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Showing posts from May, 2013

Friday morning

What a thoroughly miserable day it was yesterday it rained on and off all day and it was freezing.  Mike had an appointment with the audiology department at 10am we arrived early but were seen almost instantly and can you believe it we were back home having coffee by 10.35.  The results of his hearing test showed a significant drop in his hearing in his right ear and he is now awaiting an appointment with the ENT department.  The audiology department worked like clockwork if only the other departments could do the same.  Anyway praise where praise is due I am the first to complain when things are wrong but I try always to compliment when things are good.
For lunch I had a bolognese sauce and some pasta but as there were lots of tomatoes which were getting soft I blitzed them in the Thermo and added them at the last minute.  What a nice change to have some fresh tomato running through the dish.  This is something I will do again.  For supper I had a leg of lamb which was half price in…

Thursday morning

The ground outside is wet so I guess we have had more rain during the night though it is currently dry and can you believe we are in double figures 10ºC this morning.  Yesterday was very chilly and no sooner than we made a move to take the dogs for a walk but the heavens opened so we decided to go to Aldi while we waited for the rain to stop.  As luck would have it one of the things they had on offer was the solutions needed for the chemical toilet in the caravan.  The 2 litre containers were at least half the price of the usual stuff so I grabbed them with both hands. 
Once the rain had ceased the dogs got their walk and we stayed dry but we decide on the way back that a trip to the Kebab shop was in order for lunch.  As usual the portions were so huge that there was plenty for the dogs as well.
For over a year now we have been trying to get the Metropolitan Police to confirm James dates of employment so that he can claim on an insurance policy which he took out incase he was ever o…

Wednesday morning and bin day

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Good morning all well it is really early again my sleep patterns have gone to hell again and I am up at the crack of dawn again.  It is probably my own fault as I had a lovely sleep yesterday afternoon following a ten thousand mile service in the bath.  We had had an interesting lunch which I made with the remaining chicken.  I blasted it in the thermomix along with the left over mash some onions and half a red pepper which I had fried together.  The resulting mush was then made into patties and egg and bread crumbed and fried.  I served it with a mixed salad of leaves, avocados and crispy bacon.  All in all quite a success considering it was a total experiment.  
The house is currently like a transit camp with stuff everywhere.  There is no point it putting things away as they are going to be needed again on Saturday so they are just stacked in piles.  But at least it is all clean.  Shiona is due over today and I have no idea what we are going to have for lunch as the house is prett…

Tuesday morning

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Yesterday was yet another sunny day but the wind was cold, it saw the last of my washing and ironing finished.  The roast chicken did us proud for lunch with some glazed carrots and mashed potatoes.  There was enough left for supper and today the carcass will be in the pot making soup. Today the weather has reverted to dismal and it has just rained.  The car is due for service and the garage will arrive early to take it away.  We pay a monthly plan to cover us for the service costs and Landrover are good about collecting and delivering it back to us so we don't have the hassel.  
In answer to your question Joy the picture is a watercolour of the smoke house at Orford which I lifted from their web site.  The cucamelons are a novelty to me too and we will have to see how they turn out.  Having left my camera in the caravan I am a bit limited with photos thought the garden is looking rather nice.  I have my first rose in bloom 'canary bird' which is always very early and the…

Monday morning

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Yesterday was one of catching up with life back at home and getting to grips with the laundry.  I had several machine loads not just holiday clothing but also the stuff from the caravan in terms of bedding etc.  With the glorious sunny weather it was a pleasure to get it out on to the line and back in lovely and dry.  My usual routine is to get all the van stuff washed and ironed and packed into a crate ready to take on our next trip.  I always leave the bed in the van ready made up as it is a bit of a job and it is nice when you arrive tired not to have to start making beds.  I have been washing without soap powder but with my eco egg for some time now and one of the beneficial side effects, other than the money saving angle, is that the machine stays pristine clean and looks like it had just been installed.  Sadly all this washing has generated tons of ironing :(  
We lunched on the wonderful smoked hock that I had bought from Richardson's Smokehouse in Orford

