Onion Bagels

Whilst hubby and I were in Coventry the other day we stopped for lunch at a bagel shop, I love a freshly cooked bagel and hadn’t seen such a shop since living in London. Although I was shocked to discover that out of the eight or was it nine choices, onion, wasn’t one of them. So of course since that moment it’s all I’ve craved for. And as I’ve never made a bagel, how hard can it be?, I decided to make some.

I did have to add more flour than the recipe asked for, but I think that is always a balance you have to play with when adding a wet ingredient of unknown wetness. After the boiling, which was quite good fun actually.Fresh out of the oven. They were lovely, chewy and oniony, everything one wants an onion bagel to be.

The watching of cookery programmes.

When I was first married the watching of Keith Floyd or Ken Hom, Nigella or Delia was a big event. Hubby and I would happily put the t.v. on and watch, often while eating supper perched on our lap. We would greedily watch the episode, flick through the associated recipe book if it had become available (they are much better at this these days, sometimes one had to wait) and decide what we should cook that weekend.

I’ve never lost my love of a good cookery programme, just my love of watching t.v. There have been whole series of bake off that I have missed – quelle horreur! And currently I am down to one hour of t.v.’s watching a week – The Bodyguard, its absolutely riveting. When a friend of mine mentioned that Jamie Oliver’s new series called Italy was rather good. Okay I thought I’ll give it a go and duly tuned in.

The programme was wonderful, gracefully aged Nana’s showing skills honed over the last 70 years is always a beautiful thing to behold. In the episode I viewed (and I fully intend to catch up with them all) a dish called Stracotto came up, this was a delicious looking  slow cooked beef ragu made from beef chuck. I quickly changed my Tesco online order and added in a KG of skirt, chuck not being readily available and made a mental note to buy the recipe book the next day.

My order came this morning on a dismal rainy day and I set to work. Unfortunately I was slightly disappointed that my butcher had diced my meat. But no matter, doesn’t it look lovely.
Following the recipe I soon had this… although my Kenwood may have helped with all the chopping. After a good three hours in the oven we had this (although the recipe says cook on top of the stove, I always feel safer cooking long and slow in the oven).  It was delicious, we enjoyed it with pasta and a little parmesan and 6 more portions are stashed away in the freezer to add warmth and comfort as required..

 

On the buses.

The other day I was idly thinking about the time that I left home and moved to Coventry. From a small town I think you can imagine that this was very exciting and one thing that really excited me was the constant bustle of buses moving around the city centre. Where did they all go? I wondered.  So every so often I used to walk to Pool Meadow, this was in the days before the internet and I lived in the city centre to buy a bus pass for the week, having worked out that one only had to do just over three return trips to break even and then tootle around as often as I could for the next seven days. I’d often do big shopping trips, things like that but often I’d just sit on the bus until it got to the end and then hop off and catch the next bus back. Or I’d be out with new found friends visiting their friends or family. It was great fun and I found my way around the city – I don’t think I did all of it, but I did quite a lot!

So curiously I decided to have a look at how the balance of trips to cost of a weeks ticket would work out on our local bus companies. Well, it would take six return trips to just tip over the cost of a weeks ticket!  That is a ridiculous number!!!  And, furthermore, on one company there is no ticket that covers from Coventry to Leamington, so I would have to buy two sets of weekly tickets. Coventry to Leamington is covered by another company, but the service for me at least, is not as convenient. Do they not realise that if the break even point was a bit lower it might induce the casual rider to buy a ticket rather than always trying to find change. Next I found that if I wanted to buy a day rider ticket on the internet to Leamington it would cost me £8.80 rather than asking the bus driver for a return which is £4.10  of my hard earned shillings, which is ridiculous and daylight robbery. I wonder if anyone has actually ever bought one, when one can have two returns and still have change.

So I gave up on that idea, but I didn’t give up on the idea of dragging hubby to Coventry. For some reason he is quite happy to use them in London, but not so keen in Warwickshire, maybe the green fields aren’t so interesting!  But reader, drag him I did and actually he had a great day. Of course he didn’t pay at all and what we would have paid for parking and petrol it was cheaper and actually more convenient to do it this way. We alighted in Corporation Street were able to wander around and then found on an app the time of the next bus and the nearest bus stop to where we were when we wished to come home – perfect.

We had a good tootle around the shops when I happened upon their very nice Waterstones…. and confidence renewed picked up a couple of novels and was very lucky to find ‘Together, Our Community Cookbook’  the recipes tell the story of a group of women who came together after the terrible tragedy of the Grenfell Tower in order to cook fresh food for their families and neighbours. Supported by HRH The Duchess of Sussex and all profits going to support the communities. I must say I can’t wait to start cooking from this book, the recipes look absolutely delicious. I think it was this recipe that caught my imagination the most, Beef and Aubergine Casserole,  I drooled when I saw that photograph. This was quickly followed by Iraqi Dolma, those stuffed vine leaves look absolutely divine. And this too is right up my street, Algerian Sweet Lamb.

It truly is a melting pot of delicious family recipes from cultures that are spread all over the world. I hope the contributions from this book bring  joy to those affected, buy it, you’ll love it.

 

 

 

Looking back at Summer.

Summer has been for us a bit of a mixed bag. Hubby had a health scare earlier in the year and it has left its suspicious mark on us. He needs six monthly checks now and I don’t think one can ever really put that to the back of ones mind, especially when he complains about new to him aches and pains.  We have have felt deep joy in other areas of our life and are very grateful for it.

