Saturday, 25 October 2014

Saturday morning

Good morning all it is another early start for me but I did sleep a lot yesterday.  I woke with the almighty flutters which refused to dissipate despite my attempts to distract myself.  I was in Tesco by 6am and ran round getting a few bits then back home and out to the paper shop with Tubby while Mike got dressed and ready then it was off to the hairdresser dropped Mike off.  While he was having his hair cut James and took the dogs for a walk near the Naval Memorial on the top of the Great Lines which over look Chatham. Then back to collect Mike after an hour and home in time for me to cook lunch.  We had some lovely tempura battered fish fillet which we had with buttered peas and carrots. I was still all of a flutter and feeling exhausted so I took to my bed and slept solidly for 3 hours waking at last flutter free.  Neither James nor I felt like supper so Mike had a couple of individual pizzas.  I was back in bed asleep by 10pm so lack of sleep is not the problem.

Terry came to visit Mike at 2pm and they had the hour long chat which Mike finds helpful.  I think it makes a difference that Terry is male because Mike listens to him and though he says nothing that I have not been saying for months.  An occupational therapist is going to come and see Mike early next month and try to find out how to motivate him.  With this I wish her the best of luck!!!!  I have tried both carrot and stick to no avail.

Today I have a pile of laundry to get done and I took out some venison yesterday and this morning it will be made into a venison and chestnut casserole for lunch.  Together with some savoy cabbage and some spuds it should make enough for two meals one of which can go in the freezer for a later date. According to the weather forecast we should have a dry day today so a good one for laundry. 

Well that is the plan for the day, the coffee machine is screaming for a descale so I will make a start on that before the others are up and looking for coffee. Have a good one all.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Friday morning

One Staffy demonstrating his retrieving skills with a very frozen partridge

Not the best photo in the world but you get the general idea.  It is quite hard to get a good picture with such a fast moving target.  It took several goes before we managed to get this one.  

Yesterday was a bit of a nothing day. I did us the trout fillets for lunch with potatoes lyonnaise and a green salad.  Supper on the other hand was a more substantial meal basically an English breakfast.  I felt very lethargic all day not really sure what I wanted to do so I ended up doing very little.  Today I am taking Mike to get his hair cut at 8.30am and I will need to do some shopping.  Milk and bread don't last 5 minutes in this house.   I seem to be forever buying staples that are running low still at least things are being eaten and I am not finding myself with stale bread to deal with.   Mike had got his appetite back with a vengeance which is no bad thing but I find it difficult to keep up with the changes and fluctuations.  One minute he is on child size portions next he is eating like a horse.  I have been buying him an assortment of biscuits with which he supplements his food.  I think he is largely eating out of boredom but he is still unwilling to really do anything to occupy his mind.  Terry is coming to see him this afternoon and I am sure he will see some improvement in his mood.  The new medication seems to be suiting him much better and he is much less belligerent which is better for all of us.  Now if only I can get my head straight things would be tolerable.  

Well that about it for this morning not much to report except that it is raining and I need to get showered and to an ATM to replenish my wallet.  Tesco is probably the closest so I can get both bread and milk while I am at it and be back in time to take Mike to have his hair cut.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Thursday morning

After the decision was made not to go to the British Larder Sandy came to visit instead.  She brought me some lovely partridges which were frozen in all their clothes.  Well of course we couldn't resist trying Tubby on cold game so we had a couple of blind retrieves in the garden.  A blind retrieve is where the dog doesn't see the bird fall and has no idea where it is.  He takes direction from the handler until his nose gives him a clue where the bird is.  This is particularly difficult with a frozen bird as it gives off very little scent.  Well to everyone's surprise he acquitted himself beautifully.  He picked the bird up gently and didn't shake it which is normal behavior for a terrier.  I only wish we had had the camera at the ready and taken a couple of photos.  I think this would have the shooting fraternity in stitches.

For lunch I did a deconstructed toad in the hole - that is sausages with yorkshire puddings and some cauliflower cheese.  Both Sandy and I were very tired as we had both been up since the wee small hours so soon after lunch Sandy made her way home and I crashed out in bed.  Sadly I didn't sleep so by the evening I was like a wet dish cloth.  We had done loads of sausages as cold sausages never go to waste they seem to evaporate!!!! and guess what not one left this morning.

