Category Archives: cooking

Green Fingers?

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I have never liked gardening. I’ve never seen the point of digging the dirt just to make it look pretty for a few months when the flowers are out, then have to pull out weeds all year and start again the next.

I can however see the point to digging dirt etc to grow food. Unfortunately our garden is not suitable to grow veggies, so I have taken to the ‘urban’ route and plan to grow herbs in pots. At 32 I have never grown anything before in my life, I not even been able to keep pot plants alive. I am hoping that the thought of fresh herbs whenever i want will be enough to keep me motivated to water them.

You wanna see what I got?

From L to R: Oregano, Rosemary & Basil

Clockwise from bottom: Applemint, Rocket & Red Veined Sorrel

From L to R:  Thyme, Chives & Flat Leaf Parsely

For observant I am aware I need to repot the middle plants, but I had run out of compost and they are being re-potted tonight.

Fingers crossed!

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busy weekend

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I’ve been really productive this weekend, and if I could find the camera cable I would be able to show you all. Whenever I need the cable for my Palm I can only find the camera cable and vice versa.

This weekend I have been such a domestic goddess. I managed to make my first skirt, it fits and I can’t wait to wear it tomorrow. I cast on the Moderne Baby Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting, and have nearly completed the third block.

Then I cooked, a lovely quiche lorraine, pastry recipe from Nigella and filling from food bible – Leith’s. Once in the cooking mood I baked some brownies, from a recipe sent to me by Kat – OMG are they good!!!!!

My camera has photos of blanket, quiche, brownies and skirt and I will search properly for it tomorrow.

My order from Possets came this weekend and boy do they smell good – and a real bargain! I ordered 2 packs of 6 samples and they added an extra 4 free for me, all of which smell great too.

I just a great book – Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale, it was really good and I highly recommend it and I have just started The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld which I am really enjoying. I totally lost my reading mojo for a while (well, over a year so more then just a while) and am so glad to have it back. As long as I can remember I was reading, and averaged a book a fortnight from about the age of 13-14, so loosing the want to read was actually really hard for me. I found audiobooks and this helped, but listening to a book isn’t the same as reading it. I like to listen to books, as I can knit at the same time but nothing beats curling up in a chair/sitting in the sun and loosing yourself with a book. I did just this at uni on Thursday whilst waiting for Karl to finish work. I sat under the semi-shade of the tree canopy and finished Notes from an Exhibition. I haven’t sat and read a novel for more then 10mins in one go for ages and ages, but Thursday I sat for most of the afternoon.

Hope you all had a great weekend, I’m off my paint my nails to match my new skirt for uni tomorrow.

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We got our new oven installed yesterday, and plan on making use of it tomorrow afternoon. I’m afraid I’m not making anything too exciting as I have been slipping from my diet over the past week and really need to get back on track. I plan to make some oatcakes and some flatbread, so I can more varied bases for my snacks.

Talking of my diet, I took my 8 week questoinnare today, sligthly early but I have a very busy week, and was pleasantly surprised. My health score 8 weeks ago was 49.9%, today it was 70.9%. I’m am very pleased. My BMI is still too high and I am still classed as obese but defineteyl feeling healthier. I am thinking of getting some more scales as I the ones I have are very old, and I don’t fully trust them. I feel like I have lost more than 10lbs and everyones says I look like I have lost more too. I don’t actually own a pair of trousers that fit me anymore – my boyfit jeans are wearable but need a belt round the waist and my boot-cut jeans aren’t wearable because the cut of them makes so uncomfortable when too baggy. I remember buying the two pairs of boyfit jeans last summer and they were a tad too tight round the thighs but I wore them with a skirt/dress until I lost some weight. They are now baggyfit jeans!!! I’m trying to hold off buying new clothes until April, for two reasons 1) my student loan goes in then, so I can actually afford to to buy clothes b) I hope to loose more weight and getting new clothes now kinda seems silly if they to are going to be too big over the summer.

Cake Emergency

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If I could, I would be physically moving the oven to the naughty step. I had been hoping this post would be full of glorious  pictures of equally gorgeous food but alas no, the oven has decided to stop working.

I had the baking bug earlier today and flipped through Nigella and checked the cupboards and decided to make:

Victoria Sponge

Snickerdoodles

Oatcakes

I had prepared the sponge cake and was ready to put it in the oven, but when I opened the oven door, no warmth nothing! After turning it off and on again still nothing. I was all ready to put it in the bin (the cake mixture that is, not the oven although that would good right now) when mum phoned and suggested the microwave. We do have a microwave, but all I use it for is to warm milk. Surprisingly,after transerfing the mixture to a glass casserole dish and 6 minutes on high, it was cooked, apart from a small amount at the bottom when I turned it out, but 5 minutes under the grill and we have edible cake.

It may not look much, but it does taste good. Luckily, I choose the more extravgant Nigella resipe using 4 eggs, which produces a cake that is light and moist and needs no messing with after. It is so good it seems a shame to put icing, jam, cream etc on or in it.

