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What's for Dinner #327-The Scotland Votes Edition!

It seems likely that, if there's a vote for independance, there will probably need to be a redesign of the Union flag, as it's made up of the Scottish saltire and the English cross of St George. It'll be tricky as England will form such an overwhelming proportion of the whole, with Wales and Northern Ireland only forming about 10% of the population

Then there's the question of what my country is then called. Some have suggested that we should adopt the method of the various components of Yugoslavia which referred to countries being "former" parts of the country. So, the Former United Kingdom or, shortened.......

Personally, I think we should have pushed for London to become independent like, say, Singapore and then the rest of us, Scotland included, could have got on with things better.

about 14 hours ago
Harters in Home Cooking
2

Apples from the Brogdale Trust

Keen gardeners amongst you will know that the Brogdale Trust curates the National Fruit Collection at its grounds in Kent. It includes 3500 different varieties of apple, pear, cherry and plum.

And, of course, they sell off the crop at this time of year. I don't know the precise arrangements but there must be links to greengrocers. I say this as one of my local shops, in North Cheshire, always has a range from them around now. We stopped by this afternoon and there were easily 30 varieties on offer. All priced the same so you could "pick & mix". Needless to say, they're varieties you're not going to come across in normal circumstances. Well worth seeking out to see if one of your local shops does the same.

about 14 hours ago
Harters in U.K./Ireland

What's for Dinner #326 - The Fall Pursuits Edition [September 18, 2014]

I'm about 140 miles from Gretna Green. And, to put that in context, I'm about 180 miles from London.

As for reasons, I think if I was a Scot, I'd feel a sense of national identity and a desire to have decision making completely in our own hands. Scotland is already quite different from the rest of the UK - it has its own system of law, its own currency, a different system of state education, etc.

about 16 hours ago
Harters in Home Cooking
4

What's for Dinner #326 - The Fall Pursuits Edition [September 18, 2014]

The polls in the last few days have consistently given a small lead to "No". If I was a voter, I'd probably be voting "Yes".

about 17 hours ago
Harters in Home Cooking
1

The ugliest shepherd's pie you've ever seen....

The OP asks us to post our nastiest pies. Not worth doing so. The OP has posted what must be the worst of the worst.

As noted, there's so much obviously wrong with it. Not least just how, erm, untidy it looks. The potato should be nice and fluffy, covering the whole of the dish, with just a little hint of burning from the oven. And no gravy on top. And cottage/shepherds pie is a complete dish, so serving the salad with it is just plain wrong (unless, of the course, the OP separately ordered it.

This is a kitchen which just doesnt care. It's an easy and very profitable dish to make, so why screw it up like this.

Just nasty.

about 23 hours ago
Harters in General Topics

What's for Dinner #326 - The Fall Pursuits Edition [September 18, 2014]

Well, it really is a momentous day for the UK. I can think of only one other day in my lifetime of such national significance. I may wake up tomorrow to find the Scotland has voted to become an independent country.

I'm not sure dinner does justice to such a day - a brown gloop meal from the freezer - in this case, merguez tagine. I'll perk it up with a heavy sprinkling of chopped coriander. Couscous as the carb.

Mr Strummer blasting out as I cook - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqH21L...

Ipswich

I've been to Norfolk a number of times. Had a great week when I was about 11 or 12 with Dad and a pal of mine - boat on the Broads. We usually like to have a week's holiday somewhere in the UK each year and are thinking about the county for 2015. I'm surprised just how many listings the Good Food Guide has for north Norfolk - won't be hard getting fed.

1 day ago
Harters in U.K./Ireland

[Cheadle Hulme, Greater Manchester] Seven Spices

In spite of a couple of recent openings, Seven Spices remains one of my favourite local South Asian restaurants. It was one of the first in the area to offer a “proper” menu – with none of the “any protein with any sauce” offerings of the high street curry house. And service is usually spot on. I say “usually” because it became a bit of a challenge to get a drink. Bloke takes the drinks order.....nothing happens......manager comes over and asks what we had ordered........nothing happens ........then first bloke comes over with my partner’s drink.............then comes back to ask me what I’d ordered.......eventually we both have drinks.

Sev puri was as good an example as you’d like to find. Crisp puri and sev, soft potato, chickpea and a good blob of tamarind chutney. I can’t recall eating paneer before – I’ve been put off by folk saying it’s like cottage cheese, which must be one of the most pointless things to eat. Well, paneer tikka was pretty good. The menu says the paneer is homemade and it’s then given a marination in a poky spice mix. A little crisp salad set it off.

For mains, aloo gobi was pleasant enough but was a tad overcooked and a tad under spiced. Gosht masaledar was much better – the lamb is marinated for several hours in a spice mix before being finished, with strips of red & green peppers, on the tawa – pretty much a stirfry, if you will. The accompanying orders of lemon rice and tandoori roti were excellent.

1 day ago
Harters in U.K./Ireland

First Time in London

The "side room" at the V&A is spectacular. Just don't go at lunch time when it is all but impossible to get a seat. In fact, on our last visit, it was impossible to get a seat anywhere in the cafe and we ended up going elsewhere for lunch.

1 day ago
Harters in U.K./Ireland

Christmas Day in London

Truth be told, if I have to eat at a chain Italian, Carluccio, Ask and Pizza Express would be well ahead of Jamie's Italian.

1 day ago
Harters in U.K./Ireland

Buying Meat in Bulk (quarters and sides)

Bought half a lamb on several occasions in the past - although not for a year or so. It was a good idea for the two of us at the time being cheaper than buying all the same items individually. However, now we buy from the same farm but only order the specific items we want - that just better suits how we cook these days. Never bought bulk of other animals as it would just take up freezer space for too long.

