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Showing posts from April, 2016

Saturday morning

What a crazy night I have just had. One of James ex colleagues was on her way home when she broke down and who does she ring but James so at midnight he went off to rescue her.  He didn't get home until the wee small hours just before Denzil got up for his early shift so the house was like Piccadilly circus for most of the night. 
We had had a blitz round Aldi and restocked the essentials.  My Japanese neighbour had asked me to drop in and have a look at the paints they have been looking at for the exterior of the house.  She was over the moon when I chose the colour she liked but her husband didn't.  So he got out voted and she will be getting her way.  I made the decision on what would not stand out like a sore thumb in the road where all the houses are painted in neutral muted colours.  Most of the houses are either cream or white so she has chosen a white with a tiny hint of green.  Her husband was more for a dark colour which would not have looked good, fine for an accen…

Friday morning

No sun this morning, rain over night and heavy clouds this morning.  The dogs and I had a lovely time at Shiona's and spent hours just charging around her garden while we sat in the warm sun in her conservatory watching and chatting.  She had made a lovely fish pie for lunch and I managed to drive home before the ankle biters had been turned loose.  It is not the kids that cause the trouble but the those picking them up who have no idea of how to drive or park.
Denzil has a second day off today and is just about to take the dogs for their walk so they are going mad with excitement.  I have a busy day today as I need to do some shopping and then I need to get in the kitchen and do some cooking.  Fortunately I remembered to get the mince out of the freezer last night so it is ready to go and with the new slow/pressure cooker it takes no time at all to get a bolognese sauce underway.
I bumped into our next door neighbours and had a chat so I now know that they are moving because he …

Thursday morning

Good morning all another bright but cold start to the day.  It really has turned back to winter temperatures again.  Today I am off to Shiona's for lunch which will at least get me out of the house for a few hours.  I usually take the dogs as they love to play in her very large garden and with her two West highland white terriers.  I will have to see if I can get a bit of video to show you but given the trouble I had yesterday I am not sure if I can get the film from the phone to the computer in any sensible way.  I even tried to post the film to myself as an email but that didn't work either so I guess I will have to do a bit of serious study on this issue.  I'm sure it is probably very easy if you know how!!!!  When I tried to reply to Joy I couldn't even get it to let me leave a comment it kept coming up with an error message.  Computers are wonderful when things go well but sheer hell when they don't.  I suppose it all boils down to the fact that I have no ide…

Wednesday morning

no luck with this



Yes yesterday we had the full panoply of British weather including a 5 min snow storm.  We had the lot rain, hail, sleet and snow coupled with wind and sunshine.  Don't ask how long it has taken me to get this bit of video from my phone to the computer.  Anyway this morning is freezing cold but sunny at the moment.  
I had another disjointed night so I am up late but I have had enough sleep and I don't feel shattered. Dennie did her stuff but she was feel a bit stressed so we worked together and chatted at the same time.  James made us a lovely sea food risotto for lunch and for supper we had the chicken and chips from the notorious take away and yes I know how bad it is but I don't care.  Once in a while is OK by me.
I have been messing around with face book and have joined the Spinone appreciation society where I have made contact with the owner of my beautiful Basso's dads owner.  What a small world it is.  
Denzil has had another early start but …

Tuesday Morning

Good morning all the weather forecast has said rain rain and more rain this week however it is bright freezing and blowing a gale this morning but knowing how fast the weather can change it is not over until the fat lady sings.
Yesterday for lunch I used up the left over belly pork with the sweet and sour sauce and a nice big pile of rice.  I then had a quick tot up of what the meat had cost me per portion £0.98 anything below a pound per portion has to be good value for money these days so I was pleased.  The man came and fitted Mikes glasses for him yesterday but he was a dog man so he was frankly more interested in Dante and Tubby neither of whom need glasses.
James made us a nice supper of tortillas with an onion and tomato salsa hot with chili and coriander and rashers of crispy bacon.  A dollop of sour cream brought the whole thing together nicely.  
I woke at 4am as usual but have now learned to go back to sleep and I don't seem to be suffering with headaches if I do.  I s…

