Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sunday Off - Cold but no Storm.

Inspired by The Shoulder of Mutton open fire David has sent me a picture of their log-fire and it certainly looks great. Do any of you remember those bent wire toasting forks which produced such wonderful toast ? Or is it the rosy glow of nostalgia? Did it actually have charred edges and taste of smoke ?

David had taken the picture using flash, and I've only fiddled with it a bit, to make the embers glow more. Only he can tell us what it actually looked like.

Comments......Thanks Bungus for 'The Life and Times of Gonzo The Moorhen'..........He now has his secure place in history. A journalist recently described blogs as 'the first draft of History' which is rather charming I think.

Your request Jill for stuff about slow cookers set me agoogling. The Lakeland job at £19.99p looks good and I'm sure would be up to their usual high standard. But when I was researching others I thought that this person made an important point:-

" Bought this a couple of months ago to replace a small 1.5 litre sized one which I bought as I didn't think I'd use it often enough to warrant a larger size for the two of us. Wish I'd bought this one first: it's wonderful - I can now cook larger quantities and freeze for another meal. The meat just falls apart after cooking and is so tasty. Gave the small one to my 84 yr old mother who is now also enjoying the cheaper benefits of slow cooking. My son and daughter are vegetarian and particularly like the Ratatouille I make. So much so, that my son and his partner bought one also. "

I think the point she makes about the capacity is very important and although you can obviously google for yourself this Tesco Slow Cooker seemed to me to be the best bet. The same sort of price and just over twice the capacity. Which I suppose means 4 portion rather than 2. One and a half litre in The Lakeland Mini doesn't seem very big, especially if you like to cook enough to do two days. Our Prestige Cook 'N' Steam is basically a steamer but the bottom bit used alone serves as a slow cooker and I've had great success with it. From the customer-reviews in that link, so have others ! I couldn't find a bad review. But of course it's twice the price nearly.

Bungus and Sandra are experienced slow-cooker people and as you see from his comment they are happy users. His 'many meals from the same stew comment' reminded me that I once read of a Dickensian street cry enthusiastically proclaiming "Seven days in the Pot" and if they had tummy upsets they kept quiet about it.

Going to end soon because excitement is building as to 'who goes home' from the 'Strictly Come Dancing' Studio.

As previously mentioned I think that probably Letitia is due for the elbow, but if Matt goes we shall be spared his histrionics in the future.

Thanks Bungus for your lovely foodie comment, but the bait you dangled about the X factor doesn't seem to have attracted many bites.

Picture 2 is a simple Ring Dove; and I suspect is the progeny of the pair which used to 'copopulate' on the garage roof in the spring. It is easy to see why they are associated with 'peace' - they look so peaceful. I'm not sure of the history of the association but when I have spare googling time I might try to find out, unless a reader has it to hand.

Sleep tight folks - put another log on the fire - have a couple of ladles of stew - and watch the telly. Catch you tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

As I'm feeling much better today I'm catching up with the blog. Thank you all for your good wishes. I'm also gratified that 'copuple' has found favour; I'm sure it could catch on!

We have a George Foreman grill and are big fans of it even, if not especially, for steak. We can get it how we want it in just a few minutes but you do need a more expensive cut of meat. Not that I'm suggesting anyone involved in this blog is a cheapskate! Our local eateries seem quite unable to cook steak properly. We went to a local place the other day and ordered rump medium rare hoping it would still have some juices. Alas, it did not and we felt it was pretty much medium well rather than medium rare.

I wasn't too sure I fully understood the cloned-in ballet dancer description initially but that may have been due to not being able to concentrate much on anything. However, I saw the offending article at a Print Project meeting yesterday and could see what RG meant. I'm sure, RG, you'll be interested to learn that the author stated it was the shafts of light that had been imported and not the ballet dancer. Still a bit twee I felt though.

I was very surprised and disappointed that Niki was voted off the X Factor last night. I thought Leon was the poorest on the night but still feel Same Difference have got much further than their talent should have taken them. I can't see anyone beating Rhyddian now but, then again, I never could.

Best wishes to all.


Jill said...

Gozo the moorhen - you did very well to rear him, I shall try saying 'Gozo' to any moorhen I see in case he fancied the bright lights and came to London. How long do they live, I wonder?

And thanks for advice and info on slow-cooker. I do like to cook four portions at once, so perhaps the bigger one would be better. I shall have a look at Tesco on-line and see if it is there. I looked in John Lewis, some of them seemed to be very expensive, in the £60 bracket.

