When I went to catering college at an early age, the nearest we got to an electronic machine was a Kenwood Chef, with a dough hook on it.
Everything chopping wise, was done with a knife, which you had to learn quickly or end up coming home in plasters all over your fingers.
Which I fully admit we all did, quite often in the early days!
I do all the cooking in the house now, so as the Veterans I look after come every fortnight, and my six nieces and two nephews any chance they can for a dinner, my wife thought she would treat me.
A big box arrived with an electronic whirligig machine in it, my wife calls them food processors!
So I unpacked it and then read the instructions, which amazed my wife, a man reading the instructions before he even had plugged it in!
Looking at the plethora of blades, slicers, graters and dough mixers, I wondered about this Electronic genius of a thing.
So I issued a challenge to my wife to see if this thing could in fact beat a Chefs knife, she readily accepted and did a list out on her computer of things to do by hand and in this marvel of technology! With a set of rules of course.
The first challenge was two large onions finely chopped, so she set the timer on her mobile phone; I topped and tailed them skinned them and chopped them, put them in a bowl, washed my chopping board and knife and put it back. She did write the time down but did not tell me.
Then she used my chopping board and my Titanium knife to top and tail and skin them (sacrilege), yes the machine did them very quickly but; the wife had to put the onions in a bowl, wash the bowl out from the machine and the blade, and my chopping board and knife.
Round one to me, easily by minutes.
This carried on over a week so we worked it out, so far!
Yes the machine is good at dough (pastry and bread), and pasta, undoubted.
It makes lovely tomato puree, or a Bolognese sauce.
Good at coleslaw and Hummus.
Grated cheese or potato's for rosti's.
Brilliant at mincing meat, this I will not deny.
Completely useless at herbs as it batters them and Garlic too much, especially basil which it turns black after awhile, my wife tried this not me.
So she tried Yorkshire pudding mix in it, completely useless, as I can beat it by hand.
Dumplings it cannot make at all, so the essential things it can't!
Then there is the question of how long do the plastic bowl and blades last, constantly being washed.
My knives take seconds to clean and are easily sharpened, I know for I do it religiously.
So although it is useful for a lot of things I do not think it is the be and end all of cooking devices.
Plus I do not trust electronic things in the kitchen.
I know I will get lots of flak about this but, even my wife who also went to catering college ten years after I did, was surprised at the outcome, so far!
Regards from England.
Neil I don't think you should ever apply for work in writing ads for the kitchen appliance industry. Lol.
I've owned 3 food processors. The first one was purchased in the late 70s and spent most of its' life in a cabinet, sometimes for years at a stretch. It was very loud, awkward to assemble and I hated it.
Now I'm afflicted with a neuro disorder that makes my hands uncooperative so I bought one of those mini choppers thinking I could almost dispense with my knife. It's too small and will work a person to death emptying and refilling. It's also a bit hateful to assemble. It's gathering dust.
I went on a buying spree last spring since I had determined that I would grow everything and have a marvelous garden. I got a hand cranked tomato squeezer and herb chopper from seedsofitaly.com. I'm happy with both of those although I don't often use the chopper. I got a nice big dehydrator that has really worked well. I also decided I needed a food processor to do the massive quantities of vegs for the dehydrator and that's the only time I use it.
For normal needs, my knife is still the best tool. I had some remodeling done and now have work surfaces at the proper height for a person in a wheelchair. That's the biggest help of all. I bought some of those chopping mats and find them an excellent alternative to using a board.
I'm still not satisfied. I want something that will DICE onions, peppers, zukes and tomatoes in a uniform size and not a restaurant model for $300. I'm thinking of trying the Progressive Veg Chopper for $25. I saw a video on youtube of people chopping bushels of onions with it and it looked effortless.
My best advice to a young person just starting out would be to learn how to use a good 8" chefs knife. I have a drawer full of knives but that and a bread knife are the ones used daily. Also people need to learn how to dress the edge every time they pick it up. It is unbelievable how many people complain of dull knives and don't know that simple trick. It only takes maybe 2 seconds to keep a knife sharp and I think that deficiency is the main reason everyone buys food processors.
Dorothy, what do you use to sharpen your knives? I have one of those Accusharp gadgets that also sharpen hoes and other garden implements and tools in a slightly different version. My husband uses a sharpening rod, but I'm not that confident about getting the proper edge with those.
I have a MagiMix processor which also has a juice extractor attachment. I've never used it but next time we have a bumper crop of grapes like we did last year I will. I mostly use the processor for making things like pesto. I also have one of those tomato machines; it belonged to my husband's family and I love it. Kids adore cranking the juice through it and seeing the dry seeds and skin come out the other end, and generations have used it by now!
Neil, it sounds as though you gave that whirligig machine a very fair trial. I hope your wife doesn't feel too bad about how useless her gift was, though!
Hey Leslie. I don't doubt that Neil will be along shortly to correct me because I'm self taught and not nearly knowledgeable.
Wait until you are alone so the family isn't horrified or amused. If you are right handed, take a knife in your left hand and turn the dull side so it faces right. In your right hand, hold the knife to be dressed so the blade faces left. Drag the blade its entire length, held at a SLIGHT angle, along the dull side of the one in your left hand. You alternate over and under and test it every dozen strokes or so. As you get the hang of it, you can safely speed up. Once you get a good edge, you do this every time you use it and it will only take a few strokes and a couple seconds. It looks like a mad person getting worked up to behead someone so be sure to perfect it in private. This is the only way I've done it for 30 years.
This is called dressing because it just barely removes any metal and smooths any little burrs. Sharpening is rougher process that takes off more metal. I've seen blades that were mis-shapen from sharpening but maybe they didn't know the correct way to do it. I've watched guys use a stone and it looks very laborious to me.
Lawn mower blades are best dressed as well IMHO and a good tool for it is a belt sander. On a push mower, you chock the blade with a block of wood and dress it while it's tilted a bit. It saves the nuisance of having to take it off. Sharpening removes too much metal. There's no way to keep that "sharp" edge and frequently resharpening results in needing to buy a new one every year or two.
You once asked me what I was going to do with all those tomatoes I planted. They came so fast that all I could do was crank that squeezer and freeze plain sauce. I dried and froze peppers til I was sick of both. I'm going to use my whirligig machine to experiment with some condiments since the gardening chores are slowing down. Otherwise my garden has been disappointing with abundant rain, heat and pestilence. I think practically everyone in the country has had some real weather complaints.
Dear twiggybuds, I do think I should apply for a job in that industry, I could tell people to get a bit more cupboard space as it will be put away to rot, or repackaged and given as a Christmas present to someone.
For instance when I make apple crumble, I can core, peel and chop the apples faster than that thing could ever do!
Any true Englishman who cannot make an apple crumble, should have their passport taken away and put in the Tower of London to await execution. If they are lucky they might try to execute them with a food processor, for it would not work.
Even if it did (most doubtful), I would not like to clean it for hours afterwards, or indeed read through the manual trying to pick the right blade for the job!
Blunt knives are a nightmare, they are dangerous! That is a proven fact, for if cut yourself with a sharp knife apart from a few choice words the cut is clean. Once well washed and a blue plaster is put on it, then it heals itself quite quickly. A blunt knife which takes more pressure to even do anything, then rips and tears when it cuts you. That takes a lot longer to heal and does more damage.
My sister in law is a classic for this and she should know better as she is a sister in a Hospital. Her knives, the few she has got are totally blunt, you cannot even start to cut a cabbage with them. So she bought a very cheap food processor which has an off switch on it, no pulse like the new thing the wife got me.
Very nice for making cabbage puree, not much use for doing anything else.
I really don't like gadgets, and that is not me being old fashioned, it is just that you see these wonderful adverts on the Television for them and buy one. Then when it arrives it is not quite what it was made out to be, so again ends up in its box in a cupboard somewhere, to be found years later!
My mother has had a triple heart bypass and she cannot stand for long, so she has had her work surface lowered, so she can cut things up.
She manages quite well without any Electronic gadgets and she is 83 with Arthritis in her hands!
I saw my mother today and told her what I had written and that I expected a few people having a bit to say about it. She totally agrees with me; as this new thing we have has three bowls in it, so by the time you have to take the top of and select what bowl you want, then the blade for that bowl, put the lid on and then chopped/mixed whatever you want then dismantled it, cleaned it and put it back together, you may as well have chopped it by hand properly!
I enclose a picture I have just taken of a few of my most used knives, including my old and beloved boning and my filleting knife!
I wonder if a food processor can bone and fillet?
Regards from England.
What did you do with the dried peppers? I've never tried that; I just quarter them lengthwise and stick them in the freezer. But I never did get too many of the dratted things; I'll try again with Marconi next year. I think only one plant bore and I got maybe two or three is all.
What worries me is getting the right angle in dressing a knife. I'm always afraid I'll do it incorrectly and end up with a ruined implement! I'll have to try that, though. I read your directions to DH and he said he'd never heard of doing it that way but he could see that it would be an interesting method.
Dear Leslie, I do dress my knives as Twiggybuds says, and you do not have to worry too much about the angle as long as you do not put it to square on, as that will blunt the knife. It does take the very tiny burrs and bits out will sharpen it.
However I use mine constantly, so I set two brief periods on the mornings when things like bread (Mondays), or pasties, pies etc. (Fridays) are in the oven.
