When life gives you chorizo that’s perilously close to its use-by date, make sausage casserole.
That’s my new mantra.
I made three meals this afternoon, which will save me time in the long run. The first, mad after finding I had ¾ of a chorizo at the back of the fridge, was to make a variation on last week’s sausage casserole.
This time I managed to find mild chilli powder to use instead of the Cajun Seasoning. I also used black-eyed beans and chorizo. There was a red pepper in the fridge next to the chorizo so that went in too.
We also have vegetable hotpot and Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry in the fridge so all is looking good on the catering front. A lot of it is looking like plates of red stew, but you can’t have everything. If you cook by pouring cans of chopped tomatoes into things, you are going to end up with red food.
The curry is actually reddish with black bits in it, on account of me simmering too vigorously and ignoring the pot as I watched Father Brown this afternoon. A few burnt bits will add texture.
I think I’ve found a winning combination. Cheap, simple, and not bad to eat. It probably won’t pass inspection by the quality and health police, but it will do for me. I have a blog to write and time is too precious to waste on cooking.
The bread in the picture is Corn Bread from TESCO. I was going to use it for Welsh Rarebit for lunch on Sunday, but the arrangements went adrift.
I’ve been home for four hours. In that time I’ve read and commented on 10 posts from four bloggers, spoken to my sister, washed up (yes, I know I’m a slob) and cooked. Tea is nearly ready, though I have exploded a baked potato in the oven.
It doesn’t seem a lot for four hours. I’m never going to become a world class poet at this rate. I’m not even going to become a mediocre poet at this rate as I haven’t written anything apart from a few notes today. Well, I did answer some work emails and load four items onto eBay, but there was a distinct lack of poetry associated with all that.
The most complicated word I used was iconic, which is almost obligatory these days if you are selling a Winston Churchill Medallion.
We had a chicken curry made with a spice kit last night – grilled marinaded chicken breasts with rice and yoghurt dressing. The chicken was good, though messy to prepare, but the rice was not impressive. I couldn’t actually detect any flavour in it, though that may have been my fault for using brown rise instead of white.
The yoghurt dressing was good to. Two out of three ain’t bad, as they say. Maybe I will make meatloaf later this week.
Tonight it was Cornish Pasty with beans and baked potato. It wasn’t sophisticated but I did enjoy it.
We had crumble for the last two nights, made with plums from the garden tree. I see Julia has brought some apples home today so I’m hoping for apple crumble later this week. Tomorrow we will probably have fried rice with courgettes. We have plenty of courgettes – green ones, yellow one and ones that think they are marrows.
The car is in for servicing and MOT tomorrow, which seems to get more expensive every year. If I’d had my MOT in July I would have been given a 6 month extension, but as it’s in August I have to have it as normal. Ah well, it’s the same the whole world over, ain’t that a blooming shame – it’s the rich wot gets the pleasure and the poor wot gets the blame. Or words to that effect.
A final thought – according to Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50 she has her blog posts planned out until 20th September. The woman must be a machine – I have a couple of ideas noted for future use, but when I started writing this I didn’t know what I was going to write about when I started and wasn’t sure how I was going to finish it.
How do you plan your blog?
Photo by Kirsten Bu00fchne on Pexels.com
I thought I’d use the cats again today as they are generally acceptable, and because I’m too lazy to find new shots.
I’ve just been looking down the list off drafts for the last week. They are also known as false starts, ideas and notes and are there for various reasons.
Last night’s effort stalled after 200 words on the grounds that it was depressing. I can’t see much in it worth salvaging and when I have a clear-out it will probably go. It falls in the gap between being entertaining and cathartic, and that’s a very dull and self-indulgent gap.
The one before that has a copy of Agatha Christie’s Great War VAD record Card, and I have not yet written anything to go with it. I may or may not develop that. Again, it’s just going to be a re-hash of available facts and I’m not sure I can add anything useful to the amount that has been written about her.
The third is my drfat for the 12th May Mass Observation Diary. I’m not sure whether it would serve any purpose if I sent it in.
Fourth is a five line false start on dead badgers. It probably needs a recipe to get it going again. That was originally going to be about blood tests but it was overtaken by the phone call requiring a repeat test. When I returned I started the post again.
Fifth is the start of the original 1926 post. I started that the night before my 1926th post, which ended up being about blood tests. It was not as good as the opening I eventually used. This is saying something, as the opening I used will hardly go down in history with “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
For more good opening lines read here. I must try harder. It’s slightly depressing that a search for ‘best opening lines’ resulted in six sites offering conversational openers for Tinder. They aren’t all great lines, though I did like – “Do you have an ugly boyfriend? No? Want one?”
I’m going to try that on Julia.
