Food & Drink

Dilly Dilly

220px-Illustration_Anethum_graveolens0I haven’t blogged about food for a while and woke up this morning moved to rectify this situation and decided to write about Dill. As herbs go, Dill is not widely used in English cuisine, which is a shame since it has a really nice flavour.

You may be familiar with the taste, since you will probably have come across in Gripe water, given to small children to cure hiccups. I loved the stuff as a child and attribute my subsequently high tolerance of alcohol to it (though these days it is alcohol-free). You may also be notionally familiar with pickled dill gherkins, usually imported from Poland. Nom! Nothing like one to go with a real ham (not that reformed, water-filled muck) and mustard open sandwich.

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Fascinating Food

I picked up a copy of Clarissa Dickson Wright’s A History of English Food recently. I’ve always had a lot of time for Clarissa, having come across her first as one of the Fat Ladies and subsequently on other food programmes. She struck me as very knowledgeable about animal husbandry and history, as well as food preparation. She was also refreshingly unpretentious, unlike so many TV cooks, and totally devoid of fluffiness, always a plus point as far as I am concerned.

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Advent Calendar Day 22

advent22It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas. The fridges are groaning with food and we have enough food to withstand a fairly lengthy siege. Early this morning was my final foray to the supermarket to buy a whole salmon* for Christmas Eve. This is my contribution to the family gathering is a whole salmon, but this forms only one small course in the feast.

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Advent Calendar Day 15

advent15Another week begins, another Advent door opens 🙂

It’s all rather whizzing by at breakneck pace. This is the last week of school and probably the last week I can get my work finished before I need to brace myself and get stuck into an epic session of tidying and cooking. I don’t much mind the latter, but I detest housework, so I’m not looking forward to that and the dust bunnies are trembling in fear already 🙁

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Advent Calendar Day 3

  Day 3 of my Tarot Advent Calendar has arrived and I haven’t fallen by the wayside yet 😀

Yesterday did turn out to be somewhat about food after all. After I’d finished my post, DD insisted we made some gingerbread men…well, families really,  with the nested cutters I picked up at the weekend (men, women, children, babies and dog*). And very good they were too. The remainder (quite a few were consumed) are pending decoration, though DD has assigned herself to the probability that they will get eaten faster than she can decorate them (mostly by her, it must be said :D)

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Pumpkin It Up

pumpkinsIt’s been a while since I did a foodie post, mostly because it’s been a while since I did anything terribly new and interesting. I totally failed to grow anything this year (those beauties in the pic are from last year –>) and for the most part, I’ve just been cooking the usual (albeit fairly varied) dishes based on Sunday Roast leftovers with a few stock alternatives for variety. Of course, with a fairly warm Summer and mild Autumn up until recently, there has been a certain reluctance to slave over a hot stove.

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How to Kill…

pint-m_1768033a…several hours without noticing in easy steps:

  1. Wander along early to the (very local) Fleet Food Festival (just after 11am)
  2. Get a beer to drink while you walk around in the sunshine
  3. Buy some foodie stuff
  4. Take in an interesting talk on Beekeeping
  5. Find the local (Longdog*) brewery stall and repeat step 2
  6. Eat some pizza from the outdoor wood-fired oven
  7. Go to the talk on Keeping Chickens
  8. Repeat step 2
  9. Go to a demo on making sushi and make some sushi (raw fish, naturally)
  10. Eat the sushi and wait until your eyes stop watering from using too much wasabi
  11. Repeat step 2
  12. Try to get more pizza only to find they’ve sold out (at 1.30pm!).
  13. Decide the queue for venison burgers is waaaaaay too long
  14. Wander on.
  15. Notice that the bread stall (who are at the Saturday market and always have plenty left at the end of the day) have sold out of almost everything except a few cakes. Buy cake for child with sweet tooth.
  16. Go talk to the bee-keeper for a bit and fail to buy any local honey because they’ve sold out
  17. Find another food queue that’s not too long in order to feed the child(ren)
  18. Repeat step 2
  19. Wander around some more listening to the music
  20. Have a Nepalese curry (and repeat step 2)
  21. Hear the strains of Guns of Navarone (Ska-style)**
  22. Bask in the admiration heaped on the dog (Who’s a pretty boy then!)
  23. Go boogie to the excellent local Ska cover band (Key Lime Pi)
  24. Buy ice cream for child (‘cos she’s your best mate, she is)
  25. Repeat steps 2, 22 and 23 until the event closes.
  26. Stagger home
  27. Wonder where the time went
  28. Fall asleep in the bath
  29. Wake up, get out of the bath and blog about what a lovely day you’ve had
  30. Vow to return next year 😀

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Ride ’em In


IMG_0585So with Christmas over and the New Year beckoning, it must be time for the annual roundup. Of course, creeping senility means that my memories of this year go all the way back to…oh, last week some time. With that in fragile mind, I’ll begin with Christmas and see if anything less recent hoves into mind.

We had a fairly sedate Christmas this year. No panics, no arguments, no over-indulgence, no leftovers (apart from some salmon from Christmas Eve) and no excesses*.

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Forget the Peas

brusselsWhatever you’re having for your Christmas dinner, whether you’re sticking with the modern ‘tradition’ of turkey or going for a rather more Victorian traditional goose, or even duck, beef, salmon or some other combination or beast*, you can take the opportunity to go to town with the vegetables and try something different. The usual vegetables for Christmas dinner are roast potatoes, sprouts and maybe some peas, carrots and/or parsnips, but you could do so much more. There’s nothing wrong with having peas with your roast and we probably will because we like them. They’re a solid Medieval staple but a tad unimaginative if you have them with every Sunday roast, so here are some tips, alternatives and variations you might like to try this year to make your veggies more interesting.

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Festive Musings

5083You know how when you hear a snatch of a tune that you know well, even if your attention is elsewhere, some bit of your brain recognises it and immediately sits up to take notice, as if you’d heard your name spoken? Well, I was pottering away on the computer with the TV on in the background, using my built in mental ad filter (the one that allows me to totally tune out all forms of advertising unless I choose to look/listen), when I suddenly caught just such a snippet. It was very subtle and possibly even being spoken over, (my filter was still on for that irrelevant bit, so I can’t be sure), but I caught enough to recognise it as Siouxsie and the Banshees. It amuses me hugely that the rebellious punk bands of my youth are now regarded as suitable soundtrack material for marketing. The funny thing is the often huge inappropriateness of the songs.

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