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Showing posts from November, 2014

Sunday morning

Good morning all it is pretty chilly here today but we are dry with thick fog.  November is almost finished then only 15 days to go before the French trip.  I am keeping everything crossed that the weather stays kind to us and I will be feeling better in myself.  Each day I look out and hope that the leaves will finally have dropped from my wisteria so that I can tidy it up and tie it back to it posts but it is still very green and showing no signs of leaf fall.  Everything else in the garden seems to know that winter is coming but the wisteria is very stubborn.  I frightened myself to death yesterday reading an article predicting really bad weather for the UK coming soon.   I can only hope they have got it wrong and the bad weather won't hit until much later. The long wait to pick up the puppy does two things it allows you to build excitement and also to panic over what might occur. Talking of panic my panic attacks seem to have dissipated completely.  I neither know where they …

Saturday morning

Good morning all, I am up bright and early as usual but I did go to sleep early too.  It is very mild at the moment and as I am not feeling 100 percent I have organised a nice easy lunch for today. I have a small chicken which will either be roast plain or jointed and cooked with lemon and thyme.  Either way it is going to be a one pot wonder. The houses is cold as the heating doesn't come on till 4 am so I am jotting these notes from my nice warm bed using my iPad.  It does make typing a bit slow so I will keep it short.  Just to keep you informed.  I am doing a lot of sleeping which can only be good for me.  One thing is for certain I am glad to get the snivels over before the French trip.  I am going to close as this is painfully slow. However I may add to the bog once I as up and running and feeling a bit more human.  Have a good day all will be with you again shortly.

Friday Morning

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Loaf from yesterdays recipe ready to go in the oven.  This was really tasty but the texture was a bit peculiar more like a pate which would go really well with melba toast and a big salad and would be ideal for a summer lunch.

Shiona arrive a bit later yesterday as her dogs had decided to roll in something noxious and had to be bathed before putting in the car. Not too difficult a task with westies a bit more of a challenge with a big dog but fortunately Basso never rolled in anything.  I was still off colour with what is trying to be a cold I think.  However, it has progressed no further than my nose which is streaming.  No other symptoms except I feel rubbish and would cheerfully take to my bed and stay there.
Mike had his day at the care centre and came home like a bear with a sore head.  I ran through the usual questions like, did you have a good day? what did you have for lunch? etc only to be met with monosyllabic answers.  He was spoiling for a fight so we ate our supper quick…

Thursday morning

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I don't know what to say about yesterday except it was a total right off.  As you know I am a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic so I went out in my dressing gown to put the bins out.  The bag burst and I spent ages re-bagging the rubbish while I quietly froze to death.  In an effort to regain some body heat I made a batch of cheese and onion muffins to go with our soup for lunch but I was still frozen.  Of course what I should have done is have a good hot bath but no I decided to go back to my warm bed where I promptly fell fast asleep.  James gave me a shout when the lunch was ready and having eaten that I felt really grotty and went back to my bed and slept most of the afternoon as well. Fortunately I had made all the preparations for supper, the lamb chops were defrosting on the griddle pan, potatoes were boiled ready to saute and carrots diced and cooked.  Once again James stepped into the breach and finished off the supper which I found I couldn't eat and gave up af…

Wednesday Morning

Good morning all another chilly one but at least it is not frosty or wet.  Yesterday got blown out of the water Mikes appointment with audiology had to be cancelled due to sickness in the department so I set to and tried to organise to take Mike to see Terry his case worker but he is off sick too.  I suppose it is that time of year when the colds and flu raise their ugly heads.  I have had flu twice in my life and believe me I will never confuse a cold with flu again but people bandy the word around as though the two conditions were interchangeable.  I must admit I am keeping everything crossed that I don't come down with anything until I have my puppy safely home.  I must admit I am really glad Shiona is coming with me.  It will be nice to have some back up and Shiona is just the right sort of person.  Many years ago we were in northern Spain for work and had gone out for a walk around the town of Vitoria only to get hopelessly lost.  After what seem like an eternity my back, wh…