The next two are about regimental brooches. Whether they are attempts to bore my readers or drafts for articles, I’m not quite sure, but I have plenty of photographs and I may well put something together to teach you about regimental brooches and the depths of a collector’s soul.
Finally we reach back to Scone Chronicles 38. It was written just before lockdown and I lost the photos. It features scones and Sir Bradley Piggins.
This isn’t quite an accurate account, as I cleared out a few weeks ago and these are just the eight most recent. The real stinkers get binned regularly.
Do you have a similar system, or are all your starts true sparkling jewels of blogging excellence? Or do you clear out more often? I still have some from years ago, where I’m hoping to use a title or a well-turned phrase at some point in the future. I am, in psychological terms, a hoarding optimist.
Finally, the pictures are from the chickpea and peanut butter curry we had from the boxes last night. It was the one I’d looked forward to most eagerly, and the biggest disappointment, as it was tasty but not spicy. I liked the meatballs and the pork steaks better. However, we will be incorporating it into our menu rotation as a variation on the veggie curries we already make. The two photos show natural light and flash versions of the same meal. The one with flash (seen here) is much more welcoming.
Thai red curry – chickpeas and peanut butter
I could have done without the roasted broccoli, which seems to have been a feature of the three meals (it’s covered in sauce in this picture) and there was enough lime with the grated zest on the rice, without using the wedges provided.
Of course, as soon as I say that, WP decides to stop showing me my photographs…
We had smoked mackerel pate for lunch yesterday. That involved the use of the food processor, so, for me, was a real technical challenge. I had to ask Julia to dismantle it at the end, because I can never work the catch that releases the bowl. You would have thought that in the 21st Century they would have thought of making this obvious.
Smoked Mackerel Pate
It was a simple recipe, involving two bits of smoked mackerel (about 200 g) and half a pack of cream cheese. I pulled the fish off the skin and broke it up, added the green bits from a large spring onion, a big spoonful of wholegrain mustard, some black pepper and then gave it a whizz in the food processor. Then I opened it up and pushed the big bits of fish down into the mix before having another go. I think that if I’d broken the fish up more I could have omitted that last step. I will aim for pieces about the size of a finger top joint next time – some of the ones I tried were nearly the size of my thumb and managed to ride up to avoid the blades. People often use horseradish, as it is traditional with mackerel, but I didn’t have any so I tried mustard and it seems to have worked.
I’m saving the last lime to make an avocado dip, so didn’t use any citrus, but it didn’t seem to make a difference – the mustard and spring onion gave the mix a good, fresh taste without citrus.
We ate it with toast. There was plenty of pate for four thickly spread rounds of toast.
Smoked Mackerel Pate with Toast
Today’s lunch was vegetable soup with warm rolls and smoked mackerel pate. The rolls were Paul Hollywood part baked rolls and there was enough pate left to be generous, though the rolls weren’t exactly huge.
The soup recipe was four manky carrots (though I suppose good clean ones would be just as good), a chunk of swede (rutabaga) that was starting to change colour at the back of the fridge, the potato offcuts from the oven-baked chips (keep reading for details of them) and some leftover peas. Boil it up with water and a stock cube, reduce to soup with a hand-blender, season, eat. It probably needed onions but we only have enough to last until the next shopping trip so I left them out. I also added garlic from a jar, but should have put more in as we couldn’t really taste it.
Vegetable Soup with Rolls and Smoked Mackerel Pate
Yesterday’s tea (sorry to wander about so much), was chunky oven-baked paprika chips, with fish fingers and mushy peas. It’s not great food, but it is a change as we haven’t had fish fingers for a month. I arranged them like something off Masterchef for the photo. I’m not sure it looks any better than throwing a pile of food together. It just looks like an idiot has been playing with his food.
Paprika Potatoes, Fish Fingers and Mushy Peas – Gourmet Fodder
As they were cooking, I made a pot of curry (chickpea and sweet potato – using a base of last night’s chilli) and the previously mentioned soup.
Tomorrow I will use the rest of the cream cheese in a charred red pepper dip and we will also have an avocado dip using the lime I saved by not using it in the pate. It can be quite tricky cooking when you can’t nip out to the shops.
So, you ask, how was the vegetable soup last night? You probably aren’t asking that, but I’m going to tell you anyway and it seems better if I pretend someone is interested.
Well, the vegetable soup, consisting of some festering ready-chopped carrot and swede, some greying carrots, a wrinkly parsnip, quite a lot of onion and some green bits from leeks, was excellent in parts. It was nutritious, tasty, sustaining, wholesome and almost additive free.
The additives came from a garlic and thyme flavour pot I threw in.
The parts that weren’t good came from the seasoning. It was, to say the least, a schoolboy error. It needs a bit of spice to give it a lift, I always feel, and I decided to test out the new jar of smoked paprika. I’ve only just started using it again, I never think of it as particularly hot and… you can already see where this is going can’t you?
