Monday, August 20, 2012

And For My Next Trick...!

Whilst most of the rest of the country was sweltering with the high temperatures, here in Morecambe it rained yesterday, then kept raining on an off all day, and looks set to be the same today. This meant the Tea by the Sea had to be held in the club house and the outside 'gazebo' and tables with umbrellas and chairs were not used.

Despite the numbers being less than hoped for (due of course to the weather), most of the food served was gobbled up. It was a 'sail 4 cancer' fund-raising, and for £5 everyone could choose what they wanted to eat, and go back for more if the wished.
Even I ate something (unusual for me when I've been baking), choosing two small sarnies, two pieces of different quiche, one of my eclairs, someone else's sponge cake, and later one of my meringue 'nests' (filled with cream and topped with fresh fruit). The whole display of food was very impressive and I think people felt they got more than their money's worth.
All my jams and marmalade also were sold and I got more orders for these from committee members.
Despite the bad weather, Eileen braved the elements and came to the tea party. It was very good to meet up with her again, and hope she enjoyed herself.

So today feel a bit 'flat'. Nothing much to cook other than B's supper. Didn't even have to cook supper yesterday as both daughter and B had eaten at the club, so we decided to give supper a miss.
Think I'm going to carry on baking this week so that I can get a few cakes in the freezer. Fancy making a Battenburg (to freeze), and then also some Parkin (the latter improves with keeping, a bit like gingerbread, and well wrapped needn't be frozen. Even if the club don't want them, B will soon munch his way through them.

Met the Mayor of Lancaster and Morecambe (who happened to be a lady), she was lovely, we had quite a long chat. Then met one of the Councillors (also a lady) who previously had lived in Leeds about half a mile away from where B and I used to live. She also played bridge, so plenty of common ground there.
Even won a raffle prize. Unfortunately by then all the bottles of wine had been taken by earlier winners, but was able to choose a large bar of 'vegetal' soap (flower scented), that had been made in Italy (brought back by one of the members when I holiday I think), beautifully wrapped and looked very expensive. I'll probably unwrap it and leave it in the bathroom to scent the air. Air-dried soap lasts longer when used, so if readers have stored away several bars of toilet soap, always worth unwrapping and piling them up in a glass bowl to stand in the bathroom. Looks pretty, smells lovely (like a pot-pourri), and - as said - makes the soap last a lot longer.

Incidentally, storing candles in the freezer also makes them burn for longer when lit. And - as mentioned to Eileen yesterday - storing cling-film in the freezer prevents it clinging to itself when unrolled (we all know how difficult it is to stop it doing that), and although it won't stick to itself, it will cling fast to whatever it is wrapped onto.
When lining anything with cling-film, to give as smooth a surface as possible, always wet the container first, then the cling-film with stick to it and any bubbles/creases can be 'ironed' away with the fingers.

Am wearing a sleeveless top (with matching skirt) today, and almost have goose-pimples on my bare arms as they feel so cold. Will have to go and put a light jersey on top or I'll end up filling a hot water bottle again to cuddles whilst watching TV. And the last few days are supposed to have been the hottest this year? Certainly not the region where we live.

With next weekend being another Bank Holiday, at least don't have any numbers to cater for, so life should continue much as normal. Believe the following weekend there is another club 'do', and a few more up until Christmas.

In less than two weeks it will be September. How quickly this summer seems to have gone by, especially when we haven't yet had any summer (at least not here in the North West - just a few hot days now and again, the rest of the time wet, windy and chilly).
However, autumn is one of my favourite seasons of the year when it comes to cooking, as then time to make the most of the fruits (either fresh or frozen), turning them into jams etc. Also preserving some veggies by turning them into pickles and chutneys, plus the traditional Hallow'een, Guy Fawkes and Christmas edibles to make. So whatever the weather will now be happily working to fill the shelves with more 'home-mades'.
As I was saying to Gill (and think also to Eileen), think I have a 'fear of empty shelves' phobia, as when ever a gap appears I immediately have to find something to fill it.

Feeling chilly as I write has made me think about making myself some soup for my lunch/supper today. Have plenty of carrots and onions, and lots of of small potatoes, also celery and parsnips that could do with being used up (plus chicken stock in the freezer). Love minestrone, so could make a batch of that as well. Love mulligatawny soup even more, so could be this week is 'soup' week (surplus can be frozen).

