Sunday, 27 October 2013

Shipping Out to Boston, or What to Do With all the Food?

I'm headed to a conference in New England for a week. Soon. Cue my favorite music for my favorite international airport:

As is usual when I have to go away for a bit (a rant on the joys of academic travel is for another time), I try to clean out my refrigerator. I've found that no matter how much you try to tell your housemates, 'I'm going away, please help yourself to the carrots in the bottom of the fridge', you will inevitably get back to the evolution of New Life. Since cleaning the refrigerator ranks only above ironing on my list of most despised household chores, I've been trying to use up all my veg. Here's how I did:

  • Four apples went into a cake, along with an egg, and the rest of the butter, which I brought to a knitting group meeting
  • Three nectarines and two eggs went into a cake, and ended up at a Halloween party
  • A butternut squash, two apples, and an onion went into a soup. I should post the recipe for that, it's good.
  • The bananas went in the freezer. I don't really like fresh bananas (except with peanut butter on toast) but I love to freeze them for future baking
  • The swede (the vegetable!) got chopped and stuffed in the freezer for future soup
  • I picked all the tomatoes from outside and asked a housemate to use them, please
  • The potatoes will go in the refrigerator to prevent sprouting
  • All the satsumas have been eaten
  • I made kale, carrots, more onion, some garlic, the rest of the eggs, and some of the cheddar into a quiche
  • The rest of the cheddar was grated and shoved in the freezer
  • I handed the leeks to my Vegan Housemate and told her to use them
  • I attempted to make kiwi jam, with five kiwis and half a remaining lemon, got distracted by picking tomatoes, and invented Caramelized Kiwi Candy. That mess went in the trash.
I still have enough leftovers from this frenzy of activity to have a nice meal tonight and a good breakfast before shipping out tomorrow. I've also frozen a lot of soup, so I won't have to worry about shopping when I get back, which is good, since I don't sleep on flights; that makes me wander into traffic when I try to go grocery shopping after I get home, which is bad.

How do you prepare for leaving awhile?

Sunday, 13 October 2013

In Principio there were Raspberry Brownies

Um. Hi! Pleased to meet you.

I've been wanting to start one of these things for several months and am just now brave (and avoiding writing with enough intensity) to give it a go. So here we are.

The purpose of this blog is to share recipes for food which fits, in terms of cost and ease of preparation, into the life of a PhD Candidate. It may also support occasional reflections about the academic life. Pictures of medieval buildings, cute puppies, and my knitting will probably appear as well, even though I suck at photography.

But have a picture of some delicious brownies anyway:

I made these this afternoon because I was waiting for lunch to cool down enough to eat. I had raspberries from the reduced price section of Morrisons and they sat in my fridge for several days while I was too busy to use them up. Enter this afternoon, when I had time on my hands, and was looking for recipes for muffins. The muffin idea got scrapped after I saw the BBC Good Food recipe for raspberry brownies. Here is my version, I hope you enjoy!

Raspberry Brownies
(adapted from BBC Good Food, original recipe here)

300g semi-sweet chocolate chips*
250g Butter
220g light brown sugar
4 large eggs
50g cocoa powder
140g plain flour
200g raspberries (or thereabouts, I didn't measure mine)

Heat oven to 200C. Put the chocolate, butter, and sugar in a medium-size pot on the stovetop. Melt over medium heat, stirring, until everything is smooth. Take it off the hob.

While that's cooling, find your 8x8x2.5 inch square baking dish and grease it. Add the four eggs to the chocolate mixture, stirring after each. In a small bowl, weight out the cocoa and flour. Stir into the liquid stuff. Pour into a square glass baking dish and sprinkle the raspberries over. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until it feels set. You test whether it's done with a toothpick in if you want (it should come out clean) but aim for the parts without fruit because they're going to stay damp.

Let cool and then cut into small squares.

Makes 16 brownies

*I used these because they were what I had. Use whatever chocolate you have and it'll work out fine.