For the love of cheese.

I like cheese, but have a pretty limited pallet when it comes to the ones I enjoy.      I am not keen on anything with a very strong flavour, and I really don’t understand the sourness of goats cheese.

I have made my own cheese with some success and there is something very satisfying about turning a bottle of milk into something to enjoy in a sandwich!!

Hubby doesn’t like cheese!    Well, that’s what he thought until I taught him that you don’t know if you like something until you have actually tried it!!    He now eats some cheese, but mostly ones with added flavours such as chillies.    His mother is still shocked when she sees him eat it!

M used to live on cheese when he was a toddler, but suddenly decided he didn’t like it and wouldn’t touch it for a long time, even going as far as picking it off pizza rather than risk eating it.     We a lot of persuasion , he was conned into trying pizza with cheese and decided he did actually quite like it.   He will now happily tell you that he likes cooked cheese but doesn’t like it “normal”!     I think that is a great compromise and I am sure eventually we will be able to get him to once again try more options.     As my Dad would eat uncooked cheese, but hated it melted, I can understand like it one way and not the other.

D on the other hand loves cheese.    He has been a major part of helping me experiment with making cheese.     He is very open at trying new foods, and is extremely honest about how he feels about them once he has tried them – if he doesn’t like something, you certainly know about it!!      I think he has quite a good pallet for one so young, as he can describe flavours in a way that can make me think about what is going on in my mouth – I can only imagine he will become a wine snob when he is old enough!!!        He has been actively trying new cheeses, and has several favourites amongst the regular British cheese we find in the supermarket.       I love a market, as something I grew up with as being a regular part of shopping, but in this part of the country, they don’t have them like they do down south – something I do miss, and so when I am somewhere that has a market, or I see an announcement for a farmers market, I do like to go.     The boys have both become used to my excitement when I’m heading to a market, and they have learned to enjoy them too as they know markets usually mean new and exciting foods will be available.      If there is sampling, then all 3 of my boys are in their element – yes I do include Hubby in this!

While on holiday we went to a fabulous local produce market.     It is amazing to see M particularly loose inhibition and ask to try things – he was in his element at one stall with flavoured honey and struck up quite a rapport telling the man at the stall why certain ones were better than others.   Needless to say I ending up spending a small fortune on jars he is now enjoying, not just on toast but just out of the jar!!!       D headed straight to the cheesemonger, and was trying flavours he probably wouldn’t eat if they weren’t in cheese, like one with pieces of onion in, which he loved.      We also bought sausages that tasted like meat, rather than flavoured rusk, locally smoked bacon, and Hubby decided he should sample the local brew and returned with a box of beer bottles.

Another day we went to an indoor permanent market.     Once again, D headed for the cheese.     He decided there were a few he thought he would like to try, and so I bought small wedges of these.   He then spotted the comedy holy grail of cheeses and decided he had to have some.   What cheese I hear you ask?     Stinking Bishop!        While I knew it was a real cheese, I had never encountered it before,      I agreed it needed to be tried, and asked for the smallest piece they had.     It was vacuum sealed, which should have been warning enough!   We waited until we got home to open it, and sure enough the smell was enough to make D say he didn’t want to actually eat it.      The stench was vile!      I was going to be brave, after all, the money had been spent and it would not just be a waste of cash, but of opportunity.      Old person also agreed to try it.     With fingers tightly pinching noses we let it in!       I was really surprised how creamy it is, and the taste wasn’t too bad.    I then removed the fingers from my nose and got the full pungency in my throat.     It was not a particularly pleasant experience, but I could say I had tried it.     D was persuaded to give it a go.    He looked like he was going to be sick with one tiny nibble.      He said he was never going to have it again, but was proud to say he had actually tried, and he would tell everyone!   there was a really pride in an odd achievement!

While I feel we have to experience things to know if we like them or not, I would strongly recommend you think seriously as to if this is something you really want first hand experience of.

 

Marie Curie Tea Party.

wpid-20150624_080851.jpgWith the end of the school year fast approaching, it doesn’t take much for the Mums to find an excuse to get together for a coffee and a natter.

What better reason can there be but to raise money for a good cause while you are enjoying yourself?     The Marie Curie Tea Party seemed a great reason to get together and do some good at he same time.

