Tag Archives: Avocado

Wednesday 8th July Part II

Breakfast didn’t quite go according to plan. I was going to treat Julia to avocados on toast with poached eggs. It’s not much of a breakfast but she likes that sort of stuff. Unfortunately the avocados were starting to brown and didn’t look good.I cut a few bits off, mashed it up with lime juice and green bits and it is now waiting to be spread on toast for lunch. It is just about acceptable like that, both in colour and as a foodstuff.

Plan B was poached eggs, beans, and sourdough toast. Still a bit trendy for my liking but such is life. Life can’t all be sausage, bacon and black pudding. Well, it could be, but I’d like to retain the use of my arteries for a while longer.

Unfortunately the eggs were also a little past their use by date and the first one spread across the whole pan. The second was OK, but the mess was made. Although one looked like an egg, with a degree runniness to the yolk (again – something she likes)  the other looked like a yellow blot. That’s the trouble with advance ordering in lockdown.

We seem to be commemorating the Battle of Britain this week and there were some insultingly easy quiz questions on TV this morning. That set me off looking at trivia about the Italian Air Force in the Battle of Britain (yes, they were there) followed by biplanes in WW2 (yes, there were some), Jeremy Vine, the Curse of Strictly Come Dancing and, finally, about SMART Planning.

I have to admit that I haven’t heard of all the ‘celebrities’ caught by the curse and, as Rachel Riley and Pasha have just had a child I’m not sure it’s really a curse. As all parents will know, it’s a mixed blessing, but not really a curse.

That’s the trouble with ‘working from home’ (as I am describing today, because I have things to do) – always so much distraction, plus cooking and washing up.

Just before I sat down to start work the post arrived. It contains notice of a planning application from the people next door who want to extend their lower storey half way across their drive to accommodate a downstairs toilet and extended kitchen. It will involve noise, disruption and, possibly, a loss of light, but on the other hand it won’t really affect us in the long run and I can’t be bothered to object.

It took me half an hour to find the plans online (the letter from the council lists a council webpage that no longer exists) download the plans and examine them.

Considering that they have asked me to cut down a tree in the garden because it shades some of their garden for some of the day, I can’t help feeling that I’d like the same concern from them relating to the light in my kitchen. Such is life.

It’s now 12.23 and the last phase of my day has not really seen anything that could be described as work. Oh dear!

Wednesday 8th July Part I

Wednesday 8th July Part II

Wednesday 8th July Part III

Wednesday 8th July Part IV

Wednesday 8th July Part V

Julia has worms!

It’s 30 minutes to midnight and Julia has worms. That, I think, is enough to provide me with my required 250 words.

I would have more time but by the time I’d read a few comments and checked in on a few blogs I realised I had 32 minutes to post. The missing two minutes were spent explaining to Julia that the title was going to bring her loyal fans flocking to the post. I have no illusions. After thirty years of marriage I realise that the majority of people who speak to me, or read the blog, are more interested in her than they are in me. It’s probably because she likes people, speaks to them and positively encourages them to talk about themselves. I don’t. lockdown for me has been one of the best times of my life – I’ve been paid to stay at home and eat bacon sandwiches and I haven’t had to be nice to anyone. The only way I’m ever going to become a “people person” is if cannibalism becomes socially acceptable.

Wormery in a wheelie bin

Wormery in a wheelie bin

The worms in question are all safely contained in a wormery made from a wheelie bin and donated to her by a local group who make wormeries to give away. I’m not sure why, but it’s a useful thing to have, both for gardening and for teaching about ecology. The woman who delivered them has some experience of the farm where we used to run our group, and the two of them spent a happy half hour comparing views.

She also told Julia that the worms like avocado skins as they curl up inside them. The mind of a worm is a mystery to me.

That’s 280 words. I have hit target and will now add a link, and post. The photos will be loaded later. I may get them on before midnight but I have to download them from email, which can take time when an idiot is doing the downloading.

Worms at Mencap Garden, Wilford, Nottingham

Worms at Mencap Garden, Wilford, Nottingham

 

An Avocado Day

The day started badly when I woke at 6.20 am and found that my hopes regarding my knee (which had become very painful during the course of the evening) had come to nothing. Despite having rested, it was still painful. Fortunately I had taken a walking stick upstairs and was able to make it to the bathroom without too much cursing.