Keep meaning to ask if anyone can tell me what 'chipotle' paste is, or tastes like? This 'spice' seems to appear more and more often in recipes these days but I couldn't find it at Morrison's when I looked along the spice shelf (also the sauces and mixes).
As more and more I'm now finding pleasure eating spicy foods, not necessarily 'hot' but with enough 'kick' included that I find refreshing, feel that 'chipotle' might be another ingredient worth keeping in my larder.

Coming back to soup, can still remember (as though it was yesterday) the time I was losing my top front milk teeth, and as couldn't bite anything, my mum gave me mugs of Heinz Tomato Soup, and can still remember how it felt when drinking this and my loose teeth wobbling in the soup as I drank.
When my milk teeth were loose but not keen to leave my mouth, my dad used to tie one end of a long length of thread around the tooth, then tie the other end to the open door knob, then slam the door shut! And out came the tooth like a bullet from a gun. Didn't mind (well, not much), as I could leave the tooth under my pillow at night and the Tooth Fairy would come and take it away, leaving a silver sixpence in its place.

As this is the season for tomatoes, and if any readers have been lucky enough to grow them this year (adverse weather allowing), this is a good recipe to use up the glut. Myself will resort to making it with canned plum tomatoes (these have a much stronger flavour than the canned 'chopped'). Instead of the Peppadew a green or red medium heat chilli could be used.
Already have changed my mind (twice) and almost certainly will make this soup for my lunch today.
Spicy Tomato Soup: serves 4
12 tomatoes, quartered (or two cans plum toms)
1 - 3 cloves garlic (to taste)
1" (2.5cm) peeled root ginger, sliced
2 red Peppadew (mild or hot)
7 fl oz (200ml) water
1 tsp brown sugar
juice of 1 lime
1 medium heat green chill, slit lengthways
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
a dash of Tabasco (to taste)
Put the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, Peppadew and water into a blender and blitz for a minute or until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and add the sugar, lime juice, spices and Tabasco. Bring to the boil and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, if too thick add a little more water.
Serve with chunks of warmed naan bread, or crusty granary bread.

Quite envy you Jane with your hot weather Jane. But not when having to bake/iron etc. All I'd want to do is go and sit outside and bask in the sun.
As you will see (above), the Tea by the Sea went well, but we didn't bother with supper.

Thanks for the suggestion of putting a cloth over the edge of the oven door when hot Les. I can't believe I've never thought of doing that! It's funny how the obvious is often not realised.
Do remember once having a cheese dish that had a wedge-shaped cover, and spent ages (and ages) trying to get the lid to cover the different shaped pieces of cheese I'd arranged on the base plate. Try as I would I just couldn't get the lid to fit over without leaving a gap at the bottom or one end. One of my daughters who had been watching me, then just picked up the lid and fitted the cheese neatly inside that, then placed the base over the top, turned it upside down (then it was the right way up) and - of course - the lid was then firmly settled down on the dish. Think that was what used to be called 'lateral thinking', now often called 'thinking outside the box'.

A welcome to brenda... It is good to continually have new readers (or even old ones) send in their first comments, and hope they all continue to keep reading and commenting.
Although this was originally just a 'cost-cutting-cookery' site, due to many readers sending in comments, it has become more a community of 'like-minded (virtual) friends', and together, by sharing our experiences, we can all increase our money-saving and even begin to start new hobbies, purely because of the inspiration given by all.

Suppose I'd better make a move and return to my comfort zone. Watching a repeat of Nigella on the Food Network the other day she had wandered into her larder (hers looks very similar to mine with loaded shelves, only her larder looks the same length but twice the width of mine), and she said she used to go in there when she felt she wanted some 'relaxing', and would stroke her 'collection' lovingly. Not sure I've got to the point of stroking mine, but do have a chair in my larder (noticed a stool in Nigella's), where I sit an 'move things around a bit', just for the pleasure of doing so.

Enough, enough of my rambling. You will be aching to get away from the screen and get on with your own life, and this is something I must do with mine. Will be back again tomorrow and cannot promise what I write then will be interesting, but I will try. Hope to see you then.