Words

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

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It'll Be All White On The Night

This, my friends...


is The Whitecurrant.

Sometimes referred to as the pink or yellow currant, it is a member of the genus Ribes (This is why Ribena is called Ribena). The flowers are a pale yellow-green, maturing into translucent berries with a pink to white hue. White currant berries are a bit smaller and sweeter than red currants. They are sometimes used to make "pink" jams and jellies (a mixture of white and red). The white currant is actually an albino cultivar of the red currant, but is marketed as a different fruit.

So what can one make with whitecurrants? Well, pretty much anything you can make with blackcurrants. I bought some a few weeks ago and made a raspberry and whitecurrant crumble, which didn't even need any extra sugar, the berries are that sweet.

Gordon Ramsay may be a loudmouthed obnoxious arrogant prick to some, but he does know his nosh. Here is a link to a recipe for his Redcurrant, Whitecurrant and Cherry Fool. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/recipes/article1962827.ece

And here's a recipe for Whitecurrant Wine...

WHITECURRANT WINE 
3 lbs whitecurrants 
2¾-3 lbs finely granulated sugar 
7 pts water 
1 tsp yeast nutrient 
1 pkt Burgundy wine yeast 
Put the fruit in primary and crush. Add 1 quart water and crushed Campden tablet and stir. Cover and set aside for 12 hours. Strain pulp through nylon straining bag, squeezing firmly. Suspend a jelly bag over a bowl and pour the strained juice into the bag. Allow this to drip-drain without squeezing. Do not rush. When all juice is through, pour into stainless steel saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and hold for 5 minutes, removing any scum that rises. Meanwhile, add half the sugar to 1 quart of water and bring to boil while stirring to dissolve. Pour both the sugar-water and boiled juice into clean primary, stir in yeast nutrient, cover, and set aside to cool. Add activated yeast, recover and stir daily for 10 days. Bring another quart of water to boil and stir in remaining sugar until dissolved. Set aside to cool and then add to primary. Cover as before and set aside another 3-4 days. Transfer to secondary, top up with water and fit airlock. Rack, top up and refit airlock every 30 days until wine clears and leaves no further deposits. Stabilize, bulk age 3 months under airlock, and rack into bottles. Age 6 months before tasting. WARNING: Do not boil juice until it has passed through jelly-bag without squeezing or wine will not clear.

Note: Campden tablets = sodium metabisulphite.

And how about some preserves?

WHITE CURRANT JELLY

4 pounds fresh whitecurrants
1 cup water
7 cups white sugar
4 fluid ounces liquid fruit pectin
Directions

Place the currants into a large pot, and crush with a potato masher or berry crusher if you have one. Pour in 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the fruit through a jelly cloth or cheese cloth, and measure out 5 cups of the juice.
Pour the juice into a large saucepan, and stir in the sugar. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat, and stir in the liquid pectin immediately. Return to a full rolling boil, and allow to boil for 30 seconds.
Remove from heat and skim off foam from the top. Ladle or pour into sterile 1/2 pint jars, filling to within 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe the rims with a clean damp cloth. Cover with new sterile lids and rings. Process covered in a bath of simmering water for 10 minutes. Makes 8 x 1/2 pint jars. Goes great with duck or venison, apparently. 



OK, so what's the new Name This Food! food?



Yes, they are apples, I know. But which variety? (I know my peeps will know this one...)

Sippin'

Readers, I ask you - is there anything better on a hot summer's day than a cool, refreshing beverage? Especially when it is of the alcoholic variety? Further still, when it is served in a pint glass or a 500ml bottle? Debate all you will, but I say that a fine pint of ale or cider goes down a treat any time. Take for example the lovely pint of Larkin's ale you see before you.

Does that not make your mouth water?
Sis and I made a small excursion to Brabourne Lees yesterday to pick up a mower. Long story. But on the way back we decided not to take the route recommended to us by the kind sat-nav lady, but to go off the beaten path somewhat, through the villages of Aldington, Bilsington, Hamstreet and so forth. We made a further detour out to the village of Stone-in-Oxney, where we first tried The Ferry Inn for some noms. On entering the Ferry (a beautiful pub, by the way - no disrespect) we perused the Menu board and promptly changed our minds. The food there may be excellent, it may even be exquisite, but sorry, £9.95 for Ham, Egg and Chips? You're having a gee-raffe. That was the cheapest thing on the menu and it was hidden under Snacks.  £9.95 for a snack-sized portion of Ham, Egg and Chips. You can go whistle, mate.

So we ventured further into Stone and found that The Crown, which had been closed for something like three years, was under new ownership and was open for lunch. So in we went. We were not hopeful, based on what we had seen at The Ferry, but after looking at the menu we were pleasantly surprised. There were Main dishes as low as £5.50. Vegetarian options, too. So we settled in for a nice lunch.

The place has been refurbished, and looks quite posh.




Here's the menu. Not sure what you can make out, but click on the pic to make it larger.



My sis ordered the Cheese & Ham Omelette and chips, which was not the cheapest thing on the menu at £7.45, but was quite substantial, and as a nice touch, the chips came in a paper cone a la  seaside fish'n'chips.


Mine was the £5.50 Stuffed Courgettes, a Middle Eastern dish with rice, tomatoes, broad beans, cumin, onions, garlic, coriander and sweet paprika, served with a decent sized salad.


All in all a good place for lunch, and not too hideously priced. Unlike The Ferry. Sorry, Ferry Inn fans (or owners) if you're reading, but if the average price of an entree on your menu is £13, you aren't gonna get many takers, at least not in this day and age, unless you have managed to find yourself a niche market of local Range-Rover-driving-landed gentry gentleman farmers with more money than sense.

Anyway, back to what I was saying about cooling beverages on a hot summer day. My mother and stepdad came back from their vacation in Somerset a couple days ago and brought me back a prezzie, which was a lovely bottle of cider made by Sheppy's, based in Bradford-on-Tone, about halfway between Taunton and Wellington. This cider was different though - a bottle of cider blended with blackberry juice. I put it in the fridge when I got home and there it stayed until this afternoon when I broke it out and sat with Laura in the back garden in the bright sunshine. Now I'm not normally big on ciders but this one is lovely. And just look at that colour.


I wholeheartedly recommend that you rush out and buy a case or two.


Monday, August 1, 2011

I Never Harmed An Onion

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