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    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    "Heroes of the Mine"- Dedicated to Our Miners, Their Families and Friends

    This week a big box of photos and memorabilia was delivered to me. It had been in storage for about 10 years.
    As I was sifting through papers, belonging to my Father, on Wednesday morning... I came across this poem written by My Grandfather, dated 5th March 1927
    It was particularly relevant and poignant, due to the terrible tragedy, unfolding here in the West Coast of New Zealand.
    As I was typing the Poem, to send to my family, there was a newsflash, that there had been a second explosion and that the 29 Miners, trapped in the mine would have perished.
    In shock, I Googled 1927, and found that indeed there was another terrible tragedy, on 1st March 1927 in
    The Marine Colliery
    Cwm, Blaenau Gwent
    55 souls perished.
    This area was close to my family home in Rogerstone, Monmouthshire, Wales

    My Grandfather, John Samuel was obviously moved by that disaster and on the 5th March 1927, he wrote this poem,
    I had to share it. So relevant.
    I never knew my Grandad (he died aged 65 in 1929). I wish I had.

    Heroes of the Mine

    Not alone on the fields of battle
    Mid the roar of shell and gun
    Where the awful fight is raging
    Is the name of Hero won.
    Who will dare to tell the story
    That our heroes all are dead?
    No, we have them by the thousand
    In the fight for daily bread
    Facing death with all its terrors
    In the dark and tragic mine,
    Risking all to save a brother
    With an energy sublime
    Once again that awful message
    Flashes through the morning air
    Filling homes that were so happy
    With its note of sad despair.
    While the cry for willing helpers
    Stirs each faithful loyal heart,
    Ready, stands a band of heroes
    Eager there to play their part.
    Nurses, Doctors, grim old miners
    Quickly answers to the call,
    If by chance to save a brother
    In the fight they too may fall.
    Noble deeds has been recorded
    That should stir our hearts with pride,
    Men of stations high and lowly
    Stand together side by side
    Let those deeds be ne-er forgotten
    Deep engraved upon each heart,
    For a duty done so nobly
    Each one played a heroes part.

    John Samuel 5th March 1927

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Easy Healthy Bread

    Annabel Langbein’s Easy Bread
    I was watching Annabel Langbein’s TV Programme on TV1 and she made this very easy bread.
    I decided to try it and it was very good.
    I halved the recipe and just made one loaf.

    Now it does need time to cool, before you cut or it just becomes a mess, but it tastes terrific.

    4 teaspoons honey
    2 cups very hot water
    2 cups cold water
    7 teaspoons yeast

    2 3/4 cups whole meal flour
    2 3/4 cups strong white flour
    3 teaspoons salt
    2 cups sunflower seeds

    Handful of pumpkin or sunflower seeds to topping (Optional)

    Into a bowl add the honey and the hot water
    Dissolve the honey and add the cold water
    This should now be hand hot water, perfect for yeast to work
    If it is a bit hot, let it cool a little
    Sprinkle yeast on top and let it bloom
    Set aside 5 minutes

    In another bowl place the flours and the salt and the sunflower seeds

    Add yeast and water

    Mix and pour into 2 greased loaf tine
    Sprinkle top with Pumpkin or Sunflower seeds
    Snip top of loaves with scissors or slash with a night

    Into 80C oven for 20 minutes to help rising

    Then turn up to 210C and cook a further 30 minutes.

    I found that the 30 minutes was not long enough so I did the Doris Grant trick
    Took the loaf our of the tin and put it back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

    When you remove it tap it
    It should sound hollow
    Then it’s done.

    It is delicious.
    Toasted a slice for breakfast, with melted Butter, Vegemite and Tomato slices.

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Peach, Blueberry and Craisin Pie, Absolutely Fabulous

    I have been messing around with fruit pie fillings and this is so good I have to share it.
    I used bought frozen pastry but next time I will make my own.

    A hint from Ina Garten, when cooking fruit pies, toss the fruit in a little flour to thicken the juices while it cooks.

    When it hot its like eating hot chunky berry jam.

    1 400 gm tin sliced peaches (drained and chopped into chunks)
    1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries (thawed)
    Handful of Craisins
    2 heaped teaspoons flour
    2 tablespoons demerara sugar

    2 x sheets of frozen Sweet Short pastry
    1 egg whisked with a tablespoon of water (egg wash)
    1 tablespoon demerara sugar

    Place all the fruit, flour and sugar into a bowl and toss well
    Set aside

    Meanwhile heat oven to 190C
    Grease a 20cm pie tin
    Roll pastry to fit tin
    Also roll a lid
    Let rest in fridge for 20 minutes

    Remove from fridge
    Prick base with fork
    Fill with the fruit

    Brush edges with egg wash
    Top with lid
    Press edges together
    Make a couple of slits in the top
    Brush with egg wash and sprinkle over with the remaining demerara sugar

    Into oven for 25 minutes
    Remove and cover with foil and put back into oven for another 15 minutes.
    Look at it beautiful

    Hint: I found that even after that time, the bottom is still not cooked properly
    If this happens to you
    Let the pie cool a little
    Remove from tin and put back into the oven, onto a hot baking sheet.
    Loosely cover with foil to stop burning
    And give it another 10 minutes

    Remove and cool
    It is divine. I just love it.