I have so much respect for the nurses of Marie Curie.   They do a very difficult job, almost unnoticed by the greater society, and yet without them life would be so much harder for so many people.    My Dad died from cancer in 1996.    He went from being up and about to being literally on death’s door in a very short space of time, so while hospice care was suggested, there was not time to organise it, and so we had nightly visits from the wonderful Marie Curie nurses.     They not only made him as comfortable as possible, making his last days as gentle as possible for him, but they counselled my mother at a time her whole world was crashing down around her.    They took away the pressure on her, and gave her some peace to remember my Dad.    I will always remember with fondness the ladies who visited us at that time.    Having said all that I truly hope never to have to need them again!

When the idea of the tea party was thrown out to my circle, one friend said that if it involved coffee and I was baking  she would be there, and this was the attitude of many others.

I therefore spent a couple of days making everyone’s favourites, from flapjack and swiss rolls, to cupcakes and empire biscuits.     There was a very full table!

We had a rolling succession of friends, and their friends coming in through the morning and lots of gossiping, coffee drinking and cake eating took place.     Everyone left with a box full of cakes for later too!   After school, several people sent their kids in with a coin to get something nice for their pudding!   Other people who couldn’t make the event, asked for boxes of cakes, which I happily handed out the following day.

We also had a little competition during the morning, where everyone that came had to make a guess as to the number of layers in the worlds largest cake.     The winner, who guessed closest was the great-grandmother of one of D’s school chums, and she won a mug and coaster set.    The answer if you are interested is apparently 220!

In total we raised £85 which with gift aid, came to £106 for the charity.    I am really impressed what can be done when you get together with a few friends and have a nice morning, and to be honest not really try too hard!

Our next excuse for a get together will be the MacMillan coffee morning in September, but I am sure we will fit in some coffee for the sake of drinking coffee before then.

Thank you everyone who took part.

Waste not Pudding.

My Mum is of the age where she was a child during the Second World War. She therefore had it drummed into her that waste was wrong, and you should eat what was put in front of you. I suppose I was therefore bought up with this attitude, and often remember getting in trouble because I refused to eat something that was on my plate – including at school where the headmistress sat me on her lap and forced mince into my mouth, to this day, I still can’t eat mince, and I’m not sure if it is I still don’t like the taste or the awful memory of what would not be allowed to happen these days.

M is fussy eater, and we have to be rather careful introducing new foods to him. It often seems we eat the same half-dozen meals because they are things I know he will like, but I know this isn’t really the case. As he has grown up, he is less bad, but still views new foods with great fear, and so I often get him into the kitchen to help so he can see what has gone into the dish as things he likes and I’m not trying to poison him!

At the weekend, we often have a treat to eat, and I will bake a cake or cookies, and I often ask the children what they would like – it saves waste if they have chosen, as I know it is something they are in the mood for. They will often choose muffins, and I have quite an array of recipes that I use. I think muffins are a great way of getting fruit into the boys without them really noticing. M will not eat bananas, he just doesn’t like the texture – something I understand as most of the foods I dislike are texture related. However, he will eat a banana muffin without complaint – as long as I don’t tell him they are in it!!

It does however seem that it doesn’t matter how much they want something, there are always leftovers. I am sure they almost do it on principle. This is where Waste not Pudding comes in. It is basically bread and butter putting, but instead of using bread, I use left over cake. It always goes down really well with everyone – except me who doesn’t like a baked milk pudding!

I just slice the stale muffins, or doughnuts, or cake, and arrange in a greased oven proof dish. How stale and what type of cake dictates if it needs anything added, for example a plain muffin or cake, might need a little jam spread on it, but one with chocolate chips or sultanas is fine just sliced. I suppose it would all be personal preference. For the amount of cake equivalent to 5 slices of bread, I use 1/2pint milk whisked together with 1 egg. I don’t usually add any form of sweetening, but it is up to you. I pour the milk and egg mixture over the cake and allow it to sit for at least 20 minutes, pushing it down every now and again to make sure it soaks in evenly. It is then baked at 180c for about 45 mins.

Everyone thinks you have worked hard at making a nice pudding, but in fact you are just not wanting to feed the stale cake to the birds!

WasteNot Pudding

Neils Coriander Chicken.

Let me first explain the name of this dish. We call it Neils Coriander chicken, because it is one of the few dishes my Hubby can confidently cook, and it turns out right pretty much ever time – he is not the best cook, so it is impressive he has such a lovely signature dish!

