Tuesday, August 28, 2012

One Thing Leads To Another

Am certainly feeling much better since taking the iron tablets (and still taking one a day), and am sure that lack of iron was the reason for my tiredness and lack of motivation. Even got interested in cooking again although yesterday's meal for B was mainly cold ham, sausages, and salad (lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, and beetroot). Decided to cook some small potatoes (a recent purchase from Morrison's where it was a big bag of spuds very much reduced in price), and served hot with the salad would at least have some 'warmth' to the meal.

Decided to crush the small and unpeeled spuds roughly with my potato masher, first tossing them in some melted butter and then sprinkling over plenty of Cajun spice seasoning. When crushed, fried them off in some of the fat that had come from oven-roasting the sausage (this gave the spuds even more flavour). Had a taste and felt it was lacking something, realised it was salt so ground a few grains of rock salt over the spuds and that really did make a difference.

Earlier in the day had watched yet another of the Barefoot Contessa's cookery spots, this time she was a bit more smiley, probably due to the several younger men who were visiting her (know how she felt as been there, done that), and don't think she uttered her favourite word ("perfect") more than twice.
As yesterday the food programmes were 'back to back', was able to watch another of the B.C's and this time she was cooking just a handful of thin spaghetti in boiling water, to which she adde salt. But not just a teaspoonful as I would have done, she added TWO big tablespoons of salt to the water saying pasta needed this much to absorb the flavour.

Certainly adding salt to the water really does make a difference to the taste of pasta, and then having noticed how much difference salt also made to the spuds when a little was added, began to wonder whether we are not doing ourselves any favours by not using any salt (as advised) when we cook. Practically all our UK cooks add salt to food when cooking, and they are very particular that 'seasoning' is done correctly to bring out the optimum flavour of the ingredients used.
Only when fish is cooked do the chefs sometimes say "no need to add salt as the fish is already salty". This then made me think of that very healthy nation: Japan, where everyone eats loads of fish each and every day. The Japanese must then take in quite an amount of salt and it doesn't seem to do them any harm. So am pretty sure the nutritionists and the medical profession will shortly do another U turn and say that it's OK to season our meals with salt, as long as we don't overdo it.
It is known that cutting out salt does help to lower our blood pressure, but maybe this is just the easiest way to do this. There are other ways - such as drinking beetroot juice. But then we come into the realms of expense I suppose. Cutting out is cheap, having to buy something to get the same effect is not.

Now to your comments. Normally I do the 'mise en place' for B as you suggest Les, but this is doing most of the work for him, and not really the best way to learn. When he does know where ingredients are kept, then let him use what he wants of these himself. It's when he puts them back in the wrong place (fridge instead of freezer, or on shelf instead of in the fridge) that problems occur. I don't want to have to 'nanny' his every move, and if I wasn't here he'd have to manage by himself, so the sooner he learns how to, the better. Just in case I do take that holiday, although knowing B he will either fetch a take-away or go out to a cafe/restaurant, or get his daughter or someone else to invite him for a meal. Anything rather than do things for himself.

It is true that I seem always to find excuses not to go out for a scoot on Norris. Think probably I find the slow walking pace of the scooter far too slow for me. I've always been used to having my own car and driving for miles exploring the areas in which I live/lived, and just being able to scoot the few miles that I can see anyway even when standing still, doesn't give me any real pleasure at all. If I want fresh air and sunlight I can as easily get that sitting in the garden looking at the plants and flowers.
On the rare occasions that I do go 'out for a scoot', it is almost always just down as far as the local shopping parade, and then only to 'window shop', or maybe buy more fresh eggs, or some meat and cheese. Morecambe 'life' (by this I mean shops on the prom and where most of the tourists congregate, is a good three miles away from where we live, accessible by scooter of course, but unless the weather is very warm and wind free, scooting along the prom can be bitterly cold or blow sand in my eyes. Excuses again I suppose. I just miss having my own car so very much.
B likes to drive, and goes out most days, but prefers to be alone, and know he doesn't want to bother taking me, anyway he usually goes birdwatching, and this is nothing I'm interested in.

When it comes to giving 'cookery lessons' for B Campfire, it wouldn't work. B feels he needs to be the 'alpha male' and when he knows I can do something better than he can, he normally won't do it as well. A favourite expression of his is "I won't be told", and teaching B 'how to' comes to much the same thing. He is quite happy to come and ask where certain ingredients are, or if he wants a recipe to be explained more clearly, but it would put him off altogether if I explained what should be done, step by step. In any case he can never remember more than the last thing told him, and always has to rely on the written word. Suppose I could write out recipe for him that he could easily understand, but so far haven't done this more than once or twice.

