Tag Archives: vegetables

A Cheap and Easy Meal

Take a bag of ready chopped stir-fry veg, a pack of noodles and some sauce. Put them in a wok, mix them together and let them heat through.

It takes ten minutes, is very simple and is safe for those of us with poor knife skills.

I ordered it from TESCO as a special offer package deal on our last Click & Collect order but they didn’t have any sauce so they just sent me the veg and noodles. I wasn’t happy and really, if they don’t have all three offer items, they shouldn’t just send you two. Fortunately I had suitable sauce so we were OK.

Cost about £2 for two large portions. It could have been cheaper if we’d cut our own veg into little strips but a few pence seems good value to avoid cutting my fingers. It’s healthy, though I’m sure the sauce has a lot of sugar in it.

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Stir Fry Vegetables

Note how I have avoided mentioning flavour. It’s quite bland, even with a good helping of plum sauce, and the bean sprouts can be overpowering. It would probably benefit from some prawns or meat, but as we are trying to cut down our meat consumption, we are trying to like the taste of vegetables.

That isn’t quite fair, as I do like the taste of carrots, parsnips, peas, beans, chickpeas, broccoli, cabbage and onions, to name just a few. It’s bean sprouts I’m not that keen on, they are watery and they somehow seem to kill the flavour of the meal. They aren’t just tasteless, they seem to drain flavour and make everything else seem less tasty. When we are doing our own stir fry we tend not to use them, though I suppose we really should start growing our own as they are cheap and easy.

Another Routine Sunday

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.

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Shopping

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.

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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.

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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…

 

 

More of the Same

More parcels. More London School Attendance Medals. More rain.

I have moved on, from the London School Board to London County Council. Edward VII has given way to George V. The medals have become smaller and hang from colourful ribbons. But the tedium remains the same.

Fortunately the World of WordPress beckons and everything seems so much better when I am at home. Tonight I am going to catch up on some WordPress Reading. I’ve been lazy recently and need to get round and see what people are doing.

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Goldfinch Concert in Sherwood

Three Hours Later…

We’ve eaten (Vegeburgers, jacket potato and roasted aubergines, onions, courgettes and tomatoes – all from the garden). We’ve chatted. Julia has had several texts from work – they have a fixation about texting on Fridays. She has made some pithy comments. We spoke to her brother, who rang for a chat. Finally I made it back to the computer and realised I hadn’t done any reading.

The aubergines, or eggplants as the Americans say, are a miniature variety and the first real success we’ve had with them as our seasons are a little short and unsunny for them.

I have caught up with Laurie in Maine and Whippet Wisdom in Scotland but the rest of you, I’m afraid, have been neglected yet again. I will do better!

I have to go now as we are in negotiations about who makes the next cup of tea and I need all my wits about me.

Main picture is a pigeon from the park. The others are the Goldfinch that sang for us earlier in the week.

 

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Not where you’s expect to see a songbird in full song…

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.