Today is a real nothing day it is pretty chilly and the sky is very overcast and looks like rain so James has taken the dogs out before it does.  I will have to put my thinking cap on and try to decide what to have for lunch.  I have some nice trout fillets in the freezer so I think they will be on the menu as I can cook them direct from frozen.  The remaining cold potatoes will fry up nicely and a green salad should complete the menu.  I do have a pile of ironing to keep me out of mischief so I had better get on with that before the pile becomes unmanageable.  I solved the problem of the garlic I was supposed to plant by giving it to Sandy to put in her allotment.  She wanted to pay me for them but I will be happy with a couple of head once they have grown.

Well that about it for this morning I am very late up again as I took my sleeping tablet at 3am and then slept on till 8.30 so I feel a little less tired today.  I think the medication is sapping my energy with little beneficial effect.  Anyway have a good day all whatever your plans.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Wednesday morning

Good morning all as you can see I am up at stupid o'clock again but at least I don't feel too wobbly which is a bonus. Yesterday's weather was a bit wild but nothing more than the ordinary autumn storms though it did pick up a bit more in the evening.  

Denny came and did her stuff so the house is nice and clean and I managed to get out and do a few errands in the morning including a trip to the butcher.  He had just boned out a stag so I got a couple of pounds of shoulder meat and pile of bones.  The bones went into the stock pot after first getting a good roasting.  I syphoned out a couple of bones which were dog sized and Tubby spent most of the day stripping them.  I hasten to add these bones were in the raw state so they would not splinter.  I now have 2 liters of concentrated jellied stock which will go into the freezer until needed.  Lunch was nice and easy as I had some chicken thighs which I fried off then added a pack of the curry sauce I have in the freezer.  As usual I did rather a lot of rice so James and I ate only half our lunch and saved the rest for supper.  Mike on the other hand demolished his portion so I had to look out a portion of lasagne for him for supper.  Fortunately I have some single portions which I had saved for when we went on holiday.  

I am still in the dark about whether we are going to the British Larder today as I haven't heard from Sandy I am assuming it is off which is not a problem as I have plenty to do today to keep me occupied.  With the situation with her brother in law it would seem sensible to be around to support her sister.  She did say she might pop down to visit me just for a break which is fine and at least she would only be three quarters of an hour from home instead of 3 hours away.  Anyway I hope she gives me a ring when she gets up and lets me know.  In the mean time I will get on with some of the chores of the day.  Being Wednesday all the bins want emptying and putting out for the bin men and I have a pan full of bones and vegetables which need dealing with.  There is at least one meal for the dogs on the bones but I will have to pick them over first.  The stock also needs degreasing and boxing up for the freezer so I had better get on with these jobs just in case.  

Have a good day whatever your plans are and lets hope the wind has finally died down.

P.S. Decision made we are staying at home which is fine by me.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Tuesday Morning

The weather seems to have turned this morning it is blowing and raining after yesterdays pleasant day. Apparently we are due for a battering today. I spent most of the morning in the kitchen organising lunch which was a simple meal of mince and potatoes with cabbage cooked with some crispy bacon.  Supper was equally easy just a couple of slices of toast smothered in scrambled eggs and smoked salmon which is really a breakfast dish but makes a good supper too.  Though the mince is a simple meal it takes time to get it right and get the mince properly browned off and the onions cooked to perfection.  

I remembered late last night to get out the chicken thighs for today which I intend to make into a curry.  Fortunately the curry sauce is already made and frozen so it shouldn't take too much time. The wonderful Denny is due this morning and she is like a hurricane in the kitchen so I find it easier to stay out of her way.  I may even take the opportunity to pay a trip to the butcher and restock some of the freezer which is still fairly empty following the disaster.  Also my veg box is due so I can build a menu round the contents. 
  • potatoes (marfona) UK
  • carrots (norwich) UK
  • leeks UK
  • romanesco cauliflower UK
  • savoy cabbage UK
  • mixed salad leaves UK
  • celery ES
  • crown prince squash UK
I can see a pumpkin risotto with a green salad and may be some celery soup as I still have some celery in the fridge.

I had a long chat with Sandy who is also treading water with regard to her brother in law. The hospital have, with their permission, withdrawn all treatment with the exception of pain relief and are letting nature take its course.  Very definitely the right decision but difficult none the less.