Tuesday morning

Good morning all, not raining at present but we are under a heavy blanket of cloud and have been forecast another wet one.  Yesterday was fine with some sunshine which made it bearable.  I had quite a busy day.  Firstly I passed on the comment on the blog about the lovely picture of Basso.  I wanted to ask Chris if he was looking for commissions which he is so I will pass the word on my doggy friends.  He is at present putting together a portfolio of his work and looking for places to hang his pictures.  The local art shop has volunteered to show his work but they want 40% of any sale which is a bit rich don't you think?  Anyway I assured him that I had ordered him a box of "crayons" on line and they should be with us on thursday.  Sandy and her sister asked if they could come for lunch and see the picture for real.  Some lunch! we had pizza hedgehogs made with a french stick which Sandy brought with her she also had a mozzarella in the back of the fridge so she brought…

Monday Morning

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Well yesterday we had a yellow weather warning; it was due to rain and believe me it did, not heavily but constantly.  I got most of the chores done in the morning and the belly strips in barbecue sauce went down well for lunch.  I was going to make a cauliflower puree which has ended up rather too liquid so I added a dollop of mash to it and now it is neither one thing nor the other so today I am going to run it down with lots of stock and call it soup!!!

Just when I thought the day was a total write off there was a knock at the door and there stood Chris my Japanese neighbours husband and in his hand he had a pastel drawing which he had done from a photo.  When I saw it I was bowled over he has captured the subject perfectly.  It was difficult to take a photo in artificial light as the glass reflects everything so I have had to take it from an angle. But I am sure you will recognise the subject.




He has got the eyes perfectly and only the owner can tell that, the likeness is amazing …

Sunday Morning

Good morning one and all, yesterday was a bit on the miserable side weather wise with frequent showers.  We managed to get caught in one while we were out with the dogs.  Tubby as usual was very excited running about barking as we got him out of the car.  A gentleman was passing with a huge rottweiler who completely ignored Tubby's antics, the look of disappointment on his face was very amusing not only was she not impressed she didn't even acknowledge his existence. She had obviously had experience of silly young men and chose to ignore him completely which baffled him utterly.
The shoulder of lamb spent many hours in the oven on a low temperature which ensured that the extra fat rendered out and left the meat very succulent and tasty.  I suppose it was "pulled lamb" which seems to be all the craze at moment.  There is enough left for a small shepherds pie so that is what I am intending to make first thing.  If only I had had the sense to boil a few more potatoes I…

Saturday morning

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Nothing like a trip to the human groomer [Hairdresser] to make you look a bit more presentable and hopefully it should last until the new year. Amazing what can be done with some shampoo, a brush and a pair of sharp scissors in skilled hands.  The rest of the morning was taken up with kitchen duties.  I had a small pumpkin, a butternut squash and some romero peppers so the whole lot got a good roasting in the halogen oven along with the usual suspects of onion and garlic then it was a case of adding gallons of stock and blitzing in the thermomix until I had enough soup to feed the British army.  Yesterday was a sort of vegetable day as we had a baked potato each for lunch with an assortment of stuff to put on the top and a big bunch of watercress to accompany.  Then by supper time the soup was finally finished so just the addition of a swirl of cream and that was that.  This morning I have the leftover soup to deal with and get into the freezer.  One portion has gone on the dogs bisc…

Friday morning

Good morning all. Yesterday went according to plan once I had Mike loaded on to the bus James myself and the two dogs drove over to Shiona's house where we had a lovely day.  Shiona had a widower friend from Canada staying with her and he was great fun to talk to.  He had been working for BOAC when I was flying to Nigeria as an unaccompanied minor.  At this time the departure terminal was a nissen hut in the garden and the flight took 72 hours with refueling stops in Rome, Tripoli, Kano finally landing in Lagos.  I think it made him chuckle to think I could remember those early flying days.  We had a nice lunch and then had a lovely walk with the dogs in the sunshine. The only fly in the ointment was that James did find the going a bit much for his poor foot.  What might appear to be level even ground to us was a real assault course for him.  Anyway Tubby though he had died and gone to heaven as not only did he get a great walk but Shiona's garden is huge by comparison with o…

