Friday, February 03, 2012

Worth Waiting For

Discovered this morning that Tesco has sent me an email voucher for £7.50 to go towards my next grocery order as they notice I have not ordered from them for some time. Every year, when I do my 'use up what I've got' challenge and miss a month of online shopping, they offer much the same (only previously it used to be £10). Perhaps if I hold off for another month they will offer more!! As I already have three clubcard points vouchers still not used, could be a good percentage of my next order will be already 'paid for'.
The way thing are going today, a regular customer is more than cherished. We must make the most of it. Hold back our custom and see what happens. Some things are worth waiting for!

Thanks for the comments. Les' being a mini-conversion chart. It must be much easier for youngsters who have no need to convert Cs to Fs, decimal currency back to 'old money', and metric to imperial, not like us old biddies who still prefer to use the old order, especially when it comes to weights and measures. Ovens/cookers today are either Celcius temp or Gas regulo. The only reason I still give the F is because this is still used abroad (esp America/Canada or so I believe).

Think what you call 'dill pickles' Lisa, we call pickled gherkins (the 'cheffy' name for the tiny ones being 'cornichons'). Gherkins being very small cucumbers. You also mentioned zucchini - our name for these is 'courgettes'. Never have understood why the swede, as we call it here, is called 'rutabaga' in the US. Or is that another veg?
Am wondering if your 'jonquils' are - in the US - what you call any member of the narcissus family. Here they are one particular type of spring flower, rarely growntoday. My dad used to plant them, purely for my mother to cut as they were very sweetly scented, and bunches of them would fill a room full of fragrance. Reminds me of those days when we had so many more scented flowers around the house than today - lily of the valley, lilac, sweet peas, roses.... today so many seem to have lost their scent in favour of a better shape or colour. Rather like veggies sold in shops that now have to all look perfect, and with no taste whatsoever

Another query. What Lisa, is a 'sun dog'? Cannot think of anything seen here that can be called that, even though - at the moment - we have been having days of blue skies and full sun, despite the cold. For all I know we could have 'sun dogs' all over the place, just not known about them. Maybe here in Morecambe we will be more fortunate this coming week for there is slightly warmer weather pushing in from the west, on the other hand VERY cold weather is moving in from the east, with snow forecast, so even in our small island, there can still be up to 20C difference in temperature from one side to the other.
The temperatures are really low on the continent (-34C!!!) so fingers crossed we won't get THAT, yet it is an odd thing. Once we feel cold (like just below freezing), we don't seem to relatively colder the more the temperature drops. to cope. Good thing for anyone overweight is when that happens our bodies burn more calories to keep our body heat working as it should.

Think yesterday was the US 'groundhog day', and fully expected to be able to watch the film of that name (what better day to show it). One of my favourite films, but it wasn't on any of the channels. What a missed opportunity. They always show the old 'Halloween' (with Jamie Lee Curtis) at Halloween.

A shorter blog today as have a hospital appt. just a yearly check up, and have things to do before we leave. At least managed to get up early enough to write something to publish.

Soon as I've done this, must have a think about supper this evening. Suppose B could have one of his Pukka Pies with some frozen veg. Saves me the trouble of cooking.
Yesterday made a beef casserole, but didn't bother with dumplings. Just re-heated the sliced brisket (thoroughly) in gravy, then added part-cooked sliced carrots and parsnips, and chunks of small potato, leaving the lot under cover to simmer very gently for about an hour (it takes that long until the carrots are tender). But it was a lovely warming meal for a very cold day, not that I had any, B wolfed down the lot'

Didn't even make that not-quite-treacle tart using the crumbs from the fruit loaf. Instead, cut off all the crusts, broke the bread into chunks, put them in a dish with a drizzle of rum, and spoon of sugar, then poured over some beaten egg/milk. Left it to soak for an hour, then cooked it in the oven as a type of 'bread pudding'. Eaten with cream this was also demolished by B.

In the old days, treacle tart was made using just breadcrumbs and golden syrup baked in a pastry case. Today lemon juice is usually added, purely to cut the sweetness of the syrup. Orange would work, but it is not so 'sharp.
Yesterday saw another recipe for treacle tart that includes eggs, so could be a useful one to make for the bento boxes as it gives extra protein. Proportions were 4 oz white breadcrumbs, 1 lb golden syrup, grated zest and juice of one lemon, and 2 beaten eggs plus a pinch of salt. Mix all these together and put into the pastry case then bake at 170C, 325F, gas 3 for about 40 mins. Serves 8.
You query whether s.r. cornmeal would work in the muesli bars Lisa, and I see no reason why it shouldn't, the 'flour' is there just to hold the lot together once cooked. Most grains (with the help of liquid or egg) would do the same.

