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     As soon as the Christmas decorations are down it's time to start thinking about Marmalade!  In January Seville oranges come to Ir...


Roll on Summer!

               I made these bread rolls today as an experiment for the Cookery Camps I'll be teaching over the Summer. They are soft 'White Dinner Rolls'. Great with soup, salads or as a breakfast roll.

Last of the rolls!

Sesame Bread Rolls

350g plain flour
1 sachet fast action yeast
200ml warm water
1tsp salt
2tbs olive oil
1tbs vegetable oil
beaten egg
1tbs sesame seeds

Sift the flour into a bowl and add the yeast from the sachet.
Dissolve the salt in the warm water and add to the flour and yeast. Add the olive oil and mix it all together to make a dough.
Knead the dough on the table, dust the table with flour if the dough is sticky.
Knead the dough until smooth and springy.
Coat the dough in the vegetable oil and place in the bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film and put in a warm place for 30-45 minutes until doubled in size.
Grease a Swiss roll tin.
Take the dough out and knead again until springy. Divide into 8 or 9 pieces and shape them into rolls, place them onto a Swiss roll tin, leaving space in between them.
Cover with cling film and a tea towel and put them back into the warm place for 30 minutes, until they get bigger and start to touch each other.
Heat the oven to 220˚C, GM 7.
Take the tea towel and film off the rolls, brush the rolls with egg wash and sprinkle on the sesame seeds.
Bake in the hot oven for 20-25 minutes.They will be golden and will sound hollow when wrapped with a knuckle underneath. Cool on a wire rack.


Waste not want not!

       The first of the summer peas are the sweetest, long waited for and very special. Podding them takes time, but it is one job where you have to sit and do it. A cup of tea and someone to help you is pleasant. Or with a glass of wine while someone else prepares the rest of the meal is an excellent way to relax at the end of the working day. Even better & the sun shines and you can sit outside.
      As the pile of pods grows the small mound of peas grows too. The mound of peas seems disappointingly small compared to the pile of pods.
      When the peas are cooked and enjoyed, so sweet, so tasty, so quickly gone.
The pile of pods remains. Compost? Give them to the horses or hens?
Or soup?

      Pea-pod soup has a long and honourable history amongst thrifty cooks and it has a sweet refreshing flavour. The mint helps cut the sweetness.
      You can skip the blending part of the recipe, but you must strain the soup through the 'mouli' or a sieve or it becomes a very high fiber soup!
      I've always wondered why we 'eat' soup even though it is a liquid!


                                                       Pea Pod Soup                                                                                    
1 onion chopped
1 stick of celery chopped
1 small clove of garlic chopped
large knob of butter
1 med potato peeled & chopped small
300g pea-pods
3 sprigs of mint
Pepper & salt
1l stock
Whipped cream & chopped mint to serve

Chopped garlic, onion & celery

Chopped potato, mint and stock

Heat the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and soften the onion celery and garlic in it.
Add the potato, pea-pods, mint and the stock and bring to the boil.
Taste the stock and season with pepper and salt. Turn the heat down and simmer until the pods are soft and the potato cooked, about 10 - 15 minutes.


Turn the heat off and leave till cool enough to blend in a processor or with a stick blender. Blend and then put through a 'mouli' or a sieve, return to a clean pan and reheat.
Serve topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of chopped mint. 

A plate of soup for eating


Finding a box of memories.

        When I was growing up in the kitchen drawer there was a knife known as "The knife"!
It had been a carbon steel dinner knife, but over the years it had been sharpened so much the blade had worn away to about 3 inches. It was very easy to sharpen and when just sharpened you could have shaved with it.
        I had forgotten about it until the other week when I was passing a local second hand shop. There were some boxes outside and one was marked everything '50c'! How could I resist a rummage? So I delved in and found an old carving fork, a carbon steel bread knife with the word "Bread" carved into the handle similar to one that we'd had at home, and then down at the bottom of the box I spotted a bone handle and a blade that looked very familiar. It was a "The knife"!
         Lots of memories came flooding back of home, learning to cook and the wonderful Delia who helped Mum and was always there too. 
         I brought the three pieces into the shop and happily handed over my €1.50.
I've given the three of them a good clean and now the have pride of place in my kitchen drawer.
                                           Did "The knife" sharpen up well? Yes!

"The Knife mark 2"