Sweat Your Onions

I tell you what the Hemsley sisters better watch out, there is a new slogan in town, forget 'Boil Your Bones', so 2015, the eco tote bag of choice will have 'Sweat Your Onions' proudly printed on it.  What the hell am I talking about?  Well 'sweating' your onions slowly usually over a low heat with a cartouche (paper lid from parchment paper in case you are wondering) releases the flavour from the onion and gives a rather lovely foundation to many a recipe.  Sounds easy,no?  Well the great skill of sweating an onion was there to trip many of us at the 6 week exam, this simple skill can actually very easily go tits up (technical term).  Mine was apparently roughly chopped and on the wrong side of al dente.   How rude.  Such a fundamental skill is this task of sweating an onion that there are people who have come all the way from Canada who are thanking their lucky stars they can return safe in the knowledge that this phenomenon is no longer a mystery to them, that their soups will have a firm flavoursome foundation.   So I call upon you, stand tall, stand firm and 'Sweat Your Onions' my glorious baking beauties.  I tell you sometimes I am like a one woman walking marketing genius .  Or simply deranged.  Details. Details.

So the scores are in.  How very Strictly.  Friday night we lined up (there seems to a theme in the lining up) at the headmistress' door a.k.a Darina awaiting to hear what score we got.   In we went.  I learnt of my sweating onion mishap. I was quite jolly about my onions, I think because my mind was already on the tote bag production line.  I am so getting the apron.  Anyway again I digress. Yes the scores.  What did I get?  Well a very respectable 98% / 92% (cue shimmy and a shake virtual high-five, and recover) this is the highest score I think I have got in anything ever, even with my wonky over zealous chopping and crunchy onions.  The future looks bright people.  Maybe that executive chef spot at Fat Duck doesn't look so ridiculous after all.  I jest I jest.

It's not all rosy though, there are some tense times coming up this week.  You'll recall my past high rolling times in the brownies where I received top scores for my scones only to fail quite spectacularly at grown up cooking school.  Well there is another hurdle to overcome.  Yes you guessed it the shortbread.  My mother reliably informed me that it was the shortbread that I really excelled at.  Could be Scottish they were so darn good.  Well great, you know that means don't you?  I am probably going to burn the little buggers, crack under pressure, have a meltdown with my cutter.  You'd think I would have learnt my lesson and kept quiet about these past achievements and didn't feel the need to overshare about my nerdy brownie badge collection. Oh no, not me, I have gone all Irish with my sharing.   May the baking force be with me.

Here's the round-up

  1. It's really hard to become friends with cows they are really quite moody and big
  2. Yes becoming a friend to a cow is something I think about
  3. I really need to stop making sourdough, the constant stream of bread products is turning me into a sourdough shaped person
  4. Week 8 can't quite believe it, 5 weeks and then I am finished
  5. I think I may be killing the Sweet Geranium plant in my cottage
  6. This could be metaphor but I am trying not to dwell on it
  7. If point 5 and 6 did not make sense, I am the designated plant keeper in my cottage (yes that is actually a thing) and Sweet Geranium features in about 80% of our recipes.  Enough said
  8. I seem to be growing a bionic Kefir grain, I feel like I may be invaded by a giant fermentation monster

Clearly I  need to take me and my overactive imagination to bed.  Goodnight.


Nadra Shah