A lesson I learned long ago is to test out each new jar of spice unless it’s one you’ve used before.
This one was quite a bit hotter than the previous one and despite attempts to cool it down with honey and extra dilution, it remained a little hotter than is usual for vegetable soup.
Despite this, the basic recipe was good and it used a lot of slightly manky veg.
Tonight we are having gammon, Hasselback potatoes and vegetables that are still to be decided. I’ve been meaning to do Hasselback potatoes for a while, and once I actually read the recipe I was amazed at how easy they are. They always look much more complicated when you see them served on TV.
This could be a case of “famous last words” because they are still in the oven.
Meanwhile, bubbling away on the hob we have a vegetable curry on the go for tomorrow. It’s onions, sweet potato, chickpeas, some chilli from a jar, garlic from a jar, curry powder and five ladles of spicy vegetable soup from yesterday, because it would be silly to waste it and if you have soup (or spicy vegetable sauce as it is now) you may as well put it in a curry.
You can probably tell from the nature of my ingredients that I’m not one of the world’s most industrious cooks, and that I have trouble with stock control and portion sizes, but I keep on trying. Cooking and writing are both similar in that you have to keep trying, and once in a while, possibly by accident, something good happens.
The photos tonight are chickpea and sweet potato curry and half-finished Hasselback potatoes. If I wait until it’s time to serve I’ll eat them before I remember to take the photos.
We had a lie in this morning, though we did wake briefly at the normal time out of habit. After that I dropped Julia off at the laundrette and went shopping. This is all very depressing, as I’d imagined life would be more interesting after we got our Sundays back. This has not been the case.
It’s been cold for the last few days and we’ve had to have the fire on. I’m not sure if it was accurate, but one report said it had dropped to minus 4 C. It has certainly been frosty on a couple of mornings.
Here are some photos from the garden on Friday. One group shows the new (very) raised bed built frpm pallets. The others are blossom. Sorry it’s a bit repetitive, but I’m not feeling very original at the moment.
Raised bed at Mencap Garden
Raised bed at Mencap Garden
Raised bed at Mencap Garden
Blossom at Wilford
Blossom at Wilford
Blossom at Wilford
The final picture is a sign with a message. I suppose you could have guessed that without me telling you.
Motivational message – Wilford
For tea we had corned beef hash, because it feels like a time for winter food. I included potato, carrots, sweet potato, onions and swede, then served stir-fried kale on the side.
Tomorrow we will be having chicken stew, with vegetable curry on Tuesday and Chicken tray bake with lemon and squash on Wednesday. With the exception of the tray bake they are just waiting to be reheated. At least we will be eating properly until the middle of the week.
Now that I look back on my flower photos I wish I’d taken more. They are very comforting in the middle of winter.
I also wish I’d sorted them better as I’ve had to go through 1,300 images to find these. They are cheering me up already, particularly the blossom. I’m looking forward to blossom time, which seems a very haiku time of year.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I’ve always like grasshoppers as subjects – something that hides in the grass and is prone to jumping when disturbed is a challenge, and a good shot is always a pleasure.
Flatbreads ready to go
Potato & Chickpea Curry
Finally, the Bread Group’s end of year curry. I miss the bread group, the smell of fresh bread and, of course, the curry.
I’m now feeling cheered, pleasantly nostalgic and inspired to write haiku, so it was worth sorting through a few photos.
Well, despite my misgivings, it turned out to be a good night, although I was a bit late due to trouble parking. Maybe I’m more sociable than I think.
We went to Curry 2 Night in West Bridgford and I’d recommend it highly. Good service, good food and not many people there. I don’t like crowds. It’s really a take-away that has fitted itself out as a restaurant so the lack of customers isn’t significant. They had quite a few callers for takeaway so they kept busy.
I had the Aloo Mutter Paneer. I’m not sure it was as hot as the chillis in this recipe suggest. I’m a bit of a wimp these days and select milder options than I used to do.
We went to Derbyshire today. Despite being a Bank Holiday it wasn’t crowded and we managed to buy Julia the shoes she needed for the Maltese trip. We also bought some books and ice-cream.
We saw half a dozen Orange Tips and a pair of Brimstones. It really is looking like a good year for both species – I don’t remember seeing as many as this before.
On our return home we scurried round, changed and went for a birthday curry with my fellow shop workers and a few customers. It was a good night, and unlike last time, I was on time (just!), parked across the road and didn’t get rained on.
Yes, for those of you who may be wondering, I am now 60. That’s the “three score years” done with – just the next ten to worry about now.
I’m now going to write some poetry as part of my 200 poems in a fortnight challenge. Don’t worry, I won’t be subjecting you to my efforts, unless I write more limericks or clerihews. I seem to remember I was supposed to be writing more clerihews.