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Cucumber gin

30th September 2011

It’s past lunchtime, it’s Friday, the sun’s out. I think it’s time for a G&T with my new cucumber and lemon mint gin…

To make:
-Sterilise bottle/jar.
-Shred cucumbers (I use a peeler) and pick herbs, place in bottle with a squeeze of lemon juice. Fill bottle with gin (use a basic but good gin, the expensive ones are already infused with lots of flavours)
-Place in a cool place so that the cucumbers don’t perish too quickly and strain out the solids after about 2-3 days. Any longer than this and the cucumbers will start to go off and make the gin taste grassy.

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Sloe gin puddings

29th September 2011

Making sloe gin or fruit liqueur? Don’t throw away the strained fruit afterwards.
It makes a lovely, boozy topping for ice cream or pancakes. You could even puree it to make a grown-up coulis.

-Photo is berries from fruits-of-the forest gin with rice pudding. The berries are less tart than sloes so I added some lemon juice to up their fruitiness. Very luxurious.

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Crispy piggy tails -from Fergus Henderson’s Nose To Tail Eating

29th September 2011

There’s something funny lurking by the kitchen sink…

Piggy tails specially ordered from the Windsor Farm Shop for Fergus Henderson’s Crispy Pigs Tails recipe. Not so appetising in this state!

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The first stage of piggy prep and looking better already.

Herbs, veg, garlic, wine and lemon zest all added and ready to go for a three-hour bathe in the oven…

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Crispy Pigs Tails, the finished dish! But the question is, were they offaly good?

Well, they were nice. I hadn’t expected nice. I had expected unbelievably good or just awful (after 3 hours of simmering, they were very flabby and looked like they’d be the latter!)
I ate them with a little red wine vinegar (as suggested) and a herb and cucumber salad. They were tasty but not full of flavour, the crispness came from the breadcrumbs not the skin. I wonder if this is how Henderson makes them or whether mine turned out differently. I haven’t seen them on the St.John menu so we may never know.
For the amount of time and care it took to make them this wont be a recipe I’ll be making again. However, I am very pleased that I’ve tried it, even just for the novelty factor!

Recipe from ‘Nose to Tail Eating: A kind of British cooking’ by Fergus Henderson of St. John Restaurant.

Braised pig’s cheeks

28th September 2011

Today’s creation, braised pig’s cheeks:

http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/595844

There’s something very satisfying about meat so melting it can be eaten with a spoon… Almost as satisfying as tucking into something that’s been lovingly bubbling away for almost 5 hours.
I’ve been desperate to try pig’s cheeks for a while and this recipe turned out to be a corker. It’s easy to prep, the magic is all in the waiting. As it wouldn’t be harmed by an extra hour or so in the oven, it would be a perfect dinner party dish. 
The only fault I can find is that the flavour is rich but with the carrot/celery/onion trio it’s slightly stew-like -I’d love to try the cheeks with some more complex flavours to match the specialness of the meat.

Having ordered whole cheeks/bath chaps from the fantastic butchers at Windsor Farm Shop and removed the nuggets of cheek I’m now left with the large fatty parts. 
It would be a shame to waste them as they have good, thick layers of meat but they’re also a little hairy on the skin side. Could they be roasted like pork belly?What to do..!?

(photo courtesy of http://www.uktv.co.uk)

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A bit of Royal icing…

27th September 2011

Just found an old photo of the biscuits I made for the Royal Wedding…

They are a total rip off of the ones made by Biscuiteers, a fantastically inspiring company that sells exquisite iced biscuits. Having lent my copy of ‘Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits’ to a friend they were even lovely enough to send me a new one so that she could keep it!
However, the powers that be at Biscuiteers have fallen from my favour for not using free-range eggs (and insisting that it’s impossible for them to do so). So now I make my own.
At just under £40 per tin I thought they charged silly prices for their product, now I make them myself I realise they’re being very generous -each batch I make takes at least 6-7 hours!

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GBBO

27th September 2011

BBC The Great British Bake Off, please don’t leave me next week. There will be a big empty hole in my life. I know there are plenty more fish in the sea but Masterchef doesn’t go so well with tea and cake and Chopped gets me all stressed out. Can you just eke it out a little bit longer? Please?

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25th September …

25th September 2011

Burnt butter brazils.
After buying Hope & Greenwood’s ‘Life is Sweet’ I’ve decided to get more use out of my sugar thermometer. Flicking through the pages, I saw many recipes that I know my grandpa would love so I’ve decided to make him a bag every month or so. 
So far I’ve made these nuts and a 4 Seville oranges worth of candied peel. Despite following the recipe to the letter the candied peel was a complete disaster as they refused to dry out and crystallise. The brazils were only slightly better, the oil from the nuts meant that the sugar slid off during dipping and needed to be drizzled instead.
BOOK VERDICT: Perhaps if the author spent more time testing the recipes than writing amusing asides this would be a much better cookbook!

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