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Have a look at my plums.

Disclaimer – Yes, I know plums are funny. Yes I know I have double entendred myself to within an inch of my life. ENJOY!

Seasonal stuff going on here on partyspanner at the moment, and so we turn to fruit in the back garden. It’s not yet time for the quince to fruit but the plum tree is groaning with goodness.

HEAVING with fruit

Rather predictably my mind turns not to plum tarts or plum jam (although I am planning on making some spicy jam in the next few weeks) but instead I have decided to make some plum schnapps. Yes, yes I know I went on and on about blackberry vodka but the thing is, it’s easy to make and once again serves as a great drink to serve at Christmas.

In for a penny in for a pound of plums as they say.

A handful of plums

I used approximately 20 plums, halving them and removing the stone before placing them into a kilner jar.

A work in progress

And so, the plums go into the Kilner jar before being topped up with 70cl of vodka.

Just gorgeous!

Off this jar goes to a dark place, to be occasionally brought out and shaken, for at least 3 months. It will join it’s cousin, the blackberry vodka, in imprisonment. I almost feel a bit sad.

Farewell, sweet, soft fruits. Farewell. *sob*

I’m planning on checking on these (taste test obv) in late november. Until then, Good luck to you, my vodka friends. *salute*

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Crafty Spanner

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a craft book. I’m not 100% sure why…just because it winked at me in a pretty manner perhaps.

Flicking through the book I suddenly had a vision of myself, happily making chutney and cushions, flavouring vodka with various sweets from my childhood (cola cubes primarily) and quilting. so lonely

I then had the genius idea of actually making all of my christmas gifts this year – I can hear the collective groan of possible recipients, but it’ll be good, I promise! it won’t be.

I have spent most of the past weekend sewing stuff onto other stuff and obsessively buying buttons and felt. I’m confused by myself, to be honest.

Felt Up

I have registered a new blog with which to make the internet gasp in delight at my brilliance. I’m hoping to get round to writing some posts over there soon. Obviously that blog may ruin the surprise of my fabulous gifts to those lucky, lucky people, who are going to actually get to own something made by my own fair hand; so if you know me, and think you might get a present from me this year, it might be best not to check out the new blog. (Also make sure you don’t spend too much money on any gifts for me this year. Just saying)

In other news, I have decided to scale right back on our Halloween celebrations this year after a pretty shitty couple of months. We will still be bobbing apples and eating junk, but without the hoardes. It feels a bit weird not to be planning at this time of year, but I think it’s important to recognise my limitations.

So, this week, I will be mainly sewing my EYES out, baking some cakes for a local farm festival, dragging my winter clothes out of the loft and, oh yeah, going to work.

Here’s to a productive one.

Man vs Food Party-ette

If you’re a fairly regular reader of my blog, or if you actually know me, you will know that I was very poorly for seven whole days last week. (You can read some whining about it here)

I’ve been a bore. So today I decided to treat the boys and make a spectacular MAN VS FOOD dinner.

Man vs Food is a brilliantly mesemerising TV programme from the US and stars Adam Richman as he chomps his way around the States. Each episode culminates in Adam taking on a “Food Challenge” and it is just…mind boggling. I have watched him eat pounds and pounds of burgers and fries, 12 dozen oysters, enormous MANcakes (*snigger*), pizza slices bigger than a human baby.

We love, love, LOVE the show and watch it, aghast, as a family. You can find out more here. (Also I love him)

So, I got up early this morning and had a good hunt around the internet for some authentic American recipes. I landed on a site called Soul Food and Southern Cooking and plumped for a meal consisting of:

Southern Fried Chicken

Macaroni and Cheese

Cornbread

Corn on the Cob

Homemade Lemonade

and

Peach Cobbler for dessert.

I headed off to the Supermarket and filled my trolley with abandon…

Hmmmm, plenty of high fat, low nutritional items in this baby (and a chilli plant)

On the way home we listened to the radio and Oliver suddenly asked me why the woman was singing about “choking him”. I was somewhat confused as the song playing was “Jump!” by the Pointer Sisters. Although, hilariously, it really does sound as if they’re singing “Choke HIM!” during the chorus, and so then I couldn’t stop laughing and tears were spurting out my eyes a bit and I had to pull over.

