E3 Corndogs

This week is the famous E3 Video game series of company events advertising the year to come in consoles; technology and games. It is based in the US and live streamed via Twitch and Youtube and for the first time at slightly less unsociable times of the day.

Last night started with Xbox showcasing their Xbox One X product at a super ridiculous price of $499 which will likely be matched in the UK at £499. Anyway, myself and my other half get into the US spirit by making themed food to go with it. Therefore, the first mandatory item was Corndogs. I’m using cups as my form of measurement which is not very English and the definition is literally that.. grab a normal sized coffee cup. It more important that your relative proportions are correct and you check the thickness of the batter rather than get the grams right for your mix.

Recipe:

2 cups pancake mix (ready made stuff. I had some Buttermilk mix in. You can buy this in England)

1 cup Cornmeal (or semolina if you struggle)

1 cup milk

1 egg

1 tablespoon honey

Pinch of salt and pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

Packet or tin or hot dogs

Packet of BBQ skewers or lollipop skewers (soak the in water for a few hours so they don’t burn)

Ketchup and Mustard

US food baskets (optional)

High heat oil such as Canola or Sunflower

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Method:

  1. Mix together in a bowl or jug so it’s super thick. Try to go slowly with the milk to do this rather than the other way around making the mix too floury
  2. Push the dogs onto the sticksIMG_9695
  3. Pour the batter into a tall container if its not already. Dip the dogs into the batter so they give a thick coating (mine was so thick they stood upIMG_9705
  4. Heat about an inch oil is a pan so it’s bubbling hot
  5. Lay the dogs down slowly and away from you so you don’t splash yourself
  6. Cook for 3 mins roughly so they are golden brown. I left mine a little too long so they were a bit dark but lovely none the less
  7. Lay onto kitchen paper to drain and serve warmIMG_9706
  8. Mix together (swirl) ketchup and mustard in a small pot for an authentic dipping sauce
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​Pretty Garden Bunting (Fast method)

I love bunting and have bought and made lots over the past over the past few years. I’ve got it down to an art form of making it quickly and cheaply.  You can spend a fortune now for such a simple item.
Materials:
– Scraps of pretty material
– Wonderweb (magic iron on tape)
– Long piece of ribbon or elastic
– Iron or even hair straighteners
– Scissors
Method:​
1. Folder your material in half and iron/flat iron so there is a crease
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2. Cut into triangle shapes leaving the crease at the top of the triangle (so the ribbon/elastic can be thread through it)
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3. Cut a square and a triangle of iron on tape and iron onto the inside of one of the triangles
4. Peel off the other side and place the triangle at the point of the ribbon/elastic you want it and folder the other half over. Iron over to stick together
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5. Repeat until you have the length of bunting you need
6. If you fabric frays a lot you can hem in the edges either with iron on tape; sew or even use pinking shears (the serrated edge scissors) to make neat
You can use pretty much any fabric you like. A nice touch for outdoor bunting is to use oil cloth as it’s waterproof but to be honest I’ve had lots of normal fabric out in all weathers and it looks great for an entire year.
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Classic Cherry Cake

I’ve had this recipe from my mum since I was kid. I’m not entirely sure where she got it from but it isn’t rocket science, however the real trick is getting the cherries not to sink! The best way to do this is to make sure the cake mixture isn’t too thin and even cut some of the cherries up to make them lighter. 

Cherry Cake

Ingredients

225g Butter

225g Icing sugar

4 eggs beaten

225g Plain flour

½ tbsp baking powder

250g cherries quartered

110g ground almonds

Splash almond essence

2 tbs brown sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. Cream butter; eggs and sugar together until fluffy
  3. Sift flour and baking powder together and fold in
  4. Add the cherries; almond essence and almonds and mix lightly
  5. Add to a greased baking tin
  6. Sprinkle the sugar over the top and then cover the tin with foil as the cake burns quickly
  7. Bake for 30 mins at 180 degrees

Update: 12th June 2017

I did a variation of this at the weekend and used a jar of gin soaked berries and made them into cupcake forms. You can still taste the gin when cooked!! Also remember to sprinkle brown sugar on the top to get a nice crunch and sweet finish.

