Sunday, April 26, 2015

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Am grabbing an hour before Gill calls me, then have to hope the district nurse does not come while I'm on the phone. 
My cellulitis began to improve, but I have very bad and very sore weeping cellulitis just above one knee on one leg (the other one has cleared up).  Anti-bs helped but have not controlled the worst, so they are now checking to find out the best anti-bs that should clear it up.  I may have to take them intravenously (at home).  Should hear any day now what is to happen.  
The nurse now comes every day to dress the wound (difficult position for me to deal with although I can put extra dressings on if needs be - but they keep falling off!!

In myself I feel fine, the painful leg is just slowing me down as it is very sore when I walk around but am doing as much as I can.  This weekend some of the family visited again and - bless their hearts - they did a marathon furniture move and de-clutter so our home looks a lot more respectable.

It's only a few days since I last looked through the back windows and within a week the bare Acer is now covered with copper-coloured leaves and looks very attractive.   The gardener came last week and made a grand job of tidying some of the front garden (mowing the lawn, removing weeds, digging a flower bed, also mowing the back lawn.  

Yesterday we had rain for the first time for what seems like weeks, and it has turned much colder.  I noticed we had frost last night, so maybe our late April 'heat-wave' we have now had.

Not been watching much TV recently, but did see the final of MasterChef where all three finalists were good enough to be the winner, although the one who did win (and what a nice lad/man he was) was the worthy one.  The standard was amazingly high. 

Many thanks for all your comments, and apologies for not replying to each one individually as I would normally do.  Once my leg is cured (and let us hope that will be soon) I should be able to write my blog in my usual way.  

There is one comment I wish to reply to - this from Cheesepare.  His way of making fishcakes using Paxo stuffing as a coating is well worth trying. Not yet done it myself but will when I get back on track.
As to his query of basic ingredients that go well together.  First things that come to my mind are cabbage (white, shredded, steamed) eaten with crispy bacon.   Am also fond of Cauliflower Cheese also with crispy bacon. Or Macaroni Cheese with crispy bacon.
As you can tell I do love crispy bacon.  Trouble is it is salty and I'm not supposed to have any salt due to my water retention probs, so rarely have it these days - have to just remember how good it tastes.

Lentils go well with canned tomatoes (as a soup), and if I'm wishing to extend a spag.bol meat sauce I will cook lentils in with the meat, or instead use porridge oats - these will also absorb extra liquid if there is too much.

Split peas go well with ham, especially if dried yellow split peas are cooked in ham stock (it is possible to buy ham stock cubes).  One of my favourite canned soups is Pea and Ham, although this is a green colour so perhaps dried green peas (marrowfat?) were used instead of the yellow. 

There is a lovely and very fat pigeon sitting on the fence close to this window.  Looks like a wild one (not from a nearby loft). It has white under-belly that changes to a flushed rose-pink closer to its head.  A white band round the back of its head, wrapping almost round to the underside, and the feathers are grey. As I look at it all I can think of is "how many would it serve if made into a meal?" My excuse for that is my instinct to revert to the ancient genes that must still become active under certain circumstances, when people used to eat what was there to be eaten - self sufficiency at top level I suppose.  For those who are concerned - the pigeon has flown away so safe for another day.

As fishcakes have had a mention, am giving yet another recipe for these that uses smoked trout. Yes, I know not the cheapest of fish, but any smoked fish will do (smoked mackerel, smoked salmon, smoked haddock, even the canned variety). Or choose whatever fish you wish.
If you wish to make a cheaper version used canned new potatoes (already cooked) and pilchards. If you don't care for horseradish, use tartare sauce.

Smoked Trout Fish Cakes with Mushy Peas: serves 4
1lb 5oz (800g) potatoes, diced
2 tblsp hot (or milder) horseradish sauce
7 oz (200g) smoked trout fillets, flaked
zest and juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1 oz\(25g) plain flour
14oz (400g) frozen peas
4 fl oz (100ml) hot vegetable stock
1 tblsp sunflower oil
Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender, drain really well, then return to the pan and steam-dry for a few minutes longer.  Remove from heat, add the horseradish and mash well together.
Stir in the trout, lemon zest and half the lemon juice, plus seasoning to taste.
Make 8 patties (fish czkes), dust lightly with flour, then chill for up to 2 day or freeze for one month. Defrost completely in the fridge before cooking.
Boil the peas in the stock, simmering for 3 minutes  then pour into a food processor/blender and give a 30 second whizz or until crushed.  Tip back into the pan, add remaining lemon juice with seasoning to taste, cool and chill for up to 2 days.
Heat oil in a frying pan until hot and cook the fish cakes for 3 - 4 minutes on each side until golden and crisp, do this in batches if necessary keeping the cooked ones warm.  Serve with reheated mushy peas.

Normally, the simplest fish cakes are made with equal amounts of mashed potato and cooked fish, plus some chopped parsley and seasoning.  The above recipe uses a lot more potato than it does smoked trout so should not work out too expensive.  If you have oddments of fish (as with fish pie mix) no reason not to use equal portions (or less) of that with the potato.

Although the peas are best cooked in vegetable stock,  it is possible to buy fish-stock cubes that are useful when wishing to make a fish-dish (such as fish soup, chowder, fish risotto etc), and although I ALWAYS make my own chicken and beef stock, I do occasionally buy ham-flavoured, llamb-flavoured, fish-flavoured, and veg. flavoured stock cubes, many of these now sold with a lower-salt content.

Time for me to go.  Hope to be back with you a.s.a.p.  TTFN.