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Showing posts from July, 2013

Wednesday morning

A wee bit later this morning I managed to stay awake a bit longer last night and so I am not up at quite so stupid a time.  We are beautifully cool here at 16 degrees and after almost a whole day of rain yesterday the garden is looking a little fresher.  According to the weather forecast we are in for more rain today which is no bad thing.  I managed to get the dogs out for a walk just before the rain started and left Dennie to do her own thing in the house.  
I made the compulsory galettes yesterday morning and decided to vary the flavours a bit, so to one lot I added some fake sugar and lemon zest and to the others I added some of my mix of coriander, garlic and ginger from the freezer.  The sweet ones go well with a cup of black coffee for breakfast but the savory ones are really very nice and a good accompaniment to what might be a bit of a bland meal.  For lunch we had a ham omelette with some pepper stew which I had boiled down so that it was nice and thick.  For dinner we had …

Tuesday Morning

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Yesterday, we were forecast rain around lunch time - well it got very dark but there was not a drop what we did have was some significant wind.  That was OK as it dried my washing quickly and I had got the dogs out for a run bright and early.  By lunch time everything was done and all the washing was in so I settled down to wait for the rain!!!! With all the wind the garden had dried out, so in the end by evening I had to have a watering session.  We had had our first picking of the little green beans, which I do pick small and tender, and a small handful of ripe tomatoes from the greenhouse. It is always so pleasing to start eating the fruits of your labour.  Now today the weather forecast is again for rain all morning clearing in the afternoon but as yet there is no sign of it and it is still dark. I did my usual stupid thing of falling asleep early so I am up very early again this morning.  
Today, for lunch we are going to have some sort of combination of ham, egg, peppers and to…

Monday Morning

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Yet another weekend has come and gone and we have had some rain at last.  The scales are still on the descent so I am a happy person.  Below is a picture of the rabbit after I had jointed it and dipped in a little flour.  The bit of colour achieved in the pan makes a big difference to the finished dish so I was not prepared to skip this phase to avoid the extra calories.  
Lunch had been a quick affair: after all it only takes minutes to cook a fillet of trout and throw together a salad.  The rabbit was finished off with tomatoes and herbs and I served it on a bed of boiled white cabbage along with a head of giant garlic which had been roasted in the oven. Oh what I would have given for a nice pile of mash to go with this.

I felt tired and thought I would have a nice sleep in the afternoon but ended up watching two back to back episodes of Wallander which I had recorded.  Given that it is in Swedish, a language I don't understand, I had to read the subtitles which took rather mor…

Sunday morning

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All day yesterday it looked as if it would rain then in the afternoon there was a shower.  I had shot out and done all that needed doing so no problems for me.  By the time we got to 7pm I decided that I would have to water as there was no sign of the promised rain.  Having watered the garden I knew that that would provoke the rain and I wasn't wrong later in the night it came down heavily and doused everything.  Well at least it will only be the green house that needs watering for a while.  
For lunch we had a burger and salad.  Now as you know I am not one for ready made food but the burgers were venison from Aldi.  They were truly delicious and I would not hesitate to purchase them the next time I see them.  For dinner I made some meat balls with loads of basil in them and poached them in some of the tomato sauce from the freezer.  They were served with cauliflower instead of pasta or rice which was OK.  I couldn't resist the scales this morning and lo and behold another 1…

Saturday morning

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This white froth is a clematis but not the usual climbing type it is called clematis recta and grows rather like a shrub.  The only problems with it is that it cannot hold itself up and is inclined to flop all over the place so it does need staking.
Yesterday was another warm day by I am becoming acclimatised to the heat and it is bothering me less and less.  I got the dogs out for a walk good and early so it was still pleasantly cool and then on my way back I called in at the veg place and restocked.  For lunch we had the mixed fish soup and I have a couple of pints of the stock left for another occasion.  Then for supper I did some chicken and mushrooms the recipe.  It was one published in the Daily Mail which I found on the net and copied into my recipe file. It is basically just mushrooms, lots of them, and chicken breast but it does have one instruction that made me laugh "Brown the onion in a casserole dish in a little water"  If you know how to brown onions in water …

Friday morning

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The Hostas are in flower but most of the leaves have been munched by the slugs and snails but some how they manage to survive and to flower.  Yesterday looked like it was going to rain for a large part of the day but it never did which was a little disappointing.  
For lunch we had a crab salad and it took me forever to pick the two crabs and get the meat out but it was really delicious.  The white meat is lovely and delicate but the real flavour is in the brown meat.  The shells together with some prawn shells I had in the freezer where duly put in the oven and given a good roasting before being covered with water and boiled to extract every once of taste from them.  I now have a pot of good stock from which I will be making a fish soup for lunch.  If rice were on the menu it would be a risotto but we are sticking to the Dukan and so no carbs.  Supper I made using the thermomix into which I put a tin of tomatoes an onion and two large peppers gave them a quick chop then put them on …

Thursday monrning

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Yesterday was so much better, at least we had a gentle breeze, and although the temperatures were up in the high 20's it didn't feel so terribly sticky.

