Murphy's law

You buy one of these:

Magimix Ice Cream maker

...and this happens:


Another Bloomin' Christmas

Well, we're into the new year, so that's seen the back of "Another Bloomin' Christmas":

Happy New Year to you all.

Do you know, I actually enjoyed Christmas this year; amazingly that also extends to Christmas lunch, a meal that having cooked I rarely enjoy eating. It's funny, we did but a few things differently, but it seemed to make the preparation so much easier. Yet, the only things we didn't make from scratch were the pork pie, mincemeat, and some of the buffet items. Mum made the cake and pudding, leaving us to do the sausage-rolls, sausage-meat, bacon, ham , mince pies, smoked salmon and cheeses, and a few sundry cheese palmiers that were just to use up the rough puff pastry but proved to be very popular. Oh, we did more than I thought! Perhaps we we just better organised than normal:

Produce for Christmas

I cured Pauline's Ham somewhat differently this time, using a lot less brine cure thereby saving quite a bit of money. I'll write about it in a separate post, but here's it curing:

Ham curing in a bag

The turkey was from a local farm and was superb as usual; not only that, but much cheaper than the ones at the supermarkets. The only picture I took of it is in it's bag, oops:


Needless to say, the remains ended up in a Turkey Korma!

Turkey Korma

Takeaways and Moans

Well, the "one of those weeks" that I was having has decided to extend itself into two! I've got absolutely nothing done. It's not only me that's a bit broken down though, the hot water side of the boiler's gone kaput! I understand that there's a rare and elusive species called a plumber that lives locally and can be tempted out of his lair by feeding him large denomination paper money; hopefully he'll turn up soon!

Anyway, enough of my problems, but whilst I'm having a moan: what is it with all our local chip-shops nowadays? The batter has a spongy layer underneath it and they never cook the chips enough. One of our local ones seems to cook everything in sump oil and the other turns buying a simple meal into an epic. You get in there and firstly they'll tell you they're waiting for fish, so you stand to one side and wait; when your fish is cooked they then tell you that they're waiting for chips! I kid you not. I'm sure that it takes less time to cook the bloomin' things at home than to go to there. Damn it, they've really only got to get two things right: the fish and the chips. They can't even do that properly. Given that they cook the flamin' things all-day everyday you'd think that they would get it right occasionally, if only by accident!

Pauline's only ever cooked fish in batter twice in her life, but she can get it right. The haddock she cooked on Thursday was superb, albeit we had it with chips and mushy peas from the freezer for convenience. The batter was just simply self-raising flour, water and salt; it was still crisp over twenty minutes after frying. It ain't rocket science.

Fish and chips

Now the Chinese Takeaway in the next village is a different kettle of fish! I swear that you could order dinner for 300 and it would still be ready in twenty minutes! They're great, deliver to your door, and the portions are so generous that a 'set meal for two' will feed four of us easily.

And so to the Indian sub-continent. It seems like every pub that closes in the local area reopens as an Indian restaurant. There's a lot of competition and very reasonable prices; because of this the local Indian takeaways appear comparatively expensive. You may as well eat in the restaurants; the cost will be similar but the food will be so much better.

"Moan, moan, moan, that's all you do. None of them are that expensive. In fact for a bloke that spends £100 - £200 each time at the butchers, they're cheap!" OK, I agree, and that's fine if you're only paying for one or two. I'm usually buying for four or more, so it can get a bit expensive. "Where's all this gobbledygook taking us?" Well, really it's just a way of me working around to telling you that I did crawl out of my pit on Saturday to cook an Indian meal for myself and my daughters, and their partners. Pauline can't stand the stuff, so had an omelette instead! I was going to buy it from the local takeaway 'cos I wasn't feeling great, but when I thought of the price I got a funny pain in my wallet so decided to cook it myself. I forgot to take pictures but Hannah plated up the leftovers so that I had something to show for it. Pretty, it ain't!

My Indian meal

There's a lamb roghan josh, chicken tikki in sauce, spiced basmati rice, chappati, and for me the star of the show: The Lake Palace Hotel's aubergine cooked in pickling style. I cut back on the oil and garlic and it was superb.

You can tell how long it takes me to write things: the plumber's just arrived!

Well, what can I say? The plumber's fixed the sticky valve that was causing the problem with the boiler and only charged me £40. I take back all I said about plumbers; he's now my hero of the day!

Used tags:

One of Those Weeks!

It's been one of those weeks! An infection that's been lingering since mid August reared it's ugly head necessitating yet another course of antibiotics. Needless to say, the tablets had 'a debilitating affect on my digestive system'; well that's a nice way of putting it! To cap it all, today for some reason, my body decided that it was time to take a closer look at the bathroom floor. Not only did I find out that it's as hard as I remember from last time, but also that the toilet cistern's harder than my head!

So apologies to those people who have been awaiting my Garlic and Ham Luncheon Meat recipe; a trip to the butchers has been out of the question.

I've spent much of the week just thinking over other future projects: two of will become current as soon as I get the meat. One's a modernised version of a local beef cure that I'm going to write about for The Midland's Food Bloggers. The other's a ham cure using local cider. Mark Shirley kindly brought me earlier it this week; Mark's the guy behind Rockingham Forest Cider and writes a great blog about his exploits. Thanks Mark.

I'll keep the details of the beef recipe under my hat for the moment, but for the cider cured ham, I'm thinking along the lines of marrying the cider with a local honey and using, what I like to call, warm spices: allspice, cinnamon, cloves etc. However, knowing me, that'll all change before the final version. Calculating the actual cure will only take a few minutes; it's the thinking time beforehand that takes me weeks!

Crab and Lobster

My lovely daughter Emma kindly remembered her half-starved 18 stone dad when she visited the seaside. She brought me these:

Crab and Lobster

They we a little reserved when they first arrived but they soon came out of their shells!

Preparing Crab

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