Tag Archives: vegetables

An Easy Meal

Cut some veg into bits.

Tonight I used sweet potatoes, carrots, swedes, onions and sprouts.

Oil them and chuck them in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 180 C (250 F or Gas Mark 4)

Then add the chicken thighs.

Give it another 30-40 minutes.

Whip up some gravy (Julia insists on gravy) and serve, pretending it’s a proper roast dinner.

Make a mental note that next time I’ll put the sprouts in at the same time as the chicken.

The timings are approximate, as I was watching the Strictly Come Dancing results. That’s why it looks a bit burnt. I think burnt food is more tasty. Apart from sprouts. Burnt sprouts aren’t an improvement.

So there you go – roast dinner, negligible thought or work.

My sort of meal.

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.

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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.

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Belly pork with roasted vegetables and kale

A Day for Small Jobs

I started off by delivering Julia into servitude at 8.30 this morning. She’s not fond of Thursdays as she has to rush across town at 4pm to get from one job to another before finally being allowed home at 8pm.

Then I went to Newark. It was cold, business was non-existent and the tale of the last two weeks was one of cold, snow and poverty. After an exchange of cards, a cup of tea and a laugh about old times (there’s nothing to laugh about at the moment) I went browsing in W H Smiths looking for writing paper. I didn’t find any. The notes in my Christmas cards will, as a result, be written on paper torn from a spiral-bound notebook. To be fair, this is a more accurate reflection of me than smart writing paper.

A trip round Wilkos netted a tin of Vaseline lip-care products for Julia, a bucket of fat balls for the birds for £4 and a chicken and stuffing sandwich for £1. Yes, I know, I’m not supposed to be eating bread. However, as I’d already treated my self to a sausage and onion cob for breakfast I didn’t think a chicken sandwich was going to do too much extra damage, either to my waistline or my digestion.

From there it was a quick trip to the doctor to put in some prescription requests and on to TESCO for healthy veg and new gloves.

Resisting the urge to go home I visited the shop to drop off Christmas cards to my new colleagues (I’m such a creep) and helped with the delivery of two new cabinets for the new shop. It’s starting to take shape.

I then went home, supposedly to post on the blog but actually to engage in a variety of displacement activities, including sleeping in front of the TV, watching TV, checking ebay, picking Julia up from work, browsing the internet, writing notes to go in Christmas cards and warming up soup. I was tempted to say “cooking” but I’m pretty sure preparing soup and a sandwich isn’t cooking. We normally have something more substantial but after a day that saw us both deviating from our diets we thought we’d cut back a bit.

I even managed to do a bit of reading, having bought the Kindle edition of Maya and the Book of Everything by Laurie Graves. It’s going quite well so far. We’re right into the action and moving along nicely and there’s no boring stuff about chivalry or whales. She is therefore already ahead of Cervantes and Melville in my estimation. On the minus side there’s a definite lack of talking animals, though Sir John Oldcastle is about to make an appearance. I like Sir John.

 

 

Thinking of Food and Health

We switched the heating on low a couple of nights ago and had the gas fire on last night because it’s getting a bit chilly. The fire was very dusty and didn’t do my throat a lot of good. At around six o’clock this morning I woke up wheezing like a pair of Victorian bellows with a painful cough and a dry throat.

It mainly passed within an hour, and I’m feeling pretty good now, though still a little tender in the throat.

This year is really proving to be a bit of a trial from the health point of view.

The good news is that in general I’m feeling much healthier than I have for some time. I attribute this to large quantities of turmeric and the new low carb diet (which mainly means no chips and no bread). The advantage with not eating bread is that you don’t eat any burgers or sugary spreads either. In truth the feeling of well-being may be coincidence, but by claiming credit for it I’m able to feel both healthy and virtuous.

I’m now looking at articles about superfoods and foods for winter. I’ve been a bit lax about this sort of thing over the last year so it’s time to tighten up.

Overnight oats with fruit for breakfast tomorrow, vegetable soup for lunch and Cottage Pie for tea (incorporating onions, peas and carrots) with sweet potato topping, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. I can probably work lentils and tinned tomatoes in too, so that should do wonders for my vegetable intake.

 

Fish Pie

I need to brush up on my food presentation technique and buy plain plates, but I think the photograph gives the general idea.  It’s fish pie with peas, sweetcorn, onions, mushrooms and dill in the sauce. It’s topped with sweet potato and served with carrots, asparagus and a cabbage and broccoli mix. They aren’t all full portions but I imagine there are six portions lurking in there.

