Popular Posts

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Any chance of something pretty this year?

We have had a week of mechanical and technology failure.   Last weekend for no apparent reason the computer refused to load.  I tried shutting it down, starting it up, switching it off, unplugging and disconnecting all the wires, plugging them in again, restoring it to a restore point, leaving it overnight (maybe it would reconsider and agree to start up again) – all to no avail.  The only option was the radical one – restore to the settings it came with.  This means that all software installed after we got it was wiped.  Microsoft Office disappeared along with any other software – so my camera software, itunes etc. all gone.  We have had to re-purchase and re-install.
My monster cooker has also been fixed this week.  The element and the fan went.  There is only one company in Scotland that services La Canche cookers.  I am confident that this fact and the cost of the parts was information I was not given at the point of sale.  The engineer knows my cooker quite well now.  I even built a plinth on wheels for the cooker to sit on so that it can be wheeled in and out of its space when it needs fixed.  The good news is that my fan oven works again – the bad news is that with parts, labour and VAT – the bill was £477.  I was lucky – it had a 3 legged fan not a 4 legged fan.  The 4 legged fans are twice as much!
I wouldn’t say my kitchen is full of gadgets but I do have a few (quite a few actually) some of these do no more than use up cupboard space..  Many have been given to me as presents – which is lovely – but I occasionally issue a “no kitchen equipment for Christmas/Birthday” plea.  I seem to be one of those women who attract kitchen equipment presents.   Some women get jewellery and perfume and girly things – I am more likely to get a bread maker.  It’s not that I don’t love my kitchen stuff – I do.  One of my favourite things is the K-Mix food mixer I got for my Birthday this year.  All three children and my sister contributed to it and I love it and I use it several times a week.  I once got, as one of my Christmas presents, one of those rubber tubes that you rub garlic skin off with.  Last Christmas I suggested to my husband that he might like to buy me something pretty! 
One of the most bizarre presents I ever got was from my first husband on Valentines Day.  He presented me with a scientific calculator and when I asked why – he said “well – you needed one”.  Somehow I am obviously giving out the wrong messages!  I think my sister may be in a similar position.  A couple of months ago my brother in law dropped in on his way back from picking up a new car in Ayr.  He was driving back down to Essex so stayed overnight with us.  It was the week before my sister’s birthday and I had bought and wrapped her present for him to take back with him (it was a bread bin in case you were wondering – and yes that is what she asked for).  I asked him what he had bought for her and he said he had bought her something that she had wanted for ages.  It was … a washing line!  Now fair enough – it wasn’t just a line of plasticised rope – it was a special retractable line – but I felt I had to ask him if he was really sure that that was a good enough present.  He was confident that she would be delighted.
This week I have managed to make (successfully for the first time) meringues.  I know lots of people can produce meringues without a problem but the technique has eluded me.  I have tried all sorts of ways – including once “cooking” them in a hostess trolley - another gadget – very 70s – that I inherited from my parents.   It was a hideous teak effect thing that I only ever used to keep plates warm.  Thanks to my wonderful K-Mix mixer with its big whisk attachment I have made some successful brown sugar meringues.  I have also made some chocolate fudge/truffles.  Fudge is another thing I struggle to get right.  It comes out the wrong texture or tasting funny.  This week I cam upon a website called “Cooking for Engineers”   www.cookingforengineers.com it is a sort of Heston Blumenthal type of approach to cooking but less glamorous.  It is an American site and states “Detailed instructions on food and cooking for those who like to ask not just How?
but also Why?  Not exactly snappy but you get the idea. 
There is a fudge recipe on the site which I tried – and the product is actually quite good, and very easy to make.  It tastes like a cross between chocolate fudge and chocolate truffles.  I cut the fudge into little squares and rolled each piece in icing sugar before putting them in little food gift bags tied with ribbon.
Chocolate fudge
1lb of chocolate (I used dark)
4 tablespoons of butter
1 14oz can of condensed milk
Heat the butter and chocolate over a pan of water till melted, stir in the condensed milk and mix.
Pour the mixture into a square tin lined with baking parchment, refrigerate for 2 hours, cut into little squares.
So – I end the week poorer but with a working cooker, a working computer and having conquered the fear of meringues.

No comments:

Post a Comment