Well time is marching on and I need to get organised as Denny will be here in 20 minutes and I am still pottering around in my dressing gown.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Monday morning

Up later this morning but I did wake in a froth again at 3am however I took a sleeping tablet and tucked myself back down and managed to sleep until 6am which is better than nothing.  Yesterday was a relatively peaceful day we got to Aldi just after 9.30 which ensured a parking slot and were amazed to see people queuing around the block waiting to get in.  I had already walked to the corner store to get some milk and bumped into one of the neighbours who asked after Basso so I had to break the sad news but quickly followed it with the good news.  People are very kind and realise he may well have been just a dog but he meant the world to me.

James and I whistled round the shop and I got the chops to go with the creamed leeks I had already made.  I cooked the chops in the halogen oven with a quartered eating apple and some of the potatoes from the fridge.  Having been relatively good at lunch we had a complete carbohydrate blow out for supper.  Beef and onion pies with chips and beans, nothing really wholesome but every now and again there is nothing like a pile of fat and carbs.

Today I have some mince to deal with and as yet I haven't made any plans as to what to do with it.  It could end up just being mince and potatoes to go with the cabbage which is languishing in the vegetable rack along with a very small cauliflower.  The cauliflower is small enough to make a cauliflower cheese for one so I may stow that in the freezer for Mike while we are away in France.

As luck would have it we had a small downpour very early in the morning which has dispersed all my salt blobs and saved me the job of watering them in.  The rest of the day was generally sunny and quite warm for the time of year so the laundry dried well on the line and the ironing will be minimal.

I am still not sure if our jaunt on Wednesday will be on the cards as yet I have heard nothing from Sandy but I did assure her that her brother in law was the priority.  It is just a waiting game but I will not be too disappointed if it doesn't come off.  I have to book Mike in for a haircut as he looks like worzel gummidge at the moment.

Anyway that is about it for this morning time I got underway and did something constructive.  Have a good day all

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Sunday morning

Good morning all.  Yesterday was a real washout for me as I felt pretty terrible all day.  No reason in particular so I can only put it down to the medication which seems to be making my mood very volatile.  One day I am fine the next not so good.  Hopefully it will even out over time but it is a bit of a bore at the moment.  Anyway enough of that, I promised to report on the cold and reheated pasta.  I had cooked tagliatelle and though they were quite edible they really lost something in terms of texture.  You couldn't describe them as al dente but if they were in fact much fewer calories then I guess I could live with that.  The texture was much more like fresh pasta which is generally much softer.  I think more robust pasta like penne would be a better bet.  The leftovers got converted into a frittata for supper.  

I really should have gone to the shops but I wasn't in the mood so that will be on my agenda for today and as yet I have nothing in mind for lunch.  It will need to be something fairly quick as the shops don't open until 10am being Sunday.  I have some leeks which I intend to make into creamed leeks which would go rather well with some pork chops and not take too long to cook.  I am also clean out of milk and potatoes.  The potatoes will be given the boil and cool treatment which works really well. I may give rice a go but I know there are problems with cold rice and it does need to be cooled very quickly and then reheated very well.  This is where I would like a commercial blast chiller!!!! However, if I spread the cooled rice on a tray and give it half an hour in the freezer the effect might be the same.  

Yesterday was another rain free day so my salt is still in blobs on the patio and I think I may just run the hose over it and get rid of it that way.  My winter flowering clematis was planted as soon as it arrived but it is just sitting there.  It looks healthy but there is no sign of any growth yet so I think it will take a while to cover the new trellis which looks very stark at the moment.  The cuttings I took from the fuchsia have all failed but then I did expect that as they were all flowering shoots.  I must admit that as a plant it has been wonderful and is still covered in flowers.  I only hope it is as hardy as they say it is and survives the winter.

Well that is the plan for today nothing very exciting I am just treading water at the moment and wishing the days away until I can go and see the puppies.  

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Saturday morning

I think these have to be the reddest autumn leaves I have seen and they belong to a blueberry bush.

Yesterdays meal from the Aldi recipe went down well but I forgot how much quicker the halogen oven is so it was ready rather sooner than expected however this did give me time to degrease it thoroughly and to reduce the gravy considerably.  It was a very nice way to deal with what is a very cheap cut of meat - breast of lamb.  There was easily enough for four people or three people and two dogs.

Terry came to visit Mike and they had a long chat and finally we managed to get the prescription for his medication sorted out.  He now has a months supply which I hope means we will have some peace from chasing people to get what is needed.  The problems arose from the doctors not communicating the changes with one another.  So much for computerisation!!!! Like most things it seems to be a communication breakdown.  The pharmacy were really great and did all they could but their hands are tied until the medics get their act together.   

