Loafin’ around

Made pork meatloaf as this week’s special, using an Austrian recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Big Book of Baking ๐Ÿ˜€

‘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 ๐Ÿ™‚

I got four hearty portions out of this, so I’m happy ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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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 ๐Ÿ˜€ 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 ยฃ1.50), 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 andย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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…

Anyways!

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 ^^

Quote

Wiley Humanities Festival 2018: Why Technology Matters: The Humanities in the 21st Century โ€” The Philosopher’s Eye

The field of humanities is changing rapidly, along with the world, as new technologies alter centuries of tradition in various disciplines. In this, the third year of the Wiley Humanities Festival, weโ€™ll focus on the digital humanities, and how technology has revolutionized the way the humanities will be taught, learned, and researched for years to come. Theย [โ€ฆ]

via Wiley Humanities Festival 2018: Why Technology Matters: The Humanities in the 21st Century โ€” The Philosopher’s Eye

Stirrin’ some tofu

Tofu stir fry this week ๐Ÿ™‚

As ever, I made a few tweaks to the recipe:

  • Egg tofu instead of a block of silken — I find egg tofu easier to wrangle, personally, and I prefer the flavour and texture. Plus, it holds together a lot better under force (as happens in a stir fry)
  • Omitted the asparagus and chilli — the former I find to be somewhat pallid and unappealing in flavour whatever is done to it, and the latter I omitted as I simply didn’t feel like having much spice
  • Golden syrup instead of honey — that was what I had in the cupboard
  • Half quantities generally — low appetite, as well as the worry that the stir fry wouldn’t freeze well and wouldn’t last for more than a day or so in the fridge.

All in all, it turned out pretty darn well! The stir fry tasted good, and once I’d finished chopping the ingredients it came together very, very quickly ๐Ÿ™‚ One to remember for the future, I think ^^

Taco a minute to stop and think

Veggie tacos this week! Well, sort of…

I used commercial refried beans out of a can (note to self: consume in moderation to avoid becoming a one-woman wind orchestra…) and skipped doing the avocado crema owing to time constraints and tiredness. I also left the butternut squash and chard out of the filling altogether, they being pretty firmly on my ‘do not like’ list. Furthermore, instead of buying a container of chipotle paste of which I’d only be using a small amount, I doubled up on the tomato purรฉe and threw in a chopped chilli pepper from my freezer.

For all these changes, the end result was actually pretty good! I got about six portions’ worth of filling, between the refried beans and the veggie concoction, of which I ate the last this evening. Very yummy! Something good to remember for future eating-light times, methinketh ^^

Not mush’ room in that pan…

Mushroom bourguignon this week — which called for a full kilogram of mushrooms! It was a bit of a job getting them all into the saucepan, even though I used the largest one in my possession, but they cooked down well enough ๐Ÿ™‚

The end result tasted pretty good — there was some noticeable sweetness from the carrots (and probably also from the rosรฉ I was obliged to use, being unable to find a small enough bottle of red wine), which was offset by the savoury earthiness of the mushrooms and the large quantity of pepper I added.

All in all, a flavoursome and very low-calorie dish. I used a second red onion in place of the shallots (for a more characterful flavour), which meant I could fudge the procedure a little to make this a one-pot meal. It certainly reduced the amount of washing up afterwards ^^