nearly retired, married, kids, grandkids

  • Location: Fife, Scotland, UK, but from Massachusetts

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Where is BitchinFixin's

I'm really glad you are ok. I can send a contribution if you tell me where.

England In Less Than A Month - I need some help!

Okay, so nobody's said anything about Swindon yet - I wonder why??!

A challenge, SEers. I throw down the gauntlet. If you can list a great eating place in Swindon I will be very grateful too! We have to go there sometimes, not by choice, but into each life...etc.

Advice on great places to eat in Europe

And what about the cafe in the Gasteig in the Heidhausen district of Munich? Right near downtown, buzzy, good food (mostly pasta of various descriptions), reasonably priced, and the Gasteig is an impressive venue. You might even want to attend a concert there.

If you could only make one...

Pecan or walnut shortbread balls (see 'what do you call this cooky' thread)! After years of baking umpteen different kinds, now this is just about the only one I do.

I just saw a recipe for stollen bars though that I am going to try out. In Germany now they sell 'Stollen bites', mini-mini-stollens, which are delicious; the bars look to give a very similar result.

What do you call this cookie?

Pecan shortbread balls. Or walnut shortbread balls. Most years they are the only kind of Christmas cookie I make now, people love them so much.

I seem to have less and less of a sweet tooth as I get older and older. So I've recently discovered these are delicious just baked and not rolled in icing sugar afterwards. The dough itself isn't very sweet, as I'm sure you all know.

what about candied fruit?

Yes, @JT, sounds as if @rasellers0 doesn't really mean the full-on 'candied fruit' I've done in the past.

I've had fruit simply dipped in sugar syrup cooked to 'hard crack' stage and it was beautiful. But short-lived as you say.


Many thanks both! No, no vegges. Maybe one of these for daytime, one for evening? Great!

Writers, get serious about cooking and use a scale in recipes.

Devil's advocate here - being able to convert weight recipes to cups and spoons can be a great boon actually - think isolated cottage on an island off the coast of Scotand with no scales!

Conversely it seems perverse to design and use multi-loaf bread recipes that call for e.g. 15 cups of flour (yes!) instead of 4 lbs/1.8 kilos of flour.

Think laterally and go with what's least hassle that gets the results!

what about candied fruit?

PS @Jerzee I think what I have done in the past is what you are calling 'Glace fruit'.

It seems to be called both things. I did find this procedure here but I note it's only a week - works best if you do it over 2 weeks. It works fine with tinned fruit btw, e.g. apricots. You then don't bother with blanching the fruit to start with.

what about candied fruit?

Well, I did once make candied strawberries. I followed the trad. method which involves gradual replacement of the water in the fruit, with sugar. You pour a syrup involving glucose as well as sugar, over the fruit, then dissolve more sugar in the syrup gradually over 2 weeks. As per The Good Housekeeping Cookery Book, Mrs Beeton, etc. I'd used this method successfully in the past for pineapple, apricots, pears, kiwi fruit (very pretty, those), tiny whole peeled mandarins, etc. Back when I did such things.

But really the results for strawberries were not great. Unfortunately strawberries are really fragile because of high water content. And their flavour is so evanescent.

As you say @lf, citrus peel is a different matter altogether, much denser and dryer. I am just about to add sugar to a batch of orange shells which have been boiled soft and then soaked in syrup for a couple of days. You don't have to do the gradual replacement with them. A few days suffice!

But by coincidence today the Farmer's Market had some so-called' dried strawberries'. They weren't great, I'd have called them 'candied', turns out they were processed with fruit juice concentrate. Mostly just tasted sweet to me. I've had sliced freeze-dried strawberries before and they really are good, but helluva expensive. Maybe that would be the best way to preserve them as a gifting treat.

Lets Talk Fruit Cake!

PS: I didn't bother with the marzipan, what she's describing is the decoration for a traditional 'Simnel' or Easter cake in the UK, but you can use whatever topping you want. For Christmas fruitcake I do use marzipan, it's very good but not necessary..
The second time I made it, I used loaf tins, obviously baked it a shorter time, and it worked fine.

Lets Talk Fruit Cake!

Try this one. It's traditional but with a few twists. Loads of booze. I've been making fruitcake all my adult life (a LOOOONG time!) and this is one of the best I've ever made.
(The top picture isn't for the recipe that follows, the picture for the recipe is underneath it.)