So I use an oilstone, which is basically a fine Carborundum stone with one side medium and the other incredibly fine.
You then put a little olive oil on the medium side and gently lay the knife on it, lifting it ever so slightly so the cutting edge is at a slight angle. Then going in slow circles for its entire length a couple of times on both sides of the knife. Then turn it over and on and the olive oiled, fine side (the sides are different colours), you do the same.
This gets the fine sharpness and does not take lots of the metal off the knife.
You can get it as sharp as you so wish on the fine side, then wash it and dry with a bit of kitchen paper.
These have been around for hundreds of years, but you can now buy posh ones that have a cradle which you put your knife in and then slide it up and down, and moving it till it does the entire blade. I tried one of these at a show I went to and found it cumbersome, and it was hard to get right to the edge of the knife.
Yes I do have a lot of Sabatiers, but you must be careful as their are in fact three types in France.
The things you buy from a hypermarket on a day trip are cheap and are really not the proper thing, medium grade are good, and the professional ones are excellent. So although more expensive they last longer, are easier to sharpen and hold their edge well.
Even my beloved meat clever is a professional one, just look for the P sign ion them.
Regards from England.
p.s. still beat a food processor though!
Neil, my husband uses a carborundum rod to sharpen things, and since he's comfortable doing it I let him have the honors. My Sabatier knives are carbon steel and I think are well-made; they're quite old. The larger of the two chef's knives I found on a boat my parents bought when I was in college. My mother preferred stainless steel and wasn't really much of a chef, so I got to keep it. The small Sabatier paring knife has been through some adventures. My son preferred it for filleting fish out on our dock, and once dropped it in the water. When I told him how much it would cost to replace it (out of his allowance!) he waited until low tide and went down into the muck and managed to find it!
Dear Leslie, carborundum rods are great! I have a small one that I use for sharpening my Felco secateurs and my pruning knife.
Although my mother bought a Bosch electronic (rechargeable), set of secateurs for me, it is alright for thicker things but not for small fast pruning, and is a nightmare to sharpen.
My wife a gadget freak, bought a Bosch (rechargeable), Topiary/hedge trimmer, for me, or so she claimed. She uses it to trim the two ball box trees outside our front door.
It sounds like your Sabatiers are good ones, for it is only recently that they started making the cheap ones for the day trippers to buy.
Funny how youngsters can find things when there is money involved!
Thank you for your comments on my nephew (Alfie), I have written quite a long post back.
He is coming over tomorrow as it is his schools half term next week, yet another holiday.
As my sister in law has just been promoted to sister in her Hospital, which means longer hours, so I have a feeling he will stay here for some of the days in the week, if not all.
So it is Sunday dinner making, as he loves to sit in front of the oven and watch the Yorkshire Puddings rise up!
I did make an apple crumble today, but the wife got to it, so I will have to make another one now.
Regards to all from England.
Neil, I'm somewhat of a gadget freak myself, so I can empathize with your wife. We just bought a ceramic cooker called The Big Green Egg, which is an adaptation of a Japanese/Chinese Komado cooker. It's supposed to be great for grilling and even for cooking things in a dutch oven, and for baking breads.
It sounds like Alfie has some lovely times coming up, staying with Uncle Neil. Our granddaughter spends a lot of time here and luckily we have all her dad's and aunt's old toys - at least the nicer ones like blocks and Legos - plus lots of games and kids' books here. She's getting too old for toys but as I said, does enjoy helping to drive the tractor and put up food and feed the chickens and bake with me.
Dear Leslie, I bet your granddaughter has a most wonderful time with you and your husband. She is lucky to have grandparents that care and take the time with her. Driving tractors is always good fun, and as men are really big kids at heart, I loved them when I was young and I love them now.
So I can see why your Granddaughter likes driving the tractor, or helping at least, oh what fun!
Anyone who bakes is a friend of mine, as it seems to be a dying art as well. So that is brilliant that your granddaughter is into that, for that really is an essential lifeskill.
Alfie is not really into baking, he does not mind kneading dough, but prefers chopping things up and mashing things!
It is his Birthday on the 28Th of October a whole seven years old, so he is quite excited about being seven.
When asked what he wanted for his Birthday, he claims he wants a laptop to stop him having to fight with his sisters to use one.
So my mother who is going to get him one enquired if he wanted a Dell like his sisters, but a different colour.
He said"no grandma, I don't want any Microsoft rubbish, I want an Apple mac like Auntie Sarah's or a big Imac like Uncle Neil's!"
What can you say to that one/
Unfortunately I was informed he was not coming over today as his dad wanted to take him to some event at the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon.
He likes looking at big military aircraft, and they have ones you can go in, and computers you can fly one etc, boys heaven.
Your new cooker sounds posh. Apart from the Agar up the cottage, we have a gas one here which I like, as they are easy to control!
My mother bought a new electric one and got rid of her lovely old gas one, she wishes she hadn't now.
For it takes ages to heat up then when it does you cannot control it, like a gas oven, you are constantly moving things off and on the heat and fiddling with switches.
I have two smokers (hot and cold), which I adore, so I am very popular near Christmas with people wanting smoked Salmon and smoked Hams etc.
Regards from a cold and damp England.
We used to smoke salmon using a cold smoking arrangement when we lived in Washington State, where salmon were cheap and plentiful. We actually had a jar of it in our pantry here thirty or so years later, and when we thought of mentioning it to friends who were over for dinner they wanted to try it. So we opened it up and ate it, and were none the worse for it. It was delicious!
I have an electric oven but a gas stove-top; I've never liked cooking on electric burners because they're too unresponsive.
And I admire Alfie's taste in computers; I'm a Mac person myself! Good for him for having his own opinion! What will his grandmother get for him?
Dear Leslie, I know what he is got for I have it, but can I just tell you something, before I tell you.
When Mac brought out the Worlds first personal computer in 1976, they opened a shop in Victoria in London, which I used to go in and just look.
It had a lovely hanging black sign in the window with the apple one one side and "I THINK DIFFERENT" in wording on it.
On a night the apple and the wording used to light up green. Well the shop was closing down, so on the last day I walked in and asked how much for the sign, and the manager took it down and just gave it to me!
So I put it up in the spare room where Alfie stays, and he loved it, or did till I gave him it for his room at home, never to be seen again, my brother hates Mac's so sold it. All my six nieces and my other nephew use Microsoft, but at Alfie's school they have both. Mac's for children who are into being artistic and design mad, and Microsoft for other uses.
So I warned my mother about getting Alfie a Mac as for what my brother did to the sign, she already knew about it and has spoken to my sister in law, so he is on a death threat from his wife and the family if he touches it, or tries to sell it.
We have three Mac's and two Microsoft computers here, but Alfie does not go near Microsoft stuff at all.
Alfie does not like Sarah's 17" laptop Mac as it is too heavy for him, but he likes my 15" Macbook so that is what he wanted.
My friend owns a good Business near me and he uses Mac's, so as value added tax (VAT), is 17.5% on anything you buy, this adds a lot to the final price! A Business can claim the VAT back and my friend has a Mac Business account, which gives you even more money off it.
So my mother knew the price from Mac and I gave her the price from my friend, but it was still to high for my mother, so the whole family chipped in, to get him what he wanted, not what my brother was trying to force him to have.
So in my wardrobe I have got a 15" Macbook with 4 Gb of Ram, Snow Leopard, and a proper Mac case for him.
I somehow think he will be happy with that. For I would have been at seven!
Kindest Regards from a cold and wet England.
What a princely gift for a seven-year-old! He's a lucky kid. But I can't believe that your brother sold the sign; I'm sure it was worth rather a bit but it was up to you to get that money if you didn't want it anymore, not up to him. Why would he feel so strongly about a kind of computer that he would take away something that his little boy thought was very special? I'm sure there's a story there...
We started off with an Apple IIGS and then switched to Macs; I think my first was an LC. Right now I have a 20 or 24" iMac that I bought last year; huge screen! I've thought of getting a Macbook for my business (I do portraits in oils, and I take photos of the subjects out of doors and then load them on an old Mac notebook so the clients can choose what they like for the painting) but I use my desktop computer a lot more, so I went with that instead. I've been thinking about getting Snow Leopard but I'm having intermittent problems with the computer, which I think I've isolated to the external hard drive or Time Machine because once I unplugged it things were fine, and I don't want to introduce a new upgrade until everything's running properly.
Dear Leslie, my brother hates Mac's because; he works for himself putting right all the things that go wrong with Windows for companies all over London on a daily basis. As you may know viruses are a mass problem and Windows is not secure, plus there are myriad of updates for different Windows that tend to crash things etc, and all the other problems they have as the operating system is flawed and is not stable.
There was one big company in London that my brother could charge a small fortune on a weekend to if he was called out to fix Windows problems, which was mostly every weekend. Then he had not heard from them for sometime, as he was in the City he popped in to see the Boss, only to be told they had got rid of all the Windows machines, and switched to Mac. He was horrified as on a Saturday he could charge $1600+ for a day plus expenses, and more on a Sunday! Plus they had taken on a full time I.T. manager who was American and Mac trained.
So upon trying to argue that they would lose Business as everyone used Windows, and it was not compatible with Mac's, he was in for a shock as they had Office for Mac! So he was taken in to the offices he used to work in to see rows of gleaming 21" G4 iMac's ( I had one).
