“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”
It was one of Scotland’s greatest writers who said that. Not Tootlepedal this time, but Burns. As I said in a reply to a comment about the last post, things did not go to plan.
Recently I have started ordering pies from the supermarket because it allows me to do my normal roast veg and throw a pie in the oven at the same time. Adds a bit more variety to the menu and still keeps things quick and easy. Unfortunately, this week, I ordered frozen pies and Julia didn’t notice as she put them in the fridge. I had selected on price and not noticed the blue snowflake that denotes a frozen item. There is a lesson in this.
Instead of being 20 minutes or so, this meant that pie took nearly an hour to cook, despite being thawed. We ate late and we had a pie with floppy pastry. Not my finest hour and yet another lesson in links between price, convenience and not reading the details.
Tomorrow will be pasta bake (prepared this afternoon) then pie and veg again on Tuesday (will try to think of a way to cook the pie properly this time) then vegetable soup for Wednesday lunch using leftover roasted veg. Wednesday night we will have vegetable stew then on Thursday night I’m not sure. Number One Son will be home that night and I have run out of ideas at that point. Then we have a delivery on Wednesday night (I missed all the good Christmas delivery slots and we should be good for the holidays – just need a bit of bread and milk, and thanks to part baked baguettes, long life milk and the freezer we can probably stay indoors until 2022 if we are careful. A nice low maintenance Christmas.
Did very little today. Julia did a bit of work in the garden, made a rhubarb crumble and cooked lunch despite a bad hip. I was no help. I even have trouble gripping a mug after brewing tea. In the evening I ordered a takeaway curry online. Careful ordering means we will have a slightly different version of the same meal tomorrow. It is reasonably nutritious and more cost effective that way. (That is my way of making myself feel less guilty).
I have a few days left until the deadline at the end of the month and have been turning things over in my had, even if it didn’t make a lot of difference on paper.
I am getting seriously worried by the lack of work that I am doing. On an average day I don’t do enough, but on a slack day I do nothing at all. It isn’t helped, at the moment, by my fingers, but they aren’t really making a lot of difference, just providing a good excuse.
Plans for the rest of the week include lentil soup (I have the lentils ready and waiting) and the search for new recipes. During lockdown we tried quite a few different recipes but we have slipped back into a rut. We were saved by the addition of recipe boxes to our weekly shop, as Number One Son signed us up to some of those services which deliver ingredients to the house. That was how we ended up making Nasi Goreng. I have just looked at that post whilst adding the link, and clicked through on another link, and am even more depressed about my life, as I seem to be writing about the same thing time after time.
Confession: The carbs thing was going well until I got to the end
Got up, pottered round, ate a bacon sandwich provided by Julia, wasted time on computer, watched Sense and Sensibility on TV, lunch (vegetable soup, incorporating the remains of last night’s vegetable stew), wrote by hand (carefully – I want to be able to read it later), two episodes of Criminal Minds on Prime, cruised eBay and am now writing today’s blog post whilst working on tonight’s menu.
The objective is to keep it easy (one roasting tray) and use leftover cauliflower. I was going to use it for soup but we still have plenty of veg soup after liquidising the stew and after that we have a bag of peas for pea soup.
Menu planning has been something that has suffered recently. I can’t blame it on long covid, or even old age, I’m just fed up with menu planning, having fallen into the trap of ordering much the same food each week and cooking the same things. I happen to like vegetable stew with dumplings, so that’s OK. I also like vegetable stew without dumplings. And I like it liquidised and served as soup. That’s three meals taken care of. Something with roast veg. Pizza (or quesadillas). That’s two or three more. Corned beef hash. That’s nearly an entire week and I haven’t had to think. I really should do better. We have pasta, we have prawns, we have other veg.
Watch this space. I’m going to set myself a target of cooking something new every week. This week it’s pea soup, so that’s easy enough. Next week, who knows?
I’m also going to start eating salad for lunch. maybe just one day a week, but it’s a start. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Or, more appropriate in my case – a supertanker takes 20 minutes to come to a halt.
I decided to do three or four short posts today by way of a change. I did about 1,500 words last night, which now need editing, and I am looking for a change of pace.
It’s just after 7.00 and I have been watching a programme about canals. I like canals but I’m too rickety to start canal cruising now. I will have a short daydream tonight about how I should have started 30 years ago, then I will switch over to the lottery winner daydream. If I win the lottery I can buy a luxury narrow boat and a crew to do all the work. Sounds like a workable system.
Julia is currently on some sort of technological miracle that allows various people to squawk at her, even though it’s several hours after the end of her working day. It’s going to be fun when she goes back to work if they all insist on ringing her in the evening too.
