Saturday, January 09, 2010

Every Crumb Counts

You would all have laughed at me yesterday afternoon. Was checking a cupboard to see if there was room to put the new wine glasses B had bought, and discovered a 500g pack of 'exotic bean mix'. Not THAT exotic, but plenty of variety of dried beans. On the pack it said 'blackeyed beans, red kidney beans, alubia beans, Dutch brown beans, baby lima beans, butterbeans, and haricot beans". The amounts in descending order, the blackeyed beans being the most. So what did Shirley do? Empty the pack onto a large flat plate and sort them all out into individual piles. It took exactly an hour to do this, and the amount seemed to increase as I worked through them, couldn't believe they once fitted into one small pack. But in every case, there were enough individual varieties to use (one at a time) for at least one meal.

When B saw me doing this - and still doing it when he returned from a trip to buy the lagging - he laughed, but could see the sense of it, for had I cooked the beans together (as they were meant to be) all that would have happened would have been a large mixture of 'mixed beans' that would probably have been frozen and later giving a dressing and eaten as a 'bean salad'. Quite boring really. For the moment, each variety of beans has been put into small glass jars, and will be stored in the larder, to be used as and when needed.

Not only that, but took one bean of each variety, laid them well apart on a double thickness of wet kitchen paper, more wet paper over, put this onto a shallow dish, covered in foil and placed on a warm shelf over a radiator. In the hope they one or two (or all) will sprout, and then can think about growing my own!!!

Sorting out a pack of mixed beans was quite enjoyable, almost as good as doing a jigsaw, and possibly something that will keep little hands busy while children are off school. So worth going out and buying a pack. That is, if you can get out.
There are similar packs of 'soup mix' which has assorted beans, rice, pearl barley, lentils included, and this takes even more time to work through. But either packs are a useful mixture if you live alone and wish to have more of a choice without having to buy a whole pack of each. And also have the patience to sort them.

Another 'chore' was clearing up the paper that had been wrapped around the Pannetone. This 'cake' had been eaten during the Twelve Days and was now finished, but a lot of bits of the Pannetone had stuck to the paper, and so I painstakingly peeled the paper from it, and some of what I thought was paper, turned out to be the firmer outside of the cake, so ended up with a pile of large crumbs, quite enough to make a two-portion B & B pudding. These crumbs have been put into a container and will be stored in the freezer until needed.
Anyone else would have just gathered up the paper and thrown it into the bin. Shirley saves every last little crumb. What am I like?

One very annoying thing was when the last pack of stewing steak was taken from the freezer to defrost (to make a big casserole that would be frozen into little ones), and discovered it was minced steak. So had some minced after all. This meant the other day had used the last of the chunks of stewing steak to make the chilli. But meat is meat is meat. Does it really matter? At least can cook up some savoury mince that can then be frozen and later turned into spag.bol or chilli again. Maybe even a biriyani.

Have enough joints of chicken to make a casserole if it is a casserole that B desires, but as he will be leaving here in just one hour, won't have to be concerned about that for at least 10 days. Unless of course Gill comes to visit after all. Won't know until later today.

Other things to do are make marmalade and bread, putting together a new batch of muesli, making more Sticky Toffee Pudding and soft-scoop ice-cream for the freezer, making some Greek yogurt (from EasyYo), and make a fruit cake. Also cook and pack up some individual cooked 'ready-meals', and other things I cannot now remember. Maybe even cook some of those beans!
We were running out of cheese biscuits, so said to B that I would make some while he was away. "Can you make cheese biscuits?" he asked. Many times he has eaten home-made, but probably because I hadn't said they were, believed them to always have been bought.

Last night watched the final episode of Kill it, Cook it, Eat it, where the programme dealt with the cooking and eating offal, not just the offal we are used to (liver, kidney's, tongue etc) but the parts we might normally avoid such as pigs snout and ears (went into brawn), and other unmentionables. When animals kill each other, it is the 'offal' that is eaten first as these contain the most nourishment.
When Beloved was born at home, his umbilical cord was not tied correctly, and he lost some blood through leakage. The doctor told his mother to give him raw liver to suck on to help replace the iron he had lost I suppose. Not that B remembers that part, but he has always loved eating liver.