Saturday, June 25, 2011

Not Long Now...!

After another day long session (finishing 7.30pm - then bed at 10.00pm and only stayed up because I wanted to watch the Andy Murray match), managed to prune all of 2010, so having worked both from the bottom up and the top down, have only the postings in 2009 to sort out. Seems from my blogger details from the time I began had written approx 2000 postings, and over 3000 recipes in the index (that itself only up to March 'o9) so you can see it's been a marathon job 'tidying' it all up.

Unfortunately (or not according to what you hope to read) many of the past postings contain only recipe or two, sometimes only one. Yet others still remain with few or no recipes but with plenty of hints and tips, and am just hoping that everyone is happy with this.

What did surprise me (although suppose it shouldn't considering how long I've been writing) is that a lot of what I say now has been said in the past. All that guff yesterday about vegetarian food for animals I found was in one of the earlier postings of 2010. Also a lot of hints and tips had been given again over the years. Perhaps more recently because they had disappeared, but now they are back again may have to 'fine tune' some of the postings to remove duplicates.

There was one posting on 29/04/10 (Stretching the Pennies) that I kept in as it seemed as though it might be useful in the light of some comments sent in recently. As prices continue to rise, there will be similar postings given on how to save, for as prices go up and up, there will be more need to keep our payments going down and down.

Thanks for letting us know how far your £5 went Woozy, and because you mentioned you like pikelets, find the two recipes for making these have been kept on the site. One recipe uses a bread mix, the other is made from scratch, but neither need kneading and the mixture does make a lot (once baked surplus pikelets can be frozen).
Did buy some 'pikelet rings' to cook them (in a large frying pan), but they are smaller than the 'pikes' we buy, so suggest either using metal scone cutters, or make your own rings with thick cardboard that has been covered with a double layer of foil. These work just as well as the proper ones.

Being faced with a huge bill for car repairs does tend to focus our attention on to how the food budget often has to cope with bills like that. Yet, it is surprising how much can be made from food we already have in store, and why it IS so important that all of us - from time to time - should 'stocktake'. Once full lists have been made, as long as we are prepared to mark off what is removed, and put down what is replaced, then no further stock-taking needs to be done as we then always have a full record of what we have each day.
I tend to write a tick for each can of beans, then cross through (to make an 'X') when used, perhaps the easier way is to write down the total number of cans of beans in my larder (say 173 - just joking), and cross that out and write the amount left at the side, in ever decreasing numbers as they go down.

As it does seem that it IS only certain processed foods that cause my tummy upsets Urbanfarmgirl, then perhaps this is the same with your husband, but if he finds ALL foods upset him, then perhaps a check-up is called for. Dyspepsia can lead to worse problems if not dealt with early enough (this I say after reading about it recently in the paper). Gastric ulcers too can give lot of pain, and certain foods have to be avoided.

Pleased to read that you also role play MimsyS, so I'm not mad after all! And I bet you find it works and is a very enjoyable way to get work done that you wouldn't enjoy as 'you'!

Our water butt has a tap near the bottom Les, and an overflow tap at the top to drain surplus into the drain next to it. As the house we live in (albeit the bottom part only) all the guttering around the expanse of roof tends to run most of the rain water into the butt, so it is rarely empty. Certainly not this year. Day after day it rains. It is raining now. Only April was warm and sunny, and not a lot of outdoor plants needed watering then. We also have mains tap at the side of our greenhouse (avoid using that if possible as we have water meter), and plenty of buckets, and empty (large) containers strategically placed around the garden that we can empty in to some of the containers near by. Still have to carry water to some of them though.

Finding quite a few photos on this site, decided to keep those that might be useful. Deleted those that showed our kitchen in Leeds, and also the rooms in the apartment we live now. They had little to do with food, so why keep them? Still have them in my 'photo file' so can be replaced if necessary.
What I did keep were the photos of the several 'home-made' Christmas decorations, gift boxes, and gifts that cn be made as it's far easier to work out 'how to do' when seeing them, rather than relying on just the instructions.

By tomorrow my weight loss should have reached six and a half stone! So am hoping very much that I will be able to totter around Aldi (using one or two sticks) to find out if they have better bargains than the larger stores. They may even have a wheel chair that can be borrowed. Morrison's have a 'scooter' they lend out, but as ever, it is first come first served. I do not wish to have to go to the expense of having to buy a folding scooter or even a folding wheelchair. My aim is to do without either.

Have to say that losing weight at speed does not do much for my appearance. If I'd done this when in my forties, possibly would have 'tightened' up as I went. Now I look more and more like a deflated balloon. All stretch and no substance! Have a feeling that if wear a sleeveless top and then flap my arms I will look like a manta ray (or even worse - a bat) and end up flying along the street. Well, one way to get there without walking! And not putting myself down again (as Les seems to think I do), more joking about what happens when we leave it too late in life to start shrinking.
Men don't usually have this problem - due to all the heavy things they regularly lift (like bar-bells in gyms and pint mugs in pubs). All their weight seem to go to their bellies (beer usually the cause of this).
As what they now call 'bingo-wings' always appear on ladies who are 'fully-fronted', anyone well endowed would be advised to start doing exercises to tone up those arms before it is too late. Nature may give us what may seem to be a splendid gift at the time, but like many gifts, once the wrapping is off and time has taken its toll, if we don't look after it properly we are left with something very tatty that might - or might not - still work.

Why is it that such wisdom is only discovered once we are too old for it to matter? Sometimes life is just not fair. Yet, when we were much younger, our parents were there to give us good advice - so why didn't we listen? It was ever thus, always has been and always will be.