Speaking to people he knew he was stunned that the Mac's could have Word and everything on them, and iPhotos amazed him, the music for presentations etc. Every explained to him it was safer, easier to use and did not go wrong!
So he rang me and came straight here, to see mine. He tried every which way to crash it like a Windows machine, to no avail, it go a bit slower as he kept opening more applications, but it did not stop it.
So he gave up most distressed! Now with the credit crunch and people switching to Mac's, he has to fight with other people for Business so cannot charge exorbitant prices, so he hates Mac's! That hopefully explains why he could not understand the thought of his son sleeping under a Mac sign! He still should have given it back to me, though it has not been forgotten by the family, or Alfie either.
My mother has always wanted to do a Degree in English and she had a Windows laptop, which kept going wrong, and then went out of warranty.
So my wife got the legal company she works for, to fight the computer company under a new law, they lost and had to pay my mother compensation and give her, all monies back. So I got her on an OU course at 79 years old, which like the one I am doing (I already have a Degree), you do from home. So I gave Alfie my 15" Macbook and asked him to show grandma how to use it. Within an hour she was using it with Alfie showing her.
So now she has a 17" pro book the same as Sarah's, and she loves it.
I have my 15" Macbook as if I am designing a garden or giving some advice, I can put the info into it, then if I so wish with airport I can transfer it to my 24" iMac which I got this July! Macbook's are stunning, fast and really just like a laptop iMac.
Due to Mac's offer on this one for Alfie, you got a free ink jet printer, or for another £49.99p or $100 you can have a small A4 colour laser printer, so we got Alfie the colour laser! He has also got a set of speakers, which are very cheap here and a new Nikon point and shoot camera from my greatest friend, who owns the London Camera Exchange. He really likes Alfie as his company uses Mac's, for photography!
Not bad for a seven year old!
Or as Alfie would say "I think Different."
I wonder what his face is going to be when he sees this lot! It certainly has also put my brothers nose out of joint.
Regards from England.
Omigosh, Alfie is one lucky kid, as I said. Don't you want to save some of that for Christmas???
I have a Canon IP4200 printer which does beautiful photos and other colored products; my only beef is that it doesn't have archival inks so I can't use it to make giclées of my paintings. I have someone who does that for me and actually it probably makes more sense because I'm sure the learning curve would be high if I wanted to print my own.
I can understand now why your brother hates Macs, but still, it's carrying it a bit to an extreme. If he learned Macs, a lot of people use someone to help them upgrade or switch over to a new machine. I used to do all that myself but decided that I no longer had the patience to learn all the new bells and whistles, so I have a Mac guy who does it for me and also does occasional maintenance or troubleshooting. One problem I did have with my G4 iMac, I think it was - when I was doing something very RAM intensive the fan would get louder and then the computer would crash. I could get it up and running again with Applejack, but I couldn't do graphics. I called Apple and they finally told me to bring it in to an Apple store for a checkup. When I took it out of its closet and cleaned it up a bit, I noticed that the air intake on the fan was totally clogged with fine dust. I brought it in to Apple anyway just in case and they did an upgrade and could still find nothing wrong. I'll bet that was the problem. Something to keep an eye on.
Dear Leslie, that was the problem! For G4's and especially pudding bowl iMacs were prone to it, I know as I was warned. So I used to put the vacuum nozzle on the air intake when it was turned off.
I have a G3 limited edition "snow" imac in the cupboard, as far I know it would still work and is in its box, and is sealed.
Doubt it would like Leopard though. Everyone keeps asking me about Snow Leopard as we have it in all the Macs, and as our ones are new, it was only £7.99 or £15.99 for a five user licence. It is not a new operating system as everybody says, it is just Mac fine tuning leopard.
It makes everything seamless and very quick! Plus it does have a few more bells and whistles on it than were in leopard. You simply put it on and it goes straight over the top, you do not even notice it, until you open iPhoto (for instance), and instead of it saying loading photos it doesn't.
They come straight up, very clever. It changes nothing, not even your e-mail addresses, or the archive system on iPhoto, my music on iTunes etc.
My mother is strict with the girls and Alfie gets a bit of leeway, whereas I am strict with Alfie and go easy on the girls!
As my other sister in law was left with four children by her partner, when he went absent without leave, I have them to consider as well; Charlie I am strict on, but the girls i am not too bad with.
Easy way out; give Charlie to me as he likes fishing and cooking, give the girls to my mother who treats them strictly, but the same as her own, and yes they do call her grandma, plus my mother will tolerate no nonsense off them at all, and they know it.
All this was caused because Sarah and Mandy's dad (my father in law), hung himself from the loft with a bit of piano wire, and I found him as his work kept ringing me. It was not nice, as I already had PTSD from the Falklands war, this did not help matters at all.
He had left some money and once my sister in laws partner found out, he quickly withdrew it and has never been seen since!
Changing the subject before I get Alfie up to help out. I have a A4 Epson ink jet which I use for draft things, an Epson Laser A2/A3 for designs, and a little Samsung A4 laser for printing quality letters etc.
My wife has an A3 laser Konica that in fact prints any size of paper up to A3, a small Epson ink jet, and a tiny Epson photo printer.
These are all networked to my iMac, no cables, so we can use whatever we want.
As for saving something for Christmas, he wants to go go up the cottage in the New year for a week, which will cost enough, and if he has his camera now, then he can have his fishing rod I have promised him.
I have a new Cannon 450D SLR camera my great friend gave me, so with Alfie's new Nikon we can try them together.
My mother says I would rather feed him for a week than a fortnight! As he eats anything and lots of it, and I have seen more fat on a Butchers pencil! He is an expensive young man!
Funny, I just posted a question about food processors... but I am not as proficient with knives as some. Though I am learning a lot... I never seem to be very good at sharpening them. A friend of ours grabbed my Chef's knife and a file from the workshop and viola', it has never been sharper! DH has a fish fillet knife that needs sharpening... any advice is appreciated!
OT, Neil, as I mentioned in another thread, my DH is British. He was a fighter pilot for RAF for nearly 30 years. Did the Falklands... as I understand it that is not a big place... any chance you two might have known each other? His name is Tony Down (Antony Down). He became a Squadron Leader and then taught pilots in Saudi Arabia. Also did air shows.
Dear bsavage, I doubt that very much indeed! The Harrier pilots were ship borne on H.M.S. Hermes or H.M.S Invincible, I am not sure which as we were nothing to do with them.
We were simply yomping in the wet and cold, and it is a thing I mention I was there, but has since made me ill, so I don't often talk about it that much.
Regards to you both from England.
p.s. we did see the Harrier G3s, but they travelled a bit too fast for us, and are noisy.
Good morning Neil, well it is morning here anyway lol.
May I please have the recipe for your apple crumble, it looks wonderful. I would like to make it for my grandkids, and yours looks much better than the one I make.
I would really appreciate it, if not thats ok as well.
Dear Shell, it is no trouble at all, believe me!
Here is a good simple way to make it.
I do not know what apples you can get in Australia, but we use Bramley cooking apples as they are sharp in taste, but with sugar are wonderful.
You can use eating apples, but then you must cut down on the sugar as it will make them too sweet.
You will need:
1-1 and a half pounds of peeled and cored apples cut into large cubes. Either cooking 2 -3 tbsp caster sugar or eating apples 1 tbsp of caster sugar or to taste.
Place the apples in a pan with about 4-5 tablespoons of water and the sugar.
This is optional but you can add some cinnamon about 3/4-1 tsp.
Cook covered for about 10 minutes, but stir now and again to make sure it does not stick. don't overcook it, just till it is soft.
For the crumble topping you will need:
8oz of plain flour, white or wholemeal.
4oz of unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes.
3oz of brown sugar or to taste, 2oz for the mix 1oz for the top.
Add the flour, butter and 2oz of sugar if you want it, into a bowl.
Then with your fingers, simple crumble the flour into the butter and sugar, don't use an Electronic whirligig machine, it is a fingers only job.
Don't do it to much, just enough to make a crumble mix. Some people add 1 oz oats, it is up to you, but if you do that add the sugar and oats last and just combine.
Then put the cooked apples in a 1and 3/4 pint pie dish and cover with the topping. Sprinkle the last of the brown sugar evenly over the top.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180℃-350℉-Gas mark 4 for 30-45 minutes until golden brown.
Regards from England.
Thankyou very very much, I will make it on the weekend as I will have my grandbabies then, Beau is 7 and Mia is 5, so not really babies lol. I will let you know how it turns out.
I do have an electronic whirligig, my kids bought if for me on my 30th, I am now 47 and it is still in its box, I am not real big on electonic gadgets lol. I do not have many, but I must admit I do like the juicer, and I have a waffle iron which is wonderful. I love home made waffles.
Dear Brenda, here is a recipe for the famous Cumberland sausage;
1 pound of boned pork shoulder, diced
1 pound of belly pork, rind removed and diced
2 oz white breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Few gratings of fresh nutmeg and mace.
Pince each of marjoram, sage and cayenne pepper.
Ensure that the meat is cold and mince using a course disk. You are aiming for the texture of beef mince. Although you can buy it like this
Mix in the breadcrumbs and the seasonings.
Make into sausages. Although Butchers sell this in coils over here, a lot of people prefer it as a traditional sausage. A normal sausage is about Four and a half to five inches long and quite thick and juicy
Rest the sausage/sausage meat for at least a few hours before cooking.
