As you all know, I was at a one-day course on Wednesday to refresh my food hygiene certificate, officially known as the CIEH Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering. (CIEH = Chartered Institute of Environmental Health).
I decided three years ago that, since I was selling homemade foods to the public, I should have this, just in case. The CIEH suggests that you retrain every three years.
In the UK, if you are a food handler of any sort serving the public, you must obtain this certificate…and that means ANY food handler, from someone making sandwiches in a deli to someone waiting on tables…even teachers handing out food to nursery school students. Yes, there were a couple of ladies in the class who work at a nursery school and they pour out cereal or juice for the children, and they were told they had to take this course. Seems a bit extreme, but that’s the wonderful health and safety people here in the UK.
It’s a pretty intense course and everything is ingrained into your brain and repeated so it sinks in. It’s really not that difficult and most of it is general common sense. There are some detailed things you should know such as what is the proper temperature food should be reheated to kill any bacteria (70c/167f for two minutes) and what are the four things needed for bacteria to grow (food, warmth, moisture and time).
There is a 30-question multiple-choice exam at the end and a passing grade is 20 questions answered correctly. You don’t find out if you passed or failed until you receive your certificate. There were two questions I was a bit confused on as there were two possible answers…at least I thought there were! I’ll find out how I did when I receive my certificate in a couple of weeks, but I’m not worried.
I was cleaning out one of our giant plant pots outside the other week. It had contained some potatoes which we had dug out a couple of months ago, but in cleaning it out I came across some more potatoes…some very SMALL potatoes.
I put the egg next to them for comparison. (and for my US friends…all eggs here are brown) I cut them in half and cooked them up with some eggs one morning.
And some more potato news…when we were at the food festival a couple of weeks ago, we picked up some blue potatoes.
Sorry about the poor quality of the photo but you can see that they really are blue (purple is more like it!). Hubby cooked on Wednesday when I was at class and he made a nice roasted chicken with broccoli and these blue potatoes. The blue colour comes from the presence of anthocyanin, which is an antioxidant.
They had a stronger potato flavor than usual and we really enjoyed them. We have a few left and will try then boiled next time.
And as the weather is turning cooler, here’s a nice warming alcoholic drink to help warm you up in front of the fire as you lay on your bear skin rug!
ISLAND CREAM GROG (serves 1)
2 measures rum
200ml/7 fl oz boiling water
sugar, to taste
Warm a heatproof glass with a handle and pour in the rum and boiling water. Add sugar to taste and stir. Spoon some whipped cream on top and sprinkle with grated nutmeg.