Time to start cooking now, but I’m not sure what to have.
We have some breaded chicken which I bought because I was fed up with high-quality healthy ingredients. It was cheap and, after eating the first half of the packet, it seems to be value for money. Didn’t cost much, tastes like eating a pan scourer.
There is also the remains of last week’s gammon joint, which has already provided two meals, and a large bag of ready cut stir-fry vegetables which have come with noodles and sauce as a special deal.
Then there are the ratatouille and baked potato options, the veggie curries and the stews…
So much food.
Decision time. Gammon wins, on the grounds that if I leave it too long it has the power to kill me. And it’s easy to throw some veg in the oven and walk away instead of fiddling about with loads of ingredients.
I used to read a blog about found shopping lists. It was surprisingly fascinating. I have tried to find it to post a link but can’t find it.
I decided to uise mine as an example for this post.
I used to use a list to remind me t5o buy things, then I started using it as a way of keeping spending down. Now, poor and lacking brain power. I use it for both, but have had to start using extra means to keep me on the straight and narrow. Read on and you will see what I mean.
Top left is “Pills” with an asterisk. That’s to remind me to take in my Warfarin prescription. I’m not overly worried about the health aspects of missing the pills, but I am concerned that I have a blood test in a month and if I want to keep up the relaxed regime of testing every three months I have to make sure I take the pills and get the right results.
Next down, in the blue ink that marks the later additions, are two appalling sets of hieroglyphics that indicate I need chickpeas and chopped tomatoes. Chickpeas because I used them in last week’s veggie burgers and tomatoes because I need them for ratatouille. I’m likely to need a second can for the chickpea curry that is on my mental list to cook in the next couple of weeks.
Cobs – two lots. One lot for tomorrows lunch, one lot for Tuesday’s lunch. We don’t make sandwiches on Wednesdays because it is our day off. It would probably be cheaper and healthier to use sliced bread, but I like cobs. New readers who want to know what I’m talking about can press here.
Butter was a duplication for “Marge” lower down the lst. We use the terms interchangeably at times. Cheese – ready sliced Red Leicester for making cobs. The time saved and the cost saved by portion control make it worth paying the extra for the slicing.
Pies became pasties as I found Ginsters Cornish pasties were on special. I just bought two, because the list and the menu now prevent over-buying.
Now is the time to confess about the menu. It’s the bit in the top right. I have to use it to stop me buying random eye-catching stuff we struggle to use.
Y Pudd Roast
(Rat) x 2
Simple, eh? It stops a lot of bad buys, because I would often buy enough ingredients to make five meals in four days and some would end up wasted by the end of the week.
For those of you who don’t speak Quercus it means Yorkshire puddings and roast veg, haggis, veggie burgers, indicates that we will be having ratatouille with the burgers and reminds me to make a double helping, which we will have with baked potatoes. It’s already slightly wrong because I’d forgotten Julia was out on Tuesday night and forgotten that we are cutting down on sausages, so a pack now makes two meals. It used to be one meal for four of us and seemed to remain as one meal as we dropped to three and then two.
Thursday is a mystery as I’ve run out of inspiration. Julia is probably doing a Green Thai Curry.
Root veg means I am free to throw a selection of root veg in, onions means get packets of ready cut onions as it saves time and I’m lazy. And my knife skills leave something to be desired. I have far fewer cut fingers now I don’t chop onions and it’s easier on my back if I do less bending. I bought Brussels as well because we need greens.
Marge (see above), milk, cream cheese (for fish pate). I did select herbs and chillies but put them back later as there was a change in the fish purchase and because I have chillies in a jar.
Smoked Salmon is crossed out because there were no packets of scraps, just expensive slices. I like Julia but I don’t like her enough to make her expensive smoked salmon pate.
Eggs – easy. I buy eggs from caged birds as, whatever you may think Free Range is mainly a marketing gimmick and the birds aren’t really better off. Now that we have new welfare cage legislation caged birds are more comfortable than they used to be.
Seasoning was a lazy way of indicating I needed more garlic in a jar and some chilli powder. I forgot the pickled onions, marked them to remind myself and forgot them again.
Med Veg is Mediterranean vegetables – courgettes, peppers and aubergine. Or zucchini, bell peppers and eggplant for my American readers. Not Medium Vegetables.
Yorkshire Pudding (bought in a packet because it’s easier), beans (tinned).
Card is a card by my Dad – he’s due to be 91 at the end of next week. Tesco have a dreadful selection so I may get another one. Yes, it’s in pen because I forgot about when I made the original list. I’m a bad son.
Finally L & Lime indicates a lemon for the fish pate and a lime for Julia’s planned guacamole.
