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Archive for June, 2009

I know I mentioned the last challenge below, but I wanted to make an official post on Nom Nom Nom, and share this apropos picture.

fron shu results

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General update.

Congratulations to Will (Francis’s brother) and Farrah, who got engaged yesterday!!! They’ll be getting married in a small ceremony sometime in the next year or so.

Happy Birthday to Jo (Francis’s mum), who is 60 today! We had a delicious and fancy lunch outing last weekend; I think I mentioned there’s a few pics up on Flickr.

Happy one year elopement anniversary to me and Francis yesterday! We went out for dinner at a French restaurant. It was an extravagance, but on our way out the door I realised that we have never, ever been out for a nice dinner by ourselves. ‘Bout time! We also went the allotment and didn’t do any work, but simply had a picnic and lay on a blanket. It was absolute heaven. Gorgeous. Relaxing.

Also yesterday, we picked up our wedding rings. We tried them on (they fit perfectly) and then reluctantly put them back in the box, not to be worn for another three weeks. Then we’ll have our ring exchange ceremony! Yay!

We’ve decided to cater the celebration ourselves, the foodies that we are, and have begun a mouthwatering list of foods to prepare. It will be a leisurely buffet meal, with lots of nibbly things, some Indian/north African things, some traditional English things, and lots of wine and summery drinks. We’re going to try and use as many things from the allotment as we can, and even if the full harvest won’t be happening for another couple months, we’ll still have potatoes and green onions and herbs. And we’re hoping for weather like we’ve had the last couple days: warm, sunny, breezy, so folks can lounge around, indoors and out.

Most of our spare time is spent gardening. So far, the (beautiful, beautiful) allotment has yielded lots of lettuce, mange tout peas, peas, rainbow chard, poppies, nasturtiums, and fresh herbs. Today we pulled and onion and a beet to see how things are coming along. The beet’s colour in incredible, and it smelled amazing simply fresh out of the ground! We’ll be cooking it later and nomming it up, along with the greens. We have beautiful baby broccoli sprouting, the Savoy cabbage and Brussels sprouts are coming along nicely, as are the carrots, spring (green) onions, leeks, garlic, tomatoes (oh god so many tomatoes we shall have!), potatoes, and broad beans. Just getting started are the Italian firetongue beans, salsify, parsnips, squash, Jerusalem artichokes, peppers, physalis, zucchini, cucumbers, corn, eggplant, green beans, wax beans, and lots of flowers. We go at least once a week to weed and water, and it’s only this past week that we haven’t had anything to plant! It’s all done, aside from some later secondary plantings of lettuce, chard, and peas.

Francis pulled a muscle in his back today weeding, poor hard-working boy. And he’s in the kitchen cooking a Fron-Shu challenge! I put some Chinese ointment on his back, and held a bag of frozen soybeans on him when he took a break. I need to stop typing this and go help him.

But first: the six ingredients he chose are: minced beef, chard (from the allotment!), yogurt, cilantro (from the allotment!), peas (from the allotment!), fresh chillies, and dried fruit. I think he’s discarded the dried fruit, and is making an Indian version of meatballs stuffed with a yogurt/herb mix, curried peas, and chard with garlic.

Last bit of news: I’m getting over a bit of flu. I was out of work three days last week (should have been four, I think) and felt absolutely knackered, as they say, but after a day of coughing and sniffling yesterday I think I’m on the mend.

Early night for us tonight, I think.

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I’m home sick today (nothing bad, just a summer cold that’s making me very tired) and so have had some time whilst in bed to download things off my camera.

Here’s our visit to Penshurst Place. The photos aren’t that great, I’m afraid, but I’d just flown back from Florida that morning and was just trying to keep awake. It’s a beautiful place, and astounding in its antiquity; the main estate was built in 1341.

I’ve also updated the allotment time lapse set (it’s so neat to see the progression!) and the more general allotment set.

There’s also lots of new snaps in the Storr family set. (Most of these photos are viewable to friends and family only, so if you can’t see them, let me know.)

Okay, I’m off to drink some tea and take a nap.

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Click here.

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Sunday night Francis delivered our first Fron-Shu meal. It was delicious!

Chicken marinated in yogurt, garlic and a medley of spices, then baked to a sticky, savoury goodness. This was accompanied by flatbread made of cornmeal and flour, and greens with garlic. Very tasty, and good leftover!

I’ve just drawn my ingredients for Saturday’s meal:

yogurt
eggs
game meat
cilantro
rice
peanut butter

Oh dear.

*** UPDATE ***

We had Asian-inspired devilled eggs as an appetizer (chili, soy sauce, garlic, cilantro leaf garnish), vension curry with yogurt, and cilantro rice.

The rice turned out delicious, but the venison was pretty dry. If it hadn’t been so late when I started cooking, I would have marinated it in the yogurt for a good couple hours…

Anyway, it was edible and mostly tasty. And it’s Francis’s turn next!

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Ahhhh…

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Last night Francis and I invented a new game!  It’s called Fron-Shu’s Cookery Challenge, after a character in one of Francis’s bedtime stories.  (Fron-Shu is a young frog who wants more than anything to become a chef. He probably looks a lot like this little guy.)

We made a long list of ingredients (about 65), wrote each on a folded piece of paper, and mingled them in a large mason jar. To accept the Fron-Shu challenge, the contestant must choose six pieces of paper and make a two-course meal using those ingredients.

A few rules:

1. If there are any duplicates, you must re-draw. (There are three wild cards, and there are two each of most protein-rich ingredients.)
2. If you get two proteins, you can exchange one in a re-draw, if you wish.
3. Re-draw anything that is out of season.
4. You have to use all the ingredients you draw, but:
5. To make things a bit easier, you may discard one of your six.
6. To supplement your ingredients, you may use spices (but not herbs), onions, garlic, oil/fat, stock, alcohol, condiments, and flour. If it’s not one of these and you don’t have it on a piece of paper, you can’t use it.

It’s really simple but fun, and I think it’ll be very useful when we’re trying to come up with new things to cook, or if we’re just stumped for ideas. We haven’t done it for real yet, but we amused ourselves last night by making a draw and figuring out what to make.

Example of a draw I got:
– eggs
– peanut butter
– pork
– cilantro
– truffles
– red bell peppers

I decided I’d make an egg dish with truffles (soufflé? simply fry the eggs and shave the truffles on top?) for a side dish and a Mexican-inspired dish of stewed pork with cumin, cayenne, cilantro and peppers. The peanut butter I discarded. An odd combination, I know, but sure would make for an interesting meal.

Anyway, you get the point. I’ll keep you posted on what we draw and what we cook.

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