Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ups and Downs

One thing we can be certain of, life does not keep on an even keel.  It has it's lows and highs, and am just about to feel I am moving up again.  Not before time.

This morning decided I really HAD to scoot down to the shops.  B had got Norris out of the garage for me, but even then it was almost too far for me to walk to reach it without my walking stick (I keep a folding stick in Norris's basket, so it wasn't to hand).  And that not more than 10 paces away without anything to hold on to.  Just shows how bad walking is getting.

Anyway, although cloudy, it was a warm day and I did enjoy my trip down to the shops.  Even then some nice man stopped to have a chat with me while I was sitting at the cash-point machine (I was careful to make sure my money was put away securely, he could have been waiting to rob me!!!).
Then I crossed over the road to order my bedding plants, paid for them while I was there, and they will be delivered Monday when he gets the lobelia.   Cost quite a bit, but it will be almost an instant garden of flowers once I've got them potted up (this I do sitting on the bench surrounded by the containers and the bedding plants - plus extra compost) and that is an easy and very pleasant job to do, especially when the sun shines (I make sure they are well watered in).

Called in at the chemist to get some iron pills, as realised that my extreme exhaustion is almost certainly due to a type of anaemia (my mother had pernicious anaemia at my age, so maybe I've inherited that).  I'd got to the stage when I was finding my eyes hard to focus, and this always happens when my body cries out for iron.   Doesn't seem to matter if I eat iron-rich foods, it is only the iron pills that seem to work, and very dramatically, for I took a couple as soon as I got home, and very soon after began to feel a great deal better.  Feel even better as I write. 
Just a couple of days taking the iron pills, then I can put them away until this tiredness comes over me again (which could be some weeks/months). 

Also asked the chemist for something to help ease the pain in my knees and he gave me a pack of Ibruprofen.  Have to say that after I took a couple of those my knees do seem a little less painful. Earlier today the pain was about as bad as I've ever known it, so any relief is better than none.

I've mentioned this to the practice nurse when I have my check-up and she says my blood count is OK and I'm not anaemic, but have to say this is the rare occasion when I know I'm lacking iron, so self-prescribe.  Shouldn't do I suppose, but it works, and that's all that matters.

Am almost dreading this coming week (maybe even longer) because it seems that the TV is showing nothing but football matches.  Three today.  B is watching one at this very moment (11.30pm).  At least we now have two TV sets so he can watch TV in another room (he prefers the one in this room as it has a larger screen, but I got here first as it is B's night at his social club, and he has only just returned).

Thanks for all your comments.  I've probably covered some of the suggestions that several of you gave (re my tiredness), so a blanket thanks to all for caring.

Recipes Hazel, for chicken liver pate, usually suggest the chicken livers are lightly fried so they retain a slight pinkness in the centre, and then blitzed up with other ingredients to make a pate.  However, chicken livers have proved to be suspect when it comes to the salmonella bug (or something similar) so should be cooked thoroughly (then there is no problem).
The way I make the pate is to trim the livers, removing any green bits, then sometimes slice and fry them lightly (because they will be cooked further), or sometimes omit the frying and just blitz them in a food processor with a little shallot, some breadcrumbs, softened butter, and a dash of brandy.  Might even add an egg.  Then spoon the mixture into a small loaf tin, cover with foil, stand the tin in a bain marie, and bake it at 180C, gas 4 for about an hour. 
This makes a fairly coarse pate that is fine like that, but I go one step further and run it through my food mill, then work in a little more softened butter and another dash of brandy before potting it up (and then pour a little melted butter over the top if I intend keeping it in the fridge for several days).
The pate does freeze well.

It sounds as though Canada (or at least part) has much the same temperatures/seasons that we have, for the first season's strawberries are now being sold.  But your Ontario ones sound much sweeter than ours Margie.  Trouble is in the UK a lot of strawberry varieties grown for sale now don't seem to have much flavour/sweetness.  Probably because they are picked before they are fully ripe. 
We do have 'pick your own' farms, and although the fruit is riper and the flavour somewhat better, again it depends upon the variety.

Agree with you Alison, it is far better for the family to chat at the table than - as in the old days - keep quiet when eating.  Obviously the 'don't talk with your mouth full' rule should still apply, but like the saying: 'the family that eats together, stays together', am sure is true.

Thanks for the suggestion of filled pitta breads for picnic food Sarina.  They could either be filled before hand, or let everyone fill them themselves from what is on offer.
As both you and Margie say (re arthritic knees)-  'use it or lose it' I'm sure is right, trouble is I try not to walk just so I don't have the pain, so am probably making things worse for myself.  I really will try.

You are asking about a vegetarian pie Eileen, and I do remember making one (several times) when I used to give demonstrations. 
What I did was line a round cake tin (preferably loose-based or spring-sided) with shortcrust pastry, then begin filling it with layers of different coloured vegetables.   At that time I would have used sliced potato, mashed carrots, spinach (more for the colour than anything else), and helping to bind the layers together would pour over an egg beaten with a little milk, shaking the tin so the liquid settled between the veggies. 
As I write I remember once I made an open veggie pie (using puff pastry - so it was a bit like a hot vol-au-vent), the filling being roasted vegetables such as bell peppers (red, yellow, green), onions (red and white), courgettes, aubergine, fennel.  This was a real winner according to the vegetarian friend I made it for, and if short pastry was used to line a cake (or pie) tin, the roasted veg could make the filling, cover with a pastry lid and bake at 180C, gas 4 until the pastry is cooked.  Then could be eaten cold.
Depending on season  pumpkin or butternut squash and sweet potatoes also make good fillings for vegetarian pies.  My aim is to make the filling look attractive when sliced, and also taste good.  

Here is a recipe for individual 'pies' (in other words pasties).  However, this could be made as one larger pie, using a cake tin lined with the pastry, using the same filling, and covering with a pastry lid. Packing the filling down firmly will make it less likely to fall apart when cut.

Potato, Cheese, and Red Onion Pies:  makes 4
1 large potato, diced small
2 carrots, diced small
300g jar red onion chutney (or your choice)
1 tblsp thyme leaves, chopped
1 tblsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
5 oz (150g) veg. cheddar, grated
1 x 500g block shortcrust pastry
beaten egg for brushing
poppy seeds for sprinkling (opt)
Cook the potatoes and carrots in salted water for five minutes or until tender.  Drain well and tip into a bowl.  Add the chutney, thyme, mustard, seasoning, and the cheese, gently mixing together until combined, then place in the fridge to chill.
Roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin, then cut into 8 squars (approx. 13cm). Divide the filling between each. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg, then pick up each corner of the square and bring them up to meet in the centre, pressing the sides together to seal.  These end up looking like the back of a square envelope.  Brush with more egg and sprinkle over the poppy seeds (if using).
Place on a parchment lined baking tray and bake for 30 minutes at 190C, gas 5 until golden.  Serve warm or cold.

Friday has now become Saturday, so that's me finished for a couple of days for as you know I now take Saturday off,  probably blogging again some time Sunday - earlier rather than later. 
Seems that many of you in the UK are enjoying the lovely weather than most of us are experiencing at the moment, so do hope it continues over the weekend so that you all have a chance to sit out and relax in the sun.  We need to soak up that Vitamin D! 
Have just remembered it is Father's Day this Sunday, well that's for my children to concern themselves with.  My dad was born in 1896 so he is now no longer with us, but I do miss him.  I'd like to believe it was he contacting me last Saturday (via the medium), everything said pointed in that direction.  Not sure if I'll be going to the meeting this weekend.  Will let you know what happens if I do.  TTFN.