Monday, 2 November 2009
Anyway, where do you find a good local food shop. Fortunately here in Durham we have an indoor market, and it does have a good Butcher, Baker, Fishmonger, Fruit and Veg. stall, and a host of other fine shops. Thinking about it, most town markets still have good local traders, who are so very helpful and courteous, (perhaps they have a hidden agenda! Could it be they want you to come back again?), and seem to fall over themselves to give you just what you want. Refreshing, when you remember that , Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, etc. give you what they want you to have.
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Well I do love cabbage, boiled, steamed, stir fried, stuffed (Julies speciality) or just plain raw; but this was a big 'un. One thing I have always likes was sauerkraut, the tangy European delicacy also well beloved of the North Americans. However legends or requiring barrels and vast amounts of greens had put me off. Any way I started searching on the Internet to see if I could find some ideas and came up with this site Kitchen Gardner's International.
So this is what I did.
- I dug out of the shed a 3 gallon plastic brewing bucket, I don't think you would get away with anything less although that does depend on the size of your cabbage! But it must be food safe! This I washed well and sterilised with boiling water.
- I found a round plate that was a reasonable close fit to the bucket, and a 1 Gallon Demijohn jar which I washed and filled with water
- I removed the outer leaves from the cabbage, cut it into quarters (not as easy as it sounds), trimmed out the hard core, and shredded each into 2-4 mm slices (needs a large , sharp knife and a degree of concentration)
- As each shredded quarter was added to the bucket i sprinkled 2 oz of salt over and pressed down as well as I could. This I repeated with the other 3 pieces, salting and pressing down each layer
- I put the plate on top, the demijohn weight on that, covered it with a cloth and put it in the corner of the kitchen.
I left this for 24 hours, after which I took a peek, the instructions said, if there wasn't a layer of liquid covering the cabbage add brine (2oz salt to pint of water) to cover the plate. I needed to add 2 pints too mine. This I left alone to do it's thing. About 4 or 5 days later i came down in the morning to a terrible smell in the kitchen, a mix of bad egg and 8 pint flatulence. I lifted the cloth to find a crusty layer on the top of the cabbage water. Now it did say in the instructions that I could remove this, but I didn't want to interfere.
A few days later, about a week after starting the smell decreased and i took a sneak taste from the bucket. It was slightly sharp, salty crunchy cabbage! So far so good! I left it another week, tasting every day, well you have too don't you? At the end I had, really fresh tasting, well sauerkraut.
Two weeks later I am still eating it, it has been served Au naturel, cooked in soup, with potatoes and cream and in sandwiches, even Julie likes it, and my family had it as an accompaniment to a roast at the weekend.
Making sauerkraut is that easy, it does smell, I don't think too bad, but Julie doesn't agree with me on that. Guess if you have a utility room it could be a better option.
But it is easy, it is very good and the web site says it is good for me as well!
This is the site, very informative with an explanation for it all.
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
Parsnips are a vegetable I had a love hate relationship with, for years I hated them so much I loved avoiding the horrible things at any cost. I would like to blame my mother for loading my plate with mushy boiled specimens, but in fact I think it was the opposite, we simply never had them. When I was first faced with a parsnip it was charred black alongside roast potatoes, obviously something to be shoved off the edge of the plate; and so it went for years.
I first tasted this soup from the Covent Garden range, and loved it, it's been a favorite for those chilly days ever since.
This is how I make it for about 4 big bowls
- lump of butter, or glug of oil (how much depends if you are fat conscious or not)
- 1 onion peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic crushed or chopped fine
Melt butter or heat oil in a large pan, add onion and garlic and let is cook slowly, a bit less than what you would call frying, after 2 or 3 minutes add
- medium potato (about 3 inch diameter) peeled and diced
- 3 parsnips (about 6 inches long!) peeled and diced
and let them sizzle for a few minutes, you don't want anything to brown, if it starts to, take the pan off the heat, turn down the cooker, and stir the mix in the pan too stop it sticking and burning. Then add
- dessert spoon of mild Madras curry powder (more or less, depends on how you like it, if you find it's not curry enough next time add a bit more, if its too much add some cream or extra stock, or pour it over rice as a curry and next time put less in)
Let the mixture cook for a minute or two then add
- about a pint of stock, I use the Marigold Swiss Vegetable Vegan Bouillon Reduced Salt. But you can use what you want, either home made, veg, chicken anything, but watch out because some are very salty!!
Bring to a slow simmer, and cook until the veg. are soft, should be no more than 20 minutes
Now you have a choice, you can eat it lumpy as it is, bang it in a blender, use a hand blender, or mash it with a potato masher (sieve out the veg and put in a bowl first, then add back to the soup), and have it either smooth and velvety or rough and chunky. But which ever taste it and decide if it needs salt, pepper or throwing in the bin.
I add dash of cream, but that's because I can.
I love it and so does Julie, it's warming, filling and really easy, I use a pressure cooker and the whole thing takes only 20 minutes, but that's because I am really impatient and have one.I would give you a picture of what it looks like but its just a bowl of pale orange, looks a lot less interesting than it is.
Tip. When you get a clove of garlic it can be difficult to get the fine skin off. I trim off the flat rooty end, put the clove on the chopping board, place the flat of a wide knife blade on it and give it a thump with my fist on the blade above the garlic clove. Not hard enough nothing happens, too hard and it almost disappears and just right the clove will squash slightly and the skin will fall off. Practice.