Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Busy, busy...

A late start this morning, despite my intention to 'blog' early. Instead, having quite a lot of 'experimental' cooking planned for this morning, decided to get everything prepared (weighed and measured etc) ready to make and bake as soon as I've finished my 'chat'.
Whilst doing that, also decided to have a review of the larder contents, and found a few ingredients that could do with using up, so brought those out to put on the table. Plus the cans of Mamade and a big bag of sugar ready to make as many jars of marmalade that I can in one fell swoop so to speak, as making it in bulk takes very little time longer than making a smaller amount, and will mean no more need to make marmalade for a year (for our own use - although will be making extra for the charity stalls).

As my back wasn't very good again yesterday, decided to sleep in a sitting up position (in my chair in the living room) last night, and have to say that this morning the pain is far less, hardly need to use the stick at all. So am hoping to be able to go and have a sit in the garden for half an hour or so whilst some of the baking carries on all by itself in the oven.
It was a lovely day yesterday, but I didn't feel like taking those extra (and painful) steps to go and sit in the garden, but today it is expected to be even warmer (up to 27C in some areas!), and once the high cloud has been 'burnt away' by the sun (as is happening at the moment), hope to grab at least some time this morning outside, and also again this afternoon.

Thanks for comments, and it does seem that several of you have had (or are having) problems with weevils. One suggestion Campfire is to measure your bread flour in the amounts used for each loaf, then bag this up, seal and then store the bags in those plastic sweet jars. Am sure the jar's lids will give a fairly air-tight seal.

Finding a grub/maggot in a sachet of coconut cream (Anonymous' comment) must have been a shock. Presumably it was dead. My B would have shrugged his shoulders and said "use it anyway, it's all protein". Sometimes he is quite squeamish when it comes to eating certain foods, yet he would quite happily eat chocolate coated ants, or deep fried caterpillars. Probably because these are eaten as a normal part of diet in other countries. A cheap source of protein that - who knows - we may be forced to consider in years to come.

It's too early in the season for us to have caterpillars on our brassicas Lisa. Sadly, the only butterflies we seem to get in the garden are now only the Cabbage White. At one time we could expect at least 8 different varieties of butterflies (especially around the buddleia bushes), but we are lucky to see one Red Admiral these days. Our traditional garden birds too are now on the decline. It could be that few people these days keep dogs, and more seem to keep cats. We have at least 5 different cats (from neighbouring houses) constantly in our garden, climbing the trees and even climbing up the plastic greenhouse to reach a birdbox. B is going to get a water pistol in the hope of deterring them. Or should we get a dog?

Didn't realise you had a TV channel that had no commercials Lisa. Our BBC channels have no ads (other than their own), and although the other terrestrial channels do have commercials, don't think they occur as often as those in the US. Usually once every 15 or 20 minutes, and last about 3 minutes total (although believe this time is now being extended). Commercials can be quite useful as it is possible to nip into the kitchen when one is on and either make a cup of tea, or toast a slice of bread, or even pop a prepared dish into the oven to bake. Baking bread can also be fitted into 'commercial time'.
Our main 'beef' with the ads is that they are always far noisier than the programmes, and we have to turn the sound down when they come on. Don't know why they have to be so loud. Having said that, am finding that a lot of background music to (say) drama programmes is also too loud, and when it comes to American films - the amount of noise from those (gun shots, car chases, explosions etc) are almost guaranteed to burst our eardrums. Sometimes, when B is watching a war film or gangster something or other, I have to sit with the remote in my hand and keep turning the sound down as and when necessary.

Good to hear you have allotments in Toronto Margie. They sound very similar to ours although may not be the same size which was originally the 'allotted' space needed to grow all the vegetables needed for a year vegetables for a family of (probably) four (this was in the days of 'basic' veg, and before the bell peppers, the sweet potatoes, the pumpkins came on the scene.

Nowadays, with people buying at least some vegetables, the original full-size allotment is now almost always divided into two - this still being a good size plot to grow a lot of veggies and some soft fruits, and probably more than enough for one person to manage. Today these 'half-plots' are very hard to come by with sometimes a waiting list of many years, and - when one is available - if it can be shared between a couple of friends, this is probably the best way for more people to be able to 'grow their own'.

Thankfully we can still grow quite a lot of things in containers, and myself will continue to do that (plus using the sunny windowsills in the conservatory).

Forgive me for writing a short blog today, the sun is now shining brightly and I MUST get that cake made and in the oven, plus doing another five things before I venture outdoors. Who knows, if I don't sun myself this week, may never get another chance, our English weather being what it is.

If I get on well today, then will try my best to spend more time chatting to you. Look forward to meeting you then. Enjoy your sunny day!