Friday, September 14, 2012

Always Something New...

Busy day today as have to make desserts for 40 for the sailing club 'barbie evening. Was not able to apply myself to them yesterday due to chiropody appointment (was told my feet were excellent for a lady of 'my age!!!').
Weather has turned very cold (at least I feel chilled) and also mega-windy as well as showery, so whether it will be fine enough to have a barbie tomorrow have to wait and see. Otherwise the food will have to be cooked/served indoors, unless 'barbied' undercover outside and then brought into the clubhouse. Not my problem. All I have to do is make the 'puds'.

Interesting comment from Les regarding knives. Thankfully I don't have to purchase a ceramic knife to cut lettuce (metal knives make the cut edge discolour), as I have a very inexpensive plastic knife that does the job perfectly, it also is 'sharp' enough to slice tomatoes and other 'softies' such as fruit.
Was very puzzled when I read that a 'steel' does not sharpen knives. Am now wondering why - when demonstrated on TV (and also by my butcher and a chef when I asked him to show me how to sharpen) that they always use a steel. Have found - now I have learned the correct angle, that even my blunt 'Sabatier' have now managed to regain a very sharp edge.
Always keep my knives in a wooden knife block as if put into a drawer it is very easy to cut a finger when lifting one out. Same goes when washing up, always take care and wash separately not putting them all in the wash bowl with the rest of the cutlery.

The Hilda Ogden 'hair-do' reminded me of when much younger and 'rollers' were the way to give us ladies curly locks without going to the hair salon. Mind you, although my head was covered in rollers, preferred to wear a hair-net rather than cover them with the top-tied scarf. In wartime this 'fashion' was often seen even in the streets. Maybe it will come back, stranger things happen when fashion is involved.

A welcome to Bbarma (Barb), who I believe is a new commenteer, maybe even a new reader (some new readers don't send in their first comment for many weeks/month). Liked the idea of adding leeks when making chicken soup, so will try that when next making the soup.
Am I right in thinking that B.C. Canada is 'British Columbia'? When I read 'Okanagan '(area) it made me go all tingly inside, for these strange names (Native Canadian 'Indian'?) brings me fantasies of 'life' as it was then. One of my 'interests' is reading all about the Native Americans (formally called 'Red Indians', and I still prefer that name and have very great respect for them and think they got a worse than rotten deal from those who 'stole' their country from them), and I've several fascinating books about the various tribes.
Nothing yet read about the Canadian 'natives'. Suppose that in the 'old days' the boundary between the US and Canada didn't exist to them, so the same tribes could have lived either side of this now cut-off point.

We Brits really shouldn't always feel proud that we gained an 'empire' in the way we did, for - to me at least - it has never seemed right that we should move in and try to dominate any country. We tried it with India but they were strong enough to fight back, but African countries have been 'taken over' by us and many other European countries. Even Australia and New Zealand have done the dirty on the 'originals' who lived there (aborigines and Maoris - the latter being more accepted than the former). It just doesn't seem fair. But then we too were taken over by the Romans, then certain regions settled by the Vikings, the Jutes etc, and now only in Scotland, Wales, Ireland and parts of Cornwall can we find the true 'Celts' that originally were 'us Brits'.
It's interesting that all nations are only interested in 'taking over' another country when this has something of use to them (oil, gold, diamonds, etc...) that can be exploited to make money, never for the original inhabitants, and seemingly only for those that took over. Life just isn't fair.

Loved your recipe Sairy for cooking leeks with bacon/ham and cheese sauce etc. Will be making this for B tonight using some Parma ham that I have in the freezer as B prefers his bacon crispy, but ham doesn't need this.

