Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Putting it into Perspective

After watching several back-to-back programmes about how the Universe works (Quest channel) the other evening, all I can say is that I'm just glad to be alive.  We fret and fuss about things that - in the great scheme of things - really don't matter at all.  Yet, I suppose there has to be a reason why we are here, and have the ability and intelligence to even realise our limitations - and do something about it.

What I can never understand is how all the astronomers are always trying to see further and further out to the edge of our known universe, but never looking back inwards towards where the Big Bang was supposed to happen.  Surely there must be a big black gap there now.  I gathered from the prog. that what is puzzling the scientists is that our universe is supposed to be expanding, but should be slowing down as it does so.  They have now found it is expanding faster and faster.  Could it be they have it the wrong way round and that everything is actually falling back to where it began, and speeding up as it does so? 

Perhaps we spend far too much money on learning about space etc, when we should be spending it on making our own world more comfortable for everyone to live.  But would we ever be satisfied? 

No point in me trying to work out why I'm here at all, best thing is to get on with life while I still have some left.  The good thing is - there is always something new to learn.  As yesterday, when B - after years and years of telling me he didn't like sausage and mash for his supper, was given a version (crushed potatoes fried with onions and served with sausages)- for this I apologised to him as I'd been really busy making umpteen shortbread and oatcakes for the weekend 'do', and no had time to think up anything more interesting to eat.  After eating it, B then told me that I could make the same for him any time.  He loved it.  

Granny G's mention of free school milk, orange juice and cod liver oil reminded me that we seemed to do a lot more for youngsters in the 'old days' than we do now.  Free school dinners would be a good idea - as long as the youngsters ate what was served.   'Picky eaters' seems to be something else that has happened over the last few decades.  In my youth you ate what you were given, and if you didn't it was served up cold for the next meal (and the next until it WAS eaten).

Ciao also mentions being given cod liver oil at school, and my B was one of the few who actually loved having his spoonful, probably because it was 'cod liver oil and malt'.  The malt flavour hid the fishy taste I suppose. 

Interesting thought Kathryn to use bottles to transport the soup, but it would only work to carry the stock, anything solid would get caught in the narrow bottle necks.   I'm going to tie the saucepan lids onto the pans as tightly as possible, then wrap each in kitchen foil, then put into a plastic bag, so am pretty sure the soup will be able to be transported safely.

Those bottle peppers I mentioned Cheesepare are (skinned) roasted bell peppers. Large slices of peppers.  Peppadew are tiny hollow peppers sold bottled, some can be sweet, some slightly hot, some very hot.

As to alternative dressings to serve with goat's cheese.  You might like to try the following:

herby vinaigrette:
whisk together 3 tblsp olive oil with 1 tblsp red wine vinegar, and a small teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Then add 1 tblsp chopped herbs (chives, parsley, or mint).

oil-free dressing:
whisk 3 tblsp lime juice with 1 tsp lime zest, 1 tblsp honey, and 2 tblsp white wine vinegar.  Add seasoning to taste.

mustard and maple dressing:
whisk together 1 tblsp maple syrup with 3 tblsp olive oil and 1 tsp wholegrain mustard.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

balsamic onion dressing:
1 tblsp olive oil
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 good tblsp balsamic vinegar
1 good tblsp runny honey
salt and pepper
Fry the onions in the oil over medium heat until softened and just starting to colour.  Stir in the vinegar and honey with seasoning to taste, then cook until syrupy.  Serve this drizzled over baked goat's cheese.

I'll certainly find some recipes Jo for home-made furniture polish, room fresheners and other cleaning products that you might find useful.  As many use 'herbage' that grows (often wild) in the UK, am hoping that you have much the same where you live.  But not everything is made from plants, some ingredients are normally available world wide.  Hope to give suggestions/recipes starting tomorrow.

Am well on track with my Burn's Night fodder.  It does help to do a little at a time, not try to make almost everything on the day of the feast.   Yesterday had quite a pleasant hour or two sitting by the oven, cup of coffee at my elbow, listening to the radio, and continually having a peek in the oven to make sure the shortbread was cooking without getting too coloured.  Worked well both for the shortbread and the oatcakes.  

Later this morning the Tesco order will be delivered. Mainly the produce/ingredients needed for the 'do', only adding things like milk/eggs/butter for our own use.  Even with the two of us, I KNOW there is enough in the freezer/fridge/larder to keep us going for about 3 months, and if I lived alone, probably a great deal longer than 6 months.  Having acknowledged this fact, it does seem to prove that I probably over-stock (some would call it 'hoarding'), but feel the need, especially during the winter months, to have enough food in store in case of emergency.   A habit left over from the time of war-time rationing I suppose, and certainly did need it when we had no income for many weeks.

It was only because I had a (very slight) knowledge of how to cook that we managed at all. It was then I was forced to teach myself (from books) how to cook not just properly, but how to make almost everything once I'd run out of what I'd normally have bought (bread, pasta, yogurt, soft cheeses, even butter and cream).  But that's a story that I've told more than once, and doubt anyone would even want to bother going to such extremes today.   But I'm very glad I did for if I hadn't I wouldn't be sitting here chatting to you now.

Got up early this morning to write my blog as this is going to be a slightly busier week than normal, and the earlier I can start working in the kitchen the more I can get done and out of the way - leaving me the rest of the day to relax.    Will be blogging again tomorrow, and hope you can find time to join me in our chat. TTFN.