Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Getting Ready..

The weather forecasts tells us to expect heavy rain today but warming up towards the weekend, AND next week we could have a real heatwave.  Summer here at last?  Let us hope so. 
With this in mind I'm going to work very hard this week to get all the jobs done I can, cook also for this coming Saturday's 'Tea by the Sea' at B's club, and am sure there is something else 'important' I have to do.

So - as tomorrow is Norma the Hair day, meaning a late start to my blog, Thursday possibly only have a short time to spare writing, Friday also a quick blog.  Saturday no blog as I'll have an early start cooking fresh scones etc.  So I'll be keeping my rambles cut short this week (sighs of relief from readers.

Is it a welcome, or welcome back to Bets?  Good to hear from you anyway.  Agree that we should patronise our local shops - if we can find any.  Once upon a time all local shopping parades had a butcher, baker, fishmongers, greengrocer, grocers, sweet shop, haberdashers, chemist, hardware store, fish and chip 'take-away', maybe a 'tea rooms/cafe', and of course a newsagent and post office.
Now we are lucky to find any of them, the newsagent, post office, chemist (now called 'pharmacy'), the 'chippy', maybe the only ones remaining, the rest of the property taken over by estate agents, travel agencies, chiropodists, opticians, solicitors, funeral directors, branches of banks, pizza take-aways, Chinese take-aways, Indian take-aways. 

Here in Bare we are lucky to still have a bakery (although too expensive for me to want to shop there even though nothing really special as regards cakes), we do have a good butcher who also sells fruit and veg (these being displayed on a trestle table under an awning outside his shop window - so not much choice), the usual newsagent, pharmacy and post office, a florist (now two florists), some clothes shops, and a charity shop, a 'corner shop' (where the groceries are mega expensive), and lots of the 'commercial' businesses (estate agents et al).  There is a small tea-rooms, but apparently, since it is now under new management, you can't go in and sit at a table and have a waitress collect your order, you have to go up to the counter to request what you want, then go and sit down and they will bring it to you.  So you won't find me going there (or anyone else it seems as the place now has hardly any customers I've heard - it used to be full before it was sold).

The herring family sounds a bit like the sardine family Taaleedee, different names for different sizes. We get the small sardines that are canned, slightly larger ones are called brisling, then come the pilchards (as canned) although the true pilchards are the size of a fully grown sardine.  The Cornish pilchards are now called 'Cornish Sardines' because people who have been abroad and eaten freshly caught and cooked sardines think they are wonderful (as they are), so to keep up with the 'fashion' more pilchards are sold when they are called 'sardines'.

Have read that the US corn syrup is very similar to Golden Syrup Pam, although I believe the 'corn' version is colourless. Maybe the taste is similar so either could be used in a recipe (or on toast etc). As Annie (is that a welcome, or welcome back?) said, Yorkshire Pudding eaten with golden syrup is lovely. Am pretty sure that G.S. is what my B puts on the Yorkies that are left over, as he always eats them up later that evening as one of his 'snacks'.

Regarding ghosts.  I have seen several in my life-time, sometimes not realising I had until I was told the person I'd just seen had died a day or so before.   Most of the time I've put my 'sightings' down to errors, but when we stayed at an old farmhouse in Bacton, Norfolk, then I really DID have a week of seeing ghosts.  No-one else saw them, but my friend Gill, who was with us, heard 'things'.  Quite honestly, I began to get quite scared as so many really strange things happened that I saw and heard, and felt. 
The one thing that really showed me none of it was in my imagination was when everyone had gone to bed and I was sitting watching TV and as I began to nod off heard a rustling sound by the fireplace. I immediately sat up and the noise stopped instantly.  The same thing happened three times, just as I was nodding off (this is usually the time when we are able to connect with the 'other world'), and I got up to go to the bathroom which was at right angles to the room where I was sitting.  I was only in there 30 seconds (I counted), and when I returned, the pile of holiday brochures that had been placed on a low seat by the TV, had been neatly arranged in one long row right along the front of the fireplace, some yards away from where they were.  No way could they have been blown off the seat, or fallen off, and even if they had they would not have ended up in such a very neat row, all lined up like a parade of soldiers.   In fact it made me laugh.  I gathered them up and said out loud 'I'm not playing, so leave me alone', then - as quick as I could - dashed to the end of the long room where a door led to the bedroom that B and I were sleeping (the others in the family had the upstairs bedroom).  Have to say I lay in bed next to B, hardly daring to sleep, just waiting for the bedroom door to open, but as it was an 'annexe', probably the ghost didn't haunt that bit.

