Thursday, October 06, 2011

Old or New?

Watching Celebrity Masterchef' the other day (2.15 BBC 1), was so pleased to see (and the judges also very surprised) that Ruth Goodman's 'historical' dishes were given the thumbs up. Who would have believed Bedfordshire Clangers and an Apple and Quince Pie (with a cheesey custard topping) would be rated so highly by John Torode? But then we 'wrinklies' have always known the old favourites are the best.

Myself should stick to what I know. Yesterday's supper was not as good as it could have been as I served some Puy lentils with the rest of the meal. First time I'd used these lentils and for some reason expected them to be a russet colour, but they were a greenish black and looked more like caviare than anything else. Mind you - these were from a ready-to-heat-in-one minute pack in the microwave (a top name as well, having treated myself on a recent shopping expedition), but all I can say, absolutely HATED them.
Beloved really like the pasta I'd prepared to go with his serving of the dish - normally he dislikes pasta but this time I made up some Bisto cheese sauce (using the granules with water) and had thrown in a good handful of grated cheese which needed using up before folding in the cooked pasta. So at least that bit worked.

The main part of the dish was meatballs (these being a 'freebie' with my recent DR offer), and the meat was excellent in the 'balls' but there wasn't as much flavour as if I'd made them myself. Fortunately HAD made the tomato sauce to go with them, so that compensated. Today - must try harder!

To your comments....
Will see if I can come up with some low-carb and no sugar recipes Les, but quite honestly, the way to avoid eating these is to not use them in the first place. By now we should know what are carbos and what are not, so the easy way (as I do myself) is try to keep to salads, fish and meat and you won't go far wrong.
As to sugar - myself sometimes add the powdered Canderel to some sweet dishes - which can turn a yogurt into more of a dessert. Unfortunately fruit contains fructose which - if sugar has to be avoided - is then a no-no.
As gillibob mentions in her comment, the sweeter 'cake' spices such as cinnamon and mixed spice can help to 'sweeten', and several vegetables (carrots, parsnips etc) are naturally sweet and can be used to make some desserts. Will have to search and see if I can find something to suit.

Had to smile Lisa when I read your comment (hoping we'd have a good day weatherwise). You really would not believe the type of weather we get in the British Isles. Earlier this week it was absolutely wonderful with the warm air blown up from the Continent/Africa, the hottest ever recorded in the UK for this time of year, think it was 32C in the southern part of England. Now we are forecast very cold weather this coming weekend with temperatures below freezing, maybe even snow on the high ground. A drop of 40 degrees in less than a week! Only in England can we get weather like this.
In the meantime, we are having severe gales and lots of rain. But then what's new? Here in Morecambe (on the North West coast) we can have horrendous weather in the morning, and by afternoon the sun is out and everyone is smiling again. Looking through the window I see the clouds are coming from the north (and flying past) so that definitely will bring cold weather. Normally, our prevailing wind comes from the West over the Atlantic, and then drops all the rain it has collected en route as soon as it reaches land - usually Ireland first, and - if we are lucky - veers off and drops the rest over Cumbria and gives us a miss. We can walk along our prom in glorious sunshine and see the rainclouds over the Lakeland hills the other side of the Bay (9 miles away), and see it pouring down. Which I have to say makes me feel good anyway.

My dreams Wen, are always vivid. Always in glorious technicolour, and I often smell and taste things in my dreams. Often my dreams seem more like real life than life itself. Possibly because my normal life is pretty boring. Last night's dream I had left school, and then shortly after returned to see if they had any work for me (as I missed the place). Had to return for an interview (the headmistress being away at the time) and when I cycled home got almost involved with a big bull-dozer which was scraping up loads of what looked like white dry plaster/powder from piles all over the road - road to tip onto a building site close by. Everything was white. Perhaps it was the thought of snow that had got into my dream in a different form.

