A few changes…

I didn’t actually post mentioning my new layout, so if you’re using a reader, take a look!

In the sidebar I’ve got various things to make it a bit easier to search for particular recipes/posts:

– I’ve tagged all the recipes with their major ingredients and whether they’re breakfast/lunch/dinner/dessert etc, so these appear in my tag cloud if you want to search by ingredient

– I’ve recently added categories, rather than relying on the tags, in case you want to search by meal/filter out baking stuff etc. I’ve added the vegetarian tag, and mostly only tagged stuff that is intrinsically vegetarian. However, there are a couple of things so far that I’ve tagged which could be made vegetarian, e.g. using veggie sausages in a toad in the hole. There are a few recipes which use parmesan which I’ve tagged as veggie – I know some veggies eat it and some don’t, so obviously if you don’t you can omit it or use a vegetatian alternative.

I hope it’s of use to you when searching for recipes or ideas; I know I personally like looking through categories of recipes on other sites! If there’s anything else you’d like to see on the blog, or any questions, please let me know and I’ll try my best to answer them. I’ve got so many draft posts at the moment, so there’s definitely much more to come!

Flour weevils: how to avoid them

I was at my mother-in-law’s house one afternoon several years ago, and she went to open a bag of flour for something she was cooking. When she opened the bag, she jumped back in revulsion and declared that the flour had weevils and was therefore no good. WEEVILS?! I had never heard of such a thing, but when I looked into the bag there was no mistaking it: inside there were lots of tiny little grub-type creatures wiggling around inside. It repulsed me as well, especially to think that it would be all to easy to slip these into your cooking or baking undetected. My mother-in-law said that she would have to check all the flour in the cupboard now in case they had got into any other packs, and pointed out that this is why you should really store your flour in sealed jars.

Well, of course, when I moved into my first real flat (post-student accommodation) and started building up my kitchen, one of the first things I bought were some kilner jars to store my flour. EVERY time I use flour now I think of the weevils, although touch wood I’ve never had any yet. However, when I decided to write this post in the interest of public safety, I did a bit of research into these weevils and boy am I glad I did! After my first encounter with the weevils I had convinced myself that they just sort of “flew in” and settled into your flour, and therefore my nice, airtight jars would keep the nasty weevils away. OH HOW WRONG I WAS. Weevils are apparently present in most flour, as the grain will invariably have some fauna on it, although the good news is that there ARE things that you can do to avoid a weevil infestation.

1) When you buy flour, put it in the freezer for at least 96 hours before using it, and then store it in the usual way. This will prevent any weevil eggs from hatching.

2) Store flour in sealed containers. This will prevent the migration of any weevils that hatch to other items in your cupboards. Weevils feed on anything starchy so beans, pasta, cereals etc can all get infested with weevils!

3) Allegedly bay leaves can keep them at bay (erm, no pun intended!), so putting some in your cupboards can deter the weevils.

4) The quicker you use the flour, the less likely it is to develop weevils. It takes a while for the weevils to hatch and grow, so the quicker you use it the less chance there is of encountering the little blighters. If you buy flour and it’s got weevils in, or gets them very soon after you’ve bought it, then take it back because it must have been old stock! Buy small bags of flour if you don’t use it very much.

Obviously anything made from grains is likely to contain some form of weevils and you can’t really avoid eating them. BUT, I would much rather take the relevant precautions to either stop the eggs hatching or stop the weevils spreading than have to deal with a full-blown infestation, and have to throw away the contents of my cupboards and disinfect the entire kitchen. Not to mention have to deal with a bag full of wriggling bugs. Now I just need to make some space in the freezer…

Some good links on how to deal with weevils:
Bugs in Your Cupboards
WikiHow
Rentokil – Insects Found in Food (be warned: if you visit this site you may never eat anything again..)

Something slightly different…

I don’t know what it is that I love so much about pineapples, but I seem to be developing a small obsession with them. They’ve long been my favourite fruit (fresh or tinned, I love both), but visually there is something about the yellow & green and their spiky top that makes them particularly appealing. Obviously other people are realising the awesomeness of pineapples because they’re everywhere at the moment. Behold then, exhibit A: my amazingly tack-tastic new pineapple necklace

Oddly enough, this is the second pineapple necklace I own, this being the original one

And I saw this pineapple dress on Rachael’s blog, which I really think I need in my life. I think there is definitely something to be said for wearing food (in a non-literal sense obviously). Also I think this dress would look great with my pineapple necklace – you can never have too many pineapples.

I would give you my favourite recipe for pineapple but I scarcely think that putting a chunk of pineapple on a stick with some cheese constitutes a recipe…

Hello!

Hello and welcome to my new food blog, What Charlotte Eats.

In a bid to spare the good people of twitter and my friends and family from too many food-related ramblings, I shall be documenting what I cook and eat here. The blog will most likely be a mix of recipes, my thoughts on different products or gadgets and probably a little insight into the annual changes in my kitchen garden.

When I read cookery books, rather than just have instructions barked at you for recipes, I like to feel that the author is standing next to me in the kitchen as I read, telling me how to do things and what to expect, rather than a list of commands with no idea whether what you’re doing it right or wrong. So this is how I, too, will write up recipes, with my thoughts and observations along the way. It may seem like endless text on the page, but it will help, I promise!

I also can’t promise that my food photography will be fantastic (why is it so hard to photograph food?!), but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, right?!