Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

I've had a bit of a shortage of books to post about.  Too many average reads.  But Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson made the cut.

The book is an entertaining, provoking read.  Frank Banning is a very different kind of character. Think the hero of the Rosie Project aged 9 and you might be partly on the right track.

I had to keep right on reading – even though a few aspects of the story required a bit too much suspension of disbelief for me.  Frank's mother is not someone that I could relate to at all.

This is a debut novel – and as such is an amazing feat.  Hopefully Julia will do some more.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Hee hee ... but my fridge isn't magnetic....

Spice of the Month - Mustard Seeds

Mustard seeds are what mustard is made from – doh! 

There are 3 main sorts of mustard seeds:

Yellow – the mildest sort with the largest seeds.  Most table mustards are made from these.
Brown – more pungent.  Also known as Chinese mustard.  Used in Asian dishes.
Black – the most pungent – associated with Indian dishes.

Brown and black mustard seeds can be used pretty much interchangeably.

Mustard seeds and powder need the addition of cold water to produce the smell and taste of mustard.

Dijon accounts for about half of all mustard.  Just like Champagne to be Dijon mustard it has to be made in that particular region of France to strict standards.

Other mustard types include:

Hot English
American mustard
Whole grain mustard
White wine mustard

I use quite a bit of Colman's mustard powder – which is a powdered form of Hot English – it packs a punch!

Using Mustard Seeds

To get a real mustard flavor – you need to grind the seeds, dampen them and add vinegar – ie make a sort of table mustard.

Use them whole in pickles and chutneys.

For Indian dishes, fry the mustard seeds in oil until they pop.  Be careful not to burn them.

Mustard Oil is popular in Asian cooking – but I've never seen any in the supermarket but did source a tiny bottle of it in an Asian store – quite expensive.

Try – cauliflower with mustard or brussels sprouts in mustard butter

BIBLIOGRAPHY - with thanks to Auckland Libraries

Cook's Encyclopaedia of Spices by Sallie Morris & Lesley Mackley
Discovering Vegetables, Herbs & Spices by Susanna Lyle
Spice Market by Jane Lawson
Spicery by Ian & Elizabeth Hemphill
Spices & Natural Flavourings by Jennifer Mulherin
Spices by Sophie Grigson
Spices Condiments and Seasonings by Kenneth T Farrell
Spices, Salt and Aromatics in the English Kitchen by Elizabeth David
The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander