“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
"Winter is dead.”
~AA Milne, when we were very young
NOTE: I am away at the moment helping my mother with her treatment for lung cancer. I have set up a few posts to post whilst I am away as a special surprise. Some are new and some are reposts of old favourites that you may have forgotten, or if you are a new reader may not even have seen. I'll be back at the end of May, but in the meantime . . . Enjoy!
PS - I will only have sporadic internet use, so if you ask a question and I don't get back to you . . . it's not that I don't want to. It just may take me a while.
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Last week I got an e-mail from Aaron (Publicasity) asking me if I would like to try out some of Jamie Oliver's new Kitchen Kit. Would I????
He didn't have to ask twice!!!!
A few days later a box arrived and I was thrilled to pieces to see what was in side. Jamie's Twist'n'Slide Apple Corer, a lovely coarse microwaveplane grater, a 3-in-1 vegetable peeler (with blades for vegetables, soft fruit and jullienning) a lovely Garlic Slice'n'Press, a 5 piece set of Kitchen tools (slotted and plain spoons, slotted fish slice, ladel and slotted turner) . . . all in beautiful polished stainless steel with soft grip handle inserts.
The Piece De Resistance though was a beautiful Beech Wood Knife Block, containing five lovely knives! (Paring, Utility, Chef's, Carving and Bread). Oh my but this is a brilliant set of knives composed of full tang Japanese MoV Stainless steel blades, a chunky weighted bolster for ease of chopping and slicing and beautifully carved handles.
What's also really brilliant about them is each knife has it's own name on the end of it so that you can easily identify it immediately without having to pull them all out of the rack to find the one you are looking for! (Can you say Over-The-Moon???)
I could hardly wait to use them, and I figured the best way to try them out was to do a test run of one of the 30 minute menu's in Jamie's newest book 30 Minute Meals!! Yep, I decided to really put Jamie to the test!
In honor of Bonfire Night I chose the Bonfire Night friendly menu of Catherine Wheel Sausage, Horseradish mash, Apple Salad, Sage and Leek Gravy and Stuffed Apples on page 256 of the book. (The Toddster is a real meat and potatoes kind of a guy and I thought he'd really enjoy it as well.)
Jamie suggests that you have all your ingredients and equipment assembled before you start, including a kettle of already boiled water, a heated grill and saucepans ready and waiting on a low heat on the stove.
It probably took me about 20 minutes to get everything set up before I started the timer.
Everything went like clockwork. I used almost all of the kit as well, which was nice. The knives are beautiful. I loved the apple corer. It worked really well and cut the cores out the first time. It also has an integrated core ejector system which worked wonderfully at ejecting the apple cores from the shaft, lickety split and with no mess!
I am happy to say that, at the end of 30 minutes, my kitchen was a tip . . . but we had a beautiful and delicious meal waiting for us to chow down on! (I normally like to clean as I go, but the 30 minute method doesn't allow for that nonsense!) There were a few minor nuisances, such as my stove and kitchen being far too small, but aside from that I really enjoyed the experience. Wonderful kitchen tools to use, a lovely cookbook with fantastic recipes . . . what more could you ask for? (well, besides a larger kitchen, a new stove and a dishwasher that is!)
All in all I'd call it a success. Thank you Aaron for allowing me to try out these new gadgets! You really made my week! I also have to say thank you to Jamie for a great menu with some fantastic quick and easy recipes!!
Serves 4 to 6
Delicious baked apples stuffed with a sweet almond and dried apricot mixture. Adapted from Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Dinners.
4 small apples (or 6 if making it for six people)
(I used spartans)
1 large free range egg
100g of golden caster sugar
100g of dried apricots
100g of whole blanched almonds
Optional: Cointreau for drizzling
Single cream or natural yoghurt to serve
Core the apples and then carefully score a line horizontally around the middle of each one, taking care not to cut in too deeply. Break the egg into the bowl of a food processor. Add the sugar, apricots and almonds. Blitz until combined. Leave it a bit chunky. Use a spoon (or your fingers like I did) to stuff the apples with this mixture, working from both ends. Spread any leftover mixture in the bottom of a lightly buttered earthenware dish. (Make sure it is large enough to hold all the apples, but snuggly. Also make sure it is microwave safe.) Sit the apples on top and then microwave, uncovered, for 10 minutes on full power.
Preheat the oven to about 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Remove the apples from the microwave. If any stuffing has come out, use a spoon to push it back in. Pop the apples into the heated oven to caramelize for a few minutes.
Serve warm with a jugful of single cream or some natural yoghurt. (Jamie suggests that you drizzle over a splash of Cointreau and quickly set it alight for drama! Serve once the flames have died away.)
PS - If there's anyone out there who wants someone to test out a new LARGER stove or a DISHWASHER or umm . . . a LARGER KITCHEN . . . I'm your Gal!!
One of these would do very nicely thanks!