I always have a g…

Sunday and back from the wilds

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Well were to start?  I suppose the beginning would be a good place.  We drove up to Suffolk with no incident and hitched the van to our lovely new tow bar and I drove it to the site and parked it on our allotted pitch.  The caravan had survived the winter well and the only problem was two light bulbs had blown so they were easily replaced as we had spares on board.  Everything else was working well so it was just a case of unpacking the car and organising the van for our comfort.  That nights supper was a microwave job of stuff I had prepared at home.  We tried to tune the TV in but fiddling with the aerial is a tedious job and prove pretty futile as the signal strength was poor but what do expect in the middle of a forest.  It was decided that we would purchase a few DVD's to keep us amused of an evening.  The following morning we went off to Tesco to stock up as I had only taken the bare essentials with us.  Much to my surprise I could hardly breath and could only walk a few st…

Friday morning

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What is this you ask yourself?  Well it is £450 worth of tow-bar   Yesterday morning when Mike went to get the last few bits and bobs for our holiday he noticed that some lovely person had stolen the tow-bar from the back of our car.  I hastily rang the Landrover main dealer and they had just one left in stock Mike rushed over there and grabbed it as we would be completely scuppered without it.  It was the price that rocked me backwards.  Can you believe what people will steal?  Thank goodness he noticed or we would have arrived ready to hitch up only to discover we don't have a tow-bar.  As the only time we use the tow-bar is when we tow the van we think we will detach it and keep it with the caravan in future.  It will just make hitching up a bit longer as we will have to attach it first then hitch up but it might be safer.  It never crossed my mind that anyone would steal it.  It has been on the back of the car since we bought it and we never anticipated that it was vulnerable…

Thursday Morning

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What a day it was yesterday cold, windy and wet but I suppose we should be grateful that at least we didn't have snow.  I think I had better pack snorkel flippers and a fur coat as they look like being useful for the holiday.
Shiona came over and we got her restarted with the crochet project once we had given Aldi the once over as she needed to restock on chocolate.  She was very happy to finish off the little jacket that was only minus a couple of rows.  I had run out of cotton but she had plenty so that solved that problem and as she knows someone who is having a baby I managed to off load some of the jackets and the blanket.   For lunch we had the ballotine with carrot battons and asparagus.  The chicken turned out really well.  I gave them a fry off, to brown the skin, then put them in the oven to finish warming through.  I did take the added precaution of tying them with string to stop them splitting open and I think this was a wise move.  Anyway, they were most successful a…

Wednesday morning

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Yesterday was a more industrious day and we needed to get the outside work done and dusted before the rain set in.  My gooseberries now have a nice net cover which should allow the bees in to pollinate but keep the pigeons off the fruit.  The glass house is cleared of the pea plants which were never going to mature so they are now chicken food.  In their place are the tomato plants purchases earlier.  I was surprised how dry the ground was so I set the sprinkler in the green house for an hour or so to soak the plants in well.  I also planted out the globe artichoke seedlings which I hope are now big enough to manage in the big wide world.  I must have got my wires crossed as Deny didn't show but I had already run around the house tidying up so once I had finished with Mark in the garden it was back indoors and get on with some of the indoor chores.  With such a busy morning lunch was a real quickie with the tinned soup and bread and butter.  The weather then deteriorated and it s…

Tuesday morning

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Another chilly day ahead and we are due for some significant rain today but I am hoping Mark will get his two hours work in before it starts.  Last year I lost most of my lovely red dessert gooseberries to the pigeons so this year I am intending to get some netting over them before that happens.  To this end we have bought some stout stakes over which to drape the netting.  Hopefully this will stop the problem.  
Deny is due as well and the house is not too bad as I have been trying to keep up with the house housework in her absence.  Yesterday however I did a wonderful impression of a sloth.  I had had a bit of a ropey night and just felt really tired all day.  For lunch we had a plateful of "pot sticker", dumplings purchased from the oriental shop which just needed 10 minutes boiling then a quick fry in the wok.  For supper we had a full english breakfast including the fried slice which is a rare occurrence for weight and health reasons.  Anyway it was a delicious treat!!…