1 day ago
Harters in General Topics

Ipswich

If Mariners is on your list of places at the harbour, then it's listed by Hardens, which also mentions Baipo (Thai) and Trongs (Chinese. No personal experience I'm afraid - Suffolk is a county that's passed me by.

2 days ago
Harters in U.K./Ireland

Christmas Day in London

We once went to the Jamie's Italian in Manchester. Once was enough.

2 days ago
Harters in U.K./Ireland

What's for Dinner #326 - The Fall Pursuits Edition [September 18, 2014]

A busy day for the Harters duo (that's "busy" as in "busy" for retired people). Two medical appointments - two separate hospitals (both for me, but herself is my personal driver for another 4 weeks). And there's the book proof reading to finish off and get back in the post to the publisher - it surprises me we are still finding typos after having checked it several times before.

And, yesterday, we peeled 5kg of pickling onions that are now sat in a brine and need finishing off.

So, I think we'll go out for dinner. I hear the call of Seven Spices - a favourite South Asian place a few minutes drive away.

Christmas Day in London

You could always try entering 25/12 into the Open Table search facility and see what, if anything, comes up.

Sep 16, 2014
Harters in U.K./Ireland

Za'atar

Ottolenghi's Palestinian za'atar lists the following ingredients - thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, salt, olive oil

Sep 16, 2014
Harters in Home Cooking

Store bought crust for Steak & Stilton pie?

The mention of Stilton suggests that the OP is making a British style steak pie. More often than not, that would use a shortcrust, not puff, pastry. And, most traditionally, has pastry top, bottom and sides, enclosing the filling, rather than just a topping.

Sep 16, 2014
Harters in General Topics

What's for Dinner #326 - The Fall Pursuits Edition [September 18, 2014]

Pasta night at Casa Harters - beef mince, onion, carrot, garlic, tin of tomatoes, beef stock, fresh marjoram. Probably with penne.

British Inns Are Thriving Again... tips for stays with good food

Good article - thanks for posting the link.

I can certainly vouch for the food at the Shibden Mill Inn.

And it was literally only the other day, we were looking at the Wild Boar, at Windermere, for a short break. Hadnt appreciated it had a decent restaurant - although the small English Lakes chain which owns it also owns the lovely art deco Midland Hotel at Morecambe which certainly does very decent food.

Sep 16, 2014
Harters in U.K./Ireland

Manchester. Northern Quarter vs. Ardwick - late lunch/early tea for a Saturday

Ardwick is a desert. Do the NQ - still as good as it gets for city centre bistro, IMO.

Sep 16, 2014
Harters in U.K./Ireland

What's for Dinner #326 - The Fall Pursuits Edition [September 18, 2014]

Whiffenpoofs?

A name that will have any Briton reading the post rushing for Google.

What's for Dinner #326 - The Fall Pursuits Edition [September 18, 2014]

The sister in law makes the best ratatouille I know. She fries each element separately, so that each is perfectly cooked and then brings them quickly all together at the end, with the tomatoes, herbs , etc. I would be prefectly happy to eat it for dinner, just with some bread.

Sep 15, 2014
Harters in Home Cooking
3

Padron peppers to flavor pumpkin seeds?

Presumably you could dry them in the oven, on a low heat over several hours. But remember that Padron peppers rarely have heat (it's years since I came across a hot one) so won't be replacing the cayenne as such.

Sep 15, 2014
Harters in Home Cooking

My problem with 'braising steak'

I don't think of these things as "right or wrong". I'm only suggesting that (a) back in 2012, I said that I find that meat sold as "braising steak" is fine for braising and that (b) in 2014, we agree that silverside is generally sold and purchased for long slow cooking. I'm happy to accept your implications that the meat industry is selling the British consumer entirely the wrong products.

Sep 15, 2014
Harters in General Topics

Za'atar

Keeping it in the cupboard is fine.

Try sprinkling some on khobez bread and then baking for a minute or so in a hot oven. Lovely, crisp, frgarant bread

I have some of the Ottolenghi za'atar and it's not bad - although I prefer the Jordanian blend from my local middle eastern shop, which seems to be more zesty (presumably a higher ratio of sumac).

Sep 15, 2014
Harters in Home Cooking
1

My problem with 'braising steak'

Well, I suppose we have different expectations from our meat. For example, silverside is always sold in the UK for slow cooking - a braise or pot roast, for instance. The Tesco recipe that you link to is pretty much exactly what I'd do with a joint of silverside or top rump.

Sep 15, 2014
Harters in General Topics

What's for Dinner #326 - The Fall Pursuits Edition [September 18, 2014]

Mwynhewch eich bwyd, JM

Sep 15, 2014
Harters in Home Cooking
1

Fennel fronds

Use them as a "trivet" on which to roast pork.

I'd also be making the Mallorcan frit de matances - the fennel cuts through the richness of the liver.

Sep 14, 2014
Harters in Home Cooking
1

Wine for steaming mussels?

My apologies, alkapal, for a post that might have unintentionally sounded a tad tetchy. On re-reading your contribution, I see that you noted an unoaked chardonnay would be fine with you for the purpose.

Sep 14, 2014
Harters in Home Cooking

Wine for steaming mussels?

Thanks for that, sunshine. I knew that, in America, wine can be labelled as Champagne when it isnt, but hadnt appreciated that might also apply to other wine growing regions of France.

Now I know that Chablis may not actually be Chablis, my question to alkapal becomes pointless.

Sep 14, 2014
Harters in Home Cooking