Friday, August 15, 2014

Reviewing the Situation....

Apologies for missing yesterday's blog.  When I sat down to write none of the internet/blog/email pages would appear.  This morning discovered the plug in the modem box wasn't pushed in fully, and when it was, then switched on and everything back to normal.  However, it might not have been that as B told me that yesterday many computers 'crashed' due to over-loading of the internet due to the now constant use of tablets and all the other hand-held communications systems that people now tend to 'play with' when having nothing else to do.
Some readers may also have found they couldn't use their comps yesterday evening, now I hope everything should be back to normal.

Many thanks for all the comments sent in, several new names to whom I give a welcome.  Firstly grateful thanks to Eileen for letting you all know about the above problem.  She is a star.

My first reply is to squawkfisch who - like myself - finds searching through archives more of a nuisance than anything.  I've checked out one or two before I started writing tonight and in every case it took several minutes to find what I wanted.  However, in the case of the Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe of mine, went onto my previous posting (where it was mentioned), the archives listed at the side, then clicked on Dec.2006 (fourth one from the top), and the page came up instantly, so scrolled fast down to the bottom of that page where the S.T.recipe was - and it took exactly 8 seconds to reach it. 
Maybe I should give the recipe again  (and have done in the past), but then it might be on a day when the person who wishes to have it has missed that particular blog, so being able to find it easily (and it is easy when the actual date is given), seems at least one solution, and bearing in mind what other readers have said (Sheridan et al)will begin repeating my favourite recipes again.

After the soft fruits had thawed I cooked them in the microwave for a few minutes before pressing them through a sieve and got quite a lot of juice.  Also a lot of pulp left in the sieve - this tasting really nice (but of course full of seeds) so am having to think of a way to use this up - freezing it until I do).  Fruit leather is a good idea (thanks for that Mimsys),

Also thanks to Mister Micawber for sending the corrected Dickensian quotation.  I may have got the amount wrong, but the message was the same - and one worth keeping in mind. 
There are so many quotes that so make a lot of sense, my old wooden money-box has printed on it 'A penny saved is a penny earned' (well it is very old so I suppose a penny went a lot further then that it does now), but the quote is also true.  When we go 'out' to work we spend some of the money earned on food.  If we stayed at home and cooked from scratch we could save so much money it could be almost the same as the amount earned in a part-time job.  More if we grew our own produce.  And another saying worth knowing is: The cock crows but the hen delivers the goods.  How true!

Yesterday the suggestion was that we had some breaded fish that B had brought from Morrison's - because it was on offer!!  As it had to be cooked in the oven at the same temperature as oven chips (and for almost the same length of time) I suggested to B that - for once - he could cook supper for BOTH of us.  Which he kindly did, we even had peas with it.

I was sitting in the living room nursing my then painful knee, so B brought my portion in on a plate, taking his into this room so he could watch cricket on TV.  Thing is he forgot to bring me anything to eat it with, and so using my fingers (aka God's own tools) and the help of a (clean) spoon I had on my side table, I was able to eat the meal without having to get up and stagger into the kitchen or call B back to bring me a fork.   When B asked me if the meal was alright I didn't want to spoil his pleasure so said (truthfully) it was 'finger lickin' good'. 

So pleased the vegetarian pie recipes worked well Elaine and the weather held out for your al fresco family gathering.  Let us hope your mouse has found its way back outside - probably would have done if you have a cat.

Have given recipes in the past for potted meat Kate, and basically these are just scraps of shredded cooked meat mixed with some seasonings (pepper, salt, nutmeg... depending on the meat used), and a little softened butter to bind, then pressed firmly into small pots.  Melted butter poured over the top (just a thin layer to keep out the air).  This top layer of butter can be lifted if wishing to avoid eating it, but recently it seems that 'saturated fats' are now not as harmful as once thought. 
Perhaps instead of mixing softened butter with the meat, this could just be seasoned and pressed into moulds, then the butter poured on top to be mixed into the meat to make spreadable when ready to use.

We have had a bumper crop of apples this year, and each day another bagful fallen from the tree, so will be spending this weekend peeling and slicing to part-cook then freeze, also to make apple sauce, and I like the sound of that apple butter Kate.  Thanks for that idea.
Not quite sure why, but I've never found mangoes have much flavour - perhaps they need to be really ripe to enjoy, but have found the ones sold in the supermarkets (not quite ripe) make lovely mango chutney to serve with curries etc.

