Welland Valley Beer Festival Report

Mark Shirley at Rockingham Forest Cider has a good write up of the Welland Valley Beer Festival on his blog.

Read it here.

Rhubarb Chutney

Dad brought me some rhubarb earlier in the year and I made 'rhubarb turnovers' with it, using the rough puff pastry that I have written about before. The only trouble is the rhubarb has a devastating effect on my digestion system, not good when you use a wheelchair and can't run too fast!

, offered me more last week and I just couldn't refuse; it's the frugal streak coming out in me again. This time I thought I might make chutney with it to keep my chutney-munching nephew Mickey happy. I was a little doubtful as to how it would turn out but it looks like being surprisingly good

The recipe is a reworking of the one from The Great British Kitchen website.

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American Style Mustard

American MustardI'm have a love/hate relationship with mustard. It's one of those things that I have phases of eating. A while back it was just Coleman's Mustard Powder mixed with a little water, then a phase of Moutarde de Meaux, now with the barbeque season upon us, it's the mild American Style mustard that's so mild you can spread it liberally over everything. I like the similar, but more spiced dark German mustards and, of course, a french dressing wouldn't be the same without a touch of Dijon.

A web search produced two 'copycat' recipes for French's® Classic Yellow® Mustard, known as 'ballpark' mustard. Both were very similar except that one uses 3 times as much mustard powder!

This is my compromise recipe using mustard powder ground in the coffee grinder from yellow mustard seeds. I found it a little on the bitter side and added a pinch of sugar, maybe brown/black mustard seeds would rectify this?

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Adventures with Ciabatta

CiabattaI get these daft ideas sometimes, whilst we're quite happy with the regular bread that I make, I've always wanted to produce something even better. The obvious choice would be a sourdough loaf, but last time I used a sourdough starter the bread was awful. This Ciabatta style loaf goes sort of half-way; it uses a starter, but one with dried yeast rather than relying on natural airborne yeasts.

This bread has a ratio of 75% water to flour and so the dough is very soft and not easy to handle. I wouldn't attempt to make it without a mixer, you'd end up with more dough stuck to your hands than in the bread!

The starter (properly called a poolish or biga) is made the day before the bread dough:

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ASDA 2p Sausages

Blimey, ASDA are really getting hammered in the press for selling sausages for 2p each - much of the comment's about the quality of the product (why do we now have to say 'two pee' instead of good old 'tuppence'?).

Now, I'm not going to defend a 2p sausage with only 34% lean meat content. If people want to eat them whatever I say is unlikely to have any effect. I imagine the people who eat these things, either through defective taste buds, or shortage of money, are mighty grateful for what ASDA are doing.

Funny how no-one has taken a pop at Sainsburys who are selling a sausage with an even lower percentage of meat (32%) and have the gall to charge 8p each for them.

Obviously, it's quite allright to sell rubbish as long as it's not cut price!

Our Daily Bread

BreadIf the number of people posting 'Wanted' requests on Freecycle is anything to go by, there's a lot of interest in bread making at the moment. I'd like to think it's all about quality, but guess that it's more realistically linked to rising prices! Anyway, for those who don't find a kind benefactor on Freecycle, here's how I do it.

I use a Kenwood Chef mixer to make this bread but you could make it by hand (see below).

First, the ingredients:
1kg Strong Bread Flour
650ml Luke warm Water
15g Salt (approx 2½tsp)
3 tblspns Cooking Oil
14g Instant yeast (2 sachets)

The loaf pictured is made with a batch of this dough using 600gm of flour, 385 water, 1½tsp salt, 1½ oil and 7g yeast.

A word about the temperature of the water: It should feel neither hot nor cold to the touch. If you have a thermometer that's about 37°C (about 100°F). We want to end up with a dough at about 26°C (about 80°F).

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Blowing Your Own Trumpet!

The only forum that I post on, as I have mentioned before, is sausagemaking.org.

There was recently a request for "Just a plain old breakfast pork sausage recipe please?". I posted my 'Every Day Pork Sausage' recipe and it was well received by Shirl, who had made the request and, who it turns out, lives near to Ashby de la Zouch and gets her meat from Ashby Farmers' Market, small world isn't it.

I thought no more of it until a whole forum thread appeared singing the sausage's praises. I couldn't believe it! Oh how I wish I could just gracefully accept praise and say thanks without making excuses as to why I don't think it's that good, could be improved etc. I guess it's 'cos I don't want to appear conceited – But, under all that bluster, I'm really chuffed!

The funny thing is, by the time these posts appeared, I'd amended the recipe to give the sausage, what I think is, a more 'rounded' flavour! So if you like a peppery sausage use the first recipe, otherwise choose the 'Every Day' Pork Sausage II recipe.

Needless to say, I forgot to take photos, so here's one of my new pride and joy - an old Berkel slicer that I bought off ebay. The ham being sliced is my Every Day Ham. 'Cor, I'm going to have to do some work in the name department, I've just realised everything is getting called 'Every Day' - I guess that's 'cos of how often we eat it!

Berkel Slicer

The Thurlaston Sausage

This sausage is an amended version of the Every Day Pork Sausage that I posted a while ago. The first version is a nice peppery sausage that we all like a lot. The family, however, think this one is even better. Less peppery and with a more 'rounded' flavour.

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