16 June 2013

Culinary Excursions

This weekend has seen three culinary successes hereabouts. Nothing spectacular and nothing which isn't already known, but a couple of them things I've not tried before.

We've just had Sunday dinner off a joint of bacon. A collar joint, which in my book is tastier, and cheaper, than gammon. But this time I cooked it in Coca-Cola. I've known about this method for years, but never had the nerve to try it. And we never have "full fat" Coke in the house because we both prefer the diet variety.

But somehow we had come by a bottle of Coke. And the supermarket yesterday had large (like 1.5kg) collar joints. [Collar joints should be at least this size; none of the puny rubbish, which cooks to nothing, that's normally available.]

As a method cooking ham in Coke works brilliantly. OK, I simmered ours for maybe 20 minutes longer than it really needed, but the result was meat you really could cut with a spoon. Easily the best bacon I've had in many years. It was served with plain steamed new potatoes and fresh English asparagus (also steamed), plus tarragon sauce.

The tarragon sauce was the second success; it is something I'd never thought to try before. We love tarragon but never think to put it in sauce. Basically you proceed as for parsley sauce only use lots of chopped fresh tarragon in place of parsley. It is refreshingly different and herby; and went well with the ham, the potatoes and the aspargus.

And the third success? One of our old stand-bys: mixed fruit crumble, but this time with apple, rhubarb, strawberry and peach. This was made yesterday evening before the strawberries deteriorated. Eight or so sticks of rhubarb, three Bramley apples, a large punnet (plus) of strawberries, all mixed together with half a jar of left-over peach compote and a good slug of apricot brandy; no extra sugar needed. All topped with an oaty crumble mix. Yes, it makes an enormous crumble, but that's good because it provides an excellent breakfast! Really yummy; and no need for custard, cream or whatever!

How is it that we can eat so well — albeit we probably spend more on food than most people, although we needn't — whereas the bulk of the populous seems not to know one end of a cucumber from the other?

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