For many years we never saw a ring dove, but now there are quite a few in this area, they seem to be flourishing. Their colouring always remins me of suede gloves/shoes...

And for anonymous, I have watched bits of the X factor, husband watches it as he doesn't like SCD. He was incensed that Niki was voted off too - I saw the first editions and picked Rhyddian immediately as probably the future winner, he is just so professional and has a fabulous voice. He reminds me of the actor Marc Warren ('Hustle') think it is his colouring.

bungus said...

There is no doubt the sight of an open fire is a great comfort. What I don’t miss is the emptying of ashes, fetching in fuel, all the mess. Apart from cost I don’t think underfloor heating can be beaten – no dirt (not even over radiators) and warm feet.
I certainly remember the telescopic wire toasting fork from pre-war days. It did lovely (thick) toast and crumpets (which we incorrectly called ‘pikelets’ just as we knew ‘swede’ as ‘ turnip’). Despite the long fork, hands got burnt while one’s back remained cold. The toast would sometimes be spread with beef or pork dripping from the Sunday joint. Tastes change and that is something I could not face now.

Our slow cooker has a capacity of no more than 2.5 litres (I went down and measured it at midnight). It does 5 large portions which is plenty for us. We recently acquired a splendid much larger one from a charity shop (worth a look) but passed it on as it took up too much worktop space. There isn’t much to go wrong so, without a large family I would personally go for the smallest and cheapest obtainable – although nothing less than 3.5 litres seems to be generally obtainable now.
The street cry I remember (not from hearing it but from reading) is:
Pease puddin’ hot,
Pease puddin’ cold,
Pease puddin’ in the pot,
Nine days old.
The stew was fine with a giant Yorkshire pud (4 portions for the freezer). But I still cannot acquire a taste for chorizo. 12 year old granddaughter loves peperami on pizza but I have to remove it before I can eat.

Aha! I am not the only one who prefers ‘The X Factor’ to amateur dance night (even thought I can still do a ‘drag-hesitation and lock step’ on my reverse turn).
I agree with AnonRob and Jll that Niki was extremely unlucky. Leon isn’t a bad singer at his best but his nerves always seem to inhibit him. And Same Difference should never appear on TV other than in children’s programmes. I doubt if anyone over 13 votes for them. Rhyddion is special; I think ‘unique’ may not be too strong.

I believe the bird is properly called a Collared Dove. Hard to believe that it was not known to breed in this country until 1956! It is the last added feature in my 1960 bird book. Apparently they like chicken runs and conifers and I am told by a ‘birder’ that they breed all year round (ie, several clutches).

Glad to hear that AnonRob is feeling better. I have known people suffer for months.
I suspect people have been ‘copupling’ since time immemorial mostly without knowing what they were doing.
Re the steak: I would not have been surprised at the toughness if it had been a cheap cut but I expected better of ‘Tesco’s Finest’ with a pedigree!
Having once ordered a steak rare in Spain and been obliged to send it back for the chef to put it up his shirt until it was warm - it was barely ‘blue’ - i know that terms like rare mean different things to different people. I now always order ‘medium-rare’ in any untried establishment and expect to get something that doesn’t ‘bleed’ profusely all over the plate and yet is not dark brown all the way through.
I’ll leave the cloned in ballet dancer alone but it does seem to me that it needs illustration or a fuller description to achieve understanding. But, as Sandra tells me (when I don’t understand her): “For an intelligent man you can sometimes be incredibly stupid.”.

Calling ‘Gozo’ won’t work, Jill. His name is (was?) Gonzo. We consulted the rangers at Rufford Country Park who said, “No point bringing him here; the others will kill him. And you’ll never rear him.” To Sandra that sounded like a challenge and, if one is prepared to go out at night digging for worms, anything is possible.
I remember my dad having a pair of suede spats the colour of a Collared Dove; they were a nostalgic relic of the 1920s (when he was in his 20s).

Jill said...

A slow-cooker has been bought - Morphy Richards, on offer at £24.99 (£5 off), size is 3.5 litres filled to the brim, working capacity 2.5. So later on this week I shall be trying it out with chicken thighs. Was surprised to read I had to cut veg. up very small, they take longer to cook than the meat? Why? In the booklet there is a recipe for cooking a rice pudding - has anyone tried that - I take it you don't get a proper skin on it.