Tag Archives: Food

Gratitude

I’ve just been looking at how to write a Gratitude Journal.  There are mixed views on the best way to do this but one way which is, according to a research study, very effective, is to write a list of three things just once a week. It seems that less is more in this area. Al the information is on the link. Having established that minimal effort produced good results, I stopped reading.

So, here we are. Three things for me to feel gratitude for.

One, fruit crumble. We had apple and dried apricot crumble last night. It was a decision aided by the presence of just one apple and the remains of a bag of dried apricots. The rhubarb is currently looking a bit sparse and needs time to revive. We have, in truth, picked too much. We have been neglecting it, so a good measure of manure will be needed this autumn.

On the crumble, we had custard. We have been having either cream or milk or nothing with it, depending on the supply situation. They are all pleasant ways to eat crumble but custard is the best.

The fact that I have plenty of food, and Julia to cook it for me, are the icing on the cake. This is perhaps not the best figure of speech to employ at this point, but it puts things across nicely, even if it is culinarily confusing. The spellchecker doesn’t like ‘culinarily’, but it is a proper word, so hard cheese.

Two, my health. It might not be the first thing you expect me to say. I’m obese, hypertensive and arthritic with a variety of other faults that keep me involved with doctors and phlebotomists, but in general I’m OK and while I may not make 91 like my Dad, I’m not feeling too bad at the moment. In fact, I’m feeling downright perky at the moment. It could, of course, be a lot better.

I should. I suppose, be ashamed of myself for getting into this state. However, let it never be said that I have gone to my grave with a song still in me. When I am old and huddled in front of Countdown, I will have many a disreptuble memory to bring an enigmatic smile to my lips.

Three – WordPress. What would be the point of writing all this if nobody read it? Or if there was nobody to discuss it with? Plus, I can be nosey, and live several lives apart from my own. Within moments of switching on the computer I can be riding my cycle in the Scottish borders, walking in the New Forest or sitting my Maine woodland garden. Or watching the Oregon sunset with my cats, making demented videos with an iconic yellow bear or gardening in Leeds.

There is just so much to do and so many people to see. And that’s before I start on the other sites. My grasp of American military history, with associated cartoons, and the archaeology of death is now much better than it used to be, as is my gardening and cookery knowledge.

Without the writers of WordPress my lockdown would be a dreadfully dull and lonely place.

That, I think, will do. It seems you can wear your gratitude out if you use it too much, and I don’t want to risk it.

 

 

 

Lockdown Diaries

My diary for yesterday – 29 April 2020. I’m writing it in the early hours of the next day after a full day of loafing. I thought I’d have a go at writing a diary so I can look back in years to come. I also means that I can moan in this one and write a soup recipe in the other post.

Despite my commitment to earlier rising I managed to roll over and go back to sleep after Julia got up. This is becoming a habit and something I need to avoid. It started as a matter of practicality  – I would let everyone else in the house use the bathroom and dress before rushing round, eating breakfast prepared by Julia and then giving her a lift to work.

It has, over the years, become less a matter of practicality and more a matter of laziness. I am also finding, with having arthritis, that it isn’t so easy to rush in a morning. I used to resemble a meercat, bright and busy, but I now move like a tectonic plate. The grating in my knees and back adds to the impression of geological motion.

My back has been particularly bad for the last three days and I’m having trouble getting around. I am using my stick even to get round the house. Last week I had trouble with my knees and ended up wearing a knee brace. I seem to be falling apart by installments.

When I finally creaked downstairs the post had already been and I had a letter about a telephone consultation with rheumatology. I’m beginning to wonder why we can’t always do it by phone, apart from blood tests and X-Rays. Later in the day I had a phone call to tell me the blood tests results were OK and I could start taking the Methotrexate. This was an exact copy of the call I had yesterday, They are trying to patch a service together using part-time staff and staff out of retirement, and there are a few rough edges. On the other hand, it’s not a great problem to get an extra phone call – it’s a lot better than not getting the results at all, which, unfortunately, has happened in the past.

