Monday, May 05, 2014

Busy Time of Year

Writing my blog Monday morning instead of this evening as there are a couple of late programmes on TV I don't want to miss. 

Really busy at the moment, having a good clear out of the conservatory and kitchen, still some left to do but intend getting it completed today.  This means starting as soon as possible, so forgive m if this is a shorter than normal blog, but wanted to reply to comments rather than waste time on recipes.

A welcome to Claire.  Seems that - like most other flowering plants/bushes/trees, the elders are blooming several weeks earlier than normal. I'd not heard of elderflower tea, but myself used to gather elderflower heads and dry them off in the airing cupboard, store them in airtight containers and use them to make elderflower 'champagne' later in the year. 

Good to hear from you again Pam, and this reply is also for Lorna who asks the same question. Yes, I did go to the spiritualist church on Saturday evening.  This time the medium was a lady and the church was full (so obviously she was respected).  Think she had contact with about eight or ten of the congregation and although some of what she said was a bit vague, she mentioned names, pets (and described them, type and colour) and most of what she said fitted.  So I was somewhat impressed.   Will be going to the 'circle' meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon, more on that after I've been. 

Although did intend to go out on Norris, unexpected visitors expected in a few days caused me to stay indoors and do some very much needed clearing up, to save me time later this week. So never got around to finding out of the butcher had any goats meat.
You mentioned 'young' mutton Jane, is that what is normally called 'hogget'?  Think lamb is a sheep up to one years old, hogget between one and two years, and after that it is called mutton.  Our butcher sells all three and I prefer mutton as it has the most flavour and especially good for curries.

Further to the £5 challenge.  Should have mentioned that I had chosen to buy a tube of tomato paste as this works out less expensive than using canned chopped/plum tomatoes.  Pasta (in this instance the cheap spaghetti - which is excellent value by the way) needs a well-flavoured sauce and to make this I would drain the can/s of baked beans, even rinsing them slightly with water to gather as much of the sauce as possible (then use the drained beans for whatever way I wished - on toast etc).  To the collected bean sauce I would then add a good squirt of tomato puree, and to make the sauce go a bit further dilute with a little milk (makes it a bit richer than water).

A couple of queries as to how much water to add to whole (full cream) milk to turn it into semi-skimmed.  First thing to understand is that the milk will only be diluted, never be truly 'skimmed' as there will always be some fat left in the milk (being homogenised, the cream is mixed into the milk and cannot now rise to the top of the bottles as it used to in the old days, where it could easily be siphoned off - I used a turkey baster to do this).  As to how much water to add depends really on how you wish to use the milk.  If for drinking, then add only as much as makes it still pleasant to drink. For tea/coffee probably more water can be added.  The Scot's make porridge without milk, just water so in my opinion using  half water and half milk is acceptable.

Poured over breakfast cereals possibly three-quarters milk one quarter water should work well. It's really a matter of taste,  use as much water as you can get away with. 
Years ago dried milk powder - when made up - was very much cheaper than milk, but none of the family cared for the taste of it.  However, if I made up half a pint from the powder, then mixed it into half a pint of whole milk, they really didn't notice.  Perhaps this was because I poured it back into the milk bottle before serving.   Same idea worked with the cheaper cornflakes.  I used to buy a bag of Kellogs and also a bag of the stores own (very cheap) cornflakes and mix the lot together, then put them back into the original Kellog cornflake box and again - the blend was unnoticed.  Perhaps fooling the eye can go a long way to help saving those pennies.

Thanks Ali for the mention of those carrots (from an animal feed shop).  Amazingly cheap and all because the supermarkets don't like to sell any veg that doesn't look perfect.  Considering the practically all vegetables need to be chopped, shredded etc before being cooked, what does it matter what they look like?  It's the taste that matters. 

