Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Language, Water, Books.

Churchill said it best, he described England and America as being two nations dividedDutch Oven by a common language. This does tend to apply to Canada as well. Yet in some places, and in some areas, the same words are used. What made me think of this was in my blog yesterday the recipe included reference to a Dutch Oven. An English friend enquired what that was. I never even thought of it having lived on this continent for 37 years, it didn’t strike me at all.  I guess the original Dutch Ovens were suspended over open fires. According to Wikipedia, in England we called them casseroles. According to Wikipedia as well, they should mostly be cast iron, but very few are any more I think, just basically a large saucepan with a lid and handles either side. I used to have cast iron ones years ago. Did you know if you drop cast iron, it breaks? Guess how I found out?

We had a lot of snow on Tuesday and by the time we got up on Wednesday the roads were pretty well covered. However, we live on a bus route so they help deal with the snow and Matt headed off for his usual weekly shop at 7 a.m. He said the roads weren’t too bad. I would have preferred him to go later, but……. When he drove home he couldn’t use the route he normally takes, one road was shut. We discovered later that a water main had bust which meant we had no water in the building for a while. I managed to get enough water to make coffee and to have a wash, but not a shower. Matt showered earlier of course.

Later in the morning he surgeon looked at Matt’s eye operation and is apparently very happy with it. Didn’t take out the stitches yet though, we thought he would. Would you believe we don’t have any kind of medical appointment for the rest of the week.

Cold DaysI am just about to start Cold Days by Jim Butcher, a Harry Dresden novel. I have enjoyed every one of his Dresden novels, very well written and extremely funny in places. Harry Dresden is a working wizard in Chicago and gets up to all kinds of things fighting all the things which go bump in the night. Although right now, he has got himself caught up working for bad Queen Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness. He is her Winter Knight which he doesn’t really wish to be. Forgot to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my last book, Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold. A very good Miles Vorkosigan story. I think I just might go back and reread some of those books as well as some of the Dresden files. Like I haven’t got hundreds of books to read which I haven’t even opened yet!!

This is a different way of using rhubarb although its not in season round here at the moment. I’ve always enjoyed lemon meringue pie.

Rhubarb and Ginger Queen of Puddings

A grand traditional dessert of poached fruit, cake and light meringue peaks - serve hot from the ovenRhubarb & Ginger Pud

  • 140g shop-bought Madeira cake or breadcrumbs
  • 4 eggs , separated
  • 400ml milk
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 250g golden caster sugar (light brown sugar)
  • 500g rhubarb , cut into 4cm batons
  • 4 balls stem ginger, chopped, plus 2 tbs syrup
  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Break the cake into fine crumbs or place in a food processor and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Place the crumbs in the bottom of a 22cm round ovenproof baking dish. In a jug, whisk together the egg yolks, milk, nutmeg and 50g of the sugar. Pour the custard mixture over the crumbs and leave to soak for 10 mins. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 45 mins, until the custard is set but still has a little wobble.
  2. Meanwhile, make the filling. Place the rhubarb in a saucepan with 100g of the remaining sugar, stem ginger, syrup and 2 tbs water. Set over a medium heat and cook for 15-20 mins until the rhubarb is tender. Leave to cool. Can be done up to this point the day before.
  3. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Place the egg whites in a large clean bowl and, using an electric whisk, whisk the whites until soft peaks form. At this stage, begin to slowly add the remaining 100g sugar, beating well between each addition, until all the sugar is incorporated and the meringue is stiff and glossy.
  4. Drain the rhubarb, keeping the syrup, then spoon onto the baked custard. Spoon or pipe the meringue on top and bake for 15-20 mins until the meringue is browned. Serve hot with the rhubarb syrup.

Have a great day


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