The allotment has done well and diabolically all at the same time! What a dry summer! If it wasn’t for hubby’s tenacity on the watering we would have nothing to gather and enjoy, the triumphs have been amazing. We have never had sweetcorn so sweet and the beetroot has been absolutely delicious. The tomatoes have been the tastiest we have ever had and I long to start on the butternut squashes. The garlic was terrible, we threw the onions away and the shallots are the smallest I have ever seen, just too precious to compost.

Rupert is still gathering strength after his broken leg and we have started training him on his recall, after one near disastrous event on the plot where he hopped over the fence to come looking for me while I was blackberrying at the same time as lots of cars were moving on the allotments. The trouble with training recall on an adult dog, is they have the confidence to ignore you. This requires lots of sausages and a long lead and now Rupert has a sausage breakfast alfresco, one tiny bit at a time – he doesn’t seem to mind.

So we shall gather our fruits off the allotment, be thankful for all good things and look forward to Autumn and the tidying of the allotment and preparations for winter.

 

 

Apple Crumble

I love a crumble, I much prefer it to a fruit pie, I just love the way the crumbly topping turns into the flavour of a buttery shortbread that one can then add fruit and thick clotted cream or custard to as one greedily and happily tucks in. Son no.1 had invited us for Sunday lunch so I thought an apple crumble might be the perfect accompaniment.

Firstly prepare your apples. F7FA8979-8B1D-405E-BAC6-C8AD8117F9CFThen I chop 3/5ths in a chunky fashion and 2/5ths much finer. This allows for the small pieces to pulp down yet provides chunky pieces for added interest and texture. 95AF5456-A49E-46EE-A05C-5AE2B3975CBBMix in soft brown sugar and cinnamon, and place in the cooking pan.2F605A0C-A066-43D3-A031-0DD9E3544002.jpegTop with crumble made from butter, cinnamon, flour, sugar and almonds. Bake at 200c for forty minutes. 9377E5CC-1223-4638-86F3-0F5FFD810377.jpegAnd serve.

Ingredients for the filling

800 grams peeled and decored weight of Bramley apples.

50 grams soft brown sugar

level desertspoon of ground cinnamon

for the crumble

180 grams self raising flour

80 grams of chilled butter, salted is fine.

120 grams of demarara sugar

120 grams of almonds, skin on is fine, whizzed or hand processed to still retain a crunch.

A level desertspoon of ground cinnamon

 

 

Sunday Lunch

Son no.1 messaged me to ask us if we’d like to join him for Sunday Lunch just at the very moment hubbys head was deep in the freezer looking for a suitable offering for our Sunday lunch the next day. We jumped at the chance to be catered to and spend a lovely afternoon with him.

It was an absolutely lovely afternoon and the food was amazing. 85AB3EB0-FDD9-48AD-97E2-26F9E21E9B9DI hadn’t realised just how confident a cook son no.1 had become. It was wonderful to see him happily throwing ingredients around, handling knives and pans like a real pro, clearly enjoying his kitchen in his new place. We had roast chicken and stuffing, roast potatoes that were meltingly delicious yet crunchy on the outside, roast parsnips, honey glazed carrots, mashed potato with cheese and mustard, roasted onions and garlic and roasted tomatoes with herbs along with a delicious capture all the juices gravy. It was sooo good.3808EDD6-B0AD-4763-9C7C-4E1252139F5CI brought along a home made apple crumble and some custard (shop bought! How I let the side down!)25AF53B0-2C0F-4125-A387-EDDDE8316DA9We gossiped until early evening, when we all pulled together and did a big washing and drying up stint, returning the kitchen to its former glory, well apart from the draw, that hubby broke! I’m so glad it wasn’t me!, and said our goodbyes to travel home in the golden light. Reader, in the scheme of teaching food cookery to ones off spring, my work here is done and very proud of him I am too.

Reading in Heels, September 2018

314BFAC8-3704-40FA-8BAC-63A0D94C25E4Ooh goodies!!! After last months box which was so enjoyable, I’ve loved reading all about Princess Margaret’s antics, she certainly knew how to party; I’ve very much been looking forward to this months treat. EEEF8A3D-F450-46A3-BA35-7B140DBA9777This month we have The rise and fall of Becky Sharp by Sarra Manning. A modern retelling of Vanity Fair, this brings the story of the beautiful, brilliant and totally ruthless Becky up to date. She’s sexy, fun and outrageous, sounds like it could be quite a giggle, I can’t wait.

And as for our treats, well they look lovely. Firstly we have Mythyn Melusine Silk Bath Soak. A bath soak inspired by a French mermaid. It contains essential oils, Celtic French salts, natural mineral clay, silk and spirilina. It sounds very soothing,it will be lovely to try in a nice warm bath with candles and a good book!

Next we have Juno skincare Joie face oil. Which sounds perfect after that lovely long soak in the bath. I thought I might pop mine in my swimming bag, my skin needs all the help it can get after an hour in the pool.

Then we have a new way to stay hydrated! Conscious Water, each sachet contains 100% natural flower essences. One squeezes the sachet into a glass of water, it’ll be an interesting try.

And lastly, Kacao chocolate botanical bar. Grapefruit and basil in white chocolate! Well I am either going to love it or hate it, but it’s going to be fun trying. 57903840-F385-4E15-9235-CBC642A4909D.jpegI think this has all come together very well this month. Last month it was a treat that kept on giving, looks like this month might be the same.