Saturday, 25 October 2008

Toad in the hole

Today has been really cold, rainy and blustery. I braved the weather to go the gym so feeling fairly saintly but now just want to curl up in front of the fire with some warming winter food. I haven't made toad in the hole for a long time and Andy suggested it. Sausages, gravy and yorkshire pudding - perfect for a wintery dinner. This is my way of doing it - the first time I made it I didn't have an actual recipe to hand so made it up - so it probably isn't the 'right' way to do it but it works for us.


Six good quality sausages
4oz strong plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 large egg
300ml/half a pint of semi skimmed milk

Grill the sausages
Put all of the other ingredients in a bowl and beat until bubbles appear. To see the bubbles pause every so often and watch to see if they rise
When the sausages are done, heat dripping in a roasting tin in the oven. Leave the sausages to cool slightly
When the dripping is piping hot, add the batter and then add the sausages
Cook for about 30-40 minutes or until the pudding has risen and is golden

Serve with any of the following:
Tatties roasted or baked
Green veggies like peas and broccoli
Mashed tatties
Green and red cabbage

Some folks put the sausages uncooked into the batter. I prefer to grill them first because it gives them a good crackling skin all round and also makes sure they are heated all the way through. If you like a lot of pudding around your sausages then the pudding can be cooked but not the sausage all the way through.

I usually use a roasting tin but tonight in Tesco I spotted a metal lasagne dish which I am going to try. It is a bit smaller than a roasting tin which should mean I will get a better 'bottom' to my pudding and high sides so the pudding can rise with some support. So keen to see how it will work out and if my theories will be proved right or not!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Jamie Oliver and his food crusade

You know, some people hate him and other love him - and today Jamie Oliver is in the Sunday Herald talking about his Ministry of Food project. Well, I like his recipes but at the same time can only take the chirpy chap for so long but one thing he said hit home. And that is that nowadays sitting down and eating dinner as a family at the table is seen as 'middle class'. I don't know how true that is but if there is any grain of truth in there it makes me worry. Along with everyone else there are times when flopping in front of the tele with a pizza is exactly what you need but since when did tables become middle class? I mean, I can see that owning microwaves and having a TV in every room could be seen as the trappings of the middle classes, where every kid has their own bedroom and box to sit in front of to have their tea.

If anything sitting round a table would be, to my mind, working class. Although I concede if the table is half the length of a football pitch and has more cutlery than John Lewis on show then it may be more upper class. But your basic kitchen table and eating your weekday meal - I don't get it. Then again, my family always had tea at the table, but we are a talkative lot and while we like our tele we are all so keen to tell everyone about our day that the tele is in a losing battle. Unless Corrie Street is on in which case my Mum demands silence.

In our house the kitchen was and still is the hub of the house. It's where all the action is. And, in these credit crunch times, doesn't it make sense to have your tea in teh warmest room in the house, toasty from eth oven and hob being on the go?

Well, whatever 'class' dinner round the table is now a part of my own thought is that sitting at the table for tea is, for me, definitley a good thing. Life is so busy that sometimes we forget to take some time to just sit and savour our food and find the time to catch up with one another. Some nights we sit down to dinner and are still yabbering on long after the meal itself has been devoured. We get to really talk with one another. And, of course, we are often talking about what we have eaten, gluttons that we are, but we are also talking about all the wee things that otherwise you wouldn't say because of time and other pressures.

Mind you, I love a night in front of the TV as much as anyone and I can remember my Mum making us our 'Saturday Night Tea' which would be something like egg and chips or macaroni cheese, and we would sit in front of the TV to have it. I stil like to do that too.

So a wee ramble from me and a plea for everyone to have their tea at the table once a week or so. It's amazing what good company your family can be and how much funnier and more interesting they are than whatever third rate soap is on (of course, I do not include River City, shining beacon of Scottish talent and all round modern Shakespeare, in that assessment!). And if that makes me middle class then for once maybe they are right!!

No time for cooking!

I have started a new job and it has all been so busy that I have had little time to cook and have left most of the cooking duties to Mr Judson recently. But now I have moved my weekday lodgings to coincide with my new job I am hoping to have more time.

I did cook some salmon last week for Sunday dinner as a way to treat Andy. I just baked the salmon with olive oil and seasoning and made some sauce using creme fraiche and pesto and served it on spinach stuffed pasta. Pretty simple but tasty and healthy (well, almost).

Today I made some rock buns to take down to the pool where dive training was taking place - and I made enough for Andy to have during the week to keep him happy. Andy and I both do scuba diving with Dundee University Sub Aqua Club (DUSAC). When diving food is very important so when I next go diving will post on that!