Monday, June 10, 2013

Something Different...

Thanks MymSys for letting me know the author of 'Onions in the Stew'.   Also to Ali59 - a newcomer to this site, so very welcome - who gave details of the other books written by the same lady (Betty Macdonald).  I remember reading 'The Egg and I' as well as 'Onions...' so would like to read them both again plus the other two.  Hope the library will have them (or get them for me).

Ali59 sent her comment via the comment box of an earlier posting (title: Pick n Mix), so it won't appear with the most recent one. A reminder to all readers that although I always receive comments when sent (blogger sends them to my email page and also gives the name of the posting that was used to send the comment - that at least helps), when a reader uses an older posting to send the comment, this will only be published with that that blog, not the last one published.   My 'email' comment does give me the name of the blog from whence the comment was sent. 
So, if readers wish their comments to be read by all, then send them via the comment box on the very last blog published.  If it doesn't matter, than any of the blog pages would do, for as I would be reading the comment along with the most recent, a reply will always be given.   Hope you can make sense of all of that.  I'm never much good at explaining 'in a few words'.

According to the weather forecast Anona, it looks as though Norfolk will be having the hottest weather in the country today, so hope you manage to get out and enjoy some of it.  The rest of the country is now considerably cooler, but still pleasantly warm despite overcast skies.
A good idea to use a potato masher to break down the plum tomatoes.  Why didn't I think of that?

Thanks CTMOM and Shayna for giving more info about the agave syrup.  I like the sound of it, and if Tesco sell it, then hope to get some next time I do an on-line order.

That was an extremely interesting quote you sent us re tornadoes Pam.  It must be terrifying to be close to one, and not sure whether it will bypass the area or blast its way right through it. Despite all the rain and flooding we had last year, we should be very thankful in the UK that our climate has few natural 'disasters', although we do seem to be having a few more earthquakes (one in Wales the other week), not that any of them seem to do harm, just a rumble that probably goes unnoticed (I've felt the ground move more when a big lorry drives down our road).

At one time I always bought jars of pickled beetroot Granny G, but find these a bit limiting as I like to use beetroot as an ingredient in both savoury and sweet dishes (such as Chocolate and Beetroot Brownies), so now always buy the vacuum packed long-life beetroot (not in vinegar), these having several months of 'shelf-life'.  As there are usually four or sometimes five (or six smaller) beets in the pack, we manage to eat them - once opened - within a few days. 

Beetroot, especially beetroot juice, is said to be very helpful in lowering blood pressure, and having drunk a small glass before I go to the surgery to have my b.p. checked, have to say that each time my b.p. is lower than it (probably) normally is. 

Yesterday was really fed up as I had another 'allergic attack', and there was me thinking that once the doc. had stopped one of my blood pressure pills, I'd have no more attacks.  At least there has been a longer gap between this attack and the last, and this wasn't as bad as some of the previous ones. Also I'd cooked myself a spice encrusted chicken breast for the previous night's supper, using a new Moroccan spice (it really was spicy), so it might be one of the spices in that I am allergic to. 
I'll have to avoid spices for a month or two and if I don't have another attack then fingers crossed, I'll know at least one of the causes.  If the doc takes me off all my pills (as he said he might have to do if my allergy continued) then at least I can drink beetroot juice to help lower my b.p.

Because I have to take three anti-histamines (all at the same time, not one three times a day) when I have an allergic attack, this makes me feel very lethargic, and I find it hard to keep awake, so was pleased to leave B to cook his own supper.  His favourite - Chinese Stir Fry.   I'd partly cooked some carrot matchsticks and sugar snap peas, plus some small cauliflower florets to add to the stir-fry as he doesn't like any veggies that remain still 'crunchy' when fried.   With these he had onion, celery, bell peppers, root ginger, garlic, and some (frozen/thawed) strips of fat-free belly pork that I'd cooked some time back.  This meat, cut into small chunks, cooked beautifully in the stir-fry, with - at the end - B adding a sachet of one of the Chinese sauces that he'd bought when last at Morrison's.  He also chose to have a 2 minute microwave 'chinese- flavoured' rice (bought when on offer) instead of the (cheaper) noodles.  He proudly brought in his meal to show me, and it smelt gorgeous.  Let us hope that one day he will think about cooking enough for both of us.

