Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Shit Cooking is Hereditary

Doris and I visited my mum this evening, to investigate her lack of Internet. I fixed it, and gave her some tactics for using against SKY, the next time it fails (tomorrow, perhaps). We had a nice chat, in the process of which we  spoke about cookistry, and this blog.

I showed my mum a random entry here. It was my "Cabbage Sandwich" one. My mum said "you didn't like lettuce when you were young. You would eat cabbage because it was cooked. Of course, cabbage was never stored in the fridge". Aha! I found a head of brassica in the fridge, so therefore it MUST have been lettuce! I am vindicated! :D

We also spoke about my most recent blog entry, "Gravy Stock". When I said that I hadn't known that gravy and stock are different things, my mum said "yes they are". This needed investigation ...

Mum spoke about her mother, who would add water to meat juices and serve that as gravy. This is how Mum learned what constitutes gravy. She also spoke about her mother-in-law, who would make gravy that Mum didn't like. Apparently, this was made by mixing water with Gravy Browning. I had no idea what "Gravy Browning" is, but Doris came to the rescue ...

Gravy Browning is supposed to be added to a lard-based gravy. Lard-based gravy has no colour. To make it more appetizing, you add Gravy Browning to change the colour to something that looks "gravy-coloured".

So, I have one grandmother would would make gravy by adding gravy browning to water, and another grandmother who would make gravy by adding meat juices to water. My Mum makes much better gravy, by adding stock cubes to water. It seems that my exploits in the kitchen are maintaining a family tradition of being crap in the kitchen!

I now have an excuse. I will try not to use it very often, but in the back of my mind, whenever I have a cookery disaster in the future, I will be thinking "but this rubbish is STILL better than my forebears' efforts!"

Friday, 4 February 2011

Gravy Stock

This evening, I served-up grilled pork loin, mashed potatoes, petits pois and gravy. I didn't really have any disasters whilst cooking. Ok, I cooked twice as many potatoes as I should have done, and the smoke alarm blared, but those are just normal side-effects of my cookistry prowess.  Also, I had to serve the plates singularly, as I had poured too much gravy over the meals.

When I served Doris's to her, she asked how I'd made the gravy. Come to think of it, she asked whether I'd had trouble with the gravy at the weekend, when I cooked roast Lamb.

I explained that I didn't understand how it had gone wrong, as it was about 1/3 of a pint of water with a vegetable Oxo cube in it, following the instructions on the side of the Oxo box. Our measuring jugs don't have a marker for "1/3 Pint", so I thought that possibly I'd used the wrong amount of water. This admission prompted a discussion about the difference between stock and gravy. Apparently, I have been serving stock in place of gravy.

I have successfully made gravy in the past, after Doris taught me. The opening line to her tutelage was always "Using the juice from the meat, ..." and neither these pork loins nor the lamb at the weekend expelled any juice. Now I know ... if the meat doesn't leave any juices behind, use olive oil instead, and make it the same way as I've been taught, rather than just to crumble an Oxo cube into some water.

At least we had lots of spare mashed potatoes, to mop up the surplus gravy stock. I had made special mash too, using both butter and cream. When I explained this to Doris, she mentioned that she's on a diet, so needs to be aware of butter and cream intake before she eats, rather than when she's nearly finished.

At this stage, I think I should give thanks to Doris, my partner, who is becoming a long-standing Guinea Pig for my fumblings in the kitchen. I have hardly made her ill with any of the food I've served, which I count as a bonus!

She's sitting next to me, and just said "When I come home after a full-on tiring week, I can't say what I want for dinner without an ensuing drama! At least I don't shout at you". I'm thankful for small mercies, with the standard of my cooking.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Eaten Mess

I cooked chicken stir fry this evening. I really need to remember to chop the veggies before starting to fry the chicken. Thankfully, Doris rescued the situation by rushing into the kitchen to chop the greens.

We have some mini meringue nests in the cupboard, along with a pot of fruit. There is also some double cream (out-of-date) in the fridge. I like Eton Mess, so I thought I'd construct it from the ingredients to-hand.

Unfortunately, the fruit is pineapple chunks. Nevertheless, these will be a good substitute for strawberries.

I chopped the nests loosely, poured the cream over them and dumped a load of the pineapple chunks on top. Although it tastes quite nice, it's missing something.

We don't have any syrup that would go with pineapple, but we have some Quality Street left over from Christmas. No-one likes the coconut chocolates.

I broke-up four of the chocolates and dumped them into my mixture. It is now speckled with chocolate and tasting of pina colada. Lovely dessert!