Sunday, 5 December 2010

Sloe gin made by toddlers

Our children make our homes look shit.  Fact.

I can tolerate the general mess - the constant clutter of garish plastic crap cascading from every cupboard, but the "art" we force them to produce is, let's face it, rubbish:  At least cheap toys are made by professional children, and usually function in some way, even if not the one intended.  This, however:

serves no purpose whatsoever, looks crap, doesn't remotely interest Leo, and yet, I cannot throw it away.  I don't know why - Leo wouldn't care if I did, wouldn't even notice.

It seems that most other parents suffer from a similar disorder:  They assume their fridge door is white, because most fridge doors are white.  But they haven't actually seen their fridge doors for years because they are covered in layers of poster paint splodges on cheap crumpled paper.

There is a "wizard hat" (ie a piece of black paper rolled into a cone with some stars on it) sitting on the back seat of my car.  It's been there for weeks, and I carefully manouevre around it whilst unloading shopping, or strapping Leo in his seat.  Leo would happily jump and down on it, if I let him (and he has much better hats to wear). 

To slightly reduce the pointless "art" produced by your kids, I heartily recommend having them make sloe gin for you.  Leo loved adding the sloes, one at a time (plop!......ploink!.....plink!) and pouring the sugar into the bottles (and everywhere else) through a piece of paper rolled into a cone...(ok, vaguely useful).  And once he'd finished, we polished off the remaining gin between us, and Leo chundered everywhere!

Only kidding.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Kelp crisps

Leo doesn't eat much junk food (yet) but I thought I'd treat him to some home made crisps...made from seaweed.

I hung a few fronds of kelp on the line to dry for a day (and they did dry, despite the rain), then deep fried them, as per the instructions in John Wright's book:

I have sampled numerous crisps in my time, and I can safely say that Kelp crisps are the longest I have ever tasted.

They are also the worst.

Leo actually asked if he could try some (yes, a 2 year old asked to eat an unknown food that wasn't made of chocolate or fish fingers).  I said no and threw the rest in the bin.  That's how bad it is. 

I might be dead tomorrow... Never mind Leo - there are plenty of beans in the cupboard above the microwave.

Monday, 1 November 2010


How can something called Gutweed, which looks like this:

be a bad thing to eat, I hear you say?

Allow me to demonstrate:

The first time I tried to turn this stuff into food, I didn't rinse it properly, and nearly shattered my molars with a mouthful of sand.

This time, I was far more thorough, and subsequently spread the Gutweed out on a baking tray and dried it in a low oven for around four hours. Then I deep fried it. I did this because it seems like the only thing to do with it, according to google.  Apparently, deep fried gutweed is the authentic topping to some chinese stir fries (as opposed to deep fried cabbage, more common today).  It certainly looked authentic - a vibrant green, glossy mass of otherworldly wiriness, like the pubes of a wizened merman.

The verdict: Anna, my girlfriend, likened the experience to forgetting to close your mouth while being buried alive. Leo made a spluttering sound, like someone being buried alive.  I, however, liked it a lot.  It tastes slightly nutty, and I will include some in the next stir fry I make (Anna and Leo can have a sandwich).

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Bladderwrack tea

Seaweed is apparently a superfood, packed full of anti oxidants, anti cancer(ants?), iodine, and omega 3 fatty acids. These are all good things, apparently. And while there is a wide variety of fashionable and expensive dietary supplements available containing seaweed extracts, I have set myself the challenge of collecting some seaweed, and turning it into something that doesn't taste like shit.

Today, while my assistant practiced jumping off an old rusty sewage pipe nearby, and with the incoming tide tickling my toes, I hastily grabbed a few lumps of bladderwrack from the littoral. I took the mulchy mess home in one of my assistants nappy sacks (unused, but unfortunately scented), and simmered the lot for 15 mins, then steeped it overnight according to the instructions given here.

 The person responsible for this recipe, Susan Weed (hilarious!), stresses the benefits of seaweed, including "increased longevity, enhanced immune functioning, revitalization of the cardiovascular, endocrine, digestive, and nervous systems, and relief from minor aches and pains." This somewhat emboldened me as I strained the goo, heated it up and took my first sip.

Verdict? Like a teenager snogging in a pub car park, whose near paralytic partner accidentally lets a little sick slip out of their mouth, I am going to assume that this is an acquired taste.

Boots are doing a deal on bladderwrack supplements (60 pills for £3.79)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Off the Beeten Track

This is definitely my favourite time of year: crisp, clean air, warm sunshine (occasionally) and more dogs than people on the beach: Leo, my 2 year old assistant, wants to make friends with everyone he meets.  I, however, don't.

I like going to the beach to walk, sit, surf...and occasionally fill a bag with sea beet:

I love this stuff - it seems to be available all year, often in huge patches, and it tastes a bit like Chard.  I use it instead of Spinach, and it often ends up in my assistant's omelette or pasta, which in turn occasionally end up in his mouth. Today, I was pleased to note that my assistant spotted some before I did, and even got stuck in and helped me pick it.

We picked a Good few handfuls, which I decided to make into a quiche adapted from a basic recipe, as follows:

1 Ready made shorrcrust pastry (couldn't be arsed)
2 6 eggs
3 250g grated cheddar
4 Few handfuls of sea beet, chopped up some
5 250ml double cream
6 120 ml milk
7 salt and pepper

1 Roll out pastry (what a pain in the arse) and line a 25cm quiche thing with it.
2 Sprinkle grated cheddar and sea beet on it
3 Mix the other things together, then pour them over the cheese and sea beet.
4 Bake in an oven (160 degrees) til it's done.

It was bloody lush:

And this blog is proving to be a good excuse to practice my food porn photography.