Baking, creating and lots of eggs

Filed in Blog by on September 6, 2008 30 Comments
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fried eggs for lunch
I’ve spent most of the morning in the kitchen. We had 12 eggs to use up and a few leftovers in the fridge that were starting to look at bit like compost fodder, so I rescued them and did a baking session.

I made a broccoli and pepper quiche, dessert for tomorrow’s lunch and some biscuits. I’m going to use the 2 remaining eggs to have a go at making real custard tomorrow. I’ve never done this before and I’ve always fancied a go at it. So with Mrs Beeton’s recipe book in hand I shall see how things turn out.

I gave my two a bit of a zero waste treat for lunch – a proper English fry up. Little Miss Green would probably be quite at home in a Greasy Joe’s roadside cafe, so I did a Not-so Greasy Green’s fry up. They had eggs (!), sausages and bacon bought in our own container from the butcher, baked beans and fried bread.
bacon and sausages bought without packaging

There were all sorts of appreciative noises coming from their end of the table as they ate, so I can only assume it was good. The cat had some bacon rind and shared it with the birds 🙂

Little Miss Green asked for a special treat for pudding.
“What would you like?” I enquired.
Turned out it was a pickled egg. I did say she was not necessarily a girl of tradition when it came to puddings and mixing her tastes!
pickled eggs
So the day thus far has passed free from landfill scariness and I’m looking forward to a quiet afternoon. I’ve just asked Mr Green to light a fire – can you believe that? It’s just so cold and miserable. I think I’m trying to get the sun, and I figure we can do a manmade version in the fire grate.

But rather than waste the wood, I figure a hot water bottle and my thickest jumper will do just fine.

I’ve been slowly decluttering my books this week; I’ve not cleared half as many as I would have liked, but I feel like I’m hibernating. Geesh sorry to sound like an old whinger but I really need some sun. Anyway, I’m selling a few books on Amazon and have just had another couple of orders come in, so I’m pleased with that. I’m creating space and money – that’s not bad is it?!

Here’s a photo that will make you feel a whole lot better about your own clutter. Yes, this is the room that I had pledged to declutter this week but have failed considerably. Oh well, there is always next week (or the week after that)
clutter books
See? Things in your home aren’t so bad after all, are they?!

Pledges are still coming in – I haven’t counted how many we have but I reckon we’re getting on for 180 now. There is until tomorrow to sign up and then another week to get any responses and experiences in. I’m still blown away by how much interest there has been; it’s been marvellous and it shows that there are many people who care and feel inspired by a little rubbish talk.

So I’m off to top up my hot water bottle and relax. All that pasty rolling has worn me out!

P.s. a quick tip if you’re trying not to waste food. Do you know how to tell if an egg is still fresh enough to eat? You put it in a bowl of cold water. If it sinks you’re fine. If it stands on one end then eat it up within the next day or so because it is nearing the end of its life (and use it in a recipe that cooks the egg well rather than something that asks for raw or lightly cooked eggs). If it floats then you’ll have to get rid of it and not consume it.

how to tell if an egg is fresh and safe to eat

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (30)

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  1. Hi Mrs Green,

    I like your meat container, similar to mine. When you think of all the wrapping for each item used otherwise, seeing unpackaged is always best.

    Good tip about eggs. My use is 4 in baking and 2 in mince burgers along with 1 onion and 1 pepper.

    The number of pledges is amazing. Just think of the reduction in landfill achieved by all their grand efforts.

    John.

  2. Kris says:

    I don’t buy eggs very often as I’m not a frequent or confident baker and I don’t like the taste of egg itself (other half does though, he’s trying to teach me how to fry them correctly!) I buy them occasionally at the Farmers Market though, and they are kind enough to let me just get three at a time.

    I’m afraid that picture of the bookshelf doesn’t really impress me as clutter – you can get near it easily for starters 😉 Good luck with finding the time to sort through a few of the books, and well done for getting the Amazon sales.

  3. Mrs Green says:

    John, buying packaging free meat is saving us a lot of waste; that’s for sure. It also means that our bin stays clean as all other non recyclable plastic packaging to date can be washed. I would be reluctant to store plastic which had had raw meat stored in it.
    your use of half a dozen eggs works out well 🙂

    Kris; I didn’t realise you could buy just three at a time from the farmers market; that is really good for people on their own or who, like you, don’t use many.
    Amazon sales do cheer me up that’s for sure!

