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Showing posts from February, 2016

Monday morning

Good morning all here we go again another week and soon another month.  According to the met office it has been the warmest winter on record and I must say the days of below zero have been few and far between. This morning is cold but not freezing and the sun is shining so it is quite pleasant.  
We had a blitz round Aldi and stocked up on cleaning stuff soap powder and the like.  I also bought some pigs cheeks in red wine which we are going to try for lunch today.  As you know I am not one for ready made stuff but I try to keep an open mind and try ready made things from time to time.  I am ever hopeful but often disappointed we will have to see how todays purchase works out.  The small half leg of lamb cooked in the halogen oven was perfect for the four of us and as anticipated there were no left overs so no shepherds pie.  As we had had a substantial lunch we just had some chicken broth with pastina and a good grating of parmesan for supper.  
Today I am going to make a ratatouill…

Sunday morning

Good morning all another chilly one but above freezing so not too bad.  My order from Tesco arrived at the crack of dawn but what a joy just to have it arrive at the door without having to slog up and down the isles. I had only ordered stuff I can't get in Aldi so I am not off the hook and will need an Aldi run today.  I sat and made a menu for the week which should make my life a bit easier provided I remember to get stuff out of the freezer in time.  I also spent some time dicing vegetables ready for the week.  The chicken carcass has made a big pot of stock which will need straining and freezing today.   Denzil supervised the laundry so we have the airing rack up and the clothes have dried over night and are ready for putting away.  I had to dash out as the pharmacy had failed to deliver Mikes drugs so I had to go and fetch them as he was almost out of pills and puffers.
After just two days of antibiotics Tubby's chest had all but recovered it is still red but not angry lo…

Saturday morning

Good morning all at last a decent nights sleep it is also a bit warmer with temperatures above freezing but only just.

Yesterday was a nice peaceful day with all of us just meandering around.  The curry at last made it to the table and was very well received. I split off one portion for Mike before adding the chillies for the rest of us. I am rapidly reaching the end of my set menu so today would be a good day to plan for next week.  I have a real hankering for a salad nicoise so I will try to incorporate it in one of the meals next week.  I have also gathered the ingredients to make a ratatouille.  It is my understanding that each ingredient is cooked separately then amalgamated  at the end, so a bit of standing over the stove is required.  My boxes of diced vegetables have come in very useful so I think this may be the way forward and it is worth doing a bit of prep at the beginning of the week.  On the menu today is a roast chicken with  a bowl of soup from the carcass hopefully.…

Friday morning

Good morning all.  Well Dan really looks lovely following his hair do but poor old Tubby has scratched his chest and belly on brambles and they have now become infected so he is on a course of antibiotics.  On our way to the groomers yesterday we drove through all four seasons.  The car was iced over before we started and by the time we reached the top of the north downs it was snowing however by the time we were leaving Dan who was trembling terribly it felt like spring.  We continued to Shiona's house by which time it felt like summer with blazing sunshine.  Once we got home the dogs went mad they are really good friends and had obviously missed each other.  When it was time for Tubby to go to the vet Dan sat on the stairs and let out a couple of the most deeply felt howls of total distress.  Fortunately he was only gone for half an hour and then they were reunited and have been joined at the hip ever since.
The menu kind of went to hell yesterday I had the curry organised for …

Thursday morning

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Chest of draws is in here and in position and already filled with stuff now I can seriously tackle my wardrobe which is in chaos.  Anyway, I am delighted with the new piece and it fits in just fine. Yesterdays menu went according to plan and today will be really simple James and I will be eating at Shiona's and the others will be having sausage and beans then we will all partake of the curry for supper.   We have to have Dan at the groomers by 9am so we need to leave here at about 7.45 so my time is limited.  I have left an extra 15 minutes to account for the rush hour traffic.  It is cold this morning but not frosty so the car will not need time to warm up.  
Sorry to be so short and sweet but I have half an hour before I leave and I am not even dressed yet.  Have a good one all.

