Sunday, 28 February 2010

I officially declare these sausages a success.

Boy oh boy oh boy oh boy. I think the rapture has arrived- the sausage rapture. I am in love with my sausages. Well, that might be taking it a bit far.....actually, no, when I think about it, that sounds just right!

Slightly spicy and full of fennel-y goodness. I am not sure if I'll ever want to make a different kind. Well, maybe I will, but each time I make sausages, half of them will have to be be Hot Italian.

Off to drool some more..

Saturday, 27 February 2010


From this:

To this:

To this:

I used this Hot Italian Sausage Recipe, since it was seeing various recipes calling for same that finally promted me to get a mincer. Well, that and tales of delicious meaty goodness from my friend J. She kindly took me by the hand (I hate getting lost) and showed me this great butcher in Z├╝rich where you can buy good quality meat and the sausage casings.

Handling the casings was a bit tricky- I managed to lose about 1/4 of it, since it got caught up in a knotty mess. This means that I am left with about 6 sausages-worth which I have just bagged up and will use in a Bolgnese-type sauce. Can't wait to try them, but it won't be tonight- all that raw meat handling has quenched my appetite!!

ETA: I followed the recipe pretty much as it was given, except I only put 3 tsp of salt in and no cayenne pepper as I didn't have any. I also added 100g of porridge oats to the mix, ground up quite fine in food processor beforehand as they were jumbo oats. When I make beef burgers I add oats as well (or you can use breadcrumbs) as I think it gives a better texture.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Southern Cakes.

Number Guy has spent a very pleasant weekend in the company of three friends from the UK. I have also found it very pleasant, but I was cooking and baking as opposed to board-gaming and Dungeons & Dragonning.

Due to the, ahem, weight issue, I don't bake as much as I would like to. Having people to stay allows me to relax the rules a bit. This weekend I pulled out
Southern Cakes.. I had wanted to try out the Tomato Soup Cake (yes, really) but I had bought a can of the ordinary stuff, not the condensed as required. Never mind, the Banana Chocolate Layer Cake came to the rescue.

I have to say that this picture does not do justice to this light-as-air creation.

The butter and sugar are beaten together, and then the three eggs are added one-by-one. Once the eggs are incorporated the mixture is beaten for another few minutes before the other ingredients are folded in by hand. The resultant batter is a dreamy mousse-like creation that I could easily have eaten straight from the mixing bowl.

The finished cake I loved. The chocolate frosting I found a bit too much, but this cake is deserving of another outing, I'll just need to think about the frosting issue

Saturday, 20 February 2010

In the kitchen

I've had two new toys to play with recently.

The baker's Edge has been in my sights for quite some time, but the cost of shipping it from the US was out of the question. So you can imagine that I was rather pleased at having scored one on my recent trip to the US.

The whole point of this cake tin is that everyone gets two chewy edges on their piece of brownie, something I had come to understand was vital ;0)I've only tried one recipe so far- Katherine Hepburn Brownies in Dorrie Goldspan's book . The recipe didn't fill the tine, but boy, they were good.

Next up- my Fleishwolf, or meat grinder to you and me. Given the ferocity of this machine, I think flesh-wolf is a very apt name! I don't have casings yet, so decided to just make meatballs instead. I chose a 'breakfast sausage' recipe off the internet, and they were not bad at all for a first attempt.

The ingredients were pretty simple, as you can see:

I want to make some Sweet Italian Sausage, so if anyone has a favourite recipe, please drop me a line in the comments.

On a non-domestic front, I've just started German lessons again. We have a test on Monday and I am trying, and failing, to work up the enthusiasm to study for it.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

All done

It's over. I can confirm what other people have said- thanks to the wonders of sedation, the worst part is the preparation. What made it a bit harder was having to get up to take the second solution at 4.00am this morning. The original plan had been 6.00 am (bad enough) but after yesterday it became clear that if severe public embarrassment were to be avoided, 4.00am it needed to be.

I told Dr F' I'm never having this done again, so this is the only chance to do all the tests that you need. I think he took me at my word. We need to await the histology results to be certain, but it look as if I 'merely' have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I say 'merely' because it's fab news that it isn't something worse, but I'm not sure what else can be done to alleviate the symptoms. Oh well, I should find out at my follow-up appointment next week.

Now, where is the horse, because I could eat one.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

I've been putting it off.

I have That Test tomorrow. Sitting in the fridge are two bottles of 'stuff'. How do you find the motivation to drink something that you know will: A) Taste so bad you might end up vomiting; B)Cause you to spend all night in the bathroom; C)and to add insult to injury requires a 5am start tomorrow morning to do it all over again?

10 minutes later.

It was bad. But not that bad. I was finding it hard at first because my throat kept feeling like it was just going to close. ..I had a taste. It was awful. I quickly developed a technique- 4 teaspoons of the liquid, which was small enough to be 'downed in a one-er' as we say in my neck of the woods, to which a hefty squeeze of lemon juice was added. There was 90 mls. That was 90mls too much, but still. Now I just nee dto drink 2L of water and hang around the bathroom. Oh Joy.

The only problem I foresee at the minute is that I am feeling quite sick. It really
will add insult to injury if it all comes back up after I went to the effort of getting it down.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

You might want to skip this.

It isn't really gross, but still...

I had my lactose-intolerance test today. It seems that I'm not. Lactose-intolerant. All I can say is that there's a mighty amazing placebo effect going on when I take lactase. It'll take me a while to get my head round this.

Anyway, my GI consultant managed to amaze me today. He needed me to explain to him why I didn't really want to have a colonoscopy. Yes, really.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

You know you're jet-lagged when... use 4 different bottles in an attempt to condition your hair, and each one turns out to be shampoo;0)

We got back from the States on Friday and I spent about 36 hours in bed. It meant we missed The Blue Man Group . I feel bad about that- it was Number Guy's birthday present but I just couldn't get out of bed.

One of our suitcases was searched on the way back- I obviously don't mind, but I would have appreciated it if the strap had been put back round it....oh well, if that's all I've got to moan about I better stop it!

Jet lag affects me differently going west, so the first weekend we went to Half Moon Bay. I went into a yarn shop and managed not to buy anything- I know, odd, isn't it? After that I needed some lunch, so we went to Sushi Main Street , which had been recommended by a fellow Spoogler, M. It was fantastic. We had so much food we could hardly move and it was less than $60 plus tip. We made up for that saving a week later, in The Lodge at Pebble Beach, 17 mile Drive . We had an amazing view of the ocean, plus brunch, for a total of $140, minus the tip. Oh well. It was good.

I met up with M, who recommended Sushi. She has a number of good suggestions up her sleeve, another one being
Sprinkles for cup cakes. We actually went to two cupcake shops that day (well, I was on holiday...) but I can't remember the name of the other one.

A few days after that, C took me into San Francisco to a armers market down on the waterfront. I had the best beef sandwich ever. And I didn't have the stress of driving into the city. Just as well- if I'd been in the driving seat we'd never have left the car park.

Well, I seem to be rambling on and on, so I'll stop here and try to find something else to do that'll stop me collapsing into bed at only 2 in the afternoon.