must. pay. attention.

I prepped a big pot of goulash last evening, and left it in the oven on very low to cook overnight. This plan is fine, except you wake up tormented by ghoulash dreams, due to the smell wafting up the stairs.

When I fetched it out of the oven, I had put not enough salt in it, and had completely failed to add the roasted peppers [sigh]. So there I was, in my dressing gown at 8 a.m., slicing the contents of a jar of peppers *before I’d had a cup of tea*.

Pete bet me they wouldn’t go in, as the casserole dish was so full, but they did, and hopefully the residual heat from the cast iron and the goulash will do the first bit of melding of meat and pepper. But getting it out of the now brimming Le Creuset and into tubs for the freezer will be challenging …

adopt an olive tree

“Adopt one of its 881 trees for a year and you’ll receive all the produce from your tree. Imagine dunking your bread in your own oil from your own tree 1,500 miles away on a hillside in Italy.”

And only 60 quid!

We do actually have an olive tree in a pot on our patio; somehow I don’t think North Somerset is quite the right climate for it to fruit, although it’s very leafy …

lets have a barbecue!

… “the Queen Mary 2 of outdoor cooking is the $35,000 Talos Outdoor Cooking Suite sold by Frontgate, a luxury goods catalog retailer. The sprawling stainless steel temple features a searing station with a restaurant-style griddle, a hardwood cutting board, two side burners to heat sauces, a warming drawer, 3/8-inch-thick cooking grates, a 16,000-B.T.U. ceramic infrared rotisserie, a bartender module with a sink and a nine-volt electronic ignition system. The company doesn’t release specific sales data, but a spokeswoman, Amy Crowley, said that fewer than 50 have been sold.”

From an article in the New York Times.

pastry …

Pastry and I … we don’t get on. At all. I can barely manage with bought pastry, and if I try to make it myself it’s a disaster.

I’ve tried everything – food processor, mixer, by hand. It all goes grey and shrinks, and is as unappetising as you might imagine.

I’ve been hunting for one of these for a while, and found it at Lakeland [warning: do not go here unless you are of strong will-].

I used it once, and I don’t think it’ll work. I’ve just fetched it out to make some rock buns, and the handle had worked a tiny bit loose, and I didn’t feel comfortable with it. Pete has tightened its nuts (as it were) with his Leatherman mole grips and we’ll see how it goes.

And the rock cakes have just come out of the oven. They *smell* nice, anyway.

[edit] they taste nice too, but they’re not rock buns as I remember them.

Is it me, or is it my oven? [sigh]

vodka chocolate chillis

I saw this on LJ, and thought of Sasha.

Make a slit in the side of the chilli and remove membrane and seeds. Then you marinate them in vodka for 12 hours+. Then you pipe a mixture of white chocolate, vodka and freshly ground black pepper into the cavities, chill, and finally dip in dark (60%+) chocolate.

The combination of chocolate, pepper, vodka and chilli works remarkably well, but its still difficult to eat more than one of them. The green chillis especially were scary and eating them brought tears to the eyes and profanities to the lips.