Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Nostalgia Time

Decided to watch an episode of 'The Walton's' over the Easter weekend.  A full length feature film called 'The Walton's Easter'.  Far more interesting than expected as this was one I hadn't seen before. Still the same characters (played by the same actors), but now a good ten years or more later. All grown up, several of the children married with families of their own, the mother and father about to celebrate their Ruby Wedding.  Set off for a second honeymoon only to return within minutes as John-Boy's wife suddenly went into labour a month earlier than expected.  Surprise, surprise, she had twins (also unexpected) and - as is the way in many series -  the new-born premature babies looked at least several weeks old as soon as they were born.  

It was strange seeing the younger folk now all grown up.  John-Boy looked much the same, as did Jason, and Erin, Elizabeth now a lovely young woman (after travelling the world), Ben also not much different, but with longer hair, but Jim-Bob had gained quite a bit of weight.  The eldest daughter (name I have forgotten) was now a doctor who delivered the babies at the Walton's home.
Even Grandma made a cameo appearance (but didn't say anything). 

There I am, rambling on about The Walton's, but it has always been a favourite series of mine (as was Little House on the Prairie, and - in later years - Prisoner, Cell Block H.   When I watch repeats it really takes me back to when our children were younger, and wish I could really step back and do many things differently (and better).   However much our parents teach us, we still prefer to make our own mistakes before we find out they were right all along.  If we would all listen and learn, then maybe we'd all end up richer, cleverer, and more skilful.    Maybe some do.

Went with my friend to the Spiritualist Church again today.  Think there were twelve of us, sitting in a circle, and at least six of these were mediums.  Towards the end of the meeting there was a bit of 'clairvoyance' and messages came through, none for me and friend, but even so I still found these far too vague and - as almost always - what was said could relate to more than one person in the room I'm sure.  But am not giving up yet.
Will not be going on Saturday as my friend is going away for several days, but will go on my own next Tuesday, so maybe that will be more enlightening.  All I can say is 'watch this space'.

Thanks Joy for sending the link re making our own coconut milk.  That is a milk I like to use to flavour rice pudding, and also as a savoury rice when making curries.

The lovely thing about Sarina's blog is that she doesn't waffle on (like me), and I find her pages just give cookery information (hints, tips, and recipes) without any other distraction.   I KNOW my blog would be much better if I kept writing about cost-cutting cookery and nothing else, but quite honestly, think that by now I've just about written down all I know, so feel I have to fill the pages with something else.

Today was clearing out a large box of cookery books, magazines etc as I'm giving a lot of those dealing with budget meals etc to the Foodbank so that their clients (as they are called), can take one if they wish.  Also must make a large batch of traybakes to be taken there at the beginning of next week.

Still saved some of my favourite books and mags, and realised that it wasn't just Home and Freezer Digest I wrote for, but also Cook's Weekly (and several other mags as well).   In the latter I found the article 'Take One Chicken' that I wrote, and that Cheesepare was asking about.  This gave full details of how to make one chicken make at least four meals, with plenty of scraps left over, plus the carcase to make stock.
The recipes were:  Chicken and Sweetcorn Parcel (serves 4); Oriental Chicken (serves 4); Chicken Terrine (serves 10!); and Chicken Meatballs with Noodles (serves 4).   As this was published in 1986 am pretty sure I could improve on the original recipes and now make the chicken go even further.
So, if anyone wants me to give one (or more) of the recipes, just let me know and I will publish them the very next day.

Hope you managed to have good weather for you seaside holiday Granny G.   Must be something about sea air that gives everyone (esp. children) an appetite.  Remember myself when we had self-catering holidays, most of my time was spent preparing one meal after another.  Hardly a holiday for me, more the same life but with a change of scene.  But I've always enjoyed cooking for the family, the more the merrier.

The comments from Lorna and Sairy re the spiritualist church have been noted, and I have given an update a few paragraphs up the page.

One of the booklets I found hidden under a pile of cuttings was published by Heinz - promoting its Salad Cream, giving several Salad recipes all containing fruit (with lettuce, cucumber etc).  It really took me back again to nostalgia time when I saw 'peel and seed the grapes'.  How I used to hate the pips in the grapes, and used to spit them out when they got into my mouth.   Now we have seedless grapes (prefer the green ones) I eat them skin and all and they are delicious.  Especially when kept in the fridge so they are cold and almost crunchy when eaten.

