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Showing posts from October, 2012

Wednesday Morning

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October has come and is nearly gone and for once it is not our weather that is dominating the news.  The Americans seem to be getting the full force of nature's wrought.  It was 1953 when we suffered out major storm surge but sadly there was little or no warning in those days.  I was only 5 and living abroad so remember nothing of the disaster.  
Yesterday I got stuck into making the shepherds pies three of which we ate for supper the remaining three are in the freezer for another time.  Jane arrived as usual but she was in a terrible state with the knuckles of her hands very swollen.  She was determined to work but after an hour I sent her home and have tried to explain that she really needs to stop this work as it is not helping her condition.  She was very upset but doesn't want to stop.  I hope she gives it some thought over the next week and realises that it is in her best interest to stop doing my housework and sticks to doing just her own which will be taxing enough.��…

Tuesday morning

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Whose silly idea was it to mess about with the clocks?  It is not only the dogs who are confused so am I.  So yet again I am up at stupid o'clock having fallen asleep way too early.  Anyway, that aside, I must tell you about our supper last night.  I had bought some lambs hearts which I usually slow cook but this time I decided to follow a recipe in the "Silver Spoon" which called for the hearts to be sliced thinly.  This I did while they were part frozen as it was easier.  Then the slices are seasoned and painted with melted butter then coated with fresh bread crumbs.  They are then, now this is where it gets weird, laid on top of slices of bacon and whacked under grill for 2 minutes then flipped over for a further two.  I was not hopeful that they would even be edible and was prepared for eating just the bacon and giving the remainder to the dogs.  Well what a surprise they were truly delicious and as tender as butter.  We were all stunned and the dogs went hungry.  B…

monday morning but only just

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It may be GMT but that stands for Greatly Messed up Time in my case.  I was so tired yesterday that all I managed to do was get the roast lamb and veg cooked for lunch and scrambled some eggs on toast for supper.

It is my own fault I should have had a hot bath when I came back on Saturday but by the time I had sorted the dog out I was too tired to care,  Consequently every bone in my body ached yesterday and I spent most of the day watching rubbish on the TV and snoozing.  Still I don't suppose the odd day off is a problem but I do feel guilty about being so lazy.  Basso has no such qualms and is only too happy to sleep all day and recover his strength.   
Today the remains of the lamb will be made into a shepherds pie which is one of my favourite meals so that at least will keep me out of mischief.  The weather here is slightly warmer but it is raining which makes it a bit miserable.  I think rain or no rain I should get out for a good long walk and get some of the stiffness out …

Sunday morning

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Yes it is stupid o'clock but that is only to be expected given that the clocks went back one hour and I was unconscious by 8.30 pm.  It had been a long hard day out in the cold wind and rain and both Basso and I were totally pole axed when we got home.  We did five drives in the morning and another three after lunch the total bag was 84 birds for 484 shots which gives a ratio of 5.7 shots per bird.  This means that some 400 birds got away, you see the odds are definitely in favour of the birds.  Basso worked his socks off and because of all the mud he needed his feet sorted out when we got home.  I think he is finally realising that having his feet dunked in a bucket of nice warm water and all the clay removed from between his toes is actually beneficial not a refined form of torture.  I too was plastered in mud and had cadged a lift back to the farm in the back of the truck with the dogs who thought I was more comfortable to sit on than cold steel floor of the truck.  All my clo…

Saturday

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Yesterday was a bit of a baking day, on the cooling rack you can see the results of the bread and the parmesan short breads.  For lunch I made some corned beef hash to which I added some cavalo nero which was in need of using up and then for dinner we had the last of the lamb breast rolls cooked off until very crispy and served with a huge salad.  I also made the Mary Berry ice cream which starts off with a meringue into which you fold the egg yolks and cream before freezing.  We tried a scoop after dinner and while it was nice for my taste it needed more vanilla.  Anyway, a very good method of making ice cream without a machine or the need to churn every hour or so.  It was such a miserable wet day that baking seemed to be the best use of time.  
This morning I have to set too and organise my bits and pieces for the shoot and with the temperature currently at 2 degrees I think all the warm clothing will be necessary not to mention a big flask of hot tea and a decent packed lunch.  W…