Fry gentle so that the inside gets cooked and the outside is a nice brown on all sides.
I will send you some more shortly when I have cooked dinner etc.
The Cumberland sausage was first made up North, but is much loved everywhere now. I prefer mine in coils as you can cook the whole coil in a frying pan at once, but I am a bit of a purist! By a coil I mean; as you start to fill the sausage skin you don't twist them into sized sausages, you are making a straight one, then you start in the middle and keep going round to the outside to make a coil.
Regards for now.
Hello Neil I hope you and all of your friends and family are all well. I have been busy lately and hav'nt been over here. I thought I would tell you what happened today that reminded me of you. My wife was cutting up some jalapeno peppers for the dehydrater we dry all our surplus peppers and use them in sauces. She tried to cut into a pepper and due to a dull knife the pepper rolled and she cut 2 fingers not seriously but it could have been worse. So after I spent the next 30 minutes wrapping up her fingers and kicking myself in the butt. I thought of you and got out my oil stones and spent the rest of the afternoon sharpening knives. When I finished with the kitchen knives I started on my hunting knives.Being an ol' butcher I know the value of a sharp knife and the dangers of a dull one I still have one left that I was working on and decided to take a break and tell the world what a bonehead I am. Just wanted to pass that on. Heading out to my deer lease tomorrow to check and make sure everything is ready and drop off my old hunting buggy. I start hunting Nov. 7th. I have a big ol' pot of Texas chili on the stove right now useing up the last of the Venison from last year. As I said I hope this finds you well take care ...Ron
Dear Brenda, here is a standard recipe that you do not need skins or a machine for!
Skins are really only to make them easier to cook and handle, and for aesthetic reasons. They do not make it taste any different inside at all.
1 pound of good pork mince.
2 oz of fine breadcrumbs.
1 tsp of cornflour.
Salt and ground black pepper.
1 tsp of dried sage or rosemary not both. 2tsp of oregano, i/2 tsp of nutmeg (optional).
Then you simply put the mince into a bowl add the whisked egg, the breadcrumbs, and the cornflour and herbs, then season.
Mix all the ingredients together, into a well mixed ball.
In a frying pan heat a touch of oil and put a tsp of it in, and fry both sides, then taste it. The reason you do this is to see if it it needs any more herbs or seasoning, as you can't put it in later. If it does add it, and mix.
Then get some cling film or plastic wrap, I am not sure what you call it!
Get the some of the mixture out of the bowl and roll it in your hands to a sausage shape and put on the cling film edge, leaving a gap either end.
Then simply roll it evenly until you get to the far end, then twist the side ends up!
You can to make it look perfect roll it evenly as the cling film is pliable so you can get it even, and if you want them looking really good you can using your thumbs and forefingers, twist them to the right size perfect sausages.
Place in the fridge for 2-3 hours unroll and cook them gently.
You have to be more careful as they have no skin, totally delicious!
My nephew likes to make these and he is seven.
The mixture makes eight good size sausages.
Serve with creamed mashed potato and onion gravy.
Or save the mixture on make scotch eggs.
Regards to all.
Dear ron, you can use the skinless sausage recipe for Venison as well.
Hope your dear wife is Ok!
I will shake my finger at you as a butcher and a cook, you should know better!
Regards to all.
p.s it is below your message!
Thats a great sausage sight and the store is right up there where I was born. I used to make a lot of sausage years ago as a butcher we made Italian (hot and sweet), polish and breakfast sausage. I have allways wondered about making other types. I used to process my deer myself it allways made such a mess so I payed to have it done I will do it myself now that I am retired and have more time. I have tried smoking sausage in a smokehouse that I built myself but I let my fire get to hot and messed it up I have a small smoker and it works fine. But I would love one of those smokehouses they have on that websight but maybe next year, money gets a little tight around the end of the year what with hunting and Christmas (yes I said Christmas). Thank you for asking about my wife she is fine. The cuts wern't that bad. I have scars all over my hands from my 10 years as a butcher even missing a couple of finger tips. So I know how to tend to her wounds. So I guess you know why I quit butchering I was running out of fingers. I am glad I quit when I did, I have ostio arthritus now from those years working in those cold rooms and mixing all that wet cold meat. But I still enjoy doing it on occasion...Ron
Dear Ron, great to hear that your good lady is Ok! We can't have the baker of the house without any fingers, can we! After our many discussions on my steak & kidney pie recipe I put on, I decided not to put my steak & kidney pudding recipe on, not worth the flak!
I smoke a lot of food, especially near Christmas as Gammon ham is very popular and smoked salmon, so I am popular then!
My hands have arthritis, mostly caused by the Army and years of working outside as a gardener!
The recipe I sent about skinless sausages works fine with Venison as long as you put in pork mince that is fatty, as you know Venison has little or no fat on it.
Plus of course you need juniper berries as well!
I do use my old fashioned sausage stuffer/grinder, but only if I am making a large lot for the family.
If I am only doing some for my wife and I, or my nephew who virtually lives here anyway, I use the other method.
Have some good hunting, clean your rifle, sharpen your knives and don't miss!
Regards from London as usual.
I couldn't agree more about the importance of good sharp knives. When cutting up onions, if you have a really sharp knife and use a slicing rather than a bludgeoning action you won't have any problems with your eyes. We lived for fifteen years in a part of Devon which was once famous for producing the finest whetstone in England. The miners were mostly self employed. They worked alone by candlelight under the ground. Every six months they loaded their combined output onto horsedrawn wagons, and took it to Exeter to sell by auction. As it was all sold as one lot, the auction only took about ten minutes. This gave rise to a local saying that something was "as quick as a whetsone market".
The market was over by 11AM, and the miners spent the rest of the day drinking a large proportion of the proceeds.
I learned to sharpen knives when I worked in a department of anatomy.
Dear Pat, don't laugh too much (rucky will), for I have cut my finger with a knife!
It was doing a tomato and the knife was sharp.
As it was very hot in the kitchen I opened the back door to cool it off; I heard a sound whilst slicing and something came in at light speed followed by the youngest of my wife's cats, unfortunately even with his four paw braking device on he could not stop on the kitchen floor and piled into my leg.
Result, I sliced into my finger as I was not concentrating and looking what I was doing!
I shouted for my wife as she knows where the plasters are; whilst the cat was trying to demolish the bottom of the vegetable rack.
So once I had a plaster on to go sort the cat and whatever it was the cat was chasing, as the wife had run off by now, as she does not like anything like that!
Now my farm tabby cat came in to see what was going on and my new young Jack Russell Terrier, oh, no help from the wife again.
So I moved the wife's cat out of the way and my Jack, and my old tabby just looked under the rack, with one scoop of her paw she pulled a small rat out and got it straight in the back of the neck, with a sickening bite.
Then Phoenix just walked past me with a rat hanging from her mouth and went into the darkness of the garden.
We had a thunderstorm last night which caused the roads and drains to overflow, so the rats have nowhere to go, and the same today.
Trust my nine year old cat to do her job, she only cost me a fiver from a farm.
p.s. my cat in a rare journey into the house (apart from food), in the winter.
My Jack Russell is too young for rats yet, leave it to a professional.
Neil, I made your crumble for the grandkids on the weekend, it was a huge hit, and they are already bugging nana (me) for the next time they come.
Thankyou very very much for the recipe, I made custard to go with it (sorry it was a custard powder one)
I love your cat mine are the opposite they very rarely get to go outside, unless supervised, I can not have them killing the native birds or the lizards and frogs in my gardens, but they are allowed mice and rats, but when you have 4 cats, that is a rare sight indeed.
Thanks again for the recipe, it is a lovely crumble.
have a wonderful day
here are all my babies.
and this one is little Molly, I have just rescued her from certain death, she was dumped at 2 weeks, and left to starve to death, I found her in the nick of time the vet said, unfortunately her brother and sister were not so fortunate, they did not make it :-(
Dear shelly61, it was me that got the cut not the wife, and I had to sort out the cat damage and the rest etc.
This is one of my wife's cats, stupid thing!
I will send you the recipe of how to make real custard as powered custard is disgusting!
Here is one of my wife's cats on my beer barrel in the garden, her name is Phoebe.
Although I do not call her that but other names, I cannot put on this site!
Regards from England.
Dear shelly61, here is the main trouble a male called Oliver and he is a two year old and is useless.
Regards from England.
p.s he had just come in from the garden covered in cobwebs expecting me to help him, two chances and both are not very good.
Was he practising for Halloween we don't know!
Dear shelly61, here is how to make real custard! The word Birds custard sends shivers down my spine, almost as bad as Smash dehydrated potato, in a packet!
How could you?
1/4 pint full fat milk.
14/ pint double cream. Do not use single as it will split.
6 egg yolks, save the whites for meringues!
1 tablespoon of caster/fine sugar per egg or one less if you do not want he children in hyperspace or don't like it too sweet!
1 Vanilla pod or Vanilla extract, not vanilla essence as that is even worse than custard powder!
How to make it.
You put the milk and cream into a good saucepan and slowly start to heat it up, add the sugar. Then taking a sharp knife (don't laugh), slice the Vanilla pod down the centre and scrape the seeds out, putting these in the custard. Please do not throw the pods away as you put these in your sugar container and the sugar tastes wonderful the next time you use it. If you are using Vanilla extract about 1 tsp will do.
