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Showing posts from September, 2012

Sunday Morning

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Lurid I think is the colour you might use to describe this smoothy it is actually Strawberry Mango and a small Beetroot  There was almost no taste of the beetroot it tasted mostly of the strawberries but the colour was fantastic.  James and I usually have a smoothy between us for breakfast but this one was worth of a photo.


These are jars of stock paste - a bit like stock cubes but looser.  I have just written the rate on the jars and that is one teaspoon full per 300 to 400 of liquid.  It is all made in the KP by blending a whole list of vegetable ingredients which are cooked then parmesan cheese is added and stirred through and it is put in sterilised jars where it will stay unharmed for 6 months.  The last bit is in a small jar in the fridge for immediate use.  I washed out the blender and used the water for some soup which needed thinning down.   I  then used a tsp to make the gravy for lunch with the juices from the roast chicken with water and cornflour.  It was very tasty so I…

Saturday Morning

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This is a minor miracle - having chopped off the root ends of some spring onions I took the advice of some one on Pinterest and planted them and low and behold they are growing into yet more spring onions.

Yesterday was a lovely day and it stayed dry until the evening when we had a few showers.  This meant that I manage to get out with the dogs for a nice walk and picked a few blackberries and damsons none of which made it home.  The damsons are really sweet now and though the blackberries are much smaller now they have a much better flavour than the early jumbo ones.  Yes I could make jam etc but what is the point when we don't eat it.  I can't even keep up with the glut of raspberries in the garden.  I have managed to keep up with the tomatoes which are just about finished and the runner beans too have done.  I picked a pile of borlotti beans yesterday which I will cook today and I think I have about one more picking before they too are finished.  I just love the patterns …

Friday morning

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It seems only yesterday that I was writing Monday morning and now the week is almost over.  Yesterday went well and Shiona and I had a blitz round Aldi and then took the dogs for a nice walk by which time the sun was shining and it was pleasantly warm.  The tide was high and the dogs got well and truly wet, Nip swam and Basso and the others paddled.  Shiona had purchased two micro-fibre towels for £3.50 so we were well equipped to dry the dogs off before putting them in the car.  Aldi has such a strange range of bits and bobs at really low prices.  It does, however, have the very best hazelnut plain chocolate!!! which has to be rationed in this house.

For lunch we had a go through the fridge and polished off a load of left overs and a big bowl of pea and ham soup.  For dinner I had made some stuffed squid which is a really easy recipe that I used when we were trying to loose weight as it is pretty low calorie but very high flavour.  Today I am going to make a chicken curry for dinne…

Thursday morning

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Well it poured for most of the day yesterday so the idea of shooting was off.  Shiona arrive anyway and we occupied ourselves in the kitchen making a cheese sauce in the KP for the cauliflower, and par boiling of the potatoes.  The stew was already made so that just needed defrosting and hey presto supper was ready.  For lunch we had some cold salmon with salad and bernaise sauce.  That done we got organised and out came the sewing machine - which I haven't touched for years.  We then set to and made a shopping bag from an old pair of jeans. 



In the end it took us two hours to complete as we had to work out exactly how to do it.  The difficult bit was setting in the square section for the base.  Shiona not only provided the old jeans but also is modelling the bag for the photographs.  We were quite chuffed with the results. It is a very sturdy and capacious bag and strong enough to carry the odd bottle of wine.  Now that we know how to do it further bags should be run up very qui…

Wednesday morning and bin day

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Rain rain and more rain.   It seems that autumn has come with a vengeance but at least we live on the top of a hill so flooding is not a problem for us.  My heart goes out to those whose houses have been flooded and many not for the first time.  
We spent the day in the warmth of the house looking out at the weather.  The house looks like a Chinese laundry as I have wet washing draped everywhere.  I made the bolognese sauce into a lasagne and this is where the Thermomix {KP} came into its own while I was boiling pasta sheets it quietly sat and made the white sauce all by itself.  I threw in the ingredients set the timer and walked away!!!  It did a few other jobs too, it steamed the potatoes for the corned beef hash for supper as well as some runner beans from the garden.  I also made another bottle of grapefruit squash and some smoothies for breakfast. 
Jane came and did her thing so we are all hoovered and clean.  Then at lunch time we had a visit from the psychologist and his assi…

Tuesday morning but only just

For once the gods were on my side I managed to get out with the dogs and not get wet, well that is not strictly true I got a bit damp towards the end of the walk but made it back to the car before the heavy rain started.  I had already managed to clean out the hens, pick some runner beans and tomatoes but decided against doing the laundry.
Bright and early I had  made a batch of meat balls and a pot of bolognese sauce which was transfered from the KP to the slow cooker to finish cooking.  It was then on to a risotto for lunch to which I added a some mushrooms which I had cooked and vac packed ages ago.  To put all the ingredients in a pot and walk away and wait for the pinger to go is a very novel experience.  The first job of the day had been to make an apple and banana smoothie for breakfast so you can see the machine is getting a good work out.  While I was out and about with the dogs I bought some more lamb breast so they were sunk under the goose fat and slowly cooked for hours …

