• Home Made
Ruth

Ruth

Thursday, 28 May 2020 12:01

Arriba Fajita!

I've been cooking on my tiny little barbecue in my tiny little back yard while I wait to move house. All my belongings are in storage. I have one frying pan, a handful of cooking tools and the smallest fridge you have ever seen, with a bloody stupid shelf at the bottom, where all the salad stuff has to be stored underneath meaning I have to move everything, everyday to get at a friggin' leaf of lettuce. I realise how spoilt I've been in the past in my beautiful kitchen BUT it hasn't stopped me! My local farm shop butchery has been providing me with the best ever flank steak and at about £7 a slab it's an economical steak meal for the three of us here in lockdown. So I've been making fajita's because my friend Nic Miller (follow her on Twitter @nicmillerstale or Insta @millerstale) shared her recipe for wheat tortillas and I wanted to make them. Mine came out square, I'm blaming the lack of a rolling pin. You'll find the recipe and instruction for my fajita seasoned flank steak here. Flank steak is often seen on a menu described as a bavette steak. This is not the cut to use if you don't 'do' rare. The flank has long muscle fibres and can be tough if overcooked, it's also very lean and best sliced thinly across the grain for optimum tenderness. Cook it on a very high heat for 2 or 3 minutes a side and then cover with foil and rest for 10 mins. I generally put mine in the oven after it has been turned off, so no heat, just warm surroundings. Slice and serve rolled in the tortilla with fried onions, peppers, tomato salsa, guacomole, grated cheese, sour cream and slobber your way through.

Sunday, 24 May 2020 15:55

Elderflower season

Now's the time to make your delicious fragrant Elderflower Cordial, capturing the taste of summer. You must pick the elderflowers on a dry, warm and sunny day, when the flower heads are fully open.  They must be perfect, with no trace of brown blossoms or squatters. Do not wash them so make sure that you pick them from an area where they are unikely to have been contaminated by wildlife or passing vehicles.The cordial will keep for several weeks in a cool pantry, several months in the fridge or alternatively freeze in plastic containers and it will keep for a year. Citric acid is available from chemists and DIY wine making suppliers, also worth looking in Middle Eastern shops.

 

Tuesday, 14 April 2020 19:50

Yeast

There's a baking frenzy at the moment and many people are making their own sourdough bread. I'm a fan of traditional yeasted breads and always use fresh yeast for my bread. I generally pick some up from the bakery department at the supermarket (just ask, they'll always give you a piece.)  Lot's of people have been asking me about the different types of yeast available; how to know what and how much to use in recipes. There are three main types but you bet your life that you will have a different type than specified in the recipe

Fresh yeast which must be kept chilled, will store for a couple of weeks in the fridge and also freezes nicely. Fresh yeast needs to be activated in liquid with a little sugar in order to start the fermentation. If a recipe asks for active dried yeast and you only have fresh yeast then you must double the quantity. See below.

Active dried yeast is a dried form of fresh yeast and will also need activating in the same way as fresh yeast. Active dried yeast does not need to be refrigerated.

Instant or Quick dried yeast can be added directly to the dry ingredients in a recipe and does not need activating. It is best to check the manufacturers instructions if using this.

Amount to use - 20g of fresh yeast = 10g of active dried = 5g of instant dried.                       

1 tsp of Active dried yeast is 3.5g.

 

Monday, 18 May 2020 19:06

#Focacciaart

Bored and enjoy baking bread? Try your hand at Focaccia Art. #focacciaart

Friday, 15 May 2020 15:35

BBQ Beef Rub for the weekend

It's going to be hot this weekend so prepare for some al fresco fire cooking. Make yourselves a jar of dry rub ready for your beef. Spice blends, or dry rubs are rubbed into meat before cooking. Some say that salt should not be included in a rub as meat should be dry brined by rubbing in salt a day in advance, in order for the salt to penetrate the meat. The spices in a rub do not tend to penetrate the meat but will help form the delicious spicy crust (or bark). However as we are all so short of time in our busy lives, I make an all in one rub, mixing the salt into the rub and leaving it on the meat overnight in the fridge. Sugar is a matter of taste and needed to help caramelise the crust. I use just a little on beef. Experiment with your own spice blends and store in an airtight jar. Use on a whole joint of rib eye or sirloin for a real treat.

