Monday, October 10, 2011

Nothing Much New...

A VERY late start this morning as was having lovely dreams so went back to bed to carry on dreaming some more. Suffice to say most of it was set in Morrisons supermarket where I was on their scooter (eventually as someone kept getting their first in all my dreams) with a store representative walking by my side so that I could ask loads of questions. Which I kept doing. Altogether had a lovely time! Pity it wasn't real.

The more weight we gain the less we see the difference when we lose it - this applies only to us older folk, usually women. When young the skins tightens, old skins just - sags! However, for the first time since losing my six stones can now see a difference and today, tomorrow and the rest of this week will see me steadily 'taking in' most of my garments in the hope my 'now large' can be turned into my 'smalls' again. Plus removing about 8 inches of elastic from the waist of my skirts.
Gill (who phoned yesterday) said I must go out and buy a whole new wardrobe (which she does regularly), but then (to me) it is a sheer waste of money if my clothes (still in good condition) cannot be made-over to wear again. They used to do that in the old days, so why not now? Perhaps - when/if I lose another stone, then it might be worth buying something 'new' for summer. With winter coming, the larger clothes I have the better, then can wear them in layers to keep warm.

So looks like this week will be less cooking and a lot of sewing - some of the latter I can do whilst watching TV so not such a hardship.
Yesterday got a speedy supper for B by first boiling some sliced carrot, chunks of potato and parsnip in water, then putting them in a pan with some fried onion and a box of thawed) beef rib trim that I had cooked recently. Added some very rich and jellied beef stock (saved when cooking all that beef in one go in the crock-pot) and a little 'casserole mix' to thicken, then simmered it on. It made quite a lot, so what is left will today be cut up into smaller chunks and turned into 'Cornish' pasties - which B can eat with a salad, and any remaining gravy and bits and bobs will be whizzed together to make a thick beef soup for me (I might even have a pasty as well).
So that's today's supper sorted and will leave me free to start the sewing.

As you say Scarlet, a lot of these 'new' hints and tips that keep appearing in magazines, on TV progs, and (presumably in other blogs, although I rarely read them), are not new at all. There is really nothing new when it comes to saving both time and money. It's all been done before, maybe in a slightly different way (after all today we do have some labour saving appliances that our grandparents didn't have) but the reason behind things - they whys and wherefores - are the same.
So many times am watching a TV cookery programme and a youngish chef (of the celebrity level) will show us a good 'tip' they have professed to worked out themselves and there is me squeaking "I've been doing that for YEARS'.

Did manage to watch the first half of the "...Bake Off" Masterclass Urbanfarmgirl. If I can find time can watch the second part on iPlayer, but am sure it will be repeated late at night on Beeb 1 (or even daytime weekend - as was the original prog). They are doing more than one of these Masterclasses, so these should keep us contented for a while. Soon, I suppose, they will be putting on lots of programmes on how to make our own Christmas presents, and also about Cooking for Christmas.

Sorry to hear about your knee Ciao, you do need to rest as much as possible. Have to say my 'advance' measuring out of flour, butter, sugar etc has been a great help to me (who suffers from severe backache when standing) as this can be done whilst sitting at the kitchen table, then also making the cakes done also sitting down. I try and sit as much as possible whilst in the kitchen (sometimes even when doing the washing up, and also at the hob if there is a need to 'stand and stir' (in my case sit and stir).

Like the idea of using up the feta (and kale) making the Spanakopita Eileen. Regarding the kale, chorizo and potato soup with an example of how my mind works. Chorizo is a spiced sausage made from pork with garlic and paprika, so perhaps 'ordinary' pork sausages could be cooked, these (when cold) chopped and fried with plenty of paprika and some garlic, then use this instead of chorizo. OR use finely chopped bacon also fried with some paprika and garlic in place of the chorizo.
With many food items starting basically the same (pork in sausages etc) if we look up on the Internet how to make, we can then combine the 'basic' with the other ingredients to end up with a flavour that is very similar to the real thing, even if it doesn't end up looking as it should. Just a thought.

