Cthulhu Pie

Amazing pastry art. Who eats who?

Amazing pastry art. Who eats who?

Update – For those interested in the story behind the pie:

This pastry art was created by someone cleverer than me. I’m still searching for the original source, that is why I haven’t put a reference. I doubt there will be a recipe as it is about the art not the food and the pie is part of the story.

It depicts a “fictional cosmic entity who first appeared in the short story “The Call of Cthulhu”, published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales in 1928. The character was created by writer H. P. Lovecraft”.

There are many edible and inedible art works portraying the character, this is just the best I have yet seen!

However, it is simply pastry. If you don’t cook much, I suggest buying some frozen pastry sheets and going to town. This art has been done over a cherry pie (the fruit being used to bulk out the shape of the creature, so this would be a good choice, in my opinion). It would be a conversation starter at any BBQ, for sure.

Cooking And Salad Oils

Cooking And Salad Oils

I don’t use a lot of oil these days, but knowing what ones are best suited to different purposes (by the comprehensive list of smoke points included in this post) is very handy. I would be interested to hear from anyone who has correct information about trans fats and whether these are likely be created in a domestic cooking situation.

Cooking oils

Town & Country Gardening

No kitchen or cook should be without a high temperature (candy) thermometer and a low temperature (meat) thermometer. These thermometers are not expensive and will make you a better cook as well as insuring your food is cooked properly achieving an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees. At this temperature all bacteria has been killed preventing you or your family becoming sick from bacteria contaminated foods.

Note: Smoke point ranges can vary wildly based on many different factors.

225 F: Canola Oil, Unrefined
: Flaxseed Oil, Unrefined
: Safflower Oil, Unrefined
: Sunflower Oil, Unrefined
320 F: Corn Oil, Unrefined
: High-Oleic Sunflower Oil,
: Olive Oil, Unrefined
: Peanut Oil, Unrefined
: Safflower Oil, Semi-Refined
: Soy Oil, Unrefined
: Walnut Oil, Unrefined

325 F: Shortening, Emulsified

330 F: Hemp Seed Oil

350 F: Butter
: Canola Oil, Semi-Refined
: Coconut Oil
: Sesame Oil…

View original post 223 more words

Under Pressure Now …

Tefal Minut Cook 6 Litre

Tefal Minut Cook 6 Litre

Proud owner of a pressure cooker, thanks to award points. Have never used one before in my life so any tips, ideas, recipes, etc will be much appreciated.

Especially interested in heart healthy and cholesterol lowering recipes as needs must.

Looking around, I found this tip on adapting normal recipes for the pressure cooker.

Step 4: adjust the cooking time

Pressure cooking is all about speed! Determine the original cooking time in your source recipe, then reduce it by two-thirds. You may find it needs a little more time, depending on the recipe, but when you’re trying out a new recipe this is the best way to ensure it’s not overcooked.

Interested in hearing your thoughts on this. My pressure cooker is electric and has two pressure settings: Low 40kPa and High 70kPa. One day I will be able to simply turn it on and get cooking, I’m sure. Anyway, I’ll have fun working it out.

Update on Tamarillo Chutney made in March

Update on Tamarillo Chutney made in March

As my entire excuse for procrastination (here, at least) is that I only want to give information that is tried and tested, I thought I better give an update on my Tamarillo Chutney.

I left the chutney for three months to allow the flavours to mellow (as is, apparently, the golden rule of Chutney making).

Tamarillo Chutney

Tamarillo Chutney

The results: we are very happy with the easy to eat, quite sweet, fruity chutney. Today we had a little platter of crackers, homemade rocket pesto, creamed cheese with chives and sundried tomatoes, sliced cornbeef, cucumber and tomato with a small dish of this chutney. Lovely family moment. Oops, forgot to take a pic for you, sorry.

Can’t wait until the Tamarillo Tree fruits again so I can make a bigger batch of chutney (and of that amazing jam)

You can’t put chocolate in that!!

You can’t put chocolate in that!!

Just cooked the craziest meal. Mexican Molé that I saw on Good Chef Bad Chef re-runs. I’d call it shit on a stick, except it was a sauce.


