Tag Archives: carrots

No Inspiration Yet…

At 10am on Sunday Julia posted the Covid test kit. At 10.30 this morning she had a text with the result. It is negative. Credit where credit is due – this is a very efficient piece of work and the laboratory staff are to be congratulated.

If I say that was the most interesting thing in my Sunday, apart from a salted caramel chocolate brownie Julia bought when she went out for a walk, you may see what a waste my day has been. Again.

Now that spring is coming I really should be perking up.

I stalled in my writing, decided to have a cup of tea and a sit down, and ended up falling asleep through the midnight deadline. I’m still not much better placed as far as inspiration is concerned,, because Monday hasn’t exactly been a day of laughs. I dropped Julia off at work, went to the doctor, found my blood testing forms weren’t ready, despite my telephone conversation and email, and came home to make toast, wash up and stare at a blank screen.

Last night I had a strange dream about my legs being paralysed. I woke to find that I was laying on my side with my feet caught in the duvet. I’m not sure how I managed it, but they were held tightly together and I was trying to kick my way free.

A doctor rang me in the middle of the morning, to check on the blood test request. We discussed a few other problems we have had over the months and she was able to unravel several mysteries about missing prescriptions over the last few months. I felt slightly guilty as (a) I’m not ill and (b) all the years spent to train as a GP should not be wasted doing admin. It’s just unfortunate that the admin team at the surgery couldn’t have done it. I am beginning to suspect that deep in the bowels of the NHS Electronic Prescription system, there are a number of random faults that keep casting up aberrations.

I am doing the menu for tonight through to Thursday now. It’s sausages with roasted veg – the accent being on carrots. Tomorrow will be sausage and mash with mashed carrot and parsnips, and onion sauce. I have too many carrots. Even carrot soup for Wednesday lunch isn’t going to bring the numbers down significantly. I’m going to start eating carrot sticks for lunch too.  Looks like carrot hotpot on Thursday…






I have 28 minutes to post, and am going to give it my best shot. Please excuse the haste and the worse than normal editing.

Today’s main event, apart from a hospital phone call (which was a duplicate of the one I got yesterday) was the soup. We had half a dozen manky carrots, a medium sized parsnip and a swede (rutabaga) which was beginning to look a bit grey round the cut end. My solution – root veg soup.

This is a lockdown recipe, because with only shopping every week or ten days I’m not quite getting the supplies right and we needed to get through a few more roots.

I also had the green end of a leek, so I softened that and roasted the roots whilst cooking the tea last night. I then boiled it with stock and spices (2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, half a tsp of lazy chilli from a jar) and left it covered overnight. No need for a fridge, we are having a cold spell here at the moment. We always do once we start putting plants outside.

Today I added some lazy garlic from a jar, a touch more chilli and reduced it to a smooth consistency with a stick blender. I tried to leave  afew flecks of red, but they didn’t stand uput in the finished soup. Sometimes I use finely chopped red chillis – they stand out better.

The result was a nice beige soup with an interesting flavour and a touch of mild heat. I’m not sure that it needed the ground coriander, as I can never really taste it when I use stronger tasting spices.

Finally I added a spoonful of turmeric to brighten it up a bit. I’m not sure if the photos show it, but you get a slightly brighter orange/yellow soup when you do that.

Things I didn’t add – mushrooms and kale (despite kale being virtually compulsory in recipes these days. I thought mushrooms would be confusing, though they do need using soon, and I couldn’t be bothered to take the kale off the stalks (I didn’t want to spoil the consistency by putting stalks in. I was going to put kale in at the end rather than boil it with the rest of the veg.)

It made far more than we needed and we will be having it tomorrow too. And Friday. However, it’s good and cheap and you can have sandwiches with it so it helps dodge the salads.

The one on the left has no added colour, the one on the right has the turmeric added. The one in the header picture was taken with flash, which made it look a richer colour and wasn’t a fair comparison to the original beige.

I rose a little earlier than usual this morning, which is part of my new plan. It is necessary, after weeks of casual slacking, to return to the world. Rising earlier will help me get more work done, and if I get up fifteen minutes earlier each day I won’t notice the gradual change. By the time I go back to work I will be rising with the lark and facing the day with fortitude. Not that we have a lot of larks in Nottingham, in the morning or, indeed, at any time of the day.