  4. maisie says:

    I had a baking day as well yesterday, made and froze quite a bit.
    The things I made were:
    cheese & onion quiche (tea last night)
    millies cookies for the biscuit box
    chocolate sponge sliced and half was frozen to be grabbed for lunches.(those g/p sheets would be very useful for this as I was using approx half a one to wrap a slice of cake)
    3 fruit loaves again 2 were sliced and ind wrapped for lunches; 1 was left whole to use for the school cake stall that will be coming up.
    cheese biscuits for the picking at box in the fridge
    loaf of bread

    I buy a tray of f/r eggs from a farm gate £3 for the tray and we use 3 trays a month on average.

  5. Hi maisie,

    That is what I call home baking. I caught the bug from my late mother who baked for us 4 boys. Copying her recipes and adding my own ideas, it makes it a great pleasure.

    What about yourself, are you self taught?

    Kris said her baking experiences were not as positive. Maybe getting advice/seeing how others do it could help.

  6. maisie says:

    John, my mum taught me when I was younger and I have naturally progressed from there.

    Baking is my ideal chill out day.

    Once every couple of months or so I will start as DS2 goes out the door for the bus and do nothing but bake until the last batch comes out the oven as he walks back in the door.

    I have last year and will be doing again this year run the after school cookery club at DS2’s school.

    We also had a VE Party as part of the WW2 topic that the yr 5 & 6’s were studying I went into school for 3 days and prepared all the goodies for the lunch; if you look at http://www.dalzielfamily.blogspot.com there are some pictures of the spread I made.

  7. Hi again maisie,

    Keeping it in the family is a lovely way to bake.

    The site is ace. I may look for ideas nearer to Christmas when family come around. Classes are excellent and any other readers would benefit from your experience.

    Sometimes in baking, you can have fussy/over-critical eaters. That must be a particular problem. Have you come across any such situation? What is your best advice?

  8. Further on Seasonal baking, Raspberry Pavlova, Black Forest Gateau are 2 favourites. When you buy these from a superstore the desserts are accompanied by a massive plastic base, 100% landfill. Could anyone find a better way to avoid this, than baking yourself?

  9. maisie says:

    Hi John, as the children are all aged between 9 & 11 last 2 years at Primary school I last year tended to stick to things that I knew my boys liked and went from there.

    We made during the year:
    cheese scones
    cheese biscuits
    sausage rolls
    fairy cakes
    shortbread
    bread rolls & hm butter
    chocolate biscuit cake

    This next year we will be looking at probably:
    fruit crumble
    flapjack
    shepherds pie
    fruit salad

    Thats all I have thought of at the moment, but I want to include some basic fruit and veg prep as well as cakes and pastries.

    There will probably be a few duplications on last years as there will also be new younger kids joining.

    I don’t tend to worry about fussy eaters if they don’t like what is cooked then they go hungry in my house.

    Thanks for your comments John

  10. Hi again maisie,

    Your baking is an excellent example for others, including me, to aspire to.

    My point is aimed at other less experienced gals who would benefit from your knowhow. Part of being a successful baker, I feel, is to spread the good word.

    Seasonal baking is a contribution to Zero Waste. Especially at the festive season where desserts, as previously indicated, are cased in plastic.

    I have also mentioned my own more basic efforts to show that baking can be learned with a bit of practice.

  11. Mrs Green says:

    Wow – you two, you’re making me hungry. John, Mr Green was able to treat himself to some delicious looking cake (that I would probably not bother to make) from Waitrose – served to him in a cardboard box. For an occasional treat this could be a solution to the waste issue. Expensive, but nice for a special occasion perhaps.

    I’m self taught and only really got into baking when I had a child. My easiest recipe is for shortbread, which is always a winner, and many people who ‘cannot bake’ have a lot of success with the recipe. Fairy cakes are pretty straight forward (I have a secret ingredient that ensures a light bake) and muffins are no fuss – especially as a better result is obtained from the least amount of mixing; so a lumpy looking mix is quite acceptable.

    I’m going to try Maisie’s cheese scones. Scones is something I have never mastered, so I shall follow her recipe and see how I get on.