A 'frittata' is another good lunch-box food. Basically this is a variety of veggies, chopped if necessary, then put into a frying pan to cook, when tender (you could start by frying an onion then add leftover chopped cooked veg to save time) beaten egg is poured over (use at least 4 eggs, more if a larger than average frying pan), the pan shaken so the egg flows over all the veggies and reaches the bottom of the pan, then leave to cook until the top is beginning to set, finishing off under a grill. Eats very well hot or cold. Cut into wedges to serve.
Good veggies to include are onions, diced potatoes, peas, sweet corn, chopped bell peppers. You could also add courgettes/zuccini.
Sliced, chopped chorizo or bacon can be added to give more flavour and protein.

Here are a few more lunch-box recipes that are also good to eat for a light lunch or supper dish. First is a Cornish style pasty, the filling can be varied: use leftover spag.bol meat sauce or chilli, or make this slightly curried version which makes good use of left-over chicken (possibly picked from the cooked carcase):
Coronation Chicken Pasties: makes 10 small
1 lb (425g) puff pastry sheets
8 oz (225g) cooked chicken, chopped
4 tblsp creme fraiche or cream cheese
1 tblsp mild curry powder or curry paste
2 tblsp mango chutney
1 tblsp raisins or sultanas (opt)
1 tblsp chopped fresh coriander (opt)
1 egg, beaten
Cut the pastry into 10 circles the size of a saucer. Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl and mix together, then divide the mixture between the circles, putting into the middle of each. Brush edges with egg, then bring up to the centre to make a pasty shape (alternatively fold over to make a semi-circle). Press edges together to seal, then crimp with your fingers.
Place on a baking tray and brush tops with egg. Bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 20 -25 minutes until the pastry is risen and golden. Cool, then wrap in clingfilm or a sandwich bag to prevent the pasty breaking when packed.

Next dish is for vegetarians and meant to be served hot. Not sure whether Quorn products are sold in the US, but am sure there must be a similar vegetarian option.
Moroccan Mince with Couscous: serves 4
2 tblsp sunflower oil
2 onions, chopped
1 x 350g (12 oz) pack Quorn mince
1 tblsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp turmeric
4 oz (100g) no-soak dried apricots, quartered
1 pint (20 fl.oz/600ml) vegetable stock
11 oz (280g) couscous
grated zest of 2 lemons, juice of one
4 tblsp chopped mint
2 oz (50g) toasted cashew nuts
salt and pepper
Fry the onions in the oil until softened, then stir in the Quorn mince and spices. Cook for one minute then add the apricots and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make up the couscous as per packet instructions - this will take about 16 fl oz (US pint) of boiling water to give it the right fluffy texture. Fork in the lemon zest,mint and cashew nuts, adding seasoning to taste. Serve with the Moroccan mince.

Final recipe is another 'crunchy bar'. Granola, although sold here, is more an American breakfast cereal.
Granola Flapjacks: makes 8 bars
2 oz (50g) butter
2 oz (50g) runny honey
2 oz (50g) plain chocolate, chopped
14 oz (400g) granola
2 oz (50g) plain chocolate - for topping
Melt the butter and honey together, then stir in the 2 oz chopped chocolate and the granola, and mix together so that everything is well coated. Tip into a lined 15 x 20cm (or 18cm square) baking tin (don't ask me what that is in inches, although do know tha 20cm is 8"). Press the mixture down firmly, cover with foil and bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 30 - 35 minutes, then leave to cool in the tin. When cold, melt the 2 oz chocolate and drizzle this over the top. Leave to set then cut into 8 bars. (Can be stored in an airtight tin for 3 - 4 days).

Now have to take my leave, and shortly venture out into the cold, cold air. But the sun is shining and inside the car it will be lovely and warm. My first trip out for several weeks. Pity it is only to the hospital.
Hope to meet up with as many of you again as possible. Being the start of the weekend and too chilly to venture outdoors, you may find the time for a quick read. See you then.