However, for the time being, I'm keeping away from carbohydrates, for over the past few weeks I've gained back over a stone in weight, all because I've gone back to eating sarnies, cakes, and biscuits.
How stupid can I be.  Anyway, decided from now on it's a high-protein diet for me and happy to say that I seem to be eating loads more than when on 'carbos', but losing lbs in the process.  In just four days have lost 7 lbs.  My 'diet' is mainly eating hard-boiled eggs (three at a time) often twice a day.  I have my tomato soup for lunch, and then a good chunk of cheese later in the evening with some grapes, apples, and/or tomatoes, followed by a bar of chocolate!!!.  Well, that was yesterday.  Previous day was the hard-boiled eggs, tomato soup and two spiced-up chicken breasts with some salad.  Think I managed to fit in a can of tuna that day as well, plus a bag of sugar-free Werther's original.  A strange mixture of foods, but if eating these makes me lose weight FAST, then I'll stay with it for a couple of weeks, then introduce some carbos (rice, pasta, potatoes) back into my diet. 

It is mainly bread that seems to be the food that really piles the pounds back onto my hips and midriff, and am positive that - with me at least - bread eaten will soak up liquid intake like the sponge pads I use when washing up (supermarket bread looks like a sponge pad anyway), and as I have several mugs of coffee, soup and also fruit and veg drunk/eaten in one day the 'liquid/water' in all these add up to several lbs, so it's probably not surprising I'm ending up like a huge block of absorbent 'oasis' (that dry green stuff that soaks up water and we use to hold stems when making flower arrangements).

The good thing about a high-protein diet is that the 'naughties' (cream, butter etc) are allowed. Not that much butter is eaten, for this is only palatable when spread on bread, toast or biscuits I suppose.   However, am able to eat a really tasty Cauliflower Cheese with the sauce below, as no flour is used for thickening and all the ingredients in this dish are 'allowed' with this particular 'diet'.
We can use any cheese (or a mixture) for this cheese sauce.  When serving with cauliflower, adding Stilton (or using all Stilton) really improves the flavour.  Once the dish has been cooked, I'd serve it with several rashers of crispy fried bacon (also allowed).
Cheat's Cheese Sauce:
7 oz (200ml) creme fraiche
5 oz (150g) grated cheese
Put the creme fraiche into a small pan, add the cheese (crumbled if using Stilton), and keep stirring until smooth.  Use for any dish that requires a cheese sauce.

If eating carbos in your diet don't cause you a problem, then you might like to try this tip:
Use cheese sauce powder (from a packet) to flavour your scone mix. This saves grating cheese and can be sometimes cheaper.

Also, some dry mixes (say an onion soup mix) also work well when stirred into natural yogurt.  Leave to stand overnight and the yogurt will thicken to make a well-flavoured 'dip', and when adding dried fruit to yogurt (raisins, sultanas, or chopped no-soak apricots etc), again leaving to stand overnight, the fruits soak up a lot of 'loose' liquid in the yog, which then ends up like a thick, fruit-studded cheese that can be spread over a biscuit base and served as a 'cheesecake'.  The amount of fruit used can vary, I suggest an equal measure of fruit to yogurt, but if the fruit is very dry (as some cheaper dried fruits can be), these will absorb more liquid so less fruit needs to be used.

Final suggestions for today for 'something different'.   Although I don't eat grapefruit myself (I love it but not allowed when on /b.p. medication), anyone who DOES eat grapefruit, especially the fresh fruit, then a good party starter is to serve it liberally doused with Cointreau (or at least spoon some over if you can't afford to 'douse').

Rollmop herrings (or smoked mackerel or smoked trout) have a happy marriage (or perhaps better called a 'threesome') when served with soured cream and chopped beetroot.

If you have fresh ripe pears all the better, but if not used canned pears, well drained, then serve them as a starter, stuffing the cored pear halves with a mixture of cream cheese and blue cheese (I use Stilton but some chefs would use Gorgonzola) adding a little salt and pepper in to season. Although optional, halved or chopped walnuts go very well with this dish.

That's it for today, and a reminder that there will be no blog tomorrow as leaving the house early to spend most of the morning at Barton Grange, and who knows where else in the afternoon.  Wednesday I'll be back 'blogging' but probably later in the morning due to Norma the Hair arriving at 9.00am.  Hope you can join me than, and keep those comments coming.  TTFN.