When we got home I got the chicken ready, by placing it into a mixture of full fat milk, salt and buttermilk…

milky, milky, bokey, boke.

and placing it into the fridge for a few hours.

While the chicken bathed itself like Cleopatra, I got on with making the cornbread. I’ve never even tried it before, and so was quite excited.

It’s really easy to make. You just mix together the dry ingredients of cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in one bowl, and the wet ingredients of melted butter, egg and milk in a jug and them combine them, stir well and pop into a fairy cake tray with cases.

Easy Peasy

While the cornbread cooked, I started on the macaroni cheese. Quite frankly, I was staggered at the amount of cheese and butter the recipe called for. A stick of butter (115g) and one and a half pounds of grated cheese (500g) makes this side dish a real gut buster…

Don't even look at this photo for too long or your EYES will get fat

The cornbread had cooked, and had been tasted, an essential task for the serious cook..

I pronounce it..."Tasty"

and so the macaroni cheese headed into the oven to bubble away and turn into Certain Death By Dairy.

I was starting to flag a bit by now and decided to make a jug of lemonade, just to have a couple of glasses with a little splash of vodka in to have a taste and liven me up a little.

Vodka Optional

After a drink I felt ready to tackle the peach cobbler. *childish snigger*

The recipe called for a “Baking pan” and whatever the fuck that is, I don’t own one. I do have a silicone cake tin in the right measurements though and decided that it would probably turn out OK. I’m telling you now, that it didn’t. So if you’re planning on trying any of the recipes, I strongly urge you to buy a “Baking Pan”. Good luck with that.

This doesn't look right...

I think the problem was that you’re meant to melt the butter in the “Baking Pan” and then add the batter and the peaches; instead of melting the butter in the microwave, pouring it into the cake tin and then spooning the batter on top to form an unholy alliance of fat with a thin batter which, sort of, curdled. MMMMmmmmmmmm

“Ah Screw It!” said the vodka I and bunged it into the oven with the Macaroni Cheese to cook for an hour.

And onto the chicken. I diverted a little from the recipe online and followed some advice from Nigella Lawson about poaching the chicken in it’s milky bath before coating in flour and frying.

I cannot begin to tell you how bad this smelled. All I can do is ask you to engage your imagination and think about chicken boiling in milk and buttermilk until the liquid becomes some sort of horrific cottage cheese floating on…plasma?

Dear Lord.

Once the chicken had cooked through, I let it cool down, double dipped it in seasoned flour and egg and fried in an entire block of solidified vegetable fat. *arteries weep*

There are no words. Unless the words are "Gross Obesity"

Finally everything was ready and the table groaned with a billion calories.

That's banana ketchup in the front of this shot. Yes. (and butter)

It was all…unbelievably delicious. We couldn’t finish it all, not by a long chalk as it was all so heavily fat laden that we became full very quickly, but my GOD it was good.

Yeah, shovel it in you bloody WHALE

So for the next two weeks I will be living on rice cakes.

The peach cobbler was a freaking disaster. It looks OK in the following picture, but it hadn’t cooked through and was just..ick.

Looks OK, Tastes like uncooked cake mix. And not in a good way.

If you fancy trying some authentic soul food then check out Soul Food and Southern Cooking

You can find a handy recipe converter here.

As we ate we decided that there is definitely a great party idea here. Maybe a dinner party with a good number of guests would manage to finish the food, and the “Food Challenge” could be a stupidly hot chilli laden dip served with nachos and the person who managed to eat a certain amount in a certain time could be the “winner”

*ponders*

You could rig the house up in stars and stripes and serve lager and cocktails in teacups   a la the prohibition. Maybe throw the party on the 4th of July (it’s a bit late now for me to be having these sort of revelations…but hey! there’s always next year)

In conclusion…

In the fight between Man vs Food? On this occasion Food won.

*scrape* *scrape* *scrape* *scrape*