Sunday, 9 September 2018

September Gives

Last weekend I had some friends over for food.  

I live out in the sticks (slang for being surrounded by trees and narrow roads) in the Welsh valleys and not many friends, including family want to come out and see me as its often out of their way.  It does sink my heart a little...
So I was delighted when a couple of friends accepted my invitation and I was able to cook a meal for them.  I did not ask them to bring anything, but they came with gifts, firstly sunflowers.

These sunflowers are still standing tall and proud in a vase in what I call my conservatory, but really its an extension of the kitchen.
They have a hazelnut tree in their garden and gave me some a good stash of hazelnuts from it.  Its a shame to shell and blitz them to a powder, but I am planning on making a cake with them soon. They also brought a bottle of good red wine and a fancy layered chocolate cake from M&S.  All were appreciated.  Thank you dear friends. I hope to extend the invitation again, if you want to come and you really don't have to bring anything with you, except your hungry bellies.  
Well its Sourdough September.  And this is my first ever homemade sourdough bread thanks to Kath who blogs over at The Ordinary Cook.  Kath also runs cookery and bakery classes under Veg Patch Kitchen  in Ironbridge, rural Shropshire.  This weekend she was at Ludlow Food Festival.  I am sorry I missed it, but I had already booked to go on a Fungi walk.

Although I have not had the opportunity to attend one of her classes yet, it is still thanks to her that I was able to make this sourdough bread at home, as I was sent some sourdough starter in the post.  However, I have been terribly neglectful, and keep forgetting to feed it, but it is still thriving.  I was quite pleased with my first attempt, Thank you Kath.- though my second loaf was not as good - practice, practice, practice.  



These little red apples came from one of my neighbours (no not the newest one with the noisy grandchildren and constant barking dogs), but the long term ones with the Jack Russell, gave us a bag full of windfall red apples from their tree.  They had given us some superb red apples before
I have been taking a couple into work each day to eat.  We have in return given our neighbours plums and tomatoes.
I made this Upside Down Plum and Raspberry Cake too.  It was really good to eat with. I will blog about it soon. 
The tomatoes from the greenhouse are coming on wonderfully this year, the hard work has paid off.  The tomatoes are coming in all shapes and sizes. Every meal this week has been tomato based from Cherry Tomato 'Couscous Tarte Tatin; Tomato Date Feta Baklava and even tomato sandwiches for lunch!.
Oh I forgot to mention that the other newer neighbour with the Sheep dog and chickens, gave us some more eggs (not pictured). I recently made this Savoury Cherry Tomato Clafoutis.  It was delightful.  
I am vegetarian, so these spices recommended for poultry, seafood and meats may seem a bit strange to feature on my blog, but I have come across a number of vegan recipes recommending it as a flavour enhancer, so I got my husband to order me some Old Bay Seasoning off the web as its not something easily found in the UK. 
I am familiar with Dunn's River and African Finest products in the UK, neither have meat stock in them, so I picked them up too to try, whether I do or not is a different question. 

Finally, on my way to the dentist which is on the outskirts of a town I used to work in last year, I spotted a Eastern European supermarket.  As I was a bit early for my dental appointment, I went in and picked up a few interesting bits: at the back white wine vinegar which was reasonable priced, some large rice cakes labelled at Wafelki, Ajvar which I do like and a jar of pickled patty pans.  I was tempted by a few other things, but thought I'd get them on my next visit to the dentist which is in November.
I am sharing this blog post with Sherry Pickings for In My Kitchen series, its one of my favourite blog events to participate in as it gives us all an opportunity to take a peek into fellow bloggers kitchen world wide. 

16 comments:

  1. Your kitchen seems wonderfully abundant and generous. I wish I lived close enough to drop over for a meal (and would happily return the favour). The sunflowers must be a lovely cheery reminder of your friends' visit. I am excited that you have tried your first sourdough loaf - I will beg you to try the overnight sourough recipe I make just because I love it so much and would love to share it with you (and it came from Celia who started this blog event so that is a fine recommendation). I am also excited to see you have old bay seasoning - (vegie crab cakes ahead?). I had some for a while and really liked it as an all purpose seasoning as well as for specific recipes but then I moved on to the next seasoning fixation and forgot about it.

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    1. Thank you Johanna. You know you would have been welcome any time of the year. Yes the sunflowers do cheer me up, we have some in the garden too that are beginning to fade now, we will keep the seedheads for the birds. Please do share the link with me of your overnight sourdough recipe, I have made another recently and it failed again. So any tips would be appreciated. You reminded me about Celia - she did send me some sourdough starter in dry form, which I am afraid I misplaced the envelope somewhere and never got it started. Shame on me :( but thanks to Kath this time to get me kickstarted. I need help though, lots of it and I welcome your recipe and will give it a go. Yes, your right about the old bay seasoning, it was to do with vegan crabcakes - you know me quite well - I do think its because we have such similar interests.

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  2. Congrats on all of those green house tomatoes. I am scared to wander down to our garden today because I think I will need to take a machete with me to even find it. :) Enjoyed the post.

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    1. Thanks Debra, but its mostly down to my husband. I did start the seeds of, but then he took over ...the greenhouse is his space. I hope you find some in your garden soon.

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  3. Plum cake is surely one of the best treats of the fall season. Almost every European and US cuisine has its own version and all of them are delicious. I try to taste them whenever I can. I hope I can still find some plums and make one this year. Lucky you!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Mae, Im getting chubby or shall I just be honest and say fat :) every week I have been making a cake of some sort, mostly with plums - soon it will be apples. I hope you find some soon to try.

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  4. That loaf looks amazing and please don't feel downhearted that you are having failures, it is in the nature of sourdough. As you say practice, practice, practice. Keep the starter in the fridge between using it and you won't need to worry about feeding it. Fetch it out the day before baking, discard half and refresh well. Then after six hours it should be ready to use in the production starter as I describe in the booklet. I hope you are finding the booklet easy to understand. If not, please let me know as constructive criticism is always very welcome. Thank you for mentioning me in this post, it is very much appreciated and I hope the sourdough journey gets easier for you. A book I found useful for getting my sourdough right is Chad Robertson's Tartine. If you can find it in the library it's well worth a read. Lots of love coming your way, Kath xx

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    1. Thank you so much Kath. I do follow recipes in books a lot, but with breadmaking I do think i would be better watching and learning, its not to do with your instructions I have a number of breadmaking books, but never quite succeed. Thanks for the tip for refreshing the starter. I will give it a go this w/e. Interesting you mention Tartine, I saw it this w/e on the shelf at a veg café when I was on the fungi walk. I will see if my library has it. Thank you so much for the sourdough love, here's to my sourdough adventures.

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  5. This valley is so beautiful! I have beautiful memories of Wales!

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  6. I love the cake and the tomato clafoutis. The sunflowers are a very nice and thoughtful gift. If I am ever your way I will bring you flowers!

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    1. Thank you so much Tina. Nice to make your acquaintance.

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  7. What a beautiful bunch of sunflowers - such a lovely gift. And homegrown hazelnuts? Heaven. I'd be interested to know about the Old Bay turns out for the same reason - it's always in vegan recipes and I wonder if it's good.

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    1. Thank you. I haven't used it yet, will do so In a couple of weeks time

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  8. We loved Wales when we visited years ago. Wouldn’t it be nice to snap our fingers and be magically transported overseas to visit friends? How wonderful to have fresh tomatoes 🍅. Thanks very much for joining in this month. Lovely to have you. Cheers Sherry x

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    1. Thank you Sherry.Enjoying the tomatoes a lot this year.

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