Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wednesday recipe:Tripe and tomato

Another slow cooker success.  Darling husband wanted to have tripe...and well I have to say YUCK.  Anyway, he wanted it and I felt like experimenting and it was cheap.  So I was in Limerick and found a butcher selling it and got 0.75kilo. I asked was it fully prepared and an elderly lady there told me to boil it for 10 minutes, throw off the water and then cook it in milk with onions.  I know this has been the traditional way here to cook it but not what I was going to do.
So, I washed it well, put in a pot of cold water, brought to the boil and simmered for 10 suggested.  While this was happening I sliced up 3 onions and sweated in olive oil until soft and then stirred in some tomato paste and cooked this out.  I drained the tripe and cut it into slices and put this into slow cooker.  I added a glass of red wine to the onions, cooked it out a bit and poured on top of the tripe.  To this I added two chopped carrots and some chopped leek, some mixed dried herbs and a carton of tomato passata.  I then topped up with water to cover (I used the tomato passata carton to make sure I got all the passata out) and left on high until it came to a bubble and then turned to medium and left on overnight.  In the morning it was all cooked and the tripe soft and tender...well so I've been told, I didn't eat it.  This did him for 3 meals...and he's a big eater.
It must have been a sucess as he has asked fo it again.  The 0.75kilo of tripe cost me €4.50.

New week, new products, new room.

Well it's a new week already and I have have been really busy.  I got the Etsy site all sorted and am now up and running, you can find it here
I have also decided on some new items to make and am busy now with phone charms and bookmarks.
This has all caused a disagreement at home, I like to sew at night while watching the TV, darling daughter 2 then complains about the light being left on.  So, I have rearranged one of the rooms and I now have my own sitting room at home that I can watch TV and sew, or just chill out, or just listen to music, or drink a glass of wine, or.....nope better not say that!!!
I just need to  make curtains for it now, I went to IKEA and bought 12metres of this fabric so I will be even busier now this weekend.

SOLRUN Fabric, multicolour Width: 150 cm Pattern repeat: 92 cm

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New Valentine's wreath

What do you think of the new wreath? I have it as the title picture, I LOVE this one.  It's red and grey felt with ribbon from Brown Thomas presents.  I have also used clay buttons I had made by a potter in Sligo a number of years ago, some ric rac I bought, old black fearthers and bits and pieces I saved from the Christmas cracker covers.  I think this one is very effective, romantic without being sickly...and just a little goth...or quirky.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wednesday recipe: Scones

The community group cookery class is starting back soon and I have been planning recipes for it. I have decided to start with scones, fruit scones and brown scones. Now I have to be honest, I haven't had much success with scones recently. They have been too dry, too much soda or too crumbly and so I have been testing recipes this week. So after a lot of eating (and about a pound of butter spread on scones) I have decided that the Avoca recipe is the best. I have noticed that scone recipes have changed over the years and now use baking powder and/or self raising flour and are sweeter. So the Avoca recipe is

1lb self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 ozs caster sugar
4 oz butter
4 oz dried fruit
1 egg
2 oz cream
about 8 oz milk
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water to glaze

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and stir in the sugar. Using your fingertips, lightly work in the butter until the mixture resembles dry breadcrumbs then stir in the dried fruit. Add the egg, cream and enough milk to moisten. Mix well until it has a soft, doughy texture - but it shouldn't be too moist. Gather the dough into a ball and turn it out on to a floured surface, then roll lightly with a rolling pin to 2.5cm/1 inch thick. Cut out with a round cutter, transfer to a floured baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg glaze. Bake in an oven preheated to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for 15- 20 minutes or until well browned.
I got 16 decent scones out of this, don't be tempted to roll it thinner to get more scones, too flat and they just crumble. Also they are best eaten on the day they are baked. The cream adds a creamy lightness to the mixture.

Easter table mats

So I liked the mats I made for the table for Christmas and want some now for Easter. I must be a glutton for punishment because our table sits 12 people so that's a lot of mats. I got this fabric and got started today.

I decided to make square mats about 15" square (as I know this fits well on my table) and wanted a square in a square pattern. Using the rotary cutter I cut pink centres 5.5" by 5.5", green fern 5.5" by 5.5" and also 5.5" by 10.5", then the green chicks 5.5" by 10.5" and also 5.5" by 15.5". This includes all seams allowances and gives me a finshed 15" square.

All the cutting is done and I have started on the sewing now.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ham hock and beans

This worked well in the slow cooker too. I got a smoked ham hock for €2.50 in the butchers. Overnight I soaked some black eyed beans and then in the morning brought them to the boil and boiled well for 10 minutes. Ham hock went into slow cooker along with the beans. In a pan I fried onions, smoked paprika, tomato paste and some garlic powder and put this into slow cooker. Added some chopped leeks, carrots, celery and red peppers and just a little chilli. I covered with water. This just cooked away all day. The stock was quite fatty so I drained it off, shredded the ham and added to the beans along with some tomato passata..and there it is ham hock and beans.

Slow cooker cooking

So...I got a slow cooker for my birthday and I have been using it non stop since. It's a small one, about 3L capacity, and not a posh brand just Tesco brand...but it's great. So the first thing cooked in it was porridge. I put it in at about 11pm and left in on high, darling husband turned it to medium at about 1pm and then at 7pm I was up and put it back up to high. Good porridge, no stirring and the crock pot is really easy to clean.
So I also cooked oxtail in it. I got three pieces large pieces of oxtail for about €6, I browned it in the pan first and put it into the slow cooker. Then I browned a whole heap of onions as well with some smoked paprika and tomato paste and put that on top of the oxtail. Then into the pot went chopped peppers, chopped carrots, chopped leek and celery. I deglazed the pan with red wine and poured that over the oxtail aswell. I covered with quartered maushrooms and topped up with water....and then left if cooking overnight on high. The following morning I took out the oxtail and it just fell off the bone. I put the meat back into the pot and left it all to cool and then was able to take of the fat. Heated it up again and it was great. The next day I made an oxtail pie with ready made puff pastry, very tasty.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A new year

So, it's now 2012, time for new plans, time for new resolutions or for me time for reflection. Time to think over the past year, it's successes and failures and what I would like to do differently this year given the choice.

Well for me one of the sucesses of the year was a wonderful family holiday, 3 days in Biarritz and then 2 weeks in the Dordogne for four of us. But that then was the partial cause of one of the failures of the year, the vegetable garden. The holiday was at a critical stage of growing and planting and as a result when we got back seedlings had died and the plants had bolted. I just didn't have the heart to start again and as a result I lost a full season in the garden.

So this year we already have plans in place for the vegetable garden. Darling husband went out over the weekend and started to clear all the weeds out of the raised beds, then the hens had a great time picking over them. I have been going through all the seed catalogues and seeds we already have and planning what we would like to grow this year. Also I have cleaned out the large chest freezer in anticipation of the wonderful produce we will grow.

Other plans for this year are to add to our poultry. We have 3 hens for eggs but are considering chickens and ducks for meat, it is still at the planning stage and we are trying to figure out the killing and preparing of the meat, who does what and when and how many. Any advice gratefully received.