Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Boys Joys

This week I have been giving my husband great pleasure plying him with experimental desserts. He does love his puddings, as do most men. More, more, more he is pleading. And heck! It's only Tuesday. By the end of the week he might even be persuaded to buy me a dishwasher.
The recipes today are similar only as to ingredients, but quite different when it comes to the eating. Also extremely easy to make. Here goes:

Caribbean Comfort Food:
butter, muscovados sugar, bananas, rum
In a small frying pan put a knob of butter and 1 rounded tblsp of muscovados sugar. Heat gently until the sugar is dissolving. Peel and cut the banana across in half, then cut the halves through the middle to make four long pieces. Put these into the butter syrup, turn and heat through. Finally add a dash of rum. Ignite if you wish. Serve in a shallow dish with the syrup poured over and a good dollop of cream. Add more bananas if you wish to feed more than one.

Lick the Plate Treacle Mousse:
1 170g tin of evaporated milk, chilled
150g muscovados sugar
banana and cream to serve
Put the evaporated milk into a bowl with the sugar and whip until very thick. This will take about 6-10 minutes. Pour into a shallow 8" buttered dish and bake at 200C, 300F etc for 10 minutes. It will have risen slightly and be firm on top. Leave to get cold and chill before serving with sliced bananas and cream. This is so incredibly rich it could serve at least four to six people.
Note: As I left the kitchen yesterday, I looked back to find my husband licking his plate, hence the name!
Tip: The Treacle Mousse I feel has a lot more potential - maybe beating in an egg yolk and folding in the beaten white before baking might make it lighter? Could some be used as-is (without baking) as a pouring sauce? Could it freeze to make ice-cream? Have a go yourself and see what you come up with.

It occured to me last night that a mention of the financial side of our Goode Life might help to visualise how we cope as I know people do say "well, it's alright for her, she must be rolling in it, all that TV work." Not true. We live in an Edwardian house with a small garden, all kept going on very nearly a basic state pension (with an additonal 35p a week because I did pay Nat. Ins. during the few TV years). After retiring, my husband gave me control of the household affairs as I am so better at it than he is (modesty is not my middle name) and, as he said, all the less for him to worry about. But I enjoy any challenge. With some devious chat I managed to get the council tax down one band, and also had a water meter installed (made a GREAT saving there), A dual fuel package for pensioners was signed for because then we never need to worry about how much fuel we use. The yearly charge (I pay by D.D. each month) differs according to how many rooms and how many people in the house. However, because of the high price of fuel, the price has risen every year and especially this last year. When we first signed on it cost us less than half of what we had been paying about 12 years ago, but over the years has doubled so we are back to square one.
On average, after paying all the household bills, the money left, which is around £200 a month, often less, has to cover food, presents, (we have four children and nine grandchildren), clothes, hairdresser (my one luxury) , postage stamps, computer server costs, phone bills, and - up to mid-September, the running costs of my own (20 year old) car. Sadly, at MOT time, this needed so much repair that I could not afford, it has now gone for scrap. But this does means an additional £10 a month in the kitty. On the good side, once a year the pension appears twice on my bank statement and this is a real bonus. We also get a fuel allowance from the Government, plus a meagre £10 extra at Xmas. What would that be worth if it kept pace with inflation I wonder?

For pocket money, my husband works a couple of days a week delivering flowers for a florist, and this money pays for his holidays. As part of the able crew, usually as Watchleader, he sails with the Jubilee Sailing Trust - who have two Tall Ships designed to carry disabled crew. Other costs are running his (also very old) car which unfortunately I can't drive because i can't squeeze behind the wheel), paying for the papers (cheaper to buy from the shop than have them delivered), subscribing to a wine club (yes, a luxury but why not?), and to a gym. And anything else he fancies I suppose. Needless to say, neither of us smoke.

So that's us, warts and all. Any questions?