Saturday, 29 December 2012

25 Idioms About Bread and Dessert

Wheat — the staff of life — and the baked products derived from it invite many idiomatic associations. Here are references to bread and other flour-based products in phrases and expressions.

1. “Bread and butter” refers to the basics in life.
2. “Bread and water” refers to the bare minimum of food and drink, based on the traditional punitive prison diet.
3. “The greatest thing since sliced bread” is something considered revolutionary and indispensable.
4. “Half a loaf is better than none” means that one shouldn’t complain about not having everything, because it is better to have something than nothing.
5. “Half baked” means “incomplete” or “not thoroughly planned or conceived.”
6. To know “which side (one’s) bread is buttered on” is to recognise what is advantageous.
7. To “sell (something) like hotcakes” is to be very successful at selling something.
8. To “separate the wheat from the chaff” is to distinguish what is useful or valuable from what is not.
9. Something that is “as flat as a pancake” is extremely flat.
10. Something “as warm as toast” is very warm and comforting.
11. To “have your cake and eat it, too” is to have or accomplish something more than one way; the phrase often refers to an unrealistic expectation.
12. Something “as easy as (apple) pie” is very simple to do or understand.
13–14. To “have (one’s) finger in the pie” is to be involved, but to “have (one’s) fingers in too many pies” is to be committed in too many endeavours, thus reducing one’s effectiveness.
15. “Icing on the cake” is an additional benefit.
16. An activity that is “like taking candy from a baby” is very easy.
17. Something that is “pie in the sky” is unrealistic.
18. Something that is “a piece of cake” is extraordinarily easy.
19. To get “a piece of the pie” is to be among those who earn an advantage or reward.
20. To “sugarcoat” something is to put it into a deceptively or inaccurately positive light.
21. Something that “takes the cake” is significantly better or worse than other comparable things; the phrase often refers to an action or comment that is audaciously irritating.
22. “That’s the way the cookie crumbles” means that what is referred to is an expected or typical outcome.
23. Someone or something “as nutty as a fruitcake” is crazy or ridiculous.
24. Something “as slow as molasses (in January)” is very slow.
25. Something “as sweet as honey” is very appealing.

Original post: 25 Idioms About Bread and Dessert

Friday, 28 December 2012

2012 MenuWatching Infographic

Have happened upon this interesting infographic from thefoodpeople, which examines menu trends in 2012.

One thing to bear in mind is clearly that the "popularity" means that the restaurants are offering, not that people are buying it. Although they probably wouldn't offer it if people weren't buying it. Hmmmm, a logical catch-22. I do wonder just who the hell does have ice-cram as pud when eating out though...

Monday, 24 December 2012

Edible Christmas 2012

I decided to do a present tombola this year for my family. Clearly, some home-made food presents simply had to feature. After much deliberation I went for:
  • chocolate dipped honeycomb - I've fancied having a go at making honeycomb for ages, simply because it just looks like fun;
  • nougat with white chocolate - I've always loved nougat (aka "nugget" or "noogar" for the posh) and  I was hoping the nut heavy recipe would be a treat for my Mum; and
  • lemon curd - I wanted to do some sort of preserve and I'd made it before
The honeycomb was was as fun to make as I expected (and also stupidly easy too). The dark chocolate added a luxurious present feel.

The nougat was a revelation. It tasted fantastic and had exactly the right texture. Thankfully the whole family agreed. I had slightly mis-underestimated the complexity and involved nature of the processes required but it was worthwhile.

Anyway, here are the recipes:

Chocolate Dipped Honeycomb (taken from James Martin's recipe)

7oz caster sugar
2fl oz clear honey
1 tbsp liquid glucose
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
8oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped

1. Line a baking tray with a non-stick covering like little oil and baking parchment or silicon paper
2. Place the sugar, honey, glucose and  water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until the temperature reaches 160°C (use a sugar thermometer).
3. Remove from the heat and quickly beat in the bicarbonate of soda, stirring constantly. Pour the mixture onto the lined baking tray.
4. Set aside until completely cool and then break into large pieces.
5. Melt the chocolate.Dip each piece of honeycomb into the melted chocolate and then place onto the lined tray. Leave for one hour until the chocolate is set and hard.

