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, ever; 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.


a pack of lovely Cornish cheddar 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?
~   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.
~   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!


close up of protein crystals in Davidstow Cornish Crackler cheddar
Very close up!
Anyhoo - if you like cheese you'll love this, Gromit.

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






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13 August 2013

Leftover dinner? Do this!

I'd like to suggest a simple cooking method which is ideal for using up leftovers; munging! 


turn leftover dinner into a delicious fritter!
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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 mash it up together!  I just put everything except the lemon slice in a bowl and squashed it together with my hands till it was well merged 

I formed the result into a cake, coated it with panko crumbs (normal breadcrumbs would work too) 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!!!

Incidentally "munging" seems to have several new defintions ...

~   The deliberate alteration of an e-mail address on a Web page to hide the address from spambot programs that scour the Internet for e-mail addresses.
~   To transform data in an undefined or unexplained manner, changing data into another format.
~   A trademark for a canned meat product consisting primarily of chopped pork pressed into a loaf.
~   Something utterly disgusting, either generally or specifically.
~   To munch up, in common use in Scotland in the 1940s, and in Yorkshire in the 1950s.

It is the final definition I am referring to here.

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.  

My leftovers of the day consisted of half a can of cannelini beans and a small piece of monkfish I know - posh leftover! 

~   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.

white fish with beans and chorizo in a tomato sauce







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6 August 2013

How to Have your Lettuce and Eat it Too!

Have you ever bought one of these?
freshly bought living lettuce

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

well used living lettuce
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 ...


re-grown living lettuce


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 ...

courgettes with their flowers

... 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 aka matchsticks.
~   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.

tagliatelle and courgettes in a creamy sauce with fried courgette flower




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