Thursday Morning

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Good morning all a bit better night last night so I am up at what I consider a reasonable time of 5am. I had a lovely morning yesterday as not only did Mark turn up and do my garden but I went out to Faversham with my friend to do a bit of shopping.  We had a lovely breakfast and long chat about life and its colourful problems.  She has twin girls who are just at that lovely hormonal age between O and A levels so she knows all about family disharmony and the stupid rows that blow up over trivia. I bought all the ingredients to make some curry sauce, now all I need to do is find the time to make it which could well be this morning as we are due to go over to Shiona while Mike is out at his day centre.  So it is either now or when we get back and I don't think I will fancy a big cook up when I get back so I had better get it underway this morning.  I also bought some really lovely goats milk taleggio cheese which was really on the move and so got demolished last night along with so…

Wednesday morning

Good morning all sorry about yesterday but I over slept in a major way in fact I was still asleep when Denny arrived at 8 am.  I had had a couple of rough nights and so when I woke at 3 am I took a sleeping tablet which knocked me out until 8am.  Then of course it was too late to sit and ruminate I had to get going in sharp order.  First let me tell you about my leg of lamb which I cooked in the conventional oven but on the oven bars rather than in a tin.  The tin was full of boulangere potatoes which were positioned directly below the leg of lamb so that all the juices dripped onto the potatoes.  I reduced an entire bottle of red wine to make a nice red wine gravy to go with the meat and potatoes and though the original dish calls for onions I had leeks lurking around so substituted them instead. Anyway total success a really lovely meal.  There was tons of meat left so yesterday morning I converted it into a huge shepherds pie.  There is enough for 4-6 people so it is now in the fr…

Monday morning

Well yesterday was a better day in all respects though it wasn't sunny it was at least dry and I was a bit more lively so lunch was not a disaster like the previous day.  The braised cabbage drew some sideways glances from the men but once they tasted it they were converted.  Essentially the recipe is simple, just fry a clove of garlic in some olive oil and then remove it. Then add your pancetta or bacon and fry until cooked but not browned. Next add the savoy cabbage, not chopped too small, and in my case a couple of sliced carrots.  Then pour in enough good stock to come halfway up the cabbage slam on a lid and simmer until done.  Then remove the lid and blast until all the liquid is gone. I also decided to liven up the pork chops so I put some commercial sage and onion stuffing mix in the thermo /blender and blasted it to very fine crumbs.  Each chop was dunked in this mixture and well coated then into the halogen oven to cook meanwhile I made a big pot of mashed potatoes.  A …

Sunday morning

Yesterday was a day best forgotten.  I think the scottish word dreek covers it.  It poured with rain for the best part of the day and I was not feeling the full ticket. I had had a disturbed night and really wasn't in the mood.  Consequently the crab linguine was all but inedible even the dogs were unimpressed though they did demolish it.  The problem was one of proportion there was sufficient brown meat for 20 people so it was too strong and too overpowering. I have always maintained that cooking is an art form and if you are not in the mood then it shows in the results.  The white crab meat did make some decent sandwiches and tin of sliced peaches and some ready made custard had to suffice for supper.  Today I have some nice pork chops for lunch and had better make a better fist of them.  I have a savoy cabbage which I intend to braise with bacon by way of accompaniment.  The recipe is courtesy of http://memoriediangelina.com/Verza stufata (Braised Savoy Cabbage) As I have tons …

Saturday Morning

What a very wet day it was yesterday we had loads of rain but none of the high winds we were forecast.  However at least the temperatures were mild and as I wasn't planning anything outdoors it wasn't too bad at all.  The base for my gravy is now made and the meat from the chicken went into a chicken curry for lunch,  I did notice that it was my last pack of curry sauce so it is time to make another batch for the freezer.  The partridge we had been using for training also ended up in the curry. I did have a fairly major shop at least it was major in terms of  weight between packs of 2 litre bottles of fizzy water and kilos of dog biscuits it weighed a ton.  However, stupidly, at this time I was unaware that I needed to make more curry sauce or I would have bought the ingredients.  For supper we had a salmon en croute [ready made] which just needed blasting in the oven and filled the hunger gap.  I also rang Eurotunnel and booked in a second dog for the return journey so we ar…

