Lunch at The Natural Dye Studio

Lunch at The Natural Dye Studio

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Daisy's Culinary Experiments

Before I tell you of my culinary experiment let's see what The Natural Dye Studio staff have had for lunch:

Glorious sustenance. 

Now, whilst having no interest in cooking, I love food but find eating at the bottom of my list of things to do when I wake up in the morning. I think more of what I will do at work or if a day off, what I will work on with my projects which involve writing, knitting or painting.
My boyfriend however loves food, buying, preparing, cooking and eating. He’s good at it too. So I’m always well fed.
I decided the best way to introduce myself on this blog is by documenting my most recent culinary idea. 

The Tuc biscuit test
Whilst I munch down on some weeks old soft celery I think of the Tuc biscuits Queenie came through the door with this morning. I wonder if they would be still tasty if you dunked them in a cup of tea? Tea is adaptable; all sorts of flavours are mixed with it. In Britain we link it mostly to sweet things. Mix it with sugar; infuse it with fruits or spices.
However, we can also infuse it with herbs like mint and lemongrass. I once had a very delicious tea made up of green tea mixed with rice… I know how it sounds, but it was really refreshing and clean.
So, why not try a Tuc cheese biscuit? For those of you who do not know the Tuc Biscuit on a personal level and have only heard of its delights through word of mouth, I’ll fill you in to what it is. It’s a savoury custard cream biscuit, except where you have custard in between the custard cream biscuits the Tuc biscuit has cheese and instead of the biscuits being covered with sugar, they are covered in salt.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – Salt? In a cup of tea?!
But it may not be too bad. It may actually be lovely. It may just be the next revolutionary idea that will eventually stop world hunger and cure world cancer… OR it may just be fucking horrid. Whichever way I’m woman enough to try it.
Stay tuned to find out how my Tuc biscuit dunked in tea turned out.

7 Minutes Later…
After climbing over Queenie, who is actually working sorting out the yarn from Wonderwool, I turned on the kettle and brewed a cuppa. The tea bag was strained, the milk was added and the Tuc Biscuit was freed from its packet. It was then dunked for a certain amount of time to let it soak up the tea and then I put it in my gob and chewed, not so much chewed as swallowed as it was very soggy.

It wasn’t disgusting or delightful and had no distinct or otherwise flavour than what I’d already tasted before it’d been dunked. The tea afterwards was a little salty but then that could have been from the hot salt on the biscuit lingering on my taste buds.

Queenie's analysis: tea rolls off biscuits as biscuit is made of plastic. 

Experiment: Failed. 

Wagonwheels: 5 
Tuc Biscuits: 8
Tuc Biscuits in tea: 2 
Two week old soft celery: In the bin. 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Queenie's cooking history

I don't really like food.
But I'm fat, this is because I have a husband who loves to cook and has made feeding me his life's work.
He loves cooking and tries his hardest to come up with meals that I will eat and I like.
Its not easy for him, my favourites are Chinese, Thai and Indian food, basically rice and noodles and a bit of meat.
So when he optimistically asks "what do you want for tea?" he already knows the answer.
Maybe he hopes that one day I will give him a different answer, but after 29 years you would think he'd give up.

I don't cook as to me it's a waste of time, I'd rather be doing something far more interesting like crocheting.
I did cook for the first 18 years of my marriage and I managed to feed 3 hungry babies well enough for them to survive to adulthood.
But 9 times out of 10 I burnt rather than cooked, I am an expert at rescuing burnt food and saucepans.
As they grew up with crunchy brown foods they knew no better, maybe its why none of them really cook either.......
At some point in time my patient long suffering husband tried his hand at cooking and discovered he loved it and was far better than me, so ever since he has been the chef in the family.

I do have 2 or 3 specialities that I cook.....

1 - Chicken soup made in the pressure cooker by boiling up the chicken carcase for hours, I add pea's, chopped up sausages and a hand full of noodles before serving, the kids loved it and we have it every time we have roast chicken.
Boiling bones for hours can result in a very burnt pressure cooker if I get too distracted.
I don't have very good sense of smell, so if I forget that I'm making soup I have a lot of pan rescuing to do.
Phil recently thought he had to buy a new pressure cooker as I had managed to build up an inch of burnt bones in the bottom of the old one, but what he didn't realise was that I had rescued the old pan from a lot worse - needless to say we didn't eat chicken soup on those days.

2 - Passion cake
I have made him a passion cake on Valentines day every year since I've known him, except for last year when we had a old slightly broken cooker that didn't cook evenly, I didn't want to risk ruining one of the only things I'm good at.
One year we ate half the cake and forgot the other half as it was put in a cupboard we didn't use.
I have never let him forget the mouldy cake :-)

3 - Cheesy beans - I hate baked beans, but if you add grated cheese, worcester sauce, chopped onions and peanuts they become edible.
He likes to get me too make them for him as he likes to encourage me to cook.

My most memorable disaster was the day we moved to Lynton I decided to make a curry for 5 of us as we were all exhausted and I'd been left in the flat whilst everyone drove up the hill to unpack the van at the studio.
I did very well, no burning, it tasted okay and was ready to eat, I was very proud of myself.
Then I opened the cooker hood to put the fan on to clear the steam.
The glass fell out on top of the cooker, smashed and my curry ended up full of broken glass, I think we ended up eating frozen pizza.

Occasionally I am left alone to cook for myself, Phil is a member of the Blue Bull pool team, so I have to feed myself.
I have become a big fan of ready meals.
But on occasion I have frozen pizza, on my pizza nights I need to have a back-up pizza ready to be cooked just in case I burn the first one.
The dogs love my pizza nights as they normally end up with the first burnt one.
One memorable night there were no pizzas or ready meals, he suggested I cook sausages, I knew sausage cooking was going to end badly so I had a peanut butter sandwich for my tea, which after a dyeing day is not a good thing.

I have a lot of friends who love to cook and have consulted with some of them about writing this blog.
My dear friend Jeni is passionate about cooking and posts about her exploits all the time, she approved of my blog idea and thought it was funny, although when she realised that Dais and I were serious about either eating rubbish or nothing for lunch she was slightly shocked.

So Jen - this blog is dedicated to you :-)
And Sarah - thanks for backing up Jen with the permission to let us go for it!!

Let Us Introduce Ourselves

Whilst writing the introduction to this blog I'm shovelling down the green and purple wild berry skittles, let this be a sign of things to come for the future of ‘Lunch at The Natural Dye Studio’.

Hello, I'm Daisy aka Lone Knitter and Amanda aka Queenie. 

Too long have we endured other blogs, facebook messages, tweets and updates of what people are eating, when they are eating, who they are eating with, how they made it, where they got the recipe and all the other godforsaken information which (to us) we don’t give a damn about because it’s just bloody food.

To you food may be a passion, a pleasure, a privilege, a hindrance or something you put in your mouth to keep your body going. The later is how we feel about it. Although saying that, we both love particular foods, as long as we don’t have to talk about it at length, show other people it or cook it.

Queenie just came back from a show in Wales with a bright idea, to battle our aggravation of the internet food obsession we'll put our food exploits on the web too, get our stories out there of what, when, how, who, which food we are eating at work. As what we eat when we are working can rarely be called food. It's an impressive collection of, ‘we can’t be bothered’ or ‘we just need fuel’ food; and we’re going to share it with you. 

If we can't stop them we may as well join them.