Saturday, November 24, 2012

Getting On....

Still working my way through tidying the dining room.  It is the same with everyone - start clearing up and ending up with the job half done and what seems like more mess than ever?  At least have cleared a corner for the chair to be tucked away, and the butler's tray just (but only just) fit at the end of the long sideboard.  Same height so looks OK, and now hold most of my large cook books.j

Even discovered an electric socket in the corner where the b/tray once stood - perfect for a table lamp to be stood close to the chair - this can then be my personal 'reading ' corner, with - later - bookshelves close by.

This means today still have much to do.  The kitchen now just about sorted, no meal to make tonight as will be at a 'Pampered Chef' demo, where - as well as this - we will be able to sample foods cooked during the evening by two of the male members of the social club (in competition with each other).  B said there would be 'pie and peas', but apparently not so - we are just promised a mince pie.  At least for £2.50 a head (I thought it was £5), probably an evening worth going out for.

Forgive my short blog this morning as if I don't get on and finish this room, will then find myself having a panic attack as I still have to plan/prepare the meal for our Tuesday guests (and not sure yet what this will be - a choice has been given to the guests and I hope to hear tonight).

Just one query - what is the 'French Silk' pie you mentioned Lisa?  The name alone makes my mouth water. 
As you say, it is a pity that shops in the US didn't close for Thanksgiving, but do they all close at Christmas.  Here, Christmas is our 'family gathering' time, and still some stores open, and some obvious places that need too (hospitals. pubs, restaurants etc). Presumably motorway cafes also, but do know that many employers try to use staff on those day that have no family ties, or who do not wish to join their family at that time.
I remember when working as a bar-maid that I was asked to work on Christmas Day, and me with three very young children at that time.  At least managed to get the lunch-time spot free to cook and eat the family lunch together,  but then had to work in the evening (immediately the children had been put to bed - in those days children did not stay up late), and as there were very few customers, it wasn't even worth going to work at the pub that night.  The manager and wife could have coped happily on their own - but preferred to sit the other side of the counter and drink with their friends!! I was really upset about this.

One recipe today that fits in nicely withe my larder/fridge contents, and as several of the ingredients can be altered/substituted, a good dish to make from 'what we have'. 
This is a speedy meal to make (all of 10 minutes), and instead of pak choi, use another green 'crunchy' leaf vegetable, even Little Gem lettuce cooked briefly will work.  Use any mushrooms that you might have bought (fresh or canned) and any Chinese noodles (they don't have to be thick - but if not the 'soft' ones - sometimes called 'straight-to-wok', the pre-cook the dried Chinese dried noodles, draining well before adding to the pan).
Serve the meal as given or with prawn crackers or prawn toast, and if you wish to bulk it up, add some cooked chicken breast (or scraps from the carcase), or cooked (frozen) prawns (or both), adding them with the noodles and cooked until heated right through.

Noodles with Pak Choi: serves 4
1 tsp runny honey
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
good splash soy sauce
7 oz (200g) chestnut mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
300g pack thick 'straight-to-wok' noodles
7 oz (200g) pak choi, sliced lengthways
Heat a wok or large frying pan and add the honey, mustard, and soy sauce.  Cook/stir for a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms and season to taste.   Stir-fry until the mushrooms are tender, then add the noodles and cook for 3 minutes, stirring gently to separate them, then add the pak choi and continue frying until wilted.  Serve immediately. 

That has to be it for today.  So far so good with our weather, but it seems the south west again is going to bear the brunt of more rain and gales - these should be arriving on our own doorstep later today, so looks like a bleak weekend ahead, with the promise of much colder weather next week.
But whatever the weather, do hope that all readers managed to find some pleasurable activity for this last weekend in November - is tomorrow 'Stir-up' Sunday (the traditional day for making Christmas Puddings)?
Hope you will join me for (hopefully) a longer chat tomorrow - if so, see you then.