Quiet times again

Not much to talk about this week, really…

Did an artichoke-based pasta recipe yesterday, turned out okay πŸ™‚

Managed to finish the lineart for the cover of my novella last Thursday, while my cat was at the vet to have a manky tooth taken out (she’s doing great, by the way ^_^), so I’ll be able to start on the digital aspect of it next week more than likely, once I’ve finished the pic I’m currently working on. Fun fun ^^


Hitting the krumpli zone

This week’s recipe was rakott krumpli (recipe is second result at the link), a rather delicious layered casserole from Hungary, containing potato, bacon, sausage, hard-boiled eggs, sour cream and a hefty dose of paprika. Delicious!

For once, I did not have to make any changes to the recipe — ingredients or procedure — at all πŸ™‚ The casserole turned out brilliantly — rich, creamy, flavoursome and very filling. I got five pretty decent portions out of this, which should be immensely helpful given the distinctly chilly temperatures England is currently experiencing. Winter is coming!


The other big recipe I’ve done recently is Norwegian almond bars (third result at the link), which I made last Friday. Even though I didn’t manage to completely combine the potato with the other filling ingredients (I was feeling a bit under the weather), it all worked out in the baking process — as the recipe intro said, it was impossible to tell that there was any potato in there at all, even though I hadn’t peeled it before boiling or mashing (extra fibre, ye ken). It tasted pretty darn good, too, although it was more of a tart or cake than ‘bars’ because I used my trusty spring-clip cake tin, not having a rectangular receptacle of the right size to hand. Oh well πŸ™‚

Artistic endeavours!

I’ve started work on designing the cover for my little original novella! I already know that I want a photo of the Yorkshire Dales to form the background, so I’ve been poking through Wikimedia Commons to find some interesting pictures to potentially use in the mock-up of the cover which I’ll be sending to York Publishing Services along with the manuscript (I’ll be taking their advice on copyrights and so on for the final background photo).

I’ve also been drawing a few Triceratops heads (my protagonist is a Triceratops shifter, because Triceratops = awesome!), with slightly mixed success — the front view and three-quarter view turned out ok, but my attempts at side view were…not so great. I was using a fairly detailed plastic Triceratops as a reference, so it’s probably lack of practice more than anything else behind the wobblyness. I have to admit that I’m having trouble working out how to upload a photo from my own computer to a WP post, so I can’t show you my progress that way 😦 Oh well πŸ™‚

(Not much to say on the food front this week — I just did pasta with peas and bacon, but I am planning to have a bash at Norwegian almond bars, Hairy Bikers style, later this week)

Loafin’ around

Made pork meatloaf as this week’s special, using an Austrian recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Big Book of Baking πŸ˜€

‘Twas mightily delicious — perfect texture, very juicy, not at all dry, excellent flavour! I did mess up a little on the sauce to go with, because the stock which I’d poured around the base of the loaf before baking it didn’t reduce as much as I’d expected, and I didn’t let it reduce enough in the saucepan I poured it into afterwards, so when I added the sour cream the sauce was still pretty runny. Tasty, though, so I don’t mind πŸ™‚

I got four hearty portions out of this, so I’m happy πŸ™‚

Also, it’s the fourth anniversary of my creating this site today! Yay!

Oh me oh my

Not much to say on the food front this week — I just worked up a batch of fusilli alla ciociara (creamy pea, ham + mushroom sauce, yum yum) because it’s a quick, easy standby that tastes really good ^^

It’s been a bit of a wild ride on the computing front — updated my personal laptop to the latest version of openSUSE last week, then on Saturday night just gone a very weird glitch (possibly a hardware fault) meant I ended up having to reinstall the operating system! It didn’t do my anxiety issues any favours at the time, but I’ve got things sorted out now ^^ Which is a good thing, because that little novella I wrote is currently in the hands of a trusted friend for beta-reading, so I’m gearing up to design the cover — or at least a mock-up thereof. I intend to take advantage of the skills of York Publishing Services’ cover design team to get a good, professional look, but I have a pretty clear idea of the general style and layout that I want, and I’ll be doing a bit of digital art that I’d really like to include in the final cover in any case — for symbolic reasons, relating to my protagonist’s feelings of isolation/not quite fitting in (said protagonist is partly based on my own experiences of being autistic — sadly, I can’t turn at will into a Triceratops though… D: ).

