Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spreading the Load

Am still feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, so perhaps I've now turned the corner and life has some meaning again, due to having the making-of-the-desserts to look forward to. 

Yesterday I sat in the kitchen and sorted out all the ingredients that I would need. Stacked these on my double-tiered push-trolley, including the containers that would be used.
Even went so far as to grate a bar of chocolate (using my 'Y' shaped veggie peeler) to add to some of the desserts (or for decoration).    Today I will be making the chocolate sponge for the Black Forest Gateau.  Friday will be 'assembly day' for all desserts and these will remain in the fridge until taken to the club late Saturday afternoon.

So far jane, the chosen desserts are:  Tiramisu; Sicilian Cassata; Tropical Fruit Cheesecake; and Black Forest Gateau.  As there will be a lot of portions needed will probably make a Lemon and Ginger Treacle Tart as well.  Have to wait until Thursday/Friday for final numbers.  As the desserts are freshly made (not frozen), any surplus will freeze if kept chilled beforehand (they have big fridges at the club-house).

You made an interesting point jane when you mentioned discovering a lot of frozen food you had forgotten about.  You, like me, tend to hoard all types of food then use it up, but now I've been on my own for nearly 5 months now have bought very little, ending up using (or giving away) a lot of what I already have, and I haven't felt like re-stocking the shelves as I used to do.  Perhaps this is the best way - use what we have, save the money we MIGHT have spent, and then re-stock, but with less than formerly.  Or buy better quality. 

If we can (or should by now) be able to make really tasty meals that cost very little, using up 'what we have', then we really don't need as much food in store as we think we do.  This is completely contrary to my early days when I felt I needed to keep a good stock of almost everything (one in use, one in store ready and waiting, and four (or more) as back-up!!!! 

So I'm going to keep emptying my shelves and freezers until I have only the very basics (to me this means canned tuna, sardines, chopped and plum tomatoes, baked beans (incl Heinz 5 beans, and read kidney beans). Canned fruits.
In the fridge - vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, small potatoes, celery, cauliflower, white cabbage, vacuum beetroot, salads (lettuce, cucumber, radishes....), berries in season.  Cartons of fruit juice, milk and cheeses. UHT double cream and milk.
The freezer will have fish (smoked haddock, white fish, salmon, cooked prawns, smoked salmon, smoked mackerel), minced beef/lamb/pork and poultry (chicken portions). Also frozen veg such as peas, string beans, Brussels sprouts, sweetcorn, oven chips.
Onions and baking potatoes in bags in the kitchen.  Eggs and tomatoes also kept at room temp.
Fruit bowl holds easy-peel clementines, bananas, apples, and other fruits when in season (plums, peaches....) also avocados.

Larder 'dry goods' will be the usual plain/SR flour, bread mix etc, assorted sugars, syrup, treacle, honey, jellies, oats, and the usual dried fruits, dried grains etc. Various ketchups, chutneys and relishes and salad cream/mayo (in the fridge once opened), and probably a lot more I have at the moment but not planning to replace. 

That's how I intend my food stores to be in the future.  We will have to see if I can stick to it, and what I do with it when I've got it.  So watch this space!

A downstairs annex (with use of bathroom) sounds perfect Kathryn.  Until needed by your Dad (who might be living upstairs initially) it could be a 'holiday let' (or used for B & B)? 
Two thoughts came to mind when you mentioned the possibility of buying close to a wind farm.  Firstly this may keep the price low (who wants to live near one?) and - perhaps more importantly - wind farms are placed in known-to-be windy areas  (I am prejudiced because I hate wind) .  Not the best site to grow things, poly tunnels could blow over etc...and could be very chilly in the winter.

If the property was sited in a little valley surrounded by hills that had the wind farm on top, well that's a different matter, you would be sheltered.
In 'Escape to the Country' they seem to advise talking to residents in the area of choice to get the pros and cons re amenities, weather etc, so you would get a better idea of what could be grown, what the winters are like....  So when looking at property, aim for the local pub/post office and have a chat to who might be your neighbours.

As to island units in a kitchen Kathryn.  I've always wanted one, but would need a kitchen large enough to allow me plenty of room to walk round.  some of these units have a surface wide enough to fit stools under one side, so you can sit and eat as though it was a table.  Ordinary seats would be too low (a working surface is higher than a table top - unless you are a short person).  I use our kitchen table as a work surface, sitting in a normal chair, but then have to keep clearing the table to make room to serve a meal (unless taken into the dining room).  Perhaps you could build an extension to one end of the kitchen to use as a dining area if necessary.  I believe you don't need planning permission if the new area is under a certain size.

Have to get on and make by chocolate sponges.  Hope to be blogging tomorrow, all depends on what else I have to do.  Will be back a.s.a.p.  TTFN.