Mike bought a nice piece of salmon which I poached for lunch and served with a cucumber sauce and oven roasted beetroot and for dinner, with an eye to the reduce carbs, we substituted finely shredded cabbage for pasta and topped it with a bolognese from the freezer. Other than a little pottering in the garden at dawn and dusk I did very little yesterday.  I was hoping the glazier would call but it was always a tentative arrangement and as it happens he didn't come.  James got his car serviced and it is now running smoothly on all cylinders so he is a happy boy.  After I had seen the weather forecast I decided to give watering a miss as we are apparently in for storms and heavy rain today.  Currently it is dull and overcast but no sign of rain yet and having just looked at the Met office site they are not forecasting rain …

Wednesday morning

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Good morning all it is now a lovely 16ºC and I have flung open all the windows to flood the house with nice cool air.  After the rain we had yesterday we were hoping for a bit of relief from the muggy atmosphere but no such luck it just got hotter and stickier.  I spent most of the morning driving around Maidstone to get an expansion tank for James car and looking for a bale of straw.  I was looking for a complete bale tied up tightly which I could put in the chicken run so they could have the entertainment of tearing it to bits.  Sadly all I could find were bags of straw which would not serve the purpose so that will have to go on the back burner until I can source a complete bale.  Once we got home we had the salsa that we had made on the previous day by way of lunch and then tried to have a bit of a rest but it was miserably uncomfortable and hot.   We finally had an early supper of steak and courgettes.  I sliced the courgettes longways and put them on the griddle after the steak…
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Back to the crack of dawn.   I though I was at last sleeping a bit later but no such luck.  As I woke  at 4am there was one flash followed immediately by an almighty clap of thunder and down came the rain in stair rods - well at least there will be no watering to do tonight.  The temperature in my room had only dropped from 28ºC to 26ºC which is pretty hot but the outside temperature is now down to 18ºC so we might have a cooler start.  Sadly the rain has only lasted for about half an hour and the storm has now passed on.  We could really have used at least an hour of downpour but beggars can't be choosers and I will happily accept what we have had.
In the end I decided not to ruin the veal and cooked it pané which was truly delicious.  One thing the juice episode has done is give us back our appreciation of good food.  We eat so well normally that you do get a bit complacent.  I am getting a bit ahead of myself here that was for dinner last night but much earlier in the day I ha…

Monday morning

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Yesterday was another cool start but it warmed up in the afternoon with some sunshine so a perfect sort of a day really.  We had the regulation juice for breakfast but for lunch we had a chicken which in the end I roasted in the halogen oven with a giant garlic halved and stuck inside.  With it we had carrots and spinach but no carbs and supper was another juice meal so all in all we didn't do too badly on the juice fast but it was hard work preparing everything for the three of us.  The quantities  of vegetables for the three days was vast anyway I juiced the item for supper in order so that I could use the pulp to add to my chicken carcass and make into stock/soup which is what we will be having for lunch today.  The interesting thing was that after the first solid food you should have heard my digestive tract it sounded like a washing machine and I am sure it could be heard for miles it made so much gurgling.  Anyway today we are back to the Dukan diet which seems positively l…

Sunday morning

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What a miserable day yesterday was. We were wreathed in clouds with a cool wind blowing keeping us at 17ºC all day quite a drop from 30+.  Not a glimmer of sun all day.  We lived the day on juice but come the evening I was shattered and we succumbed to a bit of grilled meat and some salad.  Today it is my intention to replace a couple of meals with juice and have one meal of poached chicken and salad.  I don't think the juice was responsible for me feeling grotty it was just coincidental as both the men felt fine.  However, they needed no persuading to have a proper meal.  I had spent the day fiddling around in the kitchen with box of tomatoes and some herring fillets that where not really edible.  The fish fillets ended up as dog biscuits and the tomatoes as tomato sauce.


