Friday, June 21, 2013

Odds and Ends

Although I had problems earlier publishing today's blog ('blogger not responding' - despite many attempts), and Eileen may have given a comment that there would not be a blog today,  have managed to get back onto the site, so here is what I had started to write...

...Managed to have an hour sitting outdoors yesterday morning, and although cloudy it was pleasantly warm.  At noon the first raid drops (forecast) began to fall, so we moved indoors to finish our coffee morning.   Myself was pleased to see the rain, barely more than a drizzle, as it helped to keep the bedding plants fresh as still have some to pot up.

You wouldn't believe this, but as we sat in the conservatory we saw our resident squirrel keep running along the top of a fence to the box where our neighbours put peanuts (still in shell),  the squirrel would take a nut, then jump down into our garden and proceed to a pot of newly planted geranium and lobelia, and preceed to bury the nut in this.  Not just one nut, but  - after scurrying back and forth - planted four nuts before moving on to another container, leaving soil around them and the poor lobelia almost hanging on by its teeth.  So had to go out later and replant them all. 

Once the squirrel had found no more pot he could cope with, he (or she) then decided to start planting the peanuts in our lawn.  Am wondering if this creature is expecting bad weather this coming winter, they do say that animals always know.

It is now the Summer Solstice, many hundreds of people gathered to watch the sunrise at Stonehenge this morning, although not really anything to see as it was very cloudy.  Last night it seemed more humid when I went to bed, so lay on the duvet with just a light 'fleece' blanket over me, but about 3.00 felt a bit cool so ended up under the duvet again. 

Today our temps on the coast are expected to be 18C, and perhaps 20C inland, but thank goodness we don't live in the Balkans (I thought this was in Russia, but the weather map showed it as the lower part of what used to be Yugoslavia).  At the moment the temperature there is 38C!!!  That must be one of the hottest areas in the world at the moment. 

Taaleedee's comment has prompted me to warn readers of the dangers of using left-over rice as if not chilled a.s.a.p after cooking, the rice - if left to cool at room temperature - can develop some sort of bacteria (?) that cannot be killed by heat (in otherwords reheating rice won't cure the problem).  This can cause food poisening and maybe even worse. 

There are many recipes that do use pre-cooked rice, and can only assume they expect cooks to chill the rice once made and use it the following day (or freeze it).  Chilling rice is not as simple as just putting a bowlful of cool rice into the fridge, the outer layer of rice would get cold before the centre, and if the rice is too warm to start with, the bacteria can still develop.   The best way to rapidly cool rice is to spread it in a very shallow layer on a baking sheet and flap a piece of card over it to speed up the cooling time, then chill it in the fridge before putting it into a bowl or bags to use the following day. 

Mind you, I have used left-over rice several times using less care than the above and without any health problems, but as there is a danger, we all need to be aware of it.
As rice is a basic ingredient in Asian cooking, it would be good to hear from Noor (or other readers) giving us any tips on the best way to cool/store/use left-over rice.

Despite our weekend weather being very unsettled, cloudy and scattered showers etc, apparently next week things will improve as another high pressure moves in, so by then my plants should have all been potted up, rained on, and happily settled in for to me to sit outside enjoying looking at them from Monday onwards (unless - of course - Andy Murray is playing at Wimbledon).

How lovely it was to see the Queen's horse win the Gold Cup at Ascot yesterday.  Her Majesty has the most wonderful smile when she is truly happy, and we've seen quite a lot of those over the last couple of Jubilee years.  No doubt her photo will be on the front page of many newspapers this morning.

Due to the early hiccups publishing today's blog, having managed to get back on this site via the 'edit' page, enabling me to finish.  Will not tempt Providence, and so leave you for today in the hope all is back to normal tomorrow.  TTFN.