Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Never Enough Time..

Late start to my blog today due to Norma arriving (then finishing) later than expected, plus I had to load the washing machine before I began writing...

See also have had quite a number of comments since yesterday, so will first reply to these and then time only to give a bit of chat. Tomorrow hope to be back to the normal time - with recipes!

Thank you SueK for your comment. Am glad to say my diabetic check was fine, everything still low (despite me eating all the wrong things, and my inclination now is to believe that I was never diabetic at all, the high blood glucose count was discovered when in hospital and I was being pumped with a very high dose of antibiotics for nearly 3 weeks - this can cause a high reading).
Anyway still have to keep on with the same medication, but no need for further checks for another 6 months.

Other than Kim and Aggie on TV, there don't seem to be many progs re domestic cleaning, but do know that Anthea Turner (late of Blue Peter), is a fanatic cleaner, she seems to spend all day cleaning her house, and when on Big Brother (not that I watched), apparently she was wielding her duster, sponge, mop and cleaning products most of the time, keeping the rooms spick and span. Whatever turns you on I suppose.

I do envy the variety of birds you have in your American garden Lisa. Many I've never heard of, and some sound quite exotic. Am sure the bird song is very varied. Myself don't even know the difference between one birdsong and another (although can recognise the cuckoo if lucky to hear it (and it has been 30 years since last heard).
Do hope your daughter has recovered from her sickness and that she manages to get her cookery project rescheduled.
Didn't realise you had a 'day job' as well as looking after your family, plus your church work. You sound a very, very busy lady.

Have seen the Remoska in the Lakeland catalogue Catriona, and it does look a very good 'kitchen appliance', perhaps one worth giving as a wedding present to working couples. As I mentioned, doubt will get one myself as have other 'appliances' that do the cooking for me. No room for more.

Had to have a think about my Mum's personal favourites when it comes to 'home-cooking' Cheesepare. She was never very keen on cooking as a 'hobby', it was just something that needed to be done. Do remember her making the most wonderful short-crust pastry, so her tarts, pies etc were lovely. What she did like to make was 'Sand Cake' (she took the recipe from Harmsworth's Household Encyclopedias - am I right in thinking you have these?), and remember her also making quite a few scones and rock cakes (from the Be-Ro booklet). But as I was only six when the war began, cooking then was pretty frugal with no treats any more due to the food rationing.

Before (and after) the war my mother did like to eat what now is 'expensive' fish (in these 'olden days' cod and haddock was CHEAP, but my favourite anyway). So for herself and my dad she would cook hake, turbot, halibut, Dover sole, and even salmon (this being very expensive in those days unlike today) and do remember her (when on holiday in Norfolk, and the day before we left) always ordering a box of bloaters to be posted to our home.

One of her favourite desserts was a sort of pineapple 'mousse' that she would make using canned pineapple and gelatine. After the war, when fresh pineapples were on sale, she then made it using the fresh fruit and could never understand why then it would never set, despite how much gelatine she used.

As to role-playing, when it comes to 'Downton Abbey', methinks I would be far more comfortable in the character of one of the 'upstairs', rather than the downstairs maids. Although role-playing cook would sit easily enough on my shoulders.
Have to say, having begun to do this again, did manage yesterday to do quite a lot of 'tidying up' (but still a lot more to do), and today have donned my striped butcher's apron all ready to start cooking the moment I've finished writing to you.

Perhaps it would help me to enjoy cleaning more if I made my own cleaners/detergents as does Sarina. But doubt it. Am much more a person who makes their mind up at the last minute what I wish to do (and often then end up doing nothing), but whatever I do it always has to be creative, and there is very little about housework I find creative in any way. Or perhaps I am not looking hard enough.

Possibly it is harder for me to 'keep on top of the chores' because I do have so much clutter lying around. When we left Leeds we got rid of so much stuff that I expected there would be not much left to bring to Morecambe, but somehow (without even buying much), our rooms are becoming very 'full' again. Do envy those who have a very minimalistic approach to furnishing their houses. Just one flick of a duster and the whole place is clean. Here, one flick along the wood panelled walls in this room seems to deposit more dust over everywhere than was there in the first place.

Your mention of that 'steamer' Eileen has reminded me I bought one similar when we lived in Leeds and it did work well, especially for cleaning the top of our hob (and carpets etc). Haven't seen it since we moved here so it is probably still in a box in the garage. Must get B to see if he can find it (and then hopefully get him to use it!).

Yesterday was quite annoyed when I read through a couple or so cookery mags that had arrived through the door (I'd treated myself to a subscription for these as a Christmas pressie to myself). As I flicked through the mags had a feeling of deja vu, and on closer look saw that aat least a couple of identical recipes were in both. Even the photos were the same (although in one mag the photo had been reversed to make it look different).
We all know there are very few 'new' recipes, everyone published now is just a variation of the 'original' one, and think the publishers of books and mags must now be finding it very difficult to come up with something different, hence all the 'repeats'.

Just time to give one recipe today for a type of biscuit/cookie that can be can be gluten-free depending upon your choice of the grains used/suggested. The filling can be anything you choose, either buttercream, Nutella chocolate spread, or a cream cheese flavoured with lemon zest and sweetened with icing sugar.
'Lemon Cookies: males about 15
6 oz (175g) caster sugar
9 oz (250g) cornmeal or semolina
4 oz (100g) rice flour or spelt flour
5 oz (175g butter, diced and softened
zest of 2 lemons
2 eggs
half tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp poppy seeds (opt)
icing sugar for dusting
Put the sugar, cornmeal and flour into a bowl and stir to combine. Add the butter and lemon zest and rub into the flour until like coarse breadcrumbs. Beat the eggs with the vanilla and add to the dry mix with the poppy seeds, mixing together to make a slightly stick dough.
Spoon walnut sizes balls of this dough onto lined baking sheets, leaving plenty of room between each (approx 2"/5cm) to allow room to spread. Then place in the fridge to chill for half an hour, then bake at 180F, 350C, gas 4 for 10 - 12 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven but leave on the trays for ten minutes (where they will carry on cooking for a few minutes), then using a fish slice, transfer the cookies to a cake airer to become quite cold before spreading a layer of filling onto one biscuit, then placing another on top and gently pressing to hold them together. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

I've just scampered out to switch the washing machine off as it had stuck on the spin cycle. Also put the bread mix/water into the bread machine on the dough setting. The other day made a brown loaf using the Tesco brown bread mix, and it was excellent, also very low cost for a 'mix'. The dough rose more rapidly than other 'mixes', so this time decided to add a few more oz/g of strong white flour to the brown 'mix', and extra water. There should be enough yeast in the main 'mix' to raise the extra flour - at worst it will just take longer.

The reason why I've added this 'extra' flour/water is to remove some of the dough once it has been made/kneaded in the machine, and form this into thin 'strips' (rolled in Parmesan, ground black pepper and/or salt) then leave to rise to bake into dry and crunchy flavoured 'breadsticks'. If this works (a photo will be taken if it does), then a useful tip to make enough dough to bake into a full sized loaf and the 'sticks' at the same time.

Must now rush off and do 'other things', but hope you will find time to join me again tomorrow. See you then.