Tag Archives: food

What to do with a thousand eggs?

Last weekend, DG was away with his friends for a stag do. He took the TV, the Xbox, and most of our soft furnishings. I saw some of their adventures through Instagram, which I think might be against the rules of stag events. I think it’s just as much against the rules for me to talk about it now, but who’s counting? #nofilter #nolifer?

Anyway, in preparation for the weekend he, or someone like him, over-estimated the amount of breakfast ingredients that would be required. Maybe they’ve become more wise and sensible since their student days, perhaps they can look at the second full English and say ‘no’, maybe they just didn’t drink enough to need so much beer soaking. Whatever the reason, we’ve ended up with a fridge *full* of eggs. Seriously, I’m having digestive terrors just looking in there.

The beer is pretty much gone, though. I helped. 😀

So I’m trying to think of the most painless ways to get through at least 20 eggs before they go off. I’m not afraid of using elderly eggs, so I suppose I don’t have to really power through them. But as I usually end up using the last egg of the half dozen several weeks past the sell-by date, I should probably start planning now.

First on the list is, naturally, cake. I made some spiced banana cake the other day, as they also had a couple of manky old bananas left. It was ok, if you like banana cake. Which I don’t. I always do this. I hate the idea of wasting food, so I use more expensive ingredients to make something I like even less than bananas.

CAEK  #cake   #caaaaaaake

Next one planned is a lime and poppy seed cake, just because I was in the supermarket and saw a lime. Somewhere I have a default cake recipe I use as the base for all of my cakey experiments – I shall have to dig that out and have a play.

Other than that… hard-boiled eggs to have for lunch. Omelettes? Yorkshire puddings? Pancakes? The possibilities are intimidatingly endless. I need an adult.

First person to make an egg pun gets fired.

Happy new year!

I saw out the old one with prosecco and cake, and am about to usher in the new with prosecco and smoked salmon. Definitely a better changeover to the gallon of red wine and stinking hangover of last year.

I like the new year. I don’t do new year’s resolutions, so it’s really relaxing and nice for me (I gave them up a few years ago). I just figure that if it’s that important to give up/take up/do less of/do more of whatever it is, then I probably ought to start doing something about it when I think about it, rather than saving it up for one of the least inspiring months of the year. So in October, I thought it would be good for me if I wrote more. So I started to write more. Ta-daa! I’m already three months ahead of you suckers.

I’ve read a few blog posts about being sure to make ‘smart resolutions’. You know, business-speak SMART. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-specific. Mine would look like ‘write something (that’s fairly specific, right?) every day (measurable), well maybe not every day (achievable), maybe not even every week if I can’t think of anything interesting (realistically speaking), for however long I feel like it (time-specific)’. And what’s the point in that? That’s just what I’m doing already.

Anyway. Happy New Year, Happy New Decade, and best wishes for any resolutions you do make. Don’t let me stop you – up and at them.


Just thought I’d share a tip I heard a while ago, and a resultant lightbulb moment.

When chopping vegetables, save the offcuts and peelings in a plastic bag in the freezer for future stock-making. It saves you using fresh new veg just for boiling, and reduces the amount of chopping you have to do. Sure, the compost heap suffers a bit, but as we can’t get into ours anyway I’m willing to take that hit.

Just the other day I used my bag of frozen offcuts and a chicken carcass to make some awesome stock. Now this was good, and I felt thrifty enough, until I suddenly thought hey, I have stock simmering, why not make risotto the way they always tell you to.


I have never seen a recipe suggesting this before. Recipes for risotto often say ‘have a pot of stock simmering’ but no recipe for stock ever says ‘Making stock? Why not use some of it as it’s simmering to make risotto for that evening’s dinner.’ Outrageous.

For each cup of stock I removed, I added one of water back in. Because it was still simmering, it continued to take up flavour from the kitchenkill and so I still had enough left for an entire ice-cube-bag of stock for future use. Not only that, but because the carcass was from a whole chicken I’d jointed myself, there was loads of meat left on it to shred back into the risotto. In fact, there was not a single item of non-waste-food used – the bacon was on its last legs and even the rice was a bag of pudding rice that had been sitting in the back of a cupboard for a year and given one last chance to prove itself useful.

I can’t say I had as much fun the other day, having cold polenta and chilli for breakfast. But the layer of thrifty smugness (and bacon) definitely made it and my day more palatable.

Solstice cake is almost ready for launch.

Last year I went into the winterval-cake-making-process in some detail, dissecting the various recipes I had and trying to establish what made a particularly wintry fruit cake. I found that Mrs Beeton had a higher cake:fruit ratio than Delia, so I tried that. It was good, but I didn’t think it was quite fruity enough. So this year, I’m going back to Delia’s classic recipe, but tweaking it for my own sordid purposes.