    Best Meat Sauce for Pasta

    I have to say... I have worked out my best recipe, (for my palette), for Meat Sauce for Pasta.
    Sophia our granddaughter agrees with me and she has great taste buds.
    I have incorporated plenty of vegetables, great for the kids.

    Its probably not a lot different than many others, but here it is anyway
    I like to fry the mince meat separately to a good flavour, then add to vege mixture.

    2-3 tablespoons olive oil
    500 gms minced beef
    1 onion finely chopped
    1 large clove garlic finely chopped
    1 carrot grated
    1 courgette grated
    1 stick celery finely sliced
    6 mushrooms finely chopped

    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Pinch red chili flakes
    1 tablespoon dried oregano
    150 mls white wine
    140 gms tomato paste
    400 gm tin of tomatoes

     Put 1 tablespoon olive oil  into a hot pan, add mince and brown

    Season with Salt and pepper
    Add white wine and reduce till alcohol is absorbed
    Set aside

    Meanwhile heat a another pan to medium heat
    Add 2 tbs olive oil
    Add onions saute till softened
    Add garlic then carrot, celery, courgettes and mushrooms
    Season with Salt and pepper, chili flakes and oregano
    Saute till soft

    Add tomato paste and cook out for a few minutes
    Add tomatoes and cooked mince
    Rinse the tomatoes tin and the mince pan, with water, about 300 mls
    Add to pan

    Bring to boil and simmer about 30 minutes.
    It will reduce down and become rich and fabulous.
    Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
    Now, it is ready for any dish requiring meat sauce.
    It freezes well, great to have on hand, just double the ingredients and always have some on hand.

    Wednesday, November 03, 2010

    Carrot Soup Island Style

    The Beautiful No-Ever Beach
    Our host family Tony, Kathy with their girls including the brand new baby 48 hours old.
    Tony supplied us with a leg of suckling pig.  Freshly
    I have only had this once before and it is so fabulous, as long as you get your head around baby pigs. BUT we all eat lamb and milk fed veal…so, I guess its not much difference.
    The Skin was so white and the flesh a very pale pink.
    It roasted beautifully. What a crackling. My friend Lois, who is a champion Pork cooker would be proud.

    Anyway only 4 of us ate the roast so there was a lot left over. Being my Mother’s daughter, nothing ever goes to waste so I set about and made
    A Japanese Pork Curry, Thursday's Dinner
    The leftovers were dinner on Friday night
    Curry on Toast

    Still had a lot of meat left over so I carved off the best bits and made

    A Pork and Ginger Beer Stew with Green Capsicum, onions and white wine.
    And with the bones and residual meat

    A beautiful gelatinous stock.

    And Carrot Soup

    We did that pig justice

    Carrot Soup
    50 gms butter
    6 carrots peeled and cut into small cubes, (you could grate it)
    Sea salt and black pepper
    1-2 teaspoons ground coriander
    2 cloves garlic finely chopped
    100 mls ginger beer
    Meat Stock, preferably homemade Of course I used the pork stock
    I think Veal or chicken would be just as good Beef a little strong perhaps.
    A good slosh of Thai Ginger Sauce (Shop bought, or if you are lucky enough Heinzie’s version)

    Melt the butter in a pot
    Add carrots
    Gently sauté till they are coated with the butter
    Season with S & P and coriander
    Add garlic
    Stir again then add ginger beer
    Simmer till it reduces and the carrot start to soften

    Add the stock about 600 mls I think
    Add Thai Ginger sauce
    Simmer again till carrots really soft
    20- 30 minutes.
    Blitz in blender till smooth

    And serve. Deep orange colour and delicious.

    The Stock was really simple.

    I used what was in the fridge
    Threw in the pork bones and any residual meat that I hadn’t used
    2 onions cut in half
    4 celery stick
    Bunch parsley
    4 cloves garlic
    Green capsicum scraps
    Couple of chillies
    ½ bottle white wine
    Sea salt and Black pepper
    Water to top the pot up.

    I cooked it for about 2 hours just simmering away
    Strain it
    Cooled and removed fat from the top
    And Voila
    Stock fit for a king.