Just had toasted buttered hot cross bun for breakfast, very tasty. It sparked a debate at the breakfast table though – I go for the bun kept separate after buttering, so I’ve got two separate pieces buttery side up. But Ian puts his back together so he has one whole bun with a buttery middle. And of course we are both certain that our way is the best – ahhh old habits they die hard don’t they.
What do you do? Join in the big hot cross bun survey and let us know (see the side bar). We’ll tell you the results in a week’s time.
Last week I got a couple (one each for hubby and me) of goose eggs via a friend. I was very excited, as I’ve never tried either duck or goose eggs before. Everyone I mentioned it to said they are much much richer than hens eggs and then proceeded to suggest the best way to have them – most favoured fried or scrambled. I umm’d and ahhh’d for quite a while and then decided that what I really wanted was soft boiled with soldiers (hubby decided on fried for his egg).
Having made my decision could I find any books that told me how long to boil a goose egg for? NO.
Hugh F-W let me down big time here – I thought he was bound to be waxing lyrical about goose eggs and giving cooking times but not anywhere I could find he wasn’t – honestly Hugh call yourself a converted country boy and you don’t mention goose eggs, just what’s the world coming to? Then I saw that Rose Prince mentions them – hurrah I thought, instructions here we come – but it was another blank – she tells us how much her five year old son really likes soft boiled goose egg as a tea time treat and also his views on how big they are (in which he demonstrates a fine grasp of the f word) but not how to cook them to perfection.
So off to the computer to see if that helped – and a quick Google search came up with the goods straightaway. Next a search in the cupboards for something to stand the egg in to eat it – at about 2½ times the weight of a hens egg it looked a bit big for a regular egg cup (even my lovely spotty Emma Bridgewater one which seems to be designed for extra big hens eggs was only going to provide a comedy moment and an unsecure stand). After much searching about and trying different tea and coffee cups I finally found a coffee cup that was a perfect fit.
Back in the kitchen it was time for breakfast. Into a pan of luke warm water went my goose egg, brought it up to a simmer and then cooked at that pace for 10 minutes (next time I’d do it for a little less to get a more runny yolk), hubby fried his egg for around 4 minutes or so and we dashed off some toast for each of us. Then to eating.
The white is a more boingy texture than a hen’s egg and a different shade of white (kind of translucent even when cooked) but similar in taste. The yolk is huge, a lovely yellow and to start with you think its not that much richer than hen’s eggs but at you munch your way through you realise its kind of cumulative and by the end I was hard pushed to think I’d want another bite. It was truly delicious, a great treat for a Sunday breakfast and next time I see any I’ll be getting another couple.
Today we harvested our first stalks of rhubarb this season. Coming in at six stalks it made a nice compact handful. We’ve got 3 rhubarb crowns and one seems to be slightly ahead of the others so all the stalks came off the one plant.
Over the last few seasons we’ve had mixed cropping results – in the first few years after they were properly established we got a pretty good crop and then a couple of years ago they started to bolt very early in the season. We would get curious but quite attractive flowering rhubarb stems but very little worth harvesting and the flower stems are hollow so no good for the pot. It seems that letting them flower or bolt reduces the crop. This year we could see the same thing was going to happen again so after some searching in gardening books (most of which simply didn’t even seem to recognise the problem) we found some advice in a wonderful old book (The New Illustrated Gardening Encyclopaedia by Richard Suddell, from the 1940’s I believe, its full of lovely pen and ink illustrations) which said the flower buds should be removed as soon as they appear at ground level. So we’ve done that and it seems to have worked so far; I’m hoping for a better crop this year.
I really love rhubarb, its such a wonderful part of the British seasonal kitchen, it can be refreshing and light or warming with a tang depending on how its prepared. For this first batch I decided simple was best and just cooked the cut up stems briefly in a small amount of water with a little sugar added until they became soft but still held some shape. So now there is enough lightly cooked rhubarb to last me this week, for adding to breakfast muesli or making a quick desert with Greek yoghurt. I’m looking forward to its refreshing tang and starting to think of some different recipes to try when the next batch comes through. I might even decide to force one crown next winter to extend the season and make me feel revitalised by the onset of spring a little sooner.
The votes are in.
We asked whether people preferred their bacon butty with ketchup, brown sauce, neither, or as the mood took them.
