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.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Catching Up Again...!

Seems ages since my last blog, but these past weeks have been diffficult with my cellulitis flaring up again.  Now have to have the nurses visit every day and occasionally a doctor to prescribe more anti-bs.  Let us hope the new ones (delivered today) will work, if not it may have to be hospital for intravenous drips or I could have these at home (prefer home).  Otherwise I feel well enough in myself.

As you can tell, I've not really been feeling like blogging, although I do miss our almost daily get together.

With the help of some of the family last weekend, we (well I watched) move furniture around, loads of rubbish taken to the tip, moved the huge table from the conservatory to the living room (where the table now looks quite small), so now I have a 'sun-room' to sit in.
The gardener started work yesterday and got quite a lot done in two hours, if the weather stays fine (drizzle doesn't matter), he will be back again next week for a couple of hours.

Despite my believe I had lifted all spring bulbs from the containers (and never got a chance to replant this autumn) have seen a few daffs and tulips nodding their heads to me as I gaze out of the back windows, so they are good to see.

Haven't even watched much TV and completely gone off watching 'Little House....' due to the 'true story of Laura Ingalls Wilder', not quite sure which to believe, they are both so different.  The Ingalls family seemed to have lived in Iowa, Kansas, Dakota, and other places, with no mention of Walnut Grove that I believed was in Minnesota (no mention of that either).
However the other day did watch 'Highway to Heaven' where Mr.Oleson (mercantile at Walnut Grove) played the part of a doctor.  Seems that Michael Landon uses a lot of the Little House actors in the 'Highway....' series.

Good foodie progs on TV last week, the '90's in Back Home for Dinner, and this week the last of the series with a look to the future where we will probably be eating worms and locusts!!!

After last week's episode there was an excellent prog again about food although I missed some of it due to texting.  One very interesting thing is that if we lay out mushrooms (normally grown in the dark so get no sun anyway) in a single layer in full sun (indoors or out) and leave them for one hour, they will absorb a lot of Vit. D.   Even when returning them to their bag/punnet in the freezer, they still retain this vitamin.
Also that given the choice of three drinks to have after extreme exertion (two hours cycling), to prevent dehydration, the drinks being: water, sports drink, milk.... everyone chose the water (as I did), but apparently milk is the very best as it has other things (electrolytes) that our body needs.

In 'Jimmy's Food Unwrapped' and interesting bit about bottled mineral water.  Apparently the south-eastern side of this country has a lot of calcium in tap water, more than we need (the west doesn't have enough), and as far as I understood, bottled (?) mineral water is fairly well balanced although not all are the same.   My preference is Highland Spring Water.

Another beautiful day, still a bit chilly at night (frost in some areas), but the usual 'end of April' sunshine that we have been having for the past few years although then the temperature was a lot higher.  We are told it will become colder again this weekend with the chance of showers (we need them to water the garden).    The pear blossom is just coming out, but as close to our garage that reflects back the heat it gains during the day, the pear tree should be free of frost.  Not that I care much at the moment.  I just want my leg to get better.

Have to now phone the surgery to get the results of my blood test - that took four goes - two in each elbow crease with nothing to show for it (veins collapsed - but then they always do).  Must be blood there as I have huge black bruised where the attempts were), eventually (after three days a specialist nurse came and took blood from the back of my hand (hurt more but not a lot) - and successfully this time.  Let us hope this does not give more bad news.

As I never know what time the district nurses will arrive, usually I won't blog until they have been, so as Thursday afternoon my daughter will be here, my neighbour on Friday, family again on Saturday, not sure if I will be blogging before next week - could be I will end up in hospital, but if a big delay again I will let Eileen know so she can keep you informed.   Back as soon as possible of course, and many thanks to all of you who have sent in comments. xx  TTFN


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

\It Was Ever Thus....!

Goes without saying that as soon as I get over one thing, something else hits me.  This time I have a flare up of cellulitis in both legs.  District Nurse comes each day. House call from doctor prescribed penicillin that didn't work, so when it got to Good Friday the emergency doctor (via a phone link) prescribed strong anti-b's but the only pharmacy open that had these was in Lancaster, closing at 1.00am.
Prescription faxed through, daughter went to fetch them, pharmacy closed.  They had given the wrong address.  To cut a long story short and lots of phone calls, daughter managed to trace the correct place but they didn't have enough pills, so she brought what they had and will have to return to get the rest today/tomorrow.

New pills seem to be holding the cellulitis at bay, but I'm uncertain as to whether I need even stronger dose, but will leave it in the good hands of the nurse etc.  otherwise I feel quite well.

Much of the time I have to rest in bed so that I can keep my feet elevated, so will refrain from blogging/checking emails etc until there is a definite improvement.

Yesterday did manage to watch the biopic of Laura Ingalls Wilder (Life after the Prairie...) and have to say there was very little in it that matched what I'd been seeing in the 'Little House..... series.  In fact the winter weather was so bad the Ingalls family used to close up their home and move to the very small township (no mention of Walnut Grove) to a wooden hut to live until the weather improved. The 'mercantile' (if that is what it was called) was not owned by the Olsens, and as for Pa (Charles Ingalls) he really didn't seem as nice a man as he was in the series.

Anyway, time for me to go and put my feet up and wait for the nurse to come and check my legs, what happens next is in the hands of fate.  Hope to be back blogging sooner than later.
Perhaps we were meant to see the bad side of Laura's life in the biopic.