[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

A June Grab-Bag
05 July 2014

'Tis summer, and one's friends' and relations' thoughts turn lightly to visits. Which is splendid! Recently my wife's sister and her husband, the sister's not my wife's obviously, came to visit. We had a rollicking good time and ate much good food, which I documented but poorly, and which thing I regret not a whit; we were socializing not slavishly recording each jot and tittle of each meal. Which means that this week's offering is a grab bag of a few of the bits we did eat, with a note or two about what I did, but no real details. For instance, that first picture is quiche. Quiche is one of my go-to dishes when I can't think of anything else, because it's easy, flexible, and difficult to screw up too badly. This one featured onion and sorrel from the garden (just the sorrel from garden, not the onion). Make or purchase a pie crust. Use about three beaten eggs and about 1 cup of milk for a largish crust. Put fillings in the crust along with as much grated cheese as it takes to fill it mostly up. I use cheddar most of the time. If you want, mix the cheese with the fillings, or arrange them nicely on top for an attractive appearance. Mix the eggs, milk, and some spices if you like - I often use black pepper. Pour the mix over the rest. Stick it in a preheated oven at about 375F/185C for fifteen minutes, then knock the heat down to 325F/160C for another half an hour. Eat hot or cold.


Pasties are fantastic because, like quiche, you can jam any old filling into them and call it George. The trick is getting the crust right. If you use pizza dough, you end up with a calzone, which is fine. Pie crust or shortcrust work all right, but tend to be a bit structurally unsound. The pasties on the top were commercial short crust and they fell apart. The ones on the bottom were a mix of equal parts white and whole wheat flour, a good glug of olive oil, and enough cold water to make them hold together. That was a winning combination - sturdy, but still edible. When I make these again, I'll take notes about actual quantities. In any case, I filled them up with leftovers, and cooked them at something like 375F/185C for maybe twenty minutes or so, until the pastry was cooked. Since I was using leftovers, the filling was already cooked, so I didn't have to worry about that. I used cabbage, roast vegetables, some chicken, and some left over roast pork. Speaking of which ...

[rolled pork roast]

This was a nice boneless pork roast of some description. I butterflied it open and layered a slurry of onion, herbs, salt, and pepper on it. Then I rolled it back up, hit it with some more salt and pepper, as well as some paprika since I wanted a sort of Hungarian feel. The skin on this one had been removed, but included, so I stuck it back on top with more salt and paprika. Then into a hot oven, full whack more or less, say 400F/200C for half an hour, then down to about 350F/175C for another half an hour - the time will vary according to size, of course. I let it rest a bit, then served it on top of boiled potatoes and red cabbage, with a sauce made from the pan drippings.


Recently we splurged on a firebox for camp cooking. It's a nifty little toy, and I've been playing with it in the backyard. The chicken pictured is a fantastic bird from our local purveyor. I brined it in a couple of litres of water with 1/2 cup salt for three hours, then left it to air-dry in the fridge until it was time to cook. The first bird I did this way I had butterflied, but this one I simply leaned on until things cracked in order to get it flatter. Then it went over the coals. Since my box is just that - a box - there is no lid, so I slapped the pot you can see in the picture over the top, essentially turning it into a smoker-slash-oven. I let it go, turning occasionally, for about forty-five minutes, while I oven roasted the potatoes and onions at 325F/160C or thereabouts. Then I moved the bird on top of the veg and finished it in the oven for another twenty minutes or so. I must say, I may well be a brining convert, especially for this sort of cooking, because the result was excellent.

You may see some of these revisited in future, with more detail, but for the moment, there is a quick précis of some dishes and techniques which have a wide variety of applications. And the latter two, if made first, can provide ingredients for the former two ...

© 2014 Jeff Berry
The Aspiring Luddite