Sunday, August 3, 2014

Is This The Pits? Something Like Noyaux Liqueur!

I made something similar to Noyaux liqueur.  Noyaux liqueur is made with apricot and cherry pits soaked in brandy.  It is supposed to taste like almonds. For my liqueur I used roasted cherry pits soaked in mead.

I simply pitted a big batch of Colorado cherries that were in season and roasted the pits for 10 minutes, or so, at 400 deg. f.  Cooled, put them in a jar and fill it up with mead.  Almost immediately it started changing to a lovely cherry colour.  I let mine sit overnight.  Drain the pits away and retain the liquid.  Use this to add to cocktails, or wait and I will post some recipe ideas.  I also made a batch of cherry pit syrup with simple syrup and follow the same instructions.

I used my trusty cherry pitter.

I put mine in the refrigerator for safe keeping.

I also soaked some cherry halves in the mead.  You didn't think I would just use only the pits, did you?


Pinterest- I did That!

Use Dr. Bronner's castille  soap and dilute it.  I didn't measure, I just did it.  A couple of squirts and fill the rest of the bottle with water.  Notice I diluted the spelling of Dr. Bronner, as well, not on purpose.

 Spray this on plants to keep the bugs away.

Weed away- 1/4 c. salt, 2 tsp. dish soap and 1 qt. vinegar.

Magnesium for the plants- Epsom salt, buy the kind with no added salt (Epsom salt isn't really salt) and without fragrances, or baking soda added.  If you want to water the plants with the liquid form, the formula is: 2 tbsp. Epsom Salt to a gallon of water.  I like to sprinkle it right on the soil, sort of willy nilly then water. Do this approx.once a month.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mango Lassi With Help From My Noosa

Here is another easy recipe using my favourite yoghurt.  The Noosa flavour this time is mango, and what better to do with mango yoghurt than to make Lassi. I have a few surprise ingredients for my Mango Lassi, look below....With fast food this healthy, why wait?

2 tubs of Mango yoghurt

1 cup Mango Kombucha

Half of a pod of vanilla beans.

Whiz it up in a blender, and Bob's your uncle!

Enjoy for Brekkie, or with a proper Indian (homemade, or take-away).  This recipe is probably enough for 2 people.


Here is a few garden pics for Summer 2014.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Noosa Going To Like This

     Honey Yoghurt Panna Cotta w/ Cookie Crumbs

An easy dessert, served cold and no oven needed, making it great for a summertime treat.



Noosa yoghurt is made in Fort Collins, Colorado using a secret recipe from Noosa, Australia.  A quote from their website:

"We Aussies are famous for embracing other cultures, then adding our own little twist to make them our own. (It’s not “stealing,” it’s “being inspired.” There’s a difference!)
That’s exactly what we did with our Noosa Finest Yoghurt. We took a page from the Greeks (Ta, Greeks!) with their famously rich yoghurt. Ours is made in small batches, set, and infused with honey to give it that delicious sweet-tart tang, and smooth, velvety texture that sets us apart from the throng. We add just the right amount of fruit purees, made from the best the seasonal market has to offer, and pack it in clear tubs so you can see for yourself the lusciousness of what you’re about to enjoy."

I would like to start acknowledging local products.  Let us start with Noosa Yoghurt.

All the yoghurt cultures and a mild, creamy mouth feel.  They use local milk and honey in their products, which is great, right? It seems to me that this yoghurt is pretty popular here in Fort Collins. This recipe can be adapted using any of the flavours available, the sky is the limit!


For my recipe, and it can't be more simple....You will need 4 tubs of honey yoghurt. You don't need and added sweeteners, the yoghurt has just the right balance of sweetness.  Pour these out in a large bowl.

I grated in some tonka bean, or you can use vanilla/lemon zest.

Bloom then melt 4 small gelatin sheets and add to the yoghurt mixture.  Blend well.

Place in your moulds and set for several hours in the refrigerator.  I needed 6 moulds.

While they set, make some cookie crumbs.

When your dessert is set, turn out on a plate and baste the cookie crumbs over it.  I don't think anyone would mind if you drizzle a bit more honey.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Toying with Tonka Beans

I guess I should break my silence and blog again.

While in the UK, I got to cook with and taste unpasteurised cheese.  Tartiflette

Here is more on the artisan cheese front:

....Anyway, I also got to discover:

Tonka beans are illegal in the United States (Horray freedom!) 

The ingredient in Tonka beans that make the FDA verklempt is coumarin.  Coumarin is feared as a nasty anti-coagulant .  It appears that it isn't that simple.  Wait, before you develop shpilkis in your genechtagazoink.  

"Humans would need to eat an unreasonably bovine amount of tonka bean to fall ill. The shavings of a single bean is enough for 80 plates. At least 30 entire tonka beans (250 servings, or 1 gram of coumarin total) would need to be eaten to approach levels reported as toxic—about the same volume at which nutmeg and other everyday spices are toxic."