You can see the original recipe on Good Chef, Bad Chef (as it isn’t mine) but the recipes on the site are obviously an after-thought to the show and are always missing ingredients and/or method. If you haven’t seen the show (or the comments on the recipe don’t set you straight) you wouldn’t have a hope. I keep going back to the show site, though, as they do do some interesting recipes from opposite ends of the food scale – he is a chef who wants to eat meat, butter, lard and lots of it and she is a nutritionist? who makes lots of vegan, vegetarian and ‘good for you’ food. This recipe is one of his, but surprisingly healthy with only a few tiny adjustments.

I will write out the recipe (to the best of my memory) and link back to this story for you. In the meantime, I did comment on the recipe on the site which might help you. I only forgot to say that the chicken is cooked in the first lot of stock and you may not need all the second lot of stock or ‘tomato sauce’ (passata or spaghetti sauce, not just ketchup), just add ’til a sauce consistency.

* Warning, this show is meant to be a mock confrontation between good and bad eating so if you are passionately vegan best avoid.

Thought of the Day – ‘Mindless Eating’ quote

Thought of the Day – ‘Mindless Eating’ quote

Brian Winsink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, describes mindlessly eating:

“Most of us don’t overeat because we’re hungry. We overeat because of family and friends, packages and plates, names and numbers, labels and lights, colors and candles, shapes and smells, distractions and distances, cupboards and containers.”

Thanks to The Local Graze for this quote.

Tarhana – ‘soup of a household of modest means’

Tarhana – ‘soup of a household of modest means’

My local fruit market carries a range of ingredients from around the world. We are often finding items we have never heard of or eaten before. Bravely we take strange packets and tins home and search the internet for information about them. Very few have not been experiences worth the effort. One day we found a cloth bag marked Tarhana … and a new adventure began.

Tarhana came in a bag with no instructions

Tarhana came in a bag with no instructions

I asked staff at the fruit market, but they didn’t know anything about what this “Turkish soup with Tomatoes and Piment Sweet Art” was or how to prepare it. Sounds like Turkish Cup-a-soup, or could there be more to the story? Adventurous, (and it was a price we could afford to be adventurous with) we took it anyway.

I searched the internet to find how to make the soup and, not only did I find the recipe on how to make it up, but also the Turkish legend about it. Love food with heart, so here we go…

This story is courtesy of Su from “The Gourmet Touch”, who specialises in Turkish food. Su suggests that people who have travelled in Turkey will tell you of the great hospitality they have been treated to.

“The Turks have a saying which translates to something like “the Lord’s guest”. What this means is that if you should stumble upon somebody’s abode, you will be treated as a guest sent by the Almighty. How cool is that? The hosts will feed you and tend to your needs before putting you on the correct vehicle to your next destination. This, of course, is not something that’s done under an Tourism Board edict. It is an act of generosity and compassion which has much to do with Turkish values.”

So, that’s very lovely, but how does it relate to instant soup mix?

“Legend has it that during the reign of the Ottomans, a Sultan is invited into a back street household where he is offered this soup. He likes it very much and asks for its name. These people are barely struggling to put food on the table so what they eat doesn’t necessarily have a name. It is a soup which is made from dry granules of fermented cracked wheat, yoghurt, and vegetables…”

and spices. In the one that I got there was red pepper; onion; salt; tomatoes; dried mint and yeast.

Tarhana - Turkish instant soup

Tarhana – Turkish instant soup

“…she says “dar hane” soup in answer to the Sultan’s question. This basically means ‘soup of a household of modest means’. Throughout the years it becomes the most consumed soup in the country and its name has mutated to “tarhana”.”

Isn’t that a wonderful story? The idea that this soup is made in order to have on hand something nutritious and tasty to serve a surprise visitor made me want to share this with others. At Christmas time, I made up little bags of Tarhana (just enough to make one or two quantities), along with a copy of this story and the following recipe. I hope that the recipients were able to make this soup when they had guests over.

There are recipes for making the soup from scratch, but this recipe is to make up the soup from the dried prepared Tarhana:


Tarhana ready to eat

Tarhana ready to eat

3 tbsp Tarhana
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp butter
3-4 cups chicken broth/water+bouillon
1 tsp salt or to taste
1. Place the Tarhana and 1/2 cup of water in a bowl and leave for an hour, stirring occasionally.
2. In a pot, sauté butter and tomato paste over medium heat.
3. Pour stock into pot and gradually introduce the Tarhana which should now be dissolved.
4. Cook over low-medium heat stirring constantly. Adjust consistency by adding water if you wish.

I hope that one day you see this little white bag (or similar) in a store and think of this story, and the heart that goes into something as simple as ‘instant soup’.