Monday Morning

Good morning all here we are at the beginning of yet another week. Yesterdays roast belly of pork was a huge success with acres of crispy crackling which is of course the best bit.  I cooked it on a trivet of vegetables which made a wonderful gravy.  I have 4 ribs worth left over so they are going to be put in some sweet and sour sauce which is ready made and in the freezer so that will make a nice easy lunch for us today.  I did some experimental cookery for supper.  I saw, on the internet, an idea of freezing eggs out of their shells then making poached eggs direct from frozen.  Don't bother it doesn't work you loose about half of the egg white to the water and I can poach eggs much better direct from the shells.  Oh well you never know until you try and it did sound like a good idea.  Now I come to think about it freezers have been around for a long time and I am sure someone must have tried this before.  If it worked it would be common knowledge. 
Yesterday was viewing da…

Sunday Morning

Everywhere looks wet with beads of rain clinging to the garden furniture so I guess it rained overnight however it is dry now but still very overcast and pretty chilly.  I spent an age yesterday searching for a photo on the computer but as I have failed to individually name each one do you think I can find it?  I think I may have to set myself a task of spending an hour a day naming photos so that I can find them.  Currently they are divided into years and months but that doesn't help when you can't remember when you took the photo.  This will be a major task as I have in excess of 10K to go through.  Many years ago I dismantled the photo albums and scanned in all our photos which took several months to do.  The originals are in a box in the loft as I couldn't quite bring myself to throw them away.  In the days I did this computers were pretty unstable and frequently crashed so I was always afraid of loosing the lot.
Today I am going to slow roast a big chunk of belly of …

Saturday morning

Good morning all, well it is bright but really cold this morning. Denzil was off to work at the crack of dawn but he should be back around lunch time. I need to do some shopping this morning as this is now a cheese free zone.  I also need to get the laundry underway as the basket is brimming over.  
Yesterday we had some of the diced lamb that came in the meat box it was very nice so far I have found the items of good quality and I may well use this  company again.  I have used Donald Russell before but I found that very expensive.  This meat is of good quality and more reasonable in price and I like the fact that it is all British meat and traceable.  I only bought things which were cheap or on offer as this was a trail run.
I made a big batch of pikelets yesterday as I had plenty of discard from my sourdough starter and rather than throw it away it went into the pan.  I added the salt and bicarbonate and the mixture went mad and I had to get it in the pan quick as the container loo…

Friday morning

I can hardly believe that we have gone past yet another week.  The lovely sunny weather seems to have disappeared and today it is very grey and blowy.  I now have a date for the caravan clearance 17/18 May so I shall be going up to Suffolk for a couple of days and staying in the B&B while I deal with the van.  I am going to be so relieved to get this out of the way.  It has been hanging over me like a big black cloud.  
The dogs next door had me awake during the night with their barking and then I had trouble getting back to sleep.  I finally dosed off at about 3am and slept until now.  Talking of dogs I have been monitoring the Spinone Appreciation branch of Facebook and finally I put a couple of pictures on and have been completely bowled over with the responses.  Not quite viral but close!!!  
Todays lunch is already made I have done lamb with flageolet beans which was done in the slow cooker so all I need to do is heat it up.  The bavette steaks we had for lunch yesterday wer…

Thursday morning

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Lovely sunny day yesterday and the fur babies had a nice time swimming they seem completely immune to cold water.  Denzil was home in time for lunch after his very early start but his shift pattern is all crazy hours so I will have to look to my laurels if I am going to get meals organised.
The meat I ordered arrived at lunch time and was beautifully packed each item gave the history of the animal concerned from date of birth to date of slaughter etc.  talk about traceability.  We had some cumberland sausage from the box for supper and that was most acceptable but not really a good item to judge by.  Today I am going to do the bavette steaks for lunch and that will be a better way to judge.  Flank will be tough but should be tasty and with some nice accompaniment will make a good meal.  
Today the sky is a bit overcast but bright as the cloud is very high.  I have a chiropodist coming to do Mikes feet today. It normally falls to me but occasionally I think a professional is called fo…