Monday morning

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Yesterday morning started off nice and sunny but by the afternoon the rain was back and the temperature really struggled.   We had a summery lunch of salmon fish cakes with tartare sauce and mixed salads. With just a nod to the fact it was Sunday we had a dessert of rice pudding [tinned] and a spoonful of jam.  Supper was also an easy task as I made a spaghetti carbonara all the initial preparation had been done so all that was left to do was to boil the pasta and amalgamate it with the sauce.  I am of the traditional school of no cream - just egg yolks cooked by the hot pasta.  It is one of those dishes that are really easy and you wonder why you don't do it more often.  It certainly made a change from the usual roast.  The only problem is there are no left overs to play with today so it will be something from scratch once I have made the decision.
As we are off on Friday today will be devoted to making sure what we want to take by way of clothes are clean.  At the moment it is …

Poached egg

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Not the best poached egg but certainly edible this egg had been frozen for 24 hours and was cooked direct from frozen dropping into boiling water.  I'm sure the eggs would be fine for other cooking purposes.

Sunday morning

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Yesterday started off in the usual mundane way the weather was cold with intermittent down pours.  I had the usual pile of chores to do and one of these was to go through and clear out some of the rubbish that arrived in the email.  You know the usual advertising and spam.  Then I stumbled on an email from one of the luminaries of the Spinone world and I could hardly believe my eyes.

"Congratulations to you and Basso - you are the recipients of this years ISCGB Lifetime Achievement Award!  I have a large silver cup here and a award card! "


Apparently this was awarded at the AGM of the ISCGB {Italian Spinone Club of Great Briton} for Basso's efforts to help James in his hour of need.  Well as you can imagine I spent the rest of the day 6 feet off the ground.  Talk about a proud parent!!!!

Anyway today seems to be sunny but it is very cold still at a mere 6ºC which is the same as it was in February.  I have loads of salad in the fridge so I think we will be having some of …

Saturday morning

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Hand in hand
Yesterday was a reasonable day though not warm so I got stuck into the kitchen chores.  I dismantled the chickens and made the breasts into pollo san Angelo the legs I boned and made ballotine with which have been poached and put in the freezer.  Once out and defrosted they will need a reheat and browning in a pan before serving.  The carcasses were roasted off and then into the stock pot which is now cold so I can strain it and pick the meat off for the dogs.  The over supply of potatoes I mandolined and made into a tray of dauphinoise.  That too is now cold and can be vac packed in portions.  I had an aubergine and 4 romero peppers which needed dealing with so I made a pot of ratatouille which we will have with lunch today with the left over sausages I used for the ballotine.   I planted up the tomato seeds in modules so I hope that they will germinate quickly and though they are a bit late I should get some fruit by August.  The remaining tomato plants have been moved…

Friday morning

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Yesterday was quite busy in the morning as I had some shopping to do.  We drove out to the nursery where I normally buy my tomato plants.  It is a little one-man band type of nursery but the guy is so helpful and kind and his plants are very reasonable in price.  I bought 2 each of 4 varieties of tomato plant for the green house.  He didn't have any trailing varieties so I bought a couple of packs of seeds which I will do myself for my window box outside the kitchen.  I also bought a giant rosemary bush for my empty bed.  Then on the way home we stopped off at a lovely farm shop and they had just had their first delivery of asparagus.  Needless to say I just had to buy a big bundle which we had for supper.  By the time we got home it was well past lunch time so I had no time to make chips and instead bought one portion from the kebab shop.  They were freshly fried for me so I was happy and the one portion was ample for the three of us with our ham and egg.  I had bought some pork…

Thursday morning

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Another chilly morning but bright after the rain of yesterday which was not that bad it only rained for and hour or so in the morning then it brightened up and we had a reasonable day.  This morning has started bright and sunny so we may have a decent day.

