Monday, November 12, 2012

Always Learning

That 'Tarte au Citron' that I felt was a failure, seemed to improve after being kept a day.  Even better after two days (it's now all been eaten), as the lemon flavour became more pronounced and the 'custard' type filling had settled down to become more dense.  So less of an 'eggy' flavour and more as it should be.  Having said that still feel the filling was too deep, so next time will use a much larger and shallower tin.

A short blog today as am finding that despite my list-making, I'm not managing to work through all the tasks I've set myself.  In the morning I work well, but after noon then start to flag, quite rapidly, so then give up and leave it to the next day (or never!).   So hope you won't mind if over the next couple of week I keep my blog shorter than usual (do I hear sighs of relief?) so that I can do all that is necessary, considering I have to fit in making jams, preserves, scones, cakes for this coming weekend club 'fayre', and next week we are hosting a dinner party on the Tuesday so - knowing me - that needs to be as the Barefoot Contessa is always saying - "Perfect" (haven't yet decided on the menu).

When yesterday I went to get the pack of minced beef I'd thawed in the fridge overnight (to make the chilli or spag bol) realised, when opening it, it was a bag of diced beef (for casseroles).  That'll teach me to write on every pack what it contains.  Once frozen the lamb mince, the pork mince, the diced beef, diced lamb, diced pork....all look alike.  Usually when wrapping a bulk buy of above meats I do one lot at a time, then put the small packages into one large bag with a label inside saying what it is, obviously did not do it this time.

So - in the end decided to fry some onions, add the diced beef and pour over a jar of Dopiaza sauce (rinsing out the jar with some water and also adding that,) then slow-cook over a low burner for several hours until the meat was tender.  Did make enough for both of us, but at supper time did not feel hungry (having had a big bowl of soup for lunch), so B ate the lot (heating up a bag of 2-minute pilau rice in the microwave to go with it - plus a dollop of sour cream to go on top, the sour cream needed using up, normally it would be yogurt).   He had a good slice of Tarte au Citron - with double cream - as his dessert.   Wish I had an appetite as good as his.  Once I did, but I put on lbs so easily that now always have to eat less to keep my weight under control (and hopefully lose more) and after several years of this my stomach has shrunk. 

Is it Monday today?  Every day seems the same to me, but if I remember did watch the repeat of the last Downton yesterday late afternoon (on Sundays) and will really miss it.  There will be a Christmas Special, and I believe a new series next year.  I can't wait.

Thanks for your comments.  As Les did not come back to me re my query about the cost of heating (not per room, but overall),  will try to estimate it from my bill.  Trouble is we pay the same amount each month by direct debit, and during the summer - when the heating is not on - we are then in credit.  The winter months take back all that credit plus the monthly payment, and expect this to rise again, although we have taken out the British Gas offer of holding the price we are paying for a year (they reduce them if the price goes down).

Don't think Tesco sell Beanfeasts Alison, but Morrison's do, although their assistants don't seem to know what it is when B asks them.  When I went with B last time (I used the store's scooter) I was able to show him where they were (bottom shelf at the end of the aisle that I think holds pasta - most stores keep their food in the same places).  Hope you manage to get some.  Think they do three kinds:  Mexican Chilli, Spag. Bol, and 'Mince beef' (or similar).  I only buy the first two as these have the flavouring added and all I need do is then add some more onion, a bit of beef, usually a can of chopped tomatoes, and possibly more chilli sauce when making chilli (we like this hot).  With the spag bol, the same but I add a good dash of HP sauce and also Worcestershire sauce as I would do when making a 'proper' spag bol. Sometimes adding mushrooms.

Having said that, for myself often make up a sachet of the Beanfeast in either of the two favourites as I like them 'as-is', perhaps adding more red beans or onions, and making up with a can of chopped tomatoes plus a little water instead of just water.  They really are that good.

Don't feel down Kathryn about having to struggle in today's economic climate.  However difficult things are, we can be grateful that we have so much more than our parent and grandparents.  Who today would use an outside loo, mangle, and do without hot water.  There may still be a few people who have to cope with this, some may even wish to  (if they have chosen to live as in 'times past'), but generally we are much more fortunate.  When I feel blue, I always give thanks for what we have (always when I use the washing machine - having spent many, many years having to wash clothes in the sink, tread sheets in the bath, wring them all out by hand, and pray for a sunny, windy day for everything to dry on the clothes line outdoors.  This when we had three children under three!   So life today is incredibly easy for me now.  Perhaps too easy.

There is nothing quite as good as the feeling of the sense of achievement when we have managed to cope under difficult circumstances, and with your skills (and teaching qualifications) am sure that a local night-school would be only too happy for someone to explain how to cope on a lesser income. The fees paid are fairly substantial - even if not, every penny earned adds up to make life just that little easier, and your explanation of how you (Kathryn) took a friend round the supermarket to show how to get the most for her money is worth every penny of the money you saved her. 

I believe 'Superscrimpers' starts again this week, not sure if every day, but have seen it in the TV supplement, so will try to find time to watch. 

There is a saying (not sure if this is word for word) that all we need is "a roof over our head, food in our belly, and clothes on our back".  What sort of roof, food and clothes is almost immaterial.  It just means if we have these we have the means to survive, and survive we will.  Today, anything more could, and perhaps should, be counted as almost a luxury.

By the way, anyone with a spare room is allowed to rent this out without having to pay any tax on the earnings (up to a set amount), so worth reading the ads in the paper in case some student, or visiting salesman wants some accommodation for a short while. 

Time now for me to regretfully take my leave so that I can find time to complete today's 'things to be done', but there will always be time for me to give any recipes you may be seeking, or perhaps answers to other queries. 

Haven't heard from Lisa (USA) for some days now.  Do hope I haven't upset her with my rather hot-headed approach the American elections, and also what was said about the recent storm on their eastern seaboard (without any intention of upsetting anyone, it seems I often do).  Was hoping Lisa and family escaped the worst of the storm, but maybe not so.  Wish them all well, and hope to hear from her again very soon.

Back again tomorrow, usual time, and if up early enough maybe even a longer blog, but have to say enjoy 'sleeping in' these dark mornings.  Hope you all have a good day.  TTFN.