Lobster and apple salad with dill mayonnaise

image

It’s a very special day at church tomorrow as a couple of our younger congregation members have decided to declare their faith to the world and be baptised! After the service the celebrations will continue with a Jacob’s Join (or potluck to my American friends) lunch. To me nothing screams celebration food more than lobster, and thanks to my lovely Daddy who brings me a steady supply of his home caught Pembrokeshire lobsters, I was able to  dig a few out if the freezer ready to adorn with some simple, but scrumptious ingredients.

Firstly, I made a simple mayo using three egg yolks, half a teaspoon of mustard, some cold pressed rapeseed oil, and some good old vegetable oil (which also happens to be rapeseed, it’s just more heavily processed than the cold pressed stuff), white wine vinegar and lemon juice. I’m afraid I can’t really give you quantities as I made it by sight, taste and texture, but there are plenty of recipes on the Internet should you prefer. The basic method is whisking the yolks and mustard together, then adding in oil (very very slowly initially to avoid splitting) until a very thick consistency is reached, before adding the vinegar and lemon juice.

image

Once you’re happy with your basic mayo you can start adding flavourings of your choice. I used garlic, salt, pepper and a large handful of freshly chopped dill.

image

image

Delicious! This will keep in the fridge for about a week, although it’s so good I doubt it’d last that long!

Now that the dressing is made, it’s time to remove the meat from the lobsters and start to assemble.

image

This is a rather messy job, but well worth it. Break the claws off the body and remove the head from the tail. Cut down the underside of the tail with sharp scissors and remove the meat in one piece by gently pulling it out. Score down the top of the meat and open to reveal the vein. Remove the vein and any rowe which may be in there and chop into small chunks. Set aside.

image

Now to the claws. One at a time cover the claw with a clean tea towel to prevent splattering, and gently tap with a hammer to crack. If you’re careful it possible to remove the claw meat in one piece like this:

image

Don’t worry if it breaks up though, it’ll just mean you might need to use a skewer to pick the meat out of the ends of the claw. Inside the claw meat is a flat oval bone, remove this whilst breaking the meat up into smaller chunks.

image

Now, if you can be bothered you can squeeze meat out of the legs, however this is a tedious task and not one that I had time for today unfortunately. You’ll be left with all the shell and the heads which would make an incredible stock for a bisque or soup, but again, time didn’t permit it today, so the chickens feasted on lobster heads instead and I’m sure they’ll be eternally grateful!

image

A little treat to cheer up our very soggy hens on this miserable British day!

Now wash a crisp Granny Smith apple and cut into short matchsticks. Put in a bowl with the chopped up lobster and dollop on a couple of spoonfuls of the dill mayo.

image

Combine well and taste. Mine was lacking acidity so I spiked it with more lemon juice.

image

I piled the salad into little gem lettuce cups to make them easy to pick up and eat in a couple of mouthfuls, sprinkled over some more chopped dill and served. Delicious!

Frugal February week 3

Well hello again.  Where is February going? I don’t know about you, but to me it seems to be flying by.

Our oven packed up yesterday, half way through cooking a beautiful roast dinner for friends! Thankfully, the top oven was still going well enough to finish everything off, but obviously this week we’ll be eating things that can either by done on the hob, grill or slow cooker while we wait for a new one to be delivered.

Monday: Tonight’s dinner was rather bland and uninspired I’m afraid. I didn’t even bother with a photo. Pb and I had slow cooked chicken pieces while Ste had boring packet veggie sausages with veg and boiled potatoes. I worked it out to be roughly £3.80

Tuesday: Shrove Tuesday! My favourite Tuesday of the year! Before the  obligatory stack of pancakes (crepe style if you’re American) smothered in maple syrup or vanilla sugar and lemon, we’ll have a little bowl of healthful leek & potato soup to get some goodness into us! £2

