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"The word 'flummery' later came to have generally pejorative connotations of a bland, empty, and unsatisfying food. From this use, 'flummery' developed the meaning of empty compliments, unsubstantial talk or writing, and nonsense." Wikipedia


It's been a busy day, and so I'm dipping into my 'oddments' list to see what I can find. Odds and ends from here and there. Flummery is possibly not quite an appropriate word, because it seems to involve deceit and flattery which is not at all what I intend. Trivial yes, and short as well.

Anyway this is a picture of flummery from a website called Great British Recipes whose author says:

"This is an old fashioned found dessert found across the British isles made with oats and cream and flavoured with orange juice. It's a set dessert, where the oats make a natural jelly and a distinctive taste. The milk jelly is then covered with a layer of honey and whiskey and topped with a dollop of cream for even more indulgence!"

It's a dessert that dates back to the 16th century and Scotland, although Wikipedia seems to think the word comes from the Welsh word 'llymru'. It was very popular in the 17th and 18th century but in the 1940s this seems to have changed into a quick, and probably bland dessert, made from jelly and evaporated milk.

A neat gadget

When I was watching Jamie make his apple pie yesterday I noticed that he had this really neat gadget that cored and sliced the apple all in one go. So today I checked on the net and here is one. How about that! Very time saving if you have somewhere to put it, and you don't want thin slices. Of course if you need your apples peeled, as did Jamie, you will have to peel the apple first, but otherwise really pretty good. Very good for pies and crumbles I think. Maybe not tarts. I have a similar gadget, now that I think of it for mangoes. Which I should try again. Jamie made it look as if it worked, but you never know with gadgets do you?

Improving tinned sardines

I'm a bit of a tinned sardines freak, in that I frequently have sardines on toast for lunch. Now I do not buy expensive - I mean the really expensive tins, although I have occasionally been given some as a present. And to be honest I did not think they were that much better than the Aldi ones, which I buy at under $1.00 a can. I also buy the Sole Mare brand ones when they are on special at around $2.50. I have tested out the cheap Coles and Woolworths ones, the John West ones, the Brunswick ones, and decided in the end that the two I have mentioned above are the best, with Sole Mare hands down the winner. Those are canned in real olive oil and they have a definite taste of the sea about them. The Aldi ones are also pretty nice, but they are canned in vegetable oil - and water. They also come from Vietnam - 'from Vietnamese and imported ingredients', which is a statement I don't really like to think about. But it's not olive oil, and the oil is indeed watery. So when somebody - I cannot remember who now - in a Guardian column said that if you are dealing with this kind of thing, then just tip out the oil and replace with your own olive oil I was mildly blown away by this solution. Such a simple idea, and I currently have half an Aldi tin in the fridge waiting for me to see if it truly does make a difference.

And forget about sardines in spring water, tomato sauce or flavoured with lemon. The last expensive tin that I tasted was flavoured with lemon, and I don't really think it added anything to the experience. After all you can always squeeze a bit of lemon over it yourself.

Shish Taouk

Almost every week I seem to come across yet another spice mix. This one was in an article in The Guardian by a Syrian cook Imad Alarnab who suggested this mix for a chicken tray bake kind of dish. It seemed pretty simple:

"1 tbsp ground allspice

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp ground nutmeg"

I'm mentioning it for two reasons - one - the proliferation of spice mixes from here, there and everywhere, and then also a bit of a confusion when you look it up and find that besides there being a myriad of recipes for the actual mix, which is not at all surprising, you discover that the Lebanese also claim it as their own, and, moreover it's the name of a dish - Shish Taouk - well they say Tawook. Shish meaning skewers as we probably all know by now and I assume the Tawook bit is the spice mix that the meat - usually chicken is marinated in. A quick look at images of shish tawook will also show you a wide variety of appearance as well. Never mind, I'm sure they are all delicious.

And that's all I have for today.

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