Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Tuesday Thoughts

Another late start to my blog, all due to me wanting to stay in bed (and I went to be early last night as well).  Have decided my problem is that I'm enjoying my dreams as they are so much more interesting than real life, and real life for me - at the moment - is really, REALLY boring.  Since we moved from Leeds I find I am missing my friends so much, and without having my own car I have no way of driving back 'home' to see them again.  Having now lost all my independence (very important to me) there seems to be nothing to look forward to. At all.  B won't even let me keep chickens - and that I know would give me an interest as well as a certain amount of 'companionship' (at least something to talk to) as well as eggs.
Let us hope this is just 'winter blues' and the weather will improve (not that we are having bad weather here, but it is still very cold).

Have to say, after reading your lovely comments, I really have felt loads better.  It's almost as good as having 'real' friends dropping in for a chat'

So pleased Cheesepare that you found The Honey Tree to your liking.  Also Heysham's village attractions.  If you ever get the chance to visit during the summer, you will find it ablaze with colour as almost all the cottages, pubs, restaurants etc, have hanging baskets, and for many years it won the best-dressed (floral) village, and was told they stopped competing to allow some other villages to win. 
There is a restaurant in the village close to the church gate (and opposite the pub), that specialises in serving nettle dishes (nettle tea etc), but have never eaten there.  The 'Half Moon Bay' café (formerly called The Zoo Café) is the one we sometimes go to for a bacon butty, further out, closer to the nuclear station.

Thanks to an Anonymous et al who reminded me that the actress who I queried was Stacey from EastEnders.  Remember her well, do hope she returns to the series.

At one time jane, people on a low cholesterol diet were told not to eat eggs, but in recent years it has been proved that they do no harm (eggs contain lecithin that naturally breaks down cholesterol), so am pretty sure it would be OK to serve your husband Yorkshire puddings.
Also regarding a 'full English' at breakfast.  You could serve Quorn sausages (probably no more expensive than the meaty ones), also an egg (if not fried at least scrambled or poached), plus baked beans, tomatoes and mushrooms.
Have you tried making your own yogurt?  All you need to start is buy a pot of natural yogurt, then blend some of this into a pint of warm milk and leave it to set.  As this has then turned into yogurt, all you have to do is use a spoon of that to start the next batch. 
You can find details of how to make yogurt on the Internet.  Alternatively you could buy an EasiYo flask and containers (Lakeland sell them, sometimes on offer), and also the sachets.  I use these all the time.  More expensive than they used to be, the yogurt keeps for at least a month in our fridge (set at 5C), and I know many readers use this equipment and have plenty of tips on how to make the dry mix go much further (ending up with a cheaper yogurt).

As I've mentioned before, walnuts are said to be extremely good for helping to lower cholesterol, either eaten as dry nuts, or drinking a teaspoon of walnut oil (so you could use a little of this oil for frying eggs?).
Baking fatless sponges allows treats, and these could be used as the base of a trifle that has fruit set in jelly, with custard on top with perhaps a squirt of low-fat cream (from those aerosol cans).  Tesco do a very cheap 'Value' Strawberry Whip (dry mix) that is a bit like Angel Delight when whipped with half a pint of milk.  I often use this to top trifles, and am pretty sure it would freeze to make a strawberry flavoured ice-cream.

What you say seems right Pam.  Those of us who have had a bit of a lean early life (in my case wartime) then do seem to make up for it later, buying and collecting more than we really need.  Or is it that some of us are more than just 'squirrels', hoarding food.  Maybe we have an instinct to hoard anyway, so if we don't need food, and we can afford to, then we collect other things.
At one time I used to go to car boot sales, jumble sales, all in the hope of adding more to my collection of old Victorian/Edwardian jelly moulds (and these had the most wonderful designs), also blue and white pottery, mainly Willow pattern, but all blue and white go together.  Books of course, especially old cookery books.   Lots of 'treen', and old 'kitchenalia' (all usable).  Especially all sizes of cockerels/roosters, from tiny ones to life-size. Sadly most of my collections all had to go when we downsized, and how I miss them.  I used to have over 100 'roosters', and now have only two, one wooden one, and one heavy metal (used as a doorstop).  Very few cookbooks were kept, and just one willow pattern teapot, jug and sugar bowl. 
Perhaps that is what is causing me to feel depressed, it is if most of my life was stripped from me when we moved,  I didn't want to move, I still miss my home in Leeds.  But nobody really seems to care.  What has to be, has to be.  Live with it.

Our recent rain and flooding has apparently been caused by the aftermath of the great snowstorms that America had recently.  Seems that as it crossed towards us, our warmer seas caused the snow to turn to rain, and as Margie (in Canada) has had snow again, with more to come, maybe the same thing will happen again to us in a few weeks. 
It was good to hear from Margie that she has been sticking to the challenge and keeping away from the shops, also that her stores are lasting so well, and that menu planning for the week really helps.  Menu planning is something I rarely do, not sure why, perhaps it is because if I do that, then I have nothing more I need to think about each day.  And, yes I know, there is plenty to do around our home, like having an early spring-clean, but as you all know, I do not give housework top priority.  No one visits, B prefer 'mess', so why bother?   I know I should, and maybe I will.  But not today.

A thanks to another Anonymous((from Australia) and also welcome as it seems a genuine one (as did the first - above).  I always ask 'anons' to comment again giving a name (even if not their own) so that we can recognise them.  This makes my replies much more personal, as my mind is fully on the person that I'm replying to.  Nothing 'general' about me when it comes to my readers.  You are all individual, and so very different.  I love you all.

Anyway, the sun is shining, with white fluffy clouds in a deep blue sky, so what with your comments and good weather I'm feeling much, much cheerier. 

One recipe today that I would say is low in cholesterol (just make sure all the fat is removed from the meat before use).  Instead of the suggested pine nuts or flaked almonds, why not use chopped walnuts?  At this time of year omit the mint, but use another herb if you wish. If you haven't a cinnamon stick, then use half to one tsp ground cinnamon.
Even if only needed to serve one or two, as it can be frozen, make up the complete batch (omitting the nuts and mint - add these when serving) and freeze the surplus, .
Moroccan Lamb: serves 4
1 tblsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 stick cinnamon, broken in half
1 tsp ground cumin
1lb (450g) lean lamb neck fillet, cubed
9 oz (250g) long-grain rice (pref basmati)
1 pint (500ml) boiling water
1 lamb or veg stock cube
12 no-soak dried apricots
salt and pepper
handful toasted flaked almonds
handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
Put the oil in a large frying pan over lowish heat and add the onion, cinnamon and cumin.  Stir-fry until the onion has softened and turning golden.  Raise the heat and add the lamb, stir-frying until the meat has changed colour, then add the rice.  Keep stirring for a minute to cover the rice is covered with the pan juices, then add the boiling water.  Crumble in the stock cube, add the apricots and seasoning to taste, then reduce heat to low, cover and leave to simmer for 12 or so minutes until the rice is tender and the stock has been absorbed.   Stir in the nuts and mint and serve.  

Now I feel in a much better mood so will trot off into the kitchen, roll up my sleeves and start working.  Once I have the table cleared it will all seem so much better and I have room to start cooking (something, but not yet sure what) again.   Back again with you tomorrow.  Hope you can join me.  TTFN.