Tag Archives: cookery

Wednesday 8th July Part IV

Poppy and chamomile

The day is passing faster and faster.

Julia is on the phone to one of her needier clients. Again, I cannot describe the conversation due to issues of confidentiality, but it is circular. And long. And, as it is on something modern like an app or a zoom, it is loud and intrusive too. She might be working from home but technically this is a day off for me, even if I am treating it as a work day. Obviously in this context “work” is an expression of hope rather than fact.

I have researched a number of magazines as recipients for the articles I wish to write. I have read several of the magazines more deeply than necessary and I have made a list of possible articles. My plan is at the stage known as “getting there”. In other words it is a rag-bag of elements which don’t amount to much.

It is more of an intention or an outline. Time for some more work, but this time I will do it in front of the TV whilst watching Pointless. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Ironically that’s a very dull saying. Equally ironically, I haven’t done much work.

Back again…

Having watched Pointless and failed in a few rounds – notably the modern music and the football questions – I meant to get back to work. Instead, I watched Eggheads. It is one of the dullest quizzes around, but we had tea and biscuits and I can never resist temptation to sit and drink tea, with or without biscuits. As a late lunch we had corn on the cob (Julia went out for a walk and, as usual, nipped into a shop to buy something. She can’t break the habit. Today she bought corn on the cob.)

I am quite hungry now and have just put the vegetables into the oven to roast. Carrots, parsnips, leeks and potatoes. I will put sprouts in when I put the pasties in. It’s a meal we have nearly every week but I never get fed up of it. Apart from being year round comfort food, it’s healthy and easy to make.

It’s been eleven hours since I started “work” and I have not managed to complete anything yet, apart from some TV viewing and three blog posts.

As I started this one I noticed my total was 2,000 which means I missed the chance to write a post about reaching my 2,000th post. I may have to plough on to 2,020 before marking the occasion.

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I’m now going to put the pasties in and about 25 minutes after that will make the gravy. It’s only made with gravy granules, so is nothing exciting. Then I had better get the shopping ordered. I only have until midnight and it can be a slow process. I also get distracted easily.

I have already done the shopping list relating to the spice kits – we will be having linguine with prawns and rocket. I’m not sure why, because we make that anyway.

We are also having Iranian Vegetable Stew, which apparently takes its inspiration from Persia and North Africa. This tends to suggest it isn’t really Iranian or a proper recipe, just some vegetables to soak up some spices they wanted to get rid of. Pardon my cynicism. I keep meaning to give ras-el-hanout a try, so this is my chance.

Finally we will be having nasi goreng. I’ve wanted to try it since I read about it as a teenager reading my dad’s Somerset Maugham books. It’s typical that I’ve always steered clear of cooking it in case it didn’t live up to my expectations. Next week will be an interesting time.

I will try to take photographs before I eat everything.

Photos are recycled from here.

Eleven Photos and the Benefits of Blogging

Mint Moth

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

Parcels,Pate and Pakora

Disclaimer – there is not much pakora in this post – but I’m a slave to alliteration so I lied. Sorry about that. I did have pakora in my sandwiches last week so I do at least have a slight excuse to mention them. They were sweet potato pakora and, to my mind, much nicer in sandwiches than the falafel we also tried.

Yesterday I breakfasted on porridge, took Julia to work, cursed several cyclists for their ridiculous strobe lights and arrived at the shop far too early.

I had to use a lot of old self-adhesive stamps where the glue has dried out. This means they have to be fixed using a stick of glue. In turn this means that several of them have to be detached from my finger tips. They were a really bad idea as the glue either dries out or forms an unbreakable bond with the backing paper. I’m sure they are good when they are new, but we, as you know, use a lot of old stamps.

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They are First CLass Stamps, but no longer self-adhesive.

My first parcel of the day was a selection of gum cards bound for America. Imagine my surprise when  my fourth parcel turned out to be a group of gum cards. To America. It was the same man, who quite clearly hadn’t thought things through.

Fortunately I have strong nerves and a steady hand so I was able to open the parcel with my trusty scalpel and add the second lot of cards. Two lots of cards. one lot of postage and a substantial refund. Hopefully he will be happy with that.

After parcels (and no more mishaps) I proceeded to do more banknotes. This an ongoing project. I have photos loaded up until Myanmar and will be moving on to Nepal tomorrow. I’m looking forward to Zimbabwe…

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Nepal – bank notes and an unusual head-dress

In the evening I read and replied to other bloggers, wrote a blog post, then wrote a second blog post, though it was actually too late in the end.

Between the two I cooked ratatouille and sausages, made a batch of smoked mackerel pate and did the sandwiches.

The pate recipe is simple and I’m not sure why I don’t do it more often. Mackerel, cream cheese. yoghurt, spring onion, lemon juice, lemon zest, horseradish sauce and dijon mustard. Quantities range from two bits of mackerel and quite a lot of cream cheese down to juice and zest of half a lemon and a teaspoon of each of the seasonings. Next time I may leave out the yoghurt and add more horseradish. Or I may just buy the pate and avoid the epic amount of washing up it generates.

