Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Never Enough Hours...

Apologies for late start, first Norma the Hair, then had to reply to an urgent email before I could jot down replies to the many comments sent in (and thank you all for those). As it is will have to give shorter replies than normal as I've shortly to go and do 'other things'. At least have managed to find time to have a wee chat with you all.

Yesterday asked B what he wanted for supper, and he wasn't sure. Either chilli con carne or spag.bol. Said he'd let me know, but he went off to the gym without telling me, so in the end made a big batch of both and then let him choose when he came home. He chose spag bol, and I had some chilli, the rest was put into containers, cooled and is now in the freezer.

Both of the above was made with one batch of minced steak, fried with chopped onions and a can of chopped tomatoes added plus a tablespoon of tomato puree, then covered and left to simmer until the meat was tender. Then half was put into a saucepan with a packet of Beanfeast spag.bol plus water, some Worcestershire sauce and a good dollop of brown sauce.
The remainder of the meat was left in the frying pan, and to this was added the Beanfeast chilli con carne, plus water and eventually a can of red beans. Together it made an enormous amount, and because 'real' meat was included, the TVP was not noticed. In any case, even if I hadn't used meat at all, the two Beanfeasts when cooked as per instructions on the pack, really do taste as though made with meat. Certainly works out a LOT cheaper using both than made with all minced steak.

Jane mentioned how quite often the above types of dishes made with Quorn are often 'as good as' if made with meat, and can quite believe this as once we add 'extras' (like herbs, spices, red beans etc) these disguise the main ingredients and usually we end up tasting only the additions. Am surprised that Beanfeast do not make a curry version for that too would work well for the same reason.

Thanks to Kathryn and Eileen for letting me know about Tudor Close (Rottingdean). Will check the details later when I can find a minute.

The Vietnamese refrigerator pickles sound interesting Lisa, could we have the recipe?
Of course you are not 'odd', just very sensible. It's other people who seem to live abnormally these days.
The mention of cream rising to the top of milk (bottles) took me back to the past, yet have to say that now I really don't like tea made with full-cream milk. It's lovely with coffee, but far too rich for tea. Semi-skimmed or even skimmed makes the best tea (or drunk with no milk at all).
Had to say that although agree that using tea-bags at least twice is a great money-saving idea Lisa, had to cringe when I read that you had several 'stewing' ready to make another cup of tea.
When we visited a family in America, the lady had made me a jug of tea (milk included) and kept it warm for me, as being English she thought I would prefer this to coffee. Believe me, this is NOT the way to make tea. It has to be freshly made (even when using a recycled tea-bag) with boiling water (preferably the tea is in a teapot), then allowed to 'brew' for a very few minutes before being poured out, preferably into china cups (it tastes better in china). Even a tea-bag in a mug with boiled water poured over really doesn't taste as good.

Not quite sure where it was in the US but do remember being given a mug of hot water and a tea-bag to pop in and give a stir, and the water wasn't even that hot. Perhaps only us Brits will know how awful that would taste.
Recently there has been an advert on TV about Yorkshire Tea (tea-leaves/bags?) being sent to America so the British people there could get a taste of home. Have to say that this would never work, for Yorkshire Tea was made to be brewed with Yorkshire Water. The flavour of any tea changes according to whether the water is soft or hard and as this can vary according to the region, often certain types of tea are blended especially to suit certain areas. The TV ad implied the Yorkshire Tea was travelling all over the US, so unless blended to suit the water of all the area, it really wouldn't taste as it should, and my memories of drinking 'fresh' water in the US is - as mentioned before - highly flavoured with chlorine.

Yesterday watched a repeat of Martin Clunes' programme re horses. He is such a lovely man and really does love animals (well certainly horses and dogs). Not sure if this type of prog is able to be seen in the US, and the Doc Martin series does make M.C. seem a grumpy sort of person, which he isn't in real life. He is often remembered for his comedy work, but having seen him play the lead in the film 'Goodbye Mr Chips', am full of admiration. He should have got an Oscar for that.

If you enjoyed 'Midsomer Murders' Lisa, then hope you are able to watch 'Rosemary and Thyme' which is similar (but this time two ladies who are both gardeners and detectives). Very watchable especially for seeing the English gardens and 'how people live'. Pam Ferris (who is in The Darling Buds of May', plays one of the ladies. Felicity Kendal (formerly in The Good Life), plays the other.

It is true Alison, women who go out to work rarely have time when they return home to do all the things left for them to do. It is still a man's world when it comes to domestic work, they do tend to sit and let 'the little woman' do most of it. So it is not surprising at all that 'women who work' prefer to buy convenience foods/meals. This doesn't mean that women who stay at home don't work as hard for 'domestic duties' can still be very hard work. Problem today is that most of a working wage today is taken up by all the 'extras' needed to keep everything running smoothly. It's now being proved that sometimes it costs less to stay at home and make as much as we can ourselves, than pay for others to do it (and this includes child care, transport, extra clothes, launderette charges, and all those ready-meals etc.).

Yes 50 and counting... it was 'Cheese Whiz' poured over that HUGE sub-type sarnie. And Margie, do appreciate that there must be LOADS of wonderful eating places in both Canada and the US, although the smaller establishments do seem to have the type of food I would enjoy eating - of a similar type to the Cowbell. It was a type of 'posh' restaurant we went to in New Jersey, and somehow it wasn't as good as those seen on TV.
We have a programme here in the UK where Gordon Ramsey travels around the US helping people get their (once popular but now not) restaurants back on track. Some of the foods served there seems truly awful, but after G.R. has sorted the menu (and the owners and chefs), eventually things improve. Don't watch it often as G.R. is not my favourite chef with his too many expletives. But he does know what he is talking about.

Have to leave you now as it is almost noon. Should be back tomorrow at the usual time. Hope to see you then.