Friday morning

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The picture is of a window guard for the car which allows air in but hopefully does not let the dogs out or the thieves in.  Shiona had bought one but her car will not allow it to be placed as the electric window is too clever and automatically opens when it hits the obstruction.  Fortunately our car has the type of windows which allow it so we are now the proud possessors of the guard.  I can't see me getting much use out of it for a while but next summer it will come into its own.  
Yesterday we had a a round trip in the car first to the chemist to collect the prescription which was all a bit fraught as it had taken several visits before the chemist managed to get the prescription from the surgery, then it was up to hospital for James physio appointment and while he was doing that I took the dogs for a walk on the great lines.  After an initial tearing around session I made Basso go through all his training exercises which he accomplished with ease which leads me to suspect tha…

Thursday morning

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So what do you do when you are fed up with knitting squares to make rabbits? well you crochet balls of course!!!  Shiona came yesterday and brought a lovely crochet book with her which has the pattern for these little balls so of course last night I had to give it a go and with no proper stuffing available it is stuffed with cotton wool.  They take minutes to make and are a really good way of using up small oddments of wool.  
After coffee we set off shooting and were asked if we would mind taking a novice around with us so we had a very nice elderly man named Roger who came and joined us.  It was only the second time he had been shooting as it was a new hobby for him.  Well he was in good company as we don't take it too seriously.  However by some total fluke I went first on stand three which is usually quite difficult and promptly "straighted", it.  This is the technical term for shooting a straight 10/10.  As you can imagine there was shocked amazement from my friend…

Wednesday morning

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I am on the horns of a real dilemma.  As you will know, if you are a follower, I have a wonderful Jane who comes on a Tuesday and gives my house the once over.  She had been quite unwell recently with what I think may be a form of rheumatoid arthritis.  She has give up all her other cleaning jobs but has said several times how much she looks forward to coming to us.  Yesterday she phoned me in tears to say that she was in so much pain she couldn't make it.  I reassured her that it was not a problem and told her to go back to bed and rest.   We have been noticing lately that she is struggling to accomplish the work and I feel it would be in her best interest to stop coming but I know that she will be devastated.  On the other hand there is no point in employing someone who cannot do the work.  I think my most humane course of action is to gradually let her know that she is doing too much for her own health and persuade her to give it up I really don't want to sack her.
Anyway …

Tuesday morning

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Yesterday we were living in a cloud for the whole day.  The mist never cleared and it was wet and drizzly all day. On my way to the freezer last night I saw this huge cobweb all lit up with rain drops and couldn't resist a photo, not that it is very good quality.  I got the laundry done but there was absolutely no chance of drying it out of doors so it is dangling all round the house.  I do have a tumble dryer but tend to use it only in emergencies.  I telephoned an aerial engineer at 9am and was delighted that he came at 10am and by 10.45 we were all up and running again.  Apparently we had a redundant piece of cable which was causing the problem so it was just a matter of taking it out and hey presto picture restored for the princely sum of £50 so I was delighted.  We had a day of light food following a weekend of indulgence and just had some cold meats for lunch and frikadellen with tomato sauce and a salad for supper.  All very nice and easy and minimal cooking.  Today we are…

Monday morning

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ON
OFF
Here we are at the beginning of another week, the weather here over the week end has been very wet and miserable.  This morning there is a thick mist with drizzle mixed in it.  However it is still very warm at 12 degrees.  In the photos you can see a pair of very bright LED lights which are meant for bicycles. When switched on they either flash or put out a steady light.  Well for me they are attached to the dogs collars if we are out walking in the dark.  Yesterday morning I took the boys for a walk before it was light and these flashing lights caused considerable consternation to passing motorists.  But at least we were adhering to the moto of "see and be seen".  It was just as well that I went out when I did as that was the only patch of dry weather all day.  As you know Basso is a very peaceable placid dog but he took great exception to a lit poster of Jonathan Ross on one of the bus stops.  I have never seen him raise his hackles and bark at anyone before.  Just…

Sunday morning

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Sadly it's a bit bright and early to be up, the rain has been pouring all night and the TV signal has gone all pixelated again.  It must be some wire getting wet in the aerial.  Looks like we need to call a man!!!  I tried putting the job on "Rated", yesterday but heard nothing so I will try again but this time with yellow pages.


