Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Just a Quickie

Up earlier enough to write a short blog before I get busy in the kitchen (taking time off to have my hair done as well - will read cookery books whilst under the dryer).

We got a silver in the equestrian team event, so that was good. Still waiting for our first gold, and am finding I'm more interested this year than in previous Olympics, perhaps because it is held in this country.

Fed up with the controversy about the Chinese swimmer who broke her own record. All records are made to be broken, and in her case probably by her extreme training schedule, and not drugs (which she turns out not to have taken anyway), credit where credit is due. It doesn't seem that long ago when someone broke the 4 - minute mile, this now being raced in several minutes less time, and sooner or later less and less time.

Generations today grow taller, stronger, and physically more healthy, so we expect to keep breaking records.
However, this 'swimming controversy' has left a bit of a bad taste in the mouth when it comes to sports. In this country am sure we don't get the money or facilities for such 'forceful' training as many other countries have. In the US sport seems to be taken far more seriously than here, and in yesterday's paper there was a two-page spread about how children are trained from a very young age to be athletes, often taken away from their parents, and from the photos shown of screaming, sobbing children, whose limbs were being forced into extreme positions, more like torture than training. That isn't sport, it is from a nation who is prepared to do anything to 'be the best' (their aim - it was said - was to beat the Americans at everything).

This year almost everything has been worth watching as there have been some superb gymnastics, horse-riding, and other events, with skills that far surpassed those of a century or so ago. Myself am not so interested in the track field events, although this is possibly where we might gain a gold. These start in the second week of the Olympics.

The London stores are complaining that they are getting fewer customers than the expected thousands more this last week. We saw pictures of Regent Street, Oxford Circus with little traffic and hardly any people wandering around. Also many cafes with no-one eating there.
A top hotel, charging £500 a night (cashing in on the Olympics no doubt) has reduced its prices to £100, and others have dropped prices by 80%. Their own fault for charging too much in the first place. High prices over the board keep visitors from coming to our shores, not encouraging them.

Those that have come are not here to shop, but to watch the sporting events, so it won't be until the Games are over than people will then start to wander around London, always supposing they have managed to afford an extra week's holiday. If they have then it will be more sight-seeing than spending money in shops for we have to remember there is a financial global recession, not just here.
The only visitors that do come in droves at this time are the wealthy Arabs with their numerous wives, and during Ramadan places like Harrods do a huge trade. Suppose as eating food is denied them during the daytime hours, shopping for clothes and jewellery fill the gap. Not a bad idea. Perhaps I should try this as a way to diet. But first need the money.

Watched a bit of the Food Network yesterday, but only a snippet of one or two progs. Quite like 'The Barefoot Contessa' (who reminds me a lot of Dawn French). The 'Hungry Girl' was on again with her diet meals, this time Mexican based.
Checked their website and it does give a list of all programmes over the 24 hours for a week at a time, many of them being repeats, so will look out for the lady you mentioned Margie.

Have read some of Miss Read's books Campfire, many years ago now, and can't remember the names, but enjoyed them. At one time used to keep all the books bought (ending up with thousands (including hundreds of cook books), our 'dining room' in Leeds was lined with shelves, all holding books, so we tended to call it 'the library'.
Sadly, had to get rid of most of them when we downsized to Morecambe, and how I miss them, especially many of my cookery reference books. Wish I'd kept my set of Dicken's books (they belonged to my mother) as I'd never got around to reading more than just a couple. This probably because the print was a bit small and the books smelled a bit musty and wouldn't open easily. Like food - if the appearance of a book is good and easily 'handled', then far more likely to be enjoyed.

If you still have some of your rhubarb and strawberry tart left Eileen, you could scrape the fruit off the pastry and fold it into some Greek yogurt. The yogurt would lessen the sweet taste and it would end up like a 'fruit fool'. Maybe you could even use the left-over pastry again, using it like a 'blind-baked' pastry case and filling it with something else to bake again. Well, it saves throwing it away.

