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Moved into a new flat this weekend (not my decision, done at the behest of my landlords) and spent today doing the same thing I always have to do when I am moved into a new shared flat.

Clean the f*#@ing cooker.

What is it with people? Do they have to spend so much time on good hygiene at work that when they get home they forget about it? How can anyone leave a cooker looking like that?

Also did a washing and hung it outside. Well, the rotary clothes drier was so thick with cobwebs that it cannot have seen much use in the past. I may not last long in this flat before I have to look somewhere else

Back in Borough Market yesterday. A mob of local christians was doing some sort of presentation of their mumbo-jumbo, which involved a procession around the market. Now Borough Market is usually a very busy place and it can be a bit of a struggle making your way through – especially between Northfield Farm and Turnips. Yet this mob pshed their way through with no consideration for others around them. I was physically pushed out of the way by some priest. Nice example of christian behaviour there.

Food. More of the same. Got some more beef from the Wallace’s Hill Farm, and a couple of loaves from Oliver’s Bakery. At the Chegworth Valley stall I found some Pink Fir Apples which are one of my favourite of potatoes. They also had some Shetland Black, which has good flavour but a much more floury texture than I prefer.

A walk along the Thames today with the mist and low cloud hanging ominously above. Ended up – where else – in Borough Market and spent too much money. What a surprise. A couple of sourdough Pave from my favourite baker. Couldn’t tell you the name of the stall, but it’s run by a french family and they always have a big stack of Chocolate Brownies front and centre. Which I resist. Anyway, best baker in the market, and I’ve tried them all.

Next to Wallace’s Hill Farm stall for some wild beef. Bought a half-kilo pack of casserole beef, half of which will go into another Hot Pot and the rest minced for Forfar Bridies. Also got some Smoked Streaky Bacon.

At one of the many mushroom stalls I got a £2.50 / 100g mixed bag which on quick glance includes a couple of Horse mushrooms, a girolle, a couple of grey chantarelles and miscellaneous oysters. Sadly no morels, but as they were going for £13 per 100g that’s not surprising!

Another tub of Pate Moi mushroom pate, something that I eat far too much of. Every time I go to Borough I have to get another tub (or two).

Today I stayed well clear of the Gorwydd Farm stall. It’s the diet you know. I’ve lost 8kg since the beginning of the year; if I buy another half wheel of their wonderfully rich and creamy Caerphilly then it’ll all go back on overnight.

On the down side was a disappointing lunch. Usually I have a tray of scallops as a mid morning snack, then a bowl of paella for lunch. Today as a change I decided to go for meat, and had a Boston Sausage in a bun. Now the sausage was made from good flavoursome meat, and well seasoned. Disappointing texture though. Quite flabbly and no bite to it. Bun was also lifeless. Not one I would buy again.

Right, home now and see what I can do with these ingredients.

Got home from London later than expected this evening. Didn’t want to have too much cooking, so rustled up a quick Lancashire Hot Pot.

Chopped some neck of lamb into cubes and fried off in a little oil. Chopped some onions and added them. Now this will probably annoy the Lancastrians – added some diced carrots and turnip, which I believe are not strictly traditional. Diced some black pudding, cored and quartered a couple of lamb’s kidneys and added these. Finally added a few sprigs of thyme, stripped. Topped up with a little beef stock (didn’t have any lamb stock) and simmered gently for about five minutes. Then into a pie dish and topped with a couple of potatoes, sliced – put through the new mandolin on the 6mm setting.

I am seriously pleased with that mandolin, one of the best bits of kitchen gadgetry I’ve purchased. Best thing about it is the way all the blades come out for ease of cleaning. A damn sight easier to clean that the cheap plastic gizmo I had previously. I have a food processor in a cupboard somewhere, but I always seem to use either the mandolin or the hand-cranked mincer for processing my food.

But I digress.

Into the oven for 45 minutes, until the spuds are brown and crispy.

Should have lasted me two meals, but I was a bit hungry after walking around London all day. Scoffed it in about five minutes. Gorgeous.

I have to hand it to Oliver Peyton, the Marmalade Cake is a real winner. All round, it’s a brilliant book.

Staff meeting yesterday lunchtime, plus S had her last day as placement student with us. Made more cake to keep us going through the talk of AQP progress.

Though the Chocolate Marble Cake was popular last week, the vote went to the Marmalade Cake. This time I substituted Lemons and Lime instead of Oranges, and Rose’s Lime Marmalade instead of Frank Cooper’s Oxford.

And it disappeared in half the time. Last week’s lasted just over a day, yesterday it went in under three hours. So, that is now my signature cake.

I did a tray of Brownies too, but they were less popular. They did turn out a little dry though, having had maybe five minutes too long in the oven. Only a quarter of them have gone. Maybe they were just sated after the cake; any left at the end of today aand I know not to make those again.

I had assumed that the chocolate cakes would always be the more popular; a department of more sophisticated tastes though, and the sharper, zestier flavour of the citrus cakes win though every time (B finds the same with her Lemon Drizzle Cake alwats being very popular)

Well, another location to add to my list of “shops I must never visit again”. Lakeland. I visited the number 1 shop on the list (Foyle’s), where I bought Oliver Peyton’s book, and so had to visit Lakeland to get some additional cake tins. If only I’d left it at that, but no; add on a decent quality mandolin and some new knives. And other baking stuff I didn’t need.
Spending. Too. Much.
Must. Stay. Away.

So, I made Marmalade Cake on Sunday, and took it in to work on Monday. (B also made cupcakes which she brought in on Tuesday.) 2lb cake amongst five staff and by Tuesday morning it was obvious that neither cake nor cupcakes were going to last until the part-time staff came in on Thursday.

So, Tuesday evening I made the (also 2lb) Chocolate Marble Cake with White Chocolate Icing and took it in on Wednesday. It only just survived the day, and by 10am on Thursday morning both cakes and all the cupcakes were gone.

More baking this weekend then…

So what’s the problem with horse meat in burgers (apart from issues with trade description act)?

Horse. Half the fat and much higher in Omega 3 in comparison to beef. And very tasty. I’ve eaten horse stew and it tasted delicious – very similar to the taste of beef, and in a blind tasting I probably couldn’t tell the difference between the two.

And yet the English have this squeamishness about eating horse. Same as their problem with eating bambi-burgers.

This odd sentimentality about horses as pets or deer as cartoon cuteness makes it off-limits for the table. Odd.

New coffee shop – Harris and Hoole – opened this weekend in Top Amersham, so went in this morning for breakfast before going into London. All decked out to give a very rustic artisan appearance – though with some un-rustic high-tech gadgetry at the tills and service. So very showily artisan that you wonder what they’re hiding; all show and no substance?

Really wasn’t impressed at all. Ordered a double espresso. Well, if that was a double I dread to think what the single looks like. As to taste, I might as well have been drinking Americano. Weak and insipid is the best I could say about it. As to the food, not particularly good. Had a breakfast muffin which was barely warmed through. It consisted a slice of bacon with a few sun-dried tomatoes added seemingly as an afterthought. They hadn’t been reconstituted so were rather chewy. Overall, rather nasty breakfast.

I hate the idea of favouring a fake foreign food franchise, but for the time being I’ll be sticking with chain coffee. At least I’ll get my caffeine hit.

Mmmm, white peaches are in

I have a Bellini in hand

I hate June…
because the Asparagus season is over (and the best of the broad beans are past too)

I love June…
because the cherries are in season, and the first of the peaches are arriving. Still only the yellow peaches, so I have to wait a while longer for my first Bellini of the summer.

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