Friday, May 30, 2014

Same Old, Same Old....

Whether it's my age, or just me, but every day seems much the same.  Often can't remember what day of the week it is, however today has been slightly different.   My Beloved told me yesterday that he's going to be working at the upholstery place again for a couple of days, so at least I'll have most of the day to myself I thought (always enjoy that). 

Today being the first of the 'working days' and B having to leave before 10am, expected to have to oversee the servicing of the boiler myself when the man came, but fortunately he came at 9.30 so had just about finished by the time B left.  Finished serving the boiler that is.  He didn't leave for another half hour because we got chatting....and chatting, and chatting.  I do like having a man to talk to (B never talks to me), and he really seemed sorry to go (I felt the same). 

After I had got myself another cup of coffee, then set down to grate the odds and ends of cheese I had saved, but the plastic bit of the grating attachment (food processor) broke again, so had to throw that bit away and resort to grating by hand on my mother's old grater, taking part of my thumb knuckle skin as I did it.  Fortunately some of the cheese was 'crumbly Lancashire', and this truly is crumbly and easily broke up when rubbed together with my fingers.

As I'd brought home several sticks of rhubarb from the spiritualist church (we each get a raffle ticket and win something and I always choose the rhubarb - one member grows it), chopped it into short lengths and microwaved it for a few minutes to soften it.  It can then be used in a crumble or pie, or - as B has been doing lately - heated a bit longer in the microwave, sugar added and then cream.

As the partly softened rhubarb was on the kitchen table, and I was left with small lumps of cheese that were too small for me to grate without adding more bits of my fingers, I decided to eat the cheese, and for some reason also decided to eat a little chunk of rhubarb to 'refresh' my mouth as the cheese alone was a bit 'claggy'.  Do you know, the rhubarb really worked well with the cheese, and I suppose it was sharp like onion - that we know eats well with cheese - but slightly sweeter, without being really sweet (as it had no sugar added).  Think it is worth making rhubarb chutney (if I can find a recipe) as this would really go well with cheese. 

B suggested I made a rhubarb and cheese pie, and am also wondering if it would work as a quiche. Dare I try it (can't bear for a disaster to be so bad it can't be eaten)?
I've never seen rhubarb and cheese mentioned in the same breath, so have I invented new bed mates?

Tomorrow B is working, but as my neighbour will be coming for coffee in the morning (leaves at 1.00pm, and Norma the Hair arriving at 1.30pm, half the day will be taken up with more chatting. Not that I mind.  What I do mind is that B said he's going to work for his friend next week as well, certainly Monday and Tuesday, so he can't take me to the church.  Suppose I could get a taxi.  Same old story, the minute I want to go somewhere regularly (and this rarely happens nowadays) all of a sudden B is not available.  How I miss having my own transport.  I dare say I could go on Norris if the weather is settled (I am a fair weather mobility biker), but concerned the battery wouldn't last the journey both ways (the church is several miles away). It should, but it would take me about an hour to get there and an hour to get back.  Fifteen minutes in the car (or taxi) is much more preferable.
Maybe I'll go this Saturday evening (but only if there is no footie match on as there was last week that kept me here), then I could give Tuesday a miss.

Thanks to Mary and Alison for their comments.  Am sure spaghetti would work in place of noodles, there really isn't that much difference. 

Sorting out a few more books and mags that are not now needed, I came across a recent one (probably available around Christmas) that showed the foods that could be ordered from M & S.  Platters of sandwiches, canap├ęs, other party foods etc.  Very expensive for what we got of course, but that is expected.  But it is worth picking up brochures like this and use as a guide to ideas for nibbles that we could easily make ourselves.  Then, work out how much cheaper it would be if/when we did.  There were just a couple or so items that would be worth buying as there was very little difference in the cost of bought v home-made. 

Platters of sandwiches were not cheap, especially as each 'round' was cut into quarters and priced as those.  On the other hand, being able to know what fillings were in the sarnies gave an excellent guide to what fillings we could make/use.  Some sandwiches were cut into fingers (not quarters) and just seeing the presentation of all the different platters gave another guide to how to present buffet food.  Just flicking through the pages made me wish we could have a party.

