a busy domestic blog of knitting, sewing and all kinds of needlecrafts, cooking my garden produce and preserving it

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Herman the German #3 World takeover

I fed Herman with his flour/sugar/milk feed early on Thursday and popped him in the cupboard.

It was a rather warm day and as Herman is basically a sweetened sourdough mix, he got a little excitable and wouldn't be contained by his bowl.

I should have kept a closer eye on him and remembered to stir the mixture - this lets the gas bubbles pop and the volume decreases.
 After a quick clean up of the cupboard, I moved a small amount of mixture into a clean bowl, added an egg and a handful of sultanas to the bulk and baked it. It wasn't as sweet or light as the first cake (HTG#2) made from the Herman mixture but still a nice fruit loaf.

The small amount I kept has already doubled in size but is now smelling more 'yeasty'. I think next time I feed him, I'll add more sugar in an attempt to lose the alcoholic tang.

Read Herman's previous adventures  - Herman the German and Herman the German #2

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Herman the German #2

 Herman the German has now been with us just over a week. He's been 'fed' twice - with half pint of milk, 8oz flour and 4oz sugar - and at weekend we decided to eat him!
 The feeding had led the batter to double in size - maybe even treble.

I scooped a rough third out, added flour, an egg, mixed spice and sultanas

 and baked it.
 I think it went down well!

The remainder is still bubbling in the kitchen with extra flour, sugar and milk added again today.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Herman the German

Herman is a little present I was brought by my elder daughter at weekend. I'm not sure why he (it?) is called Herman the German but that's what his accompanying 'care notes' say. He has to be stirred daily  - and talked to. On Days 4 and 9, I'm to feed him with milk, sugar and flour and on Day 10 I cook and eat him!

I'll keep you posted on how he progresses.....

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Testing - Pomegranates and Roses by Ariana Bundy #1 - #1

I'm testing the concept of a new feature on the blog today. In my other life as a book blogger I occasionally get  cookery books for review (and I often ask for them for birthday/Christmas presents). Now although it's possible to flick through a book of gorgeous photos and drool over the food presented there, it's not the same as setting to and cooking from the book and, most important of all, tasting the results. A quick look will tell you if you want to buy the book, only time will tell how much you'll actually use it!.  

So, what I'm aiming to do here, in addition to a post at OurBookReviewsOnline, is test some of the recipes- see how feasible they are, how difficult sourcing ingredients is and how mush we liked them. Obviously it's not fool proof - one person's mildly spicy is another flaming hot after all - but hopefully it's interesting and perhaps helpful.

First recipe up is

 Khoreshteh Morgh Va Porteghal 
(chicken with oranges+saffron) 

from Pomegranates and Roses by Ariana Bundy
Pomegranates and Roses is collection of recipes inspired by the author's family home of Persia, with cookery instructions interspersed with the family's history and insights into Persian culinary culture.
It's a gorgeous book but due to that may end up on the coffee table, rather than in everyday use.

 This was picked as the first recipe to try from this new book solely because I had most of the ingredients to hand. It doesn't really contain anything unusual - they're just put together differently.

  Basically, this recipe is chicken cooked with oranges and flavoured with saffron, turmeric and cinnamon - maybe like a stir-fry or Duck a l'orange. In Persia, sour oranges rather like Sevilles would be used for this dish, so the author has replaced them with normal sweet oranges 'soured' by the addition of lemon/lime and verjuice/wine vinegar. The end result was not as sickly sweet as I'd expected, nor as overly orangey.      
   The instructions were easy to follow, despite referring back to a previous recipe for cooking method and times. It took a little longer to prepare than I expected - mainly because I couldn't find turmeric quickly and easily (it's one thing to know you have the ingredients, another to lay hands on them!)
 I decided not to try making the suggested Persian rice dishes but went for plain boiled rice with the last minute addition of some yogurt - an idea culled from the book's recipe for Polo ba Taadig.

Definitely a recipe I'd cook again.

More recipes from Pomegranates and Roses
Dolmeyeh Barge Mo (Moorish Stuffed Vine Leaves)

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Odds and Ends - and Knitting

I have huge stashes of wool around the house - but  on close inspection, so many bags turn out to just hold odds and ends. I hoard too many little bits in the hope that one day they'll be useful for something. Some of them are only a metre or two in length!

 Anyway, I thought it was time to clear some of them out and hopefully make something nice in the process. 
I gathered up all of the blue-y yarns, with neutral beiges and creams and small amounts of lilac and pink for contrast - and started knitting.

The first bit didn't work well, so I undid it and tried again - it's better this time, I think.

 Because some of the yarns are in very short supply and some of the colours are difficult to tell apart by artificial light, I'm knitting both sides at the same time. It makes a mess on the floor though with so many bits of wool in use at any time!