Sunday, June 24, 2012


Is it today that is officially Midsummer's Day? Midwinter was more enjoyable. The weather is improving but only slightly. At the moment the wind has dropped and the rain is holding off, but the sky is very overcast and looks ominous, and I'm flippin' cold despite wearing winter clothes (one T shirt AND a jumper) on top of everything else. Not surprised that people prefer to book holidays abroad, there are plenty of places in Europe at the moment having sweltering temperatures. Why can't we?

Doubt this is unusual weather in the great scheme of things. We did once (many thousands of years ago) be under several feet of ice and snow, so we should thank ourselves lucky I suppose. With fossils proving that even before that this land had tropical temperatures, it could be we are swinging back to one or t'other. I know which I'd pick!

A thanks to Jane and Sairy for their comments (there was a third from an anonymous promoting his/her own website. Seem to keep getting these every day and they almost seem as though from the same person. Is there anyway I can delete these before they reach my site, or is that being a bit unfair?).

You had a very busy day Jane with your cooking and washing. Was very impressed. Shows what we can do when we put our mind to it. Should take a leaf out of your book and make 'n bake instead of shop 'n spend, this being something I feel like doing at the moment, retail therapy being almost as good as comfort eating.

Do hope the weather stays fair for the Hunstanton Carnival Sairy, and that your stall does a good trade. Let us know how you got on and, for others who are possibly thinking of selling their wares, what are the most popular crafts/food that people buy these days?

At least this morning spent a happy hour in the kitchen baking scones for B's 'activity weekend' at the sailing club. That made me feel a bit warmer. Away from the kitchen it is much cooler.
With virtually no wind at the moment, this could be a good day for sailing, but only if there is enough wind to fill the sails. Seems the weather never falls right on a Sunday (the normal sailing day), it's either too windy, or no wind, or if the wind is right then the tide is out. Am sure B misses his weekends at his sailing club in Yorkshire when it was possible to sail on Yeadon Tarn (small lake) virtually every day during the 'season'.

Think I'll sort out my larder (also fridge/freezer) today in the hope of finding some ingredients need replacing then I can have a bit of retail therapy and either go to Morrison's for replacement or order on-line. As I said above, nothing like a bit of shopping to cheer me up, although unfortunately this is now limited to buying food only, as can't afford to splash my cash on anything else.

With B eating at the club mid-day (or thereabouts) he probably won't want a proper supper again. Yesterday made a bit pot of vegetable soup (using home-made chicken stock as the base) and even though we both had some later in the day, still plenty left, so this will probably do for our supper. Do need to bake some bread though. Now that I make bread dough with part milk, part water, it does keep fresher for longer, even the crusts don't dry out so fast. Will make a few mini-loaves extra as these eat well with soup.

One of my 'personal treats' is to slice one of the mini-loaves (gives about 8 - 10 tiny squares), and - after buttering - top these with an assortment of savoury things - similar to canapes (or even make them into mini-sandwiches). A good idea for a buffet party as well. Fresh home-made (mini) bread makes a lovely base, and can also be lightly toasted if wished.

Normally at this time of the year would be offering recipes for cold and refreshing dishes, but it seems that we all crave warming meals at the moment, so today's recipe is for a 'farmhouse soup' that comes from Italy. We can vary the veggies according to what we have.
Italian Farmhouse Soup: serves 4
2 tblsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, cut into large dice
6 oz (175g) turnips, peeled and diced
6 oz (175g) swede, peeled and diced
1 x 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 tblsp tomato puree/paste
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 tsp dried oregano
half red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
2.5 pints (1.5 litres) vegetable stock or water
2 oz (50g) macaroni (or other small pasta shapes)
1 x 14oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tblsp chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper
grated Parmesan cheese
Put the oil into a large pan and fry the onion until softened, the add the carrot, turnip, and swede. Fry for a further minute before adding the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, herbs, and peppers. Season to taste.
Add the stock (or water), give a stir then cover the pan. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pasta and bring to the boil. Continue to simmer (uncovered) until the pasta is just tender (al dente), then add the red beans. Heat through for a couple or so minutes, then remove from heat and stir in the parsley. Check if the soup needs more seasoning. Serve hot with grated Parmesan to sprinkle on top.

Gill will be phoning shortly, she was on holiday last week so we have plenty of (joint) news to catch up on, so just time for me to sign off, do the usual spellcheck and editing, then in just over an hour (the length of Gill's call) will be back in the kitchen enjoying my 'sort out'. Whatever the weather, do hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend bread. TTFN.