Our daughter managed to get me a couple of jars of Tahini (I've been wanting some for ages), one the basic pale sort, the other a darker one.  So now I can make hummous again (I'm very fond of hummous).   She is also going to get me some lecithin powder (on order), as I've wanting to give this a try since I've seen James Martin use it (fairly regularly).  Lecithin helps to stabilise things and it also helps to lower cholesterol. 

Another interesting article in the paper today, this one titled: "Foods you can eat weeks after their best-before date".  Think what they meant to say was "....after their use-by date", as the majority of foods tested were fresh.  Even though it was published (so has to be correct) I find it hard to believe that filleted raw fish, such as cod, salmon, haddock, stays edible up to four weeks after catching provided it is kept refridgerated below 5deg.
The writer says "I've eaten yogurt up to two months after the sell-by date". and have to say that the EasiYo I make certainly is still edible a month after making.  Of course the article gives guidelines as to how to make certain the foods are still fit to eat, and worth taking a look at the Daily Mail website (Thursday 30th)to read the article, so that we can 'use, not lose' foods that might normally have been chucked out.

Can't believe that this weekend it will be the start of June. Nearly half the year gone by already, and only recently have we been able to switch off the central heating, very reluctantly having to put it back on again for an hour or two more than once this last week when it turned very cold.  This weekend is our annual Bare Village festival (Saturday), and thankfully the forecast is that there will be a high pressure area over the UK for a few days, so it will turn a bit warmer and the rain should keep away.  Definitely time for me to order the bedding plants and hopefully get the containers planted by the following weekend (some can be done this weekend).

Then life back to normal, same old routine each day, and before I have time to blink it will then be the run-up to Christmas.  There must be more to life than this.  Should I start making a 'bucket list' of things I'd like to do before I reach 85?  Just being able to walk properly again without painful knees would be enough. If I can ever do that again, maybe I'll think up something more interesting to do.

Making the same old soup for my lunch today, made a mistake and opened a can of plum tomatoes instead of the chopped toms that I normally use.  It was a mistake that I'd bought them in the first place, I'd noticed they were on offer, and needing more canned tomatoes didn't check they were plum and not chopped.   Not that it matters as once in the pan I just snipped at the tomatoes to make them smaller.

Have to say that from now on I think I'll buy more canned plum tomatoes then chopped as (something I knew already) the plum tomatoes have a thicker sauce and are much richer in flavour. When blitzed in a food processor/blender, they turn out like the thick passata that I sometimes use when making spag bol meat sauce or chilli con carne, and of course can then also be used in any dish that calls for canned chopped tomatoes.
At one time chopped toms were cheaper than the plum, but now they are the same price - some brands more expensive than others, but it is the brand name we pay for, not whether the contents are chopped or left whole.

The recipe today uses seasonal veggies, allowing us to make substitutions if we haven't got what is in the list.  Take note of the above mention of plum toms, as although the recipe suggests canned chopped, it really is worth taking 20 seconds to chop up canned plum toms with a pair of scissors so that you end up with a much richer flavour to the dish.

Because I'm in that sort of mood, I've made up the name for this meal.  Basically it is ratatouille with eggs, but that is boring, hence the change.

Ratateggy:  serves 4
1 tblsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 red, or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tblsp chopped rosemary
1 aubergine, diced
2 courgettes, diced
1 x 400g chopped tomatoes (see above)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 eggs
freshly ground black pepper
crusty bread - to serve
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion, pepper and rosemary for about five minutes until softened, adding the garlic towards the end.  Stir in the aubergines and courgettes and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, then fill the can with water, give it a swirl so it gathers up the tomato juice left on the sides/base of the can, then add this to the frying pan.
Bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 20 minutes, then remove lid and continue cooking for a further 20 minutes to reduce and thicken the liquid.
Stir in the vinegar, then make four wells in the mixture, breaking an egg into each, seasoning with pepper. Cover and cook for 3 - 5 minutes or until the eggs are soft or set to your liking. 
Serve with crusty bread to mop up the rich sauce.

As later than I thought (now past 1.00am Friday), time for me to toddle off to bed, and will return again tomorrow evening.  Still making my mind up whether to have the oven repaired or go and choose a new and completely different one that is much easier to use.  May go and take a look at some on Saturday before I decide.   Love to ramble on, but bed calls.  Bye for now.