Sunday, June 15, 2014

Who Would Believe It!

This time last week I was dragging myself around the house feeling almost at death's door.  A couple of days after taking those iron pills I am now bright eyed and busy tailed.  My energy has returned.

Still finding it difficult to walk around, but the Ibruprofen has helped, and so I was able to spend most of Saturday afternoon in the garden.  Emptying all the containers into a wheelbarrow, a couple at a time, then removing all the spring bulbs from the soil, putting some of the soil back into the pots with some new compost, and planting geraniums and lobelia.   I expected the flowers to be delivered Monday, but for some reason the lobelia came on Saturday and the rest will come Monday, so hopefully will be able to complete all the potting out.

Not only that I've even cleaned the conservatory windows and washed down all the paintwork. Not before time I can tell you, but it looks very tidy now all the geraniums (about 20 of them) that have been overwintering indoors, are now outside, some already potted up. 

Am going to repot the avocado 'tree' that has been growing from a stone.  It is really big now and should be OK outdoors until the first frosts come.  Also the lemon tree (grown from a pip).   Most of my herbs I've planted in a window box close to the back door, just keeping the basil indoors - but even that could go outside.

As well as doing the above (not much I know, but a lot for me), I've been sorting out this (dining) room, and getting the books in order (they are usually piled up either on this desk or by the side), and it is all coming together.

Having to put up with the football (three matches on TV, almost consecutively - but at least B watches these in another room), I am able to watch what I want on the smaller TV.  Tonight a very interesting programme about the wild-fires in Australia.   We grumble about the floods in this country, but it must be frightening to live in countries where there is a high risk of fires in the area where you live. 

The interesting thing about much of the plant-life in Australia (think I'm right), is that it seems to do no harm to them. Eucalyptus trees contain a lot of natural oil, so burn easily, and return again.
I remember, when we had a huge pampas growing in our front garden in Leeds, every three years, after we'd removed the tall 'plumes'  we used to set light to it to burn it almost all down, when it would then throw up new shoots and have a lot more 'plumes' (sometimes we had as many as 30). 
One year, on Guy Fawkes night, we had a knock at the front door, someone telling us our pampas was alight, the whole lot on fire, plumes and all.  Seems a firework from a neighbours house has fallen from the sky into the grass and set fire to it.  Lucky someone told us as it was close to our front porch and in a short time our house would have started to burn down.

The obvious solution when it comes to natural disasters, floods, fire etc.  We really shouldn't build houses where these are likely to occur, but we still do.  Think of San Francisco built over that fault line, where a major earthquake could happen any time.   Maybe we have this 'it will always be after tomorrow when disaster strikes' and as we know, 'tomorrow never comes'.  But of course it always does.

Thanks Frugal Queen for your comment.  It is so true, we should be grateful for what we can do, and still keep on doing it - and be thankful - instead of taking it for granted.  When younger I used to walk for miles and it never occurred to me that I would not be able to do this, even when older. Probably because we believe that old age happens to someone else, never to us.   Also it happens very rapidly.  One minute we are young (well, middle aged), and in almost the blink of an eye beginning to need a zimmer frame.   Has anyone else noticed that the age process does not come slowly?  It is almost as though we wake up one morning feeling 10 years older than the day before.  And staying like that for another ten years then it happens again.

Pleased you enjoyed the 'Ploughman's Melt' Alison, and liked your idea of adding a fried egg.  This year we seem to have had more double-yolked eggs that I can ever remember.  I recently had a tray of 15 eggs, all were double yolked (and these were the cheaper eggs).

When my parents kept chickens during the war, I do remember once we had a triple-yolked egg much to my mothers delight as it could be shared between the three of us.

I've been thinking about my meals Margie, and normally tend to have a fairly high protein diet - usually chicken or fish with salad (or maybe spag bol or chilli).  Think I have a natural tendency to be anaemic, or at least have the same symptoms, although this has never showed up when I have my blood test.  My mother was the same. Anyway, the iron pills have worked very well indeed, so obviously it was iron I was lacking. 

