Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Have to be a Quickie!

Apologies for late start. Norma arrived later than expected, and when I got to the comp discovered several emails that needed replies, so it is now just about 11.00am (normally the time I finish/publish). So today will have to keep my blog short.

Thanks for your email Jane, was intererested to hear about your 'tortilla kit'. Contacted Lakeland and they say they have had several requests for the tortilla press and 'are looking into stocking them'. So hopefully....!
Fingers crossed the weather improves for your holiday next week Jane, and look forward to hearing from you on your return. I used to drive over to Scarborough often (just for the day) when we lived in Leeds. It is a lovely place and - as always - the bracing east coast air always made me feel good.

As Catriona says, adding potatoes to cook in an over-salty dish does help to remove the salt, an 'old wives' tip that is as useful today as it ever was.

Am I right Lisa thinking that everyone in the US has to fill in their own tax forms? Over here the taxes are taken from the gross wage/salary (along with National Health Insurance) and the 'nett' wage then paid to the 'workers' so as tax has already been paid, no need for forms to fill in. Self-employed people do have to work out their own taxes (but then usually employ an accountant to do this for them).

Yesterday saw the start of a new series on TV. This time about the great Mississippi river. It began at the delta then moved up to New Orleans where we were able to see how the wealthy lived (and how the young girls became 'debutants'). Moving then to see a splendid jazz based funeral, and finally the devastation caused in a 'lower class' sector, where houses have still not been repaired (yet the owners have to keep their grass frontage/lawns regularly cut, or their property would be consided derelict and taken from them!!!). It doesn't seem as though the state has any intention of repairing these homes. Far be it from me to criticise, but there seemed more than a hint of racism still in that part of the Deep South.

Moving further along the road past the 'big Muddy', towards Baton Rouge, the presenter then moved over to the left and visited a huge swamp (that had alligators).
Somewhere in that region were the great mansions where the owners of cotton field lived. Their homes very OTT to our standards. In great contrast were the wooden shacks in the grounds where their slave folk lived.
(This reminds me - several years ago there was a magificent series on TV called 'Roots' - all about the slave trade in the US, from the 'kidnapping' of a young lad in Africa, through his life and following generations, right up to almost the present day. Wish they'd show it again).

Apparently there was quite a 'slave trade' in this country at one time, a small port a few miles from Morecambe has a history of this. The iron rings set into the walls were used to shackle slaves to as they waited to be transported elsewhere.

Returning to the Mississipi prog: From the swamp we then went to the town of Natches (?), this quite a town for gospel singers. A visit was made to the Pilgrim Baptist Church. Next week the trip moves further north, so am looking forward to seeing more of the US. Think Missouri was mentioned!

Lisa might find this next bit useful (given in an article in our yesterday's paper about migraine). The 'helpful' drugs have been mentioned previously on this site, but one 'tip' that worked for the journalis was to put a very cold damp cloth/flannel on his forehead when an attack of migraine hit. If this does work for most, then everyone who gets regular attacks of migraine could perhaps keep a supply of wet flannels in the freezer ready to help relieve their pain.

For once, managed to remember to watch mid-day TV when Heston B was showing how to cook beef. As I'd already thawed out a rib-eye steak for B's supper, decided to cook it as Heston suggested (instead of frying it 4 minutes on each side, put it in a VERY hot pan - that was smoking - and keeping turning it every 30 seconds). And it really worked! Lovely and almost caramelised on the outside and still just pink and juicy on the inside (after H's alloted 10 minutes standing time after cooking).

Tonight B has chosen chilli con carne for supper. So will soon have to make a start on that. Also type out my suggested menu for the 'curryfest' (that B has to take to the meeting tonight), and then - from tomorrow - start preparing what can be prepared (like the samosas to freeze - and cook on the day). Also make some mango chutney, and send B to the supermarket to buy 'the necessary', and also make a Tesco order for the 'fresh' to be delivered nearer the day.
I feel like a train that is having to go at fair speed on the one track with a slight deviation at certain points when the ordinary 'domestic' cooking has to be done. Then as soon as possible back on track again. Life at the moment seems to consist of 'tunnel vision' when it comes to the curries. Well, tunnels and trains go together I suppose.

Forgive me for not including recipes today. Have such a lot to do (and not much time left to do it in), so really have to roll up my sleeves, pull up my socks up, stop 'chatting' and get on with it. Tomorrow should be back to (almost normal). Hope to see you then.