Tag Archives: Brownie

My Week Defined By Vegetables

Chelsea Potatoes,Rocking Dog

Chelsea Potatoes

Indeed last week was rather dominated by all that was vegetable.

MONDAY. A relaxing lunch with friend at The Pig near Bath. As ever it was gorgeous to have a wander around the walled kitchen garden after eating some delicious plates of food. There is something rather special about a garden in winter. The stillness, quiet, and the silent anticipation of shoots and leaves forcing their way through frost crested earth.

TUESDAY. I went on a Social Media course at the M Shed, Bristol. Discussing the merits and problems of different social media platforms I felt somehow rather disillusioned. However, I feel I have a better understanding of feed, engagement, traffic etc… but i’m still a slumbering pumpkin!

WEDNESDAY. I participated in a healthy eating session with a small group of young adult carers. They were great, and we cooked enthusiastically together. Chicken and vegetable wraps together with vegetable laden pizzas were cooked and eaten together. Instead of feeling like a slumbering pumpkin I definitely felt more like a dinosaur trying to explain the concept of seasonal food! It went a bit like this “as a child growing up in the 60’s we only saw strawberries at the start of June through to the start of August, and then we didn’t see them until the following year”. It was quite a revelation to them, as was the tip to “peel” root ginger using a teaspoon. I aim to please….. even if I am a Tyrannosaurus!

THURSDAY. 36kg of haggis was delivered to the kennel from over the tartan border. There was the traditional offal’y variety, there was the vegetable variety, some to suit gluten free guests and of course the ceremonial chieftain haggis for the Selkirk Grace. Fridge space was rather tight with all these wee beasties taking up temporary residence.

FRIDAY. Sorrel, baby Doug and I headed out to pick up 50kg potatoes and 30kg swede. Thank you to Bob at Eastville Market for super fresh produce. I have to say though the potato type, Marfona sounded like some type of mini pill or Intrauterine Contraceptive Device! After our vegetable buying trip we headed to nearby St Werburgh’s City Farm for a coffee. Doug was fascinated by the goats, ducks, black hairy pigs and a large rook. The cafe is definitely worth a visit. We shared Beetroot, chocolate & beer cake gloriously eaten with some good cappuccino’s. We were fortified ready for the mammoth two day peeling and mashing session!

SATURDAY. 50kg potatoes peeled & mashed. Tick. 30kg swede peeled & bashed. Tick. 9 trays of brownie baked. Tick. Let the Rock Pipes Burns Night begin. It was a culinary killer. Thanks to lovely, lovely friends who pitched in to help get hot food out to the 160 paying guests. Everybody seemed to have a fabulous time. I even managed to summon up the courage to hit the stage to promote the raffle which raised an amazing £341 for Young Carer’s “Christmas in a Box”. Rock Pipes did their final set with everyone on the dance floor for an Abba medley, 500 miles and of course YMCA! Auld Lang Syne sent everyone on their way with 50 kg chappit tatties, 36kg haggis, 30kg bashed neeps and a wee dram of whisky in their tummies.

SUNDAY. I woke up feeling as if every bone in my body had been broken and then had been reset really badly! How can vegetables do that?! I’m simply too old for this catering malarkey.

So yes, that was the week that was. After a day of washing up yesterday I am trying to be kind to myself and to let my burnt and chapped hands recover. Still on a vegetable theme I have some lovely vintage fabric titled “Sweetcorn” to be made into a blind for Sorrel & Pete. Some quiet therapeutic sewing should get my aching bones sorted.

A million thanks to my lovely girls who were magnificent in the kitchen and to all those who helped without asking. I have some truly gorgeous friends. Thank you.

PS I picked up a great tip from Sorrel (old dogs really can learn new tricks!) To strip Thyme of it’s leaves poke the woody stalk through a hole in a wire sieve. Pull the stalk and voila the leaves are left in the sieve. Have you any canny tips to pass on I wonder? Please tell all.

Table Veg',Rocking Dog

Table Veg’

Greenhouse Veg',Rocking Dog

Greenhouse Veg’

The Pigs' Pigs,Rocking Dog

The Pigs’ Pigs

Seasonal Fruit &..,Rocking Dog

Seasonal Fruit &..

