Cure and Sausage Calculators

One for the anoraks! I've been asked a number of times how I do the cure/sausage calculators on the blog but have been loathe to do a tutorial as whilst I can write (x)html and css like a native, my knowledge of Javascript is, to say the least limited. That any of the calculators actually work still amazes me!

Anyway, here goes - stating the obvious, to start with you need a recipe. You then need to convert the recipe so that all the ingredients are expressed as a percentage of the main one - in most case the meat. Lets take a simplified version of the Thurlaston Sausage recipe:

Sausage recipe

You can see above that the percentages are very different when expressed as percentages of the meat rather than the total sausage. We now need to divide these percentages by 100:

Sausage recipe percents

Now we've worked out those figures we can start preparing our web page. We're going to put all the scripting in a separate file, so the first thing we need to do is tell our web page where to find our script. We'll do this using the script html tag - let's call our script cure_calc and put it into the same directory as the web-page. There's a link at the end of the tutorial to download files with all the scripting, so don't bother to write everything down:

Script tag

To be good web citizens, we should also tell people with their scripting turned off what they're missing:

Noscript tag

Now we need to create a form for the calculator, I do mine in a table with two columns: one for the ingredients and the other for the results. We'll call the form myform and title the table Thurlaston Sausage Calculator:

Form tag

Let's add the input box for the meat weight and the button to operate the calculator. It's important that the input name is weight and that all the button details are as shown:

Meat tag and button

Now all we need to do is add the boxes for the ingredients, and the total weight; I've named these twoprod, threeprod, fourprod and totalprod. We also need to end the table and form:

Ingredient tags

Here's what we've done so far; the script tags wouldn't necessarily be positioned as below, but I have to do it this way due to the way my blog software works:

html form

If we view it in a browser it looks like this:

html form

All we've got to do now is make it work!

In a text editor we create a file for the Javascript, but instead of saving it with a .txt extension, we'll save it as cure_calc.js:

html form

In lines 5,6 and 7 we can see that we enter the percentage / 100 figures that we calculated earlier (the water and rusk have been transposed in this example). We can see in Line 2 that when we click the button on our webpage with the doMath instruction, the instructions in this script are executed. Line 3 tells it to get the weight of the meat entered into the web form and call it one. Line 5,6 and 7 give values for the ingredients and tell the form to call them two, three and four. Lines 9, 10 and 11 tell the script to multipy one (the meat weight) by two, three and four and call them twocalc, threecalc and fourcalc respectively. Line 12 tells the script to add these last three figures together and add them to the weight of the meat - it tells it to call this totalcalc. Lines 14, 15, 16 and 17 are the instructions to the script to place all these figures back on the webpage calling them twoprod, threeprod, fourprod and totalprod. The rest of the script is concerned with the calculations and, other than the fact that it has to be there, doesn't really concern us.

Anyway, that's how I see it working, but as I say, "You could write on a cigarette paper what I know about Javascript!"

The source files can be download as .pdf files. You will need to 'right click' them and choose 'save as...', 'save link as...', or similar choice, to save them to your computer. To use them, put them in the same directory and then copy the text and paste it into a blank text editor document, save the text from calc_tutorial.pdf as calc_tutorial.html and cure_calc.pdf as cure_calc.js. Or you can click on the link and it will open in a new browser window. You can then copy and paste as above directly from there.

Web Page html file.pdf

Javascript js file.pdf

I hope that this helps. I am happy to answer simple questions about it, but for anything complex please contact someone with scripting experience. If you use the design, it would be nice if you included a link to my website.



A Bit Of A Do!

When your wife gets to that certain age that we can't mention, but is nearer to 100 than it is to zero, you just have to have 'a bit of a do' for the family.

It was only when I looked at the photos that I realised that many of the recipes have featured here. There again, I always advise people never to cook anything new for guests, so I suppose that's inevitable.

Owing to the numbers, I needed to have things that didn't require the use of a knife and fork. I also wanted something that wasn't just the standard pork pie, scotch egg and cheese-board type thing, but that would still appeal to some of the more 'conservative eaters' in the family.

The buffet table:

More food waiting in the fridge:

The Thurlaston Sausage and Savoury Vegetarian Rolls made with The 'Roughest' Rough Puff . I used a Vegetable shortening for the vegetarian ones (front):

Hummus and Olive on Water Biscuits along with Cucumber and Cream Cheese:

Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese and Sour Cream in Pastry Cases, Pâté and Cornichon on Croute, and Tuna Pâté and Cucumber on Water Biscuits:

Samosas:

Onion Bhajis and Tamarind Chutney (sauce not shown):

Bacon and Cheese Quiche and Onion Confit Quiche (pictured):

Sandwiches, Pauline's Ham, Egg, Cheese, Fresh Salmon and Cucumber, and Chicken Tikka Wraps:

There were also a variety of home-made dips: Marie Rose (Tomato sauce, Yogurt and Mayo), Blue Cheese (Stilton, Cream and Yogurt), Garlic Mayonnaise, and Salsa.

