15 June 2013

Herb cream cheese and bagels….

I’ve made my own bagels in the past but since they require some careful preparation for making at the weekend I often just get them from the supermarket when I find them reduced.   Normally we like them with cream cheese which we used to buy at Aldi’s but since they keep changing the recipe we’ve long gone off of it.  It’s a shame that we find something easy and convenient and not too expensive but once we do – it’s a guarantee that it will be gone when we next go looking for it.  

I’m getting where I am making just about everything at home.  Not that that is bad or anything but one has only so much time to devote to this. So fast forward to the other day when I found some bagels reduced and wanted to have that herb cream cheese with them but alas Aldi’s is not in the cards and wouldn’t be now that they’ve changed the product and we no longer like it.

Enter inspiration!  I had some cream cheese in the fridge from another meal and of course I’m forever finding herbs on the reduced aisle so there is plenty to choose from in the freeze.  I’ll make my own I say!  So armed with nothing more than a vague idea of what I’ll put in there I set off to the kitchen to create some fantastic herbed cream cheese for those bagels.

I must admit I’m rather good at combining things and just hoping for the best and usually I am rewarded with often very tasty treats.  So for this cream cheese creation I envisioned some garlic (one clove, minced), some parsley, a bit of chive and coriander.  I don’t have exact measurements – with this sort of blending I rarely do but about a teaspoon of each should do for those not used to cooking like this.  I didn’t add any salt but a good few grinds of the pepper mill would not go amiss.  I then tasted – it was good but missing something.  Back to the cupboard I go and spy some ground cumin and coriander.  I had a good measure of each – about ¼ teaspoon to my mix.  I should state that I began with about 100 grams of plain cream cheese.  Another mix and it finally tastes as I think it should and present to J with our bagels.

It passes the test for taste and of course expediency of making it.  After all it took me only about two minutes to get the cream cheese mixed and ready – how long would it have taken to get the one we liked previously from the store?  Surely longer than two minutes I can assure you.  The best part is that I mixed just enough for our bagel breakfast and that used up the last of the cream cheese.  A win-win situation – gotta love those! 

I just got these last night on my trip to M&S as I was heading back home and saw these - knew I had to get them - the price was just right as they say! I know it's sickening - but just had to get them all as the chives just freeze really well.  I've been using them up making my pasta side dishes and this is the first time I've tried rosemary - we'll see how well it freezes.  If it doesn't work - well no great loss as you can see the price was really cheap!
And these lovely flowers were from some friends after I had a biopsy (not to worry - everything is OK!) - took it a few weeks ago but have only just downloaded them and they came out so pretty just had to share. I know - I'm lucky to have such wonderful friends!
I’ve now thought of a sweet variation for my home made cream cheese and once I’ve had a chance to try that I’ll post all about it.  Enjoy!

1 April 2013

Bargains Galore!

Well it is Easter and I just happen to need some lettuce for some soft tacos I was making the day before Easter Sunday.  So off to the Co-op we go and what do I find – yes, a bunch of reduced that I haven’t a clue as to the why but I sure did take my share!

As you can see from the photo it was a big haul by even my standards.  I got vegetable bouillon which I use in a variety of ways from my doodle-noodle nights to making my own pasta sauces (I mix this in with sour cream, or pasta water and lemon juice, the list is endless).  I also found some dried mushrooms – which are always welcome in a risotto especially when it’s still cold out as it is here in the UK.
As you can see a wide variety of items and most had a long shelf life – the bouillon was not too long but I’ve put them in the freeze to keep it fresh but I’ll use this quite quickly with my cooking.  Some of it fresh fruit and veg as well as some Quorn for this week’s lunches.  I also got some organic peanut butter which will go nicely into making some cookies which I put in the freeze and then make ad hoc when we want fresh warm cookies.  

I also thought I’d post this picture I took at Sainsburys some time ago after I posted about finding loads of fresh herbs reduced.  I’m still finding them and found it funny how they sell them frozen now as well.  Sadly they will not get my money that way as I’m still finding them off and on in my trips to the stores.
And finally this is a picture of the first snow we saw back on the 5th of December.  The flakes were the size of small golf balls – it is true.  They didn’t come out too well and sadly the snow disappeared by the next day but it was fun to see it fall.

I’m off to make dinner – am still trying to get used to this time change but slowly the body is kicking in and says time to eat!  Enjoy!

25 September 2012

Lovely flowers....