The Methotrexate has several side effects, and I think I may have one of them as my stomach is giving trouble. After taking the pills last night (you take six on one day and then take a vitamin pill on the other six days) I did not feel very well. On the other hand it may be coincidence. The vitamin pills are to help counter some of the drug’s side effects. You know you have problems when you have to take pills to protect you from the other pills you are taking.

If I had my life over again I would look after my health and my money more sensibly. And my wife.

I made soup for lunch, which I have already written about.

plastic container with fruits and vegetables on green grass

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Later I went online and finalised my grocery order. We have a Click & Collect order to pick up tomorrow and, as it’s difficult to order groceries two weeks in advance, it needed quite a lot of alteration. You have to secure a slot as soon as it becomes available and worry about the details later.

I did put in an order two weeks ago and haven’t been able to alter it until now. The original order had 19 items and they were unable to supply five of them. I cancelled some things and added others. When I went to checkout I found four of the items were out of stock, including the flour. Twenty minutes and they were already cancelling things…

I went back to the flour to look for alternatives and there were none, However, they were still showing my original selection to be in stock. I thought I’d order it again just to check. It was out of stock when I got back to checkout. I am thinking bad thoughts about ASDA.

Six weeks after the panic buying and I still can’t buy flour. I also had trouble with eggs, baked beans and tinned chickpeas. Makes you wonder about the “robust supply chains” they claim they have.

The ASDA site even asks if you can go round the shop instead of using the delivery or collection services. To be honest, no. If I do click and collect or delivery I meet one or two people, who keep well away from me. Mathematically that’s a lot better than walking round a shop full of people who walk too close.

I’m not a great worrier, but I’ve decided on a strategy and I’m going to keep to it.

person holding silver blister pack

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

 

Tales from Lockdown

“Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics.” – Gen. Robert H. Barrow, USMC (Commandant of the Marine Corps) noted in 1980

Julia has had a lecture from Number One Son. She let something slip about her trip to hospital and he wanted to know why she hadn’t told him. I’m beginning to know what my grandparents felt like when my parents told them off for various misdemeanours (like the time we called on my grandmother and found her standing in the kitchen sink to replace a light bulb).

I have a fairly hands-off approach to the care of the elderly and, as with my child rearing, feel that they turned out well despite my neglect.

Anyway, Number One Son and his partner sent Julia flowers. That is what is in the picture. I’m not actually sure whether partner is accurate, because nobody ever tells me anything. I’m considered to be “tactless”. However, he’s been hanging round with her for several years now and she hasn’t applied for a restraining order so I deduce that they may be an item.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We bought the curtains at a car boot about 15 years ago

Then it was my turn, as he texted me to make sure we had enough food in.

Ha! Do I look like I’m going to let myself starve? I read a quote recently – you can see it at the top of the post. It applies to many other things too. The fight against coronavirus shows how important it is to have the right equipment. The food shortages show how important it is to have strong supply chains.

Anyway – I have enough food to eat well for the next two weeks. After that I will run out of bread and milk, so will have to have black tea and make porridge with water (yes, I know that’s the proper way, but I do like milk). After that I have food for two more weeks eating out of cans and packets – including Spam and canned haggis. I’m pretty sure there are enough odds and ends for a few days beyond that too, but they really don’t bear thinking about.

At the moment I still can’t get a food delivery for this month, so I’m going shopping on Wednesday morning. TESCO has a Wednesday morning slot for the elderly and infirm. If it cuts down on queuing I have no pride.

The top two pictures show the flowers and, regrettably, the Car Boot curtains we bought about 15 years ago. Garish, dated, but functional and cheap.

The other shows roasted veg (carrot, parsnip, leek and broccoli) with cauliflower and cheese sauce. I made the sauce like Welsh Rarebit, hence the yellow colouring – it’s from the mustard.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My tea tonight

 

 

Scone Chronicles 33 – Yes, we have Scones

I had meant to space the food reviews out a bit more, but I’ve been forced into this by a certain amount of heckling about the lack of scones.

Move smoothly on from Sunday evening, ignore the next couple of days and that brings us neatly to Wednesday and time for elevenses. We are at the Peak Shopping Village, the ducks are clustering round looking for food, and a small scone shaped gap is opening up in my middle regions.

