Mistakes, I’ve made a few

My little brother suggested that I was not being upfront about things that go wrong in the Battenburg kitchen. Not strictly true, but for his benefit: 

My second attempt at sloe jelly is wending its way through the sewers of north London. In spite of the fact that I made a return trip to Totteridge all by myself on a wet Sunday afternoon and harvested what looked like a perfect kilo of big ripe sloes, the jelly was a disaster. I had a feeling that the juice I got from the sloes and apples was a rather odd shade of deep purple, with a very thick consistency, but I decided to proceed. Mr B came home, shook one of the jars and said, a little harshly, if accurately, “that’s not even jelly”. I thought it would make a fine addition to gravies and such like, but when I tasted it, I thought again. Bitter and just wrong. Particularly annoying, when the first little batch was excellent and in fact we had decided was just too damn good to share. Those two jars are hidden away safely and will only be brought out on the most special of occasions. Or when I am home alone.

The bread is not always a rip roaring success either. Knocked up a quick batch of white dough yesterday, using the last of a bag of yeast. But it was slightly on the sticky side and just didn’t want to be handled. So instead of making Missy B’s favourite pain facon beaucaire, I went for some basic little buns that grew and grew and grew. Not delicate, not pretty. At least these were still tasty.

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But everyone likes a happy ending (don’t they?) – I turned the left over slow roast lamb from the family get together a couple of weeks ago into a lovely, if unorthodox, shepherd’s pie. I had minced the lamb and mixed it up with onions, more garlic, carrots, some red wine and tomatoes and put it in the freezer. The unorthodox element was a dauphinoise topping. It’s Missy B’s second favourite way of eating potatoes (after chips) and it worked very well. Cooked the potatoes in the morning and just put them on top of the lamb half an hour before serving. It made for a rather rustic look, but it was VERY good and served three people the following night as well, only one of whom I had expected to feed.Image

Good old fashioned comfort food, served with carrots, cauliflower and green beans.

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