Monday, 8 August 2011

Happiness soup, yummy lentil burgers, and shelves!

This weekend my family came to visit, and as well as catching up and having fun there was lots of eating. Also my awesome dad put up some shelves for us in the kitchen, my cookery books no longer need to lie down on the dresser, they're now on display in a more useful way!


To feed a family with two vegetarians, one peanut allergic, and one on a gluten-free diet can be tricksy, but on Sunday we happily munched on lentil, rice and nut burgers with guacamole, and fried eggs and homemade coleslaw (made by mum) on the side - yummy!

I invented the recipe a while back to use up some leftover rice and it goes something like this (be aware it makes a lot! you can always halve the quantities):-

200 g lentilles vertes (puy lentils would also work) - boiled.
1 portion cooked brown basmati (~150 g cooked)
1 medium onion
100 g cashew nuts
50 g sunflower seeds
2 eggs
3 cloves garlic
~5 mushrooms (optional)
EITHER mushroom ketchup or soy sauce
soy flour to bind (optional)

Blend ingredients in food processor, fry a small bit of mixture and taste for seasoning, adjust to taste.
The first time I made these I used mushrooms, soy flour and mushroom ketchup, having toyed with various seasonings.  This time, I'd run out of mushrooms and mushroom ketchup and used soy sauce instead. With the mushrooms and mushroom ketchup the mixture was a bit wet, so I used soy flour to bind the mixture and add extra protein. With soy sauce the mixture was fine without the soy flour. 
Shallow fry the mixture as patties and enjoy! They're nice hot or cold, and with the nuts and lentils are nice and filling.

For Sunday dinner Chris and I decided to harvest some of our homegrown produce -

Yummy Yellow Courgette.
With our 450 g giant courgette we decided to make Happiness Soup, one of our favourite recipes from Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer. This soup really lives up to its name and made us feel summery and happy even though there was torrential rain outside.

We ate our fluorescent yellow soup with some freshly-baked bread.

Courgette soup for the soul.
To make the meal even more perfect we followed this up with apple crumble :-)

Happy days.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


Over the weekend I was a busy bee making jam.
Our lovely neighbour gave us a big bag of yellow plums from her garden, as she's had a bumper crop this year. Also, we've had lots of rhubarb (our garden's big success this year), so roll on plum jam and rhubarb jam...

For both recipes I used my 1970's copy of the Good Housekeeping cookery book, which is filled with lots of wonderful recipes and used the "plum jam" recipe for the plums. Here are the jars of jam:-

I used the pressure cooker to cook the plums, in the hopes that their colour would stay better if I cooked them under pressure for 5 min vs. 30-50 min in a normal pan. As the pressure cooker is stainless steel, it's also the ideal place to make the jam.

While the plums cooked I found a recipe to use the rhubarb in, the imaginatively named "Rhubarb Ginger" which, believe it or not, has rhubarb and ginger in it.

Here's some of the rhubarb:-
Yay - we grew this!

There was no added water in the recipe, and the way to deal with this was to prepare the rhubarb the day before making the jam, by chopping it up and layering it with the sugar:-
This was covered with a tea-towel and left overnight, and by the magical process of osmosis the water from the rhubarb seeped out into the sugar, and made it all ready to cook.

Fresh ginger was cooked in with the rhubarb and then removed, crystallised ginger (made by cooking fresh ginger in sugar syrup) was added for the jamming process. My jam thermometer was great for the process, and I learnt with the plum jam to trust it more (it didn't seem to be setting so I boiled it longer, ignoring the thermometer, and the plum jam is now set rock solid).

Here's a picture of my final hoard from a weekend boiling fruit in sugar:-


Monday, 1 August 2011

July Socks - Finished in July!

July has been a success sock club-wise - I finished the socks last night at about 11pm, so just within the month's deadline.

I've been stashbusting recently, and was not sure what pattern to use for the regia colour silk I had in my stash. After some searching on Ravelry for patterns good for self-striping yarns I settled on Broadripple, with a few tweaks to make it work for the thinner yarn I was using.

I cast on 64 stitches, and for the ripple pattern used K3 yo K3 ssk k2tog K3 yo K3, leading to a slightly different ripple, but the same overall effect as the original. It's a nice easy knit, with a nice rhythm to the pattern. They're ravelled here.


I haven't decided yet what August's socks will be, but hopefully i'll choose soon so that I have most of the month to get them done!