Sunday, 24 July 2011

Sausage-rolls, rocking my freezer (and my belly)

Sausage-rolls are one of the few things I buy (rather than make) pastry for. I can make flakey enough pastry for pies, but sausage-rolls require a kind of flakiness I am not at all confident in being able to produce. So I turn to Borgs. Sausage-rolls are definitely a make-in-bulk and freeze food that I don't make often enough. That said, I tend to rely on them too much when I do have them, so maybe I make them just often enough.
I like to make them in winter because my 'secret' ingredient to make them taste amazing is chestnuts, however maybe the season is over because my supermarket didn't have any. The base of my sausage-roll mix is generally cooked soybeans, so I just threw a handful of almonds in with these to add a bit of nuttiness. Although nothing can replace the wintery, roasty goodness of chestnuts.

Sometimes I find the filling is too loose and not sausagey enough, so this time I have tried to make it a gooyer, more cohesive mixture, adding some cornmeal and gluten flour to bind the mixture and give it a more cooked, solid feeling. I typed this up while they were cooking, unsure if this would hold true or not. It did, to a degree. I would like to get a slightly chewier feel but I am reluctant change my recipe too much from the base of beans and cooked, processed carrot, onion, mushroom mixture. A solution might be to precook the filling into sausagey shapes first, although this might just make it a more time-consuming process, and I find them quite satisfying already.
I only partially cook most of them for the freezer, to the point just before the pastry browns. But these ones I cooked right through for my very delayed lunch.

I tried to get a photo that would show the filling on the inside, but it kind of all just blends in.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Missing Page from Vicroads' "how to drive" book

I'm thinking of adding a counter on the side over there, to keep track of how many times I nearly get killed by someone turning into a side-street without checking for or bothering to give way to pedestrian traffic.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Other Type of Muffin

I really, really like English breakfast muffins. I don't buy them that often though as I tend to place them in the luxury/occasional compartment of my diet. I've been trying for a long time to reduce the amount of packeted/pre-made things I buy. Lately the right (well, right for this purpose) balance of time and finances has encouraged me to try a little bit harder. So, today I decided to attempt to bake my own muffins. I did a quick google for recipes, but nothing grabbed me as being important or amazing enough to follow so I really just made it up.
I prepared the dough as though I were baking regular bread only I substituted most of the water for soy milk and added a splash of olive oil because I wanted a slightly softer, lighter result than how my bread normally is. I used half/half white and wholemeal flour and left out the gluten flour I normally add to most bread-type products.
After letting the dough rise once, I rolled it out and cut out circles. I let these rise for another hour or so before baking them. Unfortunately they used some of their rising energy to go out instead of just up, although since I gave them no barriers to prevent this, it was to be expected. I probably let them crisp a little too much, meaning that it will not be optimal to toast them as I normally do with the bought ones. Overall though, I am really pleased with them, and happy to have more muffins, with fewer ingredients, for much less cash dollars than when I buy them.

Fresh from the oven, I spread cornmeal on the tray, that's what they're dusted with.
At first i thought they were a bit too thin, but they really are not too bad.
With peanutbutter, the inside was soft, warm and perfect.

They did turn out quite circular.

Friday, 15 July 2011

I Can't Hear You!

When I walk, I like to wear headphones. This includes walking to the train station, the supermarket, the pub, and - most of all - walking my dog. I also like to wear headphones on public transport, whilst working and at the shops or other public areas. I don't wear in-ear headphones because I find them intensely painful. I experimented with the type that sort of clip over your ears, but I found they didn't sit close enough to my ears unless I wore a tight beanie over them. So, I wear large, over-the-head, closed headphones. On cold mornings I often wear them over a skinny hood or beanie. For anyone who is not visually impaired, there is no way you can miss the fact that I am wearing headphones. You probably can't actually hear that I'm listening to anything as they're a closed design and I'm also not trying to rupture my eardrums.
Now, if I'm outside sweeping my trees, watering my footpath or checking my mail and I see someone walking along, their ears well insulated and covered by not only some kind of warming head-wear but also big-arse headphones, I would assume that there would be little point in verbally addressing this person. Apparently many people do not make this assumption. I am always astounded by how often I'll be walking my dog and some (usually older, but not always) person will just start talking to me. To be clear, I rarely have a problem with someone "interrupting" my listening activity by providing a visual cue (waving etc) that they wish to make verbal contact, this is an acceptable way to communicate with someone wearing headphones. But when people just start talking as though I can magically hear them, it is only sheer politeness that stops me from yelling "I CAN'T HEAR YOU, you fucking, unobservant idiot!"
To all the old people who attempt to engage me in some nonsensical conversation: Most of the time I am more than happy to spend five minutes talking to you about your neighbours I've never met or some sports team I've never heard of. If, however,  I've missed the first minute of your rambling because it took me that long to realise you were talking to me, the whole thing just makes even less sense and I will just smile, nod, say good morning and be on my way. So, no headphones: talk away. Headphones on: please just wave, because I CAN'T HEAR YOU!
To the couples buying coffee and thinking my dog is cute: just smile at him, give him a pat even - he'll enjoy it, but leave me the fuck out of it, because I CAN'T HEAR YOU!
To the crazy people, the slow, meandering, aisle-blocking, purse-dropping dipshits in the supermarket: It's because of you I wear headphones in the supermarket, I don't need to hear your stupid apologies for nearly running me over with your trolley and I don't care to educate you as to what that vegetable is, just get the fuck out of my way and observe that I CAN'T HEAR YOU!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Smashing (heads or potatoes) and Grilling (people or capsicums)

 The intention of this blog is to provide for myself, a public outlet for two of my most loved indulgences - gratuitous pictures and descriptions of food; and hating on everything and everyone.
An odd combination, perhaps, but popular culture has taught me that people who care about food are - perhaps even by law - jerks. Whilst actually considering myself to be quite a nice person, I do like to rant, rave, hate and heckle in a jerkish manner. I also really like to cook and to make other people cry because they don't have my awesome dinner. Thus, a blog about food and hate.
It has been suggested that I could create two blogs - one about food and one for ranting. But I happen to think that hating and cooking can go quite well together. The two things can actually come together to create an exciting narrative - often I have to leave my house in order to buy ingredients, which of course leads to observations of and interactions with other people, which tends to remind me of how much they piss me off.
Like this evening, I walked home from the shop, thinking about how people on motorbikes generally make me angry, then I got home, listened to a song that hates on motorbikes, opened a beer, and made some pasta. All in all, quite a pleasant evening. 

This is my pasta machine, it is really shiny. Tonight I had an unexpected and impromptu dinner guest - my Mum - who actually gave me this pasta machine, so it was nice to finally serve her some pasta from it. I forgot to take a photo of the final product, but I have leftovers so I will do that tomorrow.