Spr Onion in the middle means I realised we needed some spring onions (or scallions) for the fish pate. I realy should grow some at home, and some chives, which do much the same thing.
One thing missed and one extra – bacon – sneaked in.
One day I will write about a more organised list. This one was written in a hurry – when I have more time I actually write them in order.
I eventually prised myself from bed just after mid-morning. I had been up earlier but my back was so stiff I’d gone back to bed to get some warmth and do some straightening exercises. At that point I fell asleep and, as I say, reluctantly emerged. I’m tempted to say “like a butterfly from a chrysalis” but that wouldn’t be an entirely accurate picture.
We breakfasted on what was supposed to be smashed avocado and eggs on toast but Julia is such a gentle soul the avos were no more than moderately roughed up. It’s a shameful thing to do, offering any sort of violence to an avocado – they should really be filled with prawns and thousand island dressing. Or mayonnaise with ketchup, which is my version. However, this is the modern way and Julia likes it so who am I to complain?
After that we had toast and marmalade whilst watching The Hound of the Baskervilles. It was the 1988 TV version with Jeremy Brett. I like him as Holmes, but there are several other versions of the story which I prefer. Holmes really should be in black and white.
Then it was off to the laundry for Julia and off to the supermarket for me.
The laundry was crowded, because it was a dull wet day. The supermarket was not crowded, but the people in it all seemed to be on a mission to get in my way.
That was the first part of then day. On our return I wrote the first 240 words in twenty minutes as I cooked pie and beans for a meal that was a mixture of late lunch and early tea.
View from the Driving Seat
I then frittered the rest of the afternoon in front of a fire, watching quizzes, snoozing and drinking tea. No, not all at the same time.
It is now 8.00. Washing up is done, the roast vegetable as are in the oven for tonight’s meal and the ones for tomorrow are boiling as I type. We will be having gravy tonight as we eat roast veg, Lincolnshire sausages and Yorkshire puddings.
Monday night’s veg will, with the addition of last night’s rice (which is currently frozen, to avoid food poisoning) and some other bits, will provide another go at veggie burgers. I will have two on Tuesday night with ratatouille (Julia is dining out for a birthday celebration) and on Wednesday we will both have veggie burgers and ratatouille. My capacity for repetition of meals means I can happily eat the same thing for three or four days if necessary.
You could chart my life from pictures like these
The timer just went off – time for a trip to the kitchen, where mounds of steaming vegetables are waiting for me.
Later I will return to load some photos and publish the post.
The writing has taken 37 minutes according to the kitchen timers I had running at the time. I bet the photos and Tagss take at least another 20, if not more.
This blog hates me – it’s just taken twelve trouble-free minutes to do the photos and Tags. It’s trying to make me look like a liar by doing everything the easy way…
We watched a few episodes of Diagnosis Murder this morning and ate a substantial brunch. I’m beginning to get used to this relaxation, though I’m definitely going to have to curb my portion size.
I am going to be on bean salad tomorrow, and can only guess at the horrors that will open up as I start eating “sensibly”. That, in my experience, means eating things you don’t like because they are good for you. It’s good, because you eat less of it if you don’t like it. However, would you rather live to be 70 on a diet of chips, pies and chocolate, or would you prefer to live to 80 on bean salad and virtue?
Seventy is a bit close now, so I’m thinking of interlacing a certain amount of salad with the pie and chips.
Tonight it’s home made beef pie. Tomorrow it’s seafood spaghetti and the day after it’s fishcakes with rice and vegetables. Wednesday is sweet potato and chickpea curry.
I’m starting overnight oats for breakfast again and salads for lunch.
I’ll give it a week. I can mange the healthy evening meal, with the odd takeaway, and the overnight oats. But a week of lunchtime salads will be plenty. Man is not meant to function without cheese and pickle sandwiches and pork pies. But he’s not meant to function in shirts that strain at the front with the curve of a galleon in full sail.
I finally worked out how to load pictures from my phone to the blog. I’m sure a five-year-old could do it, but I can’t. When I was that age telephones were attached to walls at home, or red boxes when you were out and about, and you took photos with cameras which had film in them. Just to complete the picture of the technological desert of the 1960s, computers were so big they had their own rooms and TVs showed black and white pictures from a choice of two stations.
It’s time to cook now – Pea and Mint soup (again) for a couple of weekday lunches, Cottage Pie for tonight with lots of healthy green veg, meatballs to be precooked for tomorrow, Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry to be refrigerated for Tuesday.
I’d better stop watching Pointless and get cooking before I pick Julia up from work or I’ll be in trouble. The fact I got a pointless answer won’t impress a hungry woman.