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Showing posts from August, 2014

Sunday morning

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Yesterday was a reasonable day weather wise because it was dry for the most part.  The first job of the day was to go and get Tubbies stitches removed.  As this would be the last time we would probably see the vet we took him a nice bottle of red wine for his retirement present.  James and I then split the chores for the morning and I did the shopping and he walked the dogs.  I find it quite a miracle that James manages to walk at all let alone take the dogs.  I remember not so long ago walking with him on his crutches and before that in his wheelchair.  He has made tremendous efforts to get back on his feet and although he is in constant pain he tries not to let it stop him getting out and about.  He seems to be quite enjoying the voluntary work he is doing for Oxfam which gets him out of the house and into contact with other people.  While living back at home is not the ideal solution it relieves him of the mundane running of the household and the financial worries of managing on v…

Saturday morning

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Difficult to see the difference as there is so much of next doors apple tree in the way. Anyway job done and the most interesting thing of all is the guy doing the work had gone to the Royal ballet school.  I have never met a for real ballet dancer. Really interesting person to chat to.
The best news of all is that Sandy has her dog as it passed the vets inspection so she herself is like a dog with two tails.  He is a really lovely dog and very biddable so she will have no trouble finishing off his training.
Now on to more mundane matters thank you all for the recipes for turnips in the end I decided to make potato rosti and I grated the turnip into the grated potato in a 40 to 60 ratio.  This worked fine and the turnip was almost unnoticeable which was the intention.
Today Tubby is off to the vet to have his stitches out not that you would ever know he had any. He seems completely oblivious to his operation.  If only us humans were so able to ignore our wounds in the same way.  We d…

Friday morning

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Yesterday was a bit of a mixed bag of weather the morning was dull and damp but by the afternoon the sun was out and it got rather warm.  Sandy shared our meager lunch of a bambi burger in a bun and then we set off to look at the dog she is hoping to get.  He is a part trained black lab who belongs to the game keeper and his wife.  He was a really smashing dog but we were concerned that his hocks were not straight and this might be a problem in the making so the decision was made to have the vet examine him before the final decision is made after all there is no point in getting a dog with problems before you start.  If it turns out that he does have problems then it would be better to let him go as a pet rather than a working dog.  As we arrived the gamekeeper was on the phone to the police as a woman, who had already been warned, had loosed 5 dogs which had got into one of the pheasant pens and killed a load of birds.  The young birds represent the gamekeepers livelihood and cannot…

Thursday Morning

A very late start this morning after a very sleepless night I finally gave in and took a sleeping tablet at 2am and slept solidly until 7am.  Yesterday had been a very busy day with the laundry as it was dry and windy the machine ran all day and I managed to get everything through and dry so I am quite pleased.  For supper I had done an assortment of tapas to accompany the padron peppers.  Patatas bravas, oven semi dried tomatoes and some crusty bread.  I was the only one to get a really hot pepper the remainder were sweet.  Before putting the cherry tomatoes in the oven I had tossed them in olive oil garlic and basil so there was quite a lot left in the bowl.  I couldn't bring myself to throw it away so I sliced a few big tomatoes into it and the then tore a mozzarella into pieces and added that, sort of insalata caprese.  Not exactly spanish but very tasty with the other bits and pieces.
Today I am going to accompany Sandy to look at a gun dog which she may be taking home.  She…

Wednesday morning

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Yesterday was another day of rain it poured for most of the day.  Denny came and did her stuff so now the house looks a bit more like a home and less like a rubbish tip.  James was called in early to work so his lunch became his supper and he made himself a bacon sandwich before he left.  I had done some pork belly strips which were cooked very slowly in the halogen oven with a homemade barbecue sauce with which a I served baked beans and saute potatoes.  My box of vegetables had padron peppers rather than chillies - these are a bit like Russian roulette as they are generally mild but the occasional one will blow your head off.  I fried them off in a little olive oil in true spanish style and served them as a sort of tapas dish.

