Monday, May 19, 2014

Just a Quick Chat...

Short blog today as I'm feeling under the weather and have decided to have an early night.  Feel a lot better when I've taken Paracetamol, but there are only so many I can take each day.  Am hoping to have recovered enough to go to the church meeting tomorrow afternoon.

The main story of Roots finished today, the family getting their freedom and with Chicken George returning, able to move to Tennessee where he had bought some land.  However, the story continues the rest of this week as 'Roots - the next generations'

About 15 years ago we had two American ladies stay with us (for B and B).  One was the daughter of a bridge friend of mine, her daughter having emigrated to the US some many years back.  The ladies had set up a holiday exchange business where people could live in other people's home for free, just paying travel expenses and food etc.  Points were given for each type of accommodation when exchanged, the larger the property the more points.  So when living in a smaller property and wishing to holiday in a larger one, maybe in another country, more points were needed (saved).

The ladies lived in West Virginia, and apparently there were a lot of black people living there, and although no longer any segregation, my friend's daughter told me how they still found the blacks had problems feeling equal, and would separate themselves to sitting either one side of the bus, or one side of a waiting room, rather than mix with the whites. 
Most of the servants were black, and even when invited to sit and eat with the family, they wouldn't.
So let us hope things have improved since then.  Apparently in the deep south there is still some 'us and them'.  

Don't know if 'Roots' is shown much on US TV but it ought to be, and especially in schools to remind everyone how badly a country can treat others.  'Let him be the one to cast the first stone' comes to mind.

Am surprised Hazel, to discover that some people would never use bacon fat.  We love the flavour and always fry streaky rashers slowly to let the fat run free, then collect it in a little dish to use again. A slice of fried bread, fried in bacon fat is something to die for (and eat enough of it we probably would die an early death).

Good to hear Mandy, that you read bed-time stories to your grand-daughter.  Can't remember what stories I used to read, probably something from a Ladybird book or Enid Blyton.  Usually fairy-tales when the children were small.   Our son had his own small bedroom, so he had a 'boy's tale' read to him, but the other two girls (third came later) shared one bedroom so only one story was read. It was usual for them all to go to bed at the same time, but once they reached the age of seven, they were allowed to stay up a quarter of an hour later, then half an hour for a few years, and eventually one hour later.  They loved having this advantage over their siblings, even though most of the time they were nearly falling asleep anyway.  We never had a problem getting them to sleep, all the fresh air and playing outdoors and they were ready for bed.  No TV either to hold their attention.

My Beloved was very fond of Horlicks Mary, and I always bought the largest jar on sale (due to it working out cheaper), except it didn't save money because B kept helping himself to a heaped tablespoon of it, and eat this dry as a 'snack'.  So, in the end bought only small jars and didn't replace them when empty, at least only when the weather was very cold.  Fortunately B didn't care for raw Ovaltine, or even when made into a drink, but the children loved it.   Anyone remember the 'Ovalteenies'?  The song went: 'We are the Ovalteenies, little girls and boys.'  Sadly forgotten the rest, but I was an Ovalteenie and had a bronze badge to prove it.

It does seem that vegetarian recipes are the ones often asked for these days, and sensibly too as veggies are much cheaper than meat.  So the recipe today is mainly vegetarian (replace the beef stock with vegetable stock to make it completely veggie).  Admittedly it is a soup, and that is not the first dish that comes to mind during the warm days that we are having at the moment.  Only a couple or so hours ago we had a thunderstorm - and that was unexpected.

Have chosen this soup as the name appeals to me.  Originating in Eastern Europe, is so called due to the fact that it is easily digested and thought to be suitable for the elderly.  So could also be served as 'invalid food'.
To get the right texture for the dish, the recipe suggests using floury potatoes such as King Edwards, Maris Piper, or Estima.
The 'drop noodles' are what I would call dumplings.

Grandfather's Soup: serves 4
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 oz (25g) butter,
12 oz (350g) potatoes, peeled and diced
1.5 pints (900g) beef stock
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
for the drop 'noodles':
3 oz (75g) self-raising flour
pinch of salt
half oz (15g) butter
1 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
1 egg, beaten
chunks of bread to serve
Using a wide deep saucepan, cook the onion gently in the butter for about 10 minutes, or until it begins to soften and turning light golden.  Add the potatoes and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, then pour in the stock, followed by the bay leaf and seasoning to taste.  Cover and simmer for 10 minute.
Meanwhile make the noodles (dumplings).  Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, then rub in the butter. Stir in most of the parsley, and then the egg and mix together to make a soft dough.
Drop half-teaspoons of the dough into the simmering soup.  Cover and continue simmering for a further 10 minutes, then ladle into warmed soup bowls, sprinkling remaining parsley on top, and serve with bread for dipping.

Before I sign off for today, worth giving a mention of the four rolls (aka baps) that I made today from the extended bread dough (the main part of the dough making a large loaf).  After putting most of the dough in the 2lb loaf tin, the remainder I divided into four, and instead of forming into balls and flattening slightly, then putting them on a baking tray, I decided to grease and flour the four compartments in my Yorkshire Pudding Tin, then pressed the dough in to fit these, keeping the surface as flat as possible.   After leaving them to rise for about 30 minutes, then baked them and they came out as perfect a roll as you can imagine.  Nicely rounded on top  (I'd have preferred them flatter, but to get this would have had to roll out the dough with a rolling pin), and looked very professional.  The main loaf also baked well, and my Beloved has also begun hacking away at that (the rolls have been put in the freezer).

As the organic veggie box is due tomorrow, decided to clear out the fridge of veggies that needed using up, so was able to fill a big bowl with chunks of aubergine, courgette, fennel (bulb), parsnip, red onion, red, green, and yellow bell pepper, leeks, all roasted.  In a saucepan cooked a panful of carrots, some of these later added to the roasted veg, and many of these B ate with a sirloin steak.
The remainder I'll blitz up to make a soup.  Soup being about the only thing I feel like eating at the moment.

I don't feel ill, but my throat is very scratchy and sometimes quite painful.  All I want is a spoon of honey to sooth, and soup spiked with chilli ketchup because this hits the painful spot in my throat and in some way feels as though it is 'cleansing it'. 

When I asked B to bring me in a couple more jars of Heinz Fiery Chilli Ketchup, he discovered he'd picked up a similar one by mistake.  I still had a F.C.Ketchup, the other in a very similar jar was Heinz 'Firecracker' ketchup, and this was much hotter with a smokey taste due to the chipotle peppers that had been used.  Goes without saying I LOVED it.  B's mistake turned out to be a very happy accident as far as I was concerned.

Anyway, that's it for this evening.  So you've had two blogs today, one in the wee small hours of Monday, the second in the later part of the evening (but as it is meant for Tuesday you won't get another written until late tomorrow night.    Suppose now it is getting to be 'expect me when you see me', but I will try and keep it as constant as possible.

Am hoping the weather stays fair this week as it is the Chelsea Flower Show, and many of the exhibits are in the open air.  Apparently several have to replaced each day as the unseasonal heat is causing them to wilt.  If it is hot now,  what will it be like when summer really arrives.  Silly me - of course it will then start raining.  We do live in Britain, and have this reputation of never knowing what the weather will be from one day to the next.  So must keep it up.   Bye for now. xxx.