Wednesday, July 27, 2011

sorry, thanks, hair and recipes

Dear all
Apologies for and many thanks to all of the people who have been in recently and have had to endure our ongoing telephone issue. As some may be aware, we transferred from tiscali to bt some time ago and the changeover was beset with difficulties. I’d like to say that those are now behind us but they aren’t. the broadband situation has been cleared up but now the answer machine and the card machine do not work. The line has been checked and there is apparently no problem, other than the fact that we cannot operate. Thanks go to everyone who has had to walk to Lloyds bank or tescos to get cash. Anyone who feels that they may be able to help and is willing to work in exchange for food and wine, please get in touch.

Other news: part of the current menu is for dave, whose wife’s 40th birthday I recently attended. It was a 70’s theme so I went as a punk, with coiff’ed hair, brothelcreepers and safety pins. this is what it looked like up close.

full length and less drunk,

i was quite pleased to be able to get an almost decent quiff but it got me all emotional for my quiffs of days gone by so i thought i'd share a couple with you.

this is the rock'n'roll suicide djs from north staffs poly, 1985/6, with hair going from the left of nick, h, rich, me and bill.

a quiffed me on the bus from luxembourg, possibly with a hangover and the very uncomfortable earphones of the walkman. and lastly a full length shot from poland with ian cock (yes, really, trying looking him up to get back in touch, adding in that he's from the brighton area, on google) looking moody (and hungry)

for the recipe, this is one that i'm happy with. it's a bit fiddly but worth it. i first saw the technique used by john burton race on the great british menu and decided to give it a go. the problem was that he used some kind of fondant icing and melted that, which gives a clear finish, i just burnt loads of pans trying to do the same and ended, convinced that his icing was different to the rubbish that i had bought in town. the recipe is for the biscuits in the napoloeon but the start of it will allow you to do loads of stuff.

start by making a caramel from caster sugar (say 200g), 30ml of water and a teaspoon of glucose, or golden syrup. this will stop it from crystallising. you need to keep it on a moderate heat but don't leave it. first it will melt, then it will start to darken on the edges. you are looking for a deep brown but one that is not burnt. it needs to reach about 140C but don't check it with anything other than a sugar thermometer. once it is brown and smells like a nice caramel tip it onto a tray that is covered with baking paper and allow to go cold. (you could have added nuts etc. to make your own nutty slack or some bicarb to make honeycomb, back then)

once cold, smash it up (the damned) and grind in a coffee grinder until fine and like caster sugar again. the beauty of this sugar is that because it has been heated to that temperature, in order to melt the sugar again it only needs to attain a fraction of 140C. what burton race did was to blitz with basil and then spread a thin layer of the sugar/basil mix on to baking paper. put that in the oven and you create a kind of glass from the sugar that, if you have scored it, can be used to make boxes etc for mousses. what we do, for our chocolate almond mousse cake is mix this with almonds, say 50:50, and then spread thinly and re-cook to make very fine nutty slack. this is the basis of the biscuit but because cranachan has oats, you need oats. my first attempt used porridge oats and was not good so i decided to try granola. we used lizzies something or other from waitrose. simply blitz it up and add to the sugar in 50:50. spread thinly and score to create square biscuits. melt in the oven set at 140c for 5-10 minutes and the sugar will melt. allow to cool for a couple of hours and then create your biscuit shapes.

to make the napoleon, layer with raspberries and cream.



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