Friday, 25 January 2008
Thursday, 24 January 2008
Monday, 21 January 2008
Thursday, 17 January 2008
The main points which save energy are
- Slicing the potatoes fairly thinly to reduce cooking time
- putting the potatoes into cold water and then bringing it to the boil so that the potatoes start to cook while the water is being heated
- using just enough water to cover the potatoes so that energy is not used to heat excess water
- keeping the lid on the pan at all times
- turning off the heat before the end of the cooking and letting the potatoes continue cooking in the hot water
The recipe I was using the mash for is a favourite of ours Anglesey Eggs. I saw this recipe in a magazine several years ago but never copied it down so my version my well vary from the original. I don't know whether it has any connection with the island of Anglesey or whether someone wanted a welsh sounding name because the recipe contains leeks.
It is a very simple supper dish to prepare. Basically it is a layer of mashed potatoes and leeks, topped with hard boiled eggs and cheese sauce.
Prepare enough mashed potato to feed everyone and stir into it steamed chopped leeks. My leeks are not very big this year so I use one per person. Put the leek/potato mixture into a casserole dish, level the surface and with the back of a spoon make shallow depressions for the hard boiled eggs. I use one or two eggs per person.
Prepare enough fairly thick cheese sauce to cover the eggs and potato mixture. I use a strong cheddar cheese. Pour the cheese sauce over the eggs and potato mix.
Then put in the oven ( around 180C) to heat through, which takes about 15 minutes or simply put under the grill until the cheese sauce bubbles. You can assemble it in advance and then cook it later but to cook from chilled it will need a lot longer probably about 45 minutes for the size shown here.
I usually serve this with carrots and cabbage as it seems to need some brightly coloured vegetables to brighten up the plate otherwise it does look all very pale!
Sunday, 13 January 2008
Not quite in flower yet, the first celandine.
Shrubs which flower in the winter often tend to be less showy than summer blooms but getting up close with the camera shows lots of detail that might be missed with just a quick glance.
This my favourite of these photographs, I'd always thought rosemary had quite insignificant flowers until I saw all the details in close up.
The view from my kitchen window into the back garden looks very dull and muddy, it wasn't until I took my camera out and looked more closely that I noticed how much was out in flower even on a dull January day.
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
The pictures were taken by Peter Menzel and are from the book "Hungry Planet" .
Sunday, 6 January 2008
Thursday, 3 January 2008
I don't know when workplaces started to be heated to high temperatures but I know of several buildings which are kept at such a high temperature that windows have to be opened to let the heat out! I don't know which came first, that buildings are hot so everyone wears short sleeved clothes in the winter or that fashion has dictated that light weight clothes are worn and so heating has to be raised accordingly.
There must be a whole generation growing up who wear similar clothes summer and winter and alter the temperature of their environment rather than change their clothing to suit the season. Of course its not just work places that are being heated to higher temperatures, the internal temperature of many homes has risen over the last few decades. An interesting statistic I found in the book "How We Can Save the Planet" by Mayer Hillman is that in the 1970s the average internal temperature of homes ( in the UK ) was 13C compared to an average of 19C today. That is a huge increase in just 30 years.
Perhaps now that energy prices are rising there will be a return to more comfortably heated buildings.