Tuesday, September 28, 2010

plum cake, blackberry jam and crumpets!

i had a bit of a cooking day! no photos unfortunately, but i made crumpets and blackberry&apple jam from darina allen's 'forgotten skills of cooking' book. The crumpets turned out beautifully, I made the whole recipe, thinking i'd wrap the leftovers in clingfilm and toast them tomorrow... alas, i am a pregnant lady, and over the course of the afternoon they were all gone!! and Emm had no more than one! i had to throw out the first three though, in my defence, but still, i must have eaten about 10!!!
For the jam I made the mistake of listening to too many cooks, using Darina's recipe but adding my mum's advice that I definitely should use jam sugar rather than ordinary sugar, so the consistency was on the verge of wine gums!! very very set. i added the juice of half a lemon because i knew the berries were quite sweet, from my friend's husband's jam experiment, which worked a treat, my jam turned out just the right balance of sweet and sour.
I used the last of the plums from our tree to make a small 'Pflaumenkuchen', using a pastry base instead of the favourable yeast dough base. (I made that one last week and I think out of the two versions it's definitely the better one) The bready base makes you think of bread and plum jam, only it's less sweet, much tarter and with only just cooked plums, rather than mushy sugary jam.
In the evening I still managed to cook a yellow thai curry, inspired by Jo's post! Emm was tucking in, except for the peppers and mushrooms. I had to make sure she drank lots of water afterwards, because I suppose the paste is quite salty, much more so than other dishes I cook. I forgot to put in the broccoli, my concentration was definitely waning by then!

I had bought Bill Grangers new book (can't find it on the amazon associates search engine), but returned it when I realised it was 12.50£ on amazon (13.25£ at the moment), after I'd paid 33€ for it in the shop! I know there's exchange rates and shop overheads, but I don't think that kind of price difference is justified!! They took it back, no problem. I haven't ordered it yet and am thinking almost everyday of a dish i saw in it and then remember, oh yeah, must buy the book! I had half decided to return it when I realised what most of the ingredients were going to cost!! If I was able to source them, that is... But now I keep thinking back and I think I will get the book again. Or maybe I should just get his first book? Are chef's first books usually their best?


  1. Oo, this all sounds gorgeous. I don't know about chef's books, esp if they're not tied into tv series. I suppose you just have to go browse. It's a pity about the prices, isn't it? I#d like to support the shops here, but it's hard with that kind of difference.

  2. I'm actually in two minds about forgotten skills of cooking, the information and recipes in it are really good, but on the other hand the tone she uses is very patronising, and i'd have plenty to say when she asks why not more people cook with lard! it's not a healthy book, at least not if you don't live a 1940s farmers' lifestyle, where you'd easily burn off the calories and wouldn't have to worry about the saturated fat. it does have lots of recipes that wouldn't cost you much though, which is great!