Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Too Much of a Good Thing

Seems as though we are going to have good weather over the Easter holiday.  Frost is forecast tonight over much of the country (due to clear skies) and am hoping the pear tree - now in full bloom - will not get caught.  It is close to our garage wall that soaks up the sunlight during the day, and as it has been a glorious sunny day today, am hoping the wall with let out the warmth towards the tree during the night.

Lovely comments from readers (as always).  Thanks to all for your good wishes, and pleased to say I am feeling quite a bit better now, still tend to feel tired, but not now exhausted.  Even my knees are not as painful as they were. 

A few replies from me.  Joy - who has loads of cookery books - will probably find, like me, that many of the recipes have never been tried.  They do say that only 2% of recipes in cook books are ever used, and as most cook books tend to give about 100, that means only 2 of them.  Have to say in some of my cook books 0% have been used.  With others, about 5%.  With the older books, like the Marguerite Patten 'Cookery in Colour', think I must have made about 75% of the recipes.  If not more.

As I so often say, all recipes in the newer cookbooks (over the last decade or so) are all variations on classic dishes.  Some may seem to be new, and maybe new to us if they originated from the other side of the world, but even these are normally based on traditional ones, cooked for centuries.

Today my thoughts went to ingredients used, not specific recipes, and suppose that it would be quite possible to 'invent' a new dish based on ingredients that have always gone well together.  Bed mates we could call them.   It's a bit like that 'deconstructed' Ploughman's Lunch I mentioned the other day. Bread, cheese, onion and a glass of ale.   Or put together in a different way turn out as a variation of French Onion Soup. 

My Beloved's stir-fries are quite often is made from the same veggies that I use to make vegetable soup (celery, carrot, onion, peppers).  Adding a few more could turn it into almost an Italian Minestrone soup.  So it's all to do with how ingredients are put together. 

An apple and blackberry crumble is virtually the same as an apple pie.  The only difference being the crumble mix (made exactly the same as pastry without adding any liquid), has sugar added.   And of course Spaghetti Bolognese uses exactly the same ingredients as when making a Lasagne, or Cannelloni.  It's just the pasta 'shape' that is different, and the presentation.

With Alison mentioning her allotment, this has reminded me that there is a new series begins tomorrow (a bit like '...Bake off' but growing veg instead of baking).  Allotment growers compete against each other to see who can grow the best of this, that or the other.  BBC 2 at 8.00pm. It should make good viewing.

Both Alison and Jane are interested in my visit to the spiritualist church.  The reason I went was because my lovely neighbour - who sadly lost her husband just about a year ago - has been feeling a bit down and she expressed a desire to go to this church and would I accompany her?  So I did. 
We chose the day when there was an informal discussion group, and it was really nice.  Only about a dozen there (including we two), and we sat in a circle, sang a few hymns, and just chatted about things of interest that had happened to each during the week.  As we were new, we had nothing much to say, but there were three mediums there who sort of picked up 'vibes' from certain members, including me, and said what had come into their head.  

Although I'm very open minded I don't necessarily believe everything I'm told, most of it far too vague, and could have applied to anyone.  In fact when others were 'contacted', what was said could have applied to me too.
However, the people were so pleasant and I really felt I known them for years, and we are going again tomorrow to a similar meeting.

However, on Saturday evening we went to the same church, this time to listen to a visiting medium, and again not too many in the congregation - about 20 or so.  After a few hymns and a bit of meditation, the medium began to gather info from his spirit contacts and passed messages onto various members of the congregation.  Much of the time I again felt that what was said could have applied to me.
My neighbour and I were sitting slightly apart from the rest and she was so hoping to have a message from her (now deceased) husband.  Then the medium turned and looked towards us and said he had much to say, but it was to me (I felt so sorry because my friend must have been disappointed). 
Certain names were given and I did recognise them, also the names of a couple of friends who were still 'in this life'.  These were accurate.  My mother 'came through', not much was said, but something very strange at the end.  The medium mentioned he was to 'give' me a red rose, AND freesias - these meant something.