As it happened there were no beetroots but there was a bunch of turnips, another of my not so favorite vegetables so no I will have to do a bit of research on what to do with them. Any ideas would be very welcome.  There is plenty to be done with turnip tops …

Tuesday Morning

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Yes it was a Bank Holiday, so guess what, rain, rain and more rain.  It started around 9am and continued non stop all day.  Fortunately, the dogs were got out nice and early so at least they didn't get soaked.  I also went out and put some salt on the grass that is growing between the patio stones and the rain has washed it in and hopefully it has not been too diluted to do the job.  I use salt to kill the weeds on hard standing and where there is no risk of it leaching into the flower beds.  I discovered this by accident when I emptied a large bucket of brine onto the patio and low and behold the weeds all died.  I do believe the romans actually used this method to destroy areas so it is not a new invention.
With the weather so dismal it was a pretty nondescript day we watched silly old films and just pottered around.  I did go to the shops to get some fresh parsley for my prawns but other than that it was a case of battening down the hatches and staying huddled in the house.  N…

Monday Morning

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Well at last I have got around to making the chiffon cake.  The new tin worked really well and as you can see I went for a very simple filling just some whipped cream and raspberries from the garden.  I was going to pipe the cream but ran out of enthusiasm so it just got dolloped on instead.  The remainder of the shellfish made a really nice risotto and it was the stock made from all the prawn heads and shells that actually made the flavour.  For supper we went German with some bratwurst with cabbage cooked in cider.  I used the slow cooker for this filling it with cabbage and chopped onion then laying the grilled bratwurst on top and leaving it for many hours to quietly bubble away.  Needless to say the cake made a nice dessert for both lunch and supper and this morning there is just one portion left.  When I went to pick the raspberries Tubby came with me and was happily picking his own until he discovered it was much easier to steal the ones I had picked and put in a punnet. He…

Sunday Morning

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This is the shellfish platter organised by my fishmonger that formed the centrepiece of James birthday lunch.  Along side I did a watercress and orange salad and a bowl of lemon mayonnaise and a sliced up french stick.  The three of us made a pretty large dent in the platter for lunch and prawn and crab sandwiches did us for supper.  All the detritus was put in a large meat tin and baked in the oven then from there into a pot of water and boiled for approximately 20 minutes then drained.  The resulting stock is going to fuel a risotto for lunch today along with the leftover shellfish.  As I had little to do towards the lunch I also made a big pot of curry sauce which will end up in the freezer today.  The tomato sauce is already frozen.  In order to avoid half filled boxes in the freezer once the contents is frozen I then transfer to vacuum bags which also means I can heat them by just dropping them in boiling water which saves mess and washing up.  This is also a good method for sto…

Saturday Morning

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Beautiful San Marzano tomatoes found in the £1 bag section of the veg department.  These will make a lovely sauce to tuck in the freezer for later.  Sandy and I breakfasted on scramble eggs on thick slices of granary toast.  I washed mine down with a cappuccino [no chocolate] while Sandy had a pot of tea with hers.  The only problem with this is that I was not interested in lunch having only just eaten so it was every man for himself.  The shop had 4 different types of Gouda cheese to taste and I finally settled on a young goats milk one.  It has no goat taste but is a very nice creamy tasting cheese which is not too strong but will slice and grate well it also looks as if it will melt well but that we will have to wait and see.  I also topped up on my ingredients for my curry sauce as the freezer is now empty as well as 3 kilo bags of coffee which should keep us going for a while.  
Today is James Birthday and for lunch I have ordered a fish platter from the fishmonger which I will …

Friday Morning

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We are at the end of another week, they really seem to be flashing by at a rate of knots.  However I seem to be stuck in a rut just keeping everything going.  Each day seems like deja vu a carbon copy of the previous day with minor alterations.  Yesterday I spent most of the morning in the kitchen dealing with a glut of courgettes.  One which was well on its way to being a marrow I chopped deseeded and saute with butter and pepper.  The smallest I sliced and cooked trifolati with garlic, oil and parsley and those in between were grated and made in to loads of pancakes.  I had thought that I would have pancakes to freeze but they were so popular that they have all been eaten.  I had defrosted a couple of ox cheeks which along with a can of Mackeson have made a lovely stew in the slow cooker.  
I am glad to say that Tubby has recovered very well and is bouncing around as if nothing has happened.  It never ceases to amaze me how well animals cope with surgery and what wimps we are by co…

Thursday Morning

Yesterday was a traumatic day with Tubby at the vet all day.  I'm pleased to say he has survived his operation but apparently he howled the place down all day.  This is no big surprise as he has never been parted from James or myself so he was very delighted to be returned home.  I had saved him some of the meat from my donner kebab that we had at lunch time and though he was still a bit sleepy he ate it with gusto.  This morning he is running around as if nothing had happened but he is on gently exercise for a few days and his stitches are due out in 10 days time.  Sadly this will be our last visit to our vet as he is finally retiring and the practice is closing.  This is devastating news as he has been my vet for as long as I can remember and I have more faith in him than our doctors practice.  He is now 75 and his wife has alzheimer's in a major way so I guess he has every right to have a few work free years but I for one will miss him terribly.  He has a great reputation …

