Thursday, January 31, 2013

Spreading the Word

Later start today due to Norma the Hair arriving later than expected.  But then with time to spare was able to do quite a lot before she arrived (laundry, preparing a trifle, sorting out a shelf in the larder, washing up the pots, tidying the conservatory....).  Now have cheese to grate and freeze, the trifle to finish, an apple and blackberry pie to make.  A whole chicken is defrosting (will be roasted tomorrow) - also sausages thawing for B's sausage, egg, beans and chips supper tonight.

Want to get most of this done before 1.30, so I can settle down to watch local news on TV, and also 'Doctor's' and 'Moving On' (drama that follows), then back into the kitchen to do more cooking as while the oven is on cooking sausages and chips, it can also cook other things too.  That's the plan anyway.

Thanks to Nikki for her comment.  It's quite true, a leisurely train journey to work means quite a bit can be done whilst travelling.  If not to do with work, more than once I've seen a girl spend quite some time putting on all her make-up (and with one this took some time I can tell you, you wouldn't have recognised her as the same person by the time she had finished).
Punctuality is high on my list of priorities (esp with work), so as - in those days -  could almost guarantee a train would be late arriving, I have always caught the train before the one that should have got me there in time, just to make sure I was. 

Also thanks to Pam (Texas) for her query.  Sorry, but I haven't any experience in growing loofahs, but am hoping that one or more readers of this blog could offer some information.

A welcome to Noor (Malaysia). Seems that my blog is now read in several other countries rather than just the UK.  It would be good to hear from others who live abroad.  They could have some local, and economical, recipes they could share.
Noor enjoys recipes using pasta, so one more is given today - this time using one of the more attractive pasta shapes as there is no need for the 'cups and curlies' to hold sauce.

Have seen several cake recipes that use courgettes Alison, so they could possibly be used in place of carrots, parsnips, or beetroot (all three used in baking as they are fairly sweet). Adding cocoa would definitely help to improve the flavour.

Watched the new series with the Hairy Bikers yesterday, but can't say I was that impressed.  The idea was good (gourmet on a shoestring), but feel there was a bit too much 'hard work' involved.   Personally, I'd rather buy a jar of ready made Thai curry sauce than go to the expense of buying the many different ingredients needed to make it (as shown on the prog). 
Having said that, the more work we put in ourselves, the cheaper the 'end product' should be, and it goes without saying that a gourmet meal made at home will work out far less costly than one we either buy 'ready-made to re-heat', or eaten when 'dining out'.  

Trouble is, my Beloved prefers to be served a 'good plateful', rather than the 'poncy' (as he calls it) little tower in the middle of a plate with a 'drizzle' surround.  So perhaps I should be thankful as his version is much easier, but then I can't develop my 'cheffy' skills.  Yes, I could prepare a Michelin starred meal just for myself, but like most cooks (or so I believe) we enjoy far more cooking for others than cooking for ourselves. Or is that just me being me again?

Time is moving on fast (so fast that it will be February tomorrow - where did January go to?), so will end with one recipe, and then say my farewell until tomorrow.

The idea behind this pasta-based recipe is that you make the 'base' salad - this will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, then remove a portion, and add chunks of cooked chicken, ham, salami/chorizo, corned beef, cold sausage.... Or open a can of tuna, salmon, or crab, and add flakes of this....Or add flakes of smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, smoked trout.... In other words make up your own salad that can be changed daily.
The prettiest pasta shapes look best in this dish (for eye appeal), and my suggestion would be to use use 'farfalle' (they look like bow ties), but only if you have them. Otherwise use another pasta shape.
basic Pasta Salad: serves 4
9 oz (250g) pasta shapes (see above)
5 oz (150g) frozen peas
handful fresh parsley, chopped
handful fresh chives, chopped
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tblsp olive oil (extra virgin if poss)
salt and pepper
(later adding meat/fish as required - see above)
Cook the pasta as per packet instructions, adding the peas for the last 2 minutes of the cooking time. Drain and rinse with cold water to rapidly cool it down.  Drain well again, then tip into a bowl with with herbs, lemon zest and juice, the oil, and plenty of seasoning.  Mix well together, then place into a lidded container and chill for up to 3 days.  Remove what is intended to be eaten that day, and add the cooked meat/fish of your choice, as an when you want (you may wish to eat the salad for lunch with meat, and again for supper with fish...).

It is now noon, so time for me to move from one comfort zone to another.  A better day today, still very windy (80mph in the north of Scotland), with blue sky visible between thin white and high clouds, so probably no rain.  It is good to see the sun shine, slightly higher in the sky now, this giving a feeling that spring will not be far behind.  Suppose, like most creatures, our 'body-clock instincts are controlled by where the sun is in the sky during each month of the year.  And without us really noticing. 

Have a good day, and hope you find time to join me for our 'chat' this time (or earlier) tomorrow. TTFN.