The 'A' key on my keyboard keeps sticking, not sure why. This reminds me of when the 'E' broke off on my very old typewriter and every thing I wrote had to be worded it so that no 'e' needed to be used. Surprisingly it wasn't that difficult (this last sentence has no 'e'e in it). Had I said "Eek! it wasn't easy to write everything without an 'e' ...! that would have 7 'e's'.
Just let us hope I don't now have to do without using the 'a' key. Nevertheless, a challenge that might be worth the attempt if I have nothing better to do.

Today will be concentrating on sorting out 2009 - this having the dreaded index, and to try and bring back as much as possible will probably have to re-write each one, putting 2 recipes on one line (the second in a different colour) to see if that gives me more 'room'. Obviously it will, but so far it doesn't seem to have made any difference. Perhaps once published that is that, and only by deleting a complete posting does it give more space. As all the index should still be in my document file, can always write the missing ones up, but that won't keep the whole lot all together.
Let us hope that canny readers have copied the few indexes (yes I know that should be 'indices' but am not educated like some) that were there (March 2009) before they began being deleted. For that matter is the plural of octopus, octopusses, octopods or octopi? And do I even care?

Am really looking forward to the completion of 'pruning'. It's been a hard slog, almost what you might call true tunnel vision as I have been looking at nothing but the screen for hours on end. But now - nearly a the end - feel it will be a job well done, despite the possibility of having removed something that should have stayed. But as I keep telling myself, as it couldn't be found to be read in the first place, no-one is likely to realise that. At least am hoping a lot more is back that is worth the reading.

What will I do with my 'spare time' once I have departed this seat? Probably start working on a new challenge. The thought crossed my mind that I could start 'costing' again, and work out the difference in 'home-made' re 'bought'. Not always easy, as one product can be bought at very low price (let's say marmalade) yet a good quality one be very expensive indeed. We have to realise that 'home-made' is normally of excellent quality, so although we could buy a cheap form, by spending no more than a few pennies (or perhaps not even that) we can make much the same and give our families 'the best' (and without those dreaded additives and preservatives that are making so many of us ill these days). Know which makes sense.

As ever this does take more of our time, and the lucky few are those who perhaps are - at the moment - out of a job or not working for some reason, for then we have all the time in the world. Like it used to be in the old days. Certainly with nothing on TV at the moment but tennis, this has freed me from being chained to the 'goggle box', and left me with time to do the 'pruning', and although there have been progs. I might have enjoyed, find I'm not missing these either. Have even missed a soap or two (having to lie down due to stomach pains), and can (suppose) always catch up with the omnibus edition (but not really bothered to do that).

Having mentioned the 'craft' photos and Christmas. Despite this being only the start of summer, think I'm right in believing we've had the longest day and the nights are already starting to 'draw in'. Not sure why, but they seem to draw in a lot faster than they went out. So perhaps not a bad idea to start preparing for some of the winter 'festivities'.

Was thinking last night about work I did as a 'food stylist' with a photographer in Manchester. He was given a Food Hamper (as sold by firms that provide Christmas Hampers - pay a bit each week and come Christmas all the food we need should be delivered).
Being able to work with all the food in the hamper proved to me that probably only half would be needed anyway. There was far too much, even though some could be stored (although now - with rising prices - if the Hamper price stays as advertised, then it is unlikely the foods it contains will be recently bought. So their shelf-life might be short. As these are expected to be eaten over the festive season, probably doesn't matter. But if there is surplus, then there might be a problem).
As always, it is the convenience of having it all provided for us when time is short, and because these Hampers are paid for in dribs and drabs, we often don't notice how much the true cost is. Like twice how much it would cost us to buy much the same for ourselves. And a lot less if we kept to only the things we would really need at that time.

Point I'm trying to make is it is WE who should decide exactly what we want to serve over the Twelve Days and we can start working this out now. Write another list (add to it when we find we have forgotten something). Think it's about six months to Christmas, so working on buying just one packet, jar or can a week to hide away in a 'Christmas Cupboard' should give us enough to see us through this financially bleak time. Starting now also gives us the chance to buy at the lowest price when 'on offer'.

Preparing some decorations could now be done, or at least gathering together 'the makings' (including glue, staples, scissors etc) so that everything is to hand when needed. We can start keeping the brightly coloured grocery 'flyers' that come through our letterbox - these can turn into great decorations. Once we have foraged all the berries we need, we can then start hunting for pine-cones. No end to what is 'out there' that we can use for decoration.

Even a simple chicken can look festive when the skin is 'gilded' (brushing with egg and a bit of HP sauce prior to finishing roasting). Little 'cuffs' made out of baking parchment (or even kitchen paper/foil), can be made to put on the tips of the leg bones. A bit of parsley stuffed into the cavity, the bird put on a big platter, satsuma shells placed around it, alternated with bacon rolls and small sausages (twist full size bangers in half or even three), and this can look pretty impressive. Who needs a turkey?
We don't have to spend more money to enjoy Christmas. Follow the Shirley way and we could end up spending less than a normal week's budget.

Will love you and leave you for today so that I have time to finish the 'prunings'. Once this is done a whole new 'Goode life' will begin. New challenges, different approaches, more hints, tips and explanations. Recipes probably only by request, unless have myself 'invented' a new dish worth sharing.
Will hope to put up more photos as a 'picture is worth a thousand words' and the less words I write the better it seems when it comes to blogger allowing them to remain.

Hope as many as possible will join me over the weekend, and - as always - looking forward to your comments, so keep them coming.