Wenesday morning

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Yesterday was a chilly day with big black clouds often appearing so the washing is still in the machine.  As it happened it didn't rain but it sure looked as if it was imminent.  Today I will take the risk and get the washing on the line and hope for the best.   
This morning we have to be at the vet by 8.30 as Tubby is going in for a small operation and will be coming home this evening short of some of his crown jewels.  I think the timing is just right as he has been showing signs of the raging hormones of adolescence.  Given the numbers of dogs being destroyed it seems very unfair to bring anymore into the world.  It is also unfair on Tubby who will not get the opportunity to use the equipment anyway.  Basso is intact but that was only because I had visions of breeding from him and showing him but now that that is no longer on the agenda he has passed the point of maximum benefit and he is a very docile dog.  Having said that he and Tubby had their first real fight yesterday o…

Tuesday Morning

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As you can see my orchids are doing well though they are coming to the end of their second flowering.  I have no idea when or how they flower I just wait and hope and eventually something happens.
Yesterday was as expected rather chilly and very wet in the afternoon so it was just as well that I got everything done in the morning.  The leftover cabbage and potatoes got fried off with an onion and with it I did another dish from the Mary Berry book.  Really easy and very tasty.  Take a chicken thigh and remove the bone from the centre and replace it with a chipolata sausage then wrap in a rasher of bacon and cook.  It takes longer than you think as the heat has to penetrate through the meat of the chicken and then through the sausage. Definitely not rocket science but very tasty and easy to do in the halogen oven.  
Today my mind is blank and I have nothing in mind for food so it may well be a pasty from the baker and a takeaway for supper for the men as I am out with Sandy this eveni…

Monday morning

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Yesterday was as expected a windy and showery day.  The temperatures are quite low and this morning we are down to 12ºC [53ºF for our american friends] which for August is pretty cold and autumnal.  James took the dogs for a walk quite early and missed the first of the showers while I got on with the roast pork lunch.  It was a small joint, essentially 3 chops worth, so the timing was quite difficult.  I always find it easier to roast a big piece of meat, anyway with the use of my handy meat thermometer I managed to get it just right.  In order to get the crackling under way early I put the meat into the oven at 300ºC which is as hot as it will go and then immediately turned it to 180ºC for the remainder of the cooking.  This seemed to work well and the crackling was perfect.  By the time lunch was done the weather was foul so it was a case of watching rubbish on the TV as there was little else to be done.  James had volunteered to do supper and we had a plate of pasta with pesto all…

Sunday morning

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If you didn't know already that I am crazy this should leave you in no doubt 

A big cake for a little dog but he did share it with his friends.  It does make me laugh as Chappie is one of the cheapest dog foods on the market but to the dogs it is beluga caviar, there is no accounting for taste.  
I had a mad rush around yesterday morning and visited both the fishmonger and butcher before the dreaded Tesco.  Once all the shopping was done and put away the weather had improved so it was out with the dogs for a nice run.  For lunch we had a piece of salmon which I poached and then served with cucumber and dill salad and mayonnaise.  Needless to say there were eager four footed friends who were anticipating the salmon skin.  Supper was just as fishy we had a small dressed crab each and a big chopped salad and some tiny salad potatoes.  
Today will require a bit more effort as I have a nice piece of loin of pork for lunch which I will serve with buttered cabbage more of the tiny potat…

Saturday morning

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First things first today is Tubby's first birthday so a Chappie cake will be on the menu for supper. Our lovely neighbours who are renting next door are moving out and the house will be on the market as our old neighbours have decided to move permanently to New Zealand.  My fingers are crossed that we get nice people moving in.

Now a quick comment for Anne I did the tomatoes as per the recipe but omitted the sugar as I am not a sweet toothed person and it worked fine.  Can I recommend using the said tomatoes to fill baked potatoes.

