Dried Tomatoes

It has been an interesting last few weeks, with a number of you writing in to say how much you enjoy the blog, THANKS…… it is always great to get some positive feedback. One of you wrote in to let me know I had an error in one of my recipes, again thanks. Apart from the fact that I like my recipes to be correct, again it shows that people are reading what I write. I also had someone contact me asking for a specific recipe…. so how could I refuse! This week’s recipe therefore is about how to dry tomatoes.

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The Finished Tomatoes

Here in Spain drying tomatoes at home was quite common. It was just one way of conserving the abundance of summer for the leaner times of winter. Typically ripe tomatoes were cut in half and left out on canes to dry under the hot Spanish sun. It might take two to three weeks, but the sun’s heat is free of charge and nobody was in a rush.

Unfortunately this, and many other traditional practices, have almost ceased. Nowadays people are in a rush and it is much easier and quicker to buy a jar of dried tomatoes in the local supermarket.

To read the rest of the article and to see the recipe please click here.

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Ana’s Pasta Salad

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Ana’s Pasta

Today’s dish is a savoury one that is perfect for hot summer days. It is one of our simpler salads and therefore very easy to make……I have many recipes I would like to share with you, so how do I chose which ones to write about? The answer is quite simple, you get what I eat! I had some friends round and we had this salad. We also had one of my favourite puddings, but you are all going to have to wait a little for that one……..

As I was saying, I had some friends round. They are also ex-work colleagues. We all worked together in the same company. We now all sit together with a glass or two of wine talking about the “good old times”, the times before the world went so haywire and the company we worked for felt they no longer required our services……..…

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I was fortunate(?) to learn the way of the world early on. I studied mechanical and production engineering at what is now the University of Central Lancashire. Once a week we had an hour or so when a lecturer came in and tried to make us think! He was both a brave and persistent man. Anyway, one day he asked a series of questions…… What does Sony make? What does Ford make? What does British Aerospace make? etc. We of course replied with answers such as Walkmans, cars or planes. He said we were all wrong and that these companies, like all companies, actually were there to make money!

For the rest of this weeks diatribe and the recipe, please click here.

Wycoller Cake

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Wycoller Cake

Wycoller is a beautiful, or perhaps too beautiful, a hamlet in Lancashire, close to the border with Yorkshire. It is just a couple of miles from where I lived as a child and I knew it as an abounded hamlet that was a great place for kids to play in and explore. We would climb all over the ruins and then try and tickle fish in the local beck.

Once a year the local primary school, Trawden, used to hold a cricket match against a school from Padiham. It felt light we were being visited by pupils from the big city, in spite of Padiham being just a small town itself. The match would take place on the green in Wycoller, just the other side of the beck and in the shadows of the abandoned Wycoller Hall.

The ruins of Wycoller Hall are central to the village, which itself dates back to before the 10th century BC. The hall is supposedly haunted, after the lord of the manor murdered his own wife there in a fit of jealousy! His spectre can still be heard riding up Wycoller Dean whenever the weather is particularly inclement…… ‘Ferndean Manor’ in Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre is thought to have be based on Wycoller Hall. The hamlet also appears in at least one film, “The Railway Children”.

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Wycoller Beck and Bridges

There are a couple of interesting bridges that cross the beck. There is the beautiful “Pack-Horse Bridge” near the village centre which is twin arched and a little further up “Clam Bridge” which is a single slab of stone thought to be of neolithic origin.

Alas, progress and popularity arrived and the village is now full to overflowing with tourists and, for me at least, it has lost much of its charm. The houses are all renovated, consumerism is rife, and quiet and tranquil are adjectives no longer applicable to the place. No doubt the shop and cafe owners are content, if not the actual residents. I wonder if they still play cricket on the green?

To read the rest of the article and the recipe please click here.

 

 

Triple Chocolate Muffins

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OK, I admit it, I am a chocoholic! My son is similarly afflicted poor lad, I guess it must be hereditary! Unfortunately as he lives several hundred kilometres away I have lost an excuse to indulge my cravings for chocolate. He has been studying hard lately for some work related exams so he hasn’t had an opportunity to visit us either.

To satisfy my cravings I have been working on these muffins. The perfection of this recipe has been a long process of trial and error, not only for myself, but also for my wife and the neighbours. They have acquiesced to eating multiple muffins, at great risk to their waistlines, whilst I slaved away in a hot kitchen. I finally have something worth sharing and I hope you enjoy these muffins. As my son hasn’t tried them yet it might also entice him to pay us a visit!

So why muffins?

To read the rest of the article and to see the recipe please click here.