Posts

Of Memories and Marmalade

Jack Sprat could eat no fat.

His wife could eat no lean.

And between them both, you see,

They licked the platter clean.

The name Jack Sprat was used to describe someone of small stature in the sixteenth century; sprats are small fish. Seemingly, it was an English proverb from the mid-seventeenth century, or before. It appeared in John Clarke’s collection of sayings in 1639:

Jack will eat not fat, and Jull doth love no leane.

Yet betwixt them both they lick the dishes cleane.

The saying became well known English nursery rhymes when it appeared in Mother Goose’s Melody around 1765, but it children probably recited it much earlier.

I had always believed this nursery rhyme to be about not wasting food – other sources link it to all sorts of political shenanigans, taxation, and even Robin Hood. My, how that man sneaks into nursery rhymes.

Having spent some time in Europe recently, this rhyme came to mind when I encountered the wanton greed and culpable waste when watching fellow guests in an hotel in Barcelona.

Our deal via Easy Jet was to stay in the Hotel Gothica (nice four-star hotel, friendly staff and very central) and breakfast was included.

I love to people watch and it was fascinating to see other breakfasters take far more food than they could possibly eat – stacks of bread for toast, rolls piled high, croissants, pastries, muffins, yoghourts, fruit, cold meats and cheeses, sausages and tortilla …

There was no way they could consume the quantities taken and they didn’t wrap anything in napkins for lunch, either – and sure enough, the tables were littered with the debris of untouched and partially eaten food. (It was like watching people eat in films; they never eat or drink more than a mouthful before they dab their mouths with a napkin and leave the table.)

Why do they do this?

Is it the ‘must get my money’s worth’ philosophy? Or the ‘it doesn’t matter if I take a bite, leave part or all of it because I have paid for it anyway’ school of thought?

I wondered if those families were the same in their own homes or encouraged their children to take too much and just leave it. I wondered how they felt when visitors wasted food – meals prepared with care in the pursuit of being good hosts.

Having been brought up to not waste anything – food in particular – whilst not a revelation, it was dispiriting to say the least. (My father claimed his garden fork had been in the family for over one hundred years and had only had 94 new handles and 30 new tines …) I remembered an elderly friend telling me that she had been orphaned at the age of four when both her parents died in a car accident. Her grandparents felt unable to take on a lively child and sent her to boarding school, where she was always hungry. She was taken to the cinema as a treat one Saturday morning, to see a typical child’s comedy – slapstick and silly and fun. Unfortunately, custard pies were flying across the screen, to great guffaws of laughter from other children in the audience. Not so my friend: she went beserk, screaming and kicking, beside herself.

She could not understand why people were throwing food around when she never had enough to eat.

On a more cheerful note, I did notice that when the apples on the breakfast buffet were not looking as shiny and inviting as usual, they appeared the next morning as baked apples with cinnamon – a favourite. However, the apples were those horrid, tasteless Golden Delicious so favoured in Europe and, I believe, the USA.

Nowhere tart enough for this tart …

Bakes apples DEMAND an old-fashioned English cooking apple – sharp, juicy, with flesh which falls to a tempting puree within the skin when baked properly. (I wonder if the EEC allows Britain to grow these anymore.)

However, not one to pass up on a challenge, I noted that the little plastic pots of marmalade (horrid but practical) contained real marmalade! With plenty of chunky peel for added bite and texture. None of this peel-free or finely-shredded  or over-sweetened muck! Popped into where the core had been, the apple was transformed.

They’d have been even better baked this way but then, as we tended to break our fast later than the dedicated tourist, they would probably have been piled high and left on tables throughout the restaurant.

 

March 2013

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Yvonne  Oots

Part 2

More meaningless but useful pieces of information regarding cooking, the kitchen, weights and measures and of course manners.

If you have question concerning on any of the above subjects please feel free to comment and we will answer because we really are smart. 

Part 2

1. If you scorch milk by accident, put the pan in cold water and add a pinch of salt. It will take away the burned taste.

2. When boiling milk, first stir in a pinch of baking soda. This will help keep the milk from curdling.

3. Tasty flavored whipped cream: First whip cream then add 2 tablespoons of flavored jello and continue beating on slow until the whipped cream is right consistency.

4. Leftover ham: Lay ham slices in a baking dish then cover with maple syrup. Refrigerate overnight then fry the ham in butter the next morning.

5. Add a slice of lemon to peeled sweet potatoes while cooking. The lemon will help them clear and free of discoloration.

6. Fill a large hole or sugar shaker with flour and use that when needing to dust surfaces with flour or just pour out a tablespoon, as you need it, this is handy way to keep a bit of flour on hand instead of digging in the flour bin.

7. Use pastry wheel to cut rolled cookie dough in squares or diamonds, much less rolling and very pretty.

8. Rinse measuring cup in hot water before using syrup, oil, etc. Will pour out clean and not stick to cup.

9. Canned fruit is much better if opened and removed from the can an hour or two before using to restore the oxygen.

10. A wire cheese cutter is ideal for cutting chilled refrigerator cookie dough.

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Yvonne  Oots

Jo Dunlop

Jo Dunlop

Well, y’all coming from the mountains as I have, and loving fresh caught fish. Especially for breakfast, I just had to have Jo Dunlop into my kitchen. You see she started a project called Fish is the Dish and all they do is talk about fish and the various ways of fixing fish. You might say she has an obsession about fish.

After Fish is the Dish became successful Jo when on to found a website just for mummy’s and their families.  Jo having two little boys 3 years and one that will have his first birthday on 1 April, Olive won’t tolerate joking about that angels birthday.  Just sayin’ y’all.

Her new blog will thrill you with the antics of her oldest child, to her families’ favourite food. You might even catch a good deal on her product reviews.

