Blog of Oonah V Joslin -- please visit my Parallel Oonahverse at WordPress

where I post stories and poems that have not been seen elsewhere - also recipes and various other stuff.

and see me At the Cumberland Arms 2011

Friday, 30 May 2014

Thought for Friday -- Quick Chocolate Sauce

I am not greatly fond of chocolate but if I do indulge it has to be dark and it has to be special and nothing I have found so far is as special as a gift I had from USA this Easter.

Ghirardelli: Sea Salt Soiree

You may believe me. Intensely dark and bitter with sweet saltiness and crunchy almond bits. It's moreish! Or if you want a quick topping or filling for almost anything from meringues, sponges, profiteroles or raspberries and icecream try this simple recipe below from the best cookery book I ever had: 
The Dairy Book of Home Cookery: 

Quick Chocolate Sauce 
3oz/75g caster sugar 
3 oz soft brown sugar 
3oz cocoa powder 
1/2 pint/300 ml milk 
1 tsp vanilla essence 1oz butter (I use salted) 

Put all that into a saucepan over a low heat. Stir til the sugar has dissolved. Boil briskly for 2 mins without stirring ('til it will coat the back of a spoon.) If you want a thicker sauce boil for another 2-3 mins. 

This sauce is so quick and easy and dark and luscious you will want to make it again and again. This amount makes rather a lot but it keeps well in the fridge for over a week. I tend to make half the recipe when there are only two of us. Try it out :)

Friday, 23 May 2014

Food for Thought for Friday -- Best BLT I ever had.

Craster is famous for its kippers. They are simply the best kippers in the world. But the other day after our walk, (and Dunstanburgh and back certainly does stretch your legs,) we were tempted by the irresistible smell of bacon from the Piper's Pitch just outside the Tourist Information Centre. He does a wide range of sandwiches including Kipper in a bun and the Auchtermuchty and the best cup of tea!!! Anyway it turned out to be the best BLT I have ever had!!! Noel had the ayreshire sausage sandwich -- equally good. I haven't tried an Auchtermuchty yet but I promise you I will and I'll tell you all about it. Pity this is such a great little find really because now instead of a healthy walk, I'm going to have to try all the sandwiches ;) as well. Someone has to be your guide!!!

Dunstanburgh Castle is ruinous but huge and it has a way of keeping its dictance 'til you're right up at the gatehouse before revealing its true enormity; so we tend to call it d-d-d-Dunstanburgh because the walk has three stages.

When we went there this week there were cattle and sheep grazing along the coastal path and seabirds mostly kittiwakes nesting on the cliffs at the far side fo the castle. You can walk all the way to Low Newton by the Sea if you want a 6-7 miler. We did it years ago but these days I prefer something more leisurely...
Yes that's Low Newton in the distance! and looking the other way you just see Craster
but it doesn't matter where you look on this walk, you're sure of great scenery.  
Which is star of the show? Castle or Coast? Cattle or sheep? or would it be this little fella?
May even be an Auchtermuchty... What IS an Auchtermuchty anyway? Watch this space :)

Friday, 16 May 2014

Food for the soul for Friday -- Belsay today

My friend Kath recently visited Belsay as she says in her blog and she took some lovely photos but Kath -- it didn't look half as splendid then as it does today. And as for the Cragwood AW! BLUEBELLS

Friday, 9 May 2014

Food for Thought -- Ring the Changes -- Step by step easy adaptable recipe

If there's one thing I have to be this year it is adaptable to change. So in keeping with the year, when I invited my friend Amanda to lunch today I made an adaptable recipe. And it being a pleasant day, I thought we'd eat outside -- for a change. The real change is that this was our final lunch for some time as Amanda is moving away from the area within a fortnight YO! and I have to admit I will find it difficult to adapt to her absence. But she has her own adaptations to make so Good Luck Amanda with the move and in everything you do

At this point she was on the fruit cake

So if you need a recipe for a lunch, supper or snack that you can adapt endlessly to what you have available, here it is. And it's a fun recipe for children to do too!

The basic recipe requires:
1 pk frozen puff pastry (I always have this in the freezer and it takes but 1hr to thaw.)
Some left over potato. (or you can make up some instant Mr. Mash or your favourite store cupboard brand)
Some cheese (any cheese)
and almost anything else you want to add -- today I chose chopped onions and red pepper.The only limit is your imagination.

From there on you can improvise:
Simply follow the picture process.

Roll out the pastry, layer on the potato, other ingredients and grated cheese, roll up and wet the edge to seal. Work the roll a bit to make sure it holds together. Cut it into sections about an inch thick, Pat these into rounds with your palms. Place on a floured baking sheet and cook at 200 (hot oven) for 20 - 25 mins. Makes about 12. Eat hot or cold with salad. Each is a little Oonahverse of flavour in its own right 

Now why not make up your own SWEET SWIRLS :)

Universe -- NUFF CHANGES -- could you give me a break?

Friday, 2 May 2014

Food for Thought for Friday -- Gammon Slow Cooked with Balsamic Vinegar -- Low Fat Recipe

There is a useful disambiguation of beef and pork cuts in Separated by a Common Language 
and since I am going to talk about GAMMON here I suggest this as a starter for shopping if you live in the US.

"[Ham and gammon] are both pork but ham is usually a leg of pork that has been aged, cured, smoked or cooked. Usually in the UK, its wet cured in a brine (salt) solution, then it's cooked. Gammon is the hind leg cut from a side of bacon, so it's cured (again in brine) but it's not cooked before you get it."
Gammon is not 'matured' like ham. Rather it is preserved. It has a less strong flavour than ham and a more open texture. My butcher assures me that upper leg of pork is basically the same cut but the brine changes the colour, texture and flavour of the meat -- otherwise it's just pork -- not gammon.
 sorry about the advert

For my purposes in the following recipe, the gammon joint has been boned and brined but not smoked. Also I tend to buy one that has little or no fat on it. (I would pick a leaner one than above.) If I wanted to roast it I would need the fat but this recipe is for a Slow Cooker/Crock-pot.
Buy 2 - 3 lb Gammon Joint
Because it is brined my first stage in cooking is to SOAK the gammon overnight in a large quantity of water. This prevents the dish from being too salty.

Put your slow cooker on HIGH
Dry the gammon using some kitchen paper. 
Heat some oil in a frying pan and sear it on all sides 'til it is nice and brown.
Place it in the slow cooker 

In a large jug or in the pan, mix:
1 cup hot vegetable stock
half cup Balsamic Vinegar
1tbs tomato puree/paste
1tbs soy sauce
1 tsb honey (I use Manuka as it has a stronger flavour)
half a red pepper diced
2 cloves garlic peeled.

Put the lid on. Go out and have a nice day :)

This dish will cook all day 6-8 hours on LOW or 4-6 hours on HIGH. You decide. It'll be waiting for you when you get home.
Place on a large platter, pull apart with two forks, drizzle with some of the juices and serve with salad or roasted roots or a robust green vegetable such as cabbage or sprouts. It also likes sweetcorn, pickles and Coleman's English Mustard

and you can freeze what's left to eat cold with salad or in sandwiches. This one is a winner :)