Wednesday, August 28, 2013

More Food for Thought

Still can't access my normal blog page, but as this seems to work will continue (has to be a shorter blog than usual) until Steve comes on Saturday to fix the new router and sort out the problems that still keep arising.

Thanks for comments.  I too normally bake cakes and would never use a cake mix Louise, except I'd bought some for the Foodbank but then they couldn't accept them as an egg needed to be used (and they didn't provide eggs), so ended up using them for 'research purposes'.   They are - of course - packed with additives and preservatives, and made as per pack instructions really don't taste that good, but have to say that by adding the banana, was agreeably surprised.
Bananas are one of the things that we can add to our baking that can be a substitute for an egg (or at least a second egg), so perhaps why the texture of the cake ended up far lighter than it would normally have been.  It gave a good flavour as well.

I had heard about Jamie's new series Taaleedee/Louise, but not heard him speak about it.  However, it is true that many people do eat rubbish in front of TV (readers of this blog excepted of course), and these are usually people who prefer to 'snack' in front of TV rather than sit at a table to eat a proper meal (or am I being unkind?). Have to say that B usually prefers to sit at a table when eating his supper, but is bringing is home-cooked stir-fries to eat in the living room, on his lap, because he is enjoying watching the repeats of Downton Abbey.   Myself tend to bring my supper (and it is a healthy meal) into the living room and eat at a small table in front of my chair whilst watching D.A.

Watched '...Bake Off' last night and managed to stay awake this time.  Didn't realise that the contestants knew what they would be baking, and had no chance to practice until the last (a cake/bake of their choice).  This time it seemed they knew what they would be baking and had been able to have a trial run or ten at home before they arrived.  Not that it matters.

Yesterday, noticed that our small freezer had begun to almost defrost itself (front of the drawers covered in clear ice when I opened the door).  This happens when SOMEONE (and it could have been me) had not closed the door tightly the last time it was used.  Possibly caused by a build up of ice inside that had prevented one of the drawers not being able to be pushed back far enough, just enough to impeded the closure of door.  Anyway, this meant having to get all the food out, put into a cold box, and then defrost completely.  Didn't take too long (warm day), and all the food was safely installed still solidly frozen.  At least it gave me a chance to see what was in the freezer (more than expected), and all I left out was a box of home-grown rhubarb (to make a crumble today), a box of ganache (to use for a cake), and what I thought was a chicken breast for B's stir-fry last night but it turned out to be a slice of raw gammon cut from a big piece (cooked for ham).  Cut this piece into little chunks and fried them gently, then added the stir-fry (chilli) sauce, and cooked on until tender, B was then able to add this (meat/sauce) to his stir-fry after he'd cooked his veg.

Still good weather, yet Saturday sees the official end of summer, and autumn begins.  We will have now had over two months of pretty well perfect weather, save the odd rain shower.  Parts of the country had worse weather (thunderstorms etc) but we've never had it so good since we moved here.  The forecast is for it to continue for a few days, so am well pleased. 

A large Lidl flyer came through the door (many pages) and I marked several items that I liked the look of, but today will cross all of them out except the packs of microwave rice (far cheaper than the brand I normally buy) that B prefers to use when he is cooking his - at least once a week - stir fries.  Also allowing myself some 'less than half price' bottles of fabric softener (brand normally used).  The rest of the chosen food I CAN DO WITHOUT!!!  
This is something I'm going to have to start thinking about.  Not because I need to save the money (but of course I should), but ask myself "why am I wanting to buy this when I've already got a larder and fridge/freezer full of food?"   The answer has to be because I enjoy going out to buy something, and buying food seems to be a better option than buying anything else I suppose.  At least it has a purpose.   Or it should have.  But as I have to keep reminding myself, it has not purpose at all if left on the shelf.  So now I am going to buy ONLY what I need, when it is needed.  

With only two small finger length carrots left from that 1.5kg pack bought several weeks ago (kept in the fridge), that is one item that really will have to be replaced.  Like onions (still have a few left of those), carrots are cooked regularly, either as a vegetable in their own right, or chopped finely or grated to extend a dish such as spag bol meat sauce, chilli con carne etc. Could say these are eaten either by myself or B every day of the week.   It's surprising how long the pack lasts. 
Also need to buy another white cabbage (also goes a long way and keeps for ages in the fridge). And that's all that I REALLY need this week, so am very pleased that I couldn't get Tesco's site to move on from the order (nothing happened when I pressed 'check-out').  The thought of all those 'replacement' things I'd ordered makes me feel really shocked, because if I can manage without them this week, and probably next week as well, why did I even think about placing an order?  (B could buy carrots for me at Morrison's).