Wednesday Morning

Good morning all a nice chilly but sunny one here.  Denzil set off for work at some ungodly hour this morning as he is doing the early shift and Dan howled the walls down because he has got used to Denzil taking him for a walk early in the morning and today he was left behind.  It must be infuriating when you don't understand I'm sure he thought Denzil was just going walking not to work. I usually tell him I am going shopping then he knows he is not coming.  As it is I will have to go shopping today as the staples are running low.  With four adults in the house we get through quite a bit of stuff but at least they are mostly capable of helping out with the chores.  However I feel the weight of responsibility none the less.
I am going to be so relieved once the caravan is dealt with and I can start the hunt for a newer car.  It is going to be difficult to clear it as essentially I don't need any of the contents however I am not prepare to throw everything away.  At the sam…

Tuesday

Well it is only just morning but I have just surfaced.  I have had a couple of really bad nights and last night I was packing up the caravan in my mind which was going over and over things I need to do so sleep was not on the menu.  I finally dosed off at at 5.30 am and the phone has just woken me.  I feel like I could go on sleeping for the rest of the day.  Wouldn't it be nice if the brain had an off switch. Yesterday I took the bull by the horns and set the wheels in motion to get the van cleared and sold and now I am in a bit of a froth trying to get it all sorted out.  It would be really easy if it were on the drive but having it in Suffolk makes matter extra difficult.  Anyway I am sure it will all work out Ok and I am worrying needlessly.  The guy who wants the van is still keen but having family problems and I can't wait forever so I am going ahead with the clearing and organising Sandie to come with me and we are booking the B&B for a couple of nights while we ge…

Monday morning

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day but it was actually pretty cold.  I had a lazy day as lunch was already cooked there was little to do.  The boys suggested a takeaway for supper and I was happy to go along with the idea.  I left them to choose as the biggest treat for me is not having to decide what to have.  They chose Chinese which was lovely. We are absolutely surrounded by takeaways and I think we could eat for month from a different one each day.  Mind you their menus are all the same sort of stuff all the indians have the same menu as do the Chinese.
Last night I put a load of dried flageolet beans in to soak and today they will be pressure cooked cooled and frozen so they are ready when I want them.  I am rubbish at remembering to soak beans overnight so it makes sense to do them in one hit and freeze in portions.  It also means that I have a bit more space in my cupboards.
I have been waiting for a lady who expressed interest in the caravan but she seems to have forgotten abo…

Sunday morning

Good morning all and what a beauty it is lots of lovely sunshine.  Yesterday I made a big pot of mince which did us for lunch as bolognese sauce and today it has become chilli con carne.  It all cooks so nice and quickly in the pressure cooker and as it has a sauté facility you can fry bits first which is great.  That is also acts as a slow cooker makes it very versatile.  
James has just come back from a walk with the dogs and was chatting to one of the neighbours and apparently next door is up for sale.  I just checked it out on Rightmove and there it is for offers in excess of 400K given what they paid for it and the work they have done I cant see them making any profit on the sale.  I'm afraid my nosey gene is in full swing now I really want to know what is going on.
As lunch is all but made I intend to have a really lazy Sunday morning drinking coffee and reading the papers.  It is a long time since I have done that so it will be a real treat.  There are shed loads of things…

Saturday Morning

Good morning all what a day we had yesterday it poured with rain solidly all day and after two lovely spring days it came as quite a disappointment to be back in the grey.  Just to make my life complete I had a terrible night of tossing and turning and not much sleep. Not the best way to start the weekend as this morning I feel like a dish cloth.
Yesterdays menu worked out well and the pork tenderloin stuffed with apricots and wrapped in bacon was very tasty.  With it I served some braised celery, as I had a whole head spare, and also a small hispi cabbage.  For supper we had some tiny veal meat balls and a salsa of avocado tomato and onion heavily dressed with lemon juice and a splash of good olive oil.
On todays menu I have some mince which I intend to make into a sort of bolognese sauce half of which will be for lunch and the other half will have added red beans and shed loads of freshly ground cumin and paprika and I will call it chilli con carne. This is a good way of making wha…

