The Jealous Crumpet

A sweet little blog


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Making Pasta

Fresh PastaSeveral months ago I met Roberta Adams at a farmer’s market.  She was amazingly nice and invited me to come to her home and learn how to make authentic Italian pasta.

Roberta is on the far left.  This is the day I met her.

Roberta is on the far left. This is the day I met her.

I jumped at the opportunity and said yes right away.  It was pretty awesome, though I think I gain 10 pounds after my visit!  I also learned the art of pasta making and was surprised that it isn’t has hard as I thought it would be.feature2I did a post for the blog about pasta making for Huntsville Eats several months ago, but I wanted to share.  Make sure you check out the extended post on Huntsville Eats: Here.

Here is the video I did for them.  It is a first attempt so it is VERY rough and I made tons of mistakes, but I learned a lot!

 


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More Mushy Peas Please!

Mushy Peas

Mushy Peas

I’ve always been fascinated with British cuisine, as you may have guessed from the title of my blog.

It started as a child.  I loved English fiction, especially the Secret Garden, Oliver Twist, and anything by Roald Dahl.  I loved these books so much that at 8 my life goal was to be an impoverished, English orphan.  Unfortunately for me, I was a middle-class, american child with two living parents.  My mother was quite disturbed when I told her I wanted to be an orphan.

But other than concerning my mother, English literature left me with a fascination of the dishes described in these books. I had no idea what trifles, crumpets, or custards were, but they sounded amazing.  And throughout my life, I have continued to be intrigued with British cuisine despite its stereotypical bad reputation.

In an attempt to separate fact from fiction of English cuisine, I decided to taste test popular British dish, mushy peas (mashed peas, often canned).

Batchelor's Mushy

The green splat on the can gave me flash backs to Nickelodeon in the 1990s.

According the BBC’s recipe website mushy peas are a quintessential British dish, often served with pies and roasts. They are made of marrowfat peas, which is a large pea that is harvested after it has dried out on the vine.  The dried peas are then ground up, rehydrated, seasoned, colored green (otherwise they would be a grayish color) and canned.  You can also enjoy marrowfat peas as the main ingredient in the Asian snack wasabi peas.

In order to have the quintessential British experience, I purchased a can of Bachelor’s brand peas called “Mushy Original”.  I don’t know if “original” means the flavor and there are other flavors like cool ranch OR if “Mushy” is the original brand of mushy pea’s and everything else is a substitute.  Like Dr. Thunder, as oppose to the original Dr. Pepper.

I read instructions on the can and immediately ran into an issue.  The instructions said to cook the peas on a “hob”.  A quick dictionary check revealed that a hob is “a projection or shelf at the back or side of a fireplace, used for keeping food warm”… I definitely don’t have one of those.  Do all British homes have this?!?  Eventually, I found a British-English to American-English translator and discovered a hob can also be a stove top, which I do have.

I poured the contents of the can into a small pan and slowly warmed it on my ‘hob’ as instructed.  I didn’t have a roast or pie to eat the peas with, but I figured I could at least get an idea.

mushonhob

Mushy on the hob. I think that is the most British thing I have ever typed.

My first spoonful tasted exactly as you would have imagine warm, mushy peas from a can to taste like.  I didn’t hate them, and I could almost see if you had grown-up with mushy peas how they could be a comfort food, being warm and mushy like mashed potatoes, but they were a bit hard to enjoy.  I think this was because they were warm, season-less peas out a can and really how could that be a good thing.

I’m going to give them a 4 out of 10, mostly because they were really easy to make.

I think I’ll taste test a dessert (pudding) next.  Maybe a trifle.

IMG_2755

Disclaimer-The surrounding peas in this picture are snap peas, not marrowfat peas, but marrowfat peas are not very pretty, so I cheated. Welcome to the world of food photography.

I purchased my mushy peas at the local grocery story in the international section, but you can also find them on amazon.

If you need more mushy goodness, check out this 1994 advert for Batchelor’s Mushy.  


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Cake Pops: A Blight on the Dessert World

CAKEPOPS1

The first time I saw a cake pop I thought, ‘How cute. A little bite of cake on a stick, what could be more adorable’.  But before long this bastard child of cake and lollipop spread like wildfire, and you couldn’t go to a baby shower or toddler’s birthday without people ewing and awing over misshapen Elmo heads shoved on a stick.

Cake pop books, blogs and tutorials started popping up and soon cake pops took over Pinterest at a level that would have impressed Alexander the Great.  Cake pop makers allowed people incapable to rolling dough into a sphere to enjoy this horrid dessert and inflict it on their family and friends.   And then, the unthinkable happened.  My beloved Starbucks fell prey to the hype and started offering cake pops in their dessert cases.  For Shame Starbucks!! For Shame!

The first problem with cake pops is they are a lot of work to make.cakepops8

 

How To Make Cake Pops

1. Bake a cake

2. Crumple the cake

3. Mix the cake crumples with frosting (if you really want to complicate things make your own frosting rather than use the stuff in the can)

4. Roll the cake frosting mixture into sphere (or use your cake pop maker, which is a big annoyance to store and will probably be in your next yard sale with your barely used exercise bike)

5. Shove the cake/frosting mixture on a stick

6. Break the sphere as you are putting it on the stick and repeat steps 4 and 5 several times.

7. Look at your misshapen sphere and think, good enough.  (Maybe the cake pop makers is actually brilliant)

8. Melt candy melt in the microwave.  Make sure you under-microwave so the melts clump on the cake pop.

9. Re-melt candy melt in the microwave, but over-microwave this time so it burns and becomes unusable.

10. Go to the store and buy more candy melts.  (As you drive the 10 miles to the market rue the day you ever heard of cake pops.)

11. Repeat steps 8-10 several more times.

12.  Take your lumpy cake pops and decorate to look like your favorite Disney character.  (I recommend Quasimodo)

13. Compare your cake pops to your Pinterest pins while crying to yourself.

14. “Enjoy”*

*sarcastic quotes

The second issue with cake pops is they are disgusting.  They are a dense ball of dough covered in cheap chocolate in the shape of some stupid animal. Gross.

Because I feel so strongly about cake pops I have started a petition to end the madness.  Please visit: stopthecakepopepidemic.gov and sign my petition.  100,000 signatures will bring this problem to the Presidents attention.

ha ha.  Just kidding.   If you like cake pops continue to enjoy, but for those of you that don’t, know that you are not alone.cakepops5

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