Tag Archives: leftovers

Another Snapshot

Sometimes things just don’t work out.

I had intended to make another short post yesterday evening, with a view to doing three short posts a day for the next few days. I just thought I’d introduce some pace and variety.variety.

So I put the vegetables in the oven and sat down to write. I have a behemoth of a post in preparation and wanted to cut it down from 900 words to 600. I think of 600 words as long enough for someone to plough through. After forty minutes I sat back and looked at the result. It is now 1,100 words and has five extra photographs. Editing is not as easy as it sounds.

As you may have noticed, I didn’t write the post I intended. I am easily distracted.

We ate after that and I had a nap in front of the TV. I woke, read and procrastinated. For the purposes of my diary that counts as three activities. Waking is not as simple as it used to be. For one thing, I don’t become instantly alert as I used to, and for another, it now takes a little more effort to rearrange my limbs.

I have a police procedural on my Kindle and even though it cost nothing I am seriously wondering if it was worth it. There are parts of it where I find myself seriously thinking they should be paying me to read it.

When I accept an award, or a big cheque (I’m not fussy which), for my as yet unwritten prize-winning historical crime novel, I will cite this one as my inspiration. Something along the lines of “I thought if this garbage can get published I really ought to write one myself.”

Tea was roasted vegetables (carrot, leek, parsnip, swede and broccoli) with the last of the gammon and a bit of gravy. Time to cut back on bread and potatoes I think.

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Gammon, roast veg and gravy

Suddenly I had 300 words, which isn’t short by my standards, and it’s the early hours of the morning. I woke up six hours later and realised that although I’d finished the writing I hadn’t published it. So here it is.

Adventures with a Pan

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

 

 

 

Dressing Up Some Leftovers

We had vegetarian haggis and root vegetables last night. We didn’t  particularly want vegetables dressed up as meat, but Julia fancied trying it. It tasted exactly like haggis, because haggis mainly tastes of oats and spices.

I wimped out of the traditional neeps and tatties because neeps, it seems, are Swedish turnips, better known in England as swedes, and in North America as rutebagas. I like carrots, I like parsnips and I have no strong feelings about turnips, but swedes are a bit too strongly flavoured for my liking. As a result I generally eat them with other veg. That’s what we did last night – potato, carrot, parsnip, turnip and swede all mashed together.

Tonight I mashed the leftover veg and haggis together, added half a tin of chickpeas (also mashed), an egg, cumin, curry powder and black pepper and formed them into five veggie burgers. The actual plan was to do four, but there was some left over so I added a fifth. I left the mashed bits lumpy to give plenty of texture. Then I gave them 20 minutes at 200 degrees C, turning about halfway through.

Veggie Burgers

Veggie Burgers

They were very acceptable, even if I do say so myself.

The stir-fried veg was (loosely) based on the stir-fried sprouts and chestnuts we had at Christmas, though with no sprouts I used some wilting broccoli and cauliflower. Henderson’s Relish replaced the soy sauce. I also drizzled on the end of a bottle of Hoisin Sauce because the honey has crystallised in the squeezy bottle. and threw in one  teaspoonful of chilli and two of garlic from my jars in the fridge. I also threw in a few cashews and some almonds left over from other cooking.

Stir fried vegatables

Stir fried vegetables

 

The overall healthy nature of the meal was destroyed when I sliced a baked potato, left over from Tuesday and fried it with some chicken chipolatas left over from Monday. The chicken chipolatas were not a success, being dry and bland. I will not repeat the experience.

More leftovers...

More leftovers…

 

The header picture is an example of what happens when the lens steams up as you photograph food. Or, to be more accurate, when you are hungry and ready to sit down and the lens steams up as you photograph food. You don’t bother wiping the lens, you just switch off the camera and go to eat.

 

Some Cookery Confessions

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.

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Chickpea and Swee4t Potato Curry, and steam

New Day, Old Photos

After being side-tracked by ebay I finally got round to adding the photos to yesterday’s post. Then I had the problem of letting people know that there were now photos on the post, as they are unlikely just go back on the off chance.

I was going to add them on this post and refer people back to the post.  Unfortunately I forgot. As a result I’m writing this post to refer people back (in case they want to look at photos of disappointing snow and a woman fighting a bird feeder). So that people don’t feel I’m wasting their time I’m going to add a selection of photographs.

The featured image is the poppies made from plastic bottles. They are still going strong, despite four months in miserable weather.

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Garden Gnome at Wilford, Notts

I thought the garden gnome was reasonably topical.

This memory problem isn’t an isolated one, I also forgot what my plans for tea were. Having agreed with Julia that I would make Welsh Rarebit, as we still weren’t hungry after our large breakfast, I went through to the kitchen, where the smell of cooking reminded me I’d put potatoes in to bake ready for…er…

I couldn’t actually remember what I’d been planning. Fortunately, baked potatoes and Welsh Rarebit seem to go together quite well, and with the addition of the remains of the gammon from last week passed for a meal. Don’t worry, we also had fruit to make it a bit more nutritious.

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Puffin at Bempton Cliffs

I threw in a Puffin photo because everyone like Puffins.

Tomorrow I’ll be throwing some vegetables into Monday’s stew so we will be a bit healthier. I’m planning on a few lentils too. It should be virtuous, even if it isn’t good.

It’s quinoa salad tomorrow too. If it’s true what they say about grains and salad and vegetables I’m going to be positively bouncing with energy tomorrow and stacked to the earlobes with vitamins.

 

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.

Breakfast, Landscape and Cottage Pie

Today I have been concerned with toilets to a greater degree than I would have liked.  Some days are like that. It is, as I often say, my age.

I had to stop for toilets before reaching Newark. This was a nuisance, but there’s always an opportunity in adversity, and in this case it was a Bridgford Breakfast at East Bridgford Garden Centre.

As a result I didn’t need to eat again until tonight, when I added mince to the left-over vegetables and curry from the last two nights and topped it with sweet potato slices. It produced a flavoursome and fibre-filled version of Cottage Pie.

On the way home from Newark I took a few photos, topped up my grudge against cyclists and got home just in time to fall asleep and miss Pointless.

Why would anyone ride one of these? I can see there are advantages, but the main disadvantage, that cars and lorries can’t see you, seems to be a compelling reason not to ride one. There’s no point in being fit and healthy if you’re flat. There are more strange cycles here.

As a positive end to the day – Julia has taken orders for five nest boxes. That’s £25 towards new covers for the polytunnels. Only another £475 to go. Or 95 more nest boxes…

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Field near Kneeton, Notts