So enjoy the interview and get to know her through her own words and blogs.  You can also follow her on twitter.

1. Earliest memory of your Mothers or Grandmothers kitchen.

My mom’s kitchen was always clean, she was always just concocting something from what she had left over, and she was very frugal. The very earliest memory was that Mom’s boyfriend at the time was asked if he could paint the kitchen, we went out and when we returned he had painted caricatures on the wall of us all, including the dog. We then painted over it in the kitchen paint but when it was a sunny day, you could always see the outline of the caricatures underneath, which as kids we always found hilarious

2. Do you like to cook?

Love it; it’s my favourite thing to do

3. If not why not?

NA

4. What recipe of your mother or grandmother do you make that sends you back in time watching (whichever one) in the kitchen?

Macaroni cheese and weirdly just made that tonight, I can still smell my Granny’s house when I think about it.

5. What is your favourite herb or spice or both.

Chilli and oregano

6. If you could be a ghost in that kitchen and watch yourself as a small child, what would you tell that child today?

Watch, learn and write down as much as you can, once people are gone, so are their little quirky recipes!

7. Outside of your own country/county, which country’s cuisines do you like or prefer.

Italian and we eat it often, recently had master classes in my house by a visiting Italian

8.  What is your families favorite dish.

Hmm, that’s a hard one, probably spaghetti & ragu

9.  Would you mind sharing with my readers and quick and easy recipe that you make for your lil monsters?

Here’s a quick video they might like – this is a firm favourite and I did this for Fish is the dish

www.fishisthedish.co.uk/recipes/coley-goujons 

10.   I have a old fashion pantry, larder to you brits… Do you recommend people start one and what would be the most important thing in that larder

Oh, I would love one of these; my old house had a really cold cupboard under the stairs that I had shelving put in. I recommend everyone has one and I’m presently working out how I get this in my new house! The most important thing in the larder is actually not a food stuff but order – you need to had it organised, if you can’t see what’s there you miss things and they go out of date or you go buy some new ones and then realise you already have them. See my pintrest board for more organising ideas.

11. Of all the kitchen gadgets invented OLD and NEW which OLD and NEW are you favourite. (One old and one new)

Old is my slow cooker, I use it a lot

 New is my mixer for baking, I love it

12.   If you could teach cooking to the high school level students today… what would be the most important and the least important thing to teach them?

How to choose fish and how to cook it. It is the easiest food in the world to prepare & COOK – the ultimate fast food and oh so healthy

13.   Having agreed to this interview are you afraid that the men and women of your family members might look at you a little different?

No not at all, they all know I’m food obsessed.

Thank You

Olive

 

 

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Yvonne  Oots

Rebecca Wallace

I am so glad to have Rebecca visit my kitchen y’all. Of all my neighbours, I worry about her the most.  Why you ask? Well, lean closer and I will tell you a secret about her.  She doesn’t even know who she is most of the time.  She’ll tell you that she is not sure herself some days.   With that family of hers, why there are days I can’t blame her for not knowing who she is. Listen to this inventory: 1 husband, 2 girls (aged nearly 5 and 7), 3 chickens and about 17 fish.

Rebecca’s youngest daughter, Little Miss Sunshine aspires to a dog and the rest of them including her eldest, Little Miss Star, aspire to a bigger house and garden. They currently reside in a small village in deepest, darkest Hampshire but would love to disappear to deeper, darker countryside and live the good life aka River Cottage style. This however is a pipe dream and unless Rebecca or her husband wins that elusive lottery…Well y’all know how that is going to work out.

Now I am quite certain that there was a time when Rebecca was in her right mind. I am also certain that one day her life will return to normal and the world will be none the wiser about any little mishaps that she is going through today.

So, before she slips back into her own world I hope you enjoy the conversation.

1.    What is the earliest memory of your Mothers or Grandmothers kitchen?

Oh my – now that takes me back. I have a very early memory of my Grandmothers kitchen when they lived in a big, big house. The kitchen seemed huge and I remember an enormous cream coloured range (an Aga as they are called in little ol’ England) with an equally huge table. It was always warm and cosy and the white cat liked to sit on the top of the range. There was also a big wooden dresser filled with crockery and table linen. I don’t remember much about the food but I was only 3 years old when they moved to a much smaller house.

 My earliest food memories are probably of Christmas – the enormous turkey, all the trimmings, the flaming Christmas pudding, the ever so slightly soggy sprouts – or it could be just that it’s that time of year and I have Christmas food on my mind!

2. Do you like to cook?

Mmmm – tricky question – shouldn’t be should it really? I used to like to cook. I bought cookery books by the dozen, loved to experiment with new ingredients and tastes – and then I had kids. After boiling and pureeing up every food known to man when they were little (quite possibly one of the most tedious things you can do in a kitchen) I kind of went off cooking and now I simply don’t have the time and energy.  When my other half goes shopping he has the habit of looking through the bargain trolley and bringing home all sorts of bizarre ingredients that I then feel obliged to cook. A challenge I don’t necessarily relish anymore!

3. If not why not?

In a word – children – maybe this will change when they are older!

4. What recipe of your mother or grandmother do you make that sends you back in time watching (whichever one) in the kitchen?

It has to be a classic roast dinner. I remember so well both my ma and my Grandma cooking a roast every Sunday. There were always guests and it was a social occasion. These days it is more of a family affair but I try to copy their methods in part – especially making the gravy – no bisto in this house thank you! Some things have improved though – oil rather than lard for the potatoes – all a bit healthier – mind you it did my grandparents no harm – they lived to a ripe old age despite eating artery-clogging food on a daily basis.

On a more seasonal note making the Christmas Pud always reminds me of being in the kitchen at home – the cinnamon, the dried fruit, the citrus peel and cherries – probably because it was something I was allowed to help with right from a wee toddler.