Today we are having pasta with bolognese sauce.  The pasta was boiled yesterday and cooled overnight in the fridge so when I reheat it it should be reduced in calorie value by 50% which can only be good news.  I intend to heat it through in boiling water before adding it to the sauce which I believe is how it is often done in restaurants.  Anyway I will let you know the outcome tomorrow.  

Yesterday I decided to kill some of the weeds on the patio by sprinkling some salt on them hoping that the next shower would wash it in.  However we had a completely dry day and night so I still have blobs of salt all over the place.  My timing really does leave something to be desired!!!! fortunately the dogs are not interested in the salt so no harm done.

Well thats about it for this morning I am beginning to get excited as it is only 12 days to go before the puppy run.  It is going to be absolute torture waiting until December to pick up the little guy.  

Friday, 17 October 2014

Friday morning

Yesterday was a bit of a mixed bag of a day both emotionally and weather wise.  We had some lovely sunshine and some torrential downpours.  I decided that as I take my medication as soon as I wake that this was not the best idea and so I have now decided to take last thing at night which I hope will mean that the blood levels are high when I wake instead of at their lowest ebb.  So far so good I have slept very well and woken much later than usual.  This could be an aberration but maybe I have cracked the problem of waking very early and wobbly.

I did another recipe from the Aldi collection for our lunch which was a tray bake of chicken with lemon and thyme.  Which I served with potatoes which were hopefully less calories than normal as they had been pre boiled and cooled.  Today I am doing yet another recipe from the collection which is a breast of lamb slow roast in the spanish style with chorizo, red peppers and tomatoes.  It sounds good but will require 3 hours in the oven so I think I may well use the halogen oven and save a few pence.  I also intend to try the pasta trick so I will boil a portion and put it in the fridge overnight and reheat it the following day.  This should reduce the calorie value by half!!!! I think the pasta might suffer a bit but with a saving like that who cares.

I have spent the best part of the week struggling to get Mikes prescription filled with no success so today as T is visiting I will see if he can expedite matters. 

We are due to go to a game cookery event at the British Larder in Suffolk on the 22nd but it is doubtful if Sandy will make it as her brother in law is going down hill, which is probably for the best. Anyway we will just have to wait and see how nature takes its course.  Shiona is back off to Scotland to visit her mother so she will be unable to come.  At this rate I may well be going alone.  Anyway it will probably do me good to have a day away.  

Now I need to get my act together as I am up much later than normal and I hear my second cup of coffee and the shower calling me.  Have a good day all........

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Thursday morning

This photo shows an interesting dish that I made following a recipe on the Aldi website.  As you can see there is a hopeful dog waiting in case I should drop any.  Essentially this is four ham and mustard sandwiches which have been quartered and stacked into the dish.  Over these I poured 6 eggs beaten with 200 mls of double cream then a coating of grated cheddar is added and into a 180ÂșC  oven it goes for 20 minutes. The halved tomatoes are added in a separate dish and the whole lot is given another 20 minutes.  The final dish was very nice and quite unusual, I suppose it is really a savory bread and butter pudding.  The bread I used was cheap and nasty white and the ham was also cheap and nasty finely sliced stuff.  The recipe called for 5 sheets of ham in each sandwich to which I also added a good spread of dijon mustard.  This would be a great way to use up leftover sandwiches from a do of some kind as it doesn't matter if they are a bit curly round the edges.  It would benefit from serving with a nice green salad.  The recipe called for milk rather than cream and much less cheese than I added.  However I used what was available and it turned out fine.  I am now left with half a loaf of the bread which I will freeze and use for breadcrumbs and the leftover ham will no doubt get chopped up and added to an omelette or scrambles eggs.  

Today I woke up very early and very wobbly so I am going to take it easy this morning.  I may even go back to bed and see if I can settle and sleep a bit more before I head for the shower.  

Did any of you see "Trust me I'm a doctor" last night?  I was most interested in the fact that pasta which has been cooled in the fridge overnight and then reheated shows a considerable reduction in calorie value as much of the starch is converted to a form we cannot digest and is then utilised by the gut as fibre.  How good is that!!!!  Cold pasta is good but reheated is even better.  This is something I must try as I love all pasta dishes.  I'm not sure if the same would apply to the starch in potatoes and rice.  

Guess what it is raining again!!!! so I am off to my bed and see if I can't get a bit more sleep.  Have a good day all

P.S. I have just looked it up and yes it works for potatoes. Mine are on boiling now will be cooled then reheated when needed.