From an Aristasian Kitchen
Hints for Late Summer and Early Autumn
IT HAS BEEN a lovely Summer here in Quirinelle, and we are told it has been the same in Telluria. Autumn draws on, but a golden Amazonian Summer (that is what we call a summery early Autumn. Do you Tellurians have a name for it) seems to be coming upon us.
A summer tip from a Femmeworld kitchen concerns the use of all those squashy bruised pieces you sometimes have to cut from fresh strawberries before serving, Do not throw them away. Place the squashy bits—it does not matter if they have any mould on—in a covered glass jar (an ordinary largish jam jar will do) with a little water and a few tablespoons of sugar. I can not give you an exact amount because I just guess, but make it quite a lot. Place the glass jar on a sunny window sill and lo and behold you can watch your little strawberry pieces fermenting away and making a nice alcoholic liquor. Leave for a couple of week shaking every day to avoid mould collecting on the surface, or until the bubbles slow down, and strain through a muslin cloth or a clean tea-towel. Pour over fruit when making fruit salad or as a delicious sauce over a bowl of ice. Once you've tried this, you will soon learn to be pleased when your strawberries are squashy!
P.S. You can do exactly the same thing with other bruised soft fruit such as peaches. For perfectionists among you a concoction called Pectinase can be bought from a brewing shop. A little added to your home-made liqueur will clear the natural fruit haze.
Curds and Whey
Yes, you can have them, just like Little Miss Muffet! When the weather was very hot recently I found milk was turning to curd in my Quirinelle fridge. This can be put to an excellent summer use. I do tend to get milk left in the bottom of bottles because I like to start the day with the creamy milk from the top of the pint on my cereal or porridge. For those of you who wilfully subject yourselves to milk impregnated with a taste of waxed paper or plastic, do try using silver-top milk from a real-life milkman. It may only be a little thing, but I can assure you that a civilised, elegant way of life is made up of thinking of such little things and then doing them.
Sniff or taste any milk leftovers carefully to make sure they have not gone bitter and add the sweet-smelling oddments together to continue turning to curd. (For those of you who do not know, yoghurt is just off-milk with a particular culture added -- using your leftover ordinary milk is quite safe) When the milk had separated into curds and whey, drain off the whey (or strain through a cloth over a bowl as recommended in the item above) and flavour the remaining curd. First add chopped garlic and salt and pepper. These I consider essential to bring out a nice flavour. I might also add fresh herbs or a spice such as paprika or chili.The flavoured curd cheese can be eaten just like this on toast for breakfast or as an after-dinner snack with crackers.
Potato Salad the Trintitian Way
There's nothing nicer than potato salad with fresh salad and ham or salmon for a hot summer's day. Here is a tip which makes your potato salad the tastiest you've ever had. Wash, but do not scrape, new potatoes and dice into a pot of chicken stock. The flavour of the stock impregnates each small piece of potato and adds a full taste to the finished salad.
For the best flavour use stock made from chicken bones with a chicken stock cube added. I generally have a stock pot on the go all the year round. You'll find the stock pot in every Trintitian kitchen. Those chic Trentish pettes guard it as one of the central secrets of their coveted cuisine. Chicken bones in stock will keep in the fridge for a few days till needed without the daily boiling recommended for stock pots. When the small pieces of potato are nicely cooked remove from the stock and leave to cool. Add finely-sliced onion, salt and pepper and mayonnaise and serve.
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