Saturday, June 28, 2014

Next Milestone?

Life seems to consist of milestones.  First day at school, becoming a teenager, coming of age, marriage, children, first grandchild, then second followed by 7 more, then adding up the years.  My Beloved and I just hoped we'd live long enough to see the Millennium.  That was over 14 years ago!  Then it was reaching 70. Hoping to reach 75, then 80. Next milestone next week is our BIG anniversary and a congratulatory telegram from the Queen (if someone has remembered to let her know).  So what is after that?  Reaching 85, 90....and who knows, one of us might reach 100!!!  Bound to be B, I'm not that lucky.

It rained last night.  Typical British to find that worthy of a mention, but we have had several weeks of no rain here in Morecambe, so it was really needed, I was fed up of watering the plants twice a day.

It is exactly midnight as I write, and hear B come in (from the Friday social at the sailing club, I heard him locking the back door.  Hope he decides to watch some telly before I go to bed or he will keep me awake with all the constant singing, talking and other and noises he makes in his sleep after his 'pleasant' evening (he always does), if I go to bed first I will be asleep and unlikely to hear him.

Need to get up a bit earlier tomorrow morning as need to make a big batch of scones for B to take to the sailing club by 9.30am.  He has offered to come and pick them up later in the afternoon, but I want to get them out of the way so I have the rest of the day doing what I want without having to stop and make scones.   I'll have more to make on Sunday so have asked Gill not to phone me (she'll be coming to stay with me several days next week anyway). 

Because of our large family gathering, I'll be taking more than one day off blogging this weekend, and also several more towards the end of next week.  Still much I need to do, and if I have two breaks rather than take the whole week off, it will give me a chance to catch up and reply to any comments that have been sent in.   The plan is this.  I won't blog tomorrow OR Sunday, probably will sometime during the day on Monday rather than wait until the evening, ditto Tuesday.  Then that will be the last blog until late the following Sunday (or maybe even Monday - depends on whether we still have family or guests around). 

What I would hope to happen is that regular readers will still send in comments, not necessarily to me, but this time to each other.  A virtual chat round the communal coffee table.  Just remember to always use the last posting to send in comments as if an early post is used, the comment will only appear below that one so will not be seen. 

As still having the organic veggies delivered once a month.  This time there was Chard, as well as a big bag of spring greens.  My Beloved is not that fond of 'greens' much at all, although enjoys the hard white cabbage when finely shredded and then tossed in bacon fat (to accompany liver gougons, bacon and potatoes). 
So decided I'd eat the kale.  I removed the whites stalks and put these in a pan of water, then shredded the leaves and put those in a steamer over the stalks and left them to cook.  Turned out really well.  I drained the stalks and left those to get cold, then chopped them into chunks to add to salad leaves as part of my supper.   The steamed leaves I added to a frying pan in which I'd just fried some chopped onions, then when these were heated through I poured over some beaten eggs, stirring the lot round to 'scramble' the eggs, and have to say, with a good squirt of Fiery Chill ketchup on top, it really did taste good.  For that matter so did the chard stalks, nice and tender, although not much flavour, they worked well in the salad.

One recipe today,  chosen because it shows how one chicken breast - with other ingredients - will be enough to make a meal to serve four people.  Proving also we DON'T always need to use the normal amount of meat (approx. 1lb/450g) that recipes usually expect to use for four portions.

If you have a chicken breast in the freezer (then thaw it), also frozen veggies, and a can of chickpeas and one of tomatoes in the larder (the other ingredients are basic ones we all have - or I hope so), then this is an easy dish to assemble.
The chilli powder turns this into a variation of a chilli con whatever, but if you don't care for too much heat, use far less or instead use a little sweet paprika.
If using frozen veg., these should include carrot, cauliflower, and broccoli. Or use fresh and cook them lightly before using.

 Spicy Chicken and Chickpeas: serves 4
1 tblsp olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 boneless/skinless chicken breast, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 tblsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 x 400g chopped tomatoes
16fl oz (450ml) chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp sugar
1 x 400g chickpeas, drained
10 oz (300g) frozen veg (see above)
salt and pepper
additional extras:
soured cream or Greek yogurt
grated cheese
tortilla chips
Heat the oil in a large deep frying pan (or saucepan), and fry the onion for about 5 minutes until just turning golden, then stir in the chicken, frying this until it browns.  Add the garlic and spices, and stir-fry for a further minute.
Add the tomatoes, stock, and sugar to the pan, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 25 minutes, then add the chickpeas and frozen veggies.  Bring back to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add seasoning to taste.
Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of soured cream (or yogurt) on top, a sprinkle of the cheese, and a handful of tortilla chips to dip in and dunk.

That is it for the weekend.  As B will be out both Sat/Sun I may even find time to 'have a chat' with you late Sunday if only just to reply to comments.  Otherwise it will be Monday before I'm blogging again.  Just hope you don't move to pastures new while I'm not blogging.  Memories of years of me listening to the Archers, then - when I went into hospital for a couple of weeks - never listended again (until recently).  When we moved here, previously I watched 'Neighbours' every weekday since it had begun, but as we couldn't get Channel 5 in Morecambe for a couple or so months, when we could get it, I just didn't bother to watch.  Just wish this worked with eating.  Fast for a few days, drink only water, and then maybe I wouldn't want to eat ever again.  Trouble is we have to eat to live.  Other additions can be broken,  but not the intake of food it seems. 

It's turned so chilly that I'm sitting here with a crochet blanket round my shoulders.  Nearly went to get a hot-water bottle to cuddle whilst I watched Andy Murray play.  Temperature down to 10C or below tonight, but said to rise to as much as 18C in some parts of the country during the daytime over the weekend (more in the south than our area).

The solstice has been and gone, so the nights are now drawing in again, and it only seems a very few weeks since we were waiting for winter to arrive (which it never really did - at least where we live).  Should be glad we live in a fairly moderate climate considering how far north the British Isles are.  The Gulf Stream is the cause of that.  Let's hope that doesn't decide to wander elsewhere and cause havoc like its cousin the Jet Stream way above us.   Believe the Pacific has the El Nino (or similar name) that does strange things to the climate and the continents it reaches.

Whatever the weather, do hope you all enjoy your weekend.  But before I lave (nearly forgot) here are replies to your comments.

Hadn't taken too much notice of the difference in price between quick-cook pasta and the normal Hazel.  So checked the Tesco site, and yes, it is fairly expensive, but there are similar (quality) pastas that are even dearer.  Noted also that their 'value range' has cheaper pasta, so the quick-cook is middle of the road.

You said you'd noticed the glass storage jars Pam, so am assuming you had seen the TV series 'The Goode Kitchen' while living in this country?   Yes, they did originally hold orange juice, and like you said, were tall and square, so fitted well together.  I wish a lot more storage jars and other containers were square so there would be less wasted space in cupboards and on shelves.  I now use Nescafe jars for storage, pref those that held 300g instant coffee (but the 200g also useful),  and place them on the shelves sideways as the sides are narrower than across the front, so I can fit more onto a shelf.
I write the contents on the glass using a marker pen, then when empty, if I wish to use the jar for something else, just wash off the writing and re-mark with the new name.

A welcome to Ray.  What a splendid idea to make a Summer Pudding, but heat it up in the microwave. Really must try that. I bet this gave the fruit an even more intense flavour.  Lovely with custard or cream.

It really is time for me to say 'goodnight, God bless'.  Back with you again, soon as I find time. TTFN.