I roasted the piece of wiltshire cured ham for lunch.  I would normally soak and then boil but it turned out very well.  For lunch we had a portion with some mashed potatoes, braised celery as well as some caramelised apple slices.  We hardly made a dent in the joint so we had some cold for supper and today it will be served with egg and chips.  The dilemma is do I make the chips and stink the house out, or do I go to the kebab shop and buy a portion of theirs.  I suppose I could use my brain and make my own chips and cook them in the garden on the seduction hob which is entirely mobile.  After this if there is any left I will chop it up and put it in the freezer where it can stay until I want to make a chicken pie to which it can …

Wednesday morning and bin day

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Well I give up with the weather forecast yesterday was supposed to be sunny and warm and today it is due to rain.  So yesterday was obviously the day to do the laundry but no sooner had I got it all out on the line than it started to rain!!!  fortunately it was just a passing shower and by the evening the washing had dried.  With rain forecast for today I also got out in the vegetable garden and got planting the runner beans, borlotti and french beans are all in and hopefully today they will get a good watering.  I also planted some carrots in containers so we will see if I am a bit more successful.    I pulled the first few sticks of rhubarb and made what has to be my favourite dessert - the rhubarb is just stewed with some of the syrup and few chopped balls of stem ginger.  I then made a creme anglais in the thermomix to serve with it.  At first I was stuck with what to do with 6 egg whites as none of us are fond of meringues etc.  the solution was to make a California omelette whi…

Tuesday morning

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Yesterday started well with glorious sunshine but by about 10am it was gone and we were all clouded over.  In fact it became so dark at times that we thought it would rain but it stayed dry.  It was high tide at 11am so we went mob handed with a car full of dogs down to Riverside country park.  The main part of the park was absolutely full and the overflow car park was almost full but being locals we know that there is a better parking slot further down the river.  The dogs had the most wonderful time and we were happy to watch their antics retrieving plastic bottles which tend to litter the area.  We then collect them and put them in the bins provided which seems to be too difficult a chore for some.  We then made a circuit of our walk and returned to the car park via a big open field where the dogs could charge around and dry off a little.  Back at home the cold lunch was easily thrown together and served.  The food was swiftly demolished leaving just enough for us to have for supp…

Monday morning

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Well it is a bank holiday and the sun is shining - what a strange occurrence!


We are so used to having a deluge on a bank holiday that this makes quite a change.  Yesterday was one of bits and pieces.  I prepared the rabbit for lunch and I must pass on the recipe as it is by far the best rabbit recipe I have ever found.  It is called Rabbit san Angelo and comes from a very old Antonio Carluccio book.


1 rabbit jointed or boned and cut into chunks1 tin chopped tomatoes1 glass wine1 clove garlic1 sprig rosemaryseasoned flourOil for frying

Dust the joints/chunks in seasoned flour and brown in a pan making sure not to crowd the pan so that the pieces catch a bit of colour. Add the crushed clove of garlic and allow to cook for a few moments then tip on the tin of tomatoes and the glass of wine.  Add the sprig of rosemary and cover with a lid then simmer for an hour until the meat is very tender.  Serve with either mash or polenta and a big green salad.  If you are not a rabbit fan I see no re…

Sunday morning

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Well what a rotten day yesterday turned out to be.  It had started so well with glorious sunshine but soon it clouded over then down came the rain and up came a freezing wind.  So much for a heat wave!!!!! I did however get the dogs walked between showers and managed to stay dry.   Of course this was just what I didn't want with the smoker out in the garden, however, it is fairly well protected and I think it managed to stay dry. The only really vulnerable part is the wood chip biscuits which resemble Weetabix.  I have devised a cover for the hopper made out of a plastic water bottle so in the event of rain they are protected.  I gave the salmon about 4 hours of smoke yesterday so I will continue today with a similar amount then hopefully the fish will be ready for slicing and vacuum packing.