Normal ghosts - just visions from the past who don't seem to have knowledge I am there - I don't mind, but the ones at Bacton were 'real' and wanted to 'connect' with me (and there were more than one as the first was a young man - who spoke to me - and on other days I saw 'see-through's running across the room', and also a dog who I felt twice pulling my quilt from over me).

All through my life I've had strange things happen, and many 'out-of-body' experiences. I've been told that I am psychic and should 'take it up', but I've never wanted to as it is scary, and I don't really wish to get involved at all, it's just something that I'd prefer to distance myself from.  Unfortunately this 'disinterest' of mine does not stop me 'seeing' or 'feeling' things.

Back to 'real life', and something I read yesterday that I feel is worth us all knowing:
"If two people have one coin each, the use of each is limited.  But if both put the two coins together they can do more than on their own or if one person has both. 
Sharing and circulating ideas can be advantageous in that everyone benefits more than if you just hold onto your one idea keeping it all to yourself."

The above is so true, and I like to think that is what this blog is all about.  Not just randomly chatting, but also sharing my hints and tips and ideas, and hoping very much that readers will also share theirs (as they do).  Together we can make so much more of our lives than if we had never 'met'.  Hope you feel this way too.

Because time is getting on (what I really mean is I must get on...) just one recipe today, but one I like as I'm very fond of having a chilli-spiced tomato soup for lunch each day.  You could say I've got addicted to it.  My version is just a can of chopped tomatoes to which I've added chipotle sauce and occasionally a tomato (or chicken) cuppa soup.  They do say that chilli has a 'feel good' chemical (if that's the word - oats and I believe chocolate also have it), so certainly better to get this effect the natural way than 'pill-popping'.

The recipe below is good without the chicken, but as left-over chicken is one of the ingredients, worth making when you've made a batch of chickent stock from a carcass, and have a pile of cooked flesh you laboriously picked from the bones after the boiling.  You do pick the bones don't you?  If not why not?  Usually you can get at least 8oz of cooked chicken from the bones esp. if you include the winglets (that are not much good for anything else).

Although this soup can be served with or without the chicken, why not go the whole hog and serve it Mexican style by placing bowls of tortilla chips, chopped avocado, diced red onion, and coriander leaves for everyone to help themselves to - and sprinkle over the soup.
Mexican Soup: serves 4
2 tblsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 - 3 cloves garlic, crushed
pinch dried chilli flakes
half tsp ground cumin
1 x 400g can plum tomatoes
2.75 pints (1.5 ltrs) chicken stock
half pint measure left-over chicken scraps
salt and pepper
juice of 2 limes
Put the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions for five minutes until softened, then stir in the garlic and cumin and cook for a further minute.  Add the chilli flakes, tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 3 minutes then cool slightly and - in batches - blitz in a blender or food processor (or use a stick blender directly in the saucepan) to puree until smooth.
Return the soup to the pan and bring back to a simmer. Stir in the lime juice and seasoning to taste, then fold in the cooked chicken.  Serve in individual bowls, garnishing the soup with avocado, coriander, onion, and nibbling tortilla chips (these garnishes are optional).

The time I've allowed myself has now been reached (over-reached in fact) so really must take my leave.  A reminder that my blog will be published a bit later tomorrow, but should be before (or just after) noon.  Hope you can join me then.  I'll look forward to it.  TTFN.