It has worked out rather well and Julia can have the third bit of fish. She likes fish. I eat it because it’s good for me. I used the small blender and two bits of fish was enough to fill it. I haven’t used it for a while and couldn’t work out how to get the bowl off . Julia eventually sorted it for me.

You can also make fish pate with smoked haddock, though I seem to remember you can do that with a fork. There’s a look of the shoe sole about a smoked mackerel fillet if you aren’t careful. So far it has provided a decent depth of filling for four medium cobs and will probably do at least two more.

It’s really quite amazing. Some smoked fish and stuff in a blender and I’m already daydreaming about a Michelin star.

Tonight we will finish the ratatouille, add some “French-style lentils” from a packet, bake a potato and have some veggie burgers. This week I have bought the burgers – next week I will be making them. I am also going to start cooking my own lentils. I have become very lazy.I always used to make my own but have drifted off course somewhere.

I’d better try making my own pakora too…

Banknotes of Laos

Banknotes of Laos

Easy as a Monday Morning

On Friday I experienced an uneasy feeling, which grew through Saturday as I realised that I probably had a blood test this morning. I say “probably” as I had neglected to make a note in my diary and I had mislaid the letter giving me the next date.

Eventually I found the letter (which also counted towards my decluttering quota) and confirmed that I did indeed have a blood test this morning.

In the manner of these things, the plan suffered a set-back. I woke at 6.15, summoned by my bladder and then went back to my nice warm bed bed. That meant that instead of leaping into action at 6.30 I hauled myself out at 6.45 and the whole day started slower and later than intended.

There wasn’t much of a queue and the phlebotomist hit the vein first time. I bled well after they removed the needle and I’ve had no panicky phone calls so I’m presuming all has gone well.

As I left the hospital I noticed that the day was much lighter than it had been three weeks ago for my last test. Spring is definitely on the way.

I’ll leave out the boring bits – parcels, swearing at other drivers, TV – the normal stuff that makes up my life.

Tonight we had the beef stew I’d meant to cook last night. (We ended up with frozen veggie burgers due to time constraints). It turned out reasonably well despite my normal cooking technique of chucking stuff in and seeing what happens. I keep meaning to learn how to cook properly, but I never get round to it.

It’s cottage pie tomorrow. I made it while I was doing the stew. It’s good to be a day ahead.

That’s about it for today. Nothing interesting happened and I have 23 minutes left to post.

 

The Plans Slot into Place

The plans were –

  • Publish the post I meant to do last night
  • Sleep
  • Write
  • Shop
  • Pick Julia up from work

It’s actually difficult for that to go wrong.

Tonight I will do some decluttering and some cooking.Not much, just enough to say I have carried out the last two elements on my list.

Nobody needs to know I intended to clear the dining room table or cook four meals in advance. A carrier bag of books will suffice, as will a simple beef stew. It was going to be venison (it’s healthier and everybody likes Bambi) but they didn’t have any in the supermarket. They had some last week, which is what gave me the idea. Typical.

Cookery isn’t so bad when you think of the alternative – watching the depressing news on TV, watching equally depressing non-news or watching poor quality repeats.

Ah well, where are those onions…

Some Spring photos, hopefully the first of many.

Reeling in the Years

I’ve just been looking at the early months of 2017 on the blog. I seem to have had a much more interesting life in those days, though I did have more spare time, which probably helped. Annoyingly, I also seem to have been a better writer and proof reader.

That gave me the idea for the title, and sent me off to You Tube for an hour or two of nostalgia interspersed with cooking, picking Julia up and checking eBay.

That’s the trouble with the internet – always so much distraction.

I have put the leftover curry in the fridge (for my lunch tomorrow), made the tomato and vegetable sauce for the pasta bake and am currently roasting chicken and vegetables. I keep meaning to take photos but I always forget.

We were planning on seeing the seals at Donna Nook this week, but the weather forecast for Wednesday is looking bad – high winds and rain. We may leave it another week. I actually wrote a second post about the seals last year.

Loking at last November I’m struck by how little we are now doing, and, at the same time, how much remains the same.

I also need to know how to search my own site, instead of searching entire months for infornation. Does anyone know?

 

 

 

Another Lesson

It’s just taken me five hours to start the computer after many false starts and a variety of labyrinthine attempts.

At times like this it is, according to Julia, useless to threaten the machine or use language “like that”.

The lesson I learnt was simple. If you learn a lesson once, profit from it.

Do not, as I did, put it off until tomorrow.

I’m off to cook now.

While I am cooking I will reflect on my capacity for stupidity.

And my declining appetite for turkey sandwiches.

Tomorrow we will be having turkey and ham pie. The picture is of a previous attempt.