Many of the salads in the book include grapefruit, and it's making me really wish I could eat grapefruit again.  Apparently grapefruit shouldn't be eaten by anyone who takes pills for reducing blood pressure.  Just because I now can't have it I really WANT to eat grapefruit (yet when I could I can't say I liked it - but it is very freshing).
By the way, this booklet was published in 1932 - before I was even born!  And - as was usual in those days - the recipes were all very simple to prepare and serve.  If only it could be like that these days.

Here is one recipe from the book that maybe we could all make (the ingredients being pretty basic), and as the variety adds up to at least six fruit/veg, then we need add only one more to reach our new number.  If the banana is a large one it counts as two, so we then already have our seven.
Due to the age of the booklet, the raisins sold in those days were larger and had seeds in them.

Raisin Salad:
1 cupful of seeded or seedless raisins
1 sliced banana
half cupful of chopped celery
1 orange
1 cupful of apple, cut into dice
Heinz Salad Cream
Peel the orange and remove the pips.  Cut the flesh into rounds and then into thin strips. Mix all the fruit and celery together lightly with the Salad Cream.  Wash and dry the lettuce, arrange in a salad bowl or on individual plates, and place the fruit mixture on top.

Although me preference would be to cook mainly traditional British dishes, have to say that many of the dishes from other parts of the world can be extremely tasty at the same time as being very economical.  Trouble is, to cook many of these we'd have to have a big larder full of many different ingredients that would normally not be used in the English kitchens of times past.

Yet, there are so many similarities that would could always substitute one for another.  Take bread for instance.  The Mexican flour tortillas are very similar to the slightly thinner Indian chapatis.  The Indian puris similar to pitta bread.  Even naan bread is not a million miles away from a pizza base. So even if we don't always have the correct dough-based product, we may have something similar to use in its place.

At one time I used to call the Italian 'ribbon' pasta 'noodles' (proper name is tagliatelle).  Noodles now refer to the Chinese ones (that look like Italian spaghetti when cooked).  So if we have no spag to go with our bol. then use Chinese noodles.

Instead of rice use pearl barley or quinoa.  Or maybe even couscous or bulgar wheat.   For those who are trying to reduce their consumption of carbohydrates, have you tried making 'vegetable spaghetti' by scraping or slicing very thin strips of carrot, parsnip etc, to resemble the pasta strings and blanch these for a few minutes until just tender, then plate up as pasta with whatever you were going to serve with it.

Final recipe today if for an Italian Meatloaf.  It freezes well so worth making two while the oven is on.  These are good eaten cold as well as hot, so a slice can be added to the salad in the lunchbox.
Because it is 'Italian', pancetta is used, but myself would used chopped bacon (cheaper and not a lot different anyway).    Instead of using all minced beef, we could use half minced beef and half minced pork.

Italian Meatloaf: serves 4
2 oz (50g) fresh breadcrumbs
4 tblsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
1lb (450 - 500g) minced beef
1 onion, finely chopped
4 oz (100g) pancetta, chopped (see above)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp tomato puree
salt and pepper
Line the long sides and the base of a 2lb loaf tin with a double thickness of baking parchment.
Mix 2 tblsp each of the breadcrumbs and parmesan together, then set aside.  Tip the remaining ingredients into a large bowl, add seasoning to taste, and mix together with your (clean!!) hands.
Press the mixture firmly into the loaf tin and level the surface.  Sprinkle the reserved crumb/cheese mixture over the top.
Bake for 40 - 45 minutes at 190C, gas 5 until the top is golden and crunchy (or - if you prefer - pop it under the grill for the last 5 minutes).  Leave the meatloaf to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before lifting it out using the baking parchment as handles, then place on a board ready to slice.
Serve hot with jacket (or mashed) potatoes, green beans and either gravy or tomato ketchup.  Serve cold with the same, or with salad.
If not eating the same day, wrap in foil and keep chilled in the fridge for up to 2 - 3 days.

Well, my computer clock tells me I have now reached tomorrow (Wednesday), and this I suppose is really now 'today'.  It is quite true what they say "tomorrow never comes", for once we reach it we find it has already turned into 'today'.  Pity we can't do the same with our 'yesterdays'.  The only way we can return is through our memories.  Mind you, I believe that the future must have already happened, as I have often had dreams of future events that have come true.  Maybe life is really a dream.   Oh, I could go on..... but I won't.  Time for me to go to bed and start dreaming (or maybe my dreams are my 'real life'). 
If nothing gets in my way I should be back blogging again and publishing at much the same time tomorrow.  Looking forward to hearing from you between now and then.  TTFN.