Yes, I feel guilty about the out of season South American asparagus but nobody is perfect.

At one time I would have sat back with a snug expression on my face, having done a day’s veg in one meal. Since recent changes to government advice it’s now only 60% of my day’s intake. Even with thick cut marmalade for breakfast, a pickled onion with my lunch and two bits of fruit I’m falling short of the new target.

Looks like I’m going to have to rethink breakfast and eat vegetable soup for lunch. Or salad. For the rest of my life.

That’s the paradox. The healthier my diet (which is something achieved by eating food I don’t enjoy) the longer I will live. And the longer I live, the more salad I’m going to have to eat.

 

 

Notes from a Small Kitchen

First up, meatballs. I had intended to make them last night, but Julia was hungry, time was short, the night was cold and the chip shop was soooo tempting.

I had mushy peas with mine and followed up with an apple and a pear. I’d had a banana with my breakfast cereal and salad with lunch so that scraped my five a day. This is important as five a day, which was once sufficient, has now become ten. I didn’t know there were ten sorts of fruit and veg, and until last week certainly had no intention of ever eating 10 sorts in one day.

Getting 10 sorts of fruit and veg into me takes a technique that is closer to loading a cannon than it is to cookery. However, it’s something I will have to work on.

I have a simple meatball recipe. Meat, breadcrumbs, milk, egg and stuff. In this case  the meat was minced pork and the “stuff” was a chopped spring onion and parsley. The milk to dampen the breadcrumbs and the egg all contribute to making a nice, tender meatball. You can do without them, but the end product is more suitable for playing golf than eating.

The bread crumbs may look a bit strange but don’t worry, the bits are just chopped up grains because I used the crusts of a seeded loaf to make the crumbs.

You can season it I suppose but the pork ones always seem to be OK with just herbs. I do season the beef ones a bit, normally using Worcestershire sauce or black pepper. You can also use dried herbs and grated parmesan.

Mix it all together with your hands and roll into balls the size of a walnut (a walnut in its shell, to be precise). Either poach it in a tomato sauce (about 40 minutes) or oven bake for 20 minutes at 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.

I based the bean burger recipe on one by Mark Bittman that was passed on to me by Laurie Graves.

My recipe was a tin of chickpeas, half an onion, parsley, a good shake of chilli powder, a teaspoon of cumin, an egg, some brown linseed (which was just hanging about needing to be used)  and enough oats to make the mixture dry enough to work. I made six burgers but we will only eat four for tea.

We ate them with roasted vegetables and stir-fried black kale, as pictured in the featured image. They still need a little work but are already much better than the previous recipe I was using and as good as any I’ve eaten recently when eating out.

 

 

A touch of cookery

Apart from the weather (see previous post) it’s been a good day, with a possible new member coming to have a look at us. It was a good day to visit, as we had had a cooking session planned, which ended with us eating cheese scones and lavender biscuits.

Yes, the same lavender biscuits and cheese scones we have been cooking for a couple of weeks now, but people like them and we have the ingredients.

This is the recipe for the scones – it’s an easy one because it uses rapeseed oil (or canola if you want the American translation)  instead of butter. It’s therefore probably healthier for you (though these food fads could be reversed next week), cheaper and considerably easier. My scones never reach that “fine crumb” stage, on account of having hands like bunches of bananas.

Please note at this point – I’m using the cheapest oil for this recipe as it doesn’t need a quality oil. In fact I use the cheapest oil for most purposes – we are self-sufficient in it and that’s a good enough reason for me to think of changing from olive oil if all else is equal.

As usual, it’s difficult to tell where  the truth lies because the we internet contains a web of science, lies and stupidity that makes it tricky to see the truth. Good luck if you’re the sort of person who likes to base decisions on all the facts, because you’re going to have plenty of hard work  looking for them.

The lavender biscuits contain flour, sugar, lavender and butter.

I can’t link to the recipe because Julia has it on a scrap of paper, but there are plenty of recipes about if you want one.

Next step for the scones is to try blue cheese and pear and Stilton and date. Next step for the lavender biscuits is to try a recipe with rosemary.

If you don’t hear any more about them you can take it that they failed.

If the blog stops, you can take it that they were fatal…

Meanwhile, here are some pictures of our fruit and veg, which is finally coming to life. And a cricket – we don’t actually eat them.

Finally, on a sadder note, we lost two chicks today and we aren’t sure why. The keets are looking well and if they are still OK by Wednesday they should be safe. Fingers crossed.