5. What is your favourite herb or spice or both?

Another tricky question! I love herbs and spices. When I was a child I used to love to go out in the garden and pick the thyme, rosemary and mint for my mother’s cooking and I remember all those Christmassy sweet spices of cinnamon and ginger. Considering my ma’s cooking was pretty traditionally English it was pretty tasty but she never cooked those hot spicy dishes from places like India, Morocco and Thailand that I love now. I adore coriander in salads and sprinkled over curries – it’s so fresh and I also love chilli and I’m happy to have dishes really hot and spicy.

6. If you could be a ghost in that kitchen and watch yourself as a small child, what would you tell that child today?

Watch and learn – don’t just gab away to your mum . Actually, watch what she is doing, learn and remember and then you won’t have to call her every five minutes in the middle of cooking to ask her what the hell you’re supposed to do next.

7. Outside of your own country/county, which country’s cuisine do you like or prefer?

 I love Thai and Indian food but I think my absolute favourite has to be Moroccan cuisine. It is spicy but so delicious and tasty and has that warming food that we need in our cold climate – nothing better than a slow cooked tagine – mmm – my mouth is watering at the thought – and for afters the nutty sweet delights of baklava – yum!

8.  What is your families favourite dish?

 Having said all that about foreign food I think our favourite dish as a family is a good old meat stew (or casserole if you prefer but that sounds far too fancy – stew is more down to earth) – it could be beef or lamb or chicken with different ingredients depending on the time of year and what you have to hand but slow cooked and seasoned right it can be the tastiest dish ever. It also has the advantage that it can be spiced up or down (my attempts at introducing chilli to the children has been mixed – although I have just about avoided setting their mouths on fire) and you can hide all sorts of veggies in there (the kids don’t know it but they’re eating more veg than meat – mwahahaha!) Perfect for families.

9.  Of all the kitchen gadgets invented OLD and NEW which OLD and NEW are you favourite. (One old and one new)

Ooh kitchen gadgets – I love a gadget but what to choose for the best?  The best new gadget has to be my smoothie maker. I luuurve my smoothie maker. Bung some fruit, milk and yoghurt and maybe some honey in it – give it a whizz and open the tap for a scrumptious, healthy smoothie. The kids love it and so do I!  An old gadget – that’s a bit harder – what counts as a gadget? I’m sure years ago a potato peeler was thought of as a gadget – not sure we’d think of it as one now though, and how old is old? I think in my kitchen it would have to be a pestle and mortar – a gadget that has been used in various forms for hundreds if not thousands of years and even now cannot be beaten for bashing up spices and herbs or even nuts – all those essential ingredients to make meals really tasty.

10. If you could teach cooking to the high school level students today… what would be the most important and the least important thing to teach them?

Cripes – I can’t imagine teaching high-school kids anything but if I had to do it – mmmm. I think the most important thing would be to teach them that cooking from scratch is a lot cheaper and healthier than buying ready meals and that it doesn’t have to take a long time – starting with the real basics like how to boil, scramble and poach eggs. The least important thing to teach them – probably how to cook fancy food – nobody needs to know how to cook a soufflé – it’s nice but not necessary!

 

11. I have a old fashion pantry, larder to you brits… Do you recommend people start one and what would be the most important thing in that larder?

Absolutely, I would recommend that everyone should have a pantry or larder. When I was little we lived in a big old house that had an old fashioned walk in larder and it was great – nearly all the food was stored in there (so less messy cupboards in the kitchen) It was always cool and food like cheese and fruit like tomatoes were so much better kept in there than in the fridge where they just get toooo cold. These days that’s not always practical but even now I have one of those pull out larder cupboards that takes loads of store-cupboard necessities like rice, pasta, tinned tomatoes, beans and fruit, flour, sugar and all those store-cupboard necessities you need for cooking. Unfortunately it’s not super cool like my moms was so the cheese has to stay in the fridge though!

12. Would you mind sharing with my readers and quick and easy recipe that you make for your lil princesses?

Why of course I don’t mind sharing a recipe I make for my little ones. How about one of our favourite after school snacks. They’re always so hungry after a long day at school but I don’t like spoiling them with too many candies or cookies so we often have flapjacks which are (reasonably) healthy, cheap and best of all are  super quick and easy to make.

After school Flapjacks:

200g butter (2/3 cup to 1 cup approx.)

330g porridge oats (1 cup +1/4 cup approx.)

6 tablespoons golden syrup

Optional- handful raisins or a grated apple or a handful of chopped dried apricots – or various other dried or chopped fruits to add a bit of healthiness

Turn the oven to 180C.  (350 degrees F)

Grease a shallow baking tin (or for even more time saving use a silicone one- no need to grease!)

In a big saucepan melt the butter with the golden syrup over a lowish heat – once melted stir in the oats – making sure they are all covered and add in the fruit if you are using it.

Squish the mixture firmly into the baking tin –put in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until a lovely golden brown.

Let them cool before cutting into squares.  Easy peasy!  (weight and measurement conversions  are approximate)

13.  Having agreed to this interview are you afraid that the men and women of your family members might look at you a little different?

Are my friends and family going to look at me differently after this interview? No why would they it’s just little ol’ me talking – they’re used to it!

You can follow Rebecca  on her blogs below.

http://rollercoaster-mum.blogspot.co.uk/  https://twitter.com/chickensandkids

https://www.facebook.com/RollercoasterMum?ref=hl

Olive

 

Tidbits and Trivia

Welcome to the attic where you can find all types tidbits and trivia.  On this  page where Tilly and I will put those meaningless but useful pieces of information regarding cooking, the kitchen, weights and measures and of course manners. 

If you have question concerning on any of the above subjects please feel free to comment and we will answer because we really are smart.

So lets get started with a few cooking tips. 

