Continuing the lazy but delicious theme last week I had a craving for rice krispie cakes, a bit of nostalgic childhood comfort food. The end result was a wee bit different, mixing the marshmallows, nuts and dried fruit of rocky road with the lightness and crunch of krispie cakes.
200g dark chocolate broken into pieces ( milk if prefered)
60g unsalted butter diced
3 tbsp golden syrup
100g mini marshmallows
50g mixed dried fruit
50g walnut pieces
120g of rice krispies
In the microwave, or over a pan of simmering water melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup being careful not to overheat and burn. When the mixture is liquid and glossy add the fruit, nuts and half the marshmallows, allow the marsh mallows to melt a little. Put the rice krispies and the rest of the marshmallows into a large mixing bow. Stir in the chocolate mixture until the rice krispies are totally covered. Place in cake cases or a baking tin until cooled and set. If using a baking tin cut into squares when cool.
The days are getting longer and warmer and it feels like it’s very nearly beer garden weather so that must mean it’s time to get planting seeds like chillies and tomatoes.
These little beauties are a mixture of Scotch Bonnet, Habanero and Cayenne chillies so won’t be for the faint hearted when they are ripe. We will have to wait until then to work out which is which as I didn’t label them straight away and now can’t remember which is which. We are going to have a go at growing them inside this year as our green house wasn’t quite hot enough for the normal peppers last year and these will definitely need a bit more heat, they also look quite pretty.
If all twelve plants make it we could have an awful lot so if you have any recipes to share please let me know, I’d love to hear them and will post about them here.
More adventures in cheese and definitely not a healthy recipe; but a tasty one none the less!
Marinated goats cheese is very easy and very delicious, the recipe is a mixture of one’s found by Googleing the idea. I used a small log of fairly mild goats cheese, but I imagine more robust flavours would work but the herbs and spices would need adjusting to taste. I cut the cheese into small rounds and placed in a Tupperware box. I then and added a finely chopped red chilli, a minced clove of garlic, a finely chopped sprig of rosemary, the same amount of thyme, a chopped fresh red chilli and a few strips of lemon zest. Pour over enough olive oil to completely and leave in the fridge for at least two days. It was great with salad, with toasted bread and even as a pizza topping. Make sure you drain the oil off the cheese thoroughly before serving, you can keep the oil in a jar in the fridge to use as a dressing or to flavour other dishes.
Sunday was the first day I’ve felt really warm sunshine on the allotment this year, it’s not difficult as we haven’t been that often. The excitement of the promise of warmer days led to the possibly rash decision to plant out first early potatoes . It feels like a bit of a gamble, last year we lost a whole row to a late snow fall but I trust the wisdom of the more ahem… senior allotment holders and they have planted theirs so damn it so will I! I love digging up potatoes, it’s a very strong childhood memory for me and I still get a child like thrill from digging up a plant and searching for the potatoes in the fine, crumbly soil underneath it.
We are growing two old varieties this year Shetland Black;
with funky purple skin and a purple ring in the flesh, and Home Guard. Developed around the Second World War and apparently good for chips!
Last years problems aside, potatoes seem to grow very well on our patch and have been great for breaking up the soil making it easy to dig and plant other crops the next year. Planting is simple too, dig a hole approx 20cm ( or a trench if you’re being traditional and feeling energetic) line with manure or fertilizer, pop in the potato with most the little shoots facing upwards.
Plant 30 cm apart in rows and cover well with earth, but leave a mound or a ridge so you can tell where you have planted them. They can be left to their own devices until the green shoots appear, then you need to rake earth up over them to stop light getting to the growing potatoes and to force the plant to produce more. apart from watering they don’t need much attention, I hardly bother weeding them, but I am lazy; if weeds bother you then by all means weed them! If you are pushed for space, or are even more lazy than me, you can even grow them in containers. Fingers crossed in July we should have tasty potatoes.
Mid week meals can often be a chore, or a time for tried and tested favorites and not much experimentation; but sometimes I like to dive into the recipe books I normally leave for the weekend. This recipe from Mexican Food Made Easy by Thomasina Miers is a much-loved member of our collection and I’ll definitely be making cheesy polenta with mushrooms and greens again.
I didn’t follow the recipe to the letter; the polenta should have been allowed to cool, cut into slices and grilled but I served it straight away. The mushrooms and still in season purple sprouting broccoli are stir fried with onions and chilli, making a spicy but light accompaniment to the polenta. Using quick cook polenta means it can be whipped up very quickly mid-week, and is a comforting and filling supper. What are youre mid week staples?
If your experience of mexican food runs to fajita and guacamole I’d recommend Mier’s book as a great introduction to an underestimated cuisine.
One of the great things about The Man travelling with work are the interesting and tasty treats he brings back with him, a particular favorite was bottle of chocolate genever which came back from one trip. Last months trip to Norway yielded something much more unusual, so much so I haven’t quite known what to say about it. Here it is…
Geitost (pronounced yay-tost) is a goats cheese, so far so good I like goats cheese a lot. This however is totally different; for a start it is made from whey, milk and cream. These are then carefully boiled for hours until the sugars in the milk begin to caramelise giving Geitost a unique colour and taste. It isn’t stored or aged like many cheeses so can be eaten straight away. In Norway it is often eaten, thinly sliced, for breakfast I tried looking for recipes using it but drew a blank; if anyone knows of any I would be interested to hear them. I had mine for lunch so it wasn’t totally authentic but never mind.
So what was it like? Odd was my first reaction! It looks like fudge, it smells a bit like fudge, but with a cheesy edge to it and initially it tastes a bit like fudge too. Then you get a sharper altogether more goaty tang that my taste buds weren’t quite prepared for after the smooth texture and sweet beginning. I didn’t not like it and it certainly isn’t on my list of cheeses to avoid; so far this only includes Stinking Bishop which I’m afraid tasted to me like something had crawled into my mouth and died there. So the jury is out, maybe it’s one to file under acquired taste.
We made a tentative visit to the allotment last weekend, I’ve been keeping it ticking over but we hadn’t done any meaningful work since well before Christmas and the very cold snap. I’ve felt a little judged recently when I turn up looking ready for some serious digging and then scarper ten minutes later with a bag of veggies, leaving the plot to look decidedly battered!
Fairweather gardeners? Probably, but at least it keeps up our enthusiasm and doesn’t become a laborious chore. One thing that also keeps us going in possibly our least favourite bit of the year are the signs that spring is nearly here, like our rhubarb which is looking like it is going to have another productive year.
We’ve found it very easy to grow, it was the first thing we planted on the plot and it was flung rather carelessly in but it keeps coming back year after year.I always think it’s a strangely prehistoric looking plant, or had a touch of the triffid about it, indeed its leaves are poisonous; and it has a history as a medicinal plant used for purging the body (lovely). I prefer to use it in crumbles, fools or to make a syrup to go with sparkling wine in a rhubarb belini. We will still have to wait for those for a few weeks as it needs to do a bit more growing, but it’s always a sign to me that winter won’t be around for too much longer.