Friday morning

Good morning all well the lovely spring weather has vanished and we are back to wet and windy but the couple of nice days certainly raised the spirits.  The tide was in yesterday when the dogs had their walk so it also included a swim this is the only area where Dan is definitely the champion.  Given the size of his paddles that is no surprise.  Tubby's tiny paws are no match in the water.  
Yesterday I contacted Mark the gardener but sadly he and his partner are no longer doing garden maintenance.  They have moved into hard landscaping which leaves me with a dilemma.  I will have to search out an alternative or do the work myself.  I know that it is too much for me so I don't really have a choice.   I am glad for Mark as his business is flourishing but I am sad for me!!!! 
Mike has some hearing aid people coming today to look at his ears I am a little worried that they will try to sell really expensive aids which Mike is just as unlikely to wear as the ones he currently has.…

Thursday morning

What a lovely day it was yesterday wall to wall sunshine except one shower which caught my washing.  Mikes bedside light had given up the ghost and was making strange vibrations, we decided to not risk a bodged repair and set fire to the house.  So it was a trip to B&Q which is half a mile up the road and there we bought the perfect lamp a sort of mini angle-poise type but guess what the bulb cost more than the lamp.  Anyway Mike is happy and the lamp is just what he wanted so at least we got that bit right.  As we drew up outside the house we noticed our nice new neighbours have the house on the market.  This seems very strange as they have just spent shed loads of money on the property and have been there about 6 months.  I can only surmise that they have either had a stroke of good fortune or some major disaster.  If I see one of them I know that my curiosity will get the better of me.
I still have a couple of loads of washing to get through today and it looks like another goo…

Wednesday morning

Good morning all it is a another chilly but clearish morning.  Yesterday was a hell on wheels morning with lots to do Dennie arrived early and when I told her what had happened to poor Sandie she was in tears remembering her beloved dog and the pain of the loss.  What is it about dogs that really gets to you?  
Denzil and I headed out and hit Aldi which was lovely and quiet for once and we filled a trolley with stuff and headed home.  I had completely forgotten that someone was coming to test Mikes eye sight and it was fortunate that I was here as Mike was totally confused as to what he should do. Apparently he has a lazy eye which needs to be made to work and as such he will need glasses full time not just for reading.  That should be fun given he refuses to wear his hearing aids or do anything else he is told to do for his health.  Anyway they will not be ready for 4-6 weeks so we have a bit of time before battle commences.
By the time we had had lunch of fake pizza made with pitta…

Tuesday Morning

Yesterday was a hard day I was desperate to ring Sandie but she said not to so I didn't.  I hope the funeral went off well and I will be ringing today to check on her and see how she is.  I hope she has cried herself dry which is just what is needed at times like these.  Now in true fashion and as part of life's rich pageant bad things are followed by good and Denzil is starting work on Wednesday.  It will do him good to get back into the swing of work and it will now allow him to look for something more appropriate to his skills.  Because of his absence from the country he has not been entitled to any support other than from the bank of Mum and Dad.  James has loaned him his car to get to and fro so we will not be without transport and the big car is available for dog walking. I know that sounds crazy but all our good dog walks require a car journey first.  
Today is Dennie's day so a bit of a tidy up is required it helps if she can see the surface she is to dust!!!  I t…

Monday Morning

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RIP Yoda
Yesterday I got the most terrible phone call Sandie my great friend was in floods of tears having just lost her beloved dog Yoda.  He died in her arms quite suddenly from what sounds like some sort of stroke and she is devastated.  This I understand only too well as I too lost the love of my life Basso they were puppies together, went to school together and here they are on holiday together.  The staff of the lees court estate are pulling out all the stops and getting the digger out to bury him in his favourite woods.  I wish I could spare her the grief but there is no way round it you just have to suffer.  The pain eases with time and finally you are left with just the good memories but the hole in your heart is always there.

