Wednesday, 27 July 2011

By request - Marmalade Cottage mulled wine

Essential for any winter party!

You will need:
Two bottles of reasonable red wine
One orange
Half a dozen cloves
A stick of cinnamon
Sugar to taste

Stud the orange with the cloves, and bake it in a 180deg oven for about 20 minutes.

Pour the wine into a saucepan, add the cinnamon, slice the baked orange into fairly small pieces and add to the wine.

Bring to a very gentle simmer for five minutes or so.

Taste and add sugar until it makes you feel warm and cozy.

Share with friends around a fire.

By request - Marmalade Cottage clam chowder

At the creative one's birthday party, the clam chowder was a hit. Which rather surprised the practical one, as she'd never even tasted it before!

This is the recipe, adapted from one found on the internet.

Serves about 8

Ingredients3 medium potatoes cut into 1cm dice
750g clam meat (I could find only frozen meat, but if you get fresh clams, you will need to steam them open in some water or white wine and strain carefully to get rid of any sand or grit.
2 litres fish stock (hot)
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup flour
1 brown onion, chopped finely
2-3 sticks of celery, chopped finely
4-6 cloves garlic finely chopped
600ml light cream
salt and pepper to taste 3 bay leaves
As much fresh dill as you like

Gently melt the butter, and sauté the onions, celery and garlic, but don’t let it get more than pale golden. The soup has to be white.

Stir in the flour quickly with a wooden spoon, then add the hot stock a dribble at a time, stirring as you go until it’s all incorporate and nice and smooth.

Add the bay and half the dill, then the potatoes and three-quarters of the clams, simmer until the potatoes are soft.

Take out the bay leaves.

Whizz with a stick blender, then add cream and adjust your seasoning.

Add the rest of the clams and simmer until they’re cooked. Just before serving add the rest of the dill.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

We have growth

The reinventors have been trying to put off working in the garden in favour of getting the house ready.  Which was a good idea, but the weeds and mud and lack of things to eat has gotten to both of them.  So there have been a couple of forays into the soil. 

 The broadbeans have sprouted.

 Marmalade Cottage will have tangeloes, which make superior marmalade.

 The cavalo nero survived being dug up, roughly potted, then replanted.

 Marmalade Cottage will have lemons in a couple of years.  In the meantime the lovely neighbours have been bringing over great bags to keep the reinventors going.

An experiment - a male and female kiwifruit.  One male will, apparently, fertilise up to eight females, but there simply isn't enough space.  Sometime very soon, they will need a strong trellis.

The kitchen comes together

The cooking corner.  No clanging around in too-small drawers trying to find a soup ladle - everything is in reach.

The washing up corner.  Lots of places for dishes to drain.

The inaugural party

So it was the creative one's birthday yesterday, and what better excuse does one need to throw a party?

The reinventors were most pleased that no one went through a floorboard, and nothing attached to the house caught fire.  There does seem to be rather more beer and wine after the party than before, and they are not drawing any conclusions from that.

The free-off-Gumtree stove performed admirably - clam chowder, spiced mushroom and cauliflower soup, baked potatoes, beef stew, braised lentils, broccoli with lemon and almond sauce, and mulled wine. 

It did not cope with pavlova.  But, as any creative cook knows, lots of whipped cream and fruit atop will adequately disguise a flattish meringue.

The reinventors suspect that's the first party Marmalade Cottage has seen in nearly 50 years.  And Marmalade Cottage had a lovely time.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Yes, we still have no internets

But there is progress.

After the practical one cracked the shits at the contractor who wanted to charge $620 a hour to dig a trench, and dug it herself, it then took another two weeks for anything to happen with the trench.

But at last the contractor of the contractor of Telstra showed up to put cable in the trench.  And left without even filling it in.  However we have a plug in the wall that will soon be connected to the outside world.

Which is progress indeed!

In less technical news - the kitchen is all but finished and there are fruit trees planted in the back yard.  The loungeroom sports its first coat of paint, which was not achieved without setback - the creative one (who is a big lad) put his foot through a floorboard.  So the search is now on for matching boards with which to patch.

The Marmalade Cottage family briefly grew to four with the arrival of Susie, a Maltese Terrier-Shitzhu cross.  Except Susie, who is seven and has always had people and other dogs around her, could not cope with being left alone, and destroyed her leash, every cardboard box she could reach and most of the potted herb garden, before climbing a fence and visiting the neighbours.  The reinventors simply aren't able to be with her all the time, so she is looking for new owners.

Lola cat is much relieved at the departure of Susie.