Saturday, 25 January 2014

Burns night

Got to be the traditional - haggis,  champit tatties and bashed neeps

I managed to find a MacSweens haggis - the only one worth buying in my view; I usually make my own, but wasn't able to get hold of the required bits this year, so had this instead. usual pissed-offness at English folk taking the mick with terms like happy Haggis Day and such crud, they need a slap with a wet haddie so they do.....................

Sunday, 19 January 2014

The Queen of muffindom

The travesty that has befallen the poor muffin!  Nowadays, often offered for sale as a huge lump of solid sponge cake with goodness knows what in it, hideously sweet  and tasting mainly of chemicals............ A true muffin (quite apart from the English muffin, a very different beast ) is a light affair, made of a batter, not too sweet, with fruit  and possibly other additions eg spice and nuts, and needs to be eaten on the day of baking, preferably warm. For me, though, there really is only one muffin worth making - the BLUEBERRY muffin - the veritable Queen of muffindom.  I remember I had my very first warm blueberry muffin in a posh coffee shop in Bath back in about 1989.  Quite a few years ago now, I found my wonderful recipe on the back of a pack of muffin cases and have never looked back. This is one fresh out of the oven this afternoon

You can often get blueberries at reduced prices - buy them up, they freeze very well, and make excellent pancakes too, by the by.

10 oz self-raising flour
3 oz granulated sugar
8 fl oz milk
2 eggs beaten
4 oz butter melted

Put the flour and sugar in a bowl, combine well, then stir in the blueberries.  Beat the eggs with the milk and melted butter, pour on to dry mixture and fold and stir gently until well mixed - do not stir vigorously or beat - you want a lumpyish batter for the best results.  Divide between 12 muffin cases and bake in a hottish oven until well risen and golden, cool on wire rack.

And that, ladies and gentleman is the only muffin recipe you will ever need.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Cornish pasties

Needless to say, I like my Cornish pasties proper and traditional, no mucking about, no cheese, no mackerel and beetroot (yes, really, saw this on a pasty company's site along with a 'breakfast pasty' with sausage and scrambled egg in it), just meat and vegetables and good pastry.

This is how I make mine. No specific quantities, depends how many you're feeding.  I use roughly 2oz of pastry per pasty, and make up the filling by eye.

Dice some turnip (swede in England) and potato quite small, and dice beef to the same size, so all cooks in the same time. Tonight I used a piece of leftover cooked beef, which was quite rare, as in cooked, not unusual lol. Most cuts of beef can be used, never minced though.

Mix the meat and vegetables in a bowl with salt to taste and a decent whack of black pepper. Set aside.

Make your pastry. I use 3/4 butter to flour for a decent, rich, buttery, crisp pastry, so had 8oz flour and 6 oz butter, rubbed in, brought together with cold water.

Divide pastry, roll out into as round a shape as possible, ad cut around a small dinner plate/large tea plate.  Pile the mixture in the middle, wash around the edge with cold water, then fold up and crimp.  Place carefully on a hot baking tray, prick with a fork and cook in a hot oven for 15 - 20 minutes. I tend not to use eggwash on mine.