As I descended, ready for the day, the post arrived. I now have a new supply of bran for the bokashi bucket. We are producing a lot more vegetable waste these days as a result of healthy eating. As we gradually work our way through the carrots I am also peeling more – there’s something very unappetising about the skin of an aging carrot.

I will be finalising our shopping list later in the day, and carrots won’t be on it.

The second parcel contained masks. I’ve only bought ten, but I thought I’d get a few just in case. Government advice is still that we don’t need them, but this might change and it’s easier to wear a proper mask than make one from a handkerchief and two rubber bands.

face mask on blue background

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

In the evening, acting on Tootlepedal’s advice, I watched some improving TV. First I watched a painting programme, which would have been useful if I had any talent for painting. Then I did the washing up while Julia watched an Andy Warhol exhibition at the The Modern. We then sat down for two programmes about Philip Larkin. He was an interesting though slightly repellent character, but I knew that. The first programme was by someone who had known him and was quite interesting. The second was by someone who had trained as an actor before becoming an academic. That one was interesting because it showed how an academic can build a media career.

Just after midnight I checked in with TESCO, which has no delivery or collection, and ASDA, which did have a collection slot. I did some ordering then had a look at the list for our Thursday collection. It’s hard doing the shopping by remote control.

Rhubarb, Ratatouille and a Recipe

The main feature of the day has been the succession of texts and phonecalls.

The first one, from an unknown number, was a bit of a worry as there is always a chance that it is bad news. Once I found out it wasn’t bad news I decided that it’s nice to know there are people out there, despite the isolation. Several of the calls have been people checking to make sure we have everything we need, which is comforting, though it does make me feel old.

I am now watching TV, blogging and breathing in the comforting scent of rhubarb crumble as it cools in the kitchen.

I am mentally preparing myself to cook tea. It’s not that cooking tea is difficult, but as I’m doing a roast it has to be at least as good as the one Julia made a couple of days ago. It’s the same meat, warmed up, but the trimmings all need doing and it won’t do to make a mess of things or she will mention it several times a day for the next week.


Rede Crested Pochard – Arnot Hill Park

We will be having carrots (because I have bought too many recently), parsnips, sprouts, broccoli and asparagus. We don’t usually have asparagus, but variety is good for us and I threw it in the basket without thinking about what it would go with.

That’s the problem with lockdown, you have to spend so much time planning your food. I was very well organised at one time but after moving to the city and being near a supermarket that was open 24 hours (apart from Sunday) I have let things slip. It has been hard getting them back in line and, with some groceries being short it has been tempting to put a little extra in the basket.

First, there is the menu for 7-10 days, then there is working out the shopping list, ensuring that things won’t go off and actually getting into a shop. At that point you have to hope you can get everything you need, make substitutions, and resist the temptation to add too many snacks. I think I may have covered that before, when talking about the cake and biscuits that found their way into my basket on Wednesday.

Julia is managing to keep her exercise routine up by gardening, working out and running on the spot. My regime of lifting the remote control, walking to the kettle and a little light typing, is not quite so healthy, though it seems to work for me. That’s why I need to cut down on snacks and resist the cake.


Tufted Duck – Arnot Hill Park

Tomorrow I am going to cook a pan of carrot soup. I really have bought too many carrots.

I’m also going to look at a recipe for Burnt Aubergine Chilli Number One Son sent me. It involves, as you may guess, burning an aubergine. Gas will do nicely, according to the recipe, and a barbecue will give it a nice smokey flavour. The recipe is strangely uninformative about the likely results using a garden flamethrower to do the charring. No doubt it will make for an interesting experiment for the middle of the week.

It’s about time to vary the menu. In fact, if the lockdown is extended for another couple of weeks, it is essential. Much more ratatouille and I’m likely to have a meltdown. We will be having it tomorrow (ratatouille, that is, not a meltdown), and I’m looking on it as a penance rather than a meal. Crumble, on the other hand, is always a pleasure. I will finish now as it’s time to eat.

The photo theme of the day is ducks.

They are interesting, cheerful, and they taste good.


Mandarin Duck – Arnot Hill Park