Friday, July 25, 2014

If You Can't Stand the Heat....

"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" as the saying goes.  Certainly our kitchen is one of the warmer rooms at the moment, as it is open one end - leading directly into the extension (that I grandly call 'the conservatory', from mid-day the heat comes from there.  Worse when the oven is on (so try not to bake at the moment).

Despite me leaving the patio door in here open from early morning, the room heated up (due to that window facing south), so would probably have been better left closed.  Now it is dark, the room has cooled down again, so am enjoying sitting by the partly open door as my fingers rattle over the keyboard.

As you know I have been enjoying sitting in the garden most days, but due to the heat (it seems to get hotter each day), this morning decided to go and have my morning coffee on the garden bench at 8.00am.  Certainly was a bit cooler, but as the sun had already risen above roof height, that end of the garden was not in the shade, and very soon I was too warm and had to go back indoors.

Whether it is me, or I've just never noticed before, but the sun seemed to be nearly overhead this morning rather than over to the south as it normally is, however, by noon it was back where it was supposed to be.  I was beginning to wonder if the earth had started to wobble. 

Goes without saying that B and I are hardly eating anything - at least nothing cooked.  We are getting our own 'meals' while it is hot, I'm mainly making do with a sarnie (naughty), and lots of cooling drinks of water. 

Pleased you got a chance to see Morecambe with looking its best gillibob when you were in the area recently.  It's not often we get a good view across the Bay, it is so often shrouded in mist, but for the past week it has been a wonderful sight.

Can recommend drinking beetroot juice if you want to lower your b.p Margie.  It is sold in bottles or cartons (like fresh fruit juice), and just a small glass will lower b.p for several hours.  Suppose eating cooked (or grated raw) beetroot would have the same effect.
As both you and Sarina have found my early (media) days interesting, I am hoping to find several 'media moments' I wrote for this blog, probably over five years ago.  I remember deleting them when I needed to edit the postings to allow the recipes to remain, but I think I still have them in one of the files.  If I can find how to 'cut and paste' then can run through them all again.   That is if you wish to read them.  They certainly show how nothing is quite as simple and easy as it seems when we actually see the finish on our TV screens.  Maybe I was just unlucky, for nothing, absolutely NOTHING went right every time I was filmed.   Still don't know why I continued as it really wasn't enjoyable at all.

Did once buy some blue eggs (Tesco) and think the hens that lay these are called Anconas (may be wrong).  Expected them to be a deeper blue, they looked almost white, but once the shell was broken the inside was a lovely pale blue. 
As you say Sairy, it could well be hens that eat a lot of 'greens' that have richer coloured yolks, as when B and I once went to Oban, for a week on a sailing boat (I was so seasick I prefer not to remember the trip), the skipper's wife kept hens (they lived on a small island close to Mull and the mainland), and the yolks were a deep yellow, more an orange colour.  This, she said, was because she gave them seaweed to eat.

Am really hoping the weather does cool down this weekend (as forecast), as despite my enjoyment of the wonderful sunny summer, I've had just about enough.  At least the humidity seems to have dropped a bit, but the temperature seems to keep rising, although not as hot as in the south-east (London area usually the hottest). 
At the moment I feel I should stay awake at night to do the housework and any baking during the cool hours, then as soon as the sun rises have a day-long 'siesta', until nightfall.  It probably wouldn't word as it isn't easy to get a good night's sleep anyway at the moment, so bound to be worse during the day.
Am tempted to work through tonight, but already feel exhausted even though I've done very little, so had better go to bed and try for a deeper sleep than am getting at the moment.

An interesting bit in the paper today about children and vegetables.  Apparently (and understandably) children don't like to eat any food when told 'eating it is good for you'.  How many times my mother used to say that and I knew then I wouldn't like the taste (but still had to eat them).
If we really want children to eat something 'healthy', the best way is to serve it in a dish but tell them they shouldn't really have any until they are older as "it is what grown-ups eat, but if they are very good and behave themselves,  maybe next time they can have a bit as a treat"  This always seemed to work.  I wonder why.

Because of the weather, food is generally the last thing on my mind during the day (or even night), but I've discovered a recipe that can turn a soft cheese - such as ricotta - into something that resembles a firmer cheese in that it can - after baking and cooling - be sliced, laid on crispbreads to be eaten (rather than being spread).

Ricotta is a slightly lumpy creamy cheese, a finer version of cottage cheese.  If we freeze tubs of cottage cheese, the curds break up when thawed and can be mixed together ending up very similar to ricotta.  So if I see any cottage cheese reduced I buy it and put it straight in the freezer to use later in both sweet and savoury dishes.

The flavour of this dish can be improved by adding a few tablespoons of chopped pancetta or black olives to the mixture before baking.   The end result is a bit like a firm quiche.
Herby Baked Ricotta: serves 8
2.2lbs (1kg) ricotta cheese
2 tblsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tblsp finely chopped garlic chives
1 tblsp finely grated lemon zest
Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix well together.  Spoon into a base-lined 8" (20cm) round cake tin.  Bake, uncovered, for about an hour in a moderate oven (180C, gas 4 or slightly less) until lightly browned and firm to the touch.  Leave to cool in the tin before turning out, serve thinly sliced.

That's it for this Friday, and - as usual - I will taking Saturday off, so no blog tomorrow.  Normally I bake on Saturdays, but somehow doubt I will be this weekend.  May go to the church for the evening meeting - that is the day a medium will be there to 'make contact'.  Nothing on TV at the moment as the Commonwealth Games have precedence. We seemed to have had weeks of sport on TV, the 'three-a-day' football matches, Wimbledon fortnight overlapping, the English start of the Tour de France, then the golf, now the Games.  They should have a channel just for sport, and let us - less interested mortals - have useful progs to watch, like cooking, sewing, gardening...!!!  An if we don't like those, there is always Downton Abbey and Benidorm.

Yesterday I watched another episode of  'Little House on the Prairie' and have to say it really made me feel good.  The story wasn't good - the Ingalls family were returning home and got caught in a blizzard and Charles nearly died while out trying to find food.  Rescued by an Indian chief who was being hunted by a sheriff.  All ended well of course, but the sound of the gales, and seeing all that snow and ice really made me feel wonderfully cool.   Similar to watching programmes about deserts and hot countries in winter while we are huddled up trying to keep warm.  Amazing how our minds can make us believe things are different to how they really are.

Nearly midnight, so I'll take my leave of you, and hope to return sometime on Sunday.  Next week will be a busy one for me as we will have guests (not staying, but with us for some time) and will be out and about with them during the early part of the week, so when it comes to blogging, it may have to be 'expect me when you see me'.  The sooner the better, as chatting to you all I find helps me wind down. 
Having now wound down to nearly a standstill, really have to go.  Enjoy the weekend. TTFN.