Norma text me yesterday to change the time of her arrival, and as it will be 9.00am (instead of 1.00pm) thought I'd write my blog before she comes, rather than leave it later (because I need the rest of the morning to prepare supper etc).  If the sun will shine (cloudy at the moment) I hope to get outside and top up my tan for an hour.  Now the sun is lower in the sky, it shines through the top branches of our apple tree, so I have to sit in a dappled spot, let us hope I don't end up with a dappled tan.  Still pleasantly warm, even in the shade.  How lovely an English garden can be when the weather is good.  The scent from the lavender wafting through the air as we brush past the bushes.....

Noticed that during September, the Food Network are showing many cookery progs relating to Christmas.  There are several sayings such as: "It is better to travel than to arrive", and "Anticipation is better than the event".  In other words the pleasure of looking forward to something is as good as (if not better) than what we are looking forward to.  
This is why - in the old days when food was always 'seasonal' - we were always looking forward to eating the 'first fruits'.  Now, because we can buy these all year round, they have lost their appeal and when it comes to all foods, we really have nothing to look forward to.
You could say that Christmas is about the only time we really have something to aim for, as am not sure that mincepies are on sale all year round.  Or Christmas pudding.  Mincemeat probably is, but we still stick to cooking/eating the traditional foods at this - the right time - of year.  But having Christmas based probs on TV starting in September (which will be next week) is a bit much.  Prefer to wait until October (or even November).   Once into the New Year I suppose everything will then start pushing Easter at us.

Before Christmas we still have Hallow'een and Guy Fawkes (Bonfire) night.  Let's get those over with first. On the other hand, we can start THINKING (and then preparing) what we can do in advance to make life easier for us in December.  So don't let me stop you making your mincemeat, Christmas Cake, Christmas Pud, and preserves (autumn is the right time to make preserves anyway), some of these could be destined for your gifted Christmas Hampers.
But while we still have some sunny and warm days left, let us enjoy them for we may not see the like again for several years.  Winter can wait!

Not sure when I'll be back, maybe tomorrow, maybe Friday, as have now lifted the daily blog from my shoulders, giving me a bit more freedom.  To have a good think.  Seems to be working to my advantage.  Enjoy your day.  TTFN    


Blogger Eileen M said...

Hi Shirley, Just a quickie to let you know carrots are only 39 p a kilo in Aldi this week. They are part of the 'super 6' deal. They also have broccoli, radish, spring onions, six tomatoes and two little gem lettuce at the same price. At the moment carrots are £1 a bag at Morrisons. If 'B' is going to Lidl for other things he may find carrots at a good price there as their veg are often competitively priced.

9:50 a.m.  
Blogger Sarina McEwan-Bell said...

Hello Shirley.
I didn`t realize that autumn starts officially on Saturday. I had felt autumnal breezes already a few weeks ago whilst doing some gardening. It feels as if autumn is early. Blackberries are already ripe out in the countryside. I`ve been making lots of jam last weekend. And the elderberries look as if they might also be ripe in a few weeks. I do like to make the most of all the free wild fruits I can pick. It`s such a great addition to all our provisions during the winter time. I shall try my hand in apple and mint jelly making next. One of my neighbours has apple trees but doesn`t use the apples. More free fruit for my preserving. It seems a shame to let all that lovely produce drop to the ground and rot away, so I`m going to share my kitchen with a friend to make plenty of jellies and jams. We shall book ourselves into a pre-Christmas bazar/table top sale and flog a few home made preserves as well as our arts and crafts we have been preparing all throughout this year. You are already encouraging us to think as far as Christmas with food preparations. I still have a few jars of home made mince meat for making my own mince pies again over Christmas. We don`t indulge in pudding, so I don`t have to make one. But, I shall have to make some short breads again just before Christmas. This year I would also like to try making my own peppermint sweets if I find the time. Home made chocolates with sloe jin or chopped nuts added were a great success last year and will be repeated. Other than that we like a simple Christmas time with little fripperies. Good, wholesome foods and good company is far more important to us. This Christmas will be a little different though. Our grandaughter Alyssa will celebrate her first Christmas, so we will have a specially lovely time in decorating the living room whilst making it baby save. I do agree with you on the commercialisation of Christmas too early. Seeing programs on TV geared towards the festive season already in September is far too early. I also hate to see the shop decorations being put up already in October. It takes all the special feeling away from Christmas, pre-emptying all the excitement beforehand.
Enjoy your time inbetween blogging.
We shall still follow your thoughts after a few days.

7:57 p.m.  
Blogger My shabbychic vintage frugal life said...

Hello Shirley, I have just discovered your blog , I used to read your books years ago and always use one tip that has stuck with me for years the one about filling the oven when you have a baking session , it must have saved me hundreds of pounds over the years I will be visiting your blog on a regular basis from now on, Eileen x

5:07 p.m.  
Blogger Joy said...

Good morning, Shirley. I've just caught up with your blog and felt I ought to let you know how interesting I find it. Thank you.
Joy x

5:38 a.m.  

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