Monday and the beginning of another week

Yesterday was a real taste of winter it was cold the wind was howling and the rain coming down in buckets.  I was not unhappy about the rain as the garden really needs it but it is amazing how the temperatures can change so dramatically in the UK.  With the weather so bad it was an ideal day for the Thermomix which incidentally we have labelled KP for kitchen porter.  Given that it does so much of the background work it seems an appropriate name.  So what did I make?  Well I started off by making a batch of smooth peanut butter, then it was on to making a white sauce for topping a lasagne which we were having for lunch.  The meat sauce had been made some time ago and was happily defrosting.  I always boil the pasta sheets first even though the packets say you dont need to as it stops them pulling all the moisture out of the meat.  I put all the ingredients in the bowl set the timer and temperature and stirring speed and left it to get on with it.  When I heard the pinging sound that i…

Sunday morning

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Very early this morning but following a very early bed last night.  They have threatened us with rain today and frankly I would be delighted as the garden is very dry but there  is no sign of it just yet.

Thermomix Saga
Yesterdays lunch was my favourite soup Pasta e Fagioli which was made with my own borlotti beans from the garden which I had podded and boiled until soft.  The rest was done in the machine and all I had to wash up was a knife that I used to peel the onion.  It was then chopped and saute in the machine with some pancetta,  beans and water added and boiled for a while then the pasta added and simmered until al dente and the parmesan [pre grated] added at the last minute and stirred through.

Supper was soup number two which was largely sweet corn but unknown to my men there was a small cabbage blitzed through it and very well hidden along with lots of other vegetables that were on the blink.  All the half pots of sour cream greek yoghurt etc were added for a bit of richne…

Saturday Morning

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Yesterday was a game of waiting as the Termomix was not due until between 5.30 and 6.30 pm - what a drag still it gave me time to sort out a place for it in the kitchen and to take photos of all the items that I can sell on eBay.

stick blender now not needed
food processor
steamer
liquidiser

All are now redundant and my garage looks like an electrical shop.  Anyway to cut a long story short the machine arrived at 5.30 and when I chatted to the delivery guy I found that he had been driving around and had passed the house three times so as not to get fined for delivering early how stupid is that!  Anyway we rushed to unpack the machine and plugged it in and started by making a Guinness and chocolate cake.  Which took minutes to make and the only dirty things we had were the bowl on the machine and two spoons.  Every process was done in the bowl and then the batter was tipped into a 23 cm spring form tin and put in the oven which had only just had enough time to warm up.  45 minutes lat…

Friday morning

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This is Hernhill a very pretty and old village. The pub is the building on the far left and the magnificent oak tree was planted for the coronation even though it looks hundreds of years old.  We had an adequate lunch in the pub with Len and Margaret but nothing to write home about.  The village is surrounded by orchards they were shifting huge boxes of apples from the barn just across the road.  I know that the farmers have said that the harvest is bad but it sure didn't look that way from where we were sitting. 

Today is the day that the Thermomix arrives so I am all of a flutter with anticipation.  Shiona went home via the shops and has purchased the ingredients to make the deadly Guinness and chocolate cake and I have promised to text her as soon as I hear that the Thermomix is on its way so that she can come and play with me.  Last night over our really interesting supper of beans on toast I watched Master chef and low and behold in the posh Michelin starred restaurant in wh…

Thursday Morning

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Yesterday was a good day with lots of sunshine but a bitterly cold wind.  Shiona arrived at the usual time and after coffee and an exchange of holiday stories we set off to shoot.  As luck would have it we both shot well and ended the day with an equal score with which we were both pleased I managed another 9 but the 10 still eludes me.  We had a nice lunch of lamb breast and a tomato and green salad and reserved the shepherds pie for supper.  I tried to get an hours sleep but my next-door neighbour decided to scrape the glass on his conservatory which made the most horrendous squeaking noise, like chalk on a blackboard so I soon gave up.  Shiona and I did a good nurses job of sorting out the linen cupboard and putting all the sheets into bed packs so the muddle should stay at bay for a while.  It brought back such memories, as tidying the linen cupboard is a job frequently given to junior nurses!!!!  And while we were at it we stripped and remade James bed in the front room and pump…

Wednesday morning

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Another pair of socks in purple this time for Shiona who loves all things purple.  When I looked at the photo I noticed that one looks bigger than the other but this is a trick of the photo as they are exactly the same size.  I am now into a new pair of socks from my lovely gift box of wool.  I wish I knew who had sent it so I could thank them properly.