I took ibuprofen, even though they interfere with the warfarin and went back to bed. I couldn’t find any paracetamol and the ibuprofen gel was, inconveniently, downstairs.

At 8.10 I woke again to find that the ibuprofen had lived up to my expectations and done bugger all to alleviate the pain.

That’s what I find about painkillers these days. The ones you can buy at the supermarket don’t do much to help with the sort of pain I get as old age creeps on, and the ones that work, like laudanum, are out of favour. You can’t read a depiction of Victorian life without tripping over gallons of the stuff but, despite the insistence of the Conservative party on returning to Victorian values, you just can’t get hold of it.

By the time I got downstairs the post had been, as had the bin men, and there was a letter waiting for me from the anti-coagulant service. I have, once again, managed to hit target with my recent blood test and have been rewarded with an appointment in August.

This amazes me, as I have a bad habit of often taking the pills either too late or not at all. My phone sounds an alarm at 8pm and I tend to switch it off with the words “I will have to take my pills in a while.” There are always better things to do at 8pm.

A quick shout out for the posties and bin men here – they are doing a great job keeping civilisation going, but they aren’t complaining and they aren’t getting the thanks they deserve.

We had a TESCO delivery last night at 9pm (because it’s cheaper at that time) and it was much more accurate than the ASDA delivery last week. As a result we were able to breakfast on bacon sandwiches made using croissants and our new supply of brown sauce. Life does not get much better…

I also picked up my new warfarin prescription from the pharmacy and took advantage of that to buy a box of co-codamol. It’s not laudanum, but as I write, ten hours after taking two tablets, I have nothing more than a dull ache in the knee. You are only supposed to take it for a maximum three days but I’ve never needed to take more than a couple of doses before it’s sorted me out. Strangely, despite the three day stipulation, it comes in a box containing enough for four days.

I then made lunch, consisting of sourdough rye bread and avocado – I seem to have become much more middle-class during lockdown – with finely chopped wild garlic leaves which Julia had foraged whilst out walking in the local park.

After that the day became less interesting.

Avocado and Wild Garlic

Avocado and Wild Garlic

Yes, it’s the same picture, but I like to add two photos where I can. Note the square plate, which I always consider a sign of gastronomic sophistication. I bought several in my abortive bid to become a food blogger.

It’s really avocado, wild garlic, coriander leaves (and stalks) and black pepper. The rye sourdough was a TESCO substitution for ordinary sourdough, which, after last week’s bread substitution from ASDA suggests that TESCO is a better supermarket for home deliveries. At least they understand bread.

Another Routine Sunday

I eventually prised myself from bed just after mid-morning. I had been up earlier but my back was so stiff I’d gone back to bed to get some warmth and do some straightening exercises. At that point I fell asleep and, as I say, reluctantly emerged. I’m tempted to say “like a butterfly from a chrysalis” but that wouldn’t be an entirely accurate picture.

We breakfasted on what was supposed to be smashed avocado and eggs on toast but Julia is such a gentle soul the avos were no more than moderately roughed up. It’s a shameful thing to do, offering any sort of violence to an avocado – they should really be filled with prawns and thousand island dressing. Or mayonnaise with ketchup, which is my version. However, this is the modern way and Julia likes it so who am I to complain?

After that we had toast and marmalade whilst watching The Hound of the Baskervilles. It was the 1988 TV version with Jeremy Brett. I like him as Holmes, but there are several other versions of the story which I prefer. Holmes really should be in black and white.

Then it was off to the laundry for Julia and off to the supermarket for me.

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Shopping

The laundry was crowded, because it was a dull wet day. The supermarket was not crowded, but the people in it all seemed to be on a mission to get in my way.

That was the first part of then day. On our return I wrote the first 240 words in twenty minutes as I cooked pie and beans for a meal that was a mixture of late lunch and early tea.

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View from the Driving Seat

I then frittered the rest of the afternoon in front of a fire, watching quizzes, snoozing and drinking tea. No, not all at the same time.

