Sunday, April 15, 2012

Six Days and Counting...

Managed to get to Morrison's yesterday. Thankfully early enough, the car park was almost empty as was the store, but less than an hour later, cars and people everywhere.
I discovered I wasn't the nice, caring person I'd always hoped I was. Entering via the revolving doors at the same time as an elderly lady with a stick (who was probably younger than me anyway), helped on each side by husband and son (?), I decided to make a dash for the scooter before she got there. As it happened they veered off to the right where the cafe is, so don't think she was after the scooter anyway. I quite shocked myself how selfish I'd been in those few seconds. Especially later, when B had loaded up an ordinary trolley from the full scooter basket to take the food outside (scooter not allowed out) there was no problem for me pushing it to the car. Now I really think I could manage with just a trolley in future as long as I don't need to trawl through the very large store. But it is more fun (and a lot easier) when using the scooter, apart from when the store filled up and at the end of some of the aisles there was me trying to scoot out, and three more trying to 'trolley' in. At one point we all got tangled up (it was quite funny) and I said "there ought to be traffic lights at the end of the aisles"- and they all agreed!

Had an absolutely WONDERFUL time shopping. LOADS of bargains/price reductions, and everything needed for the party bought yesterday were all reduced. Decided against buying packs of mini-naan as they were very expensive for a pack of four, and THEN - as we reached the end of one aisle where there was a good selection of very low priced products (bargain shelf etc), B discovered 3 pack of spiced Naan bread mix (I worked out each pack would make a dozen or more mini ones) for just over £1 for the three. So we brought those home.

Pataks curry sauces also reduced in price (these were the ones I normally buy) so managed to get enough of those for my curries. Any not needed will not be charged for as I will keep as need more anyway.

There were 'nets' of half a dozen lemons at a good price, so bought two 'nets', also two mangoes to make the chutney. B found Pukka Pies reduced down to £1 each, so put two in the basket (he had one for supper yesterday). Also noticed bread at less than half price, and as I am a bit busy took the advantage of buying a big long loaf for less price than it would cost me to bake my own.

Just wish I had freezer room for there were some big gammons for sale at half price, but sadly had to give them a miss this time round. They will be half-price again in a few months time no doubt.

We passed by one of the deli counters where they had displays of all sorts of 'party' food, including samosas, bhajis etc. I couldn't believe how expensive they were (compared to the home-made). One samosa and 2 bhajis together worked out at the (ingredient) cost of my full 'Indian' including those (and a lot more) 'sides'.

Was in such a rush yesterday think I forgot to reply to comments. If I did, sorry about that. At least today my comp seems to have 'warmed up' faster than yesterday, and that has made me feel a bit easier.
You certainly got some great bargains Chrissie, and my trip yesterday has made me realise that shopping in store might give me more savings than shopping on-line.

Although I would be quite happy living almost anywhere along the east coast Jane, my preference has always been for the Sheringham (Norfolk) area, probably because - as a family holidaying there we were so happy (my parents used to rent a sea-front house there for three weeks each year when our children were growing up). Always intended retiring there, but members of our family had other ideas, so sadly (at least for me) have ended up on the opposite side of the country. At least can still sit on the 'family' garden bench and shut my eyes and relive my earlier days in my parents Leicester garden.

If you don't think that large slow-cooker will end up in Spain Campfire, then why not ask your friend if you could buy it from her? Or let you use it in the meantime?
Even if your kitchen is small for a large appliance such as this, there is no reason why the slow-cooking cannot be done elsewhere (in another room or even the garage?).

Thanks Les for mentioning the Circulon pan at Lakeland. I will take a look on their website to see if it could be useful. Do know they used to have one that was insulated and this would keep food serving-hot for up to six hours.
Having said that, yesterday put the empty stock pot pans (lent by our daughter) into the D.R. big thick polystyrene boxes to see if they would fit, and two fitted perfectly side by side with room for the lid to be replaced. Today am going to make some thick pads (a 'sandwich' of clean towelling with some bubble wrap inside) and make two 'nests' to fit the pans, then put the hot pans full of boiling water inside, cover with lids and another 'blanket', put on the polystyrene lid and then check the temperature four hours later. If the water is still hot enough, this means it will be alright for me to put the heated pans full of very hot curry into the boxes a few hours before serving time, and they can be taken like that to the venue where they probably won't need reheating (but can be if necessary).
This will give me more time to get the last-minute cooking done (frying of samosas/bhajis etc) making of fresh salad etc .). As ever, things become easier when 'advance planning' is done.

