Aug 20, 2013

just another walk, guest post by the dog

hi, it's the dog. bossy woman has been coming and going a lot, but she took me for a walk the other evening. i hear she's been busy, again. i still don't know what busy means. this is me sniffing in the barley field. i can smell those tiny rodents are somewhere close... 

this is a wheat field.

this is my favorite hobby, the grass feels so good on my back.

one moment i could see that bossy woman wasn't paying attention so i charged into the ditch. the water was nice an cool. she didn't like, said i will smell bad. hmpr.

this is another wheat field. they bought a new flexi-leash for me, now i can venture wider.

this big thing makes bad noises sometimes. this time it sat all quiet.

bossy woman was telling me that those machines are ok and not be afraid of them. i am not, i just think that it's wise to be alert when that kind of things are concerned. they do make big noise.

i think the farmer man has still a lot to do.

i want to go there but they never let me. there are some interesting smells coming from there.

those two are nacho and his brother who i haven't officially met. when nacho was younger he used to find his way out of the yard and then follow us on the road. bossy woman had to go backwards so that nacho would follow us to his home and his people pick him up. i think we could have such fun with nacho. the brother could come too, if he wanted.

i bet you can't see me now.

when we are at this point i know it's not far from home.

the stubble of the cut grasses feels good on my back too...

wait....there is something interesting...

i bet you can't see them but i could certainly smell them. there are 3 brown 4-legged fast ones on the right side of the upper field. them buggers sometimes come to the yard and eat bossy woman's veggies. not that i have any idea why they would do such a thing.

this is me eating my usual dinner, kibble and buttermilk. the other evening i got a juicy piece of gristle, for some reason they make me eat that on the grass. bye for now!

Aug 14, 2013

flank & tosca

certain someone was going to the market hall to get some bones for the dog so i asked him to bring "a flat piece of meat". he responded by asking "you mean like a flank steak?", he used that exact word...seems he's been reading my cooking magazines...

we had decided to grill the flank steak despite the fact that it's been raining for 3 days. the grilling was somewhat wet business...anyhow, here's the final result, delicious if i say so myself... 

i marinated the flank in soya sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, lime juice, grated garlic & ginger, chopped lemon grass and chili. sorry, there really isn't a recipe here, little of this, little of that...

i use a sturdy plastic bag, the clean-up is so much easier this way. had it marinating in the fridge for 6 hrs, took it out 1 hr before grilling. it's best to scrape off as much of the bits and pieces so that they don't burn on the grill...

for the salad "bed" i used shredded cabbage, sliced carrot (this slices with a peeling knife), ride noodles (with sesame oil), sauteed sweet onion (pictured here)...

...and blanched runner beans and sweet corn.

for the dressing i mixed soya sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, grated ginger and garlic and chopped chili and some sugar. firery stuff, but in a very good way.

whoa! obviously i didn't all the bits and pieces off. the flames did tame off, grilled the meat approx 4 mins per side.

let it rest for a while...

...before slicing part of it... top off the salad, added lots of cilantro and parsley. we pigged out, the was only a tiny portion left of the salad, and about half of the meat. leftover meat will make great sandwich filler.

whilst doing whatever else i cooked up a veggie stew with roughly chopped onions, thinly sliced carrots, chopped celery sticks, chickpeas, crushed tomatoes, chopped zucchini and bell pepper and rye pasta (yep, there is pasta with 24% rye in it, very tasty), added some chicken stock for more flavor. this will make several lunches and/or dinners for both of us to take to work.

i (gasp) bought a tosca cake few weeks ago and although it was very good it seemed to fall short on what i'm used to. there was a time in the good old olden days when my mom made tosca cake very often. it's relatively easy to make and when it's perfect it's divine... but what you'd expect with all that butter, sugar, almonds and cream.

despite having well over 100 cookbooks i didn't find any "good" recipe for a tosca cake in them. i also searched the internet, but most of those recipes seemed to be just semi-clever variations of the real what is one to do? call mom...i have no idea where she has picked up this recipe:

for the cake:

4         eggs
2.5 dl  sugar
5    dl  all-purpose flour
3    tsp baking powder
200 gr butter, melted and cooled
1    dl  cream (or milk)

beat eggs and sugar until fluffy, add flour+baking powder mixture alternating with butter and cream. pour batter into two 20cm round loose bottom baking tins (or one 20x30 cm deep baking tin) and bake in 175C oven for 15 mins (until browned a bit and almost set in the middle)

for the tosca topping:

100 gr     butter
2     dl     sugar
2     tbsp all-purpose flour
2     dl     cream (or milk)
200 gr     sliced almonds

place all ingredients in a heavy bottom pot (i used a frying pan), mix well and let simmer for a few minutes until the mixture thickens a bit...

cakes are ready to be topped with tosca...

after dividing the topping between the two tins, they were baked for another 15 mins in 175C oven. as i forgot to rotate the pans mid-baking this one remained a tad undone in the middle and the tosca caused a sinkhole in the middle...but not to worry, it's still very, very delicious.

this is how both of them were supposed to look...

next time i will halve the amount of butter in the cake part. don't get me wrong, not trying to lighten this up, just think that smaller amount might do the work quite sufficiently. i will have some for breakfast tomorrow...

Aug 7, 2013

evening walk

took a walk this evening in my home town. it's strange how i remember this river as smelly and muddy. they told us kids way back when that the smell was the smell of money. there was / is a paper mill upstream, they certainly have cleaned up their act. the river has sprung back to life and there are fish in it.

dad used to have a boat, not as huge as these ones, but big enough to sleep in. my brother and i enjoyed the summer holidays and weekends on the boat. poor mom got sea-sick, therefore we now have the cottage.

this piece is called "distance" by jari-jussi voijola. there is someone across the river.

my reason for heading out for the walk is this...looking upstream

and downstream 

yep, she is over there

another look at the setting sun

noticed that some had made promises on one of the bridges

one of these days i will take a cruise on the river, just to see how well i remember the bends along the way to the big lake.

this post was done on my iphone and i have no idea how crappy the pics might look on a big screen.

Jul 3, 2013

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake

yep, all that in one glorious cake. the recipe is from nigella lawson, but it's not because of her recent troubles that i wanted to make it. i saw one of her shows sometime in april and decided this something one must try. but, can you believe, peanut butter is not a staple at our grocery stores, nor are chocolate chips! i managed recently to make a trip to behnford's to stock up some of these rarities.

cast members

not pretty, but once the machine had done its work the smooth silky ooey goodness...seriously, it was so good ate some just as is (ok, maybe a tiny bit more than "some"), definitely made sure there was something left in the bowl to be licked...

the recipe calls for one 23cm/9" tin, but i had planned to take some to work, leave some for certain someone and send some to his mom, so i divided the batter into 3 15cm/6" tins.

it had been a good idea to taste some of the filling as there was plenty for the smaller tins, and there was going to be a topping as well

did shorten the baking time a bit, this is after the first bake sans the topping.

the topping...yep, needed to lick this bowl too...

after the second bake. the smell was amazing but the cakes needed cooling down and a night in the fridge...

this one was left with certain someone, he had some with coffee from his favorite mug (from fishs eddy).

the cake needs refrigeration and therefore maybe isn't the best of summer treats.

i want to say something to the weather man. if you say it's going to be a rainy day, you better make sure it's a rainy day and not sunny and well above our normal summer temps. only a crazy person (or someone with air-conditioning) would heat the oven on a 27C/80F day. the indoor temp ended up being 31C with no relief from keeping the windows open all night.