Two comments both from an 'Anonymous', but at least not ones that push their own sites, so probably these have appeared under yesterday's posting.
When it comes to those thawed peas that were thrown in the bin, suppose I could have cooked them and turned them into 'mushy peas' then frozen them, but as B was cooking his meal on the hob, no way could I cook them then, anyway was not in the mood to sort that little problem out, and felt that chucking them away (there were only a few left in the bag) would have more impact on B than if I had made use of them.

Apparently there are two more Bank Holidays this year (said by one of the Anons), but for the life of me can't think which ones they could be. Unless of course we count Christmas Day and Boxing Day. I was thinking more about the Bank Holidays that appear during the year, Spring Bank Holiday, May Day, August Bank Holiday etc...

Watched a truly memorable programme yesterday - this being the 'Edinburgh Tattoo'. Some amazing drum playing. The amount of organization/choreography that went into it, how on earth do they remember what to do?
Although probably not seen in the US, am sure Canada would have the above programme able to be viewed as I believe a lot of Canadians have Scottish ancestry. So hope you were able to see it Margie.
It does sound as though Canadian politics are different to ours, more perhaps to do with the way the elections are done and the part the citizens play in this.

Am sorry that your life has been turned a bit upside down by your 'Thing' Lisa, and from what you say this sounds as though this may have to do with American politics. I cannot believe that the party that people choose to vote for would make any difference to their personal lives and friendships. Here in the UK we seem to approach this differently. Some people are more interested in others and join a party as a 'member', and possibly do have occasional discussions with others trying to change them to vote their way, but we always respect each others views and 'live and let live' and there is no animosity between people whoever they vote for.
Normally, no-one is interested who votes for whom, normally this is a private matter and we don't even need to say if we don't wish to, and even when we vote (many people don't bother) often we make our mind up at the last minute.
With this country it probably doesn't matter who we vote for, all parties seem to be as bad as each other in the way they run the country. Each blaming the previous party when things go from bad to worse. We have a sort of coalition at the moment to try and get the country back on its feet, but that hasn't helped one jot, thing have never been so bad for yonks. What we need is a strong leader/Prime Minister. The only ones in my living memory have been Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. Not always likes (esp M.T mainly because she was a woman), but boy, did they get things done.

In the same way as politics, few people know what religion their close neighbours follow (and many don't follow any religion), and normally don't even care as long as it is not 'in your face' as some can be.
Think there is more 'unpleasantness' between folk due to what I call 'fringe' religions (such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormans..) as for some reason these seems to upset people more than the traditional ones. Even people with no religion of their own often give the 'cold shoulder' (or worse) to people who are near neighbours and of a particular sect/cult. Is that the same in America? Somehow would not have thought so as the US is known to be quite a religious nation, and would expect all variations to be respected, whether Christian or otherwise.

The American elections are very much more 'show biz' style than we have here. For one thing money seems to play a big part, as does 'celebrity status'. Also sometimes seems that a bit of underhand work to clinch those few extra votes when needed. From what was printed in our papers at that time, it did imply that having a brother who was Governor of Florida helped George 'Dubya' to get those extra votes he wasn't entitled to that meant he won the election.

Here most of our politicians (certainly in recent years) have been just 'normal' citizens that formally had normal jobs and dedicated themselves to one particular party. voted in through local elections to town councils etc before moving further up the ladder. Or at least that is the way it seems to me. Politicians here we do not expect to be wealthy, in fact we hope not as they are then more able to understand problems at grass roots level.

My Beloved was talking to an American the other day who happened to mention the US elections. Apparently the current President is not much liked as he 'is wanting to do too much for the poorer people', especially when it comes helping them with things like medical insurance. American money being used to help others in need sounds a good idea to me, but obviously not to the citizens who want this money to move more in their direction, maybe so they pay less taxes or something. Sometimes have a feeling that when it comes to politics and voting anywhere in the world these days it is always 'I'll vote for the person who will give me the most, and don't care about anyone else".
Considering I'm not the slightest bit interested in politics, am surprised I've even managed to drum up a few sentences to give my thoughts on the above.

Due to late start (having hair done etc), am winding up now and hopefully having a go at making some cheese this afternoon. More about that tomorrow. Enjoy your day.