Saturday, 2 February 2008

Little Boxes

Today we are mostly been making boxes. We had the loft converted into a room about 5 years ago, and we're really pleased with it, so when I talk about archiving stuff up there, it has to go in fairly reasonable looking boxes, otherwise it looks awful. These pics were clearly taken in the winter, since the place is full of tender plants.

The boxes you can see here came from Homebase, but the new ones are from Focus, and the difference in quality is marked, though I don't think the prices were much different. They are rubbish.

Honestly, I don't know what those Chinese child slaves were thinking of. Several of the pre-drilled screw holes were in the wrong places, the hinges were wrong and I had to shorten the bottoms by 4mm so they'd fit at all. And 'pre-sanded' obviously means something completely different from what I'd expected, since they were covered with splinters along all the edges and had to be properly sanded before we could do anything else. Anyhow, they're together now and had their first coat of varnish and a quick rub down. Second coat tomorrow and we'll load stuff into them and shove them in a corner somewhere.

Tonight we're having half a giant skate wing each, though I don't know how Jenny is planning to cook it. With new potatoes and fennel is all I know. It's not really the wing of a giant skate (is there any such fish?) but it was the biggest skate wing I'd ever seen when we bought it from the fishmonger on the market a couple of weeks ago!

And I'll be making a mango and passionfruit 'brulée' for afters. It's not a real brulée; just peel and slice the mango into the bottom of a suitable dish, whip some cream and mix with Greek yoghurt (about 1:3) (enough to give you a good 2 - 3 cm layer on top of the mango) and blend in the pulp of as many passionfruit as you feel like (4), then pour over the mango, dust heavily with muscovado sugar and chill for an hour. Then stick it under a really hot grill to caramelise the sugar and serve.

The skate was spectacular, simply floured and fried in butter, but then, it did come from a fantastic fishmonger. And here's something I learned entirely by accident tonight. Keep a pot of chives growing by your back door. In early Feb, they'll put up 3 or 4 inch shoots which completely transform boiled new potatoes!

Accompanied by a magnificent Wine Society Exhibition Selection Chablis. Mmmmm!

brulée was not quite perfect, but still pretty good. The Fairtrade mango was a bit crisp, though mangoes manage to still be very flavoursome, even when unripe, unlike avocados. I've still not quite cracked the caramelised sugar on the top, but it's getting there. I used a blow torch, but it was only slightly crunchy, not very.

Oh, I forgot to say, if you don't like the passionfruit pips, you should sieve them out, but I love the crunch as I eat the creamy bit, so I always leave them in.


A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Gosh Rob, that looks very smart indeed - what a great loft conversion. And what a boon that you can improve the boxes - I'd be stuck with the rubbish.
Your pudding sounds lovely too - hope you enjoyed it after the giant skate. M xx

Building Materials Supplies said...

Dem Bones Dem Bones

Thanks for sharing

Rob Clack said...

You're most welcome, BMS, and welcome to my blog! I've been known to have lunch in The Cricketers! Very good!