Friday, 30 April 2010

lots going on. working on trying to make some money. reopened my etsy shop and started up a new one to sell vintage photo downloads. as soon as i get some drawing done i've got a 3rd shop lined up for those. it would be nice to get some cash to cover the trip i'm making in a few weeks. so food blog will take a back seat probably until after i get back from my trip.

Monday, 26 April 2010

just wanted to let everyone know the super talented beth over at hero design studio has launched her own cooking blog. she does a load of gluten free cooking. her food looks fantastic. so go check out tasty yummies

yes, yes, updates i know. i have been cooking and saving my receipts. lots of other stuff going on. in the past few days i have made: chicken finger, mozzarella sticks, BBQ pork chops, nachos and meat lasagna.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

the inlaws are leaving this evening. i don't have to worry about cooking anything for them. i did make them a banana bread to take home with them, and a few others to give the rest of the family which live down the street: my brotherinlaw and aunty pat.(that's 3 banana breads) for my husband tonight i will make a chicken and veg stir fry served over noodles. quick and easy. not sure what i will have for dinner. i need to make a pot of veg soup but right now there is no room in our fridge or freezer to put anything.
went shopping today. i needed to get more walnuts for banana bread. i was very unhappy to see my local branch of julian graves is closing down to become a GNC. (gnc are their parent company, they also own the health food store holland and barret.) ugh. julian graves has the best prices on nuts, dried fruit and spices/seasoning. i am sooo annoyed. so i had to go to holland and barret to buy walnuts as graves was sold out of them. freaken £1 more expensive. i did stock up on a few things from graves since everything was 1/2 off and the guy gave me an additional 20% discount since he knows me. i bought a few things at tesco today too, baking stuff.
making a batch of granola bars later. first- nap.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

no cooking today. we're having curry for dinner. we happen to live right across the street from one of the best curry restaurants in town. they make amazing food.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

the guys are eating steaks at the pub. tonight i made a veggie lasagna for me and the motherinlaw. if you need instruction on how to do that check the tag labels that run down the side and click the lasagna one. it turned out awesome. i make good lasagna.

Monday, 19 April 2010

roast leg of lamb. i cooked this just like i cook every other big slab of roasting meat. i cranked the oven up to 210degreesC. i plopped the joint in my roasting tray and sprinkled montreal steak seasoning all over it. i then banged it in the oven for 20min. after 20min i took the roast out and put some water in the bottom of the pan. i turned the heat down to 150degreesC and put the thing back in the oven. i let it cook for 2 1/2hrs before taking it out. i cut the meat off the bone and let the meat sit covered in foil in the roasting pan until the men came home to eat it. by all accounts the lamb was delicious. there were no leftovers.
i checked the lamb once during cooking to make sure there was still water, it was looking a little dry so i added more water.
super busy day. my son is coming home from a 2 week break at my inlaws. that means my inlaws are coming for a visit. i've got about 3 loads of laundry to get done. on the plans for today: banana bread. roast leg of lamb with all the fixings(whatever they are) a pot of veg soup would be a good idea. to kick things off this morning i made a batch of homemade deodorant. quick and easy, so far i'm smelling pretty good and not sweaty. it appears to work.
make your own deodorant
busy busy. have i mentioned how much i hate cooking lamb. gah. banana bread first.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

made apple fritters a few minutes ago. super easy and damn tasty. i used this recipe: apple fritters
i cut the recipe in half. i had two apples that i bought yesterday with big bruises. i used those. i cut them up in little cubes instead of slices. i then used the oil i had left over from yesterday's corn fritter project. i think i might strain the oil and save it for another project next week. i am thinking about making my own cheese sticks. yeah, that could be a good project.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

dinner got a thumbs up from husband man. the BBQ sauce was voted tasty. corn fritters were a hit.
made this recipe:BBQ sauce
i did a little adding, it's still slightly sweet but has a kick at the end. i hope a few days in the fridge will really bring the flavors out. i'm going to use it later in the week to cook this huge hunk of ham i got for cheap last week. more about that when the time comes. i used a bit of the sauce for husband's dinner tonight- BBQ chicken breast. will let you know what he thinks.
i also made this:corn fritters

i actually didn't change the recipe at all. they turned out great. i ate a sneaky one. they're being served at dinner which is awhile off. i'll warm them in the oven when it's time to eat. i let the batter sit on the counter for like half an hour while i slowly heated up my frying oil. what a tasty way to use up the can of corn that's been sitting in my fridge for most of the week.