I worked quite hard yesterday morning in the kitchen and even got out to clean the pond pump which is a job I really hate, anyway it is done now.  In the kitchen I had some success.  I did the recipe from Nigella for steak which was lovely but better still was the cooking of chips.  You put well dried potatoes into cold oil and switch on.  It takes about 25 minutes but the chips are perfect with lovely crispy outside and soft fluffy inside.  This is by far the easiest way ever to make chips!!! I also tried something I read on Pinterest which was how to clean a glass oven door by applying a paste of bicarbonate of soda, leaving for ten minutes t…

Saturday morning

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Did I manage to get my planting done yesterday?  Yes there was a nice gap in the rain and off I went up the garden.  The pockets of my new gardening apron, made from Mikes old jeans, stuffed with seed and sets.  The apron as you can see is just the back of the jeans and the waist band - the idea being that when it is filthy you put it in the bin which is where the jeans were headed anyway.  
The greenhouse now has two rows of peas with some string tied between the tomato canes to give them something to climb on.  I have an entire bed of garlic and elephant garlic.  Another bed is filled with broad beans and yet another with onions.  I also broad cast wheat seed through out the chicken run so if the pigeons leave any it will sprout and make a nice start for the new hens in the spring.  I didn't bother to water anything in with the exception of the greenhouse and that was wise as it poured with rain for most of the afternoon. 
For lunch we had a crab and leek tart.  The pastry case…

Friday and the end of yet another week

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Yesterday was a day of note we finally managed to get James moved back up stairs to a bedroom rather than sleeping in the lounge.  The wheel chair has gone back to the Red Cross with a hefty donation as we were so grateful for their help. This is real progress, however, we are not moving the bed from the lounge just yet as we don't want to tempt the gods.   Basso thinks it is a good idea as he is rather fond of the bed in the lounge it is just right for him!!!!  Shiona left bright and early with her dogs so I had most of the day to mess around in the kitchen.
The fish monger came up trumps with the clams and I made the Nigella dish which was very tasty and we then finished off with the last of the gelato cake, another triumph.  I also bought a whole side of salmon which I skinned and portioned then put in the sous vide in vac bags so that is now all ready for future use.  I watched the video on how to do the salmon and the chap put the skin between two baking sheets and cooked it…

Thursday morning

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After the initial rain and wind the day settled down and was quite pleasant.  Shiona arrived and we decided that neither one of us felt much like shooting so we had a trip around Aldi and then took the dogs for a nice walk.  Basso misbehaved really badly and completely ignored his whistle so he found himself on the lead and walking to heal instead of running around with the others.

It was quite late when we got back so it was a very hasty boiling of water and grating of cheese and in a matter of minutes the lunch was on the table.  We had bought the ingredients for the frozen Eton mess type cake that Nigella had made so that was run up in moments and put in the freezer for supper.

We spent the afternoon having a crochet lesson as Shiona wanted to learn how to do it so she is now doing granny squares as a means of practice.  James went out to visit a friend and didn't come home until after we had gone to bed.   We had the remaining butternut squash soup with some cold cuts and a b…

Wednesday and bin day

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The new panasonic microwave is installed and it is exactly what I want it has no bells and whistles it is just a microwave with 800w of reheating power which is fine by me.  We ended up at the sale at Curries as James was looking for a new TV.   With both items bought we came home and installed them both.  James has set his new TV up in the back bedroom and I got the new microwave up and running.  Thank goodness I had made soup and a loaf of bread so lunch was easy to prepare.   We had intended to go shooting today but the weather at the moment looks terrible it is hosing down with rain and blowing a gale.  So much so that it was getting wet that woke me as the rain was being blown in through the fan light window in my room.  
I was thrilled with my veg box yesterday as it contained my favourite green vegetable which is curly  kale and I had planned some of the confit breast of lamb and roast potatoes to go with it.  The thermomix made the gravy while I sorted the rest out.  We had b…

Tuesday morning

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And it is raining again, did you read that according to the met office global warming stop some 16 years ago, but they are keeping very quiet about it and apparently the earth is not flat after all.  I am old enough to remember when we were all warned that we were due for another ice age but that wasn't going to be a problem as we were all going to be fried by nuclear war anyway.  It just goes to show that you do need to take things with a pinch of salt.  
Well one thing is for certain. My microwave died last night, it was sudden and painless end, one minute it was alive, the next gone.  So on the agenda today is a trip to Argos or Comet to find a replacement.  What I don't want is anything sophisticated, all it needs to do is to warm the plates and defrost the odd chop and warm the bit of milk.  I never cook in the microwave with the exception of making lemon curd which I do once a year if that.  I have been known to make porridge in it but as I seldom have breakfast that to…