Yesterday was going to cook a Chicken Kiev for B's supper, but in the end decided to cut the breast into 'gougons', and flour, egg, and crumb them, then fry and serve with new potatoes and peas.
This worked very well, mainly because the 'crumbs' were a bit of a mixture. As I had only a few (home-made) dried breadcrumbs left, got some broken savoury (cheese) biscuits and broken tortilla chips (these all kept in a large glass jar), crushed them in a bag with a rolling pin, and added them to the crumbs with two teaspoons of Cajun seasoning. When cooked, this gave the chicken a lovely spicy flavour that B really enjoyed (being one of those days when he enthuses over a meal I know he really liked it).

The chicken breast was very large (one from a 'Value' pack of frozen breasts) and wondered if it came from an old bird. When thawed a lot of water came from the chicken, so drained that away and patted it dry before cutting it up, but even after cooking (and making sure it was cooked through) the flesh was still very moist. Whether this was because the crumb coating protected it from drying out as it cooked I'm not sure, but anyway found this actually improved the end result.

The one breast was enough to serve two had I just cut in in half, and if both halves had been bashed out slightly, each would have been large enough to fill 'n fold (then seal by egging and crumbing) to make two Kievs. As it was, it cut into 18 finger sized 'gougons' that - when coated, looked even bigger and certainly enough to serve three. So 'gougons' are a good way to make chicken breast go further.

Did have an 'anonymous' yesterday who was promoting a site, but from the words it did read as though she genuinely liked this blog, so a welcome to Maisie, although have a feeling would have counted t as 'spam' due to the 'own-blog' promotion, so it may not have appeared in the comment box. If Maisie wishes to write again for everyone to see, then she should omit the mention of her blog.

Am now getting three or four of these 'anonymous' spams every day, don't know why this has suddenly begin to happen as had very few before, maybe only one a month (if that). Perhaps the name of this blog has suddenly appeared on a listing, and maybe it is then possible for someone to write one comment (promoting their own blog) and send it to all the blogs on that list. I have no idea how the computer world works, am lucky to manage to understand how to get this blog published, it has taken me nearly 5 years to learn how to put photos onto the comp and then had to learn how to get them from 'pictures' on to this site (and still sometimes get it wrong).

Still not been told about what baking is needed for this coming Sunday, and still haven't yet made the gingerbread for Saturday. Blame the Olympics!
Today will have to make a start, and as soon as I've published this will go and gather the ingredients ready to make two gingerbreads and one carrot cake and when Norma has left will then 'make and bake'. That will leave me three days to prepare food for Sunday. It is the 'enough for 500' that I find a bit daunting, there is only so much that can be baked in the oven at any one time, and not every cake mix will stand around waiting to be baked later, so each has to be freshly made. Could be a three day job if I have to fit in Olympics, and B's meals as well. So it could be I need to take 'time off' from my blog to do all the work. Much depends on how I get on today and tomorrow, so expect me to keep blogging unless I tell you otherwise.

Have taken a large chunk of Donald Russell's belly pork from the freezer to defrost, this will be given a 'barbecue-style' rub, and then slow cooked in the oven. As the joint IS large, after cooking, it will be cut into smaller 'slabs', these can then be frozen, and later re-heated and served as 'a joint', or cut into cubes and fried off as part of a Chinese meal. Pork belly is one of the cheapest and (in my opinion) one of the best cuts of pork. For those who feel it is hardly worth cooking, remember this is the cut where streaky bacon comes from. If we have a slicing machine, we can cut thin strips off the belly and fry it as bacon, then slow-roast the rest as a 'joint'.

Although only 8.00am, have now to take my leave of you and 'get on' with all the work that has already piled up. Like last night's supper dishes than need washing. B would normally do this, but Wednesday is his morning stint at the RNLI shop, so he hasn't time. Need to clear the decks and put everything away before I get out the cake ingredients, also must clear the conservatory as the big clothes airer is in there loaded with washing that I bet still isn't dry enough to put away, so will have to put it into a basket, fold up the airer, then put it all back again once Norma has gone.

Not that anyone is interested in my 'chores', so why do I even bother to give them a mention? Probably because I tend to write what is going on in my head at the time. Usually nonsense.

As ever, am hoping readers will all have a good day, and that we Brits eventually win a gold. TTFN.