This is the pasta and spinach with three cheeses from the recipe book as you can see there is a liberal sprinkling of cheddar cheese on the top which when cooked became crusty and brown.  It didn't dawn on me until I was eating it that this would make a very nice dish for vegetarians provided they were not too concerned and require rennet free cheese etc.  But it would suit the type who just don't eat meat.  I also used chicken stock but that i…

Friday morning

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Yesterday was a bright and sunny day punctuated by heavy downpours so timing was everything if you were to stay dry.  James went off to work at Oxfam and I organised to walk the dogs, now I hope you are sitting down, Mike asked to come with me.  The place where we usually take the dogs is well organised with benches so he walked as far as the first bench which is probably equivalent to walking both up and down our garden in distance.  There I deposited him while I continued on with the dogs and picked him up on the return journey.  While we were out my oven was making some semi-dried tomatoes the recipe for which came via Email from the British Larder and as I had all the necessary ingredients and a punnet of cherry tomatoes I went ahead and made them with nothing particular in mind.  When we got home there was the parcel from Lakeland with the Mary Berry book and in it was a recipe for baked potatoes stuffed with semi-dried tomatoes and pesto all of which I now had so they went on t…

Thursday morning

Yesterday was a glorious day weather wise the sun shone and temperature was just right.  Shiona rang early to say she was coming over so I hung back on the dog walk.  After coffee and pleasantries we piled all 5 dogs in the car and off we went.  By the time we reached the paddling water there were another group of dogs also playing.  One of the owners approached me and asked if I was Diane.  I confirmed this but was looking very perplexed as I had no recognition of the person asking me.  It transpired that she is my old next door neighbours {the ones that have gone to New Zealand} sister in law and she recognised Basso from encounters in the back garden.  We stood and chatted for quite a while and in the mean time the 9 dogs had a wonderful time splashing each other.  Tubby found a puppy of his own age and the two of them did lots of sparring and rough and tumble so this meant we brought home 5 exhausted and thoroughly wet dogs.  As it happened this was to our advantage as they all w…

Wednesday morning

The days are definitely getting shorter now.  I got up at 5am and it was pitch dark with a huge moon in the sky and only now is the sun starting to creep over the horizon.  
As soon as Dennie arrived yesterday morning James and I took the dogs out for their walk.  This is a double whammy as it gives Dennie some time to work without the dogs milling around and makes us take them out good and early.  We took them to the estuary and though the tide was out there was plenty of water, from the storms, in the paddling pools so they had a whale of a time.  The water was deep enough to reach Tubby's chest but only came half way up Basso's legs.  While we were there we met a pair of young Great Danes who were really pleased to play in the water with some friends.  On the way home we swung past Aldi and dived in and got a couple more packets of the prawns which are safely tucked in the freezer.  Once back home the dogs were happy to collapse and snooze and dry off in the sun.  It was a…

Tuesday morning

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Yesterday was a bit of a nothing day just the usual housework, shopping and laundry.  However I was thrilled that I managed to get all the washing dry and in before the rain started.  We had a couple of downpours around lunch time and again in the early evening but nothing to write home about.  I also managed to catch 4 fish for my friend who needs some for her pond and believe me I have plenty to spare.  Catching them is no mean feat as they are pretty quick.  I only had to transport them a few doors up the road so a trug bucket was ideal for the job but water is pretty heavy to carry.  
I am still waiting for my cake tin to arrive but apparently there was some error in the card number so probably my fault, anyway all sorted so I am hopeful that today will see the parcel arrive.  Mike is at last showing signs of improvement and actually came shopping with me which is the first time in over a year so that is progress.  I think the penny has finally dropped that the only person who ca…

Monday morning

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Well Bertha came and Bertha went with little or no real problems.  Yes it rained and yes the wind blew but nothing that is not usual we had a couple of flashes of lightening and a couple of claps of thunder but that was it.  I really love storms so I was quite disappointed.  The only item of note was that I chose a rather wet moment to walk up the road to the shop and got pretty soaked but when I blew my hair dry afterwards it was very soft and silky - rainwater is definitely really good for your hair.  I have wonderful memories of huge storms in Nigeria and also some pretty spectacular thunderstorms in Italy so this was a bit of a damp squib by comparison.  James had managed to get the dogs walked before the weather turned so not too much smell of wet dog in the house.
As predicted the chicken did us for both lunch and supper and the carcass has done its stuff in the slow cooker so I will have some really good stock to use today.  I feel a risotto coming on as that does really rely …

Sunday morning

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This is my current disaster corner as you can see it is a real tangle of roots which are going to be a great pain to get out especially as it is such a restricted space and there is an electric cable running through it for the pond pump.  I have left it for the rain to soften the ground a little so that I stand some chance of digging it over.  I was not disappointed as last night we had another downpour but not the expected hurricane winds and torrents we had been forecast. 
I did manage to get several loads of washing done and dried in anticipation of the bad weather.  Today it is very dull and damp looking but it is not actually raining at the moment.  I also used the opportunity to use up some of the vegetables that were lurking around in the fridge and for supper I made some sweet corn fritters to have with the chorizo stuffed little peppers.

