Sunday, May 27, 2012


What a lovely bunch you are - such kind comments. Oddly, apart from my initial reaction (more stunned than anything else) the one 'bad' comment has not fazed me at all. Have only had one other - this some many years ago now, shortly after I began my blog, where the writer thought I was a waste of space writing about what he called my "war-time thrift, and entirely unnecessary in this day and age". Perhaps now he sees there was some sense in it after all.

As to me (continually) moaning about men in general, have to apologise to MimSys. Of course not all men are the same, certainly believe that a lot of the younger generation today accept and treat women as 'equals'. In my day there was much more of a great divide, and as most of the men I have met socially and been much of the same age as myself, they nearly always fit into the 'dominating male' type that was acceptable in those days and that I now tend to go on about.

A lot of these 'male faults' are caused by us women anyway (and I include myself in this). If we didn't have this 'mother instinct' we would then not rush around caring for sons and husbands in the way we do, right from childhood to old age - sensible women today let them make their own meals, wash their own clothes, and hoover the carpets. So we can't blame men for expecting every women they live with to continue with the 'caring' if that is the role women have played in their lives.

There have been a few occasions when I have met men who are 'caring', and these times didn't sit comfortably on my shoulders. It seemed 'unnatural' to be fussed over, so possibly I subconsciously prefer to have an 'alpha male' in my life, with me being the reverse side of the coin, until something 'flips' me and I then being to sputter and sizzle.

Men and women really ARE completely different in the way they view all things. This is how it should be, and would work perfectly according to nature's plan if both World Wars hadn't led women to discovered there was a world outside marriage and they could regain the 'identity' that they lost when their father gave them away to another man to possess.
Maybe this began with the Suffragettes, but when the wars led to woman having to go 'out' to work, whilst their menfolk fought the battles, after the war they continued to do so because they enjoyed the experience. Earning your own money to spend on yourself instead of 'having' to live on what your lord an master would allow you (if at all) was really special.
Because women were paid less for the same work done by men, then came the demand for equality, but us 'old ladies' never even reached that level. In my day we were expected to stay and home and rear the children and completely lost any identity we had (or it felt like that - I do remember wishing I could be called 'Shirley' again as my Beloved, my children, and even my parents all called me 'Mum'.
All that equality means nothing to us stay-at-home (now 'wrinklies') as things have got worse. We now have to stand whilst men sit, we have to carry our own cases, open our own doors, and if we did go out to work, then we were still expected to do all the domestic work when we return home. Not much equality with that.

So my moans and 'whines' are purely due to old age, and really are not meant to tar every man with the same brush, and do hope male readers of this blog understand that. Don't know why, but I've not expected many men would be interested in reading blogs, so my 'outbursts' I assumed would be read by (older) ladies who are more likely to understand why I sometimes feel as I do. Some may even feel the same. I will try not to keep 'having a dig', but can't promise not to.

Thanks Eileen for letting us know about the Lidl bargains. I have yet to venture into a Lidl or Aldi (these stores originally one owned by two brothers who then split and now in competition with each other).

That saying you mentioned Sue: "if you have nothing good to say, then don't say anything at all" is of course a good one we should all follow, but if I did this, then there wouldn't be much written on this blog other than foodie things. The times I vent my spleen about 'elf and safety', the government, the world, young folk, food prices, and - of course - men, it doesn't seem as though I have much good to say about anybody or anything does it? Yet this is how all (or most) 'old people think. Those 'Grumpy Old Men/Grumpy Old Women' progs on TV say exactly the same things that B and I (and friends and neighbours of our age) keep saying. Our parents probably said the same things about us and the world when we were younger.

Took note of the various comments sent - and for which I thank you all - and although I could arrange to see and remove comments before publication, do not feel that I should. As I said before, maybe there could be a glimmer of truth in what is said, and if not - well all I would do is shrug them off. I feel that readers of this blog should read everything that comes in, and as to the one recently, not sure where that ended up for when I checked the site that particular posting is one of the 'lost' ones, so wasn't able to be read anyway, so how 'Anonymous' found it I don't know. But even though not visible still felt it should be read.

On the other hand, would never put my email address on this site as had enough problems with 'unpleasant' phone calls when I was on TV when somehow people got to know where I lived (not difficult, enough was written about the town where we lived). Also received many letters - luckily all were nice, but felt they all needed an answer, and then they wrote back again and it got a bit wearing. There were one or two letters where people had made something and it didn't work and they demanded the money back for the ingredients they had used (I used to ignore these).