The bright new leaves on the philadelphus [mock orange] look quite spectacular in the sun and soon it will be covered in heavily scented white flowers. The plastic grass is none too bad eithe…

Saturday morning

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The sun is shining and the garden looks green and fresh with scatterings of brightly coloured flowers and trees in full bloom.  At last the winter gloom has relented and we seen to be on course for a good bank holiday weekend.  
I decided that as we were going to have good weather I would get the smoker out and smoke the salmon so to that end it spent most of yesterday soaking in brine and then I have hung it up over night to dry.  Today I will light the smoker and get it in and keep my fingers crossed that I have got it right.  It has been a while since I last smoked anything.

Yesterday I roasted two chickens in the halogen oven and one we had for lunch the other is dismantled for cold meat and/or a pie or some other dish. I also managed to pick enough russian kale  from the garden to accompany our lunch. There is nothing as pleasing as picking vegetables from your own garden. The carcasses of both birds have spent time in the stock pot which I kept simmering at 80ºC for three hours…

Friday morning

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Yesterday was one of wall to wall sunshine but still with a cold wind.  James and I went off to shoot in the morning and I must admit my shoulder was still a bit sore from the previous days shooting however not sore enough to stop me enjoying myself.  We had a lunch of a an egg and bacon sandwich with a bowl of chips to share between us.  They were so generous with the chips that I filled a bag with the remainder and brought them home for the dogs.  Mike had been shopping, as is his want, and bought me some salmon tails.  I am now in a quandary as to whether to vac pack portions and sous vide them or should I salt and then smoke them as cold smoked salmon.  He also bought two chickens which I intend to roast off today and then divide up for later use and also for soup.  Dobbies were selling 2kg of pork chops for a £10 so last night we had chops cooked in the halogen oven but served with both caramelised apples and diced fresh apple instead of vegetables which was a very nice if novel…

Thursday Morning

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Yesterday morning, as the first of the month, I had a pile of things to do; Meters to read, dogs ears to powder, knives to sharpen and finally statements to download. That done I was free to go shooting the lunch was all but ready and James was going to put the final touches to that.  The shooting ground was quite crowded when we arrived.  Apparently we were not the only ones who thought it as a good day to shoot.  Anyway, I shot really badly on the first few stands until I go my eye in when things improved somewhat.  It was a beautiful day and in the sun I got quite hot in my shooting jacket.  Lunch was fine and the pancakes with leeks and parma ham were tasty without being majorly filling.  James had made a white sauce in the thermo and then sprinkled the top with parmesan and breadcrumbs before putting it in the oven to brown.

I have been in a bit of a dilemma as to what to grow in the trough outside the patio doors I was thinking of herbs as it is close to the kitchen.  However th…

First of May

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What happened to April is just seems to have vanished in the blinking of an eye.  Yesterday was a nice sunny day but there was a bitter wind blowing which made it OK for working but no chance of sitting and enjoying the garden.  I must admit that I am hopeless at sitting in the garden as it only take a matter of seconds before I spot a job that needs doing or a weed that must be sorted.  Anyway I contented myself in the kitchen making our shooting lunch for today as well as a bloomer.  For todays lunch I have made pancakes which have been lined with parma ham and rolled around leeks. today they will get a blanket of white sauce and topping of cheese and breadcrumbs before browning under the grill.  They will be served with a green salad which I can make while they brown.  
James was out yesterday helping a friend with a motorcycle problem so Mike and I were on our own which felt really strange.  We finished off the bit of left over bolognese sauce for lunch and for dinner I found a s…