Yesterday was a good day and though the weather was much cooler it was bright and sunny for the most part.  I took the dogs for their usual walk and did some training with Basso - there was a large group of oldies taking a walk and I made Basso sit and wait while they passed - this drew lots of compliments, which some how make all the hours of work worthwhile.  I usually make him walk to heel for the last part of the walk but I forgot to instruct him but he did it anyway.  I then went home via the butcher and fish monger.  I couldn't resist some lovely sprats which we had for lunch just floured and fried until crispy.  In the but…

Tuesday morning

Yesterday started well but went down hill at a rate of knots.  I made the various salads and got stuck into the preparation for the shepherds pie but then as the morning wore on so a headache developed and finally I began to shiver and feel really unwell.  So I gave in and went back to bed and slept on and off for most of the day.  I did manage to finish a pair of socks for Shiona and by about 6pm I was feeling a bit better and set to and made the risotto for supper.  My good intentions of doing some gardening came to nothing but there is one thing about gardening and that is that it will always wait until you are ready.  
I am pleased to report that I am feeling much better this morning and my head is at last clear of all the birds that were fighting in it yesterday.  As I have got older I have worked out that some times it is just better to give in and rest.  Anyway, I hope I am not speaking too soon as I felt fine at this time yesterday morning.  The wonderful Jane is due this mor…

Monday morning

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Yesterday was a very dull day looking like rain until the late afternoon when the sun reappeared.  The sky looked as if a poorly loaded brush of whitewash had been dragged over it.  I believe this type of cloud is indicative of strong winds high in the atmosphere.  The vapour trail is also nice and high which means we don't get aircraft noise.  If Boris gets his way and we end up with an airport in the estuary things may well be different.  We started the day with a walk down by the sea but the tide was well out so it was just mud flats and screaming gulls.  Fortunately Basso's bird fascination does not include gulls.  It was a pretty slow shamble as James came with me and he can only walk very slowly with his air boot and then suffers for his trouble afterwards.  
Lunch was an unspectacular but tasty traditional roast of a leg of lamb with new potatoes and runner beans from the garden.  I had a strong lamb stock which I had made from the bones of the breast of lamb which mad…

Sunday morning

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So who got a can of silver spray paint?  I picked up the pine cones in the forest as they were so pristine and now they are silver they will form part of some Christmas decoration. [sorry to use the C word]  I also sprayed the head of the ghastly onion which I think is a definite improvement.  
I had a real work day yesterday cleaning the bathroom from top to toe, including the never touched shower curtain rail and frosted window.   Then I hit the kitchen and made the semi dried tomatoes in oil and then had a blitz on floors and windows which were filthy.  I guess a week away lets you see things with fresh eyes and you suddenly notice all the dirty corners that you have grown accustomed to. Not to mention the glorious sunshine which highlights every speck of dust and dirt.  Lunch and dinner were a repeat performance of the Gok fried rice and melting belly of pork.  Today we are having a roast leg of lamb with all the trimmings runner beans from the garden and new potatoes.

The garde…

Saturday morning

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Last nights supper of breast of lamb fried until crisp and served with green beans dressed with oil and garlic.  This is a really useful trick to do the confit part, then freeze, which cuts cooking time hugely.  For lunch we had had some homemade burgers and eggs and tomatoes.  At the moment everything comes with tomatoes as we are having a bit of a glut.  Today I am going to part dry some and sink them under oil which should get rid of a few.

I finally managed to finish the ironing and get it all put away which considering it was about 10 machine loads is pretty impressive.  On the menu for today is fried rice and sticky pork belly which just needs about half an hour in the oven with soy and honey as that too has had two hours poaching done before freezing and the rice was cooked last night so not much to do.  This means I can get out with the dogs for a bit of a run as Basso has now recovered from his holiday.  Incidentally I used my new lid to boil the rice and it was wonderful a…

Friday morning

Hey guess what? my newly purchased lid works.  Never again will I have potatoes that boil over on my newly cleaned hob.

Yesterday was the day of laundry the machine was going the whole morning with load after load and  as luck would have it, it was out onto the line and dry in no time the whirly washing line was soon full and the clothes dryer was pressed into action but not the tumble dryer.  I sent James to the launderette with the sleeping bags to put them through the big machines but not to bother drying them, they too went out on the line and are now rolled up ready for next year.  The mountain of ironing is monumental so I cracked off a bit last night and the remainder will get done today.  In between loads I sorted out the vegetables.  The big pile of carrots were made into carrot and coriander soup, potatoes were made into potato salad which I made with a tub of sour cream instead of mayonnaise.  Tomatoes were made into insalata caprese and the peppers into peperonata.  The c…