Today it will be a traditional Sunday roast chicken with all the trimmings cooked as always in the halogen oven.  However rather than roast…

Saturday Morning

I am up a bit late this morning not feeling too special - nothing in particular just everything in general - or maybe I am just tired.  So in an effort to make myself feel a bit better I made a donation to the Gaza appeal so the children can have drinking water.  When I become world dictator I will be banning both religion and politics so don't say you haven't been warned - yes simplistic I know but don't you just hate all this stupidity.  The more I see of people the more I like dogs!!!!!!
Ok got that off my chest now last night we saw some real rain it came down is stair rods for hours which should completely revitalise the garden which was looking a little sorry for itself.  At the moment we have brilliant sunshine in a cloudless sky and temperatures that are very comfortable. Today would be a very good day to do a bit of digging if I can stir my stumps enough to actually get on with it.
Now for a little Tubby story.  Some time ago in a moment of boredom he ate his way…

Friday morning

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This is one of the heritage tomatoes that are growing in the greenhouse and they all have this really peculiar shape.  However they are very meaty and have a lovely flavour.  Talking of tomatoes in my vegetable box this week came a bag of tomatillos which look like a cross between a cape gooseberry and a green tomato.  Not knowing what to do with them I had a trawl around on the net and found that they are largely used by the mexicans to make salsa so that is what I did.  The results were poor they taste like green tomatoes with very little flavour and are not something I would rush to buy again.
Yesterday was very hot and sultry with big black clouds scudding ominously by but I did finally manage to finish cutting back the raspberries and do a bit of pruning of the trees in the chicken run.  It was my intention to have a bonfire last night but sadly I was so shattered that by the time the golfers had given up I was too tired to be bothered. My bonfire would have the 13th tee wreathe…

Thursday Morning

Can you believe it is Thursday already this week has just flown by.  I don't feel as if I have done much but somehow the time seems to have passed really quickly.  Shiona came yesterday and we spent a nice time in Aldi stocking up.  Sadly I have to go again today as they have some tripe chews on special offer and my dogs go crazy for them.  They stink so badly that we have to keep them in the garage but there is no accounting for taste!!! I must admit that if ever I buy Pont-l'Évêque cheese that too gets relegated to the garage for the same reason.
We have managed to finalise the holiday arrangements so James and I will have the van for the first week and then pass it over to Shiona and Keith for the second week.  I will then return on the last day and drive the van back to its parking place.  We will then have lunch together and go our separate ways.  Mike will be staying at home with Nip as they are both too old to be bothered with all the walking so I will have to make sur…

Wednesday morning

After the great courgette cook up guess what arrived in my veg box - yep you've guessed it more courgettes.  I also have some tomatillos which I have never used before so I will have to have a look on the net for some ideas as to what to do with them.  They seem to be used a lot in mexican cookery in place of tomatoes so perhaps a salsa.  
I spent some time in the garden yesterday destroying some winter flowering jasmine which has got completely out of hand and besides I need some space for the new plants I have ordered.  Gardens are constantly evolving so sometimes things have to go to make space for something new.  Sadly I don't have an estate where space is not a problem.  Can you just imagine riding around your estate with the head gardener organising what you would like done!!!! I really should start doing the lottery!!!!  
This morning we have some welcome rain which has two benefits one it keeps me out of the garden and two it gets it all watered.  I have stood the orc…

Tuesday Morning

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Courgettes stuffed with tuna
 Courgette pancakes
Peppers with chorizo and tomato
You can see what kept me busy in the morning once the dogs had had their run and the laundry was on the line I fell into the the kitchen and made use of the vegetables I had. The other dish I made was a pasta and fagioli soup but it is not a good subject for photography.  This morning the only things left are the peppers and the soup the rest has evaporated.
Did I get the raspberries finished - no - I guess they are moving up the list and who know I may get them done today. However, the weather forecast is for rain tomorrow so I will get the bedding washed today while the going is good.  Then if I get the raspberries done a grand bonfire is in order this evening before everything gets wet.
Have a good one all I am off back to bed to try and get a bit more shut eye before I get stuck in to the days chores.