Sunday, 03 May 2015 14:09

Blue Cheese Ranch Dip or Dressing

Here's a recipe for for our deliciously creamy ranch dip which is the perfect accompaniment to our southern fried chicken or for spooning onto a barbecued beef steak. It's good to serve as a dip with celery sticks, carrot batons and cucumber too. It's quick and easy to make and doesn't require exact measurements if you're in a hurry.  Use any soft and creamy blue cheese for the dip with a more crumbly cheese to fold in for texture. You can thin it with a little milk if you fancy using it to dress a salad.

Tuesday, 05 May 2020 11:42

Cooking up a storm

The effects of lockdown have torn through the food industry like a tornado. Food businesses forced to close, with many restaurants staying open for takeaway and every day another business re-opening to dip it's toe into the online-delivery-takeaway market. Suppliers normally serving the trade have had to diversify and react swiftly, some offering online orders and deliveries to the public. Pubs have become community shops. Corner shops have kept us supplied with the store cupboard basics. Store cupboards have determined the dishes we can cook to nourish ourselves and our families. While chefs live stream cookery demo's from their kitchens, the niche social media experts have had to guard their territory as the stay at home population bombard us with their own sourdough, banana bread and brownie recipes. Farm shops providing deliveries, micro breweries and wineries setting up drive thru's there never has been a more challenging time to source food. The crisis has provided an opportunity to drive innovation and now is the time for us to support the independent producers who are working so hard to stay afloat. However, it's also the time for the service industries to keep in touch with their clientele, monitor consumer behaviour and continue to innovate, so that when the race back to reality begins, they're revved up and in pole position. Here's a photo gallery of some of East Anglia's innovative businesses and suppliers that I have used and that are providing top quality service and produce . You'll find plenty more if you check the many social media streams regularly. For Bury St Edmunds folk David Stapleton has created a simple and free web app directory of businesses open.

Thursday, 30 April 2020 11:41

I am the Egg Man

Seen in Elmswell, the egg delivery man precariously balancing his eggs on the back of his moped.

Friday, 13 March 2020 17:37

My Apocalypse COVID-19 Pantry

Oh let's stock up on toilet rolls, ibuprofen, hand sanitiser and pasta shall we? Mrs Madumbi, my favourite sister-in-law (yes I can have a favourite) would no doubt have amadumbe's and mulberry gin in her Zimbabwean pantry. I'm having Lindt Lindor chocolates and Cavalier rum in mine. The UK is not going to run out of food so COVID-19 panic buyers, stop punching each other in the toilet roll isle and consider giving a couple of your stockpiled cans to your local food bank.

Right now, in what was once the breadbasket of Africa, is a country with an annual inflation rate of over 300%, where the staples of mealie meal and cooking oil are becoming unaffordable by most. No chance of panic buying or stockpiling in Zimbabwe, in fact alarmingly the country is facing a hunger crisis. A subject which I know has made my Zim based family discuss their apocalypse pantry seriously. If we faced an overwhelming cataclysm here in the UK then my survival pantry would have to include all of the following. Brown and white rice (brown to sustain although white rice stores for much longer), noodles (quick to cook and use less water), pulses and dried beans (to cook or sprout, high in protein), cornmeal and Masa harina (flour made with finely ground maize, already dried and cooked it reconstitutes quickly), canned meat such as Spam (calorific, fatty and high in protein, requires no cooking), canned veg (sweetcorn is high in calories and tinned tomatoes high in Vitamin C), stock cubes and dried herbs (for flavour and seasoning), honey (eternal shelf life and great healing properties too), dried fruits (protein, fibre, Vitamin C and one of your five a day), nuts and seeds (nut butters store well and can be eaten out of the jar), cocoa powder (improves brain function), ghee (basically butter, but sold in tins; has a long shelf life), milk powder to add to tea and coffee (required to keep sanity), and a whole Parmesan cheese to nibble on.

Sunday, 09 February 2020 13:40

A full English breakfast

All packed up and ready to leave for the airport and the flight cancellation crash lands into the inbox. So instead of staring miserably at the packed suitcases Mr SuffolkFoodie and I decided that a full English breakfast (£7.25 each) was the answer. Luckily the very well run cafe at Hillcrest Nursery is open on a Sunday and serves breakfast from 9am. Half English is also available.

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