Friday, June 22, 2012

Who Want's To Know?

Had to miss the first half of 'Men Who Make Us Fat' last night due to footie. Saw enough to prove that anyone in the food manufacturing business doesn't seem to care a hoot about any health problems due to eating their products and - through TV ads etc - kept on encouraging youngsters to eat their 'snacks' until someone in the government put a stop to this advertising.
It had also been proved that children today are just as energetic as they were in 'my day' and the cause for the current obesity problem is the constant eating of snacks between meals which - for some reason (and probably due to the corn syrup and sugars they contain putting a block on the appetite centre of the brain), did not mean they eat less at their 'proper' meals. Children are just eating too much of the wrong things.

Before I forget, a reminder that 'Turn Back In Time' (a five-part series filmed in Morecambe) is due to start next Tuesday, BBC 1 9.00pm. It will cover five eras from 1900 to (I presume) almost the present day, and as this programme is just up my street (no pun intended), am really looking forward to it. Quite a bit of Morecambe will be shown, it's not all set indoors, so even though it will be set in times past, am sure not a lot of it will have changed and you will get an idea of where we live.

The weather really has changed for the worse. Pouring with rain when I woke, rain dripping from all the gutters (they are probably blocked but is that upstairs problem, doubt they are bothered?). It is so miserable and damp/cold, so am expecting more aches and pains because of it. Feel so much better when the heating is on as this does dry out the atmosphere, but honestly, it is far too costly to keep the heating on during the summer, it is too expensive already for the cooler months. Or does it really matter? Better to be warm and comfortable, and put the heating on for just a few hours when necessary, and scrimp and save in other ways to pay for it, than continually 'suffering'.

Do hope the rain will have eased off by the time you reach York Campfire, for there is nothing worse than having a 'damp camp'. Hope that meeting up with friends will make the trip worthwhile - you will all be in the same boat anyway (and if there is a flood, probably WILL end up in a boat!).

Good to hear from you again Margie and pleased you - at least - have had some hot weather (almost too hot by the sound of it). We were lucky enough to see the Van Gogh Exhibition when we once visited Amsterdam, they have an art museum there just for his works.
Thanks also for letting us know that a recipe for 'faggots' is on Frugal Queen's blogsite.

As you say, there are a lot of people who just don't seem to understand about feeding their children correctly. Think a lot of problems come from the belief that if we eat the right amount of calories, then we should remain healthy (which is true but only if we eat the right SORT of calories). We can often loose weight eating more calories then if eating less if we ditch the dangerous ones (sugar, fats etc) and concentrate on proteins and veggies. The 'balanced' meal (protein, carbohydrates and vegetables) is the one to aim for, cutting out as much salt, sugar and fats as possible, and probably we are too trustful when it comes to buying the 'ready-mades'. We expect to be wholesome food, and a lot of the time it just doesn't fit the bill.

If there are more calories in a packet of crisps than an apple then can understand why people might give these to the children rather than (say) fruit which would probably cost far more. A calorie is a calorie, so buy/eat the cheapest. Seems to make sense, but we have to learn why it doesn't.

It does seem that parents either have got brain-washed into buying certain foods, and probably through all the TV and other adverts, maybe their parents did the same and they have never even eaten anything home-cooked. There are very few new recipes, and most of those published today are just variations of the same dishes, each slightly different so no wonder cooking has become confusing and not worth the hassle. They also use slightly different ingredients (many of which we never keep in our larder), and also can take a long time to prepare. If I hadn't worked out my own recipes and short-cuts, even I think I wouldn't be bothered to learn to cook from scratch the way the cookery world is leading us at the moment.

There are still people who are willing to listen and learn, but plenty who are not the slightest bit interested, and even if they had a programme to watch, or an article in a newspaper they probably would just switch to another channel or turn the page without reading. Food is bought more for 'eating by habit' and without any real enjoyment because the only recognised flavours these days are usually the sweet, salty, and spiciness. These are all 'additives' that have no real food value at all. So just eat what is enjoyed without any need to make any of it. In a way this brings us back to the 'Men who make us Fat' programme. They understand what makes many of us tick. And line their deep, deep pockets with the profits.

One of the best ways to get children eating properly is to have them learn about food, teach them to cook and grow their own produce from the earliest age possible, and when mother's can't do this, then the best place is in school. So why don't schools do more? Some now are teaching their children how to grow veggies in a school plot, but very few have cookery classes, and my feeling this is far more important than learning certain other subjects they will probably never need to use in later life.
Myself did not go to a school that taught domestic subjects (other than sewing - useful as this was in war-time), so it was not until much older that I was allowed to cook at home due to shortage of food (the time of rationing). Once I smashed an egg and we had to carefully scrape it off the surfaces so it could be used in cooking - far too luxurious an ingredient to waste (and we kept chickens at the time!!).

Other than basic 'sums', including mental arithmetic - these having been extremely useful throughout my life as I can easily work out the cost of foods/recipes in my head - and on paper -have never since needed to use the algebra and geometry I was taught. Neither have I ever needed to know the dates of all the battles fought. Any interest in history has been at the 'domestic level', and this I have learned about myself through reading books in later life. Geography useful only in that I know where the continents are and some of the major countries. I probably knew more but as they kept changing the names, don't really care what they are or where they are any more. I can always look them up in the atlas if it matters.

