Ginger Confit & Candied Ginger

Candied Ginger

There's some things that really "get my goat". Not least is the ridiculous notion that we can't say 'Christmas' anymore for fear of causing offence. We should call it 'The Festive Season' or something equally as banal. Well sorry folks, until the PC brigade rename Diwali, Eid, Hanukkah and all the other religious festivals, this blog will be calling Christmas just that!

"Phew, help me down of this soap-box someone; I don't know how my wheelchair got up here...!"

This year, I thought I'd try a put together some presents that I'd made myself. Most of my family can afford to buy the things they want. It's time to make their own things that they lack, so I hope they'll appreciate the effort that'll go into my hand-made goods.

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Local Food Heroes is now a Local Food Hero!

Detail from Leicester Mercury More Magazine CoverI've just found out that the Local Food Heroes blog was named as a 'Local Food Hero' in last Saturday's Leicester Mercury 'More' Magazine.

This blog featured in the 'Food Writers and Bloggers' section alongside The Mercury's own food reporter Joan Stephens; Tim Burke, the former restaurant critic who runs 'Eyes on The Prize', a blog about places to eat and drink; Hazel Paterson of the 'It's not F****** Rocket Science' blog, with it's superb photography and recipes; and Matt Wright, editor of 'Great Food', a magazine celebrating everything 'foodie' in the Midlands area.

I'm honoured to be featured in such good company.

Links to the blogs mentioned:

Spanish Omelette 'Tortilla'

Spanish Omelette

Given that the Spanish were in S. America for such a long time, and that in Mexico they speak Spanish, I've always found it odd that 'tortilla' has a different meaning in each country. In Mexico, it's a flat-bread often made of corn, whereas in Spain, it's an 'open omelette' of potato and onion.

I was first introduced to 'proper' Spanish Omelette when I worked at a large Government Hostel for homeless men. I had never seen an omelette made with just onion, potato and egg, plus a little garlic. Others I'd seen looked as if they'd had the veg box emptied into them. Not that I recall ever having one of those either! David, the senior cook, made it for a buffet. He was married to a girl with Spanish heritage and had learned to make it the authentic way from her.

For that kind of omelette, I'd fry the onion and potato with garlic in olive oil until cooked through but not coloured. Add it to the egg and then fry the lot in more oil until it is nearly cooked. Then turn it over onto a plate and sliding it back into more oil to finish cooking on the other side.

I don't know why I'm telling you this, I'm on a diet so this isn't one of those omelettes; it's a reduced calorie version with approximately 800 calories in the whole omelette. That's only 200 calories for a large portion.

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I'm wastin' away!

It comes to the best of us you know. Even though you've led the life of a professional athlete (well you ran for a bus once in 1973) - you realise that not only do your clothes not fit, but you've outgrown the stock at all but the specialist suppliers of FB (fat b******) sized clothes. You can put it off no longer - you've got to diet!

Having deluded myself for ages that I was just a little over 16 stones, it came as a shock to find the scales showing 19¼! I was actually over the maximum weight for the wheelchair they supplied! That said, I'm not any more; I'd lost 7 pounds when I weighed myself at the Spinal Unit and continue to lose a couple of pounds a week. I understand this to be a sensible amount.

I've been eating quite a few flatbreads/wraps as suggested by The Hairy Bikers in their diet programmes. They're good as they hold a large amount of (low calorie salad) filling for the calories they contain; they're better than normal sliced bread anyway. I also bought some crispbreads - blimey they're a price! I thought I'd better have a play around myself and these are the results of my first trial of my rye and plain flour crispbreads:

Rye and Plain flour crispbread

I've also made Rye and Wholemeal ones and 100% Rye flour ones. They need a bit more work on the recipe, but I'm quite pleased with them so far.

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Tandoori Chicken Thighs

Tandoori Chicken

My interest in Indian food started around 1976. With hindsight, I spent too many late nights pigging myself on onion bhajis, chicken tikka and kulfi in The Rajah on Highcross Street! Between then and now, I've spent more hours than I care to think about trying to recreate those restaurant dishes.

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Frost Free My A***

We've got two freezers, an upright 'frost free' one and a standard chest one that we use for bulk purchases. Now, the term 'frost free' is a bit misleading, as in, if you don't defrost the damned thing regularly it just stops working! It generally starts again after you've switched it off and left it a couple of days, but it's a right pain and always seems to happen when the other freezer's full.

It's even more annoying as of the two freezers this was the more expensive and should be better quality. Needless to say, the cheap and cheerful, bottom of the range chest one just plods on in it's own sweet way with no problems!

That's why I'm in a foul mood having spent the evening making loads of soup, beef casserole, collar bacon and tandoori chicken among other things.

It's at times like this that you're glad of the slow-cooker and that you bought that new seal for the pressure cooker. It's also when you realise that the frozen mixed veg makes a good base for soup!
Phil having frozen mixed veg in the freezer? Surely not?
It's there because Emma bought it to keep the crab that she bought me when she went to the coast cool!

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