The day my mother died I had bought her a bunch of freesias (one of her favourite flowers, the others being sweet peas and roses), and she had died before I reached the hospital.  So I left them with her body, and also threw a bunch of freesias onto her coffin when it was lowered into the ground.  So that really did mean something to me.  

However, I was very poker-faced all the time I was being spoken to, it is so easy for someone to say something that sort of 'fits' if you know what I mean.  I would need to hear a special name, and we have many unusual ones in my family, before I could really trust anyone.  This is not to say the medium was not authentic, I just want to be sure before I feel more secure. 

However, it does seem, from the discussion group and what I mentioned and what was said that I am very psychic (that is something I suspected as readers may remember the many strange things that have happened to me that I've written about).  I told them I was too scared to develop it as I didn't know where it would lead me - what with all the evil spirits that might be about. 
One strange thing was said to me: "you've spent much of your life inspiring people".  How she managed to work that out I don't know.  Or even whether she was right. 

Anyway, at both meetings I felt so very much at home that I shall continue to go just to see if anything unusual happens.  Even this week I've had a few strange experiences happen, so maybe a bit of my brain has woken up after a deep sleep.  Last night I had the most lovely dream where my late auntie came to visit me, she had such a pretty dress on, a sort of golden aura all round her, and she had the most lovely happy smile on her face, and handed me a huge bunch of mixed flowers, all the colours of the rainbow.  A dream maybe, but even so.....

But I'm not here to chat about the paranormal.  Recipes coming up.  First is a warm salad, best made with the new season's Jersey potatoes (there are none better), but as nowadays we can buy baby 'new' potatoes all year round they are as good as any.  Even - dare I say it - the canned potatoes could be used.
This could be a good dish to serve this weekend if entertaining family or friends. Any left-overs can be chilled to eat cold with a green salad and cold meat the following day.  Or just reduce the amount by half or a quarter if that's all you need.

Warm Potato Salad: serves 12
3lb 5oz (1.5kg) baby new potatoes
3 tblsp Dijon mustard
grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
5 fl oz (150ml) extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
large bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
6 spring onions, sliced diagonally
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 - 12 minutes until just tender.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the mustard with the lemon zest and juice, then slowly whisk in the oil to make a smooth emulsion.  Add seasoning to taste.
When the potatoes are ready, drain and tip into a large bowl, sprinkling over the dressing, then gently mix together.  Set aside for about 15 minutes so that the potatoes can absorb some of the flavour of the dressing, then add the parsley and spring onions, folding them into the potatoes.  Add more seasoning if necessary.  Serve whilst still warm.

One can hardly call the above recipe inspiring, but it's now well on the way to 2.00am on this Tuesday morning, so l really need to get to bed, and writing out more recipes is not top priority at this time of night.  Perhaps I should go back to daylight blogging.  
Tomorrow, after our next visit to the discussion group, maybe I'll have more spiritual chat to share.  Or maybe you frown on this sort of thing.  Me - I always try to keep an open mind.  Not everyone believes in the same things.  What is right for one can seem to be wrong for another.  Live and let live.  Believe me, I've dabbled my toes in almost every religion to find the right one for me', and still have not yet found it.  Most religions seem to have a that theirs is the only true one (and those who don't belong will have no place in heaven) and that type of belief is not for me thank you very much.
We are all God's children, every last one of us.  It's how we act in this world, not which church we belong to that matters. 

Don't worry, I'm not a 'holier than thou' person, I just make as much a mess of my life as the next, and no doubt have committed more sins than even I thought possible.  Can't waste my time regretting things, just have to put up with painful knee joints (perhaps that is my penance). 
Expect me back again tomorrow evening, maybe a little bit earlier, these late nights are causing me to rise later than I should (so still waste half the morning).  TTFN.