... then add your own fruit!
Once the sunshine begins to roar down, the last thing you’ll want after a tasty dinner is a hot pud. Apple crumbles and pies are fine during the snowy months, but try wolfing one of those down when you’re already a bit tepid, and you’ll have sweat thundering down your face like it were the Niagara Falls and your face were the sopping wet rocks situated directly behind the relentless gush. Not a good look for a man, and particularly bad for a woman. Hence the key during June-September is to opt for cold desserts, like sorbet, jelly, or in today’s case, cheesecake. Here’s how to make a simple vanilla one, as described to us by great friend of the site, Charlie. Feel free to add your own fruits and coulis..
You will need…
1. 12oz digestive biscuits
2. 6oz butter, melted
3. 1lb cream cheese
4. 5oz caster sugar
5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
6. 4 eggs, lightly beaten.
7. Some icing sugar
Now butter your cake tin, put the oven on to 180. Blitz the biscuits in food processor, then mix them with melted butter and press them down into bottom of the tin until nice and even. Stick it all into the fridge for a bit. Mix the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and eggs together in large bowl until nice and creamy, then put it all together and bake it in oven for 40 minutes. Bosh. Cheesecake.
Make your own, Lazy Bones
So far, it’s been a staccato start to the Summer, one minute violent beams of sunshine are boaring into the back of your neck, the next it’s so breezy that you’re begging passing women for a go on their cardigans. That, by the way, is not a euphemism. We don’t deal in euphemisms. We wouldn’t even know how. The point being that Picnic Season is here, and then it’s not, and then it’s here again. And then it’s not. Parks should really be full to the brim with rival factions – the buck-toothed Barbecue idiots one side, the sultry Picnic ensembles the other. One group wolfing down strong lagers and throwing rugby balls hilariously into one another’s groins, whilst the others fold thinly-sliced meats into their mouths whilst making witty observations about European women and body hair. We know which side we’d be on!
To celebrate Picnic Season, we’ve flung open the Interestment Cook Book, and today, excellent commentator on cloth, Oliver, has a recipe for a canape of sausage rolls that is so simplistic, even a gold fish with special needs would totally get it.
You will need:
1. Puff pastry
2. White flour
3. Sausage meat from a supermarket/butchers
6. A mighty onion
8. Salt and Pepsie
Now, roll your pastry out into a big long rectangle using flour and a rolling pin (or a clean empty wine bottle), mix good pork sausage meat (or empty out good sausages but this gets a bit weird and yucky) with some fine breadcrumbs, finely chopped sage and finely chopped onion with lots of salt and black pepper, and one beaten egg to bind it all together. Then pop the meat down middle of the pastry.
Next, brush one edge of the pastry (inside) with some beaten egg and roll it over into, well, a massive sausage roll. Then chop it into smaller sausage rolls, and snip the top of each one with scissors to make them look good, let some air out and get all the juicy burnt bits on the top.
Brush the rolls with more beaten egg and whack in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 220 degree C or 425 degree F. Allow to cool on a wire tray, then EAT.
Both green and delicious
The problem now is that with the warm fronts moving in from the West, and the blazing hot Sun shining down from the North, society has decreed that we don’t need big jumpers and large trousers if we’re heading outdoors. Bugger. Now it’s all itsy-bitsy vest tops and shorts so tight that everyone can witness the precise contours of your groin. If you’re one of those people who actually enjoy exercise, you might have the body for it. For the rest of us, it’s like waking up in the middle of a bad dream. One where everyone is laughing at you because your swollen guts make you look a bit like a pregnant woman. But you’re not a pregnant woman. Hence, it’s time to stop thrusting your face into piles of meat every night, and time to start embracing other things like vegetables, fruits, and delicious drinks – otherwise known as soup – instead.
Today, we thought we’d teach you fat guys how to make a healthy soup. In this case, pea.
You will need:
1. A great big onion.
2. A mighty leak.
3. Half a bag of frozen peas.
4. Some tasty fresh mint.
5. A stock cube. Chicken is the best.
6. Salt and pepsie.
7. Boiling water.
Now chop up your leak and onion, then fry them in a medium sized pan for about ten minutes, until they’re all nice and soft. Throw in the peas for a couple of minutes, then add a load of boiling water, your stock cube, and simmer for fifteen minutes. Add some fresh mint, salt and pepsie, then blend it all together in a stolen/borrowed/bought blender, and bosh. Pea soup, guv.
Crafted of your own hand, of course
Ignore the lull in the sunshine, it will be back, and in greater numbers. Think of The Sun as a battery in a recharger – those rays of pure joy will be boaring sweaty red holes into the back of your neck before you know it. Then those shorts you’ve been wearing to work this week won’t look so limp and inappropriate. Plus, even better, Picnic Season will resume with a roar. We love Picnic Season, it’s by far the most progressive of the culinary movements. It’s not to be confused with Barbecue Season – or Barbaric Season as it’s called by those who love gin and sometimes cry when they’re alone. It’s easy to differentiate between the two – one is an outdoor meal enjoyed by topless maniacs, all outrageously thick and playing a clumsy game of drunken frisbee that will result in at least one visit to Casualty. The other is Picnic Season.