Friday morning

Well Mike survived his day at the day centre though he did feel it was pretty boring.  We expected this as thursday is apparently the most boring group of people.  Having said that when we had a post school debriefing he did have quite a lot to talk about.  He even bumped into a lady whose son he had coached at badminton many years ago.  He sat with a guy who was not impressed that he is 75 "a mere child" he was informed by the 93 year old.  One thing is for certain he came home poleaxed tired and I think he will sleep very well. He managed to win 50p at the bingo and a bar of chocolate in the raffle so he did quite well.  I hope that this will be a bit of a turning point for him there is nothing like seeing a room full of people who are much worse off than yourself to make you rethink your situation.
Now as for me I was sitting moaning that my feet were cold at which point James jumped in his car and headed for Aldi where they have 2tog socks for sale.  I had bought severa…

Thursday Morning

I am up bright and early this morning however that is no real surprise as I fell asleep quite early last night.  Today I am faced with Mikes first day at the daycare centre. It reminds me slightly of a first day at school.  The next problem is what to do with myself while he is out.  I could go anywhere and do anything or I could just enjoy the peace and quiet of my home to myself and do NOTHING.  At the moment sitting here in the dark and cold doing nothing is a high priority.  
Shiona and I discussed hotels and I have left that in her capable hands.  I must admit that delegation is something I am no longer familiar with and it feels strange.  She is a very competent person so I have left this in good hands.  We had our usual visit to Aldi for a few bits and bobs and were delighted when we got home as James had taken it upon himself to make a pasta carbonara and it was hot and ready as we came through the door.  What a treat!!!! Next week we are invited to visit Shiona while Mike is…

Wednesday Morning

Thank goodness life is unpredictable just when I thought I was in for endless tedium and unending boredom something crops up to liven things up a bit.  There is a lady in Kent desperate to import one of the litter of puppies but owing to circumstances she is unable to go and fetch the dog.  So after a long discussion on the phone she is happy for me to import two dogs and she will then make her way to my house once we are through the tunnel and pick her pup up from me.  This seems the simplest solution to me.  She was also very happy that I had put my hands on the puppies and met the breeders.  Buying a puppy over the internet is not easy and I must admit it feels pretty risky but I am glad I took the time to check out the breeder and surroundings.  I was able to allay many of her fears so it looks as if Dante will have a litter mate to keep him company on the journey home. Thank goodness for a landrover there will be plenty of room for us all.  Hopefully the only difference will be …

Tuesday Morning

Well for the first time in ages it is dry but cloudy.  Fortunately Mark decided not to come considering it was so wet.  We took the dogs for a walk in the woods but it was very muddy underfoot.  However when we returned my friend Elaine had popped in for a cup of coffee and chat.  The chicken got put in the halogen oven and made good lunch for all of us together with some sweet potato wedges and the remains of the dauphinoise.  I had some pink fir apple potatoes which I made into a potato salad which we had with the cold chicken for supper and the carcass is in the slow cooker making a decent stock.  The first job this morning will be to clean the meat off the carcass for the dogs and strain the stock ready for use. The laundry is draped all around the house and there is still a machine load waiting to be dried so I think the tumble dryer will have to do its fair share of the work.
Today for lunch I am going to make a pizza hedgehog and then I will have to think of something else for…

Monday morning countdown 34 days to you know what!!!

