Sunday, April 07, 2013

Reading the Small Print...

Not yet 7.00am (BST) and already have been up over an hour, got a load of laundry in the machine, had my breakfast...  all because I went to bed at 9.00pm yesterday.  Nothing I really wanted to watch on TV other than 'Endeavour' (a prequel to 'Morse'), and somehow didn't really want to watch someone play Inspector Morse, to me he has always been John Thaw.

Now I have made a start on my blog, time for me to publish and maybe also get on writing up a few more recipes for the Foodbank.  The repeat of Paul Hollywood's Bread is on at 11.30am so want to watch that too.

Yesterday watched the repeat of the '...Sewing Bee', and have to say - at least for me - this was very boring.  Expected better as it was the same production team (I understand) as the '...Bake-Off".  Perhaps it is because the 'sewing professionals' are not already known to us that we find offputting,  and myself feel that someone more suited than Claudia Winkleman would have been a better presenter. Kirstie Allsopp would have been perfect, but she works for Channel 4 not the Beeb.

Unlike the '...Bake Off', the sewing prog did not inspire me to want to make what I saw.  At least with the cookery prog. there was a bit more 'how to do this' than with the sewing one.  The only thing of interest (to me) was a gadget that would help me make binding.  I must have bought miles of bias binding when I used to do home-sewing in the 'old days'.

Do agree with you Granny G about coloured print on coloured paper being hard to read.  Some of my cookbooks are like that.  Seems as though 'brown paper' is supposed to give the impression of economy, and with the added (imitation) grease spots on many pages, AND the printing looking as though hand-written (this alone often difficult to read), they look quite 'pretty', but hardly 'useful', anyway, the pages of my own cookbooks (The Goode Kitchen etc...) are now turning brown due to age (and using poor quality paper to keep the price down), with plenty of greasespots added by my own fair hands, as is normal with any cookbook used in my kitchen.

Another thing that bugs me very much is the subtitles we get on TV.  These are only readable when the background is dark, and when the camera moves to a lighter colour the words are just about invisible.   Why they don't have a dark strip at the bottom of the picture just for the subtitles I don't know.
The other evening watched a Danish film, and although often set against a background of snow, the 'subs' were easily able to be read because each letter seemed to be edged with black.  Also larger.  This made the spoken words easily understandable, and quite interesting as several words and whole sentences seemed to be exactly the same (meaning and pronunciation) as we would use in the UK.  Being of 'Viking' ancestry, I felt almost at home.

I've never had 'itchy feet' Granny G, as moving house has always been forced upon me (well, sort of). Born in Coventry, we moved to Leamington Spa purely to get away from the night (and day) bombing.  Stayed there two years before moving to Leicester (my mother's home town - my dad came from the Wolverhampton area).  Lived in the same house for about 14 years, until a couple of years after marriage, when B and I moved to our first house in Oadby  (a one-time village south of Leicester).  Lived there 12 years, but then had to move to Leeds because all B's work was in that area (he was a travelling salesman).  Was very homesick for the Midlands for many months, but grew to love our Leeds house, and we lived there 40 years before 'downsizing' and moving here to Morecambe, and have to say that move was very much against my will, and I've never really settled here and desperately wish we'd stayed in Leeds, but it was family pressure that dealt the final blow, and of course they always know they think best.  
My B doesn't really like it here much as the sailing part has been a great disappointment to him, and he greatly misses his weekly sail that he had on the tarn (Yorkshire name for small lake) at Yeadon (near Leeds).  Here, it is either too windy, or the tide is wrong, and he had had only about four sailing days since we moved (four years ago).  He has sold his sailing dinghy and now, occasionally, drives the safety boat, but he keeps harping on about wishing he was sailing at Yeadon again.

However, we should be grateful that we have come to live in a very nice place, by the sea, and if I can find a reason to be glad we've moved, then perhaps I'll be able to come to terms with it.  Having a larger kitchen would help, I hate the one we have.  But then, that's just me.
What would turn my life around would be to have my own car.  I fancy one of those that look as though they have been cut in half (no back seats), think called a SmartCar.  Then - as in Leeds - I could drive around and explore the surrounding areas and countryside, and all by myself.  There are times I prefer my own company.  

For many years, B has always taken one or more holidays a year on the 'Tall Ships', usually for at least 2 weeks at a time, sometimes a month.  These times I really enjoyed as I then had 'my own space' and also had friends to stay (for 'girly' weekends etc).  When we moved here, B continued with his holidays (usually to the Canaries around Christmas/New Year) and again I enjoyed 'my space'.  For some reason now he has decided not to holiday anymore, and quite honestly I'm beginning to feel I'm the one going to have to go away, just to get away if you know what I mean.

But I shouldn't moan, as to many others this would be a good life, and for this I am grateful.  Or am I? A good life can be an easy life, and for me 'ease' does not bring happiness.  Neither does money. What gives me pleasure is being forced to manage when the chips are down (if that's the right expression), having a 'need to survive' sort of outlook.  Probably the reason why I keep setting myself challenges, just to keep my brain active.

Enough of me (sometimes it seems it's all about me, me, me and for that I apologise) and return to replying to your comments...