Seasonal Veg',Rocking Dog

Seasonal Veg’

Veggie Cake!,Rocking Dog

Veggie Cake!

For Chappit Tatties,Rocking Dog

For Chappit Tatties

Let 'em Eat Haggis!, Rocking Dog

Let ’em Eat Haggis!

Vintage Veg' Fabric,Rocking Dog

Vintage Veg’ Fabric

The Great Rocking Dog Bake Off!

Last Of The Summer Fruit, Rocking Dog

Last Of The Summer Fruit

My weekend of baking is at an end, and I quite enjoyed myself! I methodically ploughed through my list of makes, leaving the scones and sausage rolls to the very last minute. The party would have warm fluffy scones together with golden un-solidified sausage rolls!

I am still amazed about how terrible some event catering is. How often have you been “welcomed” with cling filmed sandwiches, wrinkled grey cocktail sausages and anaemic looking chicken drumsticks? Knowing of my love for colour, Andyman trailed back from a recent buffet and warned me that the scene was reminiscent of a sepia photograph! Indeed, everything was a strange shade of greige and there was absolutely no attempt at any type of garnishing. Foil trays and cling film completed the unappetising scene! But…..despite all this, there were people exclaiming “nice spread!” AGGGGGGGGHhhhhh! I played safe with a packet of McCoys, (alas, no Kettle Crisps were to be had!)

Some of the worst catering unfortunately can be experienced at funerals. What could be more depressing than awful grey food on such a sad and solemn occasion? Even dead people deserve to be remembered whilst eating something gorgeous!

I once had to feed nearly five hundred funeral guests, and my brilliant team kept on filling freshly baked croissants with yummy things. There were homemade cakes, scones, pastries and lots of tea and chatter. Is it that many establishments or caterers feel it is slightly irreverent to serve showstopper cakes or sandwiches with any fillings apart from cheese, cucumber and ham (crusts reverently trimmed, naturally!) Please Ferguson kids send me off with plenty of bubbly, sourdough doorsteps, charcuterie and ice cream! Remember, I want a Christmas carol too- whatever time of year my demise happens!

I wonder when Britain will finally move on from curled sandwiches, quartered pork pies, damp crisps AND the cling film. Last year whilst on our Umbrian adventure we ventured into the medieval hilltop town of Montefalco. Six of us were needing lunch and we approached a restaurant in the sunny square. No tables were to be had. No worries, the restauranteur offered to magic a table out of nowhere. Indeed, within five minutes we were seated in the most glorious November sunshine enjoying a Prosecco and perusing the menu. Within fifteen minutes, tables next to us were laid up with the most beautiful Italian “buffet”, and ten minutes later an entire wedding party descended on the square. We felt so privileged to be witnesses at the feast. Needless to say there were no wrinkled cocktail sausages, soggy pastry or any form of grey!

Back to my cake table. None of my simple bakes will past muster with Mary and Paul’s technical challenges, life simply is too short! However, I hope the choice, homemadeness and colour pleased the assembled cricket pavilion guests, and helped to make it a truly memorable birthday.

PS. The photo labelled guinea pig cake, has absolutely and utterly no guinea pigs in its makeup. It’s just that I have never made the cake before, thus the guests were my guinea pigs!

Simple Floral Styling, Rocking Dog

Simple Floral Styling

Guinea Pig Cake, Rocking Dog

Guinea Pig Cake

Marvellous Macaroons, Rocking Dog

Marvellous Macaroons

Cake With The Midas Touch!, Rocking Dog

Cake With The Midas Touch!

Boozy Cake!, Rocking Dog

Boozy Cake!

Snow Sprinkled Brownie, Rocking Dog

Snow Sprinkled Brownie

For The Kidlets!, Rocking Dog

For The Kidlets!

Cream Tea, Rocking Dog

Cream Tea

No Sweet Tooth!, Rocking Dog

No Sweet Tooth!

The Ubiquitous Sausage Roll, Rocking Dog

The Ubiquitous Sausage Roll

Umbrian Buffet, Rocking Dog

Umbrian Buffet

Italian Crisps, Rocking Dog

Italian Crisps