Friday, 16 April 2010

not a big cooking day today. husband wants a meatball sub for dinner. so i made meatballs this afternoon. super easy.

took a bit of ground beef, added onions and chopped garlic to it, along with some bread crumbs and assorted seasonings: salt/pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, basil and oregano. mixed it all together and divided it up into 5 lumps.

formed the lumps into balls and popped the balls in the oven for about 25min. all cooked. when it's time for subs i'll put the meatballs in some pasta sauce and let them simmer until nice and hot. slap them on a sub roll and away you go.
for myself i made a stuffed focaccia. so damn good. i had some vegetarian meat balls and pasta for my dinner.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

tonight is another round of leftovers. husband will be eating some beef and beer while i will have a bowl of soup. i did manage to make my first batch of homemade ice cream today. results are surprisingly tasty.
my ice cream maker

yup, that's it. a toy ice cream maker bought for 50p, that's like 75cents. i buy toy cameras all the time and use those, why not try out some toy food production equipment?
i read this post and followed some of the tips.
i let my insert freeze for over 24hrs. i went out this morning and bought some cream since that's the only ingredient i didn't have. i put the cream in the freezer for about an hour. i put some milk in a pot with half of a vanilla pod- split and the seeds scraped and brought it up to a boil. i then turned down the heat and let it simmer for 5min before turning the heat totally off and letting the milk cool in the pan. when the milk was cool i strained it into a plastic container and put that in the freezer for about 20min. i took the insert out and put it in my little machine. i put the cream and milk into the insert and started cranking. the whole cranking part took about 5min. because the cream was so cold to begin with things quickly set up to form ice cream. when the mix looked pretty solid i scraped it out into a plastic container, covered it with some plastic wrap and pressed it down to get any air bubble out, put a lid on and popped it in the freezer.
this is what it looks like a few hours after going in the freezer. it's pretty solidly frozen. it tastes good and has a decent texture. i didn't add sugar to this batch, pretty much just because i didn't think to until it was too late. i should have put sugar in the milk when it was boiling so it would dissolve.
i scored some cheap strawberries today and i'm going to turn them into strawberry sauce. that will taste great over the ice cream. some of the sauce will also go into my next batch of ice cream which i will do in a few days.
what's in my ice cream?
  • 125ml of single cream
  • 125ml of whole milk
  • 1/2 a vanilla pod
shopping for today

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

so last night was mexican leftover night. tonight is italian leftover night. i might make another stuffed focaccia. we'll see how things go. today's big project is cleaning my cabinets. everything has to be taken out, the shelves wiped down and then everything goes back in. i am a total food horder, so this could take time.( not a nutcase horder like the ones on tv, i just like to keep my house very well stocked. i could go into my kitchen and cook pretty much any recipe from any country kind of stocked.)
 step 1 take everything out
step2 wipe down the shelves and cram everything back in
continue until all cabinets are cleaned
i have a ridiculous amount of pasta. good thing summer is coming: all pasta salad, all the time

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

today i bought an ice cream maker. i'm not a huge ice cream fan so why would i buy such a thing? it's aimed at little kids. it's plastic and you crank the handle. the paddles go around and stir the mix. ice cream is eventually produced. i have a toddler who looooves to spin things, crank things, watch things go around. he also loves ice cream. i figure this could be a fun thing to do this summer. best of all it was only 50p. yup, that's right. 50p bought me a like new ice cream maker in the box. it really doesn't look like it's ever been used. i washed all the parts. i'm thinking if i can get the drum in the freezer tonight, i can make banana splits tomorrow. you know, test it out and see how it works, plus use up the bananas i have sitting around.
tonight is leftovers.

Monday, 12 April 2010

i made a southwest chicken stew kind of thing in the crockpot today. i just tossed in
2 chicken breasts
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 can chop tomato
some black beans i soaked over night
1/2 can kidney beans
1/2 can corn
1/3 cup of rice
1 onion diced

assorted mexican style seasoning- chili powder, chili flakes, cumin, cilantro flakes, s/p little bit of this, little bit of that
i let that stuff sit in the crock pot for like 5hrs. it made 3 good sized servings. husband man is eating it now and says- very tasty, needs more seasoning though. doh! because i'm vegetarian it's hard to check that things have the right flavors. i put a ton of chili powder and cumin in there but i guess it wasn't enough.

for guacamole i just do: 1 avocado with some finely chopped red onion, smokey salt, cilantro flakes and lime juice all mashed together.(put the avocado stone in the guac and cover the mix tightly, this helps keep it green instead of brown.)put in the fridge for a few hours. that usually gives enough for the 2 of us

for pico de gallo: 1 medium size tomato chopped, some finely chopped red onion, smokey salt, cilantro flakes, chili flakes and lime juice. mix together and let sit in the fridge for a few hours. again enough for 2
ranch sour cream: mix sour cream with ranch powder. how much? who knows. keep adding until it tastes ranchy. let sit in the fridge for a few hours. keep in mind the flavor will intensify as it sits in the fridge.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

today's first use of the crockpot and a bit of a half asses attempt at that. husband decided to clean our oven as part of our big spring clean project. he had already planned on having beef and beer for dinner and pulled the stuff out last night. so now we have no oven for 24hrs and a meal plan that requires beef to slow cook for like 3hrs. what to do? crock it!
i'm just going to copy the recipe out of the book and how it should be made in the oven. if you want to crock it, do your own thing.
beef and beer from delia smith
2lbs chuck steak cut into cubes(we use whatever cheap beef we have)
3/4lb onions peeled, chopped and separated into layers
1 fat garlic clove minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 well-heaped tablespoon of flour
1/2pt pale ale