After the nightamre in the kitchen, I am not cooking dinner, Karl can eat cake and have bacon rolls if he wants but I am hiding (sulking) upstairs with Dancing On Ice, Kingdom and then a film (Atonement)

To cheer myself up I decided to swatch for the Mirepoix Bodice. I bought some Drops Alpaca in the corresponding colours and was a bit anxious about getting gauge. After casting on the required number of stitiches and completing a couple of rows, I noticed the stitches were not gliding along one of the needles, on closer examination I found the culprit – a spliter which I found because it stuck in my finger. I know need to contact Get Knitted and see if they replace it. The needle in question was one of the 3.5mm from my Knitpicks Harmony Options. I LOVE these needles so much, so am really disappointed about this.

Karl’s Cobblestone is coming on well, and I’ve completed the first part of the body and 3/4 of the first sleeve. I’m almost scared to pick up any knitting in case that goes wrong too. I feel jinxed today!

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Can you believe we just got back from doing the perishable xmas shop at Tesco’s and it was pretty busy! We left the house at 1210am, arriving at Tesco shortly after (it is only a short walk away) and found cars in the car park and people already shopping. Tesco opened today at 0001am and there must have people waiting outside to get in. We decided to go at this ungodly hour because a) its just down the road b) we are so not morning people, so going at around 7-8ish was out of the question and we didn’t want to leave it until the afternoon.

Whilst waiting for Tesco to open this evening I manage to get Karl’s mum’s bag finished and block my mum’s scarf. I just need to wrap them tomorrow and all the presents are done. So all that is left is planning the christmas dinner. For me, cooking a roast dinner is planned with military precision. I start by deciding what time we will eat, them work back to see what time I need to put the meat in. I then write a timed schedule telling me at what time I need to do each thing. As things are done they are ticked off. Karl has always laughed at this but it worked for my mum (and dad) and work for me.

For those interested this is what we will be eating in christmas day

Breakfast: Smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel with Bucks Fizz (made with sparkling wine as I couldn’t afford champagne)

Lunch

Roast Turkey (basted with sage butter) with sausagemeat, sage & onion stuffing

Pigs in blankets

Honey roast parsnips & carrots

Roast potatoes (roasted in goose fat)

Brussell sprouts with pancetta in a sage butter

Bread sauce

Gravy

Supper

Cheese and biscuits

Sausage Rolls

We have a tradition in our house that the hamsters get a Christmas dinner too, we give them a raw sprout, a small piece of carrot and a small piece of turkey.

You can now call me insane as all of the above delights will be made by me, no ready made stuff in this house (except the puff pastry I may be mad but no certifiable) and just in case you were unsure of my festive madness I have my family coming over on boxing day so will be making coleslaw, potato salad, houmus, more sausage rolls and cooking a honey glazed ham for them, as well a making some mulled wine for me and my mum. Every year I say I am going to cook less and buy more ready made but I just can’t do it – I love cooking (someone remind of this when I’m swearing in the kitchen over the next 72hours) and much prefer to make my own.

I see my festive cooking plans rather like those of a knitter who decides to knit presents for everyone only 10 days before christmas.  I occasionally bite off more than I can chew. A couple of years ago I made all this and cakes too, but my stepdad was diagnosed with diabetes this year so have cut out the cakes and stuff. There are plenty of chocolates and sweets about it people want, and I know my mum is bringing some sweet bits with her. For those of you wondering where the mince pies, christmas pud and christmas cake are, well, both me and Karl detest dried fruit, so these things are absent from our celebration.

I probably won’t be posting again before christmas, so have a good one everybody and be prepared for lots of photos of christmas food and christmas pressies after boxing day.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

cure for stress…

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…baking. Not exactly conducive with the diet but when i get stressed and can;t sit still long enough to knit i bake (or plan baking or both). I found what looks like a good recipe for a lowish fat chocolate banana cake and had the ingredients so off i went. I’ve also promised Karl a victoria sponge tomorrow and fairy cakes for us to take to work/uni on tuesday when one his colleague (who is also the technician who has been helping me with my lab work) is retiring.

I am less stressed now and have a semblance of inner calm now. I wasn’t going to rant at my mum when she phoned as she would only worry and stress and has been told to worry less by her GP but being a mum she could tell right away there was something bothering me (how do they do they do, is it some sort of ESP you get when you give birth?) and have admit after talking to her I felt much better.

I’m off now to cut into the chocolate banana cake, photos tomorrow (as long as Karl doesn’t get to it first)

The proof is in the eating…

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and we’ve been doing alot of that.
The bread cook up lovely and I am beginning to think that there won’t be any left for Monday so am attempting bread rolls tomorrow. If may not look much but believe me it lovely.

If anybody out there has the Nigella Lawson Domestic Goddess book and hasn’t yet made Granny Boyd’s Biscuits, you must. They are really good, if fact they are so good half of them had vanished before I had a chance to photo them. Me thinks Karl might have had something to do with it.

Flapjacks have been cooked but are still cooling, more photos tomorrow.