That 'tiffin' cake Mandy, is the one that we call 'refridgerator cake'.  As you say it is just a basic mix of chocolate, syrup etc, and to that we can mix in broken biscuits, marshmallows, dried fruits etc.  Don't know why I don't make it more often as B enjoys eating it (and so do I, but try not to - too many calories),  it really is a good way to use up the odds and ends we hang onto. 

Cockney slang is something unique to London, although most (older) people know what is meant when they hear it, as it is nearly always 'rhyming slang':  'apples and pears' meaning 'stairs', 'syrup of figs' meaning 'wig/s' (aka hairpiece). 'having a 'Ruby' means 'eating a curry' (a short version of 'Ruby Murray - who was a singer - meaning 'curry'), and can imagine Pam, your husband not understanding what it means. 
Unfortunately we don't seem to get repeats of Hetty Wainthrop, as I enjoyed it first time round and would love to watch it again.  Possibly it is on one of the Sky channels, but we don't have Sky, only Freeview (and only some of those).  Always Being Served is another 'must see', but rarely shown now, and only then a one-off episode, never the whole series.

There have been many really good comedy series that have been on TV that - for some reason - are not repeated, that I would love to be able to see again, such as: The Brittas Empire; Ever Decreasing Circles; Hi-Di-Hi;  and - of course - Are You Being Served.  
All the repeats we seem to get are either 'The Good Life' and 'Dad's Army', both worth watching, and many times over, but not ALL the time.

Suppose there has to be a noticeable difference (at least to the 'natives') between the American and Canadian accents, Margie, but to me the only way I realise one is Canadian is how the 'ou' in words is pronounced.
Do hope you get to watch 'Mr Selfridge', as this is very much a 'period piece' , and the type of drama that I enjoy (like Downton Abbey, and Upstairs, Downstairs), only this time more business orientated (although family life comes into it).  My mother (born 1902) would be familiar with those times, and I only wished I'd been born earlier to experience them.  Even so, much of my life-time would be considered 'history' to the young generations of today, and as  'Victorian Farm' and the 'Edwardian Farm' are 'past times' to me, so 'Call the Midwife' would be to them,  but as I was about the same age of the young midwives in 'Call the Midwife' at that time (same clothes, same hairstyles, how it brings back memories), to me this is just as though it happened last year.

Came across a recipe yesterday that is really simple to make, and another where many of us already have the ingredients.  Although unusual to include potatoes with a spaghetti dish, apparently this is common in Italy.  Perhaps a good way to use up canned new potatoes?
Although we could use almost any pasta 'shape', for once think this dish IS best made with spaghetti.  Read the other day that Tesco's 'Value' spaghetti comes out 'top' of others tested, and - and being such a low price - this is the one I normally buy anyway.
The long 'string' beans are normally in my freezer, but frozen peas could be used instead (or some of each). During the season, fresh beans/peas could also be used.
Pesto is something I normally keep in the larder (once opened, kept in the fridge - where it will keep longer if the surface of the pesto is kept covered with a little oil).  Some cooks make their own pesto, and not always with the traditional basil. Watercress, rocket, parsley... can make a good 'pesto'. This recipe uses green pesto, mainly to keep the 'green' colourway of this dish, but red pesto could be used.  As ever, all a matter of taste (and what we have).  Have added 'optional Parmesan' to the original recipe as this is something I would normally sprinkle over almost any pasta dish

Spaghetti Genovese: serves 4
10 oz (300g) new potatoes, sliced
10 oz (300g) spaghetti
half tsp salt
8 oz (225g) green beans, trimmed and cut in half
4 oz (100g) green pesto 
salt and pepper
olive oil
grated Parmesan (optional - see above)
Half fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil.  Add the potatoes, spaghetti, and salt.  Bring back to the boil and cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes and pasta are almost (but not quite) tender. Add the beans and cook for 5 minutes more.
Drain well, reserving four tblsp of the cooking liquid.  Return the vegetables and pasta to the pan, then fold in the pesto and reserved cooking liquid. Add seasoning to taste.  Divide between four serving dishes and drizzle a little oil over each.   Serve a bowl of grated Parmesan as an optional extra.

Yet ANOTHER lovely day, how long will this good weather last?  It does seem to be getting a little warmer, but not enough for me to want to venture out, even though yesterday did look inviting enough for a drive out with B, but he wanted to stay and watch The Grand National. 
Each year we try and guess the winner, and yesterday wondered what would happen if (say) I'd placed an each-way bet of £1 on each of the 40 runners.  Instead, I chose 20 horses of which three came 1st, 2nd and 3rd, so would have ended up with over £80 had I backed them each-way.  Even if I'd backed the lot would still have ended up with some money, but only because the winner had long odds (think 66-1).  Had I backed them 'anti-post' at longer odds, who knows how much I could have won! 

Managed to get my blog written in time to spell-check, edit and publish before Gill phones, after that MUST sort more recipes for the Foodbank, allowing myself time out to watch Paul H. Then back to recipes again.  Hopefully next week I'll have more time to breathe.   
Hope you all enjoy your sunny weekend, and maybe be able to make a start in the garden.  Join me again tomorrow to share your experiences and thoughts on life in general.  See you then.