a bit crisp stir in the zest, chilli flakes and juice and scrape the result onto a clean plate whilst making the sauce (this means the courgette won't overcook in the meantime).
                     Add the cream to the recently vacated pan, bring to a simmer and stir in the parmesan, continue simmering for a few seconds longer till thick and then stir in the cooked pasta.
                     Once the pasta is hot add the cooked courgettes and their juices, season to taste and eat.

To garnish my lunch I whipped up a quick batter (just a tbsp of seasoned self raising flour and enough fizzy water to make a coating consistency), dipped the courgette flour into it and fried till crisp.  It was OK but really just a vehicle for crunchy batter, the flower itself was of no interest to me other than academic.

In other Very Irritating news ...

My problems with British Telecom are getting more and more frustrating - I have had no phone and no internet since 26th July and they now say they will "contact you 20/08/13 by 20.00 to discuss the delay in activation of your services". Read here for the story to date and, I don't know if it will help me but it might help make a point, could you share - you know, tweet and facebook etc. like crazy. I am at my wit's end - no internet is a dire situation to be in having just had my first book published and marketing being crucial right now.   Luckily I have the aforementioned good old Carol to fall back on (I'm using her internet to post this) but she lives too far away to be able to do this frequently and as I live in Cornwall other options such as the library are also miles from home.


By the way ...

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