Sunday Morning

And the sun is shining with clear blue skies with not a cloud to be seen.  James is driving back from Hull this morning so I hope this nice weather stretches further than Kent.  
Yesterday was filled with laughter as I had cooked the skate for lunch and the bones, as you know, are cartilaginous and Tubby made short work of them but poor old Dan was utterly confused he couldn't understand why we had given him a pile of cable ties to eat.  He would smell them and that seemed OK but as soon as he got them in his mouth he spat them out and Tubby just sat waiting to munch them.  He looked at Tubby as if he had lost his mind.  Meanwhile the humans were folded in half laughing at the antics. 
My printer is back up and running but the price of printer inks is crazy it is cheaper to buy a new printer.  Anyway I do little printing so they should last a while.  Gone are the days of printing off loads of handouts for students.  
Can you believe it as I have been typing in has come the cloud …

Saturday Morning

Good morning all I'm glad to say that my Amazon problems have all been sorted.  The excess has been couriered away and money refunded to my account so I can now breathe a sigh of relief.  The curtain man came and measured up and now I am waiting between 6 - 8 weeks before they will be ready.  Seeing the fabric in natural light only made me more sure of my choice but sadly I do have expensive taste.  He suggested that a new curtain track would be a good idea as the current one has been there for 30 years so it could do with a change.  Anyway something nice to look forward to.  
Well so much for making menus the fish monger rang to say they had caught some nice skate in the river overnight so I have a couple of wings for lunch today.  For my money I like it poached with beurre noisette and capers and some plain boiled spuds.

I don't know if any of you saw the program on TV called Secret Britain but I had recorded it and watched it as it was centred on Kent.  Well what a laugh t…

Friday morning

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Well it had to happen some time! sitting in my dining room are three Morphy Richards stand mixers.   I ordered one from Amazon as wedding present for a niece and three turned up.  Had I been the one answering the door I could of accepted only one but sadly Mike accepted all three and now I am having to check out the returns policy.  I checked out the site and it seems easy enough so I started to print off the returns labels and the printer packed up after just one label was printed.  It is out of ink and did I have any standing by, no of course not.  Anyway this mornings email has informed me that they will be picking them up some time today.  Apparently they will email me a one hours slot but as yet that email has not arrived.  It is going to cost me to have them collected but they are big boxes and posting them is not an option besides I think it would cost me even more.  Hopefully what looks like a very expensive mistake may not be as bad as I first thought.  Don't ask me how …

Thursday morning

Good morning all the week is flying by and as Joy said I can hardly believe it is Thursday already, time just seems to be flying by.  The weather forecast is grim rain, rain and more rain I think a day in the kitchen is in order.  Yesterdays lunch was interesting it was all odds and ends, a bit of left over pasta some vegetables that were on the blink and a piece of cheese that was ready for the mouse trap and a couple of lonely rashers of bacon.  I sautéed off the bacon with some sad shallots then added some aubergine pepper and courgettes.  From the freezer I got some tomato sauce and in that went and finally when it was all mixed together I grated the cheese on the top and slammed it in the oven to crips up the top.  As luck would have it it was very tasty and very well received.  It was a good way to clear up some things lurking in the fridge before I had to put them in the bin.  Is there anything that doesn't go with pasta?
Today I would like to make a big pot of bolognese s…

Wednesday

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Good morning all I finally got my ironing done and all folded nicely and packed into the basket and into the bottom of the wardrobe out of the way.  As they are now stacked vertically it is easy to pick out the bits you want without disturbing the whole pile.  It takes a while to organise but once done thats it and it has freed up two drawers in my new chest of drawers.  
Now I have to pass on a trick I tried yesterday.  If you have cherry tomatoes to halve it takes ages but with this trick it is one cut of the knife and they are done.  You don't need the plastic container I used a pair of plates and it worked beautifully I cut a whole load for a salad in an instant.  It is such an obvious trick I don't know why it has taken me this long to discover it.
Photo courtesy of google
Today we are expecting visitors from the health service coming to see Mike.  I am a bit ambivalent about their visits as they come, they talk, and nothing changes so it all seems a bit of a waste of ti…