Have asked the doctor about seeing if I can have my allergy 'tested' Margie, at the time he didn't seem to think it was worth it "could be many hundred things that cause it, and unlikely one would be found". At least - until recently - my facial swelling has only affected either one cheek or just one part of my lip, other times - if not caught instantly with anti-histamines - it can spread across to both sides.
Have read this type of allergy can hang around for several years then slowly disappear and this is what seems to have happened to me, at one time it occurred every 16 days, almost to the minute, and this I thought might be to do with a build-up in my body of the various concoction of pills I have to take. Then the last year (maybe two) found that my allergy slowed down and I could go several weeks and often months without an attack. Recently though it seems to happen a bit more often (but not that often), and one reason that was given by the doc. was that it could be caused by stress. This might well be, for there have been odd days when I've been worried about something and not eaten a thing for over 24 hours, just drunk my usual 'instant' coffee, and still find my face beginning to swell up again.
Have been slightly stressed this week, not unpleasant stress, but felt slightly 'pressured' due to one thing and another, and maybe this set it off. However, if it does get worse, affects my throat even more, then will go straight to the surgery and get someone to finally try and find the cause.

As to whether Gordon Ramsay's book would be worth getting. Not sure, I'll have to wait and see the end of the progs to find out, but think there is almost certainly a website shown towards the end of the prog where viewers can find the recipes and tips that have been already shown. If the Channel 4 website can be reached by those in Canada, then Margie it is worth taking a look.
Hope you enjoy your few days in Montreal and look forward to hearing about your trips to the various restaurants and the food served.

You seem to have amassed a huge stock of food from Approved Foods Jane. Well done for getting such good bargains, but as these (or most of them) will be coming to the end of their 'best before' date, even though they will/should keep for longer, do try and use them a.s.a.p. especially those flour-based (bread mixes etc) as any containing yeast won't work as well if 'aged'. Brown flour does not keep as well as white, and it might be worth storing some dry mixes in the freezer if you have room as this should give them a couple or so month's longer life.

Myself have used 'dry goods' that are well past their b.b. date, and have found them satisfactory, the only thing 'dry' that really should be used by the given date are the 'pulses' (dried beans...) for the longer they are kept the longer they take to cook, and if a year past their date these can take AGES to cook to tenderness, and sometimes never reach that point and have to be thrown out.

Lucky you to have a treadmill. The thoughts of you placing it by your cooker being able to walk miles on the spot whilst constantly stirring a risotto f0r 20 minutes brings joy to my heart.puts a glow into my heart. Now I'm thinking I should get a treadmill and walk on it whilst watching Food Network.

Just time to give one recipe today. Although myself generally make curry using meat (lamb, beef, or chicken) also love to make a meatless vegetable curry now and then. Next time I'll try this dish as fish is used. You could used any firm white fish for this and as cod and haddock are now almost an endangered species, to find other suggestions and an up-to-date list of what is available visit the website.
Fish Curry: serves 4
1 onion, finely slices
olive or sunflower oil
2 tblsp curry paste (Madras suggested)
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 lb (450g) white fish fillets, cut into large chunks
small handful coriander leaves
rice or naan bread for serving
Put the onions and a little oil in a large frying pan and fry until softened, then stir in the curry paste and continue cooking for a further 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, give a stir then bring to the boil and reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced and thickened. Slide the fish into this, spooning the sauce over the top to cover and continue simmering for 4 - 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Scatter the coriander on top and serve immediately with naan bread or boiled/steamed Basmati rice.

Had a bit of a problem with our phone yesterday, B called me from the County Fair and our cordless phone has the gremlins, so I couldn't connect, although able to redial and phone back, B had obviously put his mobile back into his pocket as I could hear him talking to his 'mate' and also customers, and yet he couldn't hear me as I screamed down the phone to try and attract his attention. This meant that our land-line was blocked until quite a while later when he must have switched off the phone. B had bought some spring bulbs for me to plant in the containers/garden and they came to £11.95p because I heard him buy them over the phone! How surprised he was when I told him that I knew how much he had spent. He was supposed to be paying me for the taxis I used yesterday, now don't think I should remind him as he has already spent the money on the bulbs (which I would normally pay for).

That's it for today. After a wet start to the day the clouds have suddenly blown away and we now have a lot of blue sky with sunshine. Let us hope it stays like that. Weekend starts again tomorrow (doesn't time fly?) but hope you will find time to join me tomorrow as per usual. See you then.