Good morning all I don't know if you have seen the film "Groundhog Day" but that is just how it feels here at the moment I seem to be on an endless treadmill.  Endless days that seem to be all the same with little or no variation to break the monotony.  I suppose it is just the waiting which makes it feel that way.  I have endless patience to do fiddly little things but when it comes to waiting for things I have zero patience.  If I am waiting for someone to arrive I pace like a caged tiger.  
Mark the gardener was due today but it is pouring with rain at the moment so I am not sure if he will come it is a bit pointless gardening in the rain.  I am going to roast a chicken for lunch today so first things first I had better get it out of the fridge to get to room temperature.  It is quite surprising how long it takes for a lump of meat to warm up from the fridge.  The chicken will as usual be roasted in the halogen oven as I have yet to find a better or quicker way.  As …

Sunday morning

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Good morning all.  Yesterday was my day for doing an impression of a sloth, I froze myself early in the morning so went back to bed to warm up and promptly fell asleep.  I made toad in the hole for lunch and for supper we had a takeaway burger and chips - how lazy is that!!!! The only saving grace is that I did catch up with acres of pre-recorded TV.  
Today will have to be a different matter as I have intentions of making a dauphinoise to go with the steak we have for lunch and as I have a whole pot of cream I may well do some creamed leeks by way of a vegetable.  I did feel sorry for those having bonfire parties as the weather was horrid and wet but the display of fireworks from the local pub was lovely and I could just sit and watch them from my bedroom window.  I have a passion for fireworks but have yet to see a display like those in Trieste where they set them off from barges out at sea so you get the double whammy with the reflection in the water and the bangers shake the wind…

Saturday Morning

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Good morning all.  For those of you who like pizza but baulk at the effort of making the real thing here is a really good cheat.  I pinched it from http://marcoyoungcooking.blogspot.co.uk/
The original recipe is in Italian but google will translate it for you.  Anyway this is what I did.  I bought 4 bread rolls which were not too crisp and not too soft then sliced them part way through to look like a hedgehog.


Next I put a tray of cherry tomatoes cut in half into the oven which was cooling down just to cook a little and dry out a bit.
Then it was just a case of stuffing the gaps with the tomatoes followed by chunks of mozzarella cheese. The whole thing was then sprinkled with oregano and splashed over with olive oil.

Then into a 200 oven for about 10 -15 minutes until lovely and crispy and full of molten cheese and tomato.

I did four buns but there is no reason you could not do a dozen for a party or just a single one for yourself and believe me when I say that these have more to do w…

Friday morning

Well real underwater weather this morning it is pouring with rain and blowing a gale.  Mark the gardener was going to pay us a visit but I think his time would be completely wasted all that would be accomplished is for him to get soaked.  You will notice that I am up particularly late this morning but that is because I slept like the dead with no medication and woke feeling fine.  I know it is early days yet but it does lead me to believe I am better off unmedicated.  
Yesterday for lunch we had a very tasty cauliflower cheese alongside some really crispy streaky bacon.  Making a cheese sauce in the thermomix is such a doddle. Just chuck everything in and switch on.  No standing and stirring and hey presto a perfectly smooth sauce.  The addition of some bread crumbs and grated cheddar on the top made a nice crunchy topping.  Supper was another breakfast dish, big thick slices of buttered toast smothered in scrambled eggs.  
Today for lunch I have some curly kale so I will have to loo…

Thursday morning

Good morning all.  Well winter is here it is only 4 degrees this morning so very chilly and yesterday was just as cold.  Fortunately the house is nice and warm with the central heating going.  We had a very pleasant morning with Shiona, who was feeling a few degree under but decided to visit anyway. We had the inevitable trip to Aldi to replenish her chocolate supplies and though all I needed was some milk I did a bit of impulse shopping.  Lunch was nice and easy as I had made the dauphinoise the day before so all it needed was heating up and it made a lovely accompaniment to the fillets of Bassa [also called river cobbler] with a light tempura coating and a radicchio rosso salad.  When it came to supper Mike was the only one who was hungry so he order a couple of pizzas, one for himself and one for James and I to share.  Sadly I am always disappointed by take away pizza they don't travel well and invariably arrive somewhat soggy.  Gone is the lovely crisp base which has become w…