    Funnily enough I never use a food processor; I bake everything by hand and love getting my energy into the food – it feels somehow therapeutic and I can add lots of dollops of love into the mix as I go 😉

  12. Hi Mrs Green,

    There is something special about that cooking style. You could say it is an art to develop in your own fashion.
    Being male, respecting the female perspective, I love the food processor. It is a form of cheating but the results are ace. It would suit the faster lifestyle of some females as well.

    Maisie is an excellent example to follow for various aspects. Talking about the Festive Season, shortbread is a favourite at New Year, and throughout the year, in Scotland. Your shortbread recipe will be one I will definitely follow for the year end.

    The discussion should help others join-in with the wealth of experience and expertise available.

  13. maisie says:

    Thankyou both for your kind words.

    Mrs Green, when making the scones try to handle the dough as little as possible, mixing the milk in with a knife first.

    I have both a food processor and my mums old Kenwood Major Catering size mixer but the processor only tends to get used for mass cheese grating sessions or breadcrumbs; the mixer is used on my baking marathon days as it will make enough cake mix for 6 dozen fairy cakes, or pastry using 3lb of flour.

    If I am just doing something quick to fill the cake box I will make by hand.
    An easy pudding to make is a sponge but cook it in the microwave.

    Make a basic 1 large egg sponge.

    Weigh your egg and then have equivalent weights of butter,sugar,flour, add ½ tsp basking powder, and mix all together well.
    Put jams, syrup,lemon curd, stewed fruit in the bottom of a 2pint microwavable pudding basin cover with the sponge and then micro on full power for 3 mins, check to see if cooked in the middle by poking with a knife, if it need longer do 30 secs and try again.
    This pudding gives a small but sufficient portion each for 4 people when served with cream/custard.

  14. Hi maisie,

    Thanks for the recipe. That is Eve’s Pudding, one of my mother’s favourite desserts. Bramley apple and homegrown rhubarb will be good choices as filling. Doing it in the microwave is new, but a quick option.

    My food processor has cutting for veg etc but there is also a 2-piece curved blade, inserted into the base, which can do a cake mix in 1 minute, at full power. The mix is always perfect. Mince burgers can be done using a blunt tool as well, though at half-speed.

  15. maisie says:

    John, mine has all those bits as well, I just prefer to either do it by hand or bulk.

    I also will make a bulk crumble topping in the processor then just stir in the sugar and freeze in crumble size portions alot less faff if you want a crumble quick to just take a box out of the freezer and sprinkle it over.

    I do a Rhubarb and Apple (DS1 not quite got to the full Rhubarb yet) and add in a couple of tbsp of oats to the crumble mix for some extra crunch. Also for the extra sugar on the top I always use demerara.

  16. Hi again maisie,

    That is 2 great straightforward dessert recipes for any newcomer to try. With crumble lemon can be added for a sharper flavour.
    Starting out can be scary but if you try and it is not quite perfect, just improve next time.
    I have the greatest baking disaster. I worked in a local bakery one summer while a student, thanks to an baker uncle’s efforts. The cardinal sin I failed to taste a bucket of liquid before using it! I painted the 20 loaves with the “oil” and then put them on the oven shelf. Job well done I thought, only the “oil” was jam. 20 well-fired(burnt) loaves later I learned a valuable lesson.

  17. Mrs Green says:

    maisie, thank you for the tip about the scone mix. I’ll give them a go and thanks for all the recipes and ideas you have shared here. This will help many people. Mmmm, I feel a Maisie’s baking page coming on 🙂

  18. maisie says:

    John, I used to have a Saturday job in an instore Somerfield bakery but when the manager used go on holiday I would take a week off from my regular job and go help the Assistant as he couldn’t quite work out the cakes etc.

    He would do the bread side and I did all the apple slices, coconut slices and that type of thing plus the jam doughnuts and putting all the fresh cream into the cream cakes for the counter.

    I always think back to that time when I need cream as we used to get it in bottles like milk, which would be recyclable not silly (pp) pots with plastic lids.

  19. Hi maisie,

    It is good to read about your work experience in baking. I suppose you could always do something later on, though I do not think Somerfield has long to go.

    You are so right about the cream. My sponge interest requires cream for the filling so I will have to use pots again. One possibility is to return the empties to the superstores for their recycling/disposal facilities.

  20. Hi Mrs Green,

    I am still gaining experience at the sponge making game. One thing I learned is to cool the 2 sponge halves, using the fridge if required. My coffee butter icing melted a bit between the chocolate layers. The taste was still fine with the chocolate/coffee (mocha) flavour a good match.

