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Perfecting Meringues

I finally managed to make good meringues!

They are some that have eluded me for some time, due to bad technique, bad recipes, bad oven, and ok.. a bad baker.

If you know me well enough you know that I don’t like Delia Smith. I find her recipes a bit overly fussy and mainly old fashioned, I guess I am not her target audience. But when talking about meringues everyone tells me that her recipe is the best recipe.

So I gave it a go and it did work. It helped having the timings in the recipe, I made them precise by using the oven timer, but she could have included the timings after you added the sugar, it went a bit vague after that. And you really do have to leave them til they are cold in the oven. It is hard to resist but that is how you get the crisp shell.

You may not want Delia to tell you how to make something from a tin of meat but she can tell how to cook a meringue properly.

P.S. On an unrelated note, have you entered my giveaway?

Untimely Cucumber Pickles

The timing of this blog post is slightly bad in light of recent news/scare stories. But if you buy some lovely local cukes like I did then you will be fine, I’m sure. Trust me, I’m not a Doctor.

There is another disclaimer that goes with this blog post, I don’t like cucumber.
There is something about the odd watery taste of cucumber that just sets my teeth on edge. But pickling it in rice vinegar, herbs and chilis takes away the odd unfinished flavour of cucumber. It might sound odd but I know what I mean.

This recipe is super easy, no cooking required, just some slicing and pouring and waiting.

Cucumber Pickles
fills one 250ml kilner jar

1 whole cucumber
1/2 red chili or pinch of chili flakes
handful of soft herbs – thyme, oregano, basil, coriander
100ml of rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon of caster sugar
pinch of salt

Slice your cucumber thinly into coins, about 1/2 cm thick, and then half the coins into half moons. Salt them and leave them for about 10 minutes in a colander over a bowl. This will remove some of the water from them so you get nice crunchy pickles. Rinse under cold water.

Layer up the cucumber neatly in a wide mouthed glass jar, a kilner jar is great. In between the layers put in the herb leaves and chili so it is well incorporated. Mix the vinegar and caster sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Then pour into the jar slowly so it reaches all the cucumber. If you find you don’t have quite enough vinegar just add a bit more on top.

Seal and leave in the fridge. They are ready to eat after about 2-3 hours, and keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge. And like most pickles they are really good after a few days.

I am mainly eating mine at lunchtimewith cous cous and vegetables, but I am sure they are fantastic with a nice burger.

The British Larder, Suffolk

The British Larder blog has been one of my favourites for a long time, I love the recipes and the focus on local food, as well as the stunning photography. When I heard they had opened a pub restaurant last year it was on my list of places to go.

It is about an hour and a half from Cambridge, two if you go the scenic route (and your sat nav diverts you through all the horrible bank holiday traffic in Ipswich), so we tied it in with a trip to Orford and Aldeburgh for foodie shopping and a walk on the coastline.

We ate in the bar and had a deli board each, which is a really good way to sample all the different flavours the British Larder has to offer. They are incredibly well thought out and everything is perfectly made, exceptional. And for £12 they are really reasonably priced.

I had the Dingley Dell Pork Tasting Board which featured the most impressive scotch egg I’ve ever seen and tasted. Shredded slow cooked pork with a perfectly cooked egg and crispy exterior. My platter also had a chicken and pork terrine, puy lentil and ham hock salad, the most beautiful celeriac remoulade (with whole mustard seeds in, something I am going to do next time I make it), a vibrant and sweet pea and ham soup, locally made bread (from the Pump Street Bakery) and a perfect green salad.

The husband had the vegetarian deli board which was also excellent. Aubergine and tomato cavair, pearl barley salad, gorgeous spiced sweetcorn fritters, Suffolk Gold cheddar straws, olives, broad bean and white bean hummus, homemade tomato mayonnaise (I didn’t let him call it burger sauce!) more local bread and that lovely green salad again.

The little additions like the mixture of different breads, soft creamy butter and perfectly cooked thinly sliced beetroot were lovely.

Naturally I had to opt for pudding, I always leave room. I picked what was hailed as their ‘famous’ treacle tart, and it was amazing. It was huge, just the thing for a pudding lover like me. Served with white chocolate ice cream and caramel sauce. The inside of it was lightly spiced, it reminded me of the Indian dessert ‘gulab jambu’ – which is a pretty impressive thing to achieve in a treacle tart.

We also had coffee and tea which was served with little cocoa dusted meringues.

We will definitely be going back, the Sunday roast looks fantastic, the British Larder hasn’t been open long and I think is still getting its name out there, so go and support them, everything is as local as possible and cooked perfectly. I can’t wait to go again!

We also visited Orford whilst we were there for bagels and doughnuts from the Pump Street Bakery and scallops from Pinneys of Orford. And then on to Aldeburgh for goodies from Lawsons Deli. A lovely day out! Suffolk has fantastic food.

weekend pictures

Even though it has been hot for about 2 months now it really feels summery now that strawberries are in season. I got my first fruit and vegetable box from Walden Local Food and it contained a lovely punnet of strawberries which were eaten up in minutes! This weekend our little Flossie kitten turned 1 year old, no longer a kitten *sniff*.
I did lots and lots of cooking over the weekend so I have some recipes coming up this week – elderflower cordial (to be bottled tonight, hope it has worked out!), brownies, pad thai and cucumber pickle.

Watch this space!

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