Growing Cat Grass for Molly Moo Cat

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Every since I’ve had my cat Molly Moo (who you have met before in Blog https://modernmrsbeeton.blog/2017/04/13/pom-poms-for-molly-moo-cat/) I’ve regularly grown her Cat Grass. Cat Grass is really good for digestion in cats and often I’ve seen Molly when she’s had a big meal or seeming a bit lazy go straight for her grass and then she’s running around like a crazy lady in no time. Apparently if you have a long haired cat it can also really help with furballs but Molly is short haired so I have no experience of this.
You can buy seeds pretty much anywhere but I’ve included an Amazon link below.
Simply grab a plant pot with potting compost; add a layer of seeds and water Then grow like wild fire and are super resilient.
A few tips are to sow them densely as Molly likes a good chomp across a few blades at once; remember to water and give them sunlight. Don’t make the mistake of leaving them out in your garden unless you enjoy other cats visiting (but you may well like this!). I also like the plant pot method rather than just sewing into your flower beds as Molly can then have it inside on a rainy day and you can keep them controlled.
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CHAPTER XXXVII. Recipes for beverages Hot Chocolate and Cocoa (THE BOOK OF HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT BY MRS. ISABELLA BEETON. VOLUME 1. )

I woke up this morning with a real craving for hot chocolate. I’ve been walking a lot recently getting to around 20k steps a day so I think I’m just lacking sugar. I had a vague memory of some incredible looking hot chocolate I’d seen Jamie Oliver make on a TV show once so I decided to look it up. It stuck in my memory because as a kid hot chocolate to me was the cheap powdered stuff that you add hot water to and when I saw this I worked out I’d not been having hot chocolate at all. I’d not even been having real Cocoa!

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/chocolate-recipes/epic-hot-chocolate/

I was therefore interested to see what Mrs Beeton had gathered about hot chocolate in her day and was very amused to find it was an almost identical recipe to Jamie. It seems real hot chocolate cannot be replicated or messed with.

“TO MAKE CHOCOLATE. 1807.

INGREDIENTS.– Allow ½ oz. of chocolate to each person; to every oz. allow ½ pint of water, ½ pint of milk. Mode.– Make the milk-and-water hot; scrape the chocolate into it, and stir the mixture constantly and quickly until the chocolate is dissolved; bring it to the boiling point, stir it well, and serve directly with white sugar. Chocolate prepared with in a mill, as shown in the engraving, is made by putting in the scraped chocolate, pouring over it the boiling milk-and-water, and milling it over the fire until hot and frothy. Sufficient.– Allow ½ oz. of cake chocolate to each person.

CHOCOLATE AND COCOA.– Both these preparations are made from the seeds or beans of Chocolatethe cacao-tree, which grows in the West Indies and South America. The Spanish, and the proper name, is cacao, not cocoa, as it is generally spelt. From this mistake, the tree from which the beverage is procured has been often confounded with the palm that produces the edible cocoa-nuts, which are the produce of the cocoa-tree (Cocos nucifera), whereas the tree from which chocolate is procured is very different (the Theobroma cacao). The cocoa-tree was cultivated by the aboriginal inhabitants of South America, particularly in Mexico, where, according to Humboldt, it was reared by Montezuma. It was transplanted thence into other dependencies of the Spanish monarchy in 1520; and it was so highly esteemed by Linnaeus receive from him the name now conferred upon it, of Theobroma, a term derived from the Greek, and signifying “food for gods.” Chocolate has always been a favourite beverage among the Spaniards and Creoles, and was considered here as a great luxury when first introduced, after the discovery of America; but the high duties laid upon it, confined it long almost entirely to the wealthier classes. Before it was subjected to duty, Mr. Bryan Edwards stated that cocoa plantations were numerous in Jamaica, but that the duty caused their almost entire ruin. The removal of this duty has increased their cultivation. (For engraving of cocoa-bean, see No. 1816.)”

 

“TO MAKE COCOA. 1816.

INGREDIENTS.– Allow 2 teaspoonfuls of the prepared cocoa to 1 breakfast-cup; boiling milk and boiling water. Mode.– Put the cocoa into a breakfast-cup, pour over it sufficient cold milk to make it into a smooth paste; then add equal quantities of boiling milk and boiling water, and stir all well together. Care must  be taken not to allow the milk to get burnt, as it will entirely spoil the flavour of the preparation. The above directions are usually given for making the prepared cocoa. The rock cocoa, or that bought in a solid piece, should be scraped, and made in the same manner, taking care to rub down all the lumps before the boiling liquid is added. Sufficient — 2 teaspoonfuls of prepared cocoa for 1 breakfast-cup, or ¼ oz. of the rock cocoa for the same quantity.”

Cocoa