That's my blog for today.  Make it do for today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday) as the next one will be written late Tuesday evening ready to be read on Wednesday.  As I should then have been to the church meeting hope to have something interesting to write about.  Maybe some recipes as well. Hope you've all managed to have a very good Bank Holiday, B said the promenade was thronged with people yesterday (lots of things going on including a procession, B involved in that - towing a boat I think).  Me, I was indoors busy cleaning.   They say a woman's work is never done, and while men seem to be able to retire and then trot off and enjoy themselves now they have time for various hobbies, the wife's work continues.  No domestic retirement (although I do try hard not to be domestic - but then it always catches up on me, like it is doing at the moment.   So I'd better get on with it.  Catch up with you all again later.  Bye for now.  xx



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shirley, Jane from Northumberland,
Yes you are correct about the Hoggetts different areas use different names so I thought young mutton might be clearer. I miss the ordinary milk with the cream on top, very useful, to have. We used to get whole Jersey milk at school and it was half cream half milk in the jugs delicious if you got first dabs for your cornflakes! I can still get Jersey milk from a local farm that makes icecream, and sells the meat from the male Jerseys as well as butter and milk, so its is a treat to go and stock up, and it is local.
Dont overdo the spring cleaning, tkae care. Jane.

7:37 p.m.  
Anonymous Hazel said...

Hello Shirley,

I meant to post this over the weekend but ran out of time. They are definitely elderflowers. It's not just me that's seen them OH did saw some when he walked to work on Thursday. So I'll be keeping an eye on them and picking some when they are ready to pick.

You mentioned the may tree. When I was a child my Mum used to say “Don’t cast your clout till May is out.” I was never sure if it was the end of the month of May when you could risk it without a coat or when the May tree bloomed. Lots of those out too.

I enjoyed reading your choice of food for the first week. My choices would be quite similar. I don't usually shop at Tesco as it's massive and I never buy enough to bother getting it delivered, usually a mixture of Lidl, Aldi, the market and farmer's market for meat / veg / fish etc. I priced my 1st week shop using the Tesco website as the Aldi website doesn't have everything on it.
I decided on
£1.00 1kg veg pack (mixture of at least 4 out of 4 of the following products: Carrot, Swede, Leek, Parsnip, Onion, Turnip, Brussels Sprouts. I admit I would be hoping for carrots, onion in the mix. I could use most of this to make a vat of vegetable soup which would see me through lunches for the week. Thicken with the porridge oats.
£1.00 4 pts milk
75p 1kg porridge oats
£1.15 15 eggs (extravagant but I could do a lot of things with the eggs and there will be plenty left for the next week.) I would probably grease a few as they keep longer that way.
20p value spaghetti
39p 250g lard (will come in useful next week, this week can use it to fry the veg (prob mixture of a small amount of onion and carrot) for pasta sauce. I thought I might be able to make oatcakes with it but would it work without the bicarb?
40p tomato puree (can be watered down with milk or water to make a pasta sauce.
A number of things could be made with the eggs and could use egg and a little bit of milk for a carbonara type sauce. I hoped to have enough left over for a mushroom to put in instead of the bacon but unfortunately not enough of the budget left (according to the Tesco website).

Very limited I admit and no bread so I might have to fill up on extra porridge!

Total price £4.89 so 11p saved for next week. I have ideas for what I would buy the following week. Will try and post them later in the week and we can see what similar and different choices you would make.

9:17 a.m.  
Anonymous Mary in Perth Australia said...

Hi Shirley
Hope you haven't worn yourself out cleaning the house. I'm sure your visitors just want to see you.....not the house. Well, that's what people tell me when I race around tidying up.
Great ideas about the baked bean sauce and the tomato puree. I hadn't thought of those ideas.
I got some great bargains today. It was just like being in England. Things that I would normally make, but it's good to have in, for lazy weeks. Certainly we don't normally have such good prices in Australia.
By 7am today I had made some broccoli and pumpkin soup and put it in the freezer. Six large portions for those lazy dinners. Soup is always yummy, no matter what vegies you add to it.
We are well into autumn here, so darker mornings and cooler days. A welcome relief after our scorching summer.

1:57 p.m.  

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