Then stir well and just before it simmers take it off the heat, until it cools a bit. For if you add the beaten egg yolks and it is too hot you will end up with scrambled eggs!
Add the beaten egg yolks stirring continuously and return to the heat, still stirring.
It will thicken and turn a nice natural colour unlike custard powder which is a chemical colour.
The more you stir it and leave it on the heat the more it will thicken, so get it to the thickness you like and serve immediately.
Lashings of the proper and easy to make real custard is wonderful over any good pudding.
If you need some help with anything just ask me on D-mail.
Visit the recipe forum as well, there are lots of great people on there as well.
Regards from London.
Hi Neil... in your custard recipe above, did you mean1/4 pint double cream? Also, as we don't have anything called double cream here, my DH believes that would be heavy cream in the States. Do you agree? Thanks, I am enjoying your recipes!
My dearest Brenda, I am most sorry I do not know the name of it in the US.
Single cream is pouring cream but can be whipped, however double cream is a heavy cream, that I use in cooking as it does not split.
So I expect that Tony is correct.
For if the cream is runny it will not work, even if you whip it.
Regards to you both from a sunny England.
p.s. ask Tony if he likes egg custard tart, if he does I will put the recipe on for you.
Dear Brenda, I don't know if Tony has been informed that he is entitled to a Veterans badge! These are for anyone who served up until 1982, so I have one, makes me feel old.
They are totally free and are made by the Crown jewellers, you just apply for one with a few details about your service. However I do not know if they would send it to the US. If not and he wants one as they are lovely, I would give you my address over D-mail and I would gladly post it on to him.
Here are the details http://www.veterans-uk.info/vets_badge/vets_badge.htm
You could also ask him as an Officer what other British food he likes, and I will attempt to look through my recipes and my grandmas to find some for an Officer and a Gentleman.
Unlike us who eat bacon grill out of a mess tins, LOL!
Regards from England.
Sorry you have a down on Bird's Neil. One of the things I always ask my son to bring from England is a fresh supply. I was brought up on it! The other variety we always referred to as egg custard. It is of course the only thing to use in custard tarts; but to go with my rhubarb only Bird's will do. I believe Mr. Bird invented it because Mrs. Bird was allergic to eggs.
Dear Pat, if you look up the history of this horrible incarnation to the human race, I think you will find that it did have dried egg powder in it, till chemicals and e-numbers took over!
Now it has more chemicals in it than the average farm pesticide, and that you need a licence to spray, let alone eat!
Should be banned, forever.
Good morning Niel, sorry I know it was your finger, must have had a brain fade lol. I hope it is well and truly on the mend by now.
Thankyou so much for the custard recipe, I will try it out on the weekend, it sounds lovely.
The cats are beautifull, I can see why she adores them. I am afraid I am a complete and utter cat lover, but I must admit they are one of those animals that people either love or hate there is usually no inbetween with the little feline critters lol.
I went to the races yesterday, it was Melbourne cup day here, I am unsure if any of you have heard of it, but it is a big horse race here in Australia. I had a great day, it is nice to get dressed up occasionally and look like a girl for the day lol. I normally live in jeans and a T.
Thanks again for the custard recipe, now I have a really stupid question for you, what is Yorkshire pudding. I was going to ask earlier, but did not want to sound to stupid, but now curiosity has outweighed the stupid factor lol.
The current ingredient list for Bird's Custard (UK - might be different elsewhere) is Cornflour, Salt, Colour (Annatto), Flavouring.
Then the cook adds milk and sugar. I'm just too cheap to buy a boxed mix and pay a premium for what is essentially cornstarch.
Here's another ingredient list for an "instant" package of Bird's: cornflour, milk solids, glucose solids, vegetable fat, sugar, flavours, salt, potassium phosphate, emulsifier, free-flowing agent, colorants including Tartrazine, and acidifying agent.
Apparently there's an "original", which I could easily make myself, or a modified version, which contains lots of things I don't want to eat.
Dear Shell, I do not dislike felines at all, I just dislike useless ones!
My cat is a hunter and protector, my wife's cats are totally addicted to eating and sleeping. This therefore makes them of no use at all to anybody, but my wife!
For my cat does its job, that nature gave it to do, and is not a lap cat, hers would like a Butler to serve them dinner, or in my case a different reaction to the lazy things!
As for Yorkshire Puddings it is on the Recipe Forum but here it is again.
It is served with roast beef or anything else you so wish.
Originally it was served before your meat dish, as meat was expensive and it filled you up. Any left over was left to go cold and as a child was given to us with jam or treacle on it! Which I hasten to add I still love.
Nanny Muir's Yorkshire Pudding mix
2 large eggs
good pinch salt
1/2 pint milk
3 heaped table spoons PLAIN flour, not bread flour!
Break eggs into bowl and add salt beat well. Now add a spoon full of flour and some milk
do this alternately until the mixture is like cream (not too thick). It is best to do this early on the morning of the day you are making them, cover with a plate and leave to stand.. on passing through the kitchen during the morning beat mixture once or twice. When ready to cook make sure that the oven is at 200C for a fan
oven or Gas mark 8 for a gas oven, although you will have to turn it down to gas mark 7 once the fat is done. Put beef dripping or vegetable oil (a little), in a baking tin and get tin really hot till the oil is smoking, when hot spoon batter mixture into tins, not too much it depends on your tins , put it in the oven quickly and close the oven door. Cook for 30 mins or 35 if you like them very brown, when cooked
If not cook them for less time.
Have all the other things for diinner already on the plate and add Yorkshire last adding gravy and serve at once.
I am most sorry as I had to put things like fan ovens on there, which were not around in 1911 and gas marks.
But they did have Agar's with a temperature gauge, so that matches the temp.
With a bit of luck, and you let the oil really heat up they should come out like these.
This is what they should like, crispy on the outside and soft at the bottom.
If they do not rise the oil was not hot enough, and never open the oven door.
Always make proper beef gravy or make gravy out of whatever meat you so wish to use. Soon people will be telling me they use Bisto or oxo cubes, what is the World coming to?
Regards from a born Yorkshireman, who now lives in London.
Dear Carolinorygun, many thanks for your information.
Personally as I would not even have such a stuff in my house or indeed anywhere near me, I was not totally sure what is in the hideous stuff.
I do know that during the Second World War egg powder was added to custard powder as the egg ration was 1 egg per week for and adult!
There is many different ones on the market, and I cannot even bear to look at them, for if you use good fresh eggs, why use a chemical?
I quote from wilkepedia:
Many foods contain tartrazine in varying proportions, depending on the manufacturer or the cook in charge, although nowadays the trend is to avoid it or substitute a non-synthetic dyeing substance such as annatto, malt color, or betacarotene.
I rest my case, for I know what my six nieces and two nephews like.
My kind Regards from England.
Dear Ron, I do hope the wife is recovering from the little incident with a blunt knife, give her my Kindest Regards!
At least my knife was sharp so the wound is healing nicely, thank you for your concern!
Gregg the American Veteran, has had a great laugh at reading some of the articles, on DG, I cannot ever write his comments, as I was laughing so much about some of them. I showed him that picture of you and he too sends his Regards.
He loves my big Apple Mac, as he can see the screen quite easily and read it without glasses, although I zoom it for him.
Whilst on our Sunday trip to get the Veterans food parcels, we went a farm that had lots of Guinea fowl for sale, and indeed quite cheap as they were not plucked.
That did not take me long, so they got one each, although they were a bit hesitant as they have never had them before.
So I explained how to do them over a pint of bitter and gave them some streaky bacon to put over the top, plus lots of vegetables and fruit as usual.
He rang me up this morning, to tell me what a success it had been, and how lovely the bird was.
He also wants to come to Remembrance Day with us, and the Mayors reception, anything for a few free pints!
We have invited them all round for your Thanksgiving Day, which is only fair.
However as Turkey is not an English thing, he is in for a shock for we are having a Goose.
As he eats anything anyway I don't think he will mind and he likes Duck.
My Kindest Regards to your Good lady and Yourself.
You won't get any argument from me, Neil. I had to look up the ingredients online. I had not a clue. At one point I had a (I think) trifle recipe that called for Bird's, but I quickly concluded I could do better from scratch and more cheaply.
We had two old cats, one 21 and one 22, who passed away last spring. Little miss Minnie was a tiny Korat and a hunter of the first water. Old scruffy Tank was a reformed feral cat who originally sheltered in our boat and was very glad to retire from the active life. After Minnie lined up the shrew and field mice carcasses on the patio as an offering, Tank would come along, lower his jaw and scoop them up like a feline shovel. One hunted, one did the "clean-up."
Dear Carol, thank you again, you are a Lady after my own heart!
I really cannot understand people who use that stuff, like you have stated it is easier and cheaper to make, and a lot better for you!
I know someone will say it has sugar in it so how can it be healthy?
Well my grandma told me the ration in the Second World War was 2oz of sugar per adult a week, so she used to use Honey. I have tried it, and although it does have a different taste, it is still nice.
My nephew (youngest one), was seven just recently, he spends a lot of time with us, as he loves gardening, getting muddy, eating and cooking.
As he spent a lot of time with me and my mother, when he was young, he will not eat a take away or anything like it. Simply brought up on simple home cooked food, no packets or chemicals, ever!