Another Limerick

Another Limerick? I’m spoiling you with all this culture aren’t I?

This one is devoted to the people behind two of our most prolific bloggers – Jackie and Mrs Tootlepedal.

The juicy jalfrezi of Jackie,

The toffee pudding of Mrs TP,

are both justly famous

and you cannot blame us

for wanting an invite to tea.

I’m still struggling to fit Tootlepedal into a poem. I can get the rhyme but I can’t get it to scan. I may have to resort to crafty manipulation.

A Pale Rainbow

First of all – a correction. I cooked the chicken and vegetables in the oven, not on the hob, so it was actually a casserole and not a stew as I stated in a previous post. It’s a small point but important if you value accuracy.

Apart from that, there’s been drizzle, a poor attempt at a rainbow and cheesecake to follow the casserole. (We bought it on the way back from the leisure centre, my cheesecakes are better than bought ones, but tend to be runnier and crumblier and harder to eat with panache.) Though it’s tangy and lemony, and makes you tabs laugh, as they say round here, it does tend to get spread down your shirt, in your beard and on the table.

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Casserole – before

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Casserole – after

You may be wondering why I’m posting three times today, when the first was sufficient. The truth is that it helps me avoid hoovering, and gives me an excuse to use some of the photos I took this afternoon.

My latest way of improving my life is to take photographs every day, declutter  every day (even if it’s only a small amount) and to write every day. That means you have to look at photos of a drizzly day, but I’m sure there are worse things.

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Pale Rainbow over Mapperley

Why have my hands turned purple?

Well, we’ve wrapped presents for the bran tub on Saturday, sorted out the Santa presents, put up more decorations, eaten sweets, fed the animals and chased a duck in the half-light to get it back in the barn. Turned out to be a wild duck attracted by the duck noise, and duck food, of our resident group.

I had a go at photographing the poultry, but as you can see, they have a sixth sense for spoiling a photo – almost like the auto-focus alerts them. Then it’s head down, turn round or do something else unsuitable.  I gave up after these shots. That’s why I’ll never be a top wildlife photographer. That and the lack of lions in the Screveton area.

 

I now have enough red cabbage in the oven to feed a large group of visitors, and by good fortune I also have a large group of visitors booked in for tomorrow. They are planting trees and having lunch. There will also be sausages on the menu (including vegetarian and gluten free options), baked potatoes and those posh little carrots I can never remember the name of.

The words “red cabbage” will have alerted you to the answer to the title question I suppose. It was simple, but I am, as ever, short of inspiration for titles.

The Woodland Trust sent us copies of their report with pictures of the Quercus group in it, which will cause some excitement on Wednesday when we hand them out. They would have caused some excitement today but the postman delivered them to the wrong address and we didn’t get them until after they had left. There were only 60 houses in the village at the end of the 19th century and I’m willing to bet there aren’t many more now. What are the chances of a wrongly delivered letter?

Apart from speculating on that all that is left to do is clear up and do some last minute shopping for tomorrow.

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Cookery Book – 0ld style!

Countryman’s Cooking

by W. M. W. Fowler Excellent Press Ludlow 2006 Hardback  157 pp

ISBN-13: 978-1900318297 

£16.95 but there are plenty available for £00.01 plus £2.80 P&P

It’s a cookery book, not a recipe book, as Fowler is keen to tell us several times. It’s also a book for men, and men of a distinctly unreconstructed sort. For killing, hanging, preparing and cooking this book has no equal. If you are looking for fancy stuff like recipes you aren’t going to find them here. You’re not going to find much in the way of pastry here either because he has his own way of providing pie crust. I won’t tell you how he does it because it’s one of the highlights of the book, even though other reviews seem happy to spoil the punchline.

There is a short section on vegetables at the end, sharing the final 14 pages with batter, shellfish and eggs. That’s about the right proportion according to my thoughts.

Originally published in 1965, it’s definitely the product of a different age, as his women are treated like cooks and he assumes you have a firearm handy if you ever wanted to shoot your own sheep. Originally the book didn’t sell well and it was only when Ludlow based publisher David Burnett bought a copy of the book for 50p in an Oxfam shop that things took off. He tried the recipes out, found they were popular and decided to reprint the book. An initial print run of 1,000 sold out in a morning and he eventually shifted 10,000 – well over his estimate of 600 in three years.

I was a little disappointed at the lack of cat recipe – he makes mention of eating the Camp Commandant’s cat with a black market onion whilst he was held as a prisoner of war but there are no further details. This mirrors my other experience of cat in wartime, muttered rumblings from my mother about never buying a rabbit in the war unless it still had the skin on. The two animals, it seems, are identical when skinned.

I confess I haven’t tried the recipes yet, but you don’t have to, it’s well worth reading for the entertainment, or as a social history of  an English gentleman, without getting involved in giblets and gizzards.

Treat yourself. It cost me £2.81 from Amazon, what else provides such value?