First of all thanks to everyone who voted – this was only my second blog poll and I’m pleased to have increased the voting level by 350% (from 4 to 14 – ah well). As the week progressed I watched the poll avidly and the ‘brown sauce’ gang got off to a flying start picking up many of the early votes. But ketchup caught up as the week progressed just nudging ahead at the final count.
The results were:
Ketchup: 42% (6 votes)
Brown Sauce: 35% (5 votes)
Neither: 7% (1 vote)
Go with the mood: 14% (2 votes)
Not in the least scientific with such a small electorate but it did make me wonder whether the red’s vs the brown’s had anything in common other than their choice of sauce (boys/girls, north/south, working class/posh). Perhaps for another poll another day.
And a couple of quotes that were sent to me direct:
“But I have my bacon butty with brown and red and there isn’t such an option?!”
“…it’s “a no brainer”. When I think of it, I’m about as likely to vote Tory as I am to put red sauce on a bacon sandwich.”
Well there’s no accounting for taste is there but thanks for letting us know.
Oh and by the way it’s ‘Bacon Connoisseur’s Week’ from 16 March (as spotted on Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef) – like we need an excuse to eat bacon?
For those of you unfamiliar with the term ‘butty’ the OED defines it as follows:
butty (also buttie) noun (pl. butties) informal, chiefly N. English a filled or open sandwich: a bacon butty. – ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from BUTTER+-Y.
Or perhaps think about Ken Dodd for a moment and the jam butty mines – or maybe don’t. Also, of course, there are chip butties and cheese butties. In essence any kind of sandwich can be called a butty although I’m not sure you’d apply the term to something filled with chicken and avocado or crayfish and rocket or cucumber…..now there’s a thought a cucumber butty – a new slant on afternoon tea.
Anyway back on the bacon butty trail – this morning I had a great example rustled up for breakfast from some beer cured back bacon, some sautéed portobello mushrooms, a good dollop of ketchup (my favourite Stokes Real Ketchup – yum) and 2 slices of properly chewy wholemeal.
It was great.
But then I’m probably biased as I made it.
I’ve always had a bit of an on-off thing with porridge. I certainly wasn’t a ‘Ready Brek’ kid despite my mum’s best efforts; I stuck firmly with the Weetabix back then.
As I got older I found that porridge was sometimes good but mostly only with a heavy sprinkling of brown sugar and the creamy top of the milk.
And it was a staple on camping weekends with friends, helping stave off the damp and any budding hangover before nipping up a few hills in the Lake District. For the most part though porridge never entered my regular list of breakfasts.
Well eventually I realised that most people make porridge with milk (or part milk, part water) and if there is one thing I don’t like its the smell of warm milk. Cold milk great. Warm milk ugh. In fact anything with warm milk makes my stomach turn slightly (custard, hot chocolate). So doesn’t the creamy top of milk go warm when it hits the porridge? Maybe a little but it stays pretty cold and it doesn’t have that warm milk smell and the porridge itself must have been made with water – so no warm milk odour anywhere. Of course porridge made with water is a bit dull, its okay but its not going to become a favorite without something else added – the sugar, the cream, maybe raisins.
But somewhere deep down I knew I kind of liked porridge, the comforting texture, its warming qualities. So I thought I’d try again but without the milk. What to use instead. Milk substitutes have always seemed a slightly weird idea to me (well except for people who genuinely can’t have milk) but I happened to find something called ‘oat milk’. And here was the first step on the road to a renewed relationship with porridge. Oat milk can only taste of oats, it can’t smell like warm milk, it simply enhances the oatiness on the porridge.
Step two was the lazy persons find – porridge with the fruity bits already added. Just how hard can it be to add raisins, or sultanas, or dried blueberries when cooking up the porridge. It CAN’T be can it? No of course not but when venturing into something new sometimes things need to be a little bit easy or the challenge becomes too great. A small step is often the way to open up a whole new and exciting world. There in the cereal aisle was just what I needed – the small step – porridge oats with fruit already added.
So armed with the right ingredients (and with recent damp and/or cold weather that makes porridge seem like the right option) I have ventured in to a land of porridgey breakfasts. For me about 50g of porridge and 150ml of the oat milk works a treat, simmer for 5-6 minutes and eat – no cream or brown sugar needed. Tasty oaty porridge to start the day. I might even take up hill walking again!