Occasionally requests come in for meals to serve just one, and when it comes to living alone, the temptation is to rustle up a quick meal (like a sandwich), rather than cook something (or is that just me?).  Although I'm not a fan of microwave cooking as a rule, when it comes to making a speedy meal for one, you can't beat it.
So here are a couple of dishes that take time to prepare and make when cooking for more, but done and dusted in a very few minutes when cooking for one in a microwave. 

Prawn Risotto: serves 1
2 oz (50g) long grain rice
8 fl oz (225ml) hot chicken stock
pinch dried mixed herbs
1 small onion or shallot, sliced
half a bell pepper, chopped
2 oz (50g) shelled prawns (thawed if frozen)
1 oz (25g) button mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
1 tsp soy sauce (when serving)
Place the rice, hot stock, and herbs in a deep bowl, then cover and cook on HIGH for 5 minutes.  Set aside, leaving the bowl covered.
Place the onion and pepper in another bow, cover and cook on HIGH for 2 minutes.  Then add these to the rice, along with the prawns, mushrooms and seasoning to taste.   Cover, cook on HIGH for 2 minutes, then set aside until the rice has absorbed the stock.   Serve sprinkled with soy sauce.

Queen of Puddings: serves 1
1 small egg, separated
1 tsp caster sugar
knob of butter
3 fl oz (75ml) milk
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 slice fresh white breadm crumbed
1 - 2 tblsp frozen fruit
1 extra tblsp caster sugar
2 tsp chopped mixed nuts
Put the egg yolk, 1 tsp caster sugar, butter, and the milk in a jug, and cook, uncovered, on HIGH for 30 seconds.  Stir in the lemon zest and breadcrumbs.  Spoon into an individual ovenproof dish, spreading the fruit on top.
Whisk the egg white until stiff, then whisk in the tablespoon of sugar.  Pile this over the fruit and sprinkle top with the nuts.  Cook, uncovered, on HIGH for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Didn't go to the meeting at the church on Saturday as was planning to go this coming Tuesday. Watched the repeat of 'Yes, Prime Minister', and how good it was to see this series again.  And how very true to life it seems to be. 
Whether I go to the meeting on Tuesday depends.  B can't take me, although could collect me, and I'm not fond of taking taxis unless it is for anything important like a medical check etc.  I have one for a diabetic eye test this coming Wednesday, so may need to take the taxi then.  One week away from the meeting won't matter, and I will certainly go the following week. 

Just after midnight, so will wind up now to get an early (!) night.  Woke this morning to hear the blackbird singing (start of the dawn chorus) this at first light - 3.30am.  Nearly decided to get up and write my blog, but didn't.  Decided to stay in bed and enjoy dreaming until 7.30am.  Then got up, read the paper, did the crossword, put the laundry in the washing machine, then tidied the kitchen, and started cleaning windows.  Really enjoyed my day.  Can't remember whether my Beloved was here or not, just shows how we tend to live separate lives, even in the same house.   Ships that pass in the night.

Certainly noticed he was here on Friday night - and this after he'd gone to bed, once he'd returned from his social.  He'd made himself a stir-fry for his supper, I'd set out all the ingredients ready for him, and given him a jar of 'lazy garlic' as had run out of the fresh.  He'd obviously overdone it, as when I entered the bedroom was hit by the smell of garlic in the air, and it was worse when I got into bed and he was breathing it all over me.
But they say garlic is very good for us, so am hoping the fumes work as well as eating it.  Am not a fan of eating it myself, although do like the cloves when they have been roasted.  Garlic is often included in the recipes I give, but when making the meal for myself I always leave it out. 

Do hope you all had a lovely weekend, the weather seems pretty good at the moment, just like an English summer should be.  At least here in Morecambe.  Saw a tiny bit of Trooping the Colour on Saturday and it looked very overcast in the London area, so maybe we have been lucky.  Hope you have been too.   If all goes well will be blogging again this time tomorrow.  TTFN.