Pinch punch first of the month!!!!

Lets start with yesterday which had both success and failure.  I will start with the failure PUMPKIN PIE in the end I decided on a recipe by Anthony Warrell Thompson which only had 3 oz of soft brown sugar in it so I was hoping it would not be too sweet.  I already had pastry made in the freezer to which I added some crushed pecan nuts.  When it came out of the oven it looked splendid.  I was hoping the spicing would give it a sort of Christmas flavour but it didn't we both had one slice and decided it would make excellent dog food.  It was a lot of work to make for a very poor result.  If you are ever tempted to make one I suggest you make pumpkin soup instead.  Now on to the success.  I had one of last years pheasants in the freezer and it looked a pretty sorry sight but I decided to go ahead and give it a good chance so I brined it for an hour before roasting it under a blanket of bacon.  I made great efforts with the accompaniments so that if the meat turned out to be hopeless we would still have a meal of sorts.  We had lovely caramelised apples, fluffy mashed potatoes and Russian kale with a gravy made from a mirepoix of vegetables and veloute sauce.  The bird had half an hour at 200 and then half an hour at 170 then 15 minutes to rest.  I carved it and served it and was completely astonished at how succulent and tender it was.  It has to be the best pheasant I have ever eaten not a hint of dryness anywhere.  With this in mind I am going to make up a batch of basic brine and put it in bottles ready for bits of meat that might be dry when cooked.  If you fancy a go at this it is very easy - to half a litre of water add 2 tablespoons of salt and one of sugar bring to the boil to dissolve and add any aromatics you fancy pepper corns, bay leaves, juniper berries.  Then add the remaining half litre of cold water and allow to get completely cold before using.  Brining time is one hour per pound for joints and birds.  A collection of smaller pieces are brined according to the weight of each piece not the total weight, therefore 4 pieces of 8 oz will only take half an hour not 2 hours.
Needless to say all this cooking made shed loads of washing up but it was very satisfying and while I was all fired up with enthusiasm I got out the wet stone and resharpened ALL my knives.

I know! it looks like a knife shop but I have a passion for good knives, some people collect stamps!!!

Now on to today - I think I have done the majority of the clocks but I am sure I will stumble upon the odd one that has slipped through the net.  I now need to read the meters and get those numbers sent down the wires, then it is on to the dogs ears.  I find that if I do these monthly tasks on the first of the month I don't forget them.  I stayed up really late last night so that I could get myself back into the correct routine and I didn't wake until 5.30 this morning so hopefully I am back on track. The weather look none too bad so I will need to get the dogs our for a good long run if they are to wear off the pumpkin pie they will be having for breakfast!!!oh and I still haven't done the under stairs cupboard :( may be later!!!!!!!
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