Comfort food…

Oatcakes are comfort food for me. Warm and sustaining. My hubby went out to the oatcake shop and got us some cheese and bacon oatcakes for breakfast because I’m not feeling well (I’ve done a lateral flow test today and it’s negative so I think I’ve got a cold, sore throat, sniffles and aches). I added the dots of brown sauce to make a smiley face. A Stoke on Trent /Staffordshire delicacy, oatcakes are our pancake / tortilla /crepes. You can eat them savory or with things like jam and butter. Our oatcakes are big and floppy, not like Scottish oatcakes which are far smaller and drier.

Cat again

Big head, tiny paws. An example of foreshortening. Those dark eyes do stare at me. You have to be a mind reader sometimes with cats. But they are persuasive. In this case its his ‘feed me…’ look. Then when he’s eaten he’ll be back out through the cat flap. Padding around in the dark, exploring his territory.

You know, cats are sneaky. They get humans round their little paws. They are incredible cheeky creatures!

Sweet apples, Wassail style.

I decided to stew four apples that were starting to soften. I wanted to use them up and also half a tub of clotted cream.

Ingredients :

Four medium sized eating apples

A couple of teaspoons of sucralose based sweetener (or sugar to taste).

A level teaspoon of cinnamon powder.

A single measure of whisky, or you could substitute a small amount of lemon or orange juice.

About three or four tablespoons of water to stop the apples burning onto the pan.

A tablespoonful of clotted cream or whipped cream.

I roughly cored and chopped the apples and left the skin on. I put them in a pan with a little boiling water to stop the apple flesh burning. I cooked the apples for about 15 to 20 minutes till they softened. Stirring and mashing them until they were a chunky pulp.

I added a couple of teaspoons of sucralose based sweetener to make the apples less sharp. Then I added a single measure of whisky and a level teaspoonful of cinnamon and cooked the mix for a couple minutes more. You could substitute fruit juice for the whisky and leave out the cinnamon if you don’t like it.

Serve hot in a bowl with the clotted cream or whipped cream dolloped on top.

This reminds me of the Wassails we usually go on in January. They are to celebrate the local apple trees and wish for a good crop of apples the following autumn.

Sweet treats

Our #bandofsketchers prompt today was sweet treat in honour of artist Wayne Thiebaud who died recently and who created art based on this theme (he did some beautiful work). Mine is Sweet treats. A bit dodgy because of my shaking arm and I was drawing on the back of a page where ink had bled through. Cup cakes in paper cases with icing and cherries on top…

Tasty beans?

I like baked beans but I’ve started eating sugar free ones and I wanted to spice them up a bit.

I heated a bit of oil in a saucepan then added a small amount of medium curry powder and turmeric powder and heated it gently.

I had chopped up a small onion into medium sized pieces. I microwaved it for a minute to soften it slightly, then added the heated onion to the pan and cooked it gently for a few more minutes to soften and brown the onion (sweated?).

Then I added the sugar free baked beans into the pan and increased the heat slightly. I simmered the mixture for a few minutes until it was thoroughly heated.

We had the beans with some vegetarian sausages and some reduced fat oven chips. Tasty! No photo of the meal as its already been eaten!

I don’t put salt in because it dissolves and gets absorbed into the food. I put it on if needed when I serve food. Its on the surface and you can taste it more.

Guess what we had for tea.

Yes, another trifle. I used sugar free jelly, but I added blueberries. Of course there was fat in it, but I made strawberry blancmange with semiskimmed milk and a sweetener instead of sugar. I used half the amount of whipped cream than I usually do. So I guess it was reasonably healthy, especially compared with other festive treats, such as stollen, mince pies and Christmas pudding (which I sadly indulged in too!).

Fishcakes

Evening meal. I decided to eat some fishcakes made of haddock and mashed potatoes in breadcrumbs. But what to have with them? I raided the fridge and chopped up two small tomatoes, some cucumber, a bit of hummus that is going out of date and a bit of brie that I let melt on top of the fishcakes. I’m not sure how healthy it was but it was certainly tasty. I wish I’d got some lettuce and some spring onions to go with it. I could have had a hunk of bread but decided against it. Does this count as a balanced meal?

Racist behaviour?

We spent the evening in the local Thai restaurant. The food is always good, but I do wonder at the behaviour of some of the customers!

While we were there we overheard a phone order for a takeaway. After explaining that it would need to be collected the owner took an order for about eight dishes including rice and a mixed starter. It sounded like a big meal, but she was happy to cook for the customer. That was about 7pm with the collection due at 8pm. No one came, so I chatted with the owner and she said it happens quite frequently! By 8.30pm she decided to call them, but no one was answering so all she could do was leave a message letting them know the food was ready.

We were finishing off our meal just before 9pm when someone else rang to ask if she was still open. They arrived a few minutes later but after looking at the menu asked for chips and cola! When she explained it was a Thai restaurant they decided to walk out without paying for the drinks!

What bothers me is that a hard worker and restaurant owner, who is already struggling because of the covid situation is being messed about by so called customers. I think it’s appalling to treat someone like that. No doubt there will be complaints on social media. But cooking for customers requires respect on both sides. I’d go so far as saying this almost looks like racist behaviour. I felt very sorry for her and the treatment she experienced.

Oil painting?

Someone just put a comment on my Instagram account saying this combination of photos looks like an oil painting? It made me think about cooking. If something looks nice and colourful it should also be tasty. A collection of colours, textures, and the vessel the food is in all must have an effect on the psychology of how you taste and feel about a meal or a snack. I’m lucky to have enough to eat and a good choice of ingredients. I wish more people could have the chance to share.

Port trifle

Trifle time, I always make trifle at this time of year. I used raspberry jelly, trifle sponges and fresh black cherries. I added a bit of port to the jelly liquid (reduced the amount of boiling water by the same amount). Then a layer of strawberry blancmange and whipped cream on top. Blancmange is like flavoured custard. I used to be able to get chocolate, raspberry, vanilla and strawberry blancmange powder made by a company called pierce and duff, but over the last couple of years I’ve only been able to get the strawberry one in a plastic packet. It seems a shame, but I’m obviously an old fashioned cook. Anyway I have just had a portion of this delicious dessert. X