Wednesday morning

Good morning all I was up at 5am but fell back to sleep so now I am bit behind as my new chest of draws is due between 8 and 11 and I haven't had a shower yet so I need to get moving.  Denzil  is up and dressed and has just returned form a dog walk so if it arrives when I am in the water he can take delivery.  I am ridiculously excited it is ages since I have bought a piece of furniture.
Yesterday menu plan worked well and I made a shepherds pie and a lamb and apricot curry [Thank you Joy].  The cottage pie is for todays lunch and the curry is tomorrows supper.  The vegetable box arrived and to my disgust there were no onions so I will have to go and buy some as I can't even imagine life without onions.  I have gone from glut to famine in a week.  
The weather has turned back to very cold and it is marginally above freezing but a nice frost greeted us this morning.  However the sun is shining brightly which makes it all bearable.  I seem to have missed my slot in the shower  …

Tuesday Morning

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Well I made a start and chopped up the celery, carrots and onions I had available now when it comes to making a cottage pie the job will be much easier the only prep will be the potatoes for the topping. I have gone for a medium dice which I can tinker with if I need it to be finer.
Yesterday I did a big shop so that I have all the ingredients the menu calls for and today we will be having tuna burgers and salad for lunch and beef and onion slices for supper.  Making the tuna burgers takes only moments so I will probably make the cottage pie with the extra time I have available.  I also took the opportunity to go to the wool shop and discuss what to do with the Aran weight wool. I have chosen a waistcoat/cardigan pattern which is not to heavily cabled and so far I have only unpicked it once I always find the initial stages difficult until I can see the pattern emerging.  
My chest of drawers is coming between 8 and 11 tomorrow morning and have I sorted out the old one? no of course n…

Monday morning

Good morning all well I wrote a menu yesterday for the whole week and so far I have changed it more than a few times.  Still at least I have the skeleton of a plan.  The fly in the ointment is that Dan is going to the hairdressers on Thursday which means I have to have him there by 9am and pick him up at 1pm.  The groomer is an hours drive away so it will take up the whole morning and I will have to leave food that is easy to cook. The good news is I have to be in on Wednesday as my chest of draws is arriving and I can spend the day in the kitchen while I wait.  Tubby is having a trip to the vet this morning as he has developed a rash on his chest and I need to do the shopping to match the menu.  I am also going to have a look at some knitting patterns for Aran wool of which I have plenty so I thought a gilet type sleeveless cardigan might be an idea.  In one of my mad tiding sessions some years ago I decided I would give up knitting and got rid of my multitude of knitting needles so…

Sunday morning

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Good morning all as you can see I have finally finished the cot blanket I was knitting now all it needs is a wash and press and it will be ready to go.  Now I need to think of what I am going to do next as I still have plenty of wool.  
Yesterdays french onion soup was very nice but boy does it take forever to brown the onions anyway it has dealt with my glut.  Today I have a duck crown and a separate pair of legs so a whole duck but in two pieces.  As the legs take longer to cook than the breast I thought I might give the legs a small blast in the pressure cooker before adding them to the crown.  I'm not quite sure what to do with them as vegetables.  I have a savoy cabbage which I think will be fine or should I do peas or maybe both, decisions, decisions.  As usual I am flying by the seat of my pants.  So first things first a trip to the freezer and check out what I already have.  I keep saying I should make a menu but some how I just never get around to doing it.  It would sav…

Saturday morning

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Good morning all it really is Saturday morning isn't it? next doors dogs had me awake in the middle of the night barking their heads off and with my door open it was very loud. May be it was the still of the night that magnified the sound but it was very disturbing to sleep.  They are little Jack Russels so they have a very high pitched bark unlike the the basso profondo of Dante who only barks to announce someone at the front door. 
Yesterday we had nursery food. For lunch we had macaroni cheese with a little added luxury.  Some of the serrano ham which I had vac packed and a mozzarella I found lurking in the freezer.  I would not recommend freezing mozzarella unless it is purely for cooking as it does nothing for the texture. For supper we had fish finger and mayo sandwiches.  All that was missing was the jelly and ice cream.  As for today's food my mind is a complete blank.  Perhaps today is the day for the french onion soup. Especially as I have a piece of gruyere cheese …