We went to buy half-price boots for Julia, as her expensive ones had started letting in water. This was easy – by the time she had made her selection I had made a circuit of The Works, failed to buy a book, and had left in disgust. We then went to the hospice charity shop where the only thing I wanted turned out to be part of the display. I hate it when that happens.

By that time I was definitely in e of refreshment so we entered Massarella’s cafe and while I sought a table Julia went to get tea and scones.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A mediocre scone, with badly applied egg wash

As we breakfasted late (porridge followed by sausage sandwiches, using the sausages left over from the night before), other people were already lunching. My quest for a clean table did not go well and left me elbow to elbow with a stocky elderly lady (I select my words carefully) chasing the final clean table. She had a fine set of elbows and a surprising turn of speed, and laid her walking stick across the table to claim the prize as I floundered in her wake.

Massarella’s always sounds like an Italian restaurant, with tiled floors and lots of chatter. Add the barking of a dog to that and the whole ambiance falls apart, and not just for me. Several other people were clearly irritated by the dog-friendly aspect of the cafe.

However, compared to the scones, the barking dog was no problem. The scones were dry inside, and lacked flavour. My mother used to mutter “cheap baking” at times like this. It certainly seemed to lack the rich, fluffy, buttery sensation you get from a decent scone.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OK, not as disappointing as England’s woeful rugby performance, but still pretty disappointing

I have a feeling they may have been frozen, and dried out in thawing.

We will go back because we like the atmosphere, and the Italian gent behind the counter charmed Julia. And, of course, because they offer Afternoon Tea at £18 for two people. But, like a trip to the hospice shop, we won’t expect too much.

That last comment could also apply to the charity shops of Bakewell where we visited later – they don’t seem to have much in, and it’s getting harder to justify the time spent looking round when there are no decent books.

So, Massarella’s, the Charity shops of Derbyshire and The Works (where I failed to buy a single book) had all better pull their socks up. This is just not good enough!

Because they have ducks, a nature trail and a carved owl archway, I will visit again, but they would be well-advised to get a grip. Carved owls cannot replace decent scones.

The Hasselback Potatoes

There is no photo, as I left my camera at work and can’t be bothered to go back and get it.

The picture I have used is merely a repeat of one from yesterday. My report is this – they look good and they are easy enough to do. People who have never had them before will be amazed. But they don’t taste much better than ordinary baked potatoes they way I did them (rapeseed oil and garlic seasoning).

I will try olive oil next, butter after that and even goose fat if I need to. They make a good talking point if you are having people round.

The stir-fried Brussels and broccoli were better. boil the Brussels and broccoli fro 5 minutes the stir fry them with soy sauce, honey, some rings of red chilli, ginger and garlic. It was very nice, and I suspect it was healthy too. I’m thinking of ways to serve Brussels over Christmas, and this is going to be one of the ways.

No photo of those either.

You’ll have to be content with a repeated photo for now. I’m going to have tea and toast in front of the TV now because Julia is away in Leeds for the day and I have several hours of quiz viewing to do, uninterrupted by conversation or the rattle of wrapping paper.

Will be back with another post later.

Scones and Things

Julia and my sister went out for a special offer gym session and Afternoon Tea yesterday, hence the scones in the picture. It didn’t go 100% well. Service was poor, organisation was poor and the daintiness of the sandwiches left a lot to be desired.

My sandwiches at lunchtime are very similar, and I’d never dream of serving them to people as part of a sophisticated afternoon tea.

She eventually accepted their apologies and left with a doggy bag, as service had been so slow that she needed to be elsewhere.

To be fair, the portions were large, and I ate well as a result.

In the evening, as part of a week of celebrations to distract her from the fact she’s about to have a milestone birthday, we had curry delivered.

They have changed the recipe since we last ordered and we were left gasping for air by the new spicing regime in the prawn puri starter which we shared. And it was late.

It’s OK having all these deals and services, but not so good if they are going to be perpetually disappointing.