Read more:

On to dessert!
Creme Caramel/Flan is wonderful, right?  Well, add some cream cheese and tonka beans 

Viola, we now have Flan de Queso w/ Tonka Bean.

1 cup sugar
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (14 ounce) can condensed milk
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
6 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 grated tonka bean

Caramelize sugar on stove top over low heat. Once caramelized pour into 8 ramekins. Let cool. Mix all other ingredients in blender. Once the caramel has cooled, pour this mixture over caramelized sugar in ramekins.
Place ramekins in 1 inch of water and bake in oven at 325 degrees for 30 minutes to 1 hour until only the very middle jiggles.  Let cool then refrigerate.  Like most baked custards let set for at least 4 hours, but these taste even better overnight.

Be even more defiant by finely grating a tad more of the bean over the top of the finished, plated dessert.


In other news:

The garden WAS doing really well this season, in spite of; delayed planting, bunnies, bugs, etc.  Plenty of dedicated elbow grease for two months.....And this:

Gets hit with this:

....And becomes this:


Tomato plants become sticks.

 We may eek out a garden yet.  Some of the garden centres offered BOGO deals on vegetable plants.

Here is what I am phasing in for a solution to a multitude of gardening woes.  The rails to put hail/frost cover on are recycled old trampoline legs.  I even padded the edge with split pool noodles.  It is a work in progress, however.



Friday, March 21, 2014

Lilleshall Abbey

Lilleshall Abbey was an Augustinian abbey in Shropshire. It was founded between 1145 and 1148.  Later a Civil War stronghold.

The words are taken from the English Heritage website, which is linked below.  The photos were taken by myself. 

West Range
The buildings on the west side of the cloister seem to have been largely rebuilt in the 14th century, probably to improve the abbot's accommodation. His hall and private chamber may have been located at first-floor level
Chapter House
The canons met in the Chapter House every morning, usually after Mass. They listened as a chapter from the Rule of St Augustine was read, confessed their faults, and discussed abbey business.
The surviving grave slabs are a reminder that the chapter house was often the place where abbots were buried. More than 20 burials were discovered here in the late 19th century.

Slype or Parlour
The slype was a narrow passage with doors at either end, probably giving access to the canons' infirmary to the east of the cloister. It may also have served as the parlour, where the canons could discuss important matters without breaking the cloister rule of silence.

The canon's refectory was their dining room. Bread and beer were the staple elements in the community's diet, but fish, eggs and vegetables were also eaten. Meals were taken in silence, apart from one of the brothers reading from the scriptures.
The monks were very self sufficient
 and often made beer for theirselves.I thought it would good to include a recipe here:
  Abbey Beer
  • 9 pounds U.S. 2-row
  • 1.5 pounds Munich malt
  • 0.5 pounds 60L (or darker) crystal malt
  • 1-2 ounces of chocolate malt
  • 1 pound of honey or dark brown sugar
  • 6 - 7 AAUs bittering hops, a mix of hallertauer and kent goldings (60 minute boil)
  • Chimay yeast, of course
Add hops at 60 minutes before end of boil. You are not looking for high hop bitterness, nor should there be noticeable hop aroma.

If you're not an all-grain brewer, then don't use the 2-row or munich malt but use, say, 7 pounds light, unhopped dry malt extract instead. Use crystal and chocolate malt for color. The honey or brown sugar will boost the starting gravity as well as contribute to the flavor and body of the finished beer. You might try doing the fermentation at a relatively "warm" temperature, say, 70 to 75 degrees F. This should lead to more of that Chimay flavor in the finished beer. And, don't drink the beer all at once, as its flavor will evolve in the bottle over time.

On the south side of the church was a large open court or cloister, probably used as a garden. It was surrounded by four covered walks linking the monastic buildings. The elaborately carved doorway dates from the late 12th century. It was used by the canons to enter the church in formal processions.

Dedicated to Helen, rest in peace.
 I am enjoying my holiday. 
There isn't anyplace I would rather be. 



Sunday, March 2, 2014

Reblochon Means Tartiflette

 We got to lay our hands on some Reblochon, not available in the states.  The milk used to make this cheese is not pasteurised, thus making it ineligible for import into the United States of Silly Rules.

What a lovely treat to come across here in Britain, however.

 Reblochon is a soft, washed rind, French cheese.  Common to the Alps region, it is a A.O.C. controlled product.

It was lovely to finally make a proper batch of Tartifilette. A very simple recipe, that can be served as a meal with a side salad and a glass of preferably, white wine.

6 med. potatoes and 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and small diced shallots, then steamed until slightly tender.  Place in a casserole making sure the garlic is distributed.  Between each layer of potatoes, sprinkle rendered lardons and a splash of white wine. Season with salt and pepper.  Moisten with a splash, or two of cream.  Top the whole lot with the Reblochon and cook through in the oven, until the cheese is all melty and browned on top.