Despite having lost so much weight over the past 2 years minimiser deb, have - from time to time - allowed myself to 'indulge' and eat cake (and chocolate). Maybe more than once a week when I've had a baking session (which is not that often). Yes - it might make me gain a lb (or 2) if I've eaten the 'naughties' two or three days running, but then this weight is easily lost. It is 'old weight' that tends to be hard to move. Recently gained weight is shifted very rapidly. So feel that if we let ourselves think we must never eat certain foods again, this can lead to a certain amount of - well let's say - misery. True - if we continually eat the 'wrong' things, the weight will begin to pile back on again. But a treat now and again should not be a problem.

Looks like you will not be doing much 'outside' gardening this weekend Urbanfarmgirl, due to the weather forecast. At least you have your polytunnel to work in - and hope it has managed to stay anchored to the ground with the wind we've had these past couple of days. Kale is said to be one of the most nutritional of vegetables, and yet myself have never eaten it. Maybe I did as a child, but in those days it was normal to boil to death all the vegetables, especially the 'greens' and they all ended up looking alike. Soggy cabbage was not (and is still not) my idea of a pleasant dish. Perhaps why I don't care for cooked spinach today (although will happily eat baby spinach leaves raw).

Also haven't yet tried Swiss Chard (as mentioned by mini.deb). It looks a lot like rhubarb, but the chard leaves as well as the stalks can be eaten, usually cooked separately. There are many veg I've still not got around to trying. Perhaps I'm just satisfied with the ones I know and love.
Saw in the paper the other day a picture of carrots of all different colours from white through yellow to purple, and all I would care to eat are the normal orange coloured ones. Same with tomatoes and raspberries - there are yellow varieties of both 'fruits' on sale, but they don't tempt me at all (although have tasted some). I like what I know, love and trust.

Lisa's mention of Indian curry being similar to Mexican food is perhaps how curries are made in the US (to suit US palates), but having tried at least some Mexican dishes myself, can say they are not similar at all - other than being spicy 'hot' (and not all Indian dishes are hot). When we had the first curry houses in this country (my first taste was in the late 50's), none of the dishes had names as they do today, it was just 'mild', 'medium' or 'hot' - although think we had a choice of whether we had chicken, beef or lamb. We were given a jar of hot chilli sauce to pour over if we wanted it to be even hotter (this reminds me of my first taste of chilli sauce, I poured it over my curry in large amounts like I do tomato ketchup, and apparently went as white as a sheet the moment I ate a mouthful!).
Nowadays it is so different, we have a choice of dishes that come from the different regions of India and Pakistan. It is a real treat to eat out at a good Indian restaurant and try something new. Not all curry dishes are hot, many just 'fragrant' according to the spices and ingredients use.
If we wish to cook curry at home, the supermarkets can give us a choice of at least ten different 'flavours' of ready-made curry sauces. Several varieties I keep in my larder, my favourites being Jalfrezi, Rogan Josh, Dopiaza, Butter Chicken, Tikka Masala (and a few others whose names I have now fogotten) - all being quite different in flavour and 'heat'. We can also buy packs of the correct spices for the different dishes so we can make the whole meal from scratch if we wish.

Yesterday made a batch of lentil 'dhal' to which I added some finely diced cooked onion, carrot and garden peas - this making the fillings for the samosas which will be made up (then frozen) today. Meant to complete them yesterday but didn't feel so well (think either reaction from the flu shot or needing to catch up on sleep), am now back to normal today - bright eyed and bushy tailed.

We have just had a heavy hailstorm, the sky not sure yet whether to be blue or covered with very black clouds. The wind has veered round to blowing from the west, so goodness knows what will happen next, but as I am staying firmly indoors, don't really care much. My bet is on more wind, more rain and not a lot of sun today.

Still have loads of things to catch up on that should have been done, but got left due to circs. So had better get on with doing them. Think best if I make a list, then am more likely to work my way through. If I don't make lists, am guaranteed to only do half (or less) of what should be done.
Still haven't got my head together after the events of the last (near) fortnight. Bear with me - I'll soon be back on track.
Hope to meet up with you all again tomorrow. Whatever the weather throws at us, be sure to enjoy your day.