Monday, July 25, 2011

Getting it Sorted

Sorry about the problem with yesterday's publication. It appears it did get published after all, but with wide gaps between paragraphs. Don't know why that happened. When I pressed 'published' the comp just 'froze'. Left it for ages and it still was 'stuck', so in the end had to switch it off. When going back to read the blog it showed nothing new had been published that day and the 'draft' showed only the first couple of paras. Scrolled down as far as poss - nothing appeared, so assumed the rest had been wiped out. Hence the additional few words I added to the draft which did publish. It came up on 'view blog' so knew that was OK but could read nothing else so didn't scroll down further to check.
Perhaps the prob was with my comp, not blogger. But if so this shouldn't have cause such wide gaps. If the same thing happens today (or another day), if I haven't signed off in the usual way, then scroll down to check if there is something else lower down.

At least don't have to write it out all again, not that I had thought of anything else to write about today due to this. So it will be just thoughts as they come into my mind.

Watched Hugh F.W's cookery repeat on one of the digi channels. Coincidentally he was discussing 'lunchbox food', all home-made of course, and very inspiring. Also three ways to make a cheese sarnie (three different cooks sampling each others) again making my mouth water. His ideas for different hummous also will be used in the Goode kitchen.
There was a bit in the trade mag as to how people are now buying a lot more mackerel thanks to H.F.W's promotion of these, followed by saying H.F.W was concerned that if people bought too much mackerel this would limit the stocks in the sea. Like any 'sustained' fish - leading to shortages and higher prices.

Plenty more that could have been repeated about 'lunchbox food' as read in the trade mag. Seems that even breakfast foods (such as porridge) are now being packed for those who have an early start at the office. Almost any of the foods that H.F.W demonstrated that can be made at home seem available in small packs to buy to add to your lunchbox. Some bread is now being marketed as 'sandwich wraps' and 'sandwich thins' so at least this might show the return of thin-sliced bread, and if at the same price as the 'medium' this should then give us more slices per loaf. At least one silver lining to a cloud.

Thanks Les for telling me about zooming in and out using the control key (took me ages to find it!!) and the mouse. Tried it and it works. Just hope I can remember what to do when next needed. At one time I wanted to know how to add 'accents' to certain letters in French, German and other 'foreign' words. But soon forgotten. Know I have to use the number pad at the side of the keyboard, but not sure which other key has to be used with them. Appreciate a reminder. Must keep a little note-book to write things down that need remembering.

Thanks also for the other comments. Seems that reduced items can be found in supermarkets at varying times and days of the weeks. Usually late afternoons at the end of the week and perhaps early on a Monday. Thus is the one problem with on-line shopping, although we can still get plenty of 'offers', there are no foods sent that are close enough to 'use-by' date to warrant a reduction, although have to say I have more than once had an item requested in the normal way, but is being discontinued and sold to me at an incredibly low price. Remember once ordering a good variety of olives. Think I was only charged 5p for the can (the rsp being something like £1.50).

Regarding Les' comment re the yeast/salt when making bread. Although salt does affect yeast, as long as the ingredients are added to the flour and then worked together - without being left to stand for any length of time - doubt it matters very much. After all - there is salt included in bought bread mixes with also the yeast (all we have to add is liquid). Some mixes have the yeast wrapped separately. So maybe it is more the balance of yeast to salt that matters most.

The mention of the food that Gill brings (as 'freebies' ) being used to make meals while she is here, is not really practical. Although she does give me several items that she thinks I can find a use for (taken from the 'reduction shelf' in the supermarket), these are usually really strange thinks like Yam flour, and packets of Polish Beetroot soup, and other 'ethnic' products that I really have to read up on before I find a use for them.
The other foods she brings are what she says she will eat herself - perhaps different fruits for breakfast - and other items that need to be kept in the fridge, but she rarely eats any of them and always takes them back with her. Dare say I could use some of them, but have - up till now - that had not occurred to be, as always thought of them as 'hers' not 'mine'.