He is now a fit and healthy youngster, unlike some of his school friends that are basically obese with the constant junk food they eat!
I love the story about the cats, brilliant.
We do get feral cats here, but they are normally not a problem.
However I did once come across a Scottish Wild Cat, it frightened the life out of me.
I was armed as well, silent and deadly to say the least, there are only 400 left now, which is a crime.
Have a look at this if you get a moment, not many people have ever seen one. http://www.scottishwildcats.co.uk/
Regards and keep up the good work.
Good afternoon, Neil they are beautiful animals, you are right it is a crime there are only 400 left, it breaks my heart when we as humans think it is our right to wipe out one species after another. As a human race on a whole we suck!!!!!
Now back to the Yorkshire pudding, thank you so much for the recipe, it looks devine, but how does it rise with plain flour, I am a little confused, and mind you that is easy to do lol.
We have a couple of different flours here in australia, plain flour, self raising flour and bread flour, and of course they all come in plain, wholemeal and wholegrain.
I have been using plain flour for years and nothing I have ever used it in has risen, well not at least without adding baking powder.
Is there a science to it because of the heat of the oil, or am I just trying to complicate an uncomplicated dish lol.
I am sorry I know I am a pain, but I am 47 and it has only been a couple of years since I have discovered that I actually like cooking, so still learning about lots of stuff. I work full time so I do not have the time during the week that I would like as I do not get home till late, and to tell the truth most nights to buggered to eat, but I do however like to make an effort on weekends.
My grandkids are coming over on the weekend so I am going to try them out on your custard, their mother (my daughter) is going to curse me and probably you lol, when these kids love all this home made food.
thank you again
Dear Shell, the eggs you put in the flour make it rise,so once it hits the hot fat it starts. That is why you must get the fat very hot, and once they are rising do not open the oven door! You can open it to have a sneak look after 25 minutes but quickly. I have a glass front to my oven so I do not have to.
If you put two much oil or too much batter mixture in they will not rise.
Use a little oil in the bottom of the well, you cannot make these on a flat tray.
If you do not have Yorkshire pudding trays, use a square tray see picture.
As for oil I put some in the centre of a square tray and tip it so it goes to all the corners and covers the bottom not deeply just a little. as for the batter i use a ladle, firstly I tip it around the edges which should sizzle and then work into the centre so it spreads evenly, then as fast as you can straight back into the oven!
I hope this helps.
I will send you some recipes over D-mail!
Regards and good luck, from England.
Dear Shell, I forgot to put the picture of the Yorkshire Pudding tins on, as someone came to the door, soory.
You do not need a specialist tin just a square one or a round one will do.
Here are two I use.
Regards from a cold England.
I do think food brings with it powerful and deep connections. Those who have fond memories of Bird's being served by mom or grand-mom will love it for the memories. I don't discount that at all. Sometimes there are reasons other than nutrition for eating what we do.
Food is rooted so deeply in who we are.
Shell, it's great that at 47 you've discovered an enjoyment of cooking. What a gift for your grandchildren. If it ever comes your way (perhaps you've seen it), Chef Jamie Oliver did a TV series called "School Dinners" about his effort to improve nutrition in the schools of Britain. It was both fascinating and horrifying. It's sad to see a child who doesn't recognize an onion or hear from a nurse in Durham talking about children with so little fiber in their diet (living entirely on fish fingers and other processed foods) that they have to go to the hospital every six weeks or so for a constipation clinic. Who could imagine?
Neil, thank you for the link to the Scottish wildcat. I want to learn more about that. I watched recently a documentary on the native red squirrel and the devastating impact the importion of the gray squirrel has had on their numbers.
Good morning all, thank you so very much Neil for the info and instructions, I can not wait to give it a go. I would LOVE some recipes Dmailed to me, I will look forward to it.
Carol I am with you I have gone into dozens of sites now on the Scottish wildcat, thanks for that Neil I had never even heard of them. I should not keep looking at them as it makes me very upset at how few are left :-( But they are so beautiful I just can not help my self.
Have to go I have lots to do today, I am at work, so I had better do some.
have a wonderful day to you all
Dear Carol, I do agree with you about food, for everything in our lives have a meaning, in some way or another.
For my early memories are my grandma, she who was in service from 1911 till 1921.
Starting as a scullery maid and ending up as head cook, so therefore she taught me as she lived till 103 years old old. Then of course my mother, who had been taught by my grandma.
Coming from a farm on the North Yorkshire moors, we had no choice, we were expected to eat anything that was given to us, if not we got it cold next day, you soon learnt!
Then after the British Army, I studied and studied in Horticulture, getting as high as I could. Something brought me back to my roots, when I saw what pesticides and herbicides were doing, to the public garden and bits of adjacent farmland, I worked as a Head gardener on.
Enough was enough so I went back to University, as the wildlife I had loved at work was no longer there, dead gone, sprayed out!
Fours years later I knew a lot more, than I had ever hoped for.
Yes I do not like vermin, and under our laws here, have a right to humanely dispose of it. Rats and I do not get on with, whereas your Grey Squirrels kill our red ones, I quote.
Squirrel poxvirus is a virus that causes a fatal disease "squirrelpox" in UK red squirrels. The virus is often carried by grey squirrels from North America, which rarely die from the disease. Elsewhere in the Red Squirrel's European range, either the grey squirrel does not occur or it lacks the poxvirus hence the disease only occurs in the UK.
Then your own Rainbow trout escaped into our rivers, they grow twice to three times the size of our native brown trout, then become carnivorous and eat our native species1
The list is endless North American mink a bad and serious threat, N.A. signal cray fish, but I will not go on, as we are enough to blame as well!
For if you introduce a species that is really not native to that area, the consequences can be dire!
In plants it is the same; Giant Hogweed, Japanese knotweed etc, all introduced, now look what they have done, or rather what we have done!
Carol I am lucky to have seen every living species of Tiger in the wild, I doubt my nephew will ever see that?
Jamie Oliver has made a huge contribution to this country, but he is not the only one, he has the power of the T.V. and media! For at my nieces (3 go to the same school), they did a survey as to who had seen an Apple or fruit growing!
I was stunned that 85 % had never seen one or did not even know where they came from, totally amazing, yet frightening,
So as I have a farmer friend (in fact many); I asked him if he would mind showing a class of thirty girls and their teacher plus me around his farm and orchards, he readily agreed!
As usual the school said we had to take a Health and Safety officer with us, I am most surprised he lived.
For the first time they saw how cheese was made, naturally. They weren't allowed to eat it, Health and safety, said no!
How Ham was made, not allowed to eat it, you guessed.
Then Apples and pears, plums, they could pick them, not allowed to eat them, till washed., and checked!
Then at lunchtime the farmers wife in a lovely old barn, had laid on a buffet for them fit for a King! Health and safety had to look at the home made hams. breads, chutneys, pickles cheeses and organic vegetables.
In the end my great friend got annoyed and took him outside for a quiet word, whilst the girls dived in, I can assure you Carol there was nothing left.
The girls were allowed in the farm shop where they got a 25 %-50% discount on anything they bought, which they did. 50% for what they had picked on their own!
Even the Health and Safety bloke bought some, although I do believe he did not get a discount, after a severe word in his ear!
Now the school asks me every year to arrange a trip there for the younger classes, they love it! If as Jamie Oliver has done, and others do, you teach them when they are young, then they will never go wrong!
For my nephew, who stays here a lot and is just seven, says "I am a food monster."
Or as my mother says in a great Northern way says " I would rather feed him for a week, than a fortnight," I know what she means!
Shell not all children are like that in the UK, take away food and other things have a lot to do with it as well.
Try giving my nephew a take away, for he would not eat it, nor would I allow it in the house.
Plus at Seven he can make a very nice bubble and squeak!
Regards to you both.
Neil I am very impressed that at 7 your nephew can make a nice bubble and squeak, I have tried it once and made a big mess and mine was awfull, so I have never attempted it again lol.
I am in complete agreement on introduced species both flora and fauna, we have had many problems and deaths in the wild here because of it, the government heads at the time of couse had no idea what they were thinking, or not thinking as the case was, and the consequences and the impact on the environment are felt years and years after the fact, thank goodness the majority now have the sense to learn from previous mistakes, which are now irreversable.
I do not think is is only takeaway that has caused the massive rise in obesity in the kids of today, I also blame computer and video games, kids just don't play outside any more, they sit in front of a screen munching on chips and sweets. I have a day care around the corner from here (my work) and they have a computer room, these are 2 3 and 4 year old kids, why do kids this age need a room full of computers, or am I way behind the times, the very sad part is half of them are as round as they are high. My grandbabies (not really babies 7 and 5) come over and I play outside with them we put on a sprinkler as it is hot this time of the year and run in and out of it and play an assortment of other games outside, they wear me out, but we have a great time. They eat mostly decent food, occasionally takeaway, not here but at home they have it sometimes, and the in between meal snacks is a piece of fruit, so I have two very healthy and happy grand kids that are not overweight, learn quickly and sleep very well at night lol.
have to go will catch you all later
Sorry very proud nana here I have to show them off
This is my Mia
Shelly, your grandbabies are gorgeous, and what fun to see photos of them in (to me) far-off Australia. It's wonderful that you get to spend so much time with them, too. I do portraits in oils and my granddaughter is my favorite subject, although now, at twelve, she's a bit old for the kinds of pictures I like best. But I have plenty of photos of her when she was younger, to work from. Here's one of my favorite paintings of her, as long as we're showing off grandkids.
