7 September 2011

The good, the bad & the frustrating!

Yum!  I could eat that all over again.
This post is just to round up on last week, as I've a number of small things to report.

So let's begin with "the good", which accolade is almost entirely restricted (apart from a really nice Chilli con Carne on Monday) to the scampi in breadcrumbs dinner that hubby made for us all.

It wasn't so much the scampi - which are gorgeous no matter what you do with them - but the accompaniments, that made the meal.  He'd obviously put some serious thought into what he was going to do to go with them and had made some super-yummy croutons (or crunchy crauters, as they've become known) as well as concocting a devilish mixture of iceberg lettuce, grated carrot, almond slivers and spring onion as a salad.

Those croutons are a thing of great beauty and, as they're made from a lovely light bloomer loaf, are already on their way to being light and crunchy before they even hit the oven.  With a sprinkle of olive oil and some herbs and sea salt, they are absolutely terrific in a salad.  To be honest, I'd just nibble my way through a plateful of them while watching t.v. if I could!  (But I can't 'cos that'd be terribly bad for my waistline - but believe me, I've thought about it!).

Meatballs : good - curry : bad!
The other "good" thing, was the turkey meatballs that I made for the curry.  They consisted of turkey mince, breadcrumbs, chopped coriander and half a finely chopped red chilli.  I pinched one for tasters after they'd been pan fried and they were absolutely gorgeous.  I reckon they'd be lovely on their own, in a pitta bread with some salad and maybe some tzatziki or a gentle chutney.  I'll be investigating this further in the future!

However, this also leads us on to "the bad".  I completely shot the poor old curry in the foot by including too much garam masala.  I do have a reason for it, which is that the stupid "medium" curry powder I bought from Asda is no more "medium" than fly to the moon.  More like "blisteringly hot", I think.  So, as I didn't want to increase the heat of the curry, I reduced the amount of curry powder and increased the amount of garam masala - so that it would "taste like curry", without being hot.  Well, it certainly did taste like curry, but it was so gritty from the ground spices that it was a bit nasty.  I enjoyed the sweetcorn in it, though - which was fresh and I'd taken from a cob earlier.  It provided the sweetness without having to rely on sugar - which is quite a good thing, with a diabetic in the house.

Not mine, I'm afraid.
Now.  What about "the frustrating", eh?  Well, this is represented by my attempting to produce Nigel Slater's Cardamom & Citrus Jelly (aka "Grown Up Jelly").  It looked so gorgeous in the t.v. programme (Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers) that I just had to give it a go.  I have no idea what happened, but it just would not set.  I gave it enough gelatine to slay a horse - in two instalments, ultimately - and it still stubbornly refused to set!  In the end, I stuffed the thing in the freezer and turned it into sorbet.  Which was nice, but not quite the idea.

Now I have three theories regarding the non-setting problem.  The first is that I had four sheets of gelatine left from a packet which had been in the cupboard for a number of months.  Does gelatine go off?  It was still within its "use by" date, but I wonder if perhaps it had lost some of its effectiveness, with age.  The second theory, is that because the existing packet was a super quality gelatine, but the second packet was just Asda's own, I wonder if the lower quality gelatine didn't have as much effectiveness as the "silver quality" version?  I'm not sure about this one.  Lastly, is the very great probability that I got my maths wrong (twice) and didn't calculate enough gelatine for the quantity.  It should have had 5-6 sheets for 1 litre of juice - and I had used 10 sheets by the end of it.  It's a mystery.

Smiley faced pan says "yay! An egg!".
Lastly, son & heir was cooking himself a fried egg for breakfast at the weekend and as he was heating up the olive oil, it looked like a smiley face.  He was sufficiently amused by that to take its photograph and although it's a bit fuzzy, I think it's recognisably a smiley faced pan.  Cute!


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