Sunday, November 14, 2010

Writing Thing Down - Helps a Lot!

Now then, with the thoughts of having to report back to you, decided I had better be a bit more active yesterday so took an old envelope and began writing down things done. Began the morning with putting 6 chicken portions (4 drumsticks, two thighs) a carrot, rib of celery and an onion, all roughly chopped into quarters, three bay leaves and two pints of water into a saucepan. Below you see the photo of the food AND the saucepan.

Then I began to clear the kitchen table. Did take a photo of the mess it was in, but then deleted it for was too ashamed for you to see it. The fact there were things like a volume of Shakespeare perched on the top of a box of eggs, and three empty (but clean) jam jars, an empty tub of margarine, three different sized baking tins, and umpteen clean different sized bowls stacked hither and thither gives you an idea of what it looked like (and that was only the tip of the ice-berg).
But 'clean kitchen table was on my list' and it was done (you will see a photo of this later), but even then had to use some space to 'get on with what I was doing'.

Took the Christmas Cake (still wrapped in foil on the kitchen table - at least what was left of it) and neatly cut it into fingers and boxed them up for B to eat with his cheese.
Then made a batch of EasyYo yogurt (peaches and cream flavour). When that was put to one side to 'cook', removed the eggs from their box and put them into a basket (they look prettier that way).
Then took a large empty coffee jar (I save these for storage containers) and decanted three packs of crystallised ginger into it. B LOVES ginger, so make sure I have enough for both him to nibble and me to cook with.

Two bowls of garden apples were sorted, the grottier ones put on top to use first, then decided to re-fill all the pepper pots with peppercorns. I tend to use special peppercorns as these have a really good flavour (buy them from Lakeland). Quite a few left in the pack so found an empty spice jar and put them into that (tucking in the name from the tag so that B would know it wasn't cinnamon!

By then it was 12.50 - and not a bad morning's work considering I hadn't begun until just after 11.oo. Decided it was time for my cuppa soup, so took it into the living room, sat down and read the new TV supplement, marked off what I wanted to watch this coming week, noticed with great annoyance that there is a footie match on one day, England playing someone else, and this coincided with at least 5 other programmes that I want to watch, so am hoping I can persuade him to walk down to our local pub where they show football matches on a large TV screen.

Needless to say I nodded off!!! It was 3.00 before I roused myself and went back into the kitchen to turn off the heat under the chicken, strain off the liquid into another saucepan to boil and reduce down to one pint.
The veggies were removed (to be added to a soup), and the chicken flesh carefully picked from the bones.
Despite the portions being quite small, managed to remove about 10oz of flesh, which - with other ingredients could be enough to make a pie for a family of three.

As Beloved had fried himself some bacon for breakfast and left the pan on the hob with a little bacon fat still in it, decided to add the couple of teaspoons of duck fat saved and add to it. Removed the crusts from one slice of toasting bread, then cut the slice into cubes and browned them off in the hot fat to make 'croutons'. After sampling them (about six in truth for they had a wonderful flavour) took a photo of the rest. As seen below.

Beloved had taken himself off for the day to Fleetwood as he needed some special shoes for sailing, asking me if I'd like to go to, but as I'd already decided this was to be the day to clear up, let him go off by himself. He said he didn't want much supper, maybe just soup, so decided to make him some chicken noodle soup, using one of the 10p packs of Tesco noodles, making it up with the chicken flavour sachet in the pack and some of the home-made chicken stock instead of just water. Shredded up about a third of the cooked chicken scraps (tearing the largest pieces apart along the grain with a fork - this worked well) and added these to the soup with extra stock. Beloved reheated it when he got in at nearly 5.00pm (not having bought shoes, they did have two pairs, one too small, the other too large, so that was a wasted journey), and he really did enjoy his soup, especially the croutons. He thought I had made a special effort for him making these, but made these only because I realised that one slice turned into croutons was cheaper (as far as the price of bread goes) and also looked a lot more than it was, than B toasting himself two slices of bread - spread thickly with butter - to eat with the soup.

After all that was done, then went into the conservatory to pot up the remaining hyacinth bulbs (about 6 containers in all, and am Amaryllis. B had already brought me in a box of compost, so didn't have to go out in the cold to fetch this.
Noticed when in the conservatory that all of a sudden it looked larger, all because that B had cut down our large magnolia tree to ground level -when in fact all it needed was a good prune - but now more light floods in from south facing end of the conservatory (maybe leading to us having to fit blinds next summer), and our next door neighbour has a much larger magnolia that can easily be seen over the fence, and although beautiful when im flower, our tree kept banging on the glass and the window-cleaners have never been able to clean the glass behind it since we moved in, so perhaps best in the long run.

After clearing the kitchen table, although not quite clear as had to leave the bowl of citrus fruit and the basket of eggs still there as had nowhere else to put them, thought it worth a photo (it may never be as clear again for weeks) and put my 'cooking clock' there to show the time labour was completed (this shows 17 as the hour - an hour later than it really was as I can't find out how to put the hour back - and should have shown 16 - which is 4.00pm in old money - if you can sort out what I mean. You can also see the old envelope on which I had written all the things done that day.

Having been in the kitchen this morning, can safely say the table is messy again, B having left his supper plates, glasses and utensils, plus the boxes of Christmas Cake, and several other bits and bobs, but at least nothing that will take time to clear, so hopefully this will leave me room to do more cooking this morning.