Thanks to Nigel Slater, last nights main course went down a treat. I had committed the sin of attempting to cook for a dinner party a recipe that I had not tried before (and then nearly trebling it to account for five people instead of two). But fortunately, it was so simple that even I couldn’t cock it up. A Stew of Mushrooms with Onions and Fennels Seeds will be made again in this household. (scroll down his article to find the recipe)
Another revelation was the accompaniment of quinoa (which I have been pronouncing qui-noa and that is apparently pronounced keen- wha) that my friend Yvonne bought along. She cooked it in veg stock and it was yum. I think I prefer it to rice.
Our craft group was a bit quieter today owing to the school holidays but we had some good nattering as usual. I am in the process of making two spiral scarves, one for my Mum and the other for my friend Miriam who I am doing a swap with. You would think that they would be enough to be getting on with but no, I raced home this afternoon to make a brooch similar to one I had seen one of my craft group friends wearing. It is using up an old piece of lace that I had which I loved but never thought I would find a use for.
There is a cool article from the Times Online which I have just found, regarding falling in love. This bit made me laugh –
There is a highly dangerous literary subset to this, most vividly exemplified by Elizabeth Smart’s novel By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept, which privileges true love over all other considerations. You can lay waste to families, other people – entire countries – but it’s all fine because you are doing it in the name of Love. If you ever find yourself leaning towards this view, we suggest that you have a strong cup of tea and read something enlightening about pig husbandry until the delusion has passed.
The article is by the wonderful Tania Kindersley and Sarah Vine (there is a link to their blog on my blog roll) and you can read the rest of the article here, Does love make you sick?
I have made the peach and rose petal jam with no actual recipe as I couldn’t find one on the net. I have made jam before – three times, the first two (strawberry) didn’t set at all. The third time was marmalade which set after an extra boil up, so far so bloody annoying. This peach jam was setting in the pot as I was pouring it into the jars – and it’s not meant to have much pectin (the setting agent) in it so is supposed to be troublesome.
The recipe I used:
1 kg peaches
1 kg white sugar
1 large lemon
1 cup rose petals
2 tsp rose-water (be very careful with this stuff, too much and it is overpowering)
Smoosh up the peaches, removing the skins if you want (I didn’t) and chuck the stones.
Put lemon juice, peaches and sugar in v large post and turn to medium heat until sugar is well melted in.
Bring to a rolling boil for 30-40 mins. Stir every so often to make sure it’s not catching and burning on the bottom, as mine did a little.
Test for setting by dropping a little into a plate of cold water, it should skin over and be fairly solid instead of dissolving. Turn off when set and add rose petals and rose-water, stirring well. Let cool for a bit.
Pour into sterilized jars, make sure they are hot before pouring the jam into them or, of course, they will crack – not a good look!
Titch is still ok – just ok though and not overly great yet. We will be keeping an eye on her for a while yet, but her illness may have turned out to be a really serious infection. And not something fatal. Yay!
The other little bugger Polly – has a death wish. She was followed home yesterday by a counsel worker who informed Mr T that Polly had been in the middle of the main road eating a dead rabbit. So it is back to being tied up again, whenever we have the outside door open. I had thought we might be able to start trusting her. HA!!
Today could have been better if I wasn’t on day two of my hangover. Not that I seriously over indulged, but obviously indulged enough. It’s a bastard really, especially when my friend Sue can drink like a fish and be perfectly fine the next day. Many’s the morning when I’ve staggered out of my noisome pit (which is what any bed turns into when one has a real steamer going) and found her fresh as a daisy. It’s enough to make one spit dontcha know.
My hangover did not have anything to do with the home made cider by the way. Although it turned out to be yummy, the alcohol level was certainly not anything near 10% yet. Will have to be patient and wait a while for that. In the meantime we will be brewing some more.
Tip – After you have added the sugar and lemon, wait until you can no longer hear the mixture bubbling, at least a couple of days – we left it four. This is because when bottled it is very gassy and has a possibility of exploding. Ours has been stored out in the garage, just in case.
Saturday turned out to be a great for a brazier night. The gale force winds had dropped and we had a gorgeous day and evening, with a half moon riding high. Ten of us sat around the fire and put the world to rights. Later in the evening I snaggled a bean bag armchair which turned out to be the perfect chair to sit by a brazier in, it kept my back and bum warm and was just the right height.
Topics discussed included
Tom Cruise and Peter Jackson spotted in Masterton (our biggest town), P.J. lives near here.
Scientology – the madness of it all
Pollution of our local rivers. (Oh yes, the myth of the clean green N.Z.)
Who is going to the Organic River Festival in Feb 2010 – me, hopefully!
Organic River Festival
I loved the Organic River Festival this year. After a rough start, in which, after telling every one I had NEARLY forgotten our tickets, Mr T and I arrived at the gates of the Festival (held in Levin, approx two hours away from our town) , to discover I HAD left them at home. The mocking was fairly merciless. Much fussing and fuming and negotiating with the official and we finally got in. The lack of sleep on the first night camping just about put the kibosh on it for me as well, but I got over it, it’s amazing what six million coffees, a cooked breakfast and and the cheer of good friends can do.
I think the laid back, relaxed feel of the festival is the best aspect of it. It’s a very small gathering as festivals go and that helps – no hideously long queues for anything. Lots of like minded greenies gathered together, and the people watching is superb, with heaps of hippys and other alternative folk to peer at.
I also really love the food, great Hari Krishna vegetarian nosh as well as all the normal stuff with and organic bent. And the plum wine was superb.
On the last night the rain forced the organisers to close the main stage, so a few bands played in the large cook tent. Intimate that’s for sure, absolutely brilliant – I heard the best version of ‘Play That Funky Music’, possibly better than Wild Cherry’s original. Even more tickled when the band dedicated the song to the oldies amongst us, and I think they may have been including me.
I put this photo in because I missed out a picture of Mike in my last post – aren’t they a cool Aunty and Uncle to have?
If you want to get seasonal this is the time of the year to use oranges that’s for sure and you could get a little creative and use other types of citrus . I have lemons, limes and grapefruit as well as oranges going strong at the moment so added a bit of all of them.
Have to admit that the reason that I make this so often is because it is really quick – just dumping everything into the mixer then tipping it into a pan. Oh and the uncooked cake mix is really yummy so try not to eat to much before cooking…
Didn’t have any icing sugar so melted some normal white sugar, orange zest and grapefruit juice together and poured it onto the cake while it was still warm, mmmmm
1 whole orange (unpeeled)
125g butter, chopped
1 tblsp canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 180c. Lightly grease – and line the base with baking paper, if preferred – a 6 cup, non- stick ring cake pan.
Quarter the orange. Place in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter, oil, eggs and sugar. Process, until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until just combined.
Pour into the pan and bake for about 35 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.