Frankly, I’d been expecting a three day week, efficient public transport by monorail and a robot butler by the year 2000, having believed everything I’d been told about the future back in 1968.

It hasn’t quite worked out like that.

We used the rice and biryani leftovers from last night to make kedgeree and watched Strictly Come Dancing.

It’s a far cry from my dreams of robot butlers.

Similarly, as I stuff envelopes tomorrow morning, it will be a long way from my dreams of a glittering career as a captain of industry. Fortunately the human mind is able to adapt to most forms of failure band I will probably emerge from my troglodytic existence at 1 am in a happy frame of mind.

With a rapidly approaching birthday and no gift ideas, I have more immediate problems than a disappointing life. It sounds the same, but a disappointed wife is infinitely worse.

Writer’s Log Jam

The last few days have been crowded with subjects to write about. The trouble is that there is just too much, I am feeling quite tetchy about a lot of it and it’s hard to write a post in those circumstances. It’s the opposite of writer’s block in many ways – plenty to write about, plenty of words coming through, but just so much to say I can’t process it all.

I went to the random subject generator to help me concentrate, and this is what it came back with –

Write about your relationship with food.

You know it isn’t your day when even the random subject generator is having a pop at you.

I carry, as you may have gathered over the years, a few extra pounds. I say “a few” – it might be a bit more than that. In fact I could probably do with losing weight equivalent to the bodyweight of an average jockey.

However, this is supposed to be about my relationship with food, not my relationship with small people who ride horses. I like jockeys, but  couldn’t eat a whole one…

I don’t really have much of a relationship with food; it’s never around long enough for me to get to know it.

When I gave up smoking I did so by telling myself how disgusting it was every time I smelt cigarette smoke. It seems to have worked as, twenty years later, I am still off cigarettes.

I’m not sure it would work as well with food. I’m worried that if I made myself think of food as disgusting I might end up with an eating disorder. To be fair, it would take a few years before the weight loss became a problem, but you have to be careful about these things.

To avoid buying new clothes I could buy braces to keep my trousers up, which is something I’ve been considering anyway – it’s a middle-aged man thing. (That’s suspenders to you Americans, though suspenders are something different to us.) Very different.

I do love the way English differs from one side of the Atlantic to the other. The mental picture of middle-aged American men wearing suspenders is both amusing and horrifying.

I think I’ll leave it there and add some pictures of food.

 

Between writing “pictures of food” and actually posting the pictures I managed to fall asleep and wake up just after midnight to find I’d missed a day posting. Just as I thought I was doing so well…

Christmas Day

Day 79 of the Posting Challenge, or Christmas Day if you prefer. Twenty-one days to go.

After a lie in, TV, chocolate, nuts, snacks, nap and Muppets Christmas Carol I think it’s fair to say the day has gone well. We’re now watching Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special. I’ve also been looking at Michael Caine on Wikipedia and following links through a series of British character actors and dodgy 1950s films.

I’m now watching a programme on Christmas songs, eating turkey and drinking wine. It’s strange to think that I once wanted to be spritual and sophisticated.

Hope you’re all having a good holiday.

 

Loose Ends

The header picture shows the bag of oats Julia bought from Heckington. They are produced at the Maud Foster Mill in Boston (yes, American readers, we have one too). She is determined that I am going to benefit from slow-release carbs and extra roughage in the coming year.

You’d have thought they would have stocked oats from their own mill, but it seems not.

I’m thinking of doing a series of posts on mills as there are plenty in Lincolnshire, and the surrounding counties, with many of them having tearooms attached. I’m trying to work a joke into posts/mills, or post mills but it’s not quite working yet. I’ll work on it as I think the world of mill blogs needs a joke or two.

Today’s work consisted mainly of washing windows and serving customers. This is a picture of the new shop, illuminated by sunlight streaming in through the newly cleaned windows. Once the building work is finished they are going to allow me to clean all the glass in counters and cabinets. As you can see, there will be a lot of work.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The new Collectors’ World in Nottingham

 

After work, we had roasted vegetables with belly pork and kale. It marks the start of my new healthy eating campaign. Well, healthyish. It’s a start.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Belly pork with roasted vegetables and kale