Friday, 24 October 2014

A huge one

Nope, not talking about spiders although we have had our fair share of those this Autumn. We went to our local shop to get milk and inside, sitting on a shelf, marked at just £1, was the biggest butternut squash we have seen. Puts the ones in the big shops to shame.

It was roasted in the oven and what wasn't used up for a meal, got frozen for later use in a curry or with pasta, oh, and it weighed 5lbs after roasting.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Pickling Onions

This is something I haven't done for a few years and we both fancied some so off we went.

We quickly topped and tailed some pickling onions, placed them into a bowl:
and poured boiling water oven them:
 A plate was placed on top to keep the smell in:
After about 20 minutes they were cool enough to handle, were drained and the skins just fell off. Some people recommend leaving them in the water to go cold but we don't as they can go soft.

Normally I would create my own pickling vinegar but this time opted for bought. Whilst the jars were warming in the oven, the vinegar was heated with 2 - 3 tablespoons of sugar. We like to sweeten the vinegar otherwise it is too acidic for our tastes.

When ready, the onions were stuffed into the jars, a whole dried chilli added, then topped up to just under the brim with the hot vinegar and the lids screwed on tightly. Once cold they were labelled and we'll start on them some time in December:

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Steamed Apple Lemon Curd Puddings

I usually start steaming mini puddings in Autumn, ready for use in the colder months. We only eat pudding on a Sunday, seems to help keep our weight on an even keel! I invested in 8 mini tins many years ago now and they have earned their keep.

Firstly, measure out 4 x 4" - 5" pieces of parchment paper, fold and cut them in half.  Now use as much parchment paper as needed to measure out enough to draw around the base of the pudding tins to give you 8 cut out circles. You should now have 8 small circles and 8 squarish pieces of parchment paper.

Now measure out similar pieces of foil, except this time, you will not need 8 circles for the bottom. Fold a crease into each parchment square and each foil square:
Grease each pudding tin and place one of the circles into the bottom of each - I'm showing 4 here to give you an idea if you have never done this before:
Now for the pudding mixture. Put 3 eggs on the weight end of some scales (or directly on if you have that kind and work out the weight). I have old fashioned scales so my eggs stay on the weight end!

Into a mixing bowl, put in the following, using the same amount of weight as the eggs:

S.R. flour, margarine and sugar (remove 2 tablespoons so it won't be too sweet), the zest of one lemon, 4 tablespoons of curd and the eggs themselves:
Beat it all together. Divide the mixture between the 8 pudding tins:
Place one piece of folded parchment paper on the top of each tin and squish it around the sides:
Repeat with one piece of folded foil, keeping the fold in the same direction:
Squish it around the sides and it should hold for the duration of the steaming.
Place 4 into each layer of a steaming pan, try to leave a small gap between each tin plus the sides of the pan if at all possible. Stack one pan on top and repeat. Now fill the bottom of the pan with 2" of boiled water and put the whole thing on to heat:
My steamer tends to let some of the steam out so once I am satisfied the steam is rising through all levels, I tie the handles together! Turn the heat down to a rolling simmer and steam for 1 hour. Remove one and check if it has risen and doesn't indent when you prod it with your finger. If not, then it is done, if it does not spring back up, give it a little longer, maybe another 20 minutes.

Here they are, fresh from the steamer:

I left them to cool for about 10 minutes, then used a small palette knife to ease them out of their tins:
They were then left to go completely cold. Six were wrapped individually in cling film and frozen, the other two we had with custard for our Sunday pudding.