The recipe evolved from an Ainsley Harriot recipe he found on the BBC Food website – goodness knows why he was looking there, but he was, and got it into his head he was going to make it. I kept well out-of-the-way, as I heard the banging and crashing and occasional swear word coming from the kitchen. Eventually we were called to the table, and what he put in front of us looked revolting! I can’t be any more tactful about this plate of bright green chicken that was served to us! It smelled amazing though, so we politely smiled and took a taste. Well, what can I say? They say we begin to eat with our eyes, well that wasn’t true here, as the flavours were amazing. It was a real wow moment. Everyone finished their plateful, and insisted he cooked it again – when I later looked in the kitchen and had to clean it, the though of him cooking again wasn’t such a good one.

Since then, he has made this dish on many occasions, and the boys happily help. It is a dish I am not allowed to attempt, as it is mans cooking – all they would need is a barbecue to be totally in their element!

you will need –
6 cloves garlic
4 tbs chopped coriander
1 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp castor sugar
2 limes – juiced
2 tsp worchestshire sauce
1 tbs light soy sauce
1 tbs oil
4 skinless chicken breasts

Put all the ingredients apart from the chicken in a liquidizer and whizz to make a sauce.
Place the chicken in a flat bowl, and cover with the sauce.
Allow to marinade for no more than 2 hours.
Cook at 180c for approx. 35 mins – until cooked through.

Is that not really simple?
There are of course a few cheats that have been  added along the way.

If the quality of the fresh coriander in the shop isn’t up to much, then it works great with the preprepared chopped coriander in the jar. Same goes for using the pre-pureed garlic – the amount of garlic may seem a lot but it isn’t an over powering flavour when its finished. Also, honey is easily interchanged with the sugar, as it is just there to counteract the sharpness of the limes.

The original recipe had a lot more pepper in it, and it was quite overpowering, but reducing it to just a teaspoonful makes for a lovely balanced flavour.

The recipe is really easy to adjust for smaller of larger quantities, and I would say it’s definitely worth doing more than you want for a main meal, as it is lovely cold sliced into a sandwich with a pile of fresh salad!

If you try it, don’t be put of by the colour, just wait until your taste buds are hit by the amazing flavours.

Roasted Tomato soup.

ASD Mummy with issues.

With my mouth being so sore recently, I have continued my quest for foods that are easy to eat.       It has meant that I have continued to experiment with soup.

I don’t think I will ever be a lover of soup, as to me it’s just like baby food, and it doesn’t matter how good it tastes, I am gagging within half a bowl.      I am however learning to understand that the flavours can be exciting.    Old person would live on soup if she was given the opportunity.    Over the years I have spent an absolute fortune of packet soups for her!      I have always made leftover soup – you can make soup out of any left overs with a little imagination and a few herbs.   A while back, I bought a soup maker – it looked like a liquidiser, but heated up.    While it worked it worked well, but…

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Fudge brownies.

ASD Mummy with issues.

I came across a recipe that sounded so good I had to try it.      You know when you read a recipe and your mouth starts to drool as you imagine the flavours, well, this was one of those recipes.

It was for Chocolate Brownies – another cut out recipe from my pile, so I am unable to credit the original author as I would like, because this is a brilliant recipe.     I think we have all tried making brownies at one time or another, and they either go too dry, or they are so gooey they are barely cooked.    These though have the perfect amount of goo, and whats better, they are gluten-free.   With D’s best friend unable to eat anything with gluten, I am learning to have standby recipes on hand should he be here!    When I tried this recipe, I did give some of the finished produce to my…

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Gypsy Creams

ASD Mummy with issues.

I have had a pretty rubbish week, which I will talk about another time. Those that know me, know that I like nothing better than tinkering in the kitchen, so, when things are getting me down, I bake – maybe that’s why I am the size I am, I get down too often! This week was one of those weeks, that meant, I needed to take my frustrations out on some butter and eggs!

I follow a lot of food sites on Facebook, and I often see recipes that I think I must try, and I therefore have loads of pieces of paper with scribbled on recipes, that I will get around to, one day! I also often see pictures that make me read the recipe and think I know I’ve made something like this, but it was different. This is one of those recipes. I’m not sure which site…

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