Tuesday morning

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Yesterday went according to plan and I was very restrained in the shop I did however get some lovely beef bones from the butcher which I shared with the dogs.  Tubby has impressive jaw power and made mincemeat of the cow rib Dan took longer but both of them really enjoyed the treat.  The remaining bones went into the pressure cooker to slow cook but one was just too long so it was a case of finding the hacksaw and making it fit.  Anyway I now have a nice nice pot of strong beef stock which just needs to be degreased and then into the freezer in vac bags.  Next will be a nice fish stock which is easier as it only takes 20 minutes.  
In order to pack your shopping they always have a selection of boxes so I chose a plastic basket type box which will take my sheets once they have all been folded correctly.  Yes my folding mania is still going because I do like the results even though it seems a bit of a pain at the time.  Once done it makes life very easy.

These are the paddling pools th…

Monday Morning

Well we have had a strange weekend the early mornings have been gorgeous and sunny then in the later afternoon we have had downpours and yesterday we had thunder and lightening to go with it.
James made it to Hull in good time and is happily playing with his friend who is a computer buff and they are setting up a computer for him.  He is also getting some lessons in exactly how the thing works so that is good news for all of us.
Denzil and I took ourselves to Aldi and treated the family to some really lovely sirloin steaks for lunch.  Today we are off to Faversham to buy coffee, well that is the excuse, we will meet up with Sandi and have a breakfast as well.  No doubt I will be tempted with the cheese counter and the vegetables and fruit are stunning.  I am hoping to get some beef bones from the butcher to make some beef stock for the freezer and now that I have my patented method to store it taking up the minimum of space I can make more without filling the freezer with stock.
My s…

Sunday morning

OMG Apple have had a big update and now I have to put in passwords for everything and can I remember them? of course not so I am spending hours changing passwords to something I can remember and using the same password for everything with the exception of the banking stuff.  The faster they do away with passwords the better my new phone uses my finger print which is so much simpler.  My sourdough loaf seems to have come to grief overnight so I am going to make it into crackers.  The next loaf I think I will start at night and hope it has risen by morning which will give me a chance to get it in the oven before it collapses.
James is off to visit a friend who lives in Hull so we will be three for a couple of days and Tubby is staying home with us as his friend has cats.  Denzil and I will go and do a bit of shopping as we are all but out of fruit and veg and we have given the eggs a bit of a bashing.  
So far I have nothing planned for lunch and I am hoping for some inspiration while …

Saturday Morning

Good morning all.  It is a lovely sunny day here and at last it is getting a little warmer.  Yesterday I made a whole load of stock for the freezer.  I had bought two tiny chickens in Aldi which I roasted in an already hot oven then left to cool.  I took the majority of the meat off and put the carcasses with the accompanying veg into the pressure cooker and left it to get on with the job.  Once drained off the stock was put in vac bags and just sealed not vacuumed. The bags were then laid flat in the freezer so that they take up as little room as possible.  The chicken I ripped off made some chicken enchiladas for supper and there is enough for a pasta dish for today.  This has to be the easiest way to make a batch of stock ever and to get 8 meals as well can't be bad.
I also have a sourdough loaf which I started off yesterday and will hopefully get into the oven today. I still haven't managed to get the timing right and I sure as hell am not going to make bread in the wee s…

Friday Morning

Well here we are in April can you believe it what happened to March?  Shiona came over yesterday and we went curtain shopping.  I have found the most wonderful shop on a new small industrial estate where they do every conceivable type of curtain you can imagine and all made to order.  The shop assistant was really helpful and I think I have chosen a nice fabric but it is hell to try choosing from so many different types and patterns.  The material I have chosen has a cream background with a small pattern picking out the colours of my new bedding.  As the room is so small I have avoided anything with large patterns as it will swamp the whole room.  Anyway fingers crossed that I have chosen well.  It was nice to have Shiona's input and we had great fun looking at all the innovations in curtaining, how about a blind with a photo of your choice printed on it.  Everywhere we looked we found things we liked.  Anyway the guy is coming round to measure and let me see the curtaining in th…