Sunday, 3 May 2020


In response to a charmless poster on my last blog who seems personally affronted that I am spending my days putting on makeup, binge watching Netflix and cooking.  Forsooth!  What outrage, perhaps I should go outside and break a few stones just to make the Methodists feel better.  

As it happens, cooking is my main preoccupation these days.  The make up not so much - it's impossible read to my faded Delia book through false eyelashes, no matter how natural they are and I always fear they will off and land in the batter.  Reading the small print of a recipe is an ongoing problem, and I've never got used to my bifocals, they make me feel permanently drunk without the fun bit.  Happily I have a large magnifying glass that I got in the pound shop, it was handy for checking fat and sugar contents as I used to go round the supermarket.   

I have now spent several days trying to make perfect pastry.  True, I have treated every pastry shell I have baked as 'it', the 'yeah I done it' moment, but it's not true.  The first looked amazing but had a soggy bottom :(  The next, burnt around the edges with a bottom that would break teeth.  Picture perfect, but dentists would not recommend.  I think I know where I went wrong there, apart from the over cooking.  A slip of the hand while adding the water and the addition of more flour to soak it up, destined it to be hard in the first place.  Doh!  All those basic lessons I learned in the Domestic Science class room, why can't I get it right?  I feel very much like Dr. Frankenstein, I'm not giving up until I achieve my goal!  Should point out my own workshop of filthy creation is more covered in flour than blood and guts.  

I haven't mentioned the quiches and flans that went before, but the above were made after watching every perfect pastry video I could find. I have discovered that if you take the pastry case out of the oven before the outer edges burn, you will have a soggy bottom.  If you cook the bottom, you will have burnt outer edges.  The solution, I'm hoping, tin foil which I was not able to get but have now.  My plan, to cover the outer edges of the pastry case with tin foil before they begin to burn, foolproof huh?  Watch this space.

On the plus side.  I have discovered I can make good (though not yet tasty or divine) pliable shortcrust pasty with minimal involvement of my hot little hands - the fault of all my pastries from years gone by. The solution, I no longer rub in the butter and flour, I use a mixer.  This has opened up a whole new world on the cooking front for me.  I no longer have to plan quiches and flans in advance by buying shop bought pastry, I can rustle it up whenever I want and make something yummy out of whatever I've got in the fridge!  A small step for mankind I know, but a giant leap for me. 

In case any pastry makers are looking in, and just musing here, I was taught, at school, half fat to flour and the fat should be half butter and half lard.  The butter for the flavour, the lard for the shortening effect. Most recipes now call for all butter, which I have been doing, but something's not quite right.  Could be, musing out loud, that I am using salt free butter, but not sure that's it.  Perhaps the lard does have it's place?  On the taste front, I'm sure I do not add enough salt, that is, I use a literal 'pinch' and unsalted butter.  The lard I think, will be trial and error to find the correct ratio.  

Next week I am expecting via ebay and Amazon, vanilla pods and gelatine.  I have never used actual vanilla pods before, so looking forward to giving them a try.  I have always had a bit of a mental block with gelatine, having grown up with cubes and quick jel, but I would love to learn how to use it.  Panna Cotta is one of my favourite desserts, definitely in my top ten meals on death row, but I have never attempted it due to lack of vanilla pods.   I love foods with a soufflé, mousse like texture so looking forward to trying some out.  

It would seem from social media, that making do is bringing out our creative sides, especially on the cooking front.  I would love to hear about your efforts.  

For now, my kindest wishes to everyone, I hope that you are keeping amused and finding new or even old interests to amuse you.  Try not to let down your guard, even for a moment, you are safe because you worked towards staying safe, never forget that.  Take care.


  1. All that glitters is not gold.

    1. It's glistens.( Merchant Of Venice ; William Shakespeare)

    2. Anonymous6 May 2020 at 21:42
      confirmation that Ros swill post anything.

      The grass is always greener.

    3. @21:42

      On reflection, I’ve change my mind. You are William Shakespeare. My apologies, Will.

  2. You are not William Shakespeare, I am.

  3. "The expression, in various forms, originated in or before the 12th century[1] and may date back to Æsop.[2] The Latin is Non omne quod nitet aurum est.[3] The French monk Alain de Lille wrote "Do not hold everything gold that shines like gold" in 1175.[4]

    Chaucer gave two early versions in English: "But al thyng which that shyneth as the gold / Nis nat gold, as that I have herd it told" in "The Canon's Yeoman's Tale",[3] and "Hyt is not al golde that glareth" in "The House of Fame".[5]

    The popular form of the expression is a derivative of a line in William Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice, which employs the word "glisters," a 17th-century synonym for "glitters." The line comes from a secondary plot of the play, the puzzle of Portia's boxes (Act II - Scene VII - Prince of Morocco):[6]
    Glitters or glisters
    The original version of the saying used the word glisters, but glitters long ago became the predominant form. Poet John Dryden used glitter in his 1687 poem The Hind and the Panther. The words glister and glitter have the same meaning."

  4. I see you can't be arsed (which is your own description of yourself)to post comments here.

  5. Good grief Cristobel. 7 years on and you still spew bile. Kudos to your staying power, though I put that down to your loneliness. Sad, sad, sad.

    1. Err, this particular blog is a light hearted look at making pastry, how is that spewing bile? lol.

      I am not sure a writer ever feels lonely 19:34, I very rarely do. In fact I went through my early life longing for 'A Room of One's Own', in those days my only escape was to hide in the bathroom with bubbles, candles and a tape of Madam Butterfly.

      The thing is 19:34, I absolutely love my own company, I'm knowledgeable about all the subjects that interest me, and when unsure of an opinion, I can debate the subject widely between myselves. Added to that, I'm a great wit, I always know how to raise or lower the tone. I don't know if it comes across, but sometimes I am giggling as I type, especially when I think how indignant you will be when you see this reply.

      I have, in the past, had times where I was very lonely, especially as a young single mum when I literally wept at missing parties through lack of childcare. I was lonely, in so many instances, because there were so few people around me with whom I had anything in common. The first time I ever connected with other people, was when I joined a writing class in 1999. We had all felt that sense of dissonance, we bonded straight away.

      I occasionally envy people who need people, but it is usually fleeting and usually after a glass of wine. I did as a young woman, I loved playing hostess and Mother Hen. But I suppose we all play different roles at different ages, it has no appeal for me at all now, apart from Christmas Day when I still enjoy spoiling those I love.

      I do know what real loneliness is, which is why, I know I do not presently suffer from it. I am very much aware of my age and mortality, and I have a real thing about my time being wasted! I am no longer prepared to go along with anything I don't want to do. I go out of my way not to be stuck in the company of people who bore me. In my head I am thinking of all the zillions of other things I would rather be doing.

      But in a way you are probably right, that it is I did write because of loneliness - in many ways it was the writing that cured the loneliness. As a young woman going demented for a bit of company, I began to write all the things I wanted to say on A4 pads of foolscap paper, and by hand. Usually in the middle of the night, because it was the only time I would be undisturbed.

      Writing is, would you believe, very cathartic, it offers zillions of ways in which to cleanse the system, you should try it, it may be a better way of getting whatever it is off your chest, than a spiteful two liner.