A Strombolian flavour eruption

Back to making stuff out of recipe books this week, although not diet ones — I don’t have a copy of Hairy Dieters Make It Easy yet, and it’s getting towards rib-liner weather, so I’ll be charging around in Hairy Bikers’ Big Book of Baking instead.

The first recipe from this endeavour is stromboli — a sort of rolled-up pizza. Delicious! I made things exactly as the recipe stated, and it turned out brilliantly πŸ˜€ The tomato sauce was just the right amount (after the cooking-down) to cover the bread section, and the prosciutto and mozzarella filled things out to perfection. I used one pack of the cheapest prosciutto I could find in Sainsburys (at Β£1.50), so I only had five slices to play with rather than the eight given in the recipe. This worked pretty well, but next time I make stromboli (and there *will* be a next time, because it’s delicious!) I might get two packs, giving ten slices in total — vivamus cibum!

(Note on the title: the reference is to a type of volcanic eruption known as ‘Strombolian‘, after the volcanic island of Stromboli in the Mediterranean — this type of eruption is characterised by ejections of incandescent cinders and small pieces of solid matter to relatively low altitudes)

The Hairy Bikers’ Big Book of Baking

No recipe-wrangling this week — I’ve been having some fancy ready meals to celebrate the autumnal equinox — so instead I’m going to wurble a bit about one of my favourite recipe books, which was published as a tie-in to the series Hairy Bikers’ Bakeation, wherein Si and Dave travelled to various parts of Europe to discover various forms of baked yumminess.

I’ve been working out of this book a lot recently, doing a baking experiment every other week or so and sharing it with my parents. The Norwegian lemon and cardamom cookies and the linzertorte are favourites that I’ve made occasionally for a while now — they always tend to disappear rather quickly when I bring samples over to my parents’ place!

Other recent success stories include the Scandinavian rye bread, the Spanish olive bread andΒ  especially the spelt bread with chorizo and ham — yum yum! The rye bread, as it turns out, goes really well with taramasalata, and the Spanish olive bread (which, following the recipe, is made as a batch of rolls) is divine on its own or with charcuterie, while the spelt bread with chorizo and ham tastes a little bit like pizza (from the chorizo oil) and is absolutely delicious on its own — I intend, next time I make it, to dial the amount of meat up a ways and knead it directly into the dough, rather than rolling things up Swiss-roll-style, to see if this increases the effect ^^

Since the weather is rapidly cooling towards autumnal temperatures, I’m going to be making a few of the savoury recipes for my suppers in the coming weeks. I’m particularly looking forward to the Austrian pork meatloaf, which appears to be potentially very juicy and flavoursome.

Bon appetit!

Cauli-ing for a bit of cheese

Cauliflower and broccoli cheese this week!

Results were…a bit mixed, I have to admit. The broccoli and cauliflower cooked up just fine, but the cheese sauce (which the recipe instructed be made with milk thickened with cornflour) turned out kinda pallid and a bit watery. I don’t know whether that was down to me screwing up the procedure somehow, or a small but critical typo somewhere in the recipe — in any case, next time I make this recipe I’m going to use a proper roux for the sauce, and damn the calories XD

At the end of last week, I finished writing a small novella — a piece of original fiction which I have every intention of publishing as an e-book. I’m currently letting the manuscript rest for a week or so before I start editing πŸ™‚ I’ll make sure to mention significant updates here!

Capping things off with caponata

Urgh… This weekend’s been pretty intense — longish proofreading job with an extremely tight deadline. It’s money in the bank, so I’m not griping too hard, but that sort of thing is not something I’d recommend doing on a regular basis because of exhaustion and disruption to sleep schedule…


This week’s recipe — caponata pasta! The recipe is for ‘courgette caponata’, but I left out the courgettes and capers because I can’t stand ’em — this left me with a lovely zingy tomato-and-pepper pasta sauce. Very nice! I got four good portions out of the recipe, too, so I’m not going to go hungry for a bit ^^