So lets get started with a few cooking tips.
1. A tablespoon of minute tapioca sprinkled in apple pie will absorb excess juice while baking.
2. Rinse raisins, dates, and figs in very cold water before putting them through the food chopper. They will not form such a gummy mass.
3. Put a few garlic cloves in your vegetables while they boil, it will make them tastier.
4. Cook vegetables with one or more bouillon cubes instead of salt it will improve the flavor.
5. Did you know that you can use sweet pickle juice to thin salad dressing or make French dressing with instead of vinegar.
6. When cooking raw beans DO NOT add tomatoes until they are done. The acid in the tomatoes will stop the cooking process. Your beans will be rather crunchy.
7. Do you have a pizza cutter. If so, then use it to cut cookie dough and pie crusts.
8. When making tea, put a few sprigs of peppermint in with the tea, refrigerate overnight and serve chilled.
9. Do you like to fry foods. Instead of using flour use pancake flour or cake flour. Does a great job.
10.Add just a short squirt of lemon juice to your cold water when making rice. It will keep the rice fluffy.

              Part 2

More meaningless but useful pieces of information regarding cooking, the kitchen, weights and measures and of course manners.

If you have question concerning on any of the above subjects please feel free to comment and we will answer because we really are smart. 

 

1. If you scorch milk by accident, put the pan in cold water and add a pinch of salt. It will take away the burned taste.

2. When boiling milk, first stir in a pinch of baking soda. This will help keep the milk from curdling.

3. Tasty flavored whipped cream: First whip cream then add 2 tablespoons of flavored jello and continue beating on slow until the whipped cream is right consistency.

4. Leftover ham: Lay ham slices in a baking dish then cover with maple syrup. Refrigerate overnight then fry the ham in butter the next morning.

5. Add a slice of lemon to peeled sweet potatoes while cooking. The lemon will help them clear and free of discoloration.

6. Fill a large hole or sugar shaker with flour and use that when needing to dust surfaces with flour or just pour out a tablespoon, as you need it, this is handy way to keep a bit of flour on hand instead of digging in the flour bin.

7. Use pastry wheel to cut rolled cookie dough in squares or diamonds, much less rolling and very pretty.

8. Rinse measuring cup in hot water before using syrup, oil, etc. Will pour out clean and not stick to cup.

9. Canned fruit is much better if opened and removed from the can an hour or two before using to restore the oxygen.

10. A wire cheese cutter is ideal for cutting chilled refrigerator cookie dough.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013-2016 Yvonne  Oots

Welcome

Welcome to the home of Tilly the Tart.

For those of you who have mentioned to me or emailed me that I was one of a kind.  Well, y’all are wrong. I know it is hard to accept but it is true. Allow me the good manners that I have to introduce you to Tilly.
Tilly is British, she is from that paradise island situated in the North Atlantic called Great Britian. But enough, about geography I am going to sit back and allow her to do a little braggin’ about herself.
Tilly
I was born in Manchester (England) but only stayed three weeks – it rained too much … and I couldn’t understand the accent. Besides, which, my parents wanted ot move. I consider myself a child of the universe … hah … father in the Royal Air Force, so we moved every two years.  I thought that was normal.  When I met peers who had lived in the same home all their lives, I thought they were the ones out of whack. When we married, my Lord and Master (believe that, you’ll believe anything) told  everyone he had married a!”£$%^&&* gypsy because after 18-24 months in a home, I felt it was time to move. I have lived in England, Europe, the Middle East (loved it), spent time in Kenya and other parts of Africa.  A  Certified Bookaholic with  a warped sense of humour, I love café society, watching people, learning  new things, eating, drinking, and the company of anyone and almost everyone.

 

Sarah Line

Well, now that the holiday season is over with and I can get back down to business. Now y’all putting those decorations away, making sure that all those damn lights are properly tangled is not an easy task but I managed to pull it off for another year.  Bout the time I thought I could finally relax and have that much deserved glass of wine up pops Sarah Line.

Sarah is the proud mother of not one but two little monsters age 3 and 2 years of age. I have been assured by Sarah that they are both cute and really quite harmless.

Besides her family she loves to cook and bake and loves her kitchen so much people are beginning to think she lives in that room. She has admitted that she tries her best following recipes but does tend to go off on tangents.  Leaving ingredients out and of course adding new ones. Y’all just have to love those experimental cooks.

If running her own home and chasing monsters all day Sarah is a spare time Pampered Chef Consultant. What’s that you ask?  Why she goes to people’s homes and show them how to create fantastic recipes while their friends buy great quality goods. The host receives lots of freebies, which makes Sarah quite popular. If you are interested in buying products or hosting a show, do get in touch with her.

Now that her have a bit of insight into who she is enjoy the interview.

Olive

1. What is the earliest memory of your Mothers or Grandmothers kitchen?

My granny and granddad stayed in Somerset and had a huge kitchen that I loved.  The best part of the kitchen was their hatch they had.  I used to love sticking my head through and shouting ‘dinners ready!’  It was fantastic!

We used to always make scones they were the answer to everything.

2. Do you like to cook?

I love to cook, it is my favourite thing to do.  There is nothing better than going through a good cookbook or making up a recipe as you go along.  My favourite cookbook at the minute is the Hairy Dieters cookbook.  And I adore my Hummingbird Bakery cake book

3. If not why not?

n/a

4. What recipe of your mother or grandmother do you make that sends you back in time watching (whichever one) in the kitchen?

My granny used to always make us an amazing roast dinner, most of the time with Lamb, and it melted in your mouth, I am drooling just now thinking about it!  I have tried to make it and somehow it does not taste as good!

My dad told me that when I was small, I would eat peas, carrots the lot at granny’s, but never when we were back home.  And to get me to eat the peas he had to tell me that my granny had sent them up especially.