The reason for frying the whole cardamom pods Cheesepare is they give the flavour without the seeds making the dish look 'flecked'. More a matter of appearance than anything else, so by all means use only the seeds if you wish, although (a money-saving tip coming up here) you could always remove the seeds from the cooked cardamom pods and use them in something else later?

Thing to remember Wen, about making sandwiches with fillings that will freeze is to use only filling that will freeze satisfactorily in their own right. So cooked meats are fine, eggs are not (although some people have found a thick egg mayonnaise does work). Any food with a high water content (such as lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes etc) should not be frozen. Salads can be prepared the night before, chilled in the fridge and taken to work with the sarnies if you wish.
My favourite choice of fillings would be corned beef; Spam; ham; roast beef; roast chicken or turkey; tuna, sardines, pilchards or canned salmon; cheese (any hard or cream cheese),;and any of the fish and meat pastes, spreads or pates. All of course spread (in my case) on buttered bread - the slices being be either white, brown or granary - and why not sandwich the fillings between one slice of white and one slice of brown?
Relishes such as ketchup, brown sauce, pickles, mustard, horseradish sauce....can be spread on the bread prior to adding chosen meat, and canned fish also freezes well when blended with a little seasoned mayo or tartare sauce.
Once made, wrap sarnies in cling-film and remember to label, then over-wrap in a freezer bag so as much air as possible has been removed, then aim to use the sarnies within a month of using. They can be taken from the freezer in the morning before work and should have thawed out by lunchtime. Frozen sarnies also help to keep other things in a lunch-box chilled such as yogurts, drinks etc., which is very useful during warm summer days.

Although traditional cooking for the Orientals, the Chinese and Thai cooking is fairly 'new to us'. and a supplement with the recent trade mag highlights this. Under a piece entitled 'Shoppers Behaviour', it seems that "Oriental meals have been increasing in popularity with 24M more servings in the last 2 years, with penetration reaching 68% of households buying on average 5 times a year. Shoppers habitually buy their favourites, but are open to new flavours if recipes and instructions are clearly communicated."
A little pie graph shows that 22$ of us are non-eaters of Chinese/Thai Food, and 78% eat Chinese/Thai Food anywhere, while 55% (presumably of the latter) cook these dishes at home.

Have to say that cooking Oriental dishes IS a very easy and speedy way to cook, making the most of a few meat, fish and vegetables that we might have, so we can afford to buy the different sauces instead of trying to make them ourselves. There are some new flavours about to appear on the shelves, so watch out for Wasabi Plum, Chilli Coconut, and Spicy Satay. As well as both Thai Green and Red Curry pastes, there is also a new kid on the block: Laksa Curry Paste. My mouth is watering even just thinking about dishes that I can't wait to cook. But not today. Sewing comes first (with Cornish Pasties a close second).

Glued to the small screen yesterday - watching two episodes of Downton Abbey (having missed last weeks, so needed to watch the repeat), am still confounded that the owners of the house have only part of the library to relax in. We have seen only a few of the other reception rooms used as bedrooms, yet when we view the outside of the house (Highclere House in real life), it is so large that it must have enough rooms to house a whole army AND leave room for the residents. Yet, my memory takes me back to a smaller 'stately home', this being Ripley Castle near Harrogate. Visited this many times, both able to see the rooms open to the public and those that were not (because I used to make marmalade for them, so was taken for a wander), and have to say the Castle looks a lot larger from the outside than the rooms it appears to have within (and they were not that big). Maybe a lot of space is taken up by servants quarters (being a lot more servants in the old days).
But who cares, I just love the series and long may it continue. Had to miss the last 15 minutes as B wanted to watch a film on another channel, but can catch up when I watch the repeat next Sunday.

This morning will see me in my bedroom, with a large wicker basket at my side in which I will be throwing all my clothes that need to be altered. This afternoon sees me starting the sewing, fitting in making the pasties and baking them for supper. It's good to have something 'useful' to do on this wet miserable day. But first must find my needles and thread!!

Hope you enjoy this start of a new week (Monday is always my favourite day), and we can all get together again tomorrow. See you then.