Wednesday morning

Good morning all.  Yesterday went according to plan and the house is nice and clean and Mike saw the OT who was really nice and I think she has persuaded him to attend a day care centre which will at least get him out of the house and meeting up with some other people.  I feel fairly sure that once the ice is broken and he had made this step his self confidence will be improved immeasurably.  I also think that the penny has dropped and he now realises that no one can get him through this but himself and he will have to make the effort.  Anyway she is going to look into the matter and will visit him again on the 28th.  She has also suggested he look into Silverline which is a charity where people agree to phone lonely elderly people once a week for a chat.  Her whole approach was that he could be useful to others while also helping himself.  Very clever approach and one that might just work.
I had done the chicken with cream and mushrooms which I served with some rice and the remainde…

Tuesday morning

Yesterday was another very wet day but at least the wind had died down and there were some gaps in the deluge. We had breakfast for lunch in that we had bacon and eggs but supper was a different matter we had a lovely 28 day matured sirloin steak each with just some boiled courgettes dressed with some olive oil.  We all like our steak rare so it was only moments in cooking on a red hot griddle pan.  I find the grill in the oven to be pretty useless as it takes forever to get hot whereas the griddle pan heats up nice and quickly.  James managed to get the dogs out for a run during one of the lulls in the rain and despite his great age Nip enjoys a nice run still and comes home reinvigorated.

Today is going to be a busy day as we are expecting Denny this morning as well as the occupational therapist to see Mike.  I have some chicken thighs out of the freezer which I intend to cook with cream and mushrooms and a portion of rice.  We had a bit of disaster with the microwave which just c…

Monday morning

Good morning all yet another wet day, yesterday was horrid most of the day both windy and wet.  I went and did a big shop first thing which I must admit is not my favourite occupation.  Anyway I am now fairly well stocked up so hopefully I can avoid the shops for few days.  While I was in Aldi I picked up some coquille st jacques and some ramekins of crab with spring onion and ginger.  I was very pleasantly surprised as they were both really nice.  As you know I am not one for ready made things but these were well worth it and made a very decent supper.  I had anticipated having leftover roasted roots but as it turned out they were all demolished so there was no soup for supper.
Today I have a pretty empty day ahead of me and with the state of the weather it looks like a cooking day.  I got all the laundry processes and put away yesterday and my orchids got their weekly soak. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day as we are expecting Denny and also the occupational therapist to come and …

Sunday Morning

Good morning all.  Yesterday I caught up with all the laundry and today it is the shopping that needs catching up with.  Though I did have one foray out to buy myself a new watch strap.  As it happened this was no easy task as the strap is a metal one and the first two jewelers only had leather straps. Finally I found what I was looking for and I now have a nice stainless steel strap. The watch is one of the self winding type which never needs a battery and is waterproof so I never take it off. It is also the size of Big Ben so I can read it without glasses.  
I made masses of meatballs which we had for lunch with pasta and tomato sauce and the leftover meatballs did us for supper as well.  Today for lunch I have some pork chops which I intend to do with a tray of roasted roots as I have a few vegetables to use up.  The good thing about roasted roots is any leftovers make a good soup.  
The puppies breeder has asked me for a name so that she can start the socialisation process with h…

Saturday Morning

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Yesterday was one of relaxation I spent quite a while in bed just resting and recuperating and watching garbage TV.  I was surprised how completely shattered I was but then again it was one hell of a drive.  I kept nodding off and must have slept for many hours.  James took up the slack and did both lunch and supper.  Interestingly I woke this morning feeling fine for the first time in ages so perhaps all that sleep did me some good.
Now all I have to do is wait for 6 weeks before I can go and collect the puppy - I anticipate these being the longest 6 weeks ever.  I think I will be like a child waiting for Christmas.  Shiona has volunteered to do the pick up run with me as she is very accustomed to driving to Scotland so the long drive will not phase her.  This time we will do it in two bites drive down on the 15th stay in an hotel and then pick up the puppy on the 16th and drive like hell for Calais.
Today I need to get back in the traces and get on with some work around the house. …