pre-heat oven to 275degreeF(140degreeC)
on the stove top heat your casserole dish- medium high, add some oil and brown your meat chunks in small batches. remove meat when browned and set aside. add the onions to the casserole dish and stir them around until the edges are browned. return the beef to the casserole dish(and any meat juices) add the flour and turn the heat down to low. get the onions and beef nicely coated in flour. gradually stir in the sale. while everything slowly comes up to a simmer add the thyme, garlic, s/p.
as soon as things start to simmer, give a good stir cover and put in the oven for 2 1/2hrs.
this dish cooks for 2 1/2hrs and does not require stirring or looking at. just cover it, put it in and leave it alone. you get a really nice thick sauce and the meat just falls apart in your mouth. good with rice or mashed potatoes. serves 4.
freezes well, so if you're cooking for 1 you can eat a serving and freeze the rest for later use. only the husband eats this dish so i usually just make it with half the amount of beef but keep the rest of the ingredients the same. he gets a dinner and then lunch later in the week.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

i bought a crockpot, or slow cooker if you will. i've wanted one for ages. now i could very easily go to the store and buy a brand new one but i'm not that kind of shopper. there are very few things that i buy brand new. i try to buy as much as possible used. in england the best place to find usable pre-owned goods are charity shops.(thrift stores) used electrical goods must by law be tested before being sold in a charity shop. so while out on my daily walk around town i stopped in at a one day charity sale for the cats protection group. they're like a no kill shelter for homeless cats, very good cause. they didn't have much on offer but this huge crockpot caught my eye. my god it's huge. but it's only £5 and i really want one. oh what the hell. so i bought it.
also did the usual saturday morning shopping with the husband and the car. i kept the receipts. i'm waiting on my new printer/scanner to show up this week. once it gets here entering receipts will be so much easier. 
total spend for saturday is £33.08
including £5.16 on a bottle of vodka. now why would a person who doesn't drink need a bottle of vodka? for my homemade vanilla extract project of course. i used a 35cl bottle(the smallest one i could find in the grocery store and 2 vanilla pods split in half length wise.
vanilla extract

Friday, 9 April 2010

gluten free chocolate cake, hell yeah! damn that stuff is so darn good.

1 100g bar of cheap dark chocolate
1/2 cup butter room temp
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup coco powder
3 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

break up the chocolate bar and melt in a double boiler( pot of simmering water with a large mixing bowl set over it) the steam comes up from the pan and slowly melts the chocolate. when the chocolate is melted add the butter and mix together
in a separate bowl mix the other ingredients together. add to the melted chocolate/butter bowl and stir everything together. put in a oven proof dish and bake at 150degreeC(300degreeF) for half an hour. eat it up, yum

for dinner i heated up some of the veg puffs i made a few weeks ago and stuck in the freezer. i brushed a little olive oil on them and banged them in the oven until they were golden brown. very tasty.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

brussel sprouts
last week i scored a huge bag of brussel sprouts for 50p. the veg lady was selling them cheap because they were old. and then we had to go away for easter. so i've had 2lbs of old brussel sprouts sitting in my fridge, looking pathetic. the husband has been hacking and gagging every time he opens the fridge. i went through the bag today and took care of the problem. all things consider the sprouts are not in bad shape. cleaning 2lbs of sprouts is a real pain in the ass. i cooked them up and they look great. i even ate a couple, taste just fine. i'm going to freeze most of them for easy use later. cooking sprouts: you need the water to be boiling hard. add some salt and some baking soda to the water- cook away. the baking soda helps keep the green color. cook until tender. before mine went in the water they were this sad yellow color. after cooking, they are a pale green. one batch i'm going to mash up in some potatoes for a good side dish.
i really need to do the dishes. tonight's dinner is nachos or as my son calls them- sticky chips. i pulled out chili from the freezer for last night's dinner but my husband opted for pizza instead. so the chili will now go over some corn chips with some grated cheddar cheese for a tasty dinner. i need to make up a quick pico de gallo
guacamole and ranch sour cream.
what am i having for dinner? who knows. maybe nachos without the chili. i could do some refried beans with kidney beans.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

back from my break. going to ease into the cooking week. i pulled some chili from the freezer for my husband's dinner. i'm going to have a plate full of baked beans, chips(french fries) and cheese- english comfort food. i'm totally PMSing and on a mega carb binge. screw the diet.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

on a short break. got a couple food mags. sitting on a couch watching shows about food and reading about food. i also eat food. food food food.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

i know this week is rather haphazard. i'm trying to use up stuff in the fridge and freezer before easter. i might do some baking later. i'm thinking cinnamon rolls to use up the 1/2 a block of cream cheese i have in the fridge. tonight is pasta to use up the jar of sauce in there too.