A day in the kitchen

Mr L is out in the garden again. Yesterday he finished the tidying job that we started a couple of weeks ago and today he is out with the power washer, cleaning concrete. I did offer to help. No, I did, really I did. I was rejected and dispatched to the kitchen, where I am doing something that I have not done in years – I am making Rough Puff Pastry. I considered going the whole hog and making Flaky but I have to confess that, for a hot pie, I prefer rough puff. I am doing a large batch ( 2 packs of butter) and freezing some down for later.

I gave up doing my own years ago when I determined that Jus Roll was just as good and freed up my time and effort for other things. Times have changed however and Jus Roll is no longer made with butter. Frankly, the last time that I used some we found that it tasted pretty disgusting. So I am returning to the baking enthusiasm of my youth and going all Domestic Goddess. I’m having fun.

Why the pastry? Yes, I know, the hips won’t take it – I do try not to eat pastry these days but…

When I was in town on Friday I bought a beautiful piece of naturally Smoked Cod. I also purchased a tray of asparagus tips and tenderstem broccoli. That combination screams “pie” at me. Except taht I am planning a non-pie. I’m going all chef-fy and making a deconstructed pie.  The fish is so nice that I don’t want to run any risk  of over-cooking it; I shall cook it as a piece. The veg shall be lightly steamed and combined with a cheese sauce, Caerphilly seasoned (aha – see what I did there?) and that will dress the fish. There may be some leek involved too. Then I shall apply a pastry “lid”.


We have pudding too. I have some beautiful Scottish raspberries and, just for once, found some fresh double cream on the island. It was even in code still! I am going to do a dish inspired by the traditional Cranachan, but I plan to replace the whisky with some of Gill’s Raspberry Brandy. I shall probably introduce a couple of other tweaks too, but will retain the oatmeal. I am considering caramelising  instead of simply toasting the oatmeal, and I’ll probably introduce a few flaked almonds into the mix.

I spent some time with my new Paul Hollywood Bread book last night. Tomorrow I hope to make the Maneesh with Baba Ganoush. I love Baba Ganoush. Should I make Hummus too? I wish I had remembered to buy Feta on Friday, that would have gone well in an accompanying salad.

I need to make comment about the new pasta maker adventures. I’ll save that for another time – for now I’ll just say that things are not going well. We tried the spaghetti last night and were massively underwhelmed. The sauce (for meatballs) however was a huge success. I roasted peppers, vine tomatoes, red onions and garlic in the oven then blitzed it all up with the deglazed pan juices. A little Balsamic vinegar, oregano and some chilli finished it off nicely.

What else? Oh, yes, we finally installed the new counter tops for the island from Cut My Plastic,  they fit perfectly and smell really good for some reason. Also my Lakeland order was delivered yesterday. In it was a £50 voucher  for Naked Wines – so we’re giving them a whirl to see what we think. It’s hardly free wine, delivery to Orkney being what it is, but it’s certainly cheap wine.I had treated myself to a pastry tool (what do you call them… pastry blade?) and it came in jolly handy this morning. In all my years of baking (which is, I am afraid, more than 50) I have never owned one of these gadgets. In fact, I cannot ever recall using one before.  I may possibly be a convert – much depends on finding the correct bowl/blade combo in my kitchen. I have a notion that it will work best with a proper old-fashioned Mason Cash type bowl, and I do not have one of those. They bring back such happy memories of Home Ec, and its predecessor Domestic Science (remember that?) rooms at school. I shudder to think hoe many chipped and cracked ceramic mixing bowls I have discarded over the years in favour of nicely hygienic heavy gauge stainless steel. It’s not the same is it? Especially when mixing your Yorkshire Puds…


I may just have to treat myself in the near future.

Also in my Lakeland order were some of those very good green bags. I spent ages yesterday morning in re-packing all the salad and veg that I had brought back from town on Friday. Worth doing though, as they will all stay in much better condition – and for ages and ages.  The fridge smells horrendous, by the way. I have two saucisson in there and half of a fabulous goats’ cheese. I shudder to think what it is doing to my carefully-worked rough puff!

This is all very disjointed, isn’t it? I’m sorry. It’s just one of those days/weeks. I have tomorrow on my mind – when Future Learn starts. My table is full of loom and I know that I have nowhere to sit and work and it is bothering me. I dare not interrupt the boss at work and ask him for a hand to shift it though.

Right, it’s time to roll and fold again – I’m off.


  1. SpinningGill
    October 13, 2013

    Shearer’s sell the mixing bowls. 🙂

    • October 13, 2013

      Yes, I know. And now that they are fashionable they cost tons more than they used to do when we got them from Woollies or the market

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