The dog biscuits were just the blitzed herring and an egg and some wholemeal flour but the dogs thought they were fine.  The tomatoes I put first into a pan at 60ºC until they collapse which takes a couple of h…

Saturday moring

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Tesco were selling off some orchids for a fiver so Mike couldn't resist and I have now two orchids in my collection.  I had a period when I was into streptocarpus plants and had about a dozen of those. Then, of course, there was the usual rubber plant period.  House plants are quite a tie so they gradually dwindled and now it seems that orchids are the order of the day.
Well how did we do on our first juice only day.   This is a real surprise to me we had one glass of juice for breakfast, one for lunch and one for supper,  now you would be forgiven for thinking that we would be starving.  Not the case, while I felt that I would love to eat something I was not actually hungry and there is a big difference.  What was difficult was filling the time that I would normally spend preparing and cooking.  I ended up in the garden doing the dead heading and a bit more pruning.  It takes very little time to prepare the juice and we usually wash up before drinking as it is a good idea to get…

Friday Morning

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First for Anne I got my juicer via Amazon it is made by Sage and is the one at the cheaper end of their range.  Today will be our first day of testing out the juice only day however I will still be making the galettes as I think  a] they are good for us and b] I think we may be very hungry.
Yesterday was a lovely day Sandie came with her dogs who get on really well with mine Basso is a good host and allows them to help themselves to his toy box.  Yoda is mad about balls and on his trip round our garden he found two of next doors children's footballs.  Sandie and I were picking gooseberries when we heard a great commotion.  Yoda had knocked one of the balls into the pond and gone straight in after it.  Now my pond has straight sides and he didn't have the strength to pull himself out so James hauled him out.  In the process the pond fountain and pump were knocked from their plinth.  We switched off the water system and then discovered that the base on which the pump stands had…

Thursday morning

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Yesterday was another red hot day I took James to his CBT session as the doctor had asked to see me and I must admit it was a very constructive session.  If I am to support James through this difficult time it is important to me that I know what I am doing and this field is very definitely not my forte.  However, I hope that he realises now that I do have the strength to help him through these difficult times and that he doesn't need to worry about my situation.  
None of us were hungry at lunch time so we had a bowl of oriental soup with some shellfish and then for dinner, which we had much later than usual, we had a steak and some tomato salad.  Today Sandie is coming over so we have decided to have a rolled omelette with some ham in it and a mixed salad which should keep us going.  We had intended a walk with the dogs but I fear it will be just too hot for that and we will probably stay huddled in the cool dark rooms of the house instead.  Basso very definitely doesn't lik…

Wednesday Morning

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Container of tumbling tomatoes
Hotter and hotter the weather is quite stable at the moment and the days seem to just be getting hotter.  Early morning is the only time I am able to get anything done before the heat becomes so intense that I am huddled indoors just trying to keep cool.

The juicer finally arrived late yesterday afternoon and we just has a small play with it to make sure how it all worked.  The first good thing is that most of it is dishwasher proof so that makes life a bit easier.  The pulp collection chamber is nice and large and they also suggest that you line it with a polythene bag if say you are doing carrots so that you can keep the pulp to thicken stews and soups etc.  I have decided that much of what ends up in the pulp pot will do fine for the chickens.  It does suggest that if you do apples that you also use some lemon to keep them from going brown and that the addition of a meringue top to the pulp will provide a dessert.  So far we have just had a test run …

Tuesday Morning

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In answer to your question Anne yes I had seen the program and that is what provoked me into attempting the 3 day juice fast.  60 days is just too hard for a foodie like me.


As you can see we tried to get some shots of Basso with his cup

The wretched juicer still hasn't turned up so I am chasing the city link people who are supposed to be delivering it.  Hopefully today it will finally turn up.  In the mean time it is on with the Dukan regimen.  I am wide a wake at 1am so here I am scribbling.  We had the poached chicken with loads of salad for lunch and for supper I made a curry with no fat and the leg meat of the chicken.  It is interesting that once on the diet regimen my attitude to food changes, instead of it being a pleasure and a delight it become a means of refuelling.
Tomorrow I am intending to make a big pot of oriental soup with lots of sea food in it which should keep us going. The chicken stock is sort of oriental anyway as it has ginger and star anise by way of flavou…

Monday morning

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Another roasting hot day here yesterday but I managed to complete my outdoor chores before it got too warm it is one of the advantages of getting up so early.  The new work plan is working out ok and I am keeping up with the various tasks 4 machine loads of washing got done and the beds refreshed.  
Now I expect you are dying to know what roast camel is like.  Well, we were pleasantly surprised it is probably most like beef.  I cooked it as for lamb to medium rare 63ºC and while the meat was extremely lean it was quite tasty and would think that blindfolded you would think it was beef.  One thing it was not was tender it was quite chewy but not unpleasantly so.  In conclusion I would not rush out to buy more but I am very glad I tried it and I think it would stew extremely well.
We took the dogs for a walk in the woods as we hoped that would be cooler but Basso was very over heated by the time we got home so he was treated to a cool shower in the garden which took some of the heat ou…

Sunday morning

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As you can see I am trying to encourage root formation on the shoots of the orchid they seem to be doing well but who knows where we go from here.