5. What is your favourite herb, spice, or both?

I use smoked paprika a lot, it adds depth to dishes and can be added into in any recipe without it adding to much heat.

6. If you could be a ghost in that kitchen and watch yourself as a small child, what would you tell that child today?

I would tell myself to eat more veg.  I used to sneak it to the dog under the table when my parents weren’t looking, so I could get a pudding!

I would also tell myself to be more open to trying to new foods.

7. Outside of your own country/county, which country’s cuisine do you like or prefer?

I am right into my Italian food at the moment.  Italians are full of passion and it shows in the food, with some of the huge flavours they have.  And Gino D’campo helps lol

8.  What is your families’ favourite dish?

You cannot beat a Sunday roast with all the trimmings.  We have roast chicken, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, peas, carrots, sweet corn and not forgetting the homemade stuffing. Mmmmm

9.  Would you mind sharing with my readers and quick and easy recipe that you make for your lil monsters?

One of our favourite meals just now is good old Mince and Tatties.  Dry fry some mince drain the fat and put mince to one side.  Fry 1 chopped onion with 1 chopped carrot, for 5 mins or so, add mince back in and give a good old stir.  Add in about 300ml beef stock, a squeeze of tomato puree and some mixed herbs.  Leave to simmer for 15-20 mins.  Meanwhile, boil your potatoes until they are good and soft.  Drain; add a lump of butter and a splash of milk.  My monsters like a bit of cheese in aswell, so we add in a handful of grated cheese.  Mash together using a fantastic Pampered Chef product called the Mix n Masher.  Mmmmm.

10.   I have a old fashion pantry, larder to you brits… Do you recommend people start one and what would be the most important thing in that larder

I do like the idea of a larder, we unfortunately don’t have one, maybe I can persuade Mr N to get one in our new kitchen that I am hoping he will agree to one day!  I would have all the spices and herbs you could imagine, along with all my baking products, flours, sugars etc, that would be the most important, the baking items!

11.  Of all the kitchen gadgets invented OLD and NEW which OLD and NEW are you favourite. (One old and one new)

My Old gadget would be my Kenwood chef; they have been around for years and are reliable.

My new gadget would be, I have lots, what to choose?? One of them would be my Pampered Chef stoneware.  The whole range! They cook my food amazing, leaving joints juicy and tender.

12.   If you could teach cooking to the high school level students today… what would be the most important and the least important thing to teach them?

The most important thing to teach them is how to cook using local, fresh produce, you cannot beat it.  And the least important, how to use a microwave, yuk! I do not like them

13.   Having agreed to this interview are you afraid that the men and women of your family members might look at you a little different?

Not at all, they all know, I love my cooking and baking, and would stay in there all day.

Thanks Sarah for stopping by. Oh, by the way, not having heard the word “MINCE” Sarah was polite enough to let me know that it is beef.

www.pamperedchef.biz/sarahline   Twitter: scrummymummy85    www.followmyline.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Yvonne  Oots

Welcome EJ Knapp

Now y’all I know after my last gripe slamming Yankees you kinda figured I would not have one in my kitchen sipping my coffee. Well, I sorta feel sorry for the boy and thought I would help him out some.

EJ Knapp is his name and is from Detroit, Michigan. Now you can’t get more Yankee than that.

Now he started out with a right nice life, but EJ took a turn somewhere that led him down the road to driftin’.

Hell, sittin’ in this kitchen listening to him tell the story of his life it’s a wonder the boy survived at all.

Why when in high school shop class he learned how assemble zip guns. Now, I am tellin’ ya, I am glad I did not go to his school. He admitted to me in great confidence that he even took to carrying a 10-inch switchblade, and a bike chain belt. Bless his heart I guess at that time gettin’ your bike a new chain was important to him.

After rumbling around drinkin’ beer and something to do with pettin’ someone real heavy EJ acquired a 1960 Chevy and hit the road. Doing the odd job to get cash EJ has worked as a bagger in a grocery store, a roofer, a forestry ranger trainee. Hell, y’all he even tried being a college student. I guess he quit that cuz he couldn’t find the bike he lost and just had the chain. He has been a Navy Squid; yes, he does have that many arms. Why else would our Navy take someone like him.  Some of the other odd jobs he has confessed to are a peer counselor in a street clinic, a drug dealer, an ice cream truck driver, an audio/visual technician, a professional photographer and the IT manager for a San Francisco law firm.

 Moving back to his home in Detroit he finally settled down and became a writer. Putting his life experiences to paper, he is the author of the novel Stealing The Marbles, released by Rebel ePublishers in 2010, and Meter Maids Eat Their Young, also published by Rebel ePublishers. He is the author of a book of short stories titled The Dance and Other Love Stories as well as the non-fiction book Secrets of the Golden Gate Bridge. I did ask him what else he was working on and y’all know what he said to me after I was kind enough to give him my coffee? He said, “None of my business, he can’t tell anyone.” Well I never, but I guess his Yankee roots drifted back into my kitchen.

EJ did give a nice interview and I must admit it gave me a chuckle.

Olive

1. Earliest memory of your Mothers or Grandmothers kitchen.

Well, I had no mother to speak of and my grandmother was an evil witch so most of my early memories are scary ones. I know now, of course, that the big black cast iron pot that sat on the stove was a dutch oven. At the time, though, I lived in constant fear of the worst parts of the Hansel and Gretel story. I do have one rather fond memory, probably fond because I was half asleep. Going down to the kitchen early in the morning while my dad was having breakfast and getting a very small amount of his coffee loaded with milk and sugar.

2. Do you like to cook?

I love to cook. I especially love baking. I do all the cooking all the time. I love to experiment. I’ve been doing a lot of gluten free, sugar free (stevia) baking lately. My cookies are killer!

