Saturday, January 24, 2009


I loved recess! Besides being a chance for a break amongst the boringness of elementary school, it was a chance run around with my friends. Most of all, however, it was when you got to see the contents of the snacks inside my friend's lunchboxes and see what you could trade. Chocolate went for more than candy bars and chips (or crisps) for more than chocolate. Biscuits were quite low on the trading scale, except for chocolate based ones of course and rice crispy treats, while tasty, were far too common to have much value.

All this to say that I'm taking a tiny "recess" from the blog. I have just had a little premature baby and am concentrating all my energies into eating (I love it when other people cook for me, yay!) and feeding (she's not doing so well, big, big, big, boo!).

So in the meantime, take a little recess yourself and trade yourself a nice snack... or two or three...

In the Terminator's famous (not last) words, "I vill be back!"

Monday, January 19, 2009


What is it with the Brits and their crisps??

By the way, that's chips to the rest of us

I mean I love crisps/chips as much as the next, ok, maybe a bit more given my love of ketchup chips and Cheetos, but seriously, the Brits seem to be a bit obsessive.

Strolling through my local Sainsbury's, there are thousands of choices of different kinds of crisps and all sorts of flavors ranging from pickled onion (please do NOT eat if you plan to talk to anyone that day as your breath will smell of onions and your fingers of pickles) to roast chicken.

Whatever happened to my good old standbys of sour cream and chive, BBQ, all dressed, ranch, etc.? Well here in the good ole United Kingdom, they are inventive, I have to give them that. So much so that they have "seasonal crisps".

My case in point:

I mean, really.

Ham and Mustard?


Turkey and Stuffing?

Is this what da peeps want?

Well, for youse alls sake, I tried them.

Ploughman's was quite mild and tasted mostly of pickle but not too sour.
Ham and Mustard did taste quite true to its name oddly enough.
Turkey and Stuffing tasted like chicken spice... the boy thinks it tastes just like the roast chicken flavor.

But wait, it doesn't stop here. Apparently the next wave of crisp flavors to arrive in store shelves near me are:

  • Cajun Squirrel
  • Fish and Chips
  • Builder's Breakfast
  • Onion Bhaji
  • Crispy Duck and Hoisin
  • Chilli Chocolate

I'm a bit scared to be honest but if I see them, I shall do my duty and report back...

You can also vote for the flavor you want most to remain on the shelves by the 1st of May on the Walker's site.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Duck who ate the Chicken who ate the Partridge

I know this is 3 weeks late but some may still be curious about what became of my three bird roast.

Well, happy to report that my cooking skills are just a smidgen better than my disastrous baking ones.

On Christmas Eve, I served up roast pork, much to the delight of my brother, who was thrilled with the crispy crackling and the moist meat. He was even more happy when he heard that it was to be accompanied by braised red cabbage, a favorite vegetable of ours.

Christmas Day, however, was a bit less easy. I sent the boy down to our wonderful local butcher, Wyndham Butchers, to pick up my order of 3 bird roast. Meanwhile, I peeled and cut carrots, parsnips and sprouts.

We ended up with a 5.5kg bundle of joy... meaty joy, that is! I was told to roast for approximately 2.5-3 hours and rest for 30 minutes. I went for the 3 hours as I was told that there was enough fat within it to self baste and carried on with the prep for the rest of the meal. Of course, I couldn't resist sprinkling a layer of Schwartz's poultry spices as it seemed oh so naked without anything.

The meat turned out perfect. Moist, delicious and a joy to eat, all five of us had two pieces left and there was 2 pieces left for leftovers so a perfect portion. It was duck on the outside, sausage meat between that and the chicken (which I found a bit 'spongy' but acceptable) and then the dark meat of the partridge. I would definitely make this again for a special occasion, especially as it was easy and different. Much more interesting than a single bird as the different tastes and textures were there.

Sadly the rest of the meal I was responsible for didn't turn out so good. The carrots and parsnips were soft and overcooked, the brussel sprouts bitter and the stuffing, to which I admit I cheated a bit and used a boxed stuffing to which I added onions, chestnuts and bacon to, horribly over salted. The boy's mustard mash and parsnip, chestnut and potato mash were wonderful though, the former nice and tangy and the latter earthy and just slightly sweet.

In any case, it was a lot of fun and I wouldn't mind doing it all over again. Minus all the cleaning, scrubbing and prep involved of course!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I freaking give up.

....on baking.

Today, last minute since I had workmen come in to *finally* fix our leak and I was asked to bring dessert, I thought I'd make brownies from scratch. From Jamie Oliver's book, Cook, which I got for Christmas.

Since I had only enough ingredients for one shot, I checked everything.

I used a scale to measure out my ingredients (a first for me).

I pre-heated the oven to the correct temperature and even used an oven thermometer and checked.

I didn't replace, omit or change a single thing from the recipe.

I checked the pan half way through and cooked to the precise time indicated.

And what happened?

The brownies were supposed to be gooey inside.

Mine were so dry it crumbled off the side and was almost liquidy raw inside.


I freaking give up.

Now that the workmen have left, I have to rush down to the Marks and Spencer's to pick up dessert now.

I am cursed I tell you, CURSED!!!!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Sorry I've been away for a while but it's been busy busy busy over here!

Happily the big meal turned out ok with a few minor issues and things generally went well. I'll do a longer post on my 3 bird roast soon, I promise!

For the time being, anyone fancy Cajun Squirrel chips/crisps???