Stumped... What is the name of this pastry

They have these sometimes here in Scotland also. This type of tart or tartlet is quite common in Europe generally. Sometimes they are full-size. A favourite in the UK is Bakewell Tart, with a layer of jam or lemon curd underneath the almond filling, and sometimes without the sliced almonds on top. I'm sure folk are right, yours is a 'tartchen'.

The filling is called frangipane (or frangipan). it's a mix of ground almonds (or part cake crumbs or ground rice if you are feeling poor!), egg, sugar, butter and flavouring. Someone posted a picture of a pear tart recently which looks to be a pear frangipane tart. This type of tart is SO easy to make at home, and so delicious! In fact you can just bake the filling on its own and have it with stewed fruit, or put some jam in the bottom of the baking dish and then top with the filling and sliced almonds, and bake.

Fun and sophisticated cupcakes?

The best cupcakes have a filling, in my experience.

There is a silly, expensive, dedicated cupcake shop in our town, but the ones with butter icing are good (NOT the ones with fondant icing - yuk!), and that's mainly because they always have an interesting filling. Otherwise they are kind of boring. It is more work though.

Microplaned Garlic - How do I do it?

I have a garlic press with fairly big holes which is v easy to clean. Nowadays I don't even bother to peel the garlic before crushing. Works just fine and saves more time than anything I've heard yet. You can squeeze and resqueeze too to minimize waste.

I've never quite got the snobbery about garlic presses. Even the late great Elisabeth David abhorred them. Supposedly it makes the garlic bitter or something but I've never ever noticed that, no one I've cooked for has ever noticed either.

Left over Make Over Meals-Your best dishes

How about for lunch next day, either reheated or just out of the pan, cold? Always tastes better than it did originally...OH takes a bowl to work most days with everything in it, heats it up in the microwave, everyone is always jealous! Sometimes we fight over who gets it....

Home Town Favorites

Great topic, @bitchin'!

Here's my example: Fudge doughnuts. Found in East Fife, Scotland (St Andrews, Cupar, East Neuk). Plus some bakeries do a Fudge Doughnut birthday cake - yes - a GIANT fudge doughnut!!

A fudge doughnut is a fried yeast doughnut just like a jelly doughnut, only filled with custard instead of jelly, and coated with a delicious toffee-flavoured glace icing on top. It's divine.

Of course there are lots of other indigenous Scottish dishes here in St Andrews - haggis, clootie dumpling, black bun - but they aren't quite so specific to this particular small area.

I must confess I did once have something called a 'toffee custard doughnut' from a doughnut shop in Piccadilly Circus in London. It was almost the same... I bet they stole the idea from East Fife though!

What "normal" food have you never had?

only if your mother doesn't make it, right?

Boiled Vegeterian Husband Risotto

@soozm, definitely.

And hey guys - what about us trannies? start veggie, end up carnie - what about us? Huh??

Open letter to the foodies of tomorrow

@db - 'cake pop lemmings' - love it!!!

Bread Baking and Other Culinary Fantasies...

I'm no breadmaking expert. But one thing you said, @gargupie, rang bells with me, about the strong yeast taste in homemade bread.

I found that too and discovered if I just used a small teaspoon, say, where recipe called for a Tablespoon, of yeast, and then let it rise much longer, that seemed to solve the problem. A lot of very fast bread recipes use loads of yeast, for fast rising Try going slow - which is no harder than going fast, just - slower! - and see.

Food you were denied as a kid and crave now

@Jerzee, interesting story about the olives. I had the opposite treatment. I too adored olives so for my 7th? 8th? 9th? birthday they gave me a whole, entire jar, all for me, including the brine.. Maybe they thought I'd get sick of them? Not a chance...!

How do you keep track of your food?

I used to keep track in my head. But something seems to have happened lately - category slippage? Grey cell reduction? Anyway - I just go and look every once in a while.

Once I started deploying 'mis en place' instead of getting halfway through making something and realizing I was missing flour/sugar/eggs/butter/tomatoes/bacon or whatever, that's how I know when I'm running out.

Who can tolerate raw onions/scallions/garlic?

I like thin slices of raw green onion (and @Jerzee you are right, the green part is milder), and raw sweet red onion. Others can be hard on the digestion.

But I can tolerate raw regular onion sliced thin if it's been soaked in salt and vinegar for a wee while (@Hotnp, similar to your suggestion). Try it, it really does work. Doesn't solve the restaurant problem though.


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