3. If not why not? No Answer

 

 4. What recipe of your mother or grandmother do you make that sends you back in time watching (whichever one) in the kitchen?

Well, any time I witness someone cooking meat to the consistency and texture of hardwood flooring or boiling vegetables until they dissolve, I’m instantly transported back to my grandma’s kitchen. I was nearly an adult before I learned you didn’t need a hammer and chisel to cut a steak nor have to chew it until your jaw locked up.

5. What is your favorite herb or spice or both?

I seem to be on a cumin kick of late. Don’t know why. Been trying it in most everything, not always with success. It was coriander before that. I may be going through a middle eastern crisis here.

6. If you could be a ghost in that kitchen and watch yourself as a small child, what would you tell that child today?

Run, would be the first thing that came to mind. Meat can be tender, vegetables crisp, mashed potatoes don’t have to be lumpy. He might like to know that, a little something to look forward to.

7. Outside of your own country/county, which country’s cuisine do you like or prefer?

I love Greek food, and middle eastern dishes. Cook both quite often. I keep telling myself I’m going to start cooking more Indian food. I absolutely love Indian food but have never really attempted cooking it myself.

8.  What is your families favorite dish?

Well, back when I actually had a family, I suppose it was my Italian dishes. I used to be real big on Italian. There was one dish everyone loved. I’d cook up a batch of spaghetti, sauce from scratch, mix it all together and let it sit overnight. Then, into a large casserole dish, top it with about an inch of sharp cheddar and into the oven for a half hour/45 minutes. Today, my favorite dish is falafel I make from scratch.

Love that stuff.

9. Since you taught yourself to cook – Of all  the kitchen gadgets invented OLD and NEW which OLD and NEW are you favorite?(One old and one new)

Old would have to be the whisk. I have several different kinds and use them all the time. As for new, would a mixer be considered new? As I bake a lot, I couldn’t make half of what I make without a good, high-speed mixer.

10. I have a old fashion pantry.. (larder to you brits)… Do you recommend people start one and what would be the most important thing in that larder..

I don’t really have room for a pantry but if I did, I would keep various kinds of flour and spices in it. I enjoy making things from scratch which requires a lot of different mixes.

11. If you could teach cooking to the high school level students today… what would be the most important and the least important thing to teach them.

Most important would be regulation of heat. Not everything needs to be cooked on high, especially meat, a common error with inexperienced cooks. Least important is following the recipe exactly. A recipe is a guideline. I tend to follow one pretty closely the first time and then start experimenting with it.

 

 

 

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Yvonne  Oots

Carolyn Burns Bass

I have had many talented people visit me here in my kitchen.  Creative in their endeavours as writers, but never one that admits to having kissed a frog in 1967. Y’all know I would not joke about such things but Carolyn Burns Bass admits to doing such a thing, let’s just hope Peta doesn’t find out.  If that is not enough, she told me in the strictest of confidence, that her daddy was a sword swallower and her momma was a repentant chanteuse.  She admitted, admitted y’all that her momma could sing right nice and pretty but her belief had no ambition and lacking in confidence.

All this might explain why she felt she had to wonder the Earth. Travelling to Yorkshire to walk the moors,  bicycling around the rice paddies of Japan, riding elephants in Thailand and worst of all she stalked Kangaroos in Australia. 

Now don’t get me wrong, Carolyn has her talents.  Over the years, she has been assistant editor of a national music magazine (CCM), written magazine cover features, personality profiles, music reviews and food features. She has had her short fiction published in MetroMoms Fiction, The Rose & Thorn (Spring, 2007) and Breath & Shadow (October 2007). She is an active member of the Backspace writing community, where many of her short stories have placed within the top 3 in the Backspace Short Story Contests not to mention her personal blog Ovations 

Trying my Southern best to be polite to a fellow food blogger, and that’s not easy y’all let’s get on with the interview.

1. Earliest memory of your Mothers or Grandmothers kitchen.

As a child, my family moved to a new rental place about every year until I was seven years old. With each move went my mother’s huge white stove, the double-door refrigerator, and the lime green Formica table and the slick vinyl chairs that made our legs sweat during the hot Southern California summers. My mom cooked with heavy cast iron skillets and Revere Ware pots, some of which she handed down to me and which I still use. My fondest memory of my mother’s kitchen was the old Autumn Leaf dishware she collected from yard sales and second-hand stores. I thought the Autumn Leaf dishware was the ugliest stuff ever made. My mother collected it because it was what her mother had used when she was a child on the farm in Iowa. Funny, I still think the Autumn Leaf dishware is hideous, but whenever I see a piece at an antique store, I fight with my inner child not to buy it. I inherited my grandmother’s teapot and a few other items and proudly display them in my dining room.

2. Do you like to cook?

When I have the time and inclination, I enjoy cooking. The preparation is not as important to me as the product. Since the process is important to certain recipes, I’ve learned to be patient with all of the steps necessary for great food preparation. I come from a long line of creative and inventive cooks. My grandmother took a job in a diner when she was a very young girl after her father died in the Spanish flu epidemic of 1917. During the depression, she cooked huge meals for farm hands and her growing family. When she scandalized the family by divorcing my grandfather in the early 1950s, she moved to California and found a job doing the only thing she knew to do: cook. My mother learned to cook good, old-fashioned comfort food from my grandmother and augmented her skills from reading recipes and watching early cooking shows such as Julia Child and The Galloping Gourmet. When she and my father divorced when I was seven, she also got a job doing what she did best: cook. Among my earliest kitchen memories are my mother calling me into the kitchen to do the odious things a cook must master before attempting to create a meal. I resented these prep tasks for pulling me away from whatever book I was reading at the time, or if I had no book underway, from the Gilligan’s Island reruns my younger sister watched every day. A wonderful thing happened while I was peeling potatoes or grating cheese, however. A magical thing really. Something neither my mother nor I expected. Without realizing it, I soaked up what my mother was doing to the food. Years later, when I began cooking for my future husband, the memories of which spices she used and in what combination, how she browned the meats, thickened the gravies, seasoned the vegetables, and roasted the beef flooded back as if by instinct.

