Monday, 28 December 2009
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Today was grey and foggy, warmer with snow plopping off the trees by late afternoon and this evening the rain blew in with several claps of thunder to finish the job off. I was fed up with it. De-icing the chickens and burning the clutch on icy roads and slushy pavements and not getting to the pool. I am such a wuss!
Sunday, 20 December 2009
Saturday was still icy but the sun shone so we walked and I managed to get the car out which was another good thing as we had eighteen for lunch today and I had to shop. I concocted a gorgeously festive coleslaw but as my camera is snowed in at work there is no photo. This is the recipe!
Gorgeous Pink Coleslaw
A red onion, half a smallish red cabbage, a couple of smallish beetroot and a Granny Smith's apple allfinely sliced and shredded. A good tablespoon of wine vinegar and a handful of lemon thyme leaves. Give it all a really good mix so that everything is coated in the wine vinegar and won't discolour. At this point it looks really beautiful. Then mix in a few tablespoons of mayonnaise to your taste and a light sprinkling of black pepper. It looks a bit pinker now but still quite glamourous. Best left in the fridge overnight fro the veggies to soften very slightly and the flavours to permeate. Serves 10 as a side. Everyone said it tasted yummy!
When my coffee grinder and liquidiser both broke earlier this year I bought a Kenwood food processor but there are so many bits it rather puts me off using it. And it fills a whole cupboard. And then it is so quick that you almost feel it is a waste of time getting it out. It does chop more finely and evenly than I do but I rather feel I need to start a catering business to justify it!
I love beetroot but had never thought of using it in stew before and as it turns out I wish I had thought of it sooner. It gives a lovely rich colour as well as a sweet, earthy taste.
Chop and gently fry a couple of shallotts and a couple of leeks. Chop and put into a large casserole dish: a couple of carrots, a couple of turnips, a small swede and a few beetroot - anything in that line you fancy really. Chuck in the fried leeks and shallotts and in the pan brown two neck fillets of lamb cut into cubes. When brown add to pot and pour a few glasses of wine, beer or fruit juice into the pan along with a vegetable stock cube. Stir in all the caramelised veggie bits and after a couple of minutes add to the pot with a large tablespoonful of black treacle and stir well. Season with a little salt and pepper. Slice a couple of potatoes and layer on the top dotted with crushed garlic and butter. Press down into the liquid and put on the lid. Put into a hot - 200 degrees c oven and turn down to about 160 after half an hour. Continue to cook for at least another two hours but three is even better. Check after a couple of hours to make sure there is still enough liquid. Even better cooked the night before and warmed up for half an hour when you get in from a hard days work! Serves 4 or 2 and freeze the rest for next week.. You can also leave off the potato top and serve with mashed parsnips and potatoes - that way your partner doesn't realise he is getting the same thing two weeks running - mine didn't anyway!
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Monday, 14 December 2009
If you haven't heard me raving about Jasper FForde before, listen up now. I first heard of him when I read The Eyre Affair about eight years ago and the heroine, Thursday Next, really rivals Jane in my book - or his...
The Thursday series, of which there are five with another on the way, are a fabulously idiosyncratic read on the very edge of sci-fi. Cunningly wrought plots and clever but never clever - clever references to the classics, with which our literary heroine is highly familiar in her role as Spec Ops detective for Jurisfiction, make compelling reading. I have read them all and listened to several which the library have on CD (support your local library!) and could easily read them all again.
Don't be put off by the deliberately trashy covers or the cult website, just take my advice and get to know Thursday, my twentieth century heroine. Except when she is my nineteenth century heroine.... oh just read it and find out!
I did not like the Nursery Rhyme series, but reading the excerpt from Shades of Grey I feel myself being sucked in to Jasper's world once more..... click on the title for the link.
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Every day I wear this gorgeous perfume by Estee Lauder - it is called Delights and it smells of sugar and vanilla and candyfloss and is perfectly juvenile and delicious. I love the packaging too - it is sooo stripy and the exact right shade for the scent.And this little tamworth is the one I would have curled up next to the Aga and if the yard stretched to an acre or so it would be Giant Buff Cochins scratching in it and laying my eggs for tea!
Hmm. I feel a whole lot better for this!