To follow was Chocolate 'fudge' Cake:

Cup Cakes courtesy of my daughter Hannah:

...and a superb Birthday Cake (that I forgot to photograph) made by a friend of my daughter Emma.



Chocolate 'fudge' Cake

I originally posted this recipe in December 2007 but it proved so popular at a recent buffet that I make no apologies for re-posting it here.

Chocolate Fudge Cake

This cake is great! It's really easy to make and more or less fool proof. It also feeds a fair number, as it is very rich.

Ingredients

3½oz (85g) 70% chocolate (broken up)
12oz (350g) butter (in small chunks)
2oz (60g) cocoa (sieved)
3floz (90ml) boiling water (approx.)
14oz (400g) sugar
3 large eggs
7oz (200g) plain flour

Method

1. Melt butter and chocolate, in a bowl, over simmering water.
2. Make a paste of boiling water and cocoa. Remove the bowl from the water, pour the cocoa mix over the chocolate/butter and mix with an electric mixer.
3. Add the sugar, mix, and then mix in the eggs, one at a time.
4. Add the flour, mix, and then beat it on high speed for 1 minute.
5. Bake at 180C in a buttered and floured 9 inch spring form tin, lined on the bottom with parchment.
6. Check after about 30–35 mins. A big crack or two will appear when it is cooked but the cake will still wobble when shook. Depending on the oven, this may take longer.

To finish

7. Allow to cool for 20 mins – remove from spring form (do not turn upside down though until cold as it may leak).
8. Leave until cold before use. The cake should 'ooze' chocolate when cut.

It's seriously good



Food Gusto Food & Drink Festival

Food Gusto is a social enterprise set up by Food Lovers to promote and educate the community about our great quality local and regional food and drink. They organise the Festival in association with local and regional producers, businesses and volunteers. It is ideally located at Appleby Magna (just off the M42 jnc 12) making it easy for visitors and exhibitors to attend:

Food Festival

Food Festival

For further details at the Food Gusto website, go to www.foodgusto.co.uk



Celebrity Chef James Tanner Challenges Leicestershire to find its Signature Dish

I recently received this press release:

Birmingham has its Balti, Lancashire’s got its Hot Pot and whilst Leicestershire has a lot to be proud of in the food stakes, it’s currently lacking a ‘signature dish’ – that one mouth-watering recipe that defines the county’s culinary tastes. But now is the opportunity for Leicestershire foodies – both amateur and professional – to put forward your ideas on what dish best represents your county. Le-One, has brought in celebrity chef, James Tanner, to launch its biggest summer event - The Leicestershire Cook Off – a countywide competition to find Leicestershire’s signature dish.

A popular guest chef on ITV’s Daybreak and This Morning, James Tanner will be lead judge in The Leicestershire Cook Off and will be challenging locals to put forward the recipes which they think best represent their county’s culinary credentials and will place Leicestershire on the foodie map.

James Tanner, comments: “I’m really pleased to be lead judge for The Leicestershire Cook off as it’s a great opportunity for Leicestershire to showcase its truly fantastic food offering which I’ve often enjoyed sampling myself - from Melton Mowbray’s famous pork pies to your delicious Leicestershire cheeses! I can’t wait to see what creative suggestions people come up with and to finding a dish Leicestershire will be proud to call its own”.

So, whether it’s a tried and tested gem that has been handed down through the generations, or it’s a brand new concoction that’s been a favourite at dinner parties, we’re calling for amateur chefs, wannabe Heston Blumenthal’s or Nigella Lawson’s to send in their weird, wonderful and of course delicious recipes which will guarantee to tantalise the taste buds.

James adds: “So here’s my challenge to Leicestershire - what I’m looking for from the winning recipe is a dish that’s truly captured what Leicestershire has to offer, from using the county’s fantastic selection of fresh local produce to reflecting the wide cultural influences across the county, The winning dish needs to be inventive but with the culinary traditions Leicestershire is famous for. I’m sure I’ll be inundated with plenty of ideas which will be truly fitting to receive the crown of Leicestershire’s signature dish."

The budding chefs behind the best four recipes will be invited to cook their dish alongside James Tanner at The Leicestershire Cook Off final in St Martin’s House on Thursday 11th August. There, the dishes will be tasted and tested in front of a live audience, before a winner and new signature dish is announced.

The overall winner will not only be the master chef behind Leicestershire’s signature dish, but will also receive an amazing £1,000 worth of kitchen equipment. The three runners-up will also be given the chance to learn the tricks of the trade in a real restaurant kitchen during a specialist cookery workshop courtesy of Hotel Maiyango.

If you think you hold the recipe for Leicestershire’s signature dish, upload your entry onto The Leicestershire Cook Off website – www.leicestershirecookoff.co.uk or send your recipes by post to:

Le-One
Two Colton Square
Leicester
LE1 1QH

And make sure you keep up to date with all the latest news by checking out The Leicestershire Cook Off facebook page - www.facebook.com/pages/Leicestershire-Cook-Off

The deadline for entries is midnight on Sunday 17th July and the four finalists will be selected and informed by Wednesday 27th July.