Monday morning

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We had a lovely lunch at Shiona's yesterday there were 8 of us so two chickens made a grand feast.  One was cooked in the oven the other in the halogen which made life nice and easy as the roast potatoes had the bottom of the oven available and were cooked in lots of duck fat.  For dessert Shiona made an Eton mess with raspberries and then there was a large cheese board which was lovely.  We ended up with 5 dogs all milling around in the conservatory and periodically dashing up and down the garden in what appeared to be some form of race.    It was really lovely not to be in charge of catering for a change and just sit about making small talk.  We were the last to leave at around 5pm while it was still light so the driving was comfortable.  I was pleased to have a day off as I was as stiff as a board from my exertions of the previous day and my left shoulder was quite painful.  However, after a good nights sleep things seem to be on the mend, thank goodness I have a fortnight to …

Sunday morning

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And it rained, and it rained, fortunately I was dressed for the weather and my new waterproof trousers, which I bought from Aldi, did me proud.  They are very cunning and pack into the pocket which zips up to form a bag.  The first drive was all a bit scary as I found myself in a field with three young bulls who were very curious but not quite brave enough to come and take a close look at me.  Basso got to pick up a partridge for the first time since the one he ate and fortunately though he was reluctant to let me have it he did give it up.  His mouth is so huge that the bird all but disappears inside.  The rest of the day was dismal for him with no birds to pick up until the very last drive when he was sent for a lost pheasant.  He found it but as he ran back with it the wings opened and covered his face so he was effectively blind.  As he thundered up to the five bar gate John the game keeper yelled WOW and he put the brakes on and stopped millimeters from it.  We gratefully accept…

Saturday morning and a hunting we will go

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Yesterday was a bit of a non day I just potter around keeping things going.  While they were out at the shops James bought me a copy of Nigellisima.  Having had a good flick through there are quite a few recipes that I fancy doing and as usual with her books there is nothing too difficult or off the wall by way of ingredients.  There is a very nice section on pasta dishes all of which look very tasty and as a pasta lover that suits me.  
I spent some time yesterday grooming Basso with the mane and tail silicone spray which I hope will keep him clear of too many burs.  As yet he has not associated this indignity with the hunting the next day so he is still fast asleep and oblivious of the wonderful day he has ahead.  Mike has volunteered to drive again this week which is a bit of a double edged sword.  Sometimes it is nice to do thing on your own but he hates being left behind so I feel mean not taking him.  I get extremely anxious before we go which I don't understand.  Intellect…

Friday morning

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Yesterday was a day for tidying up and battening down in anticipation of the rain which was due.  The newly mended shed window needed a second coat of paint so that was done as soon as it was light.  It was going to need six hours to dry before getting soaked.  James had an appointment to have his eyes tested and to get some new glasses.  I had decided to make the watercress soup that I saw James Martin make but getting the watercress proved a more difficult task.  I had all the other ingredients and eventually Mike tracked some down in Tesco.  I can definitely recommend the soup which is very easy to make and take mere moments once you have your watercress.  I served it with croutons of ciabatta fried in olive oil and some shards of crispy bacon.  Very tasty not to mention healthy, apparently watercress has more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, and more vitamin C than oranges so we should be eating more of it.


For supper I made individual lasagne as I had plenty of bolognes…

Thursday morning

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Where there was a wine rack now there is a cupboard and draw, slight mismatch in the draw size but not enough to worry me at least the handles and colour match fine.  Now all I need to do is to decide what to put in it, not that that will take me long.  It took Gary no time at all to install everything and he then moved on to the broken shed window which has now been made waterproof for the winter.  However it still needs a couple of coats of paint to protect the wood.

Today the wonderful Jane is due so the kitchen will get a bit of a birthday.  My bolognese sauce bubble away slowly all day yesterday so today I will get it into the freezer but might syphon off a portion to make some cannelloni for lunch.  I have actually run out of plastic boxes for the freezer so I will be taking some of the tomato sauce out and vac packing it to free up some containers.

I took Basso for a lead walk yesterday and was accompanied by James on his crutches so as you can imagine we were walking pretty …

Wednesday morning

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It is hard to believe but we are already halfway through the week.  I had forgotten that Jane wasn't coming until Thursday this week but the house got tidied anyway which was no bad thing.  Mike took himself off to Faversham on a shopping expedition to restock with coffee and needless to say he came back with a few extras including a box of tomatoes so they are now busy being reduced.  I had set to to make a big pot of bolognese which is in the slow cooker where it will stay for most of the day.  I did all the preparatory work with the Thermomix and now it is just a case of waiting until it is all cooked down.