Big birthday this year and a friend gave me these lovely flowers.  I especially loved the rose which has the most unusual colouring.  I tried to capture it with the macro part of the camera - am still not that proficient with it as I should be but I do try.

 Have a few other things to post in a bit but still working on the photos.  Enjoy!

2 September 2012

Pickling some Sushi Ginger…

OK – my love of how quick and sushi is well documented.  However, it came that I made sushi and completely forgot to get pickled ginger.  I have always wanted to try making it myself and knew it was super easy but have always found it reduced so never had to worry. 
So now comes the time to attempt to make it, I did a few searches and looked at various recipes on how to make it.  I don’t have an exact recipe and really one isn’t needed as I just kept to a ratio of 1 part of rice vinegar to ¼ of murin/sugar.  I added a bit of water and allowed the ginger to marinate in some salt that I rubbed into it for about 30 minutes.  I heated the rice vinegar/murin/sugar until just to the boil and poured over the ginger. 
I noted that they said it would turn pink if it was ‘new’ ginger – how you know this I haven’t a clue but the taste was really quite good.  I was pleased with it and other than wishing I had done this a week before I had to use it I was impressed at how easy it was.  I spent perhaps a total of 10 minutes between the prep, salting and then getting the mixture into a pan.  I left the rice vinegar to sit until the ginger had waited about 30 minutes and then 2 minutes maximum to get the thing to boil.  
Mine didn’t turn pink but it could have been from the murin I used which was a deep dark brown in colour (it’s organic – not sure that makes a difference?) but who cares.  It’s all about the taste for me and this was surely a good one – give it a try.  So much better than the stuff from the store/packet and well you save a packet making your own!  Enjoy.

25 August 2012

Birthday and cake…

Yet another birthday for J – and as usual another cake from that old favourite book Death by Chocolate.  This year he wanted a simple chocolate cake and picked this one as it was rather simple to make and we had most of the ingredients in the house already.

It was a pretty simple cake batter to make and other than a bit odd in it’s preparation it went well and cake came out really great from the oven.  The frosting however, was beyond bad.  I’m not a ‘big’ icing fan and will usually scrape it off the cake before I even eat it.  It was a simple icing sugar/butter with cocoa powder.  I’m not a fan of chocolate at the best of times (I know this is hard to believe but it really isn’t my favourite thing!) but the icing was bad.  I cannot fault the recipe it just wasn’t a great pairing with the cake.

So a disappointment that all my friends got to enjoy – so they are happy I’m sure.    I think I’d try something different but exactly what I am not sure as it really was a very light cake and closely resembled Angel Food in that lightness kind of way.  Oh well, live and learn but never this icing again!

17 August 2012

Rather disgusting I think....

I am always following links of links and looking at various news sites and such - never one to commit to a single source I am constantly travelling around reading.  I know this habit never dies!  Anyway, I found this article about What half a billion in campaign spending would have bought.  Here's the link to the article but the main impact is this:

  • Food for 9.2 million malnourished children for 50 days
  • Immunizations for 29 million children for life
  • Clean water for 500 million children for 40 days
  • 166 million anti-malarial mosquito bed nets 
It really makes you sick the amount of money being spent on this ONE campaign.  While I still vote back in the US this just about makes me lose my cookies.  What will really do it is whoever gets in as they both are nothing to write home about much less run a country.  So sad and so wasteful....  I usually end with Enjoy but this time I'll end with CHANGE!

12 August 2012

Making a small difference....

I recently saw the movie Food, Inc.   
Yes, it was made in 2008 and we are now in 2012 but hey this is what happens in the UK when movies are made – libraries are slow but do eventually get them! 
Anyway, I won’t make a big song and dance because there isn’t a need for one in this house.  I am the converted. 
I buy in season, local as much as possible or is available, organic/free-range for my meat and eggs and just about everything else.  I also buy fair trade so that people are paid a fair amount for their goods.  I try to do this in every facet of life – not just my eating but clothes, furniture, etc.  Yes, it is more expensive.  Yes, you do have to sometimes wait for that lovely bed (see posting below) but it sure was worth it! 
I kept someone in a job, someone had pride in their skill and I get to sleep in it EVERY night!  If it came from China I’d worry about the person who had to sweat to put it together, etc.  I wouldn’t even mind paying the same amount for a Chinese good – but why pay that and know the person who really got the wage was paid less than what you and I would spend on a cup of coffee for the WHOLE day? 
Enough said – enjoy the movie and THINK!  This is what our brains were made for!

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