Anyway, to celebrate, we’ve clunked open the Interestment Cook Book to provide recipes and tips so simple that even a frightened mouse would stick around to see what you’re talking about. Today, amazing woman and relative of Interestment, Annie, talks us all through the perfect homemade pizza. She had this to say…
Here is a lovely pizza recipe:
1. 500g strong white (or if you want to be trully authentic Tipo 00) flour
2. 15g of dried yeast
3. 15g of sugar or honey
4. 15g of salt
5. 1 pint tepid water
Mix the yeast and sugar/honey in with half of the tepid water to dissolve. Then mix the flour with the salt and create a pile with a hole in the middle (like a volcano). Pour the yeast/sugar/water mix and stir into the flour with three fingers. Once combined add the rest of the the tepid water and create a moist dough (you may need to add a little more water). Knead the dough for about five minutes. If it sticks to your hands rub them with some flour. Once it is well kneaded, form a big ball and dust it with flour. Now leave it for about 45 mins to 1 and a half hours to approximately double in size (try and keep it somewhere warm as it helps). Bosh, done.
In the meantime, make your topping…
1. 2 x tins of plum tomatoes
2. 2-3 cloves of garlic
3. Fresh basil
4. Sprinkle of crushed chilli
5. A dash of balsamic vinegar
6. Olive oil
7. Salt and pepsie (and a touch of sugar if it tastes bitter)
Slice the garlic and begin to fry in the olive oil – don’t burn it as it stinks and tastes bad! Add the stems from the basil. Add the tins of tomatoes and start to cook down. Add the chilli, a dash of balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper (and sugar if you think it needs it). Tear up the basil leaves and add them. Cook down for about 5 mins. The get a seive and pour the mixture through, pressing it through the seive to get as much out as you can. Discard the pulp and pour the soup-like sauce back into the pan and cook down so it reduces to a lovely pizza topping (which could also be used for pasta).
Now, back to the dough. It should have pretty much doubled in size. Knead it for a further minute to get all of the air out. Divide it into the number of pizzas you want – you get three good pizzaria sized pizzas out of this amount … or four Pizza Express sized ones – flatten and shape it out to pizza size/shape, about 25-30cm diameter (it rises a little bit in the oven so bear that in mind if you like a thin pizza). I place it on a slightly oiled piece of tin foil half way through shaping and finish the stretching on that (I cook it on the tin foil).
Now it is time to add your toppings.
The king of pizzas is, of course, the Margarita…
Spoon on and spread the tomato sauce to cover the base, it is pretty concentrated, so a little goes a long way. Then tear up mozzarella and dot it around the pizza. Add some more chopped basil, and whatever else you’d like on the thing. Then cook on high (approx 220 C) directly on the oven shelf for about 10 mins.
…or if you want to take it on a picnic, leave it to cool.
It’s salad, only butch…
Did you feel it yesterday? The hot rays of sunshine boaring into the back of your neck? That sensation is exactly what a pressed button feels when it’s used to mark the beginning of picnic season – by far and away our favourite of the many culinary movements. From now on, any space of greenery – from proud sprawling parks to small squares of grass located next to train tracks – will be spattered with quintets of shirt sleeved young professionals, lying on their sides, folding wafer thin slices of Italian ham into their lovely mouths. Some will be piling into paper plates full of colourful and alluring salads. Others might be snogging their way through a scotch egg. It’s a wonderful, wonderful time. Not to be confused with barbecue season.
To celebrate, we’ve dusted down and flung open our ginormous seasonal cookery book, and selected a load of recipes that even the most blinkered of race horses could accurately comprehend. Today, the potato salad.
Salads are hugely important. They provide all-important vegetable content, which is the key factor in seperating your sophisticated picnic from all the caveman barbecues happening around you. The king of all the salads, the real stomach-filler, is the potato salad. It’s the picnic version of chips, only much more delicious if fashioned correctly. You will need.
1. A bag of new potatoes – go for Jersey Royals if you can, they’re notoriously excellent in salads.
2. Four spring onions – otherwise known as SALAD onions. Take the hint.
3. A packet of bacon, streaky. This is optional, but well worth it.
4. Some mayo – you’ve got this.
5. Cider vinegar – or red wine vinegar. Borrow this from an elderly woman.
6. Whole Grain Mustard – most places sell this.
7. Some chives – optional.
Now, boil your potatoes for about twenty minutes, then let them cool down. Chop into halves or fours, throw into a bowl. Fry up a few slices of bacon, cut it up into little bits, whack that in. Now finely obliterate four spring onions, a handful of chives, hurl those in, and scramble it all around, mixing and fusing, before adding a few dollops of mayo, a tablespoon of cider vinegar, a teaspoon or so of mustard, salt and pepsie, and spalt! Potato Salad, done.
Ideal for cooking food
Don’t be frightened if you happen across a cluster of weeping men in suits when you’re enjoying your afternoon stroll, they’re just former ad execs soaking up the news that they’re no longer needed on the latest Blu-Tack account. They will be fine once they’ve realised that, actually, some sparkling wines can be just as delicate and quaffable as actual champagne. Yes, friends, these are intriguing, enlightening times. Which is why we go out of our minds with joy whenever we hear about a decent bargain. Just this week, amateur cook Mark stumbled across something very fascinating in his local Scope. “I’m massively into cooking at the moment, especially with Masterchef gearing up to the final,” he honked, “so when I saw that they were selling a box fresh wok, I snapped it up.” Of course, like most of us, Mark loves tipping beansprouts into a pan which already contains mushrooms, chicken, and bits of carrot. So, come on, spill the beans, how much for this excellent bit of kitchen gear? “Three quid!”