I used the pheasants as a training exercise and hid them in the garden before sending Basso to find them which he does with the greatest of ease.  Then they were divested of their breasts which I wrapped in pancetta and put in the freezer.  The remaining carcasses needed to be in the bin ready for the bin men today.  
After our bacon and egg lunch I was shattered and went o…

Tuesday morning

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This is the latest of the socks I am knitting and it is a truly mad colour as you can see.  The stripped effect comes purely from the way the wool is dyed but with the strong lime green predominant colour I think you would need sunglasses while wearing them!!!
My fit of the blues soon lifted once I had had a couple of cups of coffee and got stuck into the ironing.  Then it was on with the preparations for a nice roast chicken lunch.  James had a pile of chores to do and needed to buy some new clothes, nothing special just comfy lounging around stuff so we hit the Dockside centre in Chatham where there is a Cotton Traders shop.  He bought himself two tops and two pairs of jog bottoms which will go on over his boot.  He has also got himself a passport application so that when he is fit enough he can take himself for a holiday which he desperately needs.  I think a bit of sun and sea would do him a power of good but it is still a long way off.  


The chicken took but an hour in the halog…

Monday morning

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I have woken up this morning with a real fit of the blues for no apparent reason.  No doubt when I  get going I will feel a bit better.  I had a very busy morning yesterday and pumped through 4 machine loads of washing and got them all out on the line to dry.  Everything was still damp when I brought it in but should be perfect for ironing this morning.  I also spent some time getting a brush over Basso who still had a few burs in inaccesible places like his arm pits and nether regions.  This has to be a delicate process and he is not at all keen!!!  I can't wait until I can get him to the groomers and get his coat into some sort of order.  Sadly this will not be until November!!!


On my trip to Aldi yesterday I purchased the above inflatable bed which is Queen size and stands 22 inches high.  It has an integral motor to inflate and deflate it and is packed in a smallish box which sits in the bottom of the wardrobe very nicely.  I used to have one of these and lent it to someone an…

Sunday morning

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Basso and I walked a million miles yesterday over what looks in the photo like grass but believe me it is not it is a newly planted rape field.  Which after the previous nights rain was lovely thick clay mud which meant that as your legs tired so they became heavier with accumulated mud.  In the morning it was perishing cold but as the sun did its stuff it was actually quite hot by the afternoon.  We had a really super day and Basso got some nice pheasants to pick up so he was delighted.  He got a few burs in his coat most of which I managed to remove during the day and the final few I got out when we got home.  I think the mane and tail did help and today I will go over him properly and make sure he is clear.  Though not keen, he did allow me to put his feet in a bucket and get them clean of mud, for once I think he realised that it was actually for his benefit not my amusement!!!


Mike quite enjoyed the day and was pleasantly surprised at how nice all the people were but he was amaz…

Saturday morning

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The game bag is out and Basso is excited, well today is the first day of the shooting season for us and guess what it is hosing down with rain.  It rained on and off for most of yesterday so the ground is going to be very wet and sticky, I think it is a day for wellington boots.  I have bought a bottle of "Mane and Tail" which is  a silicon spray for horses but apparently it helps with removal of burs from a dogs coat and after last years terrible problems I hope it will be the answer to a prayer.  It took four days to clear them from his coat last year as he was so completely matted with them.


Anyway fingers crossed that today we just get wet!!!!  I am a little apprehensive as I know that I am not very fit and there will be a lot of walking but hopefully I will make it OK.  Mike has decided to be my chauffer today so he will get to see just how the shoot happens.  He, of course, doesn't walk so he will have to watch from the car.

I had a really busy day yesterday and …

Friday Morning

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Yesterday was a glorious sunny day.  Once we were all up and running we decided to take the dogs for a walk and do a round of the shops to restock.  First it was off to the post office to post away 2 pairs of socks to deserving friends.  I have started yet another pair in the most lurid of colours they are sort of lime green with assorted colour stripes - I was going to do a pattern it the knitting but that just looked a mess the mad stipes are quite enough interest.  Then it was on to the fishmonger where I bought some really lovely mackerel which have been filleted and pin boned by the fishmonger.  Shiona bought some squid tubes and is going to try my recipe for stuffed squid.  Then it was on to the butcher and in the general chit chat he agreed to come and dispatch my hens for me later that night.  Then it was off to the estuary and a nice dog walk in he glorious sunshine and back via Aldi for a few essentials. I managed to keep away from the chocolate isle but succumbed to the fr…