Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Skinning tomatoes - part 3

Of course, if you want to bottle/can tomatoes, then the grating method will be as useful as a chocolate teapot.

Have a look at this video from a fabulous blog,' Northwest Edible Life'.

I just cannot believe how quickly she skins tomatoes whole - the most efficient thing I've every seen! Makes this chore look so easy - I absolutely hate skinning toms.

She also has a book out, from yesterday.  I haven't read it of course, but it looks good.  I don't get any payment by the way, just love a good book about home preserving and home keeping - go through the link to Ohiofarmgirl below though, as she gets a penny or two from Amazon for referrals.

Anyway, the book title is

The Hands-On Home: A Seasonal Guide to Cooking, Preserving & Natural Homekeeping

and I saw all about it here:

Take a peek at both of these very interesting blogs.

PS:  I think that's quite enough about tomatoes from me for one year!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Skinning toms - part 2

Aha!  Skinning toms gone viral on the net apparently - the American chef is called Justin Chapple, and here is a link to the video:

(try this link, if not, cut and paste above)

Credit where it's due!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Skinning Tomatoes - the easy way.

One of my pet hates is to skin tomatoes.  It drives me bonkers - I hate boiling up the water, dropping them in, fishing them out, waiting for the hot toms to cool so I can peel them - I'm far too impatient for all of that.

I prefer this method: grating.

Firstly, I absolutely cannot take any credit for this tip as I saw it on the net, by an American chef called Justin Someone (can't remember his name at the mo, sorry) so I thought I would try it.

It's especially useful for using over-ripe or damaged fruit as you can easily cut out the bits you don't want, like these:

Take a ripe tomato, cut out any bits you don't want and cut the rest into two pieces

 Then, merely grate the cut side of the tomato against a box grater

Just gently rub: the skin prevents you grating your fingers

you'll be left with the skin which you can feed to the chickens or put in the compost

and lovely, fresh tomato pulp which you can put with pasta as a sauce, add a few herbs and olive oil, or as I did, with chopped up squash, skinned marrow, onions, garlic, herbs and oil and popped in the wood oven for a sort-of-ratatouille, and eventually cooled for the freezer.

Easy-peasey!  Took about 30 seconds...

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Some recent stock

I haven't shown any of my stock for a while - I am still selling on Ebay - and here are just a few little items that I've sold or are still in stock

lovely Boudoir cushion, from France, nice and soft and all handmade linen embroidery
now sold

This is such a stunning piece: a gorgeous, and quite rare,  little chest of drawers, behind two vignettes of Art Nouveau beauties.  You can see the original colour of the drawer fronts - bright fuschia pink floral fabric.  Just perfect for a collector of French fabric boxes.
now sold

This was an old sewing basket, now rather shabby, but once must have been quite splendid, with green silk interior and pockets, and a rich pink and blue embroidery on the outside.
now sold

A rather striking Pierre Cardin scarf, all in silk
now sold

And finally, a couple of trims: one a baby blue satin ribbon and original card, and the other a burgundy red passementerie trim for cushions, upholstery etc.
all sold

There!  Just to show you that I am still working at my little textile business - you can take a peek at my shop here if you like, or just send me a comment if you want any further details.

Frugal dog food and Charlie

Our little poodle Charlie, is getting on a bit.  He's getting on a lot actually.  In the 8 or 9 years we've had him since finding him abandoned, with over-grown fur full of fleas, and an aversion to men with stick shaped things in their hands, he has calmed right down and become such a sweetie and much loved member of the family.  Well, I love him, even though the cats seem to cast their spooky spell over the rest of the family...I digress.

Charlie has always been a bit scratchy, a bit inflamed on the ears and feet, and I realised early on that it was probably the dog food I was giving him.  The vet agreed with me, but no matter what, Charlie would not eat the very-expensive-but-good-for-him dry food although he would quite happily scrump the cats' dry biscuit food.

So, after much consultation with vet/internet, I devised my own food for him: 40% chicken, 20% veg such as carrots/beans/peas and 40% rice and couscous, with a couple of spoons of powered eggshell for extra calcium, and he also gets a bit of sardine or mackerel when we have some for lunch.  Sometimes I chuck on a couple of little biscuity things too, just for a bit of a change.

About once a month, I boil up chicken legs in the pressure cooker until the bones soften, pick off all the meat, add the veg, rice etc, and measure it out into foil containers - 180 grams a go - and then into the freezer.  It costs me about a frugal 25 to 30 centimes a day, which can't be bad.  I love doing it for Charlie because I love him, and he doesn't scratch his skin anymore.


Well, it would be win-win, but he has suddenly got bored with his food and has started scrumping the cats' dry stuff again.  Sigh...

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The 'Dorking' chicken

While we were in UK we did a trip around memory lane, and one of the things we saw was a giant cockerel in the middle of a roundabout in Dorking!  It made us smile, so I took a couple of piccies from the car (sorry about the quality but you can't park on a roundabout!).

A friend tells us it's because of the Dorking chicken - Dorking was once famous for the breed, but he thought it wasn't bred there anymore.  I think he's wrong, but I know you can buy then in France - saw some very recently at the market in PiĆ©gut.  They've come a long way!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Wedding cake

The reason for going back to visit the UK - only my second visit in 13 years - was to attend my old best friend's wedding.  We were honoured to be asked to be the witnesses, and I read a lesson at the service, and made a speech at the reception, which was great fun!  Anyway, the point of this is to show the most stunning wedding cake I have ever seen: I have an interest in these, as my dear old Dad was a chef, and generally made the cake for all of my cousins etc on their big day.

This whole confection was SO pretty: each cup cake was absolutely divine - very moreish!  The top two tiers were covered in pastel sugar butterflies, the interior being chocolate cake...yum...

The photos don't really do the cake justice, but I can assure you it was decadent...

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Garden gone mad

We've been away to UK for a couple of weeks, well, actually been back 10 days now, but only just really got to grips with work in the veggie plot.  I decided to pick the courgettes - or 'torpedoes' and store them for the winter - here is a piccy of various types and some butternut squash, sitting in the wheelbarrow.  The cardboard was to protect the veg from scratching on the metal wheelbarrow: I've found the veg lasts much longer if undamaged, of course.

Still got more in the plot, but I'll leave them to get a bit bigger, plus the pumpkins. Am going out again in a bit to feed them with my secret liquid manure - actually, it isn't magic, just rabbit poo and nettle soup.  With 6 pet rabbits, at least I don't have to buy any fertilizer.

There is another photo, showing the scale, but no "oo 'er, Mrs" comments, please!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

It's been a while...

Well, it certainly has been a while since I have blogged.  Don't know why really, just busy with life, the universe and everything.

A few piccies from a recent Sunday afternoon at the Bishop's Garden,  at the cathedral in Limoges.   Strolling about with our son and daughter, it was a lovely day, not too hot - it has been very warm.  Our son said he often walks there, takes a book, meets a friend or two - it's the nearest green space to his flat in town.

More little jaunts around the area to follow...


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