Neil, Alfie is amazing to be able to cook at that age. What memories he will have!
Dear Leslie, we have had a competition on the TV over here called family cooks.
Basically two members of the family, one mother/father and there child have to cook against another family.
It is judged by two very famous top chefs so is not easy, and they only have an hour and a half to do a perfect three course meal.
Last night it was a father and his twelve year old (by two weeks), daughter. Unfortunately his wife died from cancer when the little girl was six so he has brought her up.
What a stunning little cook she is at twelve, I was in awe of her, many sous chefs could not chop like she could, amazing knife skills.
She cooked a seafood Bisque, that truly was amazing on her own!
Boiling prawns in their shells, then pureeing them just to start with!
Her whole board was a mass mixture of everything from crab to lobster, salmon to every chunk of fish you could get and then mussels and clams.
No it was not like a Boulibase, for it had cream stirred into it to make a smooth Bisque, then the mussels and clams, plus herbs were added at the last few minutes, she even made little quick bread rolls to go with it.
Whilst that was cooking, she did an amazing pastry, blind baked it and did a classic French citron tart, with a lavender cream.
Her father had done a Pouisson with tarragon sauce, vichy carrots, and Pommes Anna, plus a bit of spinach.
The couple who were against them were a lot older, the daughter was 18, but they were no match for that little Twelve year old.
Tonight is the final so I will be glued to that!
When asked if she wanted to be a chef, she said "no, I want to be a gardener as I am already a chef!
Alfie is fine, thank you for thinking of him! He will be over tomorrow to stay the weekend. If he sits still long enough I will get a picture of him for you. Plus I do believe Charlie is coming as well.
Here is an old picture of the gang of three, as I call them.
Regards, and be good from England.
Good morning, well morning here anyway lol.
Neil those girls are beautiful, I feel for thier parents when they are teenagers, I know I had 3 girls lol. (oh and 1 boy)
Neil that show sounds like something I would enjoy watching, I do not watch much tv as most of it is garbage.
Leslie, I had to retype your name 3 times I kept typing Lesley, as that is my oldest daughters name and it is spelt ey :-) oh by the way GREAT name lol (can you tell that I named my daughter :-). I would kill to have just half your talent I have always always always wanted to paint, but unfortunately talent is lacking, and I am usure if someone could be taught to paint the way you do it is wonderful. I never usually have envy for much of anything as I feel it is a wasted emotion, but man I do now, I would love to paint my grandbabies as wonderfully as you can. And she is a very pretty grandaughter. Please excuse my ignorance but where is Port Elizabeth?
Have to go and do some work, as always it has been a pleasure.
Thanks, Shelly! Port Elizabeth is in New Jersey in the US. It's very rural; we have twenty acres and a small farm. Where is Townsville in Australia?
When I was born my mother deliberately chose the spelling "Leslie," which she was familiar with because of Leslie Caron, the actress. Back then that spelling indicated that the "s" was soft; for "Lesley" it was pronounced as a "z." My mother always used to correct people who mispronounced it, and sometimes I do but I usually don't bother. I've always liked my name, but at the time I was given it, that spelling was the male variant, so people sometimes assumed I was a boy before they actually saw me. How is your daughter's name pronounced?
Have you done any drawing? I didn't take up oil painting until 1990, about ten years before I retired; before that I did a lot of sketching but basically that was it. And while I was raising my children I had no time for art. So there's hope for you!
Hi Leslie, there you go I only had to over type it once I am getting better lol.
My Lesley is just pronounced as normal, as over there the ie is the male variant here as well. My grandmother asked me when I was pregnant (29years ago now lol) if I had a boy if I could give him leslie as a middle name after her husband, my grandfather, who had passed away, I agreed even though I dislike the name for a boy, I think is to pretty of a name for a boy :-) As luck had it I had a girl, the look on nanas face was that of great dissapointment, but I asked her if it would be ok for me to name my girl Lesley, my god you have never seen a happier woman on the planet than my nana this day, My Nana must have loved her hubbie very much, I did not know him he passed away when I was 2, but she named one of her sons after him and then she had 2 grandsons named for him and last of all one great grandaughter, I have never regretted my decision, my nana passed away just 2 weeks after Lesley was born, she had a major heart attack, but she thanked my on her hospital bed and told me that she leaves a very happy person, she got to see 2 great grandkids, I had already had a boy (Paul) but I was living on the other side of the country when I had him (I am sure I would have got her request for that one if I was contactable at the time lol.) Sorry I am boring you all with my family history, I will shut up now lol.
Townsville is located in the very tropical north Queensland, we are unlucky if we get 2 weeks of winter here, the one or two week winter is mild and the summers are hot, but I love the heat and hate the cold so it suits me, I must admit I do love living here.
I am very glad there is still hope for me I have been sketching for a little while now when time permits which is not often unfortunately, I think I am at least getting better at it lol.
Have a wonderfull weekend and I will be back on Monday, I only access dg Mon to Fri here at work, I have no computer at home, I guess I will have to look into it one day, my kids all tell my I'm years behind the times, but that is not a bad place to be sometimes :-)
Shell, I don't know what you call "as normal" for the pronunciation of Lesley - the "z" sound or the "s" sound! Which is it?
How wonderful that you could do that for your nana! It's a lovely name, anyway ;-D, and you really gave her a special gift by using it.
I'll have to look up Queensland on the map and see if I can figure out where you are.
It's great that you're sketching; the more you do it, the better you'll get. I always carry a sketchpad and if I'm in a boring meeting or I have to wait awhile I pick a person who isn't moving much and try to sketch them, or I draw a chair or a flag. Keep at it!
Dear Shell, I thought I could not draw! Although I could do garden design plans, and paint them in watercolours.
It was people like Leslie who got me motivated, for I went onto Amazon and bought a little book called how to draw anything, and a lovely little wallet called sketch up!
This thing is waterproof, cheap and has a pad inside its case with different pencils.
I know Leslie will laugh, but I have always wanted to draw a tree! So I walked to my local park sat down on a bench and drew an English oak. it wasn't very good, but I had done it.
As Leslie states you get better with practice! Then it became natural to me; for people think everything must be perfect, no it does not have to be like that, it is what you like that matters.
I went up my cottage, and in front of me was a field of wild flowers of every colour you could possibly imagine. So I sat down and just drew what was in front of me.
When I came back to London, i painted it in with soft watercolours and it looks lovely, to me!
Listen to your own passion you will soon be able to do it.
Leslie is brilliant, so ask her, for she is a lovely person and no doubt will help you.
Regards from England.
How wonderful that you were inspired to begin to draw! You should post your watercolor painting of the flowers. And look at how much pleasure you're getting from it! (Even though you can't eat it ;-D)
Dear Leslie, I have always done plan drawings for design work, since I learnt how to by a famous garden designer John Broookes, when I was his Head gardener at Denmans garden http://www.denmans-garden.co.uk/.
It was people like yourself and Sharon Brown, and indeed others who inspired me that maybe I could just have a try. Although my first tree looked like a nightmare out of Halloween, but I have persevered.
Then one of the Veterans I look after, wives gave me a cross stitch of a poppy.
She showed me how to do it, which I did, and for once I did not have to eat it!
So I worked it out from there as not everything is to scale.
The main problem was I am so engrained into doing everything to an exact scale in a plan, I tried to sketch the same, it did not work.
So now I just do what I feel, it is not particularly good, but neither is modern art to me.
Its monday yet again, and here I am back for another weeks work, sorry Leslie, my Lesley is pronounced with a 's'. I am still struggling to type your name lol. I type 120 - 140wpm, but I have to back track every time I talk to you lol.
Oh my you are both talented people I will take much inspiration from you both, and take some time for me and practice. I am very limited with my scetches and my attempts at painting, but I really want to learn how to paint people, I will get my self motivated, and practise practise practise.
I have already looked up New Jersey, but my atlas does not have Port Elizabeth so I will have to google you.
I am on the coast and up the north. A very nice part of the country to live, although most people do not like the heat, I love it.
I have to go do some work, have a great day
smile and stay safe
Get well soon Neil, I do hope it mends soon, ankles have a tendancy to be a little complicated when they heal, my daughter has done it a couple of times, I hope yours heals fast and without complication. Leslie I will google earth you today lol.
I'd rather let him tell, but I know so many of us have come to care about him... he slipped on something that probably shouldn't have been there... young children and all that. I think lots of moral support is in order from his gardening and cooking buddies...
Leslie, consider yourself googled lol.
you live in a very pretty area, I love the internet, I even got to see all your touristy stuff lol. I feel now that I have just read what I typed that there is no such word as touristy, but it fits so I am leaving it.
Have a wonderfull day all
Oh, you mean my ecotourism site? That's funny that it popped up. I did that in 1996 and set it all up myself, which is why it looks so clunky. I keep thinking I should revise and update it, but since there's no pressing reason to do that I never get around to it.
Dear everyone, thank you all so much your kind wishes and indeed thoughts.
It has touched me deeply that anyone would write, let alone care.
I did this on Saturday at my wife's friends house. They have a Victorian House and the Toilet is right at the top. there were a lot of young children all there for the fire works etc. I did not see the wet Toilet paper on the floor as I went to go out, so I slipped on the wet tiles, silly thing to do, I know! I only went down three stairs but it was enough as there is no bannisters there.
