“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Weekly Digest

Oh, what a terrible pun.
Well, let's see - what's new in Jeff's world o'chow this week?

 Went to Waitrose the other night, looking for a bargain. That's really the best thing to do in Waitrose. I think I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Waitrose is a lovely supermarket (curiously, however, it does not have a restroom - I find this to be very strange for an upmarket grocery, especially in this day and age, and especially since its main competitor in the town - Tesco - has really nice restrooms that are scrupulously clean), but Waitrose's main problem is that it is bloody pricey. The best thing to do, as I say, is look for the red-tagged items. The best time to go is about 2 to 3 hours before closing, when they are slashing prices on already-reduced stuff just to get it off the shelves. I picked up a large 12" pepperoni pizza the other day for 99p - and it wasn't just any old pizza, it was a Pizza Express pizza - i.e. high-end pizza.

Well, as I said, I went to Waitrose in search of inspiration and bargains, and found 2 tubs of Chicken Miso soup reduced from over £2 a tub to 79p each. Dinner for Laura and myself - sorted. Very nice soup indeed.

 Those among you with long memories will recall that last year I wrote a piece about The William Harvey Hospital's Spice Of Life Restaurant - but just in case you have forgotten, here's a link to it.  

We had occasion to journey there yesterday and ate lunch in the gleaming shiny glorified staff canteen that is The Spice Of Life. While the food is pretty good for a hospital, it's pretty basic, but not super-expensive, which is a plus. The staff are nice and pleasant although you get the impression that some of them don't seem to know what they are supposed to be doing most of the time, and there was a bit of confusion between the two people manning the tills. Trouble is, one till is over at the end of the food line, and the other is located at the beverage station, so I went and paid for my food and then headed to the beverage station to get a coffee, and the guy asked me if I'd already paid for my food. I said yes, I just wanted a coffee. He got me a coffee and then I went to pay him, and he said oh, I thought you'd paid. No, I said, I've paid for the food. Evidently I could have paid for the coffee at the other till and then retrieved it at the end, but this was not made abundantly clear. Oh well, no matter. I had a very nice baked potato and veggies, and that was good.

This sign was standing in the corner of the restaurant and I was a little bit disturbed by it, for two reasons. 1) The guy's grin seems excessively cheesy, and 2)  the sign reads "Try one of our delicious chef-inspired freshly prepared salads today." What does "chef-inspired" actually mean? 'Well, we looked at a picture of Jamie Oliver, and we were inspired to throw some veggies in a bowl'.

Today after I had promised (threatened) to make some American biscuits many, many times, I finally got around to it. Here's the recipe I used:

2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/3 cup shortening (I used marg)
3/4 cup milk (originally the recipe called for buttermilk, but I had none on hand. I can get it over here but it's not something a lot of people use).

In a bowl, I combined all the dry ingredients and then worked the margarine into the mixture as I would for crumble, until it becomes breadcrumbish, and then added the milk and stirred it in until it becomes a dough, but not over mixing. I then took the ball of dough, and lightly patted it into a circle, then taking a knife I cut it into 8 triangles. These I then placed on the baking tray. I already had the oven turned to 200C at this point.

OK, so one of them is round.
I baked them until just golden brown, about 12 - 15 minutes.

When they are still very warm, slap some butter on them puppies. 

Butter and Golden Syrup, even better. Nom nom nom.
Tonight I am cooking some steaks and doing a version of my famous Catalina Sauce. It's been slowly reducing on the stove for an hour or so. I'll let you know if it works out, and I may even give you the recipe... later.

Kooshti Sante!

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