Thankfully 'upstairs' got a plumber in shortly after the discovery of our dripping ceiling and after a floor-board or two had been ripped up a leaking pipe was discovered and repaired. The damp patch on the ceiling has now dried out, but as we are not using the ceiling lights during the summer months feel all will be back to normal within a few weeks.

Thanks for your comment Campfire, can imagine the problems with that house fire you mentioned. The Fire Service phoned last week to arrange a check up (this coming week), this is something they do for us 'older folk'. They had already been when we first moved in to fit a (free) smoke alarm, but they keep in touch and do occasional checks.
We were told when they came to fit the smoke alarm that the majority of house fires are caused by those 'air fresheners' that plug into electric wall sockets. When switched on, the heat given off evaporates the liquid (which helps to make the room smell nice), but once all gone, the fitting then heats up and can begin to burn, then burst into flames.
So anyone reading this, if you have one of those plug-in air fresheners, always remove it when just about empty and replace with a full container of liquid, and never leave it switched on if away from the house for any length of time.

Now I must be a good girl and no more moans or explanations today, just get on with what I seemingly have been put on this earth to do. Write about how not to spend much on food (but still eat healthily and well).

Having opened a recipe booklet and random, opened it at a page where was shown a recipe for chicken curry that had 24 ingredients listed. The prep time took longer than the cooking time, and this didn't allow for half an hour 'marinating'. Myself find a long list of ingredients the most daunting thing when it comes to choosing a recipe. Do other readers feel the same, or are you prepared to take the time and trouble to 'do it properly'?

With this in mind (and because time is now moving on - late due to Gill's phone call) am giving just one chicken recipe today - with relatively few ingredients - that would make perfect al fresco eating, either taken hot (with a crisp cold salad) to munch in the garden, or cold for a packed lunch or picnic. Goes without saying the chicken used should be that picked from the bones of a cooked carcase. These can also be made using short pastry if that is all you have.
If you prefer, use half to one tsp chilli powder or cayenne (or smoked paprika) instead of fresh chilli (or amount to taste).
If you cut squares of pastry instead of circles, this means all the pastry can be used (no scraps), and the 'pasties' can be shaped oblong, triangular, or square according to how the pastry is folded.
Spiced Chicken and Bacon Pasties: serves 4
2 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cut into cubes
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
salt and pepper
approx 8 oz (250g) cooked chicken, shredded
3 spring onions (or one shallot) thinly sliced
1 x 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
2 tblsp milk
Fry the bacon in a frying pan over medium heat, then once the bacon fat starts to flow, add the potato. Raise the heat and fry for about 5 minutes, giving an occasional stir, until the bacon is crisp and the spuds not quite 'done'. Add the chilli and cook for a further minute. Add seasoning to taste (but be generous with the pepper), then put mixture into a bowl and leave to cool slightly before adding the chicken and onion.
Meanwhile unroll the pastry and re-roll until large enough to cut out four circles of pastry using a side plate as a guide. Place these on a baking sheet.
Spoon the filling into the centre of each circle, brush the edges with a little milk, then fold two 'sides' up to the middle, crimping the edges together to seal to form a pasty shape (alternatively fold one side over to the other to form the other 'pasty' shape - like a 'half-moon').
Brush surface of pasty with milk, then bake for 15 minutes at 220C, gas 7 until the pastry is risen and golden. If using shortcrust pastry, bake at 180C - 200C, gas 5 -6 for 20 - 25 minutes.

Another lovely day and really MUST try and grab an hour sitting in the sun and maybe take my lunch out there as well. Overnight have been cooking cubed venison in the slow-cooker, so possibly will make some meat pies with that as I have pastry I wish to use up (the pies can be frozen). Instead of adding port to the venison when cooking, I slung in the remains of beetroot juice from a bottle that also needed using up (beetroot eats well with beef so why not with venison I thought). It was an experiment that might not have worked, but had faith and it seemed to have given a lovely rich taste to the liquid, and also to the meat. I may add a little red wine to the 'stock' when making gravy with it to give it a more authentic flavour. Certainly cheaper than using all wine.

Incidentally, yesterday decided to have another 'test' session, but just me doing the tasting. A can of Tesco's 'value' tuna flakes in brine was opened, and a tin of Prince's tuna steaks in sunflower oil. Drained the liquid from both cans then had a taste of each. The more expensive tuna in oil certainly did seem to have more flavour, but not sure if that was the oil or the fish. However, when I mixed the two together, the end result tasted as if it was all the 'expensive', so by adding 'value' to a better quality, ended up with proper 'value' for money. Just a thought it worth a mention.

Just about noon, so really must love you and leave you and hope that at least some of you will keep on returning for our daily chat. Do hope so, and will 'see you then'.