Nougat with White Chocolate (taken from The Complete Home Confectioner by Hilary Walden)

Rice paper - this makes life a whole lot easier, I made do without but it made things much more complicated
14oz caster sugar
6oz clear honey
2 egg whites
3oz white chocolate, melted
5 3/4oz almonds, toasted
5 3/4oz hazelnuts, toasted
3 1/4oz pistachio nuts

1. Line an 8" square tin with rice paper.
2. Gently heat the sugar and 100ml water until the sugar dissolves. Cover and bring to the boil.
3. Uncover and boil until the temperature reaches 150°C.
4. Meanwhile, melt the honey in a bain marie until it reaches 49°C.
5. Whisk the egg whites until very stiff.
6. Slowly pour the syrup on to the egg whites, whisking constantly.
7. Pour in the honey in a similar way, whisking constantly.
8. Place the bowl over a saucepan of hot water and whisk until the mixture is very thick and firm (this takes a long time!)
9. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and nuts.
10. Transfer to the tin, spread evenly and cover with rice paper.
11. Place a board/saucer on top and place heavy weight son top. Leave overnight.
12. Turn out the nougat, trim the rice paper and cut into squares.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

£ood Waste Challenge - Winner!

Look what I got in the post today:

I didn't do too badly after all!

And I have got my London Food Waste volunteer training soon.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Food Blog Diary

The Food Blog Diary sounds like just what I need. 
The Food Blog Diary is the place to find up-to-date foodie challenges, giveaways and competitions.
I've been thinking about the fact that I haven't done any challenges or events for quite some time. Perhaps this site will help me get my act together

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Chocolate log cabin

I spent most of my Sunday making a log cabin from chocolate Fingers and Buttons and much melted chocolate.

7.5 man-hours to create a festive house fit for a Lego lumberjack. Sounds like time well spent to me...

Friday, 7 December 2012

Get me - guest blogging!

As part of taking part in the £ood Waste Challenge, I wrote a guest blog piece for the Mayor's blog. Here's a sneaky peak:

A tribute to my food waste hero

If I had only had one word to describe my food waste hero it would be dependable. Whatever the weather, through wind, rain, sunshine and snow, he’s always there in the corner of the kitchen silently protecting and preserving at a chilly -18°C.

He’s the MacGyver of my kitchen always ready, willing and able to help at a moment’s notice: maybe a little chopped chilli (put into stasis before it went off) to add a spicy kick, a few parsley stalks (otherwise destined for the bin) for the stockpot, or some baked item ready to be toasted straight-away and slathered in butter for an instant satiating hit.

He’s versatile too. I’ll take some mince or chicken thighs, say, preserved before the use by date, cook up a risotto, pilaf, hash or pasta meal then put the extra portions back in. He’s full of tubs and funny shaped bags filled with my own ‘ready-meals’. He’s a safety net for the ‘2 for 1’s and BOGOF’s that sometimes slip into my trolley but not my belly. There’s no way I’ll ever go hungry when he’s around.

I don’t look after him quite as well as I should. From time to time there’s maybe a little too much ice on his back. For that I apologise and I’ll try and do better.

He’s the cornerstone of my strategy for avoiding food waste and I simply couldn’t do without him. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you my food waste hero: my freezer!


For more info on how to use your freezer to help reduce your food waste visit:

Sign up for the £ood Waste Challenge on the Recycle for London website.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

£ood Waste Challenge - Day 14

The final day of the £ood Waste Challenge was a bit of an anti-climax as I ate absolutely nothing at home yesterday (not even breakfast).

Making my Grand Food Waste Total:


So, I managed to do it. An entire week with no food waste. I'm quite pleased with myself. Not that I wish to brag, but it didn't really take much effort to do really, simply because it fits in with  my way of thinking about food anyway - I hate wasting anything!

I definitely know that I'd be lost without my freezer now. I hadn't really ever thought about how much I use it; practically every day. Everyone should freeze a lot more!

