Monday, 21 October 2013

# 380 Shipshape and Bristol Fashion

One of the teachers I had at University enjoyed telling us the story behind many of the idioms used in the English language and since then this is something that's interested me.

Everyday we hear or use many phrases and sayings without having a clue as to where they come from and that's why I enjoyed Red Herrings and White Elephants by Albert Jack so much. Although I'm familiar with a few of the phrases in the book I had no idea where they originated from so it was both fun and educational to find that out. Other phrases I've heard before but their meaning wasn't obvious to me, Shipshape and Bristol fashion is one and Bob's Your Uncle is another. The first for no other reason than that we live only a few miles from Bristol and the 2nd because I always thought  it sounds quite funny.

According to the book Shipshape and Bristol Fashion is used to say that everything is neat, tidy and in good order. In the days before Liverpool became a major English port, Bristol was the premier western port from which most ships would embark on transatlantic voyages. It was also a naval port and prided itself on its reputation for efficiency and neatly packed cargoes. The traditional high standards of ships leaving Bristol lead to the phrase passing into the English language.

Bob's Your Uncle is often used to describe something that is resolved in your favour without much effort, such as "Just send the form in and Bob's your uncle." The phrase was in regular use in Britain from the 1890s and comes from the promotion in 1886 of Arthur Balfour to Secretary of State for Ireland. Balfour was a surprise choice for the position and few regarded him as qualified for the post. But when it became known he was the nephew of Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Third Marquis of Salisbury, the joke circulated that, if Robert was your uncle, a deed was as good as done.

If you'd like to know more about many of these everyday sayings you can find a PDF copy of this book here. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

# 379 Milk loaf

You can guess from the name of this loaf that it's made with milk instead of water. The result is a loaf of bread with a very soft crust and texture which is perfect for sandwiches.

The dough is quite sticky and difficult to knead by hand so it's best to do it all in a stand mixer with a dough hook.

Milk loaf

20g fresh yeast
475g strong white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
25g butter, melted
Pinch of salt
340ml milk

Dissolve the yeast in the milk.

Put the flour into the bowl of your stand mixer, add the sugar to one side and the salt to the other, then add the butter and finally the yeast mixture.

Knead with the dough hook for 10 minutes approx. or until the dough is coming off the sides of the bowl.

Shape the dough into a ball (it may help to dust your hands with a little flour) and prove in the bowl previously used, cover with clingfilm and allow to prove until doubled in size.

Knock back, knead for a few seconds and then shape, dust with flour and place in a loaf tin. Prove a second time until doubled in size again.

Bake in a preheated oven to 220ºC for 10 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 180ºC and bake for 15-20 minutes more.

Keep an eye on your loaf while baking, as it browns quite quickly. To check if the loaf is baked tap the bottom and if it sounds hollow remove it from the tin and cool on a wire rack.



Tuesday, 8 October 2013

# 378 Lemon mousse with crushed biscuits

For my birthday this year instead of a cake I made this lemon mousse with crushed biscuits after A. spotted a tin of condensed milk in the cupboard (he loves the stuff).

It's not that cold yet so I thought I'd share the recipe with you in case you want to try it. This lemon mousse is very quick and easy to make but I found it's best to leave to set in the fridge overnight or if you think that's too long to wait to have a taste, you can make it as early as possible in the morning and then leave it to set for at least 4 to 5 hours.

Lemon mousse with crushed biscuits

1 tin condensed milk
100ml lemon juice
200g rich tea biscuits crushed *
500ml whipping cream

In a bowl mix the condensed milk with the lemon juice. Let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Whisk the whipping cream until it thickens. Add to the condensed milk mixture and fold gently.

Choose a deep bowl and alternate layers of the cream with the crushed biscuits. The last layer should be crushed biscuits. Keep in the fridge until set and cool enough to serve (preferably overnight).

* If you buy cereal clusters you'll usually have lots of crumbs left in the packet, I used mine together with the crushed biscuits for the top layer of the mousse to add it some crunch. Also, I think crushed ginger biscuits might work very well with this mousse.



Friday, 4 October 2013

# 377 Chicken Korma

According to Wikipedia Korma is a type of curry where the meat is braised with water, stock and yogurt or cream and it can be mildly spicy or fiery.

We like spicy food but without the heat so the first option suits us fine. Hope you like this dish as much as we do.

Chicken Korma

4 chicken breasts cut into strips
3 tablespoons Korma curry spice blend
1 tub reduced fat creme-fraiche
1 small pot low fat natural yogurt
2 teaspoons ground tumeric
3 tablespoons tomato purée
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cumin seeds
Pinch of crushed chilies
Squeeze of lemon juice
Fresh coriander, chopped
Olive oil and 1 small onion, finely chopped

In a food container with lid mix all of the ingredients above, except for the meat, olive oil and onion, until well combined. Add the meat and make sure it's well coated in the marinade mixture, keep in the fridge until it's time to cook it.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion gently until softened. Add the chicken and fry for a couple of minutes until it looses its pink colour.

Add the rest of the marinade and stirr. Cook over a low heat stirring occasionaly, add a little boiling water if necessary but be careful not too add too much or you won't have a nice, thick sauce at the end.

Cook for 20-30 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Half way through cooking add some chopped fresh coriander.

Serve with white rice and a green salad or steamed vegetables.



PS - I've added a link list of all my recipes to the sidebar, just scroll down the page and you'll find links to all the recipes I posted on this blog. Also, I've had requests from readers from across the pond to convert my recipes. Unfortunately that would take too much time for me to do but you can easily find conversion tables online like this one or this one. I hope these help :-)

Thursday, 3 October 2013

# 376 September photo scavenger hunt

After missing the photo scavenger hunt for August I'm joining in again with Greenthumb from Made with Love and the other bloggers taking part in this monthly photography challenge.

If you'd like to take part or simply enjoy seeing other people's photos just follow the link above to Greenthumb's blog.

Of the 12 clues I only managed 6 and here they are.

I saw this cow on a field on one of my walks, it seemed to be posing for me.

When I look at these leaves they always remind me of lace so when I saw that one of clues was Lace I knew exactly what I'd photograph.

Several similar items on one of the National Trust properties we visited.

The nearby deer park has many beautiful and interesting trees.

Small white flowers on the side of the road.