Did very well yesterday regarding tidying up. Very little to do today other than more cooking. Having cooked a double sized fruit cake - in a deep, oblong tray - will be able to feed it with a bit of booze and then wrap half to keep for later months. Doubt it will be allowed to be stored until Christmas, but as time moves so fast these days, maybe B will forget we have it and be satisfied with munching his way through the half that will be available from tomorrow onwards.

Don't really know why I fret so much about all the 'convenience' foods on the market. We are all free to buy what we want when we want. It's just that as prices continue to rise, more and more new 'expensive for what we get' products keep appearing on the shelves. I can't get the cheese 'sticks' out of my mind. Expecting people to buy packs of 20g of cheese when it is obviously so much cheaper if we bought the cheese in a block and cut this amount off ourselves. Or bottled water when tap water is (almost) free. Honestly believe that the younger folk (that means anyone aged 40 or less), are so brainwashed into believing that they don't now need to know how to prepare any foods 'from scratch', so they never get the chance to realise that it can be SO much cheaper when they do it themselves. Maybe they have grown up in a home where their mother didn't cook either, and that cooking is something so 'old fashioned' that it is not needed to be done these days.

Understandable in a way because with other necessary parts of our domestic life, we tend to now always buy rather than make. In my youth 'woollies' were always hand-knitted or crocheted, and a 'little lady round the corner' would run up a dress for my mother from material she had bought.
Even in the '60's, myself would knit all the children's (and B's) jumpers, and pullovers, and certainly make the baby clothes, and also the dresses for the girls as they grew older. Also making my own clothes. Obviously did buy clothes (often from a mail order catalogue because it spread the cost over 20 weeks), but remember well my teenage daughter several long dresses for her to wear when dancing. By then had bought a knitting machine as it took far longer to knit adult sized 'woollies' by hand than it did for the children. Bit it still worked out cheaper than buying the ready-made over the counter.

The most sewing I do these days is either a bit of embroidery or running up cushion covers on the sewing machine. Maybe a bit of patchwork and turning up the hems and gathering in the waists of my clothes now that I have lost so much weight. Would never dream of buying new clothes when the 'old' ones still have plenty of life left in them. If I was younger perhaps. But that was then and this is now. Money can normally be spent only once, and it's up to us to make sure that what we buy will give us the best return. Food comes high on that list, and even then we have to make the right decisions. Choosing spend our money on one expensive ingredient makes little sense when we can spend the same buying several cheaper foods that together could probably make more than one complete meal for the whole family. Not that I am suggesting we should always buy the cheapest of everything. Ideally, keep a balance - spending less on some things (maybe growing our own salads for instance), then use the money saved to buy something that really does need to be 'quality'. You will not be surprised I'm thinking about purchasing the best meats. Not as daft as it sounds - the better the age and quality of the meat (braising/stewing cuts being the cheapest), the better and more pronounced the flavour, so we don't need to use as much of it as a recipe might suggest.

Yesterday gave the fridge side of Boris a good sort-out. Seem to have accumulated several tubs of cream cheese (most of them low-fat) and so far unopened. Pleased to see all had a use-by date was towards the end of this year - September being the earliest. Didn't realise these had such a long 'shelf-life'.
There were a few very dried-up pieces of hard cheese at the back of one of the shelves. Will be able to grate these up using the smallest grater to make a 'Parmesan' type of fine cheese to sprinkle over pasta and add to other dishes. Certainly will have more flavour than Parmesan - as never have found this to be worth its money when it comes to 'taste'.

Because Gill arrives mid morning tomorrow, prefer to start my chores as soon as possible, so am taking a week of writing my blog to enable me to concentrate on my friend (and her needs!). Will be checking my emails every day and if any reader does have an urgent query, will find time to reply to it. Otherwise will be absent from your screens until a week from today.
Take this time off (from reading the blog) and deliberately use it do something 'useful. Myself start today by filling a few containers with soil and sowing more radish and beetroot seeds, plus another tray of Mixed Salad Leaves. Won't take more than 15 minutes to do the lot (estimating that's probably how long it takes to read this blog), and when grown these should save me £££s. So hope that when I return, you too will be able to show us all just how the time saved has proved profitable. Almost talking myself out of writing this blog just to give you extra time to 'play with'.

Enjoy your week, and am already looking forward to next Monday when 'I'll be back!'. See you then.