Is it possible to be addicted to ginger ?

Dinosaur left to keep an eye on Mummy and make sure she doesn't eat the biscuits

Dinosaur left to keep an eye on Mummy and make sure she doesn't eat the biscuits

I know that chillis are supposed to be addictive, there is some chemical which not only makes them hot but does something to your brain to make you feel happy – but does ginger have the same properties?

I just wonder as I appear to have used ginger an awful lot in the last 4 months if my past postings are anything to go by…

If I do a quick stocktake in my cupboards I have at least 5 sorts of ginger: root ginger, powdered ginger, crystallised ginger (covered in chocolate), preserved ginger and this mystery bottle labelled “ginger essence” which is the same size as a food colouring bottle and is as yet unopened – I have no idea where it came from. I also have in my bathroom a bottle of ginger bubble bath…and the only time I go to Starbucks is at Christmas when they go their gingerbread latte…

I think I may have a problem!

I am looking for something to do with the ginger essence, I may try a sponge cake…open to suggestions as I honestly have no idea how you are meant to use it.

Yesterday I tried some cooking with Spider, proper cooking, not decorating a pre-bought item or using a packet mix…it was not exactly a success but for different reasons than before, mainly lack of planning by me.

Decided to make gingerbread men, mainly because I’m trying to run down my spice cupboard (some of the bottles in there are vintage). We followed a recipe in Apples for Jam: Tessa Kiros and having been prewarned by Lacers Life that it may be a bit runny I added some more flour – at least I think I did, I’m not sure…you see the battery has run out on my scales so I tried to convert the gram measurement into a cup measurement when I noticed that the recipe in the book gave a cup measurement of 2 cups which was twice the amount I’d just worked it out as being.

Second problem was I didn’t have enough butter (so added a small bit of soft margarine) and then I discovered I was running out of plain flour so made the difference up with buckwheat. Then I discovered I’d thrown away my baking sheets and had yet to buy replacements…not that it mattered as by that stage I’d reached the bit in the recipe that says “refrigerate for 3 hours”.

At this point Spider got bored and went back into the living room to play “knights and castles” – informing our guests later (luscious Lulabelle and her daughter Lulabud) that “We haven’t got any biscuits because Mummy can’t cook”.

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Cupboard clearing…

Haven’t been baking much the last 10 days as there is plenty to eat and I keep being given left overs from people I know.

Started sorting the cupboards out last night, doing a stock keep of what I have and what needs using up, other than the obvious stuff in the fridge…

Still feeling run down so trying out a “tonic” rather than copious cups of tea as I still have some ginger left from my cold cures and I discovered some forgotten lemon grass in the freezer, which if I was in the mood I could turn into a Thai curry (as there are 2 tins of coconut milk lurking with the rice pud) but I am not in the mood…although there are still loads of goose bits in the fridge…and I wonder if the co op sells corriander…

Anyway rather than the curry I haven’t made here is the tonic (makes 4 cups, I’ve only made 1 as I may use the rest of the lemon grass on something else)

Lemon grass and Ginger Tea (Cook at Home with: Peter Gordon)

2 stems lemon grass bashed flat with a hammer or rolling pin

100g ginger skin scrubbed and roughly chopped

1 litre cold water

sugar, elderflower cordial or honey to taste

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat, out the lid on and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain before drinking.

lemongrass tea - a break for the liver

lemongrass tea - a break for the liver

ps ooooh, whilst rooting around in the veg drawer for the ginger I found the beetroot I bought just before christmas to do Hugh Fernley Whittingstall’s Beetroot Brownies, so I may do one last baking session before new year…

verdict on the tonic: Well I feel invigorated, the ginger was a bit strong for my taste, but perhaps its less intense if you drink it hotter, mine was a bit on the cool side as just as I made it, Spider dragged me off to show me a 3 he had just found – we’ve been playing a number recognition reward game, if he correctly names a number then he gets a small toy as a reward…it probably would be cheaper with sweets…!

The first Christmas cake

So called because this is the first Christmas cake I am making this year, for the works Christmas Cake competition – the idea is that anyone who wants to enter makes a cake and then people who want to try cake pay a £1 for charity (probably Water Aid) and then vote on the winner.

Anyway, my entry is not a traditional cake but is something that I associate with Christmas, gingerbread or rather ginger cake…my kitchen is currently full of the lovely smells of ginger and cinnamon and caramel and…cake ! The version I eventually went for is from The Kitchen Diaries:Nigel Slater and is one I am particularly fond of because it has a hidden surprise of real stem ginger hidden deep in side. The recipe for it was published some years ago in The Observer also [here] and its kinda appropriate as when Nigel made it for his article in the observer “the rain is crashing down on the kitchen roof”, and that’s just what it’s been doing here all day.

The intention tomorrow is to ice it with the lemon icing for Ginger Cake in Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess because as she points out, its hard to sell something which is so unrelentingly brown…

Other than the cake today has been quite quiet, Husband went down to pick the Student up from Cardiff and Spider and I cleaned the living room, including moving the sofa which is where I found the Toffee Brownie recipe – I have now amended the quantities in the recipe I posted several days ago.

Next weekend I will be making this years actual christmas cake – again not traditional because last year we were still eating it at the end of January…

Double Ginger Cake with lemon icing...

Double Ginger Cake with lemon icing...