Friday Morning

Good morning all another chilly one the warm air we are supposed to be getting hasn't arrived yet and with clear skies the temperature has dropped like a stone.  My intentions of making a sausage casserole yesterday got abandoned and I made sausages with onion gravy mash and peas.  I had a big bunch of coriander which was on the blink so I dashed out and bought some chicken legs and made a Madhur Jaffrey  Lemony chicken with coriander, which was served with buttery basmati rice.  This is a recipe from the dim and distant past but is the only recipe I know that calls for masses of coriander. I had forgotten just how delicious it was and very simple to make.  
I have been a day out this week and sure that today is Saturday.  I don't know where I lost a day but it certainly makes for a muddle.  I was interested to read about the book on tidying that Anne has purchased and as I am always looking for an easy way out of decluttering I will be interested to see if she thinks it is w…

Thursday Morning

Good morning all well the chest of draws is on its way so now I will have to tidy up the old one so the transfer goes easily and no doubt there is plenty of stuff to get rid off.  This is a bit of an extreme way to make you tidy up. What is it about underwear that makes it impossible to keep tidy? The new chest is due on the 24th which is next Wednesday so I have some time to tidy. 
Yesterdays steak and kidney was lovely and as I had made it all properly it had a lovely thick gravy together with loads of mash and broccoli I don't think anyone missed the pastry of a pie.  I can't remember where I found an ox kidney as it has been in the freezer for a while and my short term memory is getting pretty bad.  For my money you can't beat ox kidney for steak and kidney pies but it is not that easy to get hold of.  
None of us felt much like supper after such a substantial lunch so we shared a pizza which was fine. Today I think I fancy a sausage and bean casserole with a side ord…

Wednesday Morning

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Good morning all a bit warmer this morning at least it is above freezing.  I had a really good day yesterday with Deny.  She gave me an extra hour which allowed us to concentrate on doing the kitchen.  Every tile has been scrubbed to within an inch of its life, the cooker hood is sparkling and the windows are like crystal.  It almost seems criminal to do any cooking in there now.  It has spurred me on to sort out the cupboards which are both dirty and muddled but that is a job only I can do.  It makes a big difference to do these mundane boring jobs with an other person so at least you can chat and keep each other company.  Left to myself I am easily sidetracked and distracted.
Next time she comes we are going to tackle the dining room which is our main living area as the lounge is now a bedroom. The boys kept out of the way and did the shopping and once we were done James made a lovely potsticker dumpling lunch.  Supper was another round of dumplings in the form of ravioli with a sa…

Tuesday Morning

Good morning all, it is below freezing this morning and I had another good night with the door wide open and my bedroom perishingly cold. Getting up is not much fun I have to rush and shut the door and get wrapped in my dressing gown quick before I freeze but it is worth it for a good nights sleep. 
We had a very successful shopping session in the oriental shop and came home to make a big stir-fry. I bought some Kimchi which I have not had before and now I see how people can get addicted to the stuff I love it. Apparently it is very easy to make so I may have a go some time.  There is only one difficult ingredient which is the Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru). No doubt it is readily available on line. It is supposed to be very good for you with loads of probiotics and is all but calorie free. We bought a good selection of pot sticker dumplings and the freezer is now stuffed to the gunwales. As we still have some nice dipping sauces left from yesterday pot stickers for lunch …

Monday Morning

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Good morning all the good news is I slept like a log last night.  I turned my bedroom into an Arctic retreat with the door open and buried myself in the duvet.  It was subzero last night so it really was chilly but I was toasty warm in the bed.  I wonder if my poor nights have been because I was just too warm?  Who knows!!!
Today the boys and I are going to Greenwich to the oriental shop, it is much cheaper to buy soy sauce and the like as they sell it in big bottles.  They also sell big bags of frozen pot sticker dumpling which we all love.  I will have to have a look in the freezer first as I don't have endless space to store stuff and I am inclined to get carried away.  Shopping there is quite difficult as all the labels are in foreign languages so there is quite a bit of guess work involved.  Anyway it is certainly more exciting than Tesco.  The vegetables are very varied and most of them I have never seen let alone know what to do with.  After his 9 years in Thailand I am ho…