Science and physics I only just touched on, my one memory being the way litmus paper changes to blue or red depending upon whether it is dipped into acids or alkalines (and at the time I gave the wrong answer!). There is a certain amount of 'science' in cookery, and again am trying to learn as much as I can through books, also about the various minerals and chemicals in certain herbage as these can be good (or bad) for our health. That I do find useful.

English literature I did not enjoy because most of the time we read Shakespeare. English language I could never get my head round (as you will probably have discovered when you read my blog). Just about know what a noun, verb or adjective is, but 'subjunctive' and 'past participles' and 'split infinitives' I wouldn't even understand. The times I have to try and work out the right wording....for instance "if only I had a recipe", or " if I only had a recipe", or possibly "if I had only a recipe", or might even be "only if I had a recipe..". See what I mean!

There was another comment from yet another Anonymous. But again mainly to point us in the direction of their own blogsite, so up to readers if they wish to view it. The link is there. Quite often now get these anonymous comments (for the same reason), often they have sent this via an earlier posting, so probably missed by readers, but I don't refer to them unless they give a name, as then I might be more interested.

More experimental cookery to be done today. The 'test cake' (actually a tea loaf) turned out well, but slightly shallower than hoped for. Realised (after checking tin sizes in Lakeland catalogue) that my 2 lb loaf tins are larger than the standard ones - probably the reason why recent loaves of bread made from a mix are not as deep as they should be. Will now use one and a half packs to make each loaf (or maybe stick to using my 1 lb tin and use the rest of the dough to make min-loaves or baps) until I purchase proper sized 2 lb loaf tins.

Am having a great deal of fun adapting old recipes (and newer adaptations so regularly published today) to make them the easiest ever to make. Children will enjoy making them. These will be on my new website, the aim being that most of the recipes will be so easy to remember we should never then need to have to look them up when making in the future. Alternatively just jot them down in a personal note-book for reference (or passing down the generations). If Mrs Beeton could fit eight or more recipes on one page, then no reason why it can't be done now. Although mine will have photos, and all taken in my own kitchen the first time of making - just to prove it can be done without practicing first.

This site will still continue with recipes, these being slightly more 'advanced', not so much in skill but using some ingredients that novice cooks may not yet keep in their larder. As ever substitutions will be suggested so we can adapt to suit or needs.

One recipe today - this using basic ingredients that most of us have, plus some wasabi paste. Now 'wasabi' is the Japanese equivalent to our English mustard, used in much the same way (so we could use this instead) but is pale green and quite a bit hotter. As it is this 'heat' that lifts the dish, and knowing that horseradish sauce can also work in a similar way to the mustard family and also goes with fish, then we already have a choice of substitutions.
Pea shoots are part of this dish, and even if we have none, why not sprint into the larder, remove a few dried peas from your packet of marrowfat, plant them in damp soil, place on the window ledge and in a couple or so weeks you can start picking your own pea shoots. Otherwise substitute mange-tout peas or just - peas! Use small pasta shapes such as penne, fusilli, macaroni, or the smaller 'shells'. If not spring onions, finely slice or grate a shallot or small red onion. If no sesame oil, if possible use extra virgin olive oil.

This recipes makes enough for two servings, so could be eaten by one, the surplus stored in a container in the fridge to eat the next day at home or at work.
Tuna and Wasabi Pasta Salad: serves 2
5 oz (150g) pasta shapes (see above)
1 tsp sesame oil (see above)
3 tblsp mayonnaise
1 tsp wasabi paste (see above)
zest and juice of 1 lime (or half a lemon)
1 can tuna (drained), roughly flaked
half a cucumber, chopped
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
handful of pea shoots (see above)
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water as per packet instructions, then drain and refresh in cold water. Drain well again (some pasta shapes need a good shake to release trapped water in the folds and creases) then place into a bowl and stir in the oil
.Meanwhile, in another bowl put the mayonnaise, wasabi paste, and zest and juice of a lime and mix together, then fold in the tuna, followed by the pasta, cucumber, onions, and pea shoots. Keep chilled until ready to eat. Use within 2 days.

And that's it for today, still raining and so will go into the kitchen as this will be the warmest place (one the oven is on). Even the washing won't dry on the airer (placed in the conservatory to catch any sun that might suddenly shine on it), everywhere seems so damp today. So I'll probably be in a bad mood. If I ate something sweet that would cheer me up, but then I'd want to go on eating and if I want to lose weight then need to keep control. Who says life is easy?

Whatever the weather, keep on smiling, this alone might cheer up someone else, and that would be our good deed for the day. Not sure if there is footie tonight, but as it is Friday then B will be out at his sailing 'social' this evening so have a chance to watch what I want. Just as long as EastEnders is on (should have been yesterday but the footie had priority). This is one episode I don't want to miss. Watching repeats of anything on iPlayer does not give me as much pleasure, not sure why.

Join me tomorrow in the slim hope I'll have done something or discovered something worth reading about. I'll have a good shot at it anyway. See you then.