There are also a few other things which are easy changes to make that I'll try and adopt, like crisps made from peelings.

All in all a good couple of weeks, I hope I've contributed to helping a few people make a change (or two) and it's very much got me back into blogging far more frequently. It's a success all round really.

I'm looking forward to doing more as a London volunteer Food Waste Champion...

50 Idioms About Fruits and Vegetables

Food, one of the necessities of life, figures often in traditional expressions. Fruits and vegetables, specifically, account for some of the most familiar idioms, including the following.

1. To compare “apples and oranges” is to uselessly compare unlike things.
2. The “apple of (one’s) eye” is a favorite or well-like person.
3. To say that “the apple never falls far from the tree” is to suggest that a person’s personality traits are close to those of the person’s parents.
4. “As American as apple pie” means that something is quintessentially representative of American culture or values.
5. “(As) sure as God made little green apples” suggests certainty.
6–12. To be a “bad apple” or a “rotten apple” is to be a bad person. Meanwhile, to say that “one bad (or rotten) apple spoils the whole bunch (or barrel)” implies that one flawed element or person can undermine an effort or a group, and to be “rotten to the core” is to be thoroughly bad or worthless.
13–14. “How do you like them apples?” (or “How about them apples?”) is a neutral or taunting comment, depending on the context, that refers to an undesirable state or situation.
15–16. To “polish (one’s) apple” is to flatter someone; a flatterer is an “apple polisher.”
17. To “upset the apple cart” is to ruin plans.
18. A “banana republic” is a weak or corrupt country.
19–20. A “second banana” is a subordinate, and the “top banana” is the leader.
21–22. To “go bananas” is to become excited or crazed, and “to drive (someone) bananas” is to annoy or irritate someone.
23. Something in “cherry condition” is excellently maintained or restored.
24. To “cherry-pick” is to select carefully.
25. “Life is a bowl of cherries” means that life is easy.
26. To “not give a fig” is to be unconcerned.
27. A “lemon” is a flawed or worthless item; the idiom often refers to a vehicle.
28. “Melon” is sometimes used as slang for head or, vulgarly, for large breasts.
29. To say that someone or something is a “peach” means that they are beautiful, excellent, or sweet.
30. When everything is “peaches and cream,” life is going well.
31. A “plum” assignment or job is a highly coveted one.
32. One is said to have “sour grapes” when one belittles something one covets but cannot obtain.

33–36. To be “full of beans” is to talk nonsense, and to “not know beans” is to be ignorant or uninformed. To be “not worth a hill of beans” is to be worthless, and to “spill the beans” is to tell a secret.
37–38. To “dangle a carrot” before someone is to encourage them with an incentive, and the carrot in “carrot and stick” is an incentive or reward. (The stick is the punishment.)
39. A “carrot top” is a red-haired person.
40. Someone “as cool as a cucumber” is very self-possessed under pressure.
41. To “pass an olive branch” is to make peaceful or reconciliatory overtures.
42. A “pea-brained” person is stupid.
43. Fog or something else very dense can be described as being “as thick as pea soup.”
44. To be “like two peas in a pod” is to be very close with or similar to someone.
45. To be “in a pickle” is to experience complication.
46. A “couch potato” is someone who spends an excessive amount of time seated watching television or playing video games.
47–48. A “hot potato” is a controversial or difficult issue, but to “drop (someone or something) like a hot potato” is to abandon the person or thing.
49. Something that is “small potatoes” is insignificant.
50. “Salad days” refers to the youthful period of one’s life.
Fruits and vegetables figure occasionally in figurative references to color, such as “beet red” (the color of embarrassment), or descriptions of specific hues, like “cherry red,” as well as other comparisons, including “pear shaped.” The words fruit and vegetable themselves appear occasionally in idiomatic phrases, including the following: 
  • To “bear fruit” is to produce results.
  • “Forbidden fruit” is something attractive but not allowed.
  • The “fruits of one’s labors” are the results of the person’s efforts.
  • To “become a vegetable” is to be rendered physically disabled or to virtually cease physical activity.
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