Sunday, 30 December 2012

Hi Everyone
Firstly, here are the answers to the hard quiz from November - I know some people tried it but found it too tricky to submit answers to me.

1.   Door locker, citrus fruit tart. ..KEY LIME PIE
2.   Cooked US State  BAKED ALASKA
3.   American River with a silt base tart. - MISSISSIPPI MIUD PIE
4    This festive roll is not for the fire - YULE LOG
5     Dark Wooded area celebration cake - BLACK FOREST GATEAU
6.    Cocoa confectionary with trainee girl guide - CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
 7.    What you do to start a race.  - SAGO
8.    Sweet Ballerina - PAVLOVA
 9.    One for the 25th December - CHRISTMAS PUDDING
 10.  Mr Clinton's daughter with a type of hair arrangement - CHELSEA BUN
 11.  Granny Smith's shoe repairer  APPLE COBBLER
 12.  Public School shambles - ETON MESS
13.  Espied Richard - SPOTTED DICK
14   Half a pair of long legged bloomers - with praise! - KNICKERBOCKER GLORY
15.  French eat white dessert - BLANCMANGE

There - it wasn't too tricky - or was it ?

Well, I hope you had a really good Christmas, and, if you celebrate the 25th with a traditional dinner, that it all went smoothly and tasted great.  I also hope that you didn't over-indulge and made yourself feel uncomfortably full all day.
A radio programme on the radio on Xmas Eve told of how the Romans actually had a building in their gardens called a VOMITARIUM for when they had overdone it on the eating and drinking - no prizes for guessing what that was there for!!

There were prizes for those boys who entered Alex and Priyesh's multiple choice Xmas quiz in their blog.
A bit suspicious though - they all had the same answer for the question about the spice used in Mulled Wine- the answer on the internet was cumin and of course that must be a mistake because I knew it was Cinnamon from the choice of answers. Suggests that the contestants had accessed the quiz on line or had bribed the 2 boys who set the quiz!!! Just warning you-  if any of the boys who entered the quiz offers you a glass of traditional mulled wine that they have made - it might taste a bit like a sweet curry?!
If I am wrong, and anyone finds a recipe for mulled wine using cumin then I stand corrected and will give a prize to you if you bring me a copy of it.
It was my turn to cook on Christmas Day this year - we entertained family, and I offered a selection of starters, turkey and beef as the main course with 5 different vegetable dishes and home made stuffing.
For dessert, my sister in law brought her home made Xmas pud - delicious - and then I had also prepared other sweets - Nigella's gelato meringue dessert with chocolate sauce and fresh raspberries, a home created chocolate roulade filled with creme fraiche and cranberries, and a fresh fruit salad. Whew!
The highlight of the meal though was the Xmas Crackers that my brother in law had sourced - each contained a wind up reindeer named after one of Santas 8. In the cracker box was a little race track which you put in the middle of the dining table. Then we raced our own reindeer against the others!  It was hilarious.  Below are pictures to illustrate the game. You can buy them for half price now on Amazon - get some for next year!

6 Racing Reindeer Christmas Crackers

I bought myself a good book just before Christmas, after hearing it serialized on the radio. It is called The Horologican . I think you know that I am very interested in the history of the English Language, and this book – a book of hours - gives you many long-forgotten extraordinary words in the English language, arranged according to the hour of the day when you really need them.

On the food side, let’s look at one or two breakfasty words….
The study of breakfast is called ARISTOLOGY, and an aristologist would have even studied the 19th book of the Iliad – a famous Greek epic written by Homer. The whole 19th book is given over to the subject of whether to eat breakfast or not! Agamemnon gives a long speech commanding the Greeks to JENTICULATE – eat breakfast- whilst Achilles gives an even longer speech pointing out that it will make them late for work (ie. Killing Trojans!) Had Achilles been more reasonable he would have settled for a quick CHOTA HAZRI – a  brief breakfast just enough to keep you going til elevenses! It’s a Hindi work for little breakfast, and was even used in a story about a chap who, in 1886 spent the night up a tree with a tiger, and, when he returned at dawn simply wanted a chota hazri before he would tell them of his adventures!
Eggs, in the eighteenth century were actually called CACKLING FARTS on the basis that chickens cackled all the time and eggs came out of the back of them!
A lovely onomatopoeic word for a rashly roasted rasher of bacon is BRIZZLED - scorched near to burning.

We had a few foodie presents in our household this Christmas. My husband bought me a Stove top smoker - its really good. You fill it with a choice of wood chips, place the items to be smoked on a rack in the smoker, then close the lid and put it on the hob. It smokes food brilliantly. So far I have done trout, salmon and chicken but I shall be trying out lots more things when I have some spare time. The wood chips he bought me included apple, cherry, oak, alder, hickory,
I bought my husband a George Forman grill, family size, for him to grill a variety of stuff for us all.
I have yet to try out my yoghurt maker, which I bought on special offer at the Good Food Show. I do make my own yoghurt using a vacum flask but this kit has a much bigger, wider 'flask' to cultivate the yoghurt in, so you get more at one time, and its easy to clean. The Show was really enjoyable - we left at 3pm after 5 hours there - we sampled loads of yummy products including cheeses, sausages, dips and sauces, wines and punch, coffees and chocolates, breads and oils etc. etc. We went into the demonstrating theatre to see James Martin - that was really good. He is a classic car fanatic these days and owns several special cars himself, but he actually drove onto the stage in the world's smallest car, which is manufactured in GB. He had to roll out of it because he was almost stuck inside!

The one really interesting display at the show was this huge range of cheeses on tables in a cordonned-off area of the Hall where, during the week, a cheese tasting event had taken place. There were cheeses of all shapes, sizes and varieties on display that had been judged; their makers had been awarded prizes and certificates.
There were cheeses from all over the globe. The over all winner was a manchego cheese from Spain.
One cheese that I definitely wouldn't have wanted to sample was 'sticky toffee pudding cheddar'!
The entries from South Africa were huge whole cheeses in their rinds, and the rinds were designed to resemble the patterns on the skins of giraffes, cheetahs, leopards etc.! Brilliant!
The sad and disappointing thing though was that, because the cheeses had been out at Room Temperature for over 4 hours, they were labelled 'unfit for human consumption' and could not be sampled by or sold to the general public at the Show. They would all have to be 'binned' at the end of the day!  Food Safety Regulations I know, as I am a Food Safety Trainer, but honestly, it was such a waste of wonderful products.
So, the quiz this week is to find out which country the following cheeses come from:-
(Tip - consult wikipedia list of world cheeses....)
Bring the answers to me when school starts - a prize for the winner.

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