3. If not why not?

While my children were young and I cooked a full meat, vegetable and potato/pasta dinner six nights a week, I wearied of cooking. The repetition of cooking the same meals for picky appetites every week became tiresome and I went through a phase of telling my kids that we were having “rocks and dirt” when they asked what we were having for dinner.

4. What recipe of your mother or grandmother do you make that sends you back in time watching (whichever one) in the kitchen?

I enjoy making all of our traditional Thanksgiving foodstuffs as I’d seen my grandmother and my mother prepare for years and years. My grandmother and mother are both gone now, but when I’m cooking Thanksgiving (and Christmas) meals, I feel their presence with me in the kitchen. I begin with the turkey, which I always brine, then bake unstuffed in a cooking bag. I make corn bread stuffing with pecans and cranberries in half of the dish (some family members don’t like the fruit and nuts), family favorite of green bean casserole (the kind with the fried onions on top), candied yams with browned mini-marshmallows, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, corn pudding, and a garlic-onion bread ring we call “Robbie Rolls” after my sister who introduced the recipe. Then, of course, there are the pies. Always two pumpkin and one pecan—with real whipped cream. I wrote about my grandmother making the Thanksgiving turkey in the first draft of my yet-to-be-published novel, The Sword Swallower’s Daughter, in a scene that has since been cut from the manuscript. The scene appears in my blog:Ovations

 5. What is your favourite herb or spice or both.

My single favourite herb is garlic. I use it frequently and abundantly. My favourite combination of seasonings I’ve dubbed, the Italian Trinity: garlic, olive oil and basil. This combination is the basis for all of my favourite Italian foods.

 6. If you could be a ghost in that kitchen and watch yourself as a small child, what would you tell that child today?

My mother had a hard life. I wish I could tell the child summoned to the kitchen what a privilege it is to help her mother prepare the family’s daily nourishment. I’d tell that child that one day she will look back at those times as blessed moments of mother-daughter companionship, that one day she will cherish the time spent with her mother in the kitchen and wish with all her heart that her mother was still here to share in the joy of cooking.

 7. Outside of your own country/county, which country’s cuisine do you like or prefer.

I am a huge fan of Mexican food and can make a good, hot salsa. Born and raised in Southern California, we had many friends who shared their regional specialties, and there are outstanding Mexican restaurants everywhere. My biggest challenge since moving to North Carolina a year ago is finding good Mexican food and food products. We stumbled into a fantastic place outside of Chapel Hill called La Fiesta. The owners are originally from Tijuana, but grew up in San Diego. Everything they prepare is authentic and delicioso—like a taste of home.

 8.  What is your families favourite dish.

My family is divided on what their favourite dish from my kitchen would be. Ask my husband, and he would probably tell you a good pot roast with gravy and roast vegetables. He’s a meat and potatoes kind of guy. A meal my whole family always loves is the Japanese feasts we have several times a year. I came to enjoy Japanese food of all kinds while living there for three years when my husband was in the Marine Corps. We had a favourite restaurant called Sanzoku, which the Americans barbarously called the Chicken Shack. Their grilled teriyaki chicken was crispy outside and moist inside, seasoned with a thin salty-sweet sauce. I’ve recreated their teriyaki sauce as best as I can, and my husband does a good grilling of the chicken. To this, I also make musubi à la Sanzoku (large rice balls stuffed with pickled plum, smoked salmon, stewed seaweed, wrapped with seaweed); rolled sushi with tuna, salmon and other veggies; udon noodles in fish broth, and chicken or pork gyoza (Japanese version of potstickers). We eat the feast with chopsticks in the Japanese dishes I bought while in Japan.

9. Since you like to cook, do you have a old fashion pantry, larder to you Brits… Do you recommend people start one and what would be the most important thing in that larder?

My mother had a well-stocked larder which consisted of a wide variety of canned goods and baking ingredients. I’ve tried to maintain the same, although I prefer using fresh vegetables rather than the canned varieties. I can’t imagine a functional home without a well-stocked pantry that contains flour, sugar, salt, olive oil, butter, garlic, onions, potatoes, pasta (pick your favorite), tomato sauce/paste/puree, and wine. Yes. Wine. Inexpensive bottles of both white and red for cooking. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something that my mother and grandmother would have had in their pantries, but oh well. It’s only eight miles to the nearest supermarket.

 10. Of all the kitchen gadgets invented OLD and NEW which OLD and NEW are you favorite? (One old and one new)

Other than a good sharp knife, I couldn’t do without my cast iron skillets handed down from my mother. The new gadgets are hard to select a favourite among. I love the electronic rice cooker I bought in Japan more than 20 years ago that is still going strong. I would not have survived the rocks and dirt days of cooking every day for fussy children without my Crockpot. My automatic bread machine is the family favourite, hands down, and I really enjoy experimenting with breads. My Rabbit-style corkscrew is the smartest thing to happen to wine since corks. So there. Asking me to pick one is like asking a mother to pick her favourite child.

 11. Having wondered the Planet what is the strangest food that you have eaten?

We were served some squiggly eel (unagi) concoction in Japan that I don’t remember the name of, so it doesn’t count. It was slimy, smelly and just plain gross. My husband, who can eat just about anything, couldn’t stomach whatever it was.