Sunday Morning

Good morning all, late again but I had another really bad night finally dropping off at 4am.  I'm not sure why I am sleeping so badly at the moment thank heavens I don't have to go to work anymore and I can lie in when I do finally go to sleep.  In the end I put myself to sleep listening to a pod cast on gravitational waves now if that doesn't put you to sleep I don't know what will.  Unless you have a copy of Gibbons, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to read.  I used to have a copy for just this purpose and never got past chapter one.
Yesterday was a good a day all went according to plan and we had the pork chops that I bought from Macnades grilled in the halogen.  They were delicious and came from proper fat pigs none of these skinny pigs the supermarkets sell.  You don't have to eat the fat but it sure helps keep the meat succulent.  I did a large tray of roasted roots to go with them and a pile of broccoli which was beginning to yellow and needed eating.
I…

Saturday Morning

Good morning all, sorry to be so late but I had a bit of a grotty night and ended up sleeping in late. Our  lunch turned out to be a huge success the sauerkraut,  which I was nervous about, turned out very well - somewhere in deep in my memory I remember my grandmother rinsing it and then adding to fried onions which is what I did I then added slices of dessert apple to the mix which added a bit of sweetness.  Together with the bratwurst and some good mustard it was a great success.  Mike was very dubious but completely cleared his plate.  Next time I see a big jar I will buy it and put it in the cupboard.  
I spent quite while devising a crochet border for my cot blanket, it was quite difficult to pick up the right number of stitches for the base row and took several attempts before I got it right.  I hope I have now got it and it should be plain sailing from now on.
Last nights supper got postponed to lunch for today as we all fancied a curry so we had a nice takeaway from our loca…

Friday morning

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Good morning all it is really frosty this morning but at least I don't have to go out just yet.  Yesterday I shot out first thing to get a chicken for lunch and it was really perishingly cold.  It took me ages to thaw out when I got home and in desperation I plunged into a big sink full of washing up.  It seems to me the quickest way to warm up is hot water. Shiona arrived with her two dogs looking super as they had been to the hairdresser the day before.  
The chicken was cooked in the halogen oven as usual and was served with roast potatoes, courgettes and carrots.  Of course the carcass is in the slow cooker making soup as I write.  I think it will be a chunky soup as I have a bit of meat and some veg left over.  
After lunch we took a run out to the new Asda [not my favourite shop] as they advertised on the web site that they were doing boxes of ugly vegetables but sadly they had none and when we asked you would have thought we were talking Chinese.  So much for Asda trying to h…

Thursday Morning

Good morning all - What a difference a tooth makes, at last James looks more normal with his new crown in position. He missed lunch as he was at the dentist but made up for it later once the cement had had time to set.  
I made a big batch of pancakes for supper which we had in the simplest fashion with sugar and lemon.  They were really delicious and I was wondering why I don't make them more often, then I remembered the standing at the stove for hours making them.  As fast as I could make them so they were eaten.  The last one, which was the inevitable lace doily, went to the dogs.
I was just about to get stuck into some cleaning when the door bell rang and there were Len and Margaret our friends.  Margaret had just been to the hospital for a colonoscopy and not only was she instructed to buy her own enema but also to administer it prior to her appointment.  Talk about DIY she was pretty disgusted.  I for one would not want to be traveling following an enema I would want to be …