It is now 8.00. Washing up is done, the roast vegetable as are in the oven for tonight’s meal and the ones for tomorrow are boiling as I type. We will be having gravy tonight as we eat roast veg, Lincolnshire sausages and Yorkshire puddings.

Monday night’s veg will, with the addition of last night’s rice (which is currently frozen, to avoid food poisoning) and some other bits, will provide another go at veggie burgers. I will have two on Tuesday night with ratatouille (Julia is dining out for a birthday celebration) and on Wednesday we will both have veggie burgers and ratatouille. My capacity for repetition of meals means I can happily eat the same thing for three or four days if necessary.

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You could chart my life from pictures like these

The timer just went off – time for a trip to the kitchen, where mounds of steaming vegetables are waiting for me.

Later I will return to load some photos and publish the post.

The writing has taken 37 minutes according to the kitchen timers I had running at the time. I bet the photos and Tagss take at least another 20, if not more.

This blog hates me – it’s just taken twelve trouble-free minutes to do the photos and Tags. It’s trying to make me look like a liar by doing everything the easy way…

 

 

Mental Freewheeling

A thought struck me this morning.

Our kids, though “young” in our eyes, are actually older than Julia and I were when we first met.

I’m having trouble putting that in perspective.

It makes me feel old, but it also makes me wonder if I’m treating them like children when they are really adults. On the other hand, maybe I’ll start treating them like adults when they start acting like adults. Until then I will keep providing logistical support and offering advice which is ignored.

That represents most of the thinking I did this morning because, after dropping Julia off at work, I went back to sleep for much of the morning. I was able to set the bedroom fan just how I like it and go back to sleep for four hours.

The new router finally arrived from British Telecom. It only took three months, five phone calls and (from them) multiple examples of poor customer service for us to get this far. At this point I think it’s fair to point out that this is far, far better than my experience with Virgin.

I’m still both impressed and appalled by the way I made tea last night. Julia didn’t know what she wanted, just “something light”, so I threw together avocados, prawns, rocket, coleslaw, tomatoes and thousand island dressing (or ketchup, mayonnaise and plain yoghurt if you require accuracy).

It’s impressive because I merely toured a supermarket pulling things from shelves and produced a reasonable meal. Even after forty years of cooking for self and family I’m still always amazed when I manage to do that.

On the other hand there are ecological issues with avocados and prawns, plastic issues with bagged rocket, tomatoes and coleslaw and some air mile and additive concerns too.

I should have done better at growing my own (we’ve grown virtually nothing this year) and I’m capable of making better coleslaw than the one we had last night.

I just looked up eco-guilt as I think that’s what I’m suffering from. It is a word, though without the hyphen. I like the hyphen but I suppose I’ll have to lose it. Also known as “green guilt”. There’s a whole post waiting to be written on that.

Meanwhile I’m a bad parent and mediocre husband – do I really have enough guilt left to encompass the plight of avocado farmers and plastic-eating sea creatures?

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George Orwell – Southwold Pier

Unfortunately not. I would like to worry about them, but it’s not going to happen until I can find more space in my (metaphorical) self-flagellation schedule. I’ll try to cut down on plastic, and I’ll try to eat less processed food, but it’s hard to remember when you’re busy and shallow.

Currently I’m reading a book about three friends touring the piers of England and Wales. It’s research, as I’m considering doing the same thing. I’ve always wanted to write a book so I may stitch together the blog posts on piers and give it a go.

One fear is always about word count – can I write enough words. I reckon the blog now runs to around 400,000 words which suggests that stamina and vocabulary won’t be a problem, though it’s still only enough words to do 80% of War and Peace.

I once read Gone with the Wind (400,000 words) when I was about 16. It took a weekend. I then moved on to War and Peace (500,000 words), lost my way in the family names, stalled, tried again and lost the will to live. That is a lot of words, though I feel War and Peace was probably easier to write than it is to read.

