Can’t see but can cook and dream…

I am competing alongside around 100 other international blind people for the inaugural Holman prize being awarded by the San Francisco ‘Lighthouse’ organisation to allow the winner to fulfill their dream.
Each of us has created a short video clip – there are many excellent ideas from amazing people. My own goal is to take the ‘Baking Blind” channel and website around the world: cooking with other people and showing that life with a disability can still be fun, fabulous and fulfilling. I’ve spent nearly 20 years helping other people with health conditions and impairments to get back to work so I know there’s lots of talent out there if others can look beyond our disabilities and see the people we are.
The prize commemorates James Holman who became blind while serving in the Royal Navy in the early 19th century –his adventures travelling solo around the world are celebrated in his biography “A Sense of the World”. Coincidentally, I am also a blind veteran having left the Royal Navy as a Commander in 1999.
You can support me with a ‘Thumbs Up’ for my YouTube clip at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26G_kenQFQ4
And see other dreams for the Holman prize at https://www.holmanprize.org/candidates . First round ‘voting’ closes on 7 March 2017.

Penny sitting in the garden

If you think that disability is no bar to being a great cook, please Like my 90 second Baking Blind clip

You Tube 

probationery third officer melville brown WRNSI’m thrilled to have been invited to join the competition for the Holman prize being run by the San Francisco Lighthouse organisation for blind and visually impaired people (https://www.holmanprize.org/): $25,000 to enable a blind person to fulfil their ambition.

Spookily enough, it commemorates another blind Royal Navy officer: James Holman travelled around the world solo in the early 19th century.  And, of course, in this centenary year for the Women’s Royal Naval Service, its good to have a female perspective too!

Cooking around the world would be my own adventure to show  that , while being blind still doesn’t limit our ambition and abilities , 21st century life makes our aspirations even more achievable.  And our modern communications (like my Baking Blind YouTube channel, blogs, website and more) can shine a different light on life with a disability for a truly international audience.

Cakes with icing and pewter decorations

Cakes with icing and pewter decorations

I’d be hugely grateful if you could support my bid for the prize.

Please Share and encourage your friends and contacts (at home and overseas) to do the same.

While the prize would be a great boost, I’m still committed to Baking Blind as a way to show that living with a disability can be fun and fulfilling.    I’m always adding new videos to the channel and the recipes are available from www.bakingblind.com (and can be downloaded as accessible word documents).  I’d very much welcome your contribution: ideas, any practical support, recipes, links to your material and more.

You might also be interested in why I joined the navy.

The finished article

The finished article

Penny Melville-Brown OBE

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

penny@bakingblind.com

 

Easy low fat lunch.

Watch me make them on You Tube and you can find the recipe here.

Just a posh version of chicken nuggets and chips.

Oven-cooking is much safer than frying – and keeps the amount of oil to a minimum.

Make your own breadcrumbs from dry stale bread and store in the freezer.

Penny Melville-Brown OBE

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

penny@bakingblind.com

Posh chicken nuggets and chips

Posh chicken nuggets and chips

 

Pot up hot marmalade with your eyes closed!

Watch me do this on YouTube

The finished article

The finished article

Seville oranges may only be available in January.

A talking thermometer, preserving funnel and jug the same capacity as the jars make this possible.

I always simmer the fruit the night before so that they are cool enough to handle.  The fruit has to be fully cooked and softened before adding the sugar.

By keeping the amount of water to a minimum, you don’t have to boil the marmalade so long to achieve the setting temperature.

I test for the set on the stainless steel sink as it cools the marmalade quickly and is easy to clean.  The marmalade will set well when the surface of the test blob wrinkles when pushed by your finger.

You can add some liqueur or whisky to the pan before it goes in to the jars.

I get jars from the Jam Jar Shop (http://jamjarshop.com/): a quick wash and then place in a roasting tray in a very low oven – this dries, sterilises and warms the jars so that they are less likely to crack when hot marmalade is poured in.

Stock up early with these fabulous oranges – you can freeze them whole.

