Sunday, 25 July 2010

Cooking: Cherries and a Tongue Twister

It has been a good year for cherries. Despite the hard and late frosts, which continued well into May, there has been a bumper crop. And, for some reason, the birds have been kind enough to leave them for us humans to harvest. There is the appearance of something exotic, or even of decadence, in the cherry's shining, red orbs hanging in profusion. Perhaps because we see it all to rarely.
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One rather plump bird has developed the taste for cherries. Henrietta, the tamest of our Lavender Pekin bantams just can't get enough of them! Fortunately, the others show no interest and, not being the brightest of creatures, Henrietta hasn't considered flying into the trees to eat even more.
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Today was a cooking day - I love cooking but have no patience when it comes to following recipes, occasionally with unfortunate consequences. Luckily, today was one of the better days. Having picked the cherries, I had no idea what to do with them, so sat outside in the sunshine stoning them, waiting for inspiration.
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So much juice came from the fruit that it was necessary to strain it off. I thought of jam and other weird and wonderful ingredients to add to them. In the end, I just cooked them gently until their skins were tender, then added sugar and stirred in some mixed spice and some cinnamon. It made a pulp that will go down a treat with vanilla ice cream or with some natural yoghurt for breakfast tomorrow.
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So what to do with the juice? First thought was to throw it away but, apart from the waste, I knew that Rhonda from down...to...earth, would not approve. Her blog is so inspirational, I highly recommend it to all that want to try and live -even just a tad - more simply. Warmed through with sugar, a few chilli flakes (I only wanted it to have a slight kick, not blow my head off) and some vanilla essence, it has become the basis for several potential options. Below it was poured over crushed ice and topped up with chilled tonic water to make a beautifully, refreshing drink for a hot, summers day. The colours were an unexpected and added bonus.
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Next, the tongue twister: Geviklte Kichlach. I have had the great fortune of having a Jewish grandmother - if you have never had one, I suggest you find one that you can adopt. For apart from spoiling their grandchildren rotten, they are the most superb cooks. Geviklte Kichlach, which translates approximately, to 'twisted little cakes', Grandma would make for my every visit.
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The recipe is more a pastry one than a cake recipe and it is very simple. I use spelt flour and baking powder as my partner has a wheat intolerance - spelt, despite being a type of wheat, is often ok for people with digestive problems.
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Mix 4 oz butter with 4 oz curd cheese and 6 oz flour (if not using self raising, add two teaspoons of baking powder). Roll out thinly to an oblong and spread with jam. Then sprinkle currants over the top and some ground cinnamon and roll into a sausage shape.
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You can elongate the sausage, if need be, by rolling it with your hands like plastacene. Cut into thinnish slices. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 190 until golden - about 10 minutes. Once cool, dust with icing sugar (it does need this additional sweetness, so don't be tempted to leave it out). The undusted, currant free version, sitting on the marble slab is a special treat for She-dog!
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You don't like it? Well, as Grandma would have said, "You will like mine - now eat!".
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Please remember, overseas visitors, that the measurements are in British ounces and the oven temperature is in Centigrade.

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5 comments:

  1. Dear Johnson, What a man of many talents you are! I do think that your advice about Jewish grandmothers is very sound, particularly for people like me who cannot cook. However, in the absence of such a grandmother, I have instead the most marvellous Hungarian cook/ housekeeper who makes the most delicious cherry soup. Alas, I am not privy to her receipt as I am never in the kitchen, but I can recommend it unreservedly for these hot [30C] days in Central Europe.

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  2. I think, Edith, that the saying "Jack of all trades, master of none" sums up most of my abilities!

    I hadn't really thought about it until I read your comment but cherries seem to feature quite a lot in Eastern European cookery. My grandparents came from Poland so we are great fans of such things as pickled cabbage, cucumbers and, of course, borscht.

    Johnson

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  3. She Dog is one lucky gal. :) I had an Irish Mama who's response to everything was 'eat it, you'll like it.' Who was I to argue? Okay, I'm off to the market to find some cherries... :D

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  4. Johnson, you're so lucky to have birds who aren't interested in your cherries, I have to fight them for my share. I'm having the same problems as you with wasps too, I don't like killing them but they're starting to raid my beehives, so they will have to go I'm afraid!

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  5. Yes, Kathy,I am and I've no idea why the birds aren't eating them!

    My last post was about wasps - including killing them. I have the pest control coming out yet again this week: my motto is don't get guilty, get even!

    Johnson

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