As I am epileptic the Hospital would not give me any pain killers, in case they reacted with my normal medication.
Luckily my own Doctor is coming over this afternoon with some for me.
Well at least I have my Macbook on the coffee table, so I can at least write, although I crave making some soup and some Welsh Rarebit.
It is funny how you worry about things when you can't do them! For I am worried about my winter pansies in the greenhouse as they need watering.
Thank you all for your kindness.
I thought you might like this little recipe for sweet scottish Shortbread, any child loves this and adults too, plus Santa and reindeer!
It also is incredibly easy to make, and makes nice little Christmas presents, although it keeps well until people get near it.
What you need!
2oz caster sugar, fine sugar or confectioners sugar, depending on where you come from.
6oz plain flour
How to make it, the fun starts here!
Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Beat the butter and the sugar together until pale.
Stir in the flour to get a smooth paste. Turn on to a work surface and gently roll out until the paste is ½in thick.
Cut into rounds or fingers and sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar. Put on a baking sheet and chill for 20 minutes. To be very posh you can prick the tops, gently with a fork to make little holes. not all the way through.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until pale golden. Cool on a wire rack.
Then dive into a shortbread heaven, unless you grandchildren get there first. I hasten to add it is not a bread, it is a flat scottish cake!
If anyone likes this I will put it on the Recipe forum.
Kindest Regards From England.
p.s my mother is knitting me a large sock, so I can keep my toes warm.
Neil, so lovely to hear from you. We were all worried about you! Your accident isn't nearly as silly as that of a friend of mine. He is on hypertension medication and some other prescriptions, and for some reason confused the pill bottles, so he gulped down the contents of his hypertension medication bottle - five or ten pills when he is only supposed to take one a day. It could have been fatal. His wife had to call the ambulance and he ended up in the hospital having his stomach pumped. He's fine now, though.
Anyway, slipping on some toilet tissue at a friend's house isn't silly at all. Did you break your leg or your foot, or just sprain something badly? When do they think you'll be up and in your beloved kitchen again?
Dear leslie, nice to hear from you as well.
They said that my ankle was broken in two places, or so they think, as I had broken it before in a motorcycle racing accident.
So they are not to sure if one of the breaks is just one that I have now re-broken, In the accident I had before. The Hospital was not happy with me, to say the least, for I had to go to Remembrance Day on Sunday, even if I had to crawl.
So I asked them to just patch it up, and I would come back and get it sorted out properly, this I did on Monday, and they were not amused.
So they took great pleasure in exerting maximum pain to it, whilst they fitted this plastic thing, that I cannot get off and filling it with this stuff!
So I cannot do the garden as I adore that, but now my Doctor has been with these painkillers, whoopee, I can hobble to the kitchen, for a short time!
My Doctor says I may have to go back in three weeks for anther X-ray thing, sick of them, then maybe in another six weeks!
Until he sees the X-rays he is not sure.
I was silly, as if I had my boots on it would not have happened, but I had trainers on. Although seeing white Toilet paper on white tiles is difficult.
Never mind at least my mother is knitting me a large sock to keep my toes warm, and maybe let me have a knitting needle if this thing itches!
p.s. sorry to hear about your friend, I know you have to be so careful.
Neil, just because you don't feel the pain due to painkillers, that doesn't mean you should be hobbling around on that foot! You could do a lot of damage. All the painkillers do is to mask the pain, which is one of your body's warning signs to be careful and to limit your activity. I am sure your doctor prescribed them to make you more comfortable WHILE you are RESTING that foot and allowing it to heal!
Dear Leslie, did you mean Men!!! ; what would we do without them?
I was told in the Army that pain is only a sensation, and you will get to like sensations.
Anyway I have a stool in the kitchen that I can sit on and cut things up, then when that is done hobble to the oven and put it in. I can't get it out, but I can put it in!
So I am not totally useless.
Neil I just got back from hunting and read about your accident I am really sorry. I hate being laid up. Its really hard for an active person to just sit. A few years ago I fell just walking out my front door something I had done hundreds of times,and broke a bone in my foot. I finally had my wife help me out to the shore and I sat with my leg propped up and fished the days away. Take good care of that ankle break I would imagine that it could mess you up bad if it didn't heal right.
Hunting was a bit slow but I did come back with a nice wild turkey...rucky
Greenhouse_Gal just wanted to say what a wonderful artist you are your painting of your grandaughter was excellent. I am in awe and envie of your tallent. When I first looked at it I thought it was a photo but at closer look you made my jaw drop...Ron
Dear Ron, thank you for your message and indeed everyone else's.
It does not rain but it pours, as they say!
My toes kept getting really cold on my broken foot, no matter what I did.
Luckily my friend came round to see me; I am not one to complain but I could not understand it, so he took one look and took me straight back to the Hospital,
for my toes were going blue!
The thing they put on was too tight and was affecting the circulation, so they had to take/cut it off, and put a new one on!
This was not exactly pleasant either, but at least it feels better now, and after another X-ray, I definitely glow in the dark, now.
Leslie I did listen to you in the end, as I was only allowed to take 1-2 of these tablets four times in 24 hours when required!
So I took two of them could not feel anything, so I was hobbling around doing things. When it started to hurt I took some more, then worked out that for being stupid, I was not going to have enough tablets left in the 24 hour period.
So had to pay the price of not resting it, my fault for being stubborn.
At least I got my Beloved Welsh Rarebit, and I didn't have to cook it, which is somewhat of a change, although it could have done with a bit more mustard.
We have a severe weather warning as they say by 09:00am the winds will reach 60-70 mph, or more nearer the coast, plus the rain is terrible at the moment and I cannot sleep as the winds have picked up now as well.
My Kindest Regards to you all, from a rather windy and very wet London!
p.s Ron at least you will not have to buy a Turkey for your Thanksgiving Day.
Now Mr. Neil... the first rule (if you ever want anyone to cook for you ever again, especially if this is a 'special treat', is: do not criticize the not enough mustard, or whatever). I find a kiss on the cheek and a heartfelt "Thank you for cooking" make the cook feel like maybe trying it again... and then maybe they do it better and then get excited about cooking, and then get good at it! I say this from experience, as I had (past tense) an ex husband who found it necessary to critique and criticize everything I made, though he never cooked, didn't have a job, and was an overall. I quit cooking, divorced him, and then took up cooking again. I love cooking now, and frankly I'm quite good at it. My DH is most appreciative. And when he cooks for me, I am always sure to be most appreciative as well.
As for the blue foot... thank God your friend had a look at it!!!! As for the pain pills... I didn't take many with my broken foot or finger because you cannot have any alcohol with them! Personally, I think a nice red wine is better than a pain killer, especially with Welsh Rarebit! Are you sharing the recipe? (Including the right amount of mustard?).
Hugs from cold, wet, and partly snow Colorado... waaaay more snow coming over the next two days!
Dear Brenda, I did not tell her that, I was just thinking it, after I had eaten it.
I did thank her, and a bottle of wine would have been nice.
Do not get me wrong, It was nice just could have been perfect with just the right amount of mustard.
I did get a job to do whilst laying with my foot up; peeling potatoes for todays Bubble & Squeak, it was after doing the small bag I was given, I was waiting for the next couple of hundredweight, but unlike the Army they did not appear!
Thank goodness for that!
The wind is terrible and now they are saying the worst storm of the year is, going to hit later, there has already been thunder and lightning and untold rain, all night.
Well I can't run away from it, at the moment, so it is baton down the hatches, I am afraid.
I will put the recipe for Welsh Rarebit on the Recipe forum, as it will give me something to do, after I get my sausage, bacon, black pudding, tomato's, Bubble and eggs!
Kindest Regards to your good self and Tony.
Aha, you see! I Told You So! At least you took heed after the full implications of your folly struck you. How lucky that you had a perceptive friend to take you back to the hospital, too! Now you are truly on the mend. Enjoy your breakfast - I am assuming that that is what the sausage, bacon, black pudding, tomatoes, bubble and eggs are for. We haven't had ours yet but I have been out and fed the chickens.
Dear Leslie, I have listened to you and have been resting, I am also pleased that I have my Macbook on the coffee table. Although I can put it on my lap and read what is going on etc.
Two of the Veterans came round Sunday to see me so that has cheered me up.
My mother was also brought round and she told me off as well, but that is what mothers do well anyway.
She has brought round a huge bag of large potato's for what we call Jacket potato's, but I do believe you call them baked potato's?
Plus lots of little fillings to put in them, when they are cooked.
So all I have to do is to turn the oven on, put two in and leave them.
Then when my wife comes home she takes them out and puts the filling in.
Simple and as we have lots of different fillings, I do not think I shall get bored with them, yet!
Hope you and the family are all Ok?
Regards from a very wet and windy England.
Dear Lesleie, Alfie is not out of bounds he just cannot stay and either his mother or my wife must be here.
Jacket potao's are simply large potato's and you prick them with a skewer, then put them in the oven for about 1-1/2 hours. The outer skin goes crispy and the inside is lovely cooked and moist. Then you open them up lengthwise, and put on whatever filling you like.
Got to go for another X-ray in three weeks, then my Doctor is coming on Friday, if he has seen the X-rays, so I will probably know more then.