    The beauty of home baking is that improvement comes with experience and the imperfect attempts are still delicious.

    The chocolate sponges would make the basis of a Black Forest Gateau. I might try to add the different components bit by bit over the months. It would be a great achievement to make a reasonable copy for Christmas/Boxing Day/New Year dinners, served with cream.

  21. maisie clark says:

    We are having a Macmillan Coffee afternoon in school on Thursday so I will be baking again this next week for cakes to be sold.

    I do have the fruit loaf already in the freezer, and will add the following:
    Wacky Chocolate Cake (uses no eggs but vinegar)
    Ginger Sponge

    I might also make some muffins.

  22. Mrs Green says:

    Hi John. Ahhh, yes, cooling the sponge before adding the butter icing is kinda important LOL! Never mind, it’s the taste that counts. Can you tell me how you made the flavoured icing please? I’ve only ever made lemon icing, so don’t know the quantities for mocha.
    Black forest gateau is likely to be more readily received than traditional Christmas cake in my book. Does anyone actually LIKE Christmas cake??

    Oh Maisie, now you need to put two more recipes up – Wacky chocolate cake and the ginger sponge. Sorry to keep you so busy! (you know you love it 😉 )

  23. Hi Mrs Green,

    The butter icing is : 2 oz Butter
    4 oz Icing sugar (sieved)
    2 tsp Coffee granules dissolved
    in 1 tbsp boiling water.

    Whisk the mixed ingredients until fluffy and put in fridge, ready for the baked/cooled sponge halves.

    Mocha icing would be half coffee/chocolate. The chocolate sponge / coffee icing give a mocha taste in combination.

    I like Christmas cake but it is very large/rich cake for big families.

  24. maisie clark says:

    Mrs Green,
    How about you create a section for the recipes, then any recipes could be put into it. Then people wouldn’t have to scroll through comments to try and find them.

    Even some of your cleaners!!!

    I do like Christmas cake. DS1(age 13) is making one in school this year and marzipaning and icing it.

    I also have to make the Christmas Pudding.

  25. maisie clark says:

    John, did you know you can make mini ones using old tuna tins or similar sized cans.

    Make up the smallest amount of mix you can. (I’ll see if I have saved the recipe)

    these can also be used for putting into hampers for presents.

  26. Hi maisie,

    That is a fab idea. I was thinking of a smaller type of sponge tray. Sardine cans, suitably washed, would be another way. A small sponge would be a way to test new recipes, with minimal mixes. Using this size would also make a good gift alternative.

    A recipe page, with a separate page for reader comments, is another good suggestion, as you as it would be easier to follow for readers. Youtube would be a good way to show the baking routines.

  27. maisie clark says:

    Here you go John HTH.

    Personally I would double this recipe to make use of the whole egg and just make more cakes to use as pressies.

    MINI XMAS CAKE (1 tin)

    100g mixed dried fruit
    6g glace cherries chopped finely
    6g mixed peel
    27g flour
    pinch salt
    1/8th tsp mixed spice
    27g unsalted butter
    27g soft brown sugar
    1/2 egg- beat 1 egg in cup and use half of it to mix cake
    6g ground almonds

    Sieve together flour salt and spices.
    Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
    Add egg slowly to butter and sugar mixture.
    Fold in flour and spice mixture.
    Add dried fruit, peel and ground almonds and mix well.
    Pour into prepared tin (lined with greaseproof paper) either an old baked bean tin or sponge pudding tin.
    Tie some brown paper around tin to stop it from burning cake.
    Cook in lower part of oven gas mark 1, 275f or 140c until a skewer comes out clean

  28. Hi maisie,

    A great recipe. It brings back family memories when each of the 4 sons got a birthday cake like this. There is a tremendous amount of eating in it and a large family, or plenty of friends and relations, is a must.

    The individual mini-cakes are excellent too, as a gift idea.

  29. Mrs Green says:

    Thank you both. Maisie, we are discussing your idea at the moment, of recipes. We’re just figuring out the best way to present the information.

    Now of course, I need your xmas pudding recipes too. 😀 OK, I’m seeing the need for us to move quickly on the recipes section LOL!

  30. maisie clark says:

    So as not to clog up the comments I’ll try to put most of the recipes mentioned on my blog http://www.maisiesrecipes.blogspot.com then they will all be in one place until you have made a descision.

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