 

Penny Melville-Brown OBE

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

penny@bakingblind.com

 

You can find my recipe here (https://www.dropbox.com/s/dbvockd6glue2fs/170126%20BB%20recipe%20%20marmalade..docx?dl=0)

Don’t forget to remove the shell!

A comforting hearty soup for cold winter days – you can watch me make this on You Tube

Put the crab shell in to this chowder after adding all the flesh to get maximum flavour.

I get bacon from Greenfield pork (www.greenfieldpork.co.uk) – they also did a fabulous hog roast for a big party I gave.

I didn’t have any milk so added 2 heaped tablespoons of skimmed milk powder.

If you prefer a chunkier soup, put aside some drained spoonfuls of the cooked mix while liquidising and then return and stir through.

A dash of cream can make this soup even more luxurious – but certainly isn’t essential.

These quantities made over 3 pints/nearly 2 litres of soup

You can find the bread recipe at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jryv9ozhile7lsg/170119%20BB%20recipe%20basic%20bread.doc?dl=0

And the Chowder recipe is at:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/8qvxm0czywjy4tk/170119%20BB%20recipe%20crab%20and%20sweetcorn%20chowder.doc?dl=0

 

Penny Melville-Brown OBE

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

penny@bakingblind.com

Chowder and mini loaves for 2

Chowder and mini loaves for 2

img_20170106_130030365

Fancy fish eggs on toast?

Delicious Mediterranean savoury dip – watch me make it on You Tube

In Athens years ago, they mixed taramasalata with mashed potato to make it go further.

If you can’t see, weighing on talking scales can be easiest and cuts down on washing up and other equipment: half a pint of oil weighs 8 ounces

To prevent the taste of the oil being too strong, I used half sunflower and half olive oil.

Smoked cod’s roe can be difficult to find depending on the season.  I ordered from my local fishmonger (http://www.leefishdeli.co.uk/contact) and it arrived within a couple of days.

Cod’s roe come in pairs – each is about 8 ounces weight so you could use one  with half the ingredients and freeze the rest for another day.

Smoked cod’s roe is not cheap but this mix made nearly 3 lbs weight at a cost very close to the supermarket version and, hopefully, better in terms of taste, texture and no other added ingredients.  If you would like to see my recipe, please follow this link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jb45c53fs64qmhm/170112%20BB%20recipe%20Taramasalata.doc?dl=0

Penny Melville-Brown OBE

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

penny@bakingblind.com

Holiday entertaining

 

holiday-buffet

Watch my videos on You Tube

 

Managing a sit-down lunch for nearly 30 family and neighbours before Christmas was like a military operation: detailed OP Order with actions timed to the minute, full logistics for shopping and a Battle Plan for the seating arrangements.  But I kept the menu pretty simple: multiplying the cottage pie recipe by five (http://wp.me/p5FTN6-9T); using a couple of turkey thighs and drumsticks with mushrooms and truffles for another pie (http://wp.me/p5FTN6-9W); smoked cod, salmon, monkfish and prawns topped with potato for the third choice; really simple roast vegetables topped with toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds for crunch.  Nearly 30 individual blind-baked flan cases filled with lemon custard or the chocolate and orange alternative was a simple dessert with fruit garnish and cream.

roast-veg turkey-pie

Ready for my Christmas buffet

Ready for my Christmas buffet

Everything could be prepared a day or more beforehand and just needed final cooking in the oven before serving from the hot plates.  And using foil containers with cardboard lids meant that they could be stacked in the fridge and needed no washing up – and there wasn’t a scrap left!

I particularly like table decorations that include lighting – they are completely pictured in my imagination even if I can’t see the final effect.  The front door Christmas wreath features old CDs to add a bit of sparkle – and cooking equipment is my traditional way of suspending it on the front door: it is amazing what you can do with a wooden spoon!

front-door-christmas-wreath wooden-spoon

 

Penny Melville-Brown OBE

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

penny@bakingblind.com

 

table-decoration table-decoration-4 table-decoration-3 table decoration table-decoration-2