Right now, my dried fruits are soaking. I have 450g raisins, 175g sultanas, and 100g each of chopped mixed peel, glacé cherries (natural colour btw, none of this fake red crap) and glacé ginger, all stirred together with a glug of whisky. It smells luscious.

due preparations for the cake

I cannot wait to get started. I’ve not baked enough recently… so it’s probably a good thing that next week is National Baking Week. I would have held on to make this cake as the climactic end to the week but if I don’t make it now, I won’t be able to feed it anywhere near enough booze before it gets decorated. So instead, it can be a teaser.

So where are the bloody cocktails?

Last week I was taking the piss out of the boyfriend when we found three separate boxes of cocktail sticks in his kitchen. I must now make a shame-faced confession and admit to having two boxes of my own. I just found one nestling inside an old cheese grater. Or should that be nesting? Perhaps it spawned there from a single stray cocktail stick, or a plastic cocktail-stick-box-fragment.

The irony is that he has never used his, and I only recall using mine twice, once for gluing cat face‘s face on, and later as a cable needle for yet another pair of some ill-fated socks.

I was thinking that handy-for-tiny-craft sticks or cheese-and-pineapple sticks didn’t really have a ring to them but then I thought


Think about it. Cocktail sticks are far more often used for skewering olives and lumps of cheese than they are in cocktails… and when they are, they’re just as likely to be holding an olive or a tiny wee onion than they are something sweet. There’s an accent in the title, which automatically means shops could charge twice as much for them; manufacturers could produce the same sticks, label them up as scrapbooking tools and charge twice as much again. You could get different qualities – standard, value (now with extra splinters), and first class (hand polished to a subtle sheen).

However, it wouldn’t have cock in the name, and so I don’t think this will ever catch on. Shame.

Peanut butter: Round 2

peanut butter #2

This time, I used a bag of chilli-flavoured peanuts. Chopped a small handful, ground the rest down to a powder in the blender, then mixed in the oil in a separate bowl. Much easier this time. And it’s a good result – a pleasant orangey colour, with normal peanut butter tastiness followed up by as much chilli heat as you’d probably want in a sandwich.

Might not work so well in a peanut butter and jam sandwich, mind. Cream cheese, maybe, but jam, no.

This home-made lark is *awesome* fun.

peanut butter

Say hello to a jar of home-made peanut butter. I am never buying it jarred again. Do you know how embarrassingly easy this is?

200g bag roasted salted peanuts
2 tbsp olive oil

Take a handful of the peanuts and chop roughly. Take the rest of the peanuts and zuzz with the oil. Stir the chopped nuts back in. End.

How awesome is that? It never occurred to me that was even *possible* to make peanut butter at home. It always seemed like it should be the result of lots of complicated processing, and exotic ingredients (considering the differences in flavour of all the brands), but no. And this has no sugar in it! I hate sugar in my peanut butter. And I love salt. This is completely perfect.

Wow. Let me tell you, sitting here eating my home-made peanut butter on slices of my home-made failbread has given me such a warm layer of smug that I may have to open the windows. And… for some time I’ve been searching (unsuccessfully) to find not-peanut nut butters, but now I can just make my own. I could make it even cheaper (and less salty) by getting uncooked nuts…

Wait a minute.

I could use chilli peanuts. Chilli peanut butter. CHILLI. PEANUT. BUTTER. That thought is so unspeakably awesome I think I need a lie down.

(I’m not going to, though. My turbos have turned up so I have to go play with them. Thank you English Yarns!)

Beetroot & Chocolate Cake

Finally, after months of waiting, I managed to get my hands on some raw beetroot. I’d been intending to make a beetroot and chocolate cake for ages… so I made this experimental number. It turned out brilliantly – a really juicy cake, nicely chocolatey, with just a hint of dirt. Lovely.

The pictures just came out looking like any old slab of cake, so here I’m treating you to an in-pan shot of the beetroot mixture as the marg is being melted into it.

It’s great once you mix it in with the chocolate as it bears a striking resemblance to puréed human flesh (if you believe the movies, at any rate). Also… in the interests of dietary requirements (after the gluten-free success last time) I note that this cake is dairy-free and eggless, but obviously check all your labels before cooking if you’re not sure. It also has plenty of vitamins A and E – respectively, 12 and 18% of the RDA, I calculate, if you’re dividing the cake into 8. But that is about 300kcal per slice, so don’t be scoffing it all back and blaming your podge on me.

Beetroot & Chocolate Cake
Makes a 9×13″ cake (use a baking dish).

2 medium/150g fresh raw beetroot, grated
1 cup/175g sugar
7 tbsp/125g margarine
1/2 tsp salt
pinch Chinese five-spice
1 cup water
2 cups/230g plain white flour
1/4 cup/30g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Place the beets, sugar, butter (or equivalent), salt, spice and water in a saucepan. Heat and simmer until the butter is melted, then put to one side to cool.

Sieve the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. Grease a 9×13″ baking dish. When the beetroot mixture is merely warm, rather than scalding, mix into the dry ingredients. Pour into the prepared dish, and bake in a 160C oven for 35-40 minutes until a skewer/cocktail stick comes out clean.