Wednesday morning

Good morning all.  Another long lie in this morning I am really getting used to this.  I wake naturally at 4am but I am now managing to go back to sleep with no ill effects so I am making hay while the sun shines so to speak.
James is out with the dogs and then he has an appointment at the dentist to fit the real crown so hopefully this should be the end of the process.
Yesterday Denzil and I took a ride to the wonderful shop and came back with the inevitable goodies. I bought a bag of 10 courgettes and a bag of 6 lemons for a £1 each.  The courgettes are are now sliced in a pan with oil parsley and garlic where they will get cooked and then off to the freezer. Some of the lemons are destined to go with our pancakes [yes a day late] and the remainder will also go in the freezer.  I am a complete sucker for a bargain but none of it gets thrown away so I see it as an economy.  All the stuff that is reduced needs to be used up quickly so if I can freeze it so much the better.
I am begin…

Tuesday Morning

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It looks vaguely like a lasagne and it tasted very good so I can recommend this ravioli pie as a quick vegetarian alternative.  Given that the ravioli were already made in Aldi the rest was merely an assembly job.  The tomato sauce I used was quite wet as it was made with real tomatoes and I had assembled the dish the day before which gave the pasta time to absorb some of the liquid.  Anyway this is a very good way to make two packets of ravioli feed four people.  
The weather yesterday turned into quite a blow with the odd downpour but this morning it is cold and quiet.  Mike had a visit from his CPN with a psychologist in tow.  They spent an hour chatting with Mike and have decided to increase his antidepressants but this morning he is complaining that he is getting a cold.  Normally this would be nothing of interest but in his case it could well be the start of another chest infection which can lead to serious consequences.  I will have to keep a close eye on him for the next coup…

Monday Morning

Good morning all - I was up at 4 but decided I was still tired so slept on for a while - if I had done this in the past I would have had the mother of all headaches but I seem to have grown out of that problem and can now put my head down with no ill effects.  Things change and some times for the better.
Yesterdays sweet and sour chicken was nice and I must make another batch of the sauce to hide in the freezer.  Today I am doing the experimental lasagne made with ravioli and homemade tomato sauce. We will have to see how that turns out I have used 2 types of ravioli one of butternut squash and sage the other of spinach and ricotta so very suitable for a vegetarian provided they eat dairy. I have finished it off with a coat of white sauce and a cheese topping.  Hopefully a portion of this and some salad will make a very decent lunch.
Denzil and I did a big shop yesterday which with two people made it very quick and easy as we split the list and dashed around separately.  I then took …

Sunday Morning

Yesterday the wind was a bit gusty but nothing like we were expecting - is it my imagination or are the met office inclined to over egg the pudding these days?  Anyway I am pleased that we were not treated to hurricane force winds.  As I was up so late we decided to have a light lunch of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast.  The cottage pie got deferred until supper time. It took me very little time to make it as I already had sweated vegetables in the freezer and I had a pack of ready made mash so it was a case of frying off the mince and then assembling the rest of the ingredients.
Today I have a fairly big shop to do and I have organised a sweet and sour chicken for lunch the sweet and sour sauce is pre-made and frozen so it will be just the chicken thighs to cook and the accompanying rice.  Pre making things when you have a glut is such a help when you are pushed for time.  I really should do a bit more batch cooking which would save a lot of hassle and aggravation. Somehow…

Saturday morning

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Sorry to be so late but I have had a rather poor night and slept in this morning.  My back was giving me gip and I finally took some pain killers around four and then slept like a baby. 
Sandy took a picture of Dan and I while we were waiting in the woods for the first drive.  I asked to have a position where I would not be visible to all in case the dog went crackers but I need not have worried.  
Yesterday was a relatively peaceful day but when I looked at what Joy had on her menu I realised mine was exactly the same except we has salad instead of peas with our fish.  Today I am on a mission to make a cottage pie for lunch with some of my glut of carrots.  We are all very fond of potato topped pies of any variety be they meat or fish.  
My staples are running low as I have not been shopping this week so tomorrow I will have to hit Aldi and restock.  Having had several outings this week I have rather let things slide.  However in the great scheme of things I think going out was the …