At a dinner with colleagues in Queretaro, Mexico, I enjoyed a delicious appetizer of small fried tostadas, with beans, lettuce, guacamole, cheese and bacon bits. Except they weren’t bacon bits. My colleague sitting next to me inquired if I liked the tostadas. I nodded enthusiastically, and took another bite to show my approval. He said, “Oh

good. This dish is from my home state of Oaxaca. The chapulines really give the tostadas their distinctive flavor.”

            “Chapulines?” I ask.

            “The brown crunchy things,” he replies.

            “Oh, yes. They’re really smoky and good,” I say, taking another bite.

            “So you’ve had them before?” He gives me a quizzical look.

            “Oh, yes. I put them in salads and on baked potatoes.”

            “Chapulines? You use them in the States?” At this point he looks across me at the man sitting on my other side.

            My friend on the right, who is widely traveled in the US, looks to me and says, “I believe you’re thinking of bacon bits.”

            “And these aren’t bacon bits?” I say, taking another tostada.

            “No.” He and the other man exchange wry smiles.

            “They’re deep fried grasshoppers,” says the Oaxaca man. “Chapulines.”

They really were delicious.

I’ve also had veal pancreas. Of course, it’s not called pancreas on the menu. It’s sweetbreads. This dish was served at a chef’s table dinner at the superb five-star/five-diamond Addison restaurant at the Grand Del Mar Hotel in San Diego. The sweetbreads were gently sautéed and topped with a white wine reduction. So tender were the sweetbreads, they literally melted in your mouth.

Thank you Carolyn, as polite as you were for your Southern California roots, Olives Gripes is proud to help your lil ole food blog along.

Olive

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Yvonne  Oots

Interview with Maureen Ogle

I would like to introduce to y’all my good friend Maureen Ogle. She pops in once in awhile to chat and have a glass of wine. This time I told her that she gets no wine until she agreed to an interview. Before we get to the fun stuff, allow me to tell you a little about her.

Maureen is an accomplished non-fiction writer. Having written books on Key West, Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer, and her third book, Meat: An American History, assuming no major disasters – that it will come out in 2013.

Maureen is a one-woman operation doing her own research and writing. Know her she prefers it that way.

She has contributed to Fox Business Network, and written opinion pieces for the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. Maureen has also appeared in a number of documentaries, including “Modern Marvels: Plumbing” (History Channel); “Ultimate Factories: Budweiser” (National Geographic Channel); “The American Brew” (Florentine Films); “American Originals: Budweiser” (CNBC); and “Beer Wars” (Ducks In A Row Productions).

As busy, as she is Maureen has time to cook and share her thoughts and memories of her childhood.

Don’t believe me well just read for yourself.

 1. Earliest memory of your Mothers or Grandmothers kitchen.

Hmmm. Gravy. Watching my grandmother make gravy. She’d put milk and flour in a small glass jar (one she kept for that purpose) and shake it and then add to the pan. YUM.

2. Do you like to cook?

Love it. Do it every day. We rarely go out to eat.

3. If not why not? N/A

4. What recipe of your mother or grandmother do you make that sends you back in time watching (whichever one) in the kitchen?

Three things: Gravy (see above!). Fried chicken (although mine has NEVER tasted as good as my grandmother’s. And cinnamon rolls (made with potato dough). I’ve eaten those rolls at Christmas for more than fifty years.

5. What is your favorite herb, spice, or both?

Hmmm, again. But probably cumin (whole, not powdered) for the spice, and parsley (believe it or not) for ht herb.

 6. If you could be a ghost in that kitchen and watch yourself as a small child, what would you tell that child today?

Pay CLOSE ATTENTION when she’s making the gravy — and be kind to yourself.

7. Outside of your own country/county, which country’s cuisine do you like or prefer.

Hmmm, again. Honestly, there’s not much I don’t like. But when I cook, I often seem to end up making foods in an Italian vein. But lately I’ve been on an Asian kick.

8. What is your families favorite dish.

Oh, lord. Depends on who you ask. My husband would say “Whatever she’s cooking tonight.” The kids (all of the grown) would probably dither among cinnamon rolls, chicken potpie, and nachos. It’s all good, right? As long as you remember to add the love, it’s all good!

9. Since you like to cook, do you have a old fashion pantry, larder to you Brits… Do you recommend people start one and what would be the most important thing in that larder?

Pantry. Would that be the staples? If so, olive oil, good salt, canned beans, pasta. If you’ve got those, you’ve got a meal.

10. Of all the kitchen gadgets invented OLD and NEW which OLD and NEW are you favourite. (One old and one new)

Hmmm. I’m not big on gadgets. Old or new! I do love my lemon zester and my tomato knife, although I’m not sure that’s a gadget. I have a heavy-duty Kitchen Aid stand mixer that I bought about 12 years ago, and I’ve got to admit that I’d hate to give it up. I also have a hand-crank sifter that belonged to my grandmother and I love it when making cakes (which I do often; love making and eating cake). So that’s old and new. I think…

11. I noticed that you state on your site that you are interested in Alien sightings. Why do you think they are coming to this planet and do you think it has to do with stealing our recipes? If so what food do you think they would like when they land?

Boy, if they DO come to this planet, I’m first in line to go aboard. So get outta my way! I don’t think they’ll want to steal my recipes, but I’m happy to share them in exchange for a ride on their ship.

12. While the world awaits your next book on meat, just what is your favorite meat? Ya, know Steak, Chicken, Fish, so y’all get your minds out of the gutter.

Do I have a favorite meat? I don’t eat very much meat, so I don’t think I’ve got a favorite. BUT: I do love fish (not shellfish; the kind with fins). But my husband hates it, so I only eat fish when we go out to eat. But we rarely do that, so fish feels like a Special Food to me. When I’m eating that, I know it’s a special occasion.

Maureen thank you for the interview, now let’s enjoy a quiet glass of wine.

Thanks for having me.

You can find Maureen on facebook and twitter.

Olive