Seeing the samosas and bhajis on sale (to be reheated) gave me the idea to cook them earlier in the day and they can be reheated in the venue's oven. Ditto the naan bread. Having found a pack of 10 poppadums in the larder, am going to cut each up into six triangles and fry until curly and crisp. Far cheaper than buying packs of mini-poppadums.
From past experience know that freshly fried poppadums, well drained in kitchen paper, will then keep crisp for days when stacked between sheets of kitchen paper and stored in airtight tins, so another job able to be done well in advance.

Yes, things are coming together, and six days left to get it all done. The main work will be on the Thursday/Friday and of course the Saturday, so - for the moment - can almost put my feet up and relax.
But of course I won't, as I want to make absolutely sure all the necessary equipment and products needed will be in the right place for me to find. Also the table and units cleared of clutter (and kept that way) for I'll need plenty of space for the final 'cook-in'.

All I hope for is the phone won't ring when I'm on my own. Can take the cordless handset into the kitchen, but even then I need my hands free. It was only the other day that B had gone out and as I was making meat balls the front door bell rang and I had to go with messy rubber gloves on my hands (peeling one off as I went) to accept a parcel delivery). Then had to go and put on another rubber glove, make more meat balls, start frying some, went (a parcel delivery) , and then shortly the phone went and I had to move the pan from the heat to answer it (B was expecting a call and needed me to take it). Then my mobile went. Then the phone went again.
Why is it that when I'm not doing anything, nobody calls and nobody phones? It just seems that everyone waits until I'm at my busiest before 'needing' my attention. But then, life's like that.

B is out this morning at the club house 'working party' he says. He'll probably get a snack lunch there, so he might be able to be persuaded to make his own supper tonight. Or I might make him something just so I can gain more freezer space. Must make up a couple of litres of EasyYo yogurt (one mango, one coconut) over the next couple of days, plus one more Greek yogurt, so I have enough for the Raita AND some for desserts (if they are needing desserts).

Another beautiful start to the day, so must make the most of it as the weather forecast gives rain from Tuesday onwards for a few days. Just hoping there is no rain on Saturday although B can bring the car right to the back door to load up. It's just me. I HATE getting my hair wet! And a scarf flattens it. At my age do I really need to be THAT vain? Who flippin' cares what I look like as long as my food tastes good (well, that's what I tell myself).

No recipes today, Gill will be phoning shortly and I still have a few things I need to do before this, so will grab those few precious minutes, and once her call has finished will be back in the kitchen 'sorting things'.

Must mention the mango chutney made yesterday. Used the recipe in my 'slow-cooker' cook book (much the same as the one given, but it needs keeping only a week before using, so just had time to make it).
I used two mangoes, thinly peeled then sliced the flesh away from the stones (and as much flesh surrounding the stones as possible), cut the flesh into thinnish 'slivers' and put into the crockpot set to High. Added a quarter pint (150ml) cider vinegar. Couldn't open the bottle, neither could B, but it had a fairly thin metal top, so was able to pierce this with a pointed knife, twist it around to make a hole and pour out the vinegar (there was only just the right amount left in the bottle anyway). As I was using one less mango than the slow-cook recipe, added the sliced flesh of a Bramley apple.

Covered the pot and left it for an hour, then went back to give it a stir. It didn't seem to have heated up much and couldn't see the red light, then found the plug hadn't been pushed into the socket fully, so had to start heating up again. After two hours of cooking, the mango was softened, then added a mugful of soft brown sugar, the seeds from a tablespoon of cardamom pods, and an inch piece of fresh root ginger that had been peeled and finely chopped. Covered the pan and left it a further two hours (with a stir half-way through) then removed lid and left it to cook on an hour until thickened. Spooned it into a plastic tub, sealed and now waiting to be eaten.
It really did taste gorgeous and from now on will always make my own mango chutney.

Hope you all have a lovely day, and am looking forward to meeting up with you again tomorrow. See you then.