Friday morning

Good morning all well I had a lovely day with Shiona she had made a delicious roast salt marsh lamb lunch so it felt like Sunday and you know how easily I am confused!!!  We both have similar problems on the horizon me with the caravan and here with a house to sell so we chatted through the problems looking for a magic solution sadly we didn't find it.  However it was good to bounce ideas around and look from different perspectives.  Shiona suggested that there are charities who make up starter boxes for homeless who are being moved into bare accommodation.  They might like the crockery and cutlery pots and pans and bedding from the caravan.  I will have to do some investigating I would so much rather see the stuff go to a useful cause than into land fill.
I had a good run out and back and the dogs had so much fun charging around her garden that they were both very tired when they got home.  I was still full from my lunch so the men decided to treat themselves to a pizza.  Today …

Thursday Morning

Yesterday was cold but dry and at least the dogs came home from their walk without a ton of mud. James had things to do with his car so he was to and fro from the garage but now all is well and the bill was not extortionate.  Today he is off to the Dentist and hopefully he will return without a gap in his teeth.
The stew I made for lunch went down well but Mike was reluctant to eat his greens but that is no problem to me as it was curly kale and that is my favourite and I can eat a whole plate full.  For supper we had some rather nice sausages that I had bought from the butchery department of Macnades.  Next time I go I must buy more as they were very tasty.  I was impressed by the pork they had on sale as there was sufficient fat none of this skinny pig stuff.  I also made a big batch of carrot and coriander soup as I had a glut of carrots so that is now tucked up in the freezer.
Today I am off to Shiona's with the dogs and the men have a nice easy lunch to prepare pasta pesto a…

Wednesday Morning

Good morning all - Yesterday was a good day I had a lovely scrambled egg breakfast washed down with a big fluffy cappuccino.  I was quite restrained in my shopping but I couldn't resist some wonderful cheese and I also bought some nice shin beef.  There were as usual tomatoes going in the £1 section so I bought a bag of cherry and one of large tomatoes.  Once home I converted some of the large tomatoes into stuffed tomatoes for grilling for supper and the rest into a pot to make tomato sauce.  I have put the sauce through the mouli legumes and currently it is more a soup consistency than a sauce so it will need reducing today.  The shin beef has had a blast in the pressure cooker so that too will need a little work to finish it off.
Sandy brought me a brace of partridges which have been frozen with their clothes on so I can use them for dog training.  They are an ideal size to start the dog off on as pheasants are a bit large.  As I walked in the house with the bag Dan went crazy…

Tuesday morning

Good morning all I have rather over slept this morning and need to get going.  So I will keep this fairly short.   Yesterday the respiratory nurse came to see Mike and repeated all the things I have already told him. She then repeated it all to me in front of him and he admitted it was exactly what I have been saying however I doubt it will make any difference he will continue to do what he pleases.  While I was waiting for a batch of sheets to wash I decided to make a Victoria sandwich and now I remember why I don't make cakes - 2 slices each and it was gone.  All that butter and sugar not to mention cream and jam. 
We had had a nice seafood risotto for lunch and I had stuffed some halved peppers with anchovies garlic and tomato for supper.  
Today I am due to meet Sandy for breakfast so time I threw myself in some water and made myself respectable.  And of course the wonderful Denny is also due and a new cylinder of oxygen is due for delivery but the boys can sort that lot out.

Monday morning

Pinch punch and all that here we are in February.  The weather has turned warm again and we are in double figures again.  We seem to be swinging from freezing to warm and back to freezing again all in the space of a couple of days.  Yesterday was a peaceful day but Dan managed to get himself covered in burrs so we had some fun with a de-matting comb which seems to be the only thing to remove them from his coat.  He tries to bite them out himself then ends up with them all stuck in his moustache.
I had some chard and broccoli that needed using up so for lunch I made broccoli and stilton soup followed by a boiled ham joint which we had with the chard in a nice cheese sauce.  There was sufficient ham left for sandwiches for supper.  The thermomix made the soup and the cheese sauce so there was very little for me to do.  Several loads of washing got done so now the house looks like a Chinese laundry.  Today the bedding is due for a wash and we have the respiratory nurses due to visit Mik…