Thursday Morning

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Well did we ever choose the right week for our holiday?  The weather has been just perfect.  Lovely sunshine and cooling breeze.  Basso, of course, is in his element hunting furiously though the forest.  With a minimum of three walks per day he thinks he has died and gone to heaven.  We had a good journey up with no significant traffic.  We picked the van up uneventfully and pitched up nice and level.  You would be surprised how uncomfortable it is if you are on a slope, not only does everything slide about in your frying pans but the sink is unwilling to empty.  We have a lovely pitch with easy access to the forest so no leads required.  At the moment the site is all but empty but Sandi and David are due today so we will have a bit of company.  So far we have eaten out with a lovely meal at the Wilford Bridge on Wednesday night when Mike had a whole lobster hot with butter and I had poached salmon with bĂ©arnaise sauce then yesterday we had intended to have an oyster meal but parking …

Wednesday morning

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Well the car is half packed and now all we need to do is put in our bag of clothes and the dogs bits and pieces.  And of course the Tasimo machine.  Though I take my iPad and and phone the signal is so poor that it is impossible to keep up my blog however I do write a hard copy in the van which is now up to volume 5.  One day I will transcribe them into some sort of a book I think but that is a job for cold winter days.

Mark came yesterday so the garden has had a good spruce up and lots of bit and piece got done.  We had the lamb off cuts for lunch and they were so good the men insisted we repeat the performance for supper.  So I fried off a couple of discs of lamb until really crispy and we ate them with a huge plate of buttered runner beans and washed it down with a raspberry milk shake.

The other day I was watching Italian TV on my iPad just for the language practice but ended up watching a shopping channel.  They were advertising a silicone universal saucepan lid which stops thin…

Tuesday morning

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Yesterday started well with a swim.   My friend Elaine came and collected me to take me to her friends house.  This lady is in her 80 and still runs swimming classes for children in her heated indoor pool.  We were bright and early so there were just the two of us in the water.  What a joy to swim in an empty pool not having to avoid other swimmers or getting bumped into.  While I was swimming James went to the dentist.  Sadly his broken tooth will have to be surgically removed as the not only are the roots deep but also hooked and therefore extremely difficult to remove.  Anyway an appointment is being made for this to be done.  At the same time Mike went for his annual check up with the nurse.  She was delighted with his weight loss and reiterated all the things I have been telling him for ages to no effect.  Who knows perhaps he will listen to her.  He was pleased that his breathing had not deteriorated since last year so at least the emphysema is not getting significantly worse.

I…

Monday Morning

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Well I am back in the fold again after my weekend away - Yesterday saw us making some silhouette pasta with the remains of the mixture from the ravioli which we served with the left over filling,  This made a nice starter then it was on to a nice lamb casserole and followed by strawberries and cream.  I left Shiona's at about 4pm and made my way home through some pretty heavy traffic in Maidstone where they are laying new gas main and have therefore dug up much of the road.   When I arrived home I discovered that there had been a bit of a disaster in the car.  Shiona had packed a bag of bits from her fridge as she is off to France on Tuesday and I have men at home to use them up.  However there was a pot of double cream which broke and leaked its contents all over everything and the car.  Fortunately we have thick rubber mats and they had restrained the cream from the carpet but it was all a bit of a mess.  Cleaning the mat was easy I just put it in the back garden and left the d…

Sunday Morning

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Please be impressed, be very impressed, above are photos of the ravioli we managed to make yesterday.

I shot off to Shiona's house yesterday morning and we set to to make the pasta and the filling for these little beauties.  The filling had to be piped into a nest shape and then an egg yolk dropped carefully into the middle before the lids were added.  3.5 minutes in boiling water and then dressed with brown butter and parmesan cheese.  When you cut into them the yolks are still runny and the pasta perfectly cooked. We had two each for lunch and were highly delighted.  The remaining pasta is destined to be made into pasta ribbons with herbs in them which we will have for lunch today.  For our evening meal we also had an experimental dish but sadly I took no photos.  This dish required you to poach, for 2 hours in goose fat, some boned and rolled breast of lamb.  This is then allowed to go cold and carved into half inch slices which are then fried until crispy and served with a le…

Saturday Morning

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I wonder why I give Basso a nice bowl of fresh water which he ignores and much prefers to drink out of the pond!!!!

When I brought the frozen chicken drumsticks in from the freezer I discovered that they were very dry and so I abandoned the flour egg and bread crumb idea as I really didn't think it would stick well so I just bagged them up for use at a later date.  I like to open freeze such things so that I can pick out just the right number instead of a pack of 3 or 4.  This is more flexible when you are not sure how many you will need to be feeding.  I do the same with things like beef burgers and meat balls.

Last night I finally finished the huge socks for my brother in law so I can now get back to knitting more reasonable sized socks in finer material.  Or I could start making rabbits for Shiona's warren with the left over bits of wool.  The project to make a tote bag from jeans has been put on the back burner as I am a little worried about getting the sewing machine out…