Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shelf Life

Managed to sort out all the freezer drawers yesterday, but still the food on the freezer shelves to organise.  It's always useful having a sort-out as I firmly believed I was about out of chicken, but discovered more than one chicken breast tucked into many of the freezer drawers.  Now all the chicken is in one drawer, all the fish in another, beef and lamb ditto, and also pork.

The 'ready-cooked' (meats and meals) also need their own drawer, but have cleared one just for this purpose.  At the moment these are on freezer shelves in 'Boris', mixed up with bags of veg.  I don't even know what veg I have left, so the 'stock-take' is proving to be very necessary.

Beloved chose ham and (fried) eggs for his supper yesterday with a salad.  He was able to get that for himself once I had carved some slices from the gammon I cooked the day before.  He also finished off the last of the scones (with cream and jam) and also the last trifle (with more cream). 

Having found a bag of chicken wings in the freezer, thawed those out with a chicken thigh and put them in a pan with a leek, an onion, rib of celery, carrot and bay leaves, then left them to simmer to make a light chicken stock.   Some of this I had for supper (with the vegetables that were cooked with the chicken, plus the chicken flesh - a sort of 'broth' I suppose.  Very tasty.  
The remaining stock will be reboiled today with fresh, diced vegetables (as above but including parsnip and potato) to make a chunky soup for B's supper tonight.   I'll also bake some bread so can make mini-loaves to eat with the soup  (B can eat up the remaining 'minis' with some of the ham).

Today have to finish sorting the freezer (shelves) and then move to the other side of Boris and sort out the fridge.  The veggie drawer in there has been done, but need to collect up all the different cheeses that have been stuffed between 'things' on each shelf, and grate up the older, harder cheeses.  This can then be stored in the freezer.   

Thanks for your comments.  Took a look at Jamie's recipe for kale that you mentioned Susan G., and will be trying that today, probably for my own supper. 

Come on Les, do you need me to give every last detail of every programme I watch and every book I read?  If I like a book then I might say more about it.  Even you should be able to find Alan Sugar's book mentioned recently because I did give the title.  Did you want the publisher and ISBN number too?  Most libraries and book shops are able to tell you if they have the book if you just give the author and title.  Have a feeling you are one of those people who need to have every bit of information before proceeding further.  B is like that, he gets in quite a state if everything is not spelt out for him (especially when asked to bring something from the supermarket for me).  Probably this (again) is a man thing. 

Thankfully we women can usually manage to do almost anything without the need to know very much, and perhaps why many men think we are a bit dim.  They just don't understand the way our mind works, and the ability we have to multi-task at speed (although I would never try and cook AND watch TV at the same time, as good cooking needs concentration on the job in hand).
Nature probably has 'programmed' the sexes to be different, with the females (unfortunately) ending up doing most of the 'family chores'. After all, it doesn't take much effort for a man to pass on his genes (all of five minutes?), but it takes a woman 9 months to 'make' the baby (not to mention the trauma of giving birth - can you see a man coping with that?_), and then another 18 years to rear it whilst the father mainly sits on the sidelines.  
Until more recent years, the main job of the man was to be the 'breadwinner', putting a roof over the heads of his family, and earning enough money to clothe and feed them.  What more did he need to do?

Don't even send me a comment on the above Les, as I'm generalising again, I know not all men are like that, some do learn to cook and rear their children.  But you get my point. 
In any case I wasn't recommending Heston's book - just pointing out that the 's' and 't's were printed oddly (and having read more last night discovered the 'c' and 't's, and the 's' and 'p's are also joined together like Siamese twins.   But if that has intrigued you and you wish to take a look for your self,  here are the full details:  the title of the book is 'Heston's Fantastical Feasts', published by Bloomsbury, ISBN 978-1-4088-0860-3.

Incidentally, it is doubtful I'll be reading the above book, as it's more an explanation of how the food for the 'feasts' were thought up and assembled (recipes given), but I have no inclination at all to dip cock's testicles in syrup to make them look like jelly beans, or makes something that looks like pigs eyeballs.  The book seems more a way of Heston saying 'how clever am I'.  Perhaps a man is more likely to enjoy the book - as it leans more towards the scientific?  Certainly of no interest to one who cooks 'real meals'.
Let us hope my blog doesn't read like Heston's  when I enthuse about the food I've cooked and the money I've managed to save.  Please let me know when/if I go OTT.

Glad you mentioned about a recipe for scones using raising agents separately Alison.  Think this might be why they work better as the proportions of bicarb and cream of tartar are different than that in baking powder (made from the same). I will keep trying and when/if I eventually succeed then will let readers know.

Wanted to watch Clarissa Dickson Wright's final prog on our traditional English meals (BBC 4, 9.00pm last night), but B wanted to watch a film and from the tone of his voice would be grumpy if he couldn't see it, so I said I'd watch the repeat at 2.00pm (same channel) 'even though it means I'd have to stay up late AGAIN'.  He was happy with that, so I went into the kitchen to do more sorting, then came in here to answer some emails, and then went back into the living room to watch TV once the film had finished.  Unfortunately nodded off through most of the Clarissa programmes, so I might as well have gone to bed when the film was on.  It'll probably be repeated, but am sure I can pick it up on iPlayer (not that desperate).

The only way for me to get all the backlog of 'stock-taking' sorted is to make an early start again today, so although it is barely 9.00am, am now off to do just this, and with any luck should be able to spend a little more time 'having a chat' tomorrow.   Norma the Hair will be coming, but not until late afternoon, then shouldn't need her the following week, then back to early Wednesday's again.

Much of the country seems to be on 'amber' alert for flooding at the moment, with some areas on 'red' alert as more heavy rain is forecast. What is happening to our weather?  Almost everyday we see scenes on TV of people wading waist deep in water, their cars half-under water, homes knee deep in water. Fortunately, even though many rivers do burst their banks and the water floods the roads, many houses are on high enough ground to be spared.  Unfortunately, not enough.  It must be devastating to be flooded out more than once, and many people still have not managed to return to their homes after being flooded out last year.

Thankfully our house is on fairly high ground (at least we have to walk downhill to reach the prom). Even that does not mean we can't get flooded.  The ground our house sits on seems to hold the water and the lawn 'squelch' as we walk over them, also (occasionally) have seen puddles on the grass surface.  This could mean water lies just under our floorboards, and any more might mean it could then seep up through.  But cross that bridge when we come to it.

Hope - whatever the weather - you all manage to have an enjoyable and productive day, and will find time to join me again tomorrow.  TTFN.