Thursday, 30 April 2015

Madame de Pompadour

You will find the original of Madame de Pompadour by Boucher in the V&A museum in London.  It was painted in 1758.

Madame de Pompadour may not have been a model of decorum but she was a patron of Bouchers and he painted a number of portrraits of her.  Her claim to fame was being the acknowledged and official chief mistress of King Louis the Fifteenth of France.  She died of TB at the age of 42.

The sumptuousness of her gown is fantastic!

Need Some Inspiration? Try Bananas!

Peanut Butter Banana Cake

Food on Friday: Bananas  certainly gave the lie to "Yes, We Have No Bananas".  I have chosen a few of the great banana dishes to inspire you today.

The first pic at the top of the post is of Peanut Butter Banana Cake by Phong Hong Bakes.  Wow!

Ham and Banana Pizza by Farm Fresh Feasts

Banana Coconut Smoothie by The Midnight Baker

Banana PB2 Shake by Jebbica's World

Bourbon Banana Pancakes by Finding Time for Cooking

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Good advice - having trouble staying cool lately!

Bon Appetit! The delicious life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland – not just for kids

While Bon Appetit! The delicious life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland was written for children, I still found it quite delightful.

It resonates on many levels.  The illustrations are fun, the handling of Julia Child's life felt insightful to me.

There are a couple of recipes in the book but I didn't try them – one was for crepes and the other a galantine.

If you have a spare half an hour and are prepared to be engaged and amused, I recommend this book to you.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Passwords - a nightmare dealing with so many!

Spice of the month - Cumin

Cumin is another ancient spice. It is even mentioned in the Old Testament.  Ancient Greeks used cumin as a table condiment like pepper or salt.

At German medieval weddings the bride and groom had it in their pockets along with dill and salt to ensure faithfulness

Cumin was used to combat flatulence and was said to make you very pale in the face

Cumin seeds are quite similar in appearance to caraway seeds.  Very aromatic and spicy rather than hot - but best used sparingly.  A little goes a long way.

Good quality cumin seeds should be khaki coloured rather than brown.

Dry roast the seeds before grinding/using them – this will lessen the cumin's bitterness and will intensify an earthy nutty and almost coffee like smell.

Cumin is an essential ingredient in Indian curries.

Cumin is also found in North African dishes like couscous, eggplant and in Indian curry mixes.

Mexican dishes – cumin is used in combination with chilli

Cumin goes very well with pumpkin.

Ideas - add some cumin to scrambled eggs for a flavour burst

Try coating some lamb with ground cumin and then cook them on the grill.  Sprinkle a little onto yoghurt.

Add cumin to minced beef.

BIBLIOGRAPHY - with thanks to Auckland Libraries

Cook's Encyclopaedia of Spices by Sallie Morris & Lesley Mackley
Discovering Vegetables, Herbs & Spices by Susanna Lyle
Julie Biuso at Home
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

Monday, 27 April 2015

Quiz - All the Answers begin with the letter E

Ok, I'm giving the monthly quiz thing one more chance.  This time I've made it a bit easier on myself by using questions from a Quiz in our local paper.  I hope you enjoy it!

As before the answers are below each question – you just need to highlight them with your mouse to see them.  All the answers begin with the letter E.

1             A law or a proclamation

2             French singer who sang La Vie en Rose and Non, je ne regrette rien
Edith Piaf

3             Country formerly known as Abyssinia and ruled by the emperor Haile Selassie

4             Sword used in fencing


5             Cake made of choux pastry, filled with cream and iced

6             Capital of the Canadian province of Alberta

7             Mythical South American city which Spanish conquistadors searched for
El Dorado

8             Musical instrument made by Leo Fender, including the Telecaster and Stratocaster models
Electric guitar

9             Hard Swiss cheese, similar to Gruyere, with large holes


10          One of the descriptions given to Rome: the _______ city.