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Odds and sods

"An assortment of small, miscellaneous items, especially those that are not especially important or valuable."

It's a miserable day although we briefly saw one set of grandchildren across the gate this morning which was lovely of course and did brighten up the day. And now David is playing old much loved music and so it is hard to concentrate. Yesterday's cooking class meal - Nigella's Chicken with orzo was only a partial success - a bit bland was the general opinion although we all ate heaps. All of which has made me yearn for something old, loved and guaranteed to be a success - roast beef perhaps. But I'm fasting today anyway which rather adds to the gloom. Anyway my intent of finishing off my blast about shopping is deferred. I'm not up to it today.

So odds and sods it is. A phrase with its origins it seems way back with the Saxons - well that's one story - the one in which 'ord' or even 'odd' means something pointed or a beginning. (so that odds and ends actually means beginnings and endings which is not quite the same thing is it?) The more likely version is that it is a vulgar variation on odds and ends, with the sods being used to rhyme with odds. I somehow think of sods as being Northern English but who knows. 'Not especially important or valuable' anyway, but things that caught my eye but don't warrant a whole post to themselves.

Quiche art Tucked away at the end of a section on quiches in the latest Woolworths magazine are these - plus a few tips on how to do it. The grass is chives, the trees are parsley - although these could be other herbs. The flowers are halved tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion - or chilli or small capsicums ... Arrange on your quiche, spray with oil and cook. Finish off with scattered seeds or cracked black pepper. Why would you do this? Well I suppose we are all somewhat bored. The kids might like to do this and they can probably think of something even better. I guess if you were selling quiche it might help. I mean it's not even that pretty is it, and besides I like my quiches with grated melted, browned cheese on top.

Spring onions Still in the Woolworths Fresh Ideas magazine - lots of tips in one small paragraph.

(a) if your spring onions are droopy bring them back to life by soaking the root ends in chilled water for an hour so.

(b) then use the droopy bits for things like pancakes, salsa verde, omelettes - like my failed Ottolenghi ones.

(c) keep chopped, sliced or shredded spring onions in the fridge in an airtight container covered with a damp tea towel ready to use at any time. Apparently they keep longer this way.

(d) don't throw out the roots - plant them and they will grow!

(e) - there are lots of ways you can chop and slice and shred them - see above.

Peanut butter cornflake brittle - if you have cornflakes and kids, then maybe this could be a reasonable thing to put in the lunch box - from Yotam Ottolenghi no less.

And whilst we are still on cornflakes The Guardian's Stuart Heritage rounded up 10 inspiring and unusual ways with cornflakes. Do people still eat cornflakes? They seem pretty unfashionable to me. I was made to eat cornflakes as a child but as I couldn't drink milk without throwing up I had to just munch my way through a bowlful. Too much munching first thing in the morning. Not a happy memory.

But I have to say the Cornflake tarts in those ten recipes looked pretty tempting.

Hispi Ottolenghi again. I can't remember what the recipe was now, but it was the word hispi that got me. It seems to me sometimes that he spends his life either looking for weird and wonderful new foods, or just makes up new names for things that already exist.

In this case we are looking at cabbage, specifically a cabbage known elsewhere - rather prosaically - as pointed cabbage, or - romantically as sweetheart cabbage. Romantically because the French use 'chou' - or 'mon petit chou' as a term of endearment, with 'chou' meaning cabbage. Or it might just be called sweetheart cabbage because it is sweet in flavour. I also saw somebody say it is sometimes called Chinese cabbage, but that's something different to us Australians. Anyway it's a cabbage and hispi is just being pretentious I think. Probably not invented though - maybe it's Turkish - there seems to be some kind of association with Middle-eastern food. And it seems to be mostly cut into wedges and grilled - with spices.

Pretentious equipment It seems that even Jamie, the man I touted yesterday as a champion of the uneducated and poor cook, is not immune to giving out recipes that need equipment that we are unlikely to have, to want to have or would not be able to find anyway. The point is that for this delectable looking Insane jerk chicken - apologies - the recipe is not online - as he says at the beginning of the recipe: "You will need 2 large, flat metal barbecue skewers." They look somewhat like swords, and maybe you can get them in a barbecue shop - I don't know - but I'm guessing that most 'ordinary' kitchens would not have room to store them and how often would you use them anyway? And rather too dangerous to have around young children.

The marinade for the chicken by the way is 8 garlic cloves, 4 thyme sprigs, 4 oregano sprigs, 3 tsp allspice, 2 tbsp dark rum, finely grated zests of 1 lemon, 2 tbsp olive oil. Barbecue and then pour over sauce of 8 scotch bonnet or small red chillies, and a splash of cider vinegar. Simple and a bit different.


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