Yesterday was a hot one but we followed the continental rules of keeping the inside of the house as cool as possible.  We managed to keep the inside down to about 23 while outside was 30+.  It does seem crazy to slam everything shut but it does keep the hot air out.  Now of course with the temperature right down I open everything up and let the cool air flood the house.  
I managed to get all the outdoor chores done before the temperature rose too much but by mid day I was finished.  I finally finished the big pile of ironing and got rid of that even though my shoulder kicked up a bit that evening.  I waited all day in vain for my juicer to arrive but nothing came so we were stuck with the Dukan diet for the day. Amazon are usually pretty accurate with their estimated time of arrival.  I thought it might be a bit of a pain but as it turned…

Saturday morning

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The first of the yellow water lilies is open so summer is really here.
Well today is Saturday so according to my new plan it is a day for watering the indoor plants, cleaning out the chickens and feeding the tomato plants.  I will also put some aluminium sulphate on my blue hydrangea.  Of course these are not the only jobs but they are those extra to ordinary living. While it is still cool I will also try and get a few more bits of the eternal and ever lasting ironing done.  
Now I said I wouldn't stand on the scales till Monday but I couldn't resist a little go and the first 3lbs have gone leaving a further 14 to go.  James has decided to join me on my weight loss quest as he has put on quite a bit of weight.  Exercise is difficult for him so he is left with food reduction.  It will be nice to have a diet buddy and we can encourage each other through the difficult bits.  
When I am stressed I do one of two things I either cook like mad or spend money well as I am dieting coo…

Friday Morning

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What a lovely day I had yesterday and the dogs had a blast there were 6 of them with two dachshunds two west highland whites and my two and fortunately they all got along famously and spent a large part of the day charging around like lunatics.  Our colleague from work is heavily into spinning and she brought both a spinning wheel and a drop spindle so that we could have a go with the various types of fleece she had available. Believe me it is all much harder than it looks. The weather started off quite cold but as the day progressed and the sun made an appearance it warmed up. Shiona had made a lovely salad nicoise which we had for lunch and Sue had brought a banoffee cake from M&S which I avoided for dietary reasons.  I am going to try and avoid the scales for at least a week but I must admit I had a go this morning and have lost 2lbs so far so all is going according to plan.
Before I left for Shiona's house the meat arrived and I have tucked it all in the freezer but I am …

Thursday morning

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Not the best of photos but you can just see that the clematis is in flower so all the hard work of keeping the invasive plant from next door under control has given it a chance.

The weather here was perfect for me it was sunny but with a north easterly wind to keep it nice and cool.  Today I am off to Shiona's house where we are meeting up with a colleague from work who I haven't seen in years and we are going to have a girly/doggy day.  She has dachshunds so lets hope they all get on well.

Yesterdays diet food went well and the addition of some basil and garlic to the galette made a tasty treat.  I have been sharing my portion with Mike so for supper I made a galette with some grated courgette in it and had half with my shell fish soup.  The second half I will have for breakfast with some smoked salmon.  I find eating breakfast very difficult as it make me feel nauseated but I am trying to keep to the schedule.

We used to have an umbrella stand in the hall but it got smas…

Wednesday morning

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The very strong sunshine has deserted us this morning and it is cloudy and overcast at the moment but I am sure that will probably burn off as the day progresses.  It is nice and cool at 14ºC with a gentle north easterly breeze.  Yesterday we drove up to Greenwich and the temperature difference was quite noticeable.  It was very warm until we came back home to where the estuary keeps us a bit cooler.  We are always a couple of degrees cooler in summer and a couple of degrees warmer in winter than those who live inland.  

Dobbies were selling these lovely hydrangeas so I just couldn't resist buying one but now I will have to track down some aluminium sulphate if I want to keep it a lovely shade of blue.  Once the flowers have faded I will plant it in the garden and hope for the best.  All my plants have two choices they can either live or die fortunately most choose life.  
In the oriental supermarket I had to be very restrained and confined myself to restocking soy and fish sauce…