Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Mutterings

Thought I'd better start the day with blogging as otherwise never get around to it.  It's been quite a seven days all told.   Have to say I've found great satisfaction in having a reason to cook (in bulk) again, and most of the time thoroughly enjoyed it, although by the time Saturday arrived I felt I'd done enough (but still had a lot to finish off).  In fact never left the kitchen from the time I got up (first usual ablutions etc), until the desserts were taken to the club - making 10 hours in all!!!

Surprisingly I stayed in bed until mid-day on Sunday, too exhausted to do anything else, this then led to an early night (for me) which in turn led to one of my (almost) sleepless nights, but today I feel a lot more energetic.

Haven't heard how the Grand Opening went, not even sure how many visitors were there.  First I was told to cater for 100, then some days later the numbers were said to be around 40, then was told it could be 100 after all.  On Friday I phoned and told they expected it to be 60, so I settled for 60 good portions that would feed 80 if necessary (my daughter was also taking a dessert so there should have been enough.

In the end I made 2 x Tiramasu, 1 x Sicilian Cassata, 2 x Black Forest Gateau (oblongs to make easy slicing), 1 large Tropical Fruit Cheesecake, and 1 big Fruit Flan (with strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries).  Each served at least 10 portions, some served 12-15.  My plan to male a Paris-Brest (or Banoffee Pie, or Treacle Tart) was shelved as there seemed no reason to do the extra work if the portions were not needed (my excuse).  By then I was too tired anyway.

As ever, there seemed a lot more washing up to be done than actual prep/cooking/assembly on the day. Thankfully most of the work (if not all the work) could be done sitting down.   However, it did prove to me that I can do it when I try, and so part of yesterday I spent sorting out the kitchen (again), and putting things like electric whisks in handier places (normally kept on a high shelf).  Today I will continue doing that, and probably the rest of the week until everything is in its rightful (useful to me) place, and cooking will become easier for me.  This didn't matter before, but does now.

As well as the cooking, last week (and yesterday) had other things of interest.  Such as the eclipse.  In Morecambe this turned out to be a damp squib as around 9.00am it was a sunny if somewhat hazy start to the day, then at 9.15 it began to get a bit darker as though there were rain clouds gathering, but in a very few minutes the sky lightened again and no way would anyone have thought there had been an eclipse, although (according to the TV news) some areas did go very dark.

Yesterday there was the procession of King Richard III through the streets of Leicester, and as many readers will know that was my adopted home town (although I was born in Coventry).  My mother was born and bred in Leicestershire, as was my Beloved, so I felt part of it, although deep down I felt the King should have been buried in York Minster or even Westminster Abbey, as were most of the medieval kings.  

There was a lot of controversy over King Richard III mainly with the help of William Shakespeare, and it was interesting to hear how at least one of the two princes in the tower was taken ill at the time of his supposed murder, a doctor being called, so he could have died 'naturally'.  In any case it was written that the two princes were bastards and couldn't claim the throne anyway, so why the need to kill them anyway?  Also that the King did more for his people in the few years he reigned (777 months I believe) than any other monarch during the same time-length after their coronation.  So he wasn't all bad, if bad at all. 

The basic recipe Margie for Tiramisu is to dip sponge fingers (sometimes called Boudoir biscuits), into strong coffee, then place the undipped (sugary) side down in a dish in a single layer.  Cover with whipped marscapone cheese and cream, slightly sweetened with icing sugar, and top with another layer of the fingers flavoured with Marsala, finishing with whipped cream and a topping of sifted cocoa.  Chill for several hours, pref overnight.

There are many variations, and although I normally start with the coffee, this time I dipped the sponge fingers in Limoncello, beating a little more of this liqueur into the marscapone along with some 'light' Philadelphia cream cheese.  Then topped with more biscuits, finishing as above with cream and cocoa.

Although not a traditional Tirimasu, as long as we use the Boudoir biscuits, layered with marscapone cheese/cream, we could use a different liqueur/spirit/wine, and probably the Internet would come up with some suggestions.   I tend to play it by ear.

Sorry to hear about your Dad having a fall Kathryn.  I've known quite a number of people (some elderly, some younger) who have had pacemakers fitted and they work brilliantly.  Add years to their life I'm sure.  However, it is a good idea to not have stairs to climb, so a ground-floor annexe for your Dad seems a good idea, also land outdoors that is easy to walk around (shallow steps etc).

Your herbal jellies and jams sound mouth watering, so this could be a way you could make a bit of pin-money.  Up on the hills overlooking the sea (about 20 miles from Morecambe) there is a wind-swept farm, mostly sheep roam around outside the stone walls, kept in the open fields nearby by cattle grids across roads.  Too windy for cattle I think. 
However, outside the farm-gate (the road/track runs close by) is a trestle table, and on this are jars of jellies, jams, eggs for sale.  People are trusted to help themselves and put the money in a box at the back of the table.   Perhaps it is because car-drivers who come to look at the spectacular views of the distant Bay) and the many walkers that are the people who pass by who are expected to be honest.

It's still quite cold, but with a high pressure area expected mid-week the signs are a rise in temperature from Wednesday, and am looking forward to warmer weather so that I can zimmer myself outside to sit in the sun for a while.  That would be bliss.
The hour goes forward next weekend, so I'll have to alter as many clocks as I can (B used to do this) and just remember the oven clock will be wrong by an hour (I don't know how to do this one).

Speaking of the oven.... Have realised that no longer can I use the larger top oven for heavy things (like roasting a chicken)  as it is too high for me to pull out the tins safely (B used to do it for me - how I miss all his help re these things).  But as I'm now on my own should find the lower (small) oven quite large enough for my own needs.   Just have to tray-bake things one at a time in that, rather than cooking three at a time in the oven above.   It could be worse.   Hardly use either oven anyway.

That's it for today, still lots of work to do and I want to continue working as hard as possible as each day I find I can do that little bit more without getting over-tired (as long as I take one day off a week).

One query. Those garden 'heaters' called chiminers (not the right name but am sure you know what I mean).  Am thinking about getting one and need to know if food (pizzas) etc can be cooked using them, and also whether I could use it to burn surplus paper, chicken bones,  twigs etc.  I've such a lot of rubbish that needs burning (B would normally take it to the tip), and far better to make use of the heat from the fire than burning it in a 'bonfire' cage.

What is the best size, and best material (do they do iron ones that won't crack in the frost although I could be protected in the winter I suppose).

Won't be blogging tomorrow as have visitor, so hope to return on Wednesday.  TTFN.