Monday, 16 July 2012

And…. I’m back in the room; or Black Pudding Bread and other stories

Whew, well that’s over. One project and a short break finished and I’m back to the world of blogging. Sorry little blog, how have you been? Everything ok? How’s the world out there? Apocalyptic as far as I can work out. Dear oh dear, what a mess.

Let me fatten up the blog with a few recipes, to start with. It’s been fairly meagre times so shall we begin with a nod to the Star Inn’s black pudding bread? Revolting, you may think, but really, give it a go. All you need is a breadmaker. If you make your bread by hand, really well done (clap clap), but you’ll have to do your own experimenting on the recipe.

Place ingredients for a standard size loaf – white or brown, though I prefer white for this – in your breadmaker. Take the skin off your black pudding – a loop of it is just enough for this size loaf. Chop into small pieces and add to the other ingredients. Close the lid and set as for a standard white loaf. Leave to cook. Remove from pan to rack and leave to cool. Slice and serve with an excellent fried breakfast. Complicated, no? But seriously good and very filling, as you might expect.

What else….? Hmmm there was that 3 hours of summer in the middle of June when I made bbq ribs according to John Critchley, King of BBQ. They were A-mazing. I simply followed his recipe, substituting very slightly as I went along with smoked chipotle sauce rather than dried chillies and so on. We had them with cornbread and coleslaw and a pert little green salad and as summer goes, it was brilliant. We’re back on recipes for cauliflower soup now.

I’ve been experimenting with the whole food ‘thing’ with MCD Jr. Although he (objectively speaking) eats very well, we’re coming up to the famous neophobia phase and I wanted as much as possible to circumvent it, so went out and bought every book on the eating habits of French children (and you may have seen them around) that I could buy, read them obsessively and developed a plan. No, I’m not paranoid, just prepared. The most important lesson I have learned over the last few months is DO NOT MAKE A FUSS. I can’t say that enough. I might even say it again. DO NOT MAKE A FUSS. Oh and HUNGER IS YOUR BEST FRIEND. No substitutes, no snacking, lots of praise. Actually I might pass on this gem, in the hope of some other new-ish mother noting it: lack of familiarity and reference is what causes your child to be cautious. For example, you can serve mashed potato 100 times, but the first time you serve it adorned with a sprig of parsley, they’ll no doubt reject it because it comes to them as a completely new dish. You have to be prepared to serve the same dish a few times the same way for it to be assimilated and overcome any potential hesitancy. That’s all I know.

I suppose I have to mention the rain. In fact I am going to mention it because thanks to it, and the consequent proliferation of slugs and snails (and a family of ducks that now sail straight from pond to garden), not a vegetable has made it past puberty up here. We have high (well, medium) hopes for the tomatoes, in that there are flowers, but no fruit yet. I have one teeny-weeny courgette on one plant (I planted 12) that I expect to not see the end of the week. Even my fennel and oregano have been got at. It’s been more Margo and Jerry than Tom and Barbara and that’s been very disappointing.

On the food news front, Tarporley is now in possession of a farm shop, Blythings. If I can make a swim for it, I am off to explore it later today and will report back. Of course, if it’s rubbish I won’t but Tarporley’s not known for the rubbishness of its retail outlets.

Oh and if anyone needs a friendly, helpful, professional food or recipe writer in any way, just let me know. I’m available for the summer and it’s not like we’re going anywhere because we don’t have a boat.