Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday Catchup

It's been several days since my last blog, and for this I apologise.  It's been an odd sort of week, firstly I needed to take time off to get over the previous week's marathon dessert cooking, then had several visitors drop in, and also wanted to spend time watching TV various progs re King Richard III.  

Add to that sorting out the kitchen/larder and I've had a really busy week.  Of course I did watch other TV progs, as do like to see the repeats of those 'oldies' during the afternoon ("Three Up, Two Down", and "Hi-di-hi" (plus the soaps and the 30th anniversary prog of Neighbours).

What IS annoying me is that this last week they showed several progs of Hi-di-Hi out of sequence, so the story-line was mixed up, we knew what happened before it should have done if you know what I mean.   "Three Up...." seems to have finished to be replaced by "Are you Being Served" (another old favourite).

Not everyone watched our UK soaps, but am wondering if those that do are as much annoyed as I am by the way that many of the characters in both EastEnders and Corrie have a habit of not looking directly at the person they are talking to, but sit there with their eyes slid into the corners.  I don't think I've seen Shabnam (EastEnders) look at anyone straight on. Her 'father' (Masood) does the same. Liz MacDonald in Corrie almost always has her eyes stuck in the corners of her eye sockets.    Other actors seem to manage to look straight at each other, so am wondering if (like Terry Savalas/Kojak) they are reading from a script placed behind the ear of the person they are supposed to be speaking to.   If memory is bad, this occasionally happens.   Trouble is, I'm now watching eyes and not taking much notice of what is said any more.

Apparently not as many people turned up at the Opening of the Club a week ago, despite posh invitations being sent with RSVP  (many ignored responding), so there was quite a lot of food left apparently, but according to my daughter (who did go), most of my desserts were eaten, with no wastage as remainders were kept chilled and then frozen.  But I could have made two less which would have eased the week for me.

Thanks to those who wrote in re the chimineas.  We have a large garage (one end was kept for B's handy work), so a chiminea could be kept in there during the winter. 
Interesting to know about the cottonwool/Vaseline used as firelighters Kathryn. When I visited another of our daughters (in Ireland) there were only blocks of peat to start the open fire in the living area of the rented cottage (next door to daughter), and it wouldn't light unless it had kindling burning underneath, so I tried pouring a little (left-over) cooking oil in a tray and standing peat blocks in this to soak up a bit of oil, then later set fire to the 'oily' side, and it worked like a charm.

When in Leeds I used to save the very last bit of candle wax in those little tea-lights (originally used for heating trays on the dining room table), and then either melt the wax and pour it over dampish logs, or just throw a pile of the lights onto the fire along with dried orange peel and these too worked like fire-lighters.

What type of stove do you use in Canada Marjorie?  We do have multi-fuel ones here or log burners, but tend to use an AGA for cooking, or Rayburn (similar but also heats water) based in the kitchen. 
When watching old films, the North American type of stove is often called a 'pot-bellied', probably used for heating with a round disc on top that can be removed (or not) on which to place a cooking pot (boil or simmer).   I'd love a stove, suppose could have one fitted in here (our only usable chimney), but don't think it would work for cooking as this is our wood-panelled dining room (fireplace has marble surround, this in turn framed by a Gillow's mantelpiece).

Reading about chiminea on the Internet, it seemed that home-made 'fuel' could be used, and the suggestion was blocks made from compressed wet paper (then left to dry), but could also be made from dry paper. 
Do let us know how you get on with the Dressage on 4th April.  Am sure Dolly will do you proud Kathryn.  The one thing I used to HATE doing was continually having to clean the tack after each use. Surely all that polish rubbed in would last more than one outing?

A comment from an Anonymous mentioned cooking a whole chicken in a Dutch Oven on the hob, and I can believe it would work well.  I was once given one of those, a huge and very heavy iron pot plus lid.  This was given to one of my bridge friends by her son, she didn't need it as it was too large (she lived alone), so gave it to me.   Several years later her son wanted it back, so she asked me to return it, and although I used it very often (and could have kept it - it was a gift) I did return it and how I miss it.

There is an appliance in the Lakeland catalogue (a regular item) I think called a Remoska.  Have been tempted to buy one in the past, and it would be useful  for me now, but do I need yet another pot?  It does seem that there is always something new that might be useful, halogen cookers for instance. But if I can still manage with my old stock, then why spend more?
I've recently seen a gadget/appliance that is electric and makes 'spaghetti' from vegetables, yet in one of my drawers (I have yet to find it, but did see it a month or so ago) a little plastic thing that you screw into a veggie (carrot etc) and it comes out with thin spaghetti-like strips.  No difference in the end result between the very expensive and the very cheap. 

Am enjoying those progs that show us how we cooked during the last 50 years, decade by decade. This last week think they were working their way through the 60's and were making up abd serving the Vesta (beef curry, chow mein.....) range.  Don't think they enjoyed eating it though.  However, do believe it is still on sale, so by now must have been 'new improved'.

Black Forest Gateau was of that time, but have always found that it has never gone out of fashion, probably due to being liberally laced with kirsch syrup, and stuffed with cream and cherries.  Men in particular just LOVE chocolate cake, so when I make this cake it is always eaten up (often seconds and thirds requested).

Am surprised you didn't get to see much of the eclipse Cheesepare, apparently Cumbria had one of the best views, but even a few clouds in the wrong place and the right time can spoil the effect.  Thanks also for your views/use of a chiminea.    Whether I get one depends on my health during this year.  At the moment am thinking of employing a gardener to at least get the garden looking good - such a lot needs to be done, and if the garden is the only place I'll feel comfortable in 'outdoors', then it might as well look nice.   Have always to think of the future, and if the apartment/garden look their best, then it should make for a quicker sale.  'Upstairs' flat has been for sale two year and no-one wants it 'because it hasn't a garden', so having a garden is a bonus.
Considering the flat above us has been reduced in price (a lot) several times (they wanted to move as after a few years here they expected a baby - which is now old enough to talk and run around, not that we used to hear anything as we have sound insulation), am surprised it's not been snapped up.  Well worth the money.  Yet two huge hotels have been closed near to where we live, pulled down and flats built instead (at twice the price of the one above us), to me this doesn't make sense.  The 'new' flats have smaller rooms, further away from the shops..... we are very close to a great shopping parade AND a small railway 'halt' (between Lancaster and Morecambe), plus a lovely park (with bandstand and the prom at the bottom of the main road through what is like living in a village with all amenities.

And there is me, now stuck indoors with little chance at the moment of enjoying any of the above. But let us hope there will be an improvement.

At the moment have moved from kitchen to bedroom where I'm sorting out all B's clothes/books etc. After washing/ironing, many will go to charity shops/Sally Army etc, and am loath to get rid of any, but no point in keeping them.  Not enjoying this particular work in hand, but need to get it done as soon as possible.  This means this coming week I have no idea when I will be blogging, just have to hope I can grab an hour (or two) to bring it up to date.  As usual, expect me when you see me.

Tonight the hour goes forward, then Easter the following weekend.  You'll all be busy then enjoying your long weekend holiday break,, so doubt you will miss me if I don't blog.  But will be back. TTFN.