Wednesday: Half side of salmon with pesto, and vegetable infused cous cous. Salmon was in offer today in the supermarket. I got an entire side for £8 which will do two meals for us, so I froze one half of it. This is the most expensive meal this week at about £6.50

Thursday: Quorn & vegetable spaghetti bolognaise. £2.90

Friday: Friday night curry. Thai I think. Prawn for Ste and chicken for Pb and I. I managed to pick up a couple of packs of organic chicken pieces for £2 each today. Half a pack will do the two of us, and we’ve already got the rice and spices in, so all in, it will prob only cost us £3.50. Much more economical than a take away. I’ve been useless this week when it has come to photos. Largely because I’ve simply forgotten, but here’s one of the curry. I used my Nutribullet green Thai curry paste recipe. It says delicious!
image

I haven’t planned for the weekend yet.  What’s on your menu this week?

Easy homemade sweet and sour sauce

Sweet and sour is one of those dishes most of us love to eat, but few of us know how to make from scratch. The good news is its actually very easy using a few cheats such as good old ketchup!

For the sauce you’ll need:
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1tbsp light soy sauce
2tbsp tomato ketchup
A medium sized can of pineapple rings in juice cut into chunks.
1 tbsp light brown sugar 
2tsp cornflour mixed with a little cold water.

Heat the vinegar, soy, ketchup, pineapple juice and sugar gently until the sugar dissolves, add the cornflour paste and bring to a gentle simmer stiring constantly. Take off the heat and add the pineapple chunks. Leave to infuse while you stir fry whatever veg and meat/fish you want.

image

When the meat/fish/veg and done to your liking, taste the sauce, add more sugar, vinegar, ketchup or soy if needed and pour the sauce over the veg.  Serve with rice or noodles. 

image

Coconut oil and baking soda skin brightening scrub

My skin has felt a bit lacklustre recently, maybe due to the cold I’m fighting or maybe the change in weather as Autumn sets in. Anyhow, I wanted a little scrub to brighten my face and get rid of all those dead skin cells… Gross. We all know baking soda has a trillion uses, as does coconut oil, so I thought I’d combine the abrasiveness (that’s not even a word is it?) of the baking soda with the moisturising properties of the coconut oil.

I used two teaspoons of baking soda and one of coconut oil and blended into a paste. Use a spoon or stick as if you use your fingers it’ll melt (trust me it’s easier to get on your face if it’s slightly more solidified).

image

Massage the paste into your face (it will start to melt at this point) avoiding the eye area. Leave it to work it’s magic for a couple of minutes while you’re in the shower or bath before rinsing off. Your skin will feel refreshed and slightly oily, but fear not, coconut oil absorbs very quickly leaving you with super soft and we’ll moisturised glowing skin.

If you enjoyed this post why not check out my Frankincense and cinnamon winter balm made using coconut oil.

Hot chocolate on sticks.

image

I have never tempered chocolate before… Until tonight, when I made over 80 hot chocolates on sticks for favours at a Christmas Craft Cafe I’ve organised for this coming Saturday. I’m not sure what possessed me to do it in such vast quantities. I guess I like a challenge. My husband thinks I’m off my rocker, and I think he might be right. I would not advise doing it on the scale I did. I used 50 100g bars of dark chocolate. The tempering technique I used is on the BBC Good Food website.

The idea of a hot chocolate stick is that you swirl it into a mug of hot milk, to create an indulgent and delicious treat.

Apart from the tempering, the process is so straightforward. Basically, pouring melted chocolate into moulds, sticking a stick in it and topping it with mini marshmallows. Here are some pics, including ones from the tempering process.

image

Lay your moulds out

image

image

Melt in a bain-marie

image

For tempering dark chocolate the temp needs to get to about 55oC before lowering the temperature by seeding.

image

Hubby trying to lower the temp! Outside, in the UK on a December evening!

image

It took longer than we expected!

image

Heating the mixture up again using the seeding technique.

image

Pour into moulds.

image

Stick a stick in it and top with mallows.

image

Et voila!

image

Enjoy!