David and I had been enjoying a little semblance of domestic bliss in the past couple of weeks. No, we were not attempting to make babies, to the relief of Joel. We had been busy in the kitchen, exploring our inner Gordon Ramsay and Nigella Lawson. We got reacquainted with our kitchen appliances and utensils again. Previously, we bonded only with the refrigerator when David peered into it 173 times a day to look for food. Even the blender was no longer a tool solely used to fuel our evenings with exotic cocktails. We have been baking breads, scones, cupcakes, cookies, whipping up jams, chutney, spreads and experimenting with different types of bruschetta toppings and canapés.
That’s not all! I have also been channeling both my favourite food writer, Nigel Slater of BBC's famed Simple Cooking program as well as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of the River Cottage series by growing my own herbs and vegetables. I have been using them in my cooking by getting recipe tips from Nigel on Tweeter too. So far, I have got an array of herbs and vegetables growing by my window sill like rosemary, thyme, basil, mint, chilies, celery, bak choy and water convolvulus. The list may be expanded soon to include oregano and chives. Nigel made a suggestion about sprinkling lavender flowers on roasted tomatoes and cheese on toast. I would probably need to grow a pot of lavender soon.
Anyway, I did promise some of my friends, a couple of recipes from the Ash Family’s culinary adventures, so here they are:
Spiced Pineapple Compote
· 2 pineapples - peeled and grated (do not use a blender)
· 1 cup water - scented with juice of 2 oranges and a tablespoon of orange zest)
· cup brown sugar
· sticks cinnamon , 2 star anise and 4 cloves
1. After grating the pineapple, put the pineapple, water, juice, zest and spices in a pot and cook over low to medium heat until the pineapple mixture is soft. This takes about half an hour with intermittent stirring.
2. Stir the sugar into the pineapple mixture and continue cooking till the mixture thickens over slightly higher heat for another half an hour. Once the mixture has thickened, leave to cool in pot.
3. When sufficiently cooled, spoon the compote into sterilized jars with tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator.
· 2 cups Self-raising flour
· 2 tablespoons brown sugar
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· 1/2 cup butter
· 1 cup raisins
· 1/2 cup buttermilk
· 1 egg white beaten
1. Combine, flour, baking soda, and sugar in a bowl
2. Rub in butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs, then fold in buttermilk and raisins.
3. Knead mixture on floured surface, then shape them into circles and flatten slightly.
4. Brush the top of each scone with the egg white and then bake it in pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes.
David and I really enjoyed tottering about in our kitchen and our little herb garden like a couple of geriatrics in a wee cottage. I guessed this was another outcome of that pre-empty nester syndrome we had been experiencing with Joel spending a lot more time out with his friends. Our housekeeper Evelyn has not quite bought into our recent spate of culinary adventures yet as she had to deal with the massive cleaning up afterwards. I had to force her to sit and watch Heston Blumenthal on TV in the hope that she could feel thankful that we had not attempted to stuff and roast a pig on a spit right in the middle of her pristine kitchen or attempt to recreate a menu from Medieval Europe using Bailey as yet.
About the writer:
The writer of this blog post is a 43 year old mother of one, who spreads her time between her day job as a marketeer at a financial institution, her hobby as a certified professional tarot reader and numerologist, and her family which includes a 19 year old son. She's married to a Scot who has been affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" and prays that he does not find out that the term when translated, has labeled him as a "Ginger Head".