Obviously writing is not like bricklaying so just being able to stack words on top of each other won’t be enough. I have some regular followers/commenters who seem to stick with me so I suppose I must be doing OK

I’ve just counted the words I’ve written on two piers and two lots of fish and chips – 2,739. If I extend to crabs, winkles and candyfloss that should give me 75,000 words, which should be enough for a book. Add in the words I’ve done on marshes, butterflies and such and we come up to around 100,000 words, probably a few more if we get held up in traffic. This is likely to be too many.

It looks like I’ve just publicly committed myself to visiting over 50 piers and writing a book about it.

Having done that, and I did think about it before I wrote it down, I now have no excuses.

As I wrote that line I felt all my confidence drain…

What have I done?

 

 

 

Modern Life!

It was a beautiful morning as we drove to work, with great light quality, plenty of potential pictures and a superb sky. Of course, I couldn’t stop to take any of the photos, and I hadn’t taken my camera anyway. I had to drop Julia off at 8,30 and get to a meeting for 9.00 so there would, I decided, be no use for a camera.

As I pulled up for the 9.00 meeting, I noticed a distinct lack of life and cars around the house. The mystery (OK, not much of a mystery) was soon solved by reference to my phone – the appointment had been cancelled by a text in the early hours of the morning.

Don’t you just love modern life?

Later, whilst watching TV, another sad comment on modern life, I saw a quiz contestant who was training for a very unusual job. She was doing a web-based training course to become a professional cuddler.

Yes, it’s a proper thing, with a professional association and everything.

Just when you think you’re catching up with modern life (and I did have avocado for breakfast) something like this crops up. I’m off for my rearranged meeting now, though I may spend a moment banging my head on the wall.

 

Eggs California, well bless my soul!

The title is a rough paraphrase of what I felt on reading the breakfast menu on Harvester this morning.

Eggs California are “Smashed avocado and tomato salsa topped with two poached free-range eggs on a toasted breakfast muffin.”

They cost £6.29, compared with the “Unlimited Cooked” which also costs £6.29.

I’m not sure whether the concept or the price leaves me more speechless. (The “Unlimited Cooked” breakfast is, in theory at least, unlimited continental and unlimited cooked breakfast. And unlimited toast. It seems better value.)

I didn’t have time for the Continental as they were so quick with the service, not that I’m big on fruit, yogurt and cereal anyway. I’m still off bread and potatoes, so I didn’t order the hash browns or chips, and passed on the toast.

That left me with unlimited sausages, bacon, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding and eggs.

I managed to choke a few morsels down, then sneaked in a couple of crumpets with honey. Honey is good for you so it seemed foolhardy to pass it up.

As I sit here in the evening I am just starting to feel peckish again. Time for some soup and salad, I feel.

Before that I’ll merely draw your attention to the social and environmental costs of avocado. I started eating them regularly last year because they are good for me (particularly Hass avocados) and I’m now seriously thinking of stopping eating them.

Talking of eating…

A Walk in Wikipedia

It all started with Derrick J Knight. The man is a bad influence, though probably not as bad as Wikipedia.

His mention of a Spong mincer set my mind back to a time when, in my early 20s, I was firmly based in the cookery traditions of my mother – Be-Ro cookbook, Spong mincer and pressure cooker.

I’ve just spent a happy couple of hours delving into various links and thinking about the cookery of my youth.

In those days we had savoury mince or Cottage Pie (which is not much of a stretch, just savoury mince with mashed potato on top). Spag Bol and chilli con carne were still some years off. If you wanted exotic food when I was a kid you had a Vesta meal or  prawn cocktail, and you had it with lettuce. Avocados ranked with Unicorns in those days. (I was going to say “hen’s teeth” but even as a kid I knew chicks were born with an egg tooth. It’s a throw-back to when they were dinosaurs). Not all my useless knowledge comes from Wikipedia.

I’ve also been looking into the Laws of Rugby in reply to a discussion on yesterday’s France  v Wales game. That’s not as relaxing as thinking about food.

I’m planning to look at poetry next, as I need some new titles and I should really give Gray’s Elegy a rest.

No photographs for now, I don’t have any relevant food photos and there’s no point photographing a pile of poetry books as I’ve just said I’m browsing poetry on the web.

Instead, I’ll leave you with this thought:

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”
Bill Watterson