After a busy day at work,I was pleased to get home and I spent a little time in the garden looking at what I have to do, which is quite a bit, so I think I will be trying to restore some sense and order in the garden this weekend, or at least starting. I have plants to get in and pots to wash out as well as weeds to pull. A bit of hard work never hurt anyone, but will have to see how I go might be interspersed with lots of little breaks as my back and legs are not too brilliant but I have to start somewhere.
Anyway back to Friday I digress somewhat; I went to my friends last night for another cooking lesson. Eve is Scottish and her grandmother was her main female figure in her life as her mother died very young. Every so often her gran made "Tablet" and she hadn't had it for years until a recent holiday in Scotland which brought back all sorts of memories for her. She was able to buy "Tablet" from a local sweetie shop, and although nice, it wasn't how her grandmother had made it - something was missing. Therefore last week she asked if we could have a go at this. I had never made this before, but being in for a penny and in for a pound, I said we would have a go. A little time ago she had acquired a recipe and then promptly lost it and she could not find it last night, so onto the Internet we went and located this extremely helpful "how to link" on how to make "Tablet". The recipe is called "Great Aunt Celie's Tablet"and here is the link http://scruss.com/tablet.html
Its a very good simple tutorial and it was soon made. We had some scraps from round the edge and they were very very tasty. So much so Eve was chomping at the bit to actually eat it but I have told her to leave it overnight to harden off. I must say that I am going to do some of this for myself in the future.
Then I got her to make some butterfly cakes which turned out very tasty, but I have a better recipe which I am going to sort out for her. Apparently Eve and her partner Terry were well chuffed with what I had shown Eve how to make last week. The custard tart went down well as did everything else, including the school boys earholes, scones and samosas. As the custard tart is a favourite with Terry, Eve is going to make him another one, this time all on her own with me hovering in the background next week, including making the pastry from scratch. She also wants to have a go at making a Risotto.
As I foresee the custard tart/egg custard being a regular on Eve's baking repertoire, me being me gave her some homework this week; I know that it will not be ready for next week but if I can get her thinking ahead and making what she can for herself, she will end up with her own battery of useful ingredients which will cost far less and make her baked goods taste even nicer.
So her homework this week is to start her own vanilla sugar. Its expensive to buy in the shops, but this way on you get more for your money. Its also very useful in butterfly cakes, home made custard, panacotta, toffee apple slices, custard tarts, roast peaches, bread and butter pudding Victoria sandwich etc. You can also use in preserves like Rhubarb and Vanilla jam. I have covered flavoured sugars before and here is the link http://tarragonnthyme.blogspot.com/2009/01/flavoured-sugars.html
Inserting the Vanilla pod into the sugar this way means that the Vanilla pod remains intact and if you need one in a hurry for scraping into home made egg custard i.e. scraping the seeds out you have one or two immersed in the sugar that can be raided.
Another way is to blitz a couple of pods into a kilo of sugar in the food processor and then store,in an airtight jar, but this makes the sugar go a pale coffee/caramel colour in patches whereas the infusing method keeps the sugar white. Why not try some of the other flavoured sugars too.
Eve doesn't know it yet, but she is going to be growing mustard and cress on her windowsill before too long too.
Catch you all soon.