Haven't seen a sign of leaved changing colour here Margie, but am sure it will be soon.  The weather has improved and so able to sit outside and have our coffee this morning.  Sky with broken white clouds, but lots of blue sky and very hot sunshine again.  Tomorrow weather set to change to quite windy and rain again by the end of the day (and over the weekend).

Bet you are looking forward to visiting England soon Mary.  Do you visit family - if so what region/s would that be? Or do you tend to stay in tourist area - especially London?

Another use for fruit pulp (after removing the juice) would be to give it to chickens (as Sairy mentioned with her redcurrants).  Am wondering if the red fruits help to give the egg yolks a deeper colour.  Perhaps it would if they ate beetroot as if that colours our 'water', then almost certain to improve the colour of egg yolks.

Good idea Sandy about adding baking soda (aka bicarbonate of soda) to rhubarb to enable us to use less sugar.  Many years ago I used to lay the leaves of Sweet Cicely at the bottom of a dish, topping this with rhubarb, and the leaves used to sweeten the rhubarb with no need to add sugar at all. Sweet Cicely is an attractive herb to grow, sort of feathery/ferny leaves.

Your mention Alison, of your children saying meals were better when you had no money, is exactly what our children said (for the same reason), and when they asked why, I said it was because I'd thought a lot harder about what I was going to make.  Proves that when we give more thought to what we cook we usually can find ways of not just making cheaper meals, but making them taste even better. 

Am grateful to readers who don't mind if I blog only once or twice a week, or just give the occasional recipe.  The temptation to take a day off blogging does come over me more often as I get older (and run out of ideas of what to write about).  So after reviewing the situation will now begin writing as little or as much as I wish, when I wish (probably almost every day as it has become a habit hard to break - but then I won't feel so guilty if I miss a day).  In any case I won't be blogging tomorrow (Saturday) as now already take this day off.  Maybe take Sunday off as well - it all depends on how I feel.

On Monday, at long last, have an appointment to see the doctor about my knee, so hopefully he will prescribe me some painkillers that work, then I will feel a lot more like my old self.  Let us hope so.

With this being a good year for apples, felt the recipe below (originally from Australia) will be useful to some readers, and if apple sauce (aka pureed apples) is made in bulk and then frozen in small amounts, this cake can be made any time of the year.  Note that no eggs are used in this recipe.

Spiced Apple Cake: makes 10 portions
5 oz (150g) softened butter
5 oz (150g) brown sugar
3 oz (75g) stewed Bramley apples, pureed
7 oz (200g) self-raising flour
half tsp ground cinnamon
half tsp ground nutmeg
milk (opt)
3 oz (75g) raisins
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then stir in the apples.
Sift the flour and spices together, then fold these into the creamed mixture using a wooden spoon.  If the mixture is too stiff, add a tablespoon of milk.  
Stir in the raisins then spoon the mixture into a greased and lined 7" (18cm) round cake tin, then bake at 150C, gas 2 for one hour.   Leave to stand in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cake airer to cool.

So I leave you for tonight, returning again either Sunday or Monday.  For readers who are wishing for 'something from Shirley' to read, could I suggest working through from the start of archives (no rush - a page at a time), and you will then discover many of my best and most economical recipes plus plenty of hints and tips.  Many recipes and most of the chat had to be edited out due to lack of space, but have kept in what I hope will be of most use.  Maybe I'm biased, but when I do have occasion to look up something I blogged years ago, I really enjoy re-discovering recipes I'd completely forgotten about, and wish I could write as well now as I did then. 

Watching the news it seems that a lot of the country (south and midlands) had a lot of thunderstorms, which again me missed out on.  This year Morecambe has had the best of the weather catching only the very end of the worst (such as Bertha), and still it seems we have more good weather to come - once this weekend is over.  Can only hope that this continues through the winter.  We never had a real winter last year, and although I do enjoy seeing snow on the ground, this meant spring flowers arrived early, and since then we continually have had plenty of blossom.  So a good year for us at least.

Am starting to crochet myself a 'throw'.  This will keep me warm if the weather does turn much colder, and hoping that because I'm thinking ahead, this will prove to be unnecessary.  So often, in the past, I've prepared for things and they never happen.   It's when I don't prepare that I get caught short. 

Enough of my rambling, it is now after midnight, so will take my leave and try not to think of the large amount of apples that I have to work through.  At least I do have one of those Victorian type apple peelers/corers that work wonderfully well.  Stick the apple on at one end, wind the handle at the other, and it peels and cores AND slices apples in the blink of an eye.  Might even give B this chore to do - he would actually enjoy doing that.    TTFN.