Thursday, 26 August 2010

Continental Lentil Toad in the Hole

I am in a Circle Journal. For those that don't know what it is, quite simply there is a group of people and each one makes a journal (scrapbooking type journal) no bigger than 8"x8" and there is a theme. Sometimes the theme is the same for all the participants but in this group we have each chosen our own theme. My CJ (note the use of jargon here, I'm just showing off cos I know what it means) has the theme of favourite ancestor and I started it off with a picture of my great Grandmother and a little bit of writing about her and sent it on to the next person on the list.
I then received the journal of the person before me in the list and she has chosen favourite recipes as her theme. I could not find any pictures of my two favourite recipes, at least not pictures that I liked and actually looked like what I cook. So I was forced to make the recipes so that I could take pictures. What a hardship!

I chose the new recipe I found for Blueberry muffins and also the good old faithful Continental lentil toad in the hole from Ruth Elliot's "The Bean Book"

Now let's just get one thing quite clear here, we are not vegetarian we just don't eat a lot of meat. My cousin,Louise, G*d rest her soul, introduced me to the Bean Book and the very first time I made Continental lentil toad-in-the-hole Mr M said it was his most favourite meal ever. He hasn't changed his mind in more than 20 years. This is the first time I have ever done a recipe CJ and I think it is brilliant! I think I might just use that as my theme when I do another CJ. In fact I might go to UKscrappers and see if there is another CJ asking for members - ah, no I am not going to join anything else until October because Shimelle's class Learn Something New Everyday starts on September 1st and this year I am determined to complete it. This will be my third time so it should be lucky. My problem has been the number of family birthdays at this time of year - including my own. there are four between now and the end of September and then another two three in October. No excuses! This year I will complete the class.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Horace and Hector

Bit of background first. There are rules to going on holiday
1. no newspapers except those local to where you are on holiday.
2 No radio
3. No TV
4. Everyone has a nickname that is just for the holidays

Mr M is always Horace when we go on holiday and I am always Hector. This started not long after we first met - August 1980 - at my cousin's wedding. That is a story in itself but not one I want to tell online. Anyhow, I was recently divorced with three teeenage children and not looking for entanglements of any sort.

So less than three weeks later we took my three children for a weekend at the seaside. They discovered what it was like to be treated as adults by a man who didn't shout or hit. I discovered how to laugh out loud without fear and we all discovered how to play the hungry Horace video arcade game. I was so relaxed that I kept falling asleep so Mr M called me tired old Hector and then he ate a cornish pasty and my daughter said he munched it just like the yellow face munched the dots in the hungry Horace game.
I was relieved because until then I was called Tattoo because that was the character from Fantasy Island that kept saying "The Plane, boss, the plane" simply because I had once been very excited when passing Manchester airport on the M6.
Ever since that holiday we have kept our nicknames and every scrap album of our holidays has been titled "Horace and Hector..........."
It is much easier to write the holiday journal and talk about Hector throwing a wobbly because the car park entrance looked like a cave than to say that "I had a panic attack" so When we go on holiday he is Horace and still munches the occasional pasty just like the yellow head in the game and I am tired old Hector who falls asleep with the greatest of ease.

A Week in the Lakes

Well, not actually IN the lakes but round and past and alongside. Mr M tells me that there is only one lake in the lake district, all the rest are meres or tarns or waters. This means we went all the way there and didn't see a lake!

This picture is the Hoad memorial, just outside Ulverston. See that blue sky? well that is what we had every day except Friday.

I only took 357 pictures. Some are useless, most are through the windscreen of the car because Mr M can't walk too far now, his knees can't cope with his weight (he has finally decided to do something about this). Just being together without interruption was the best bit. Mobile phone service is patchy and the cottage was in a "no service" zone so that was wonderful. We turned the phones off to save battery power and only turned them on when we remembered. The area is stunningly beautiful even for non-walkers and even at the busiest time of the year.
This is the inside of the tiny cottage we rented. The sitting room was about 10 feet by 8 feet and the bedroom above was exactly the same size. The kitchen was 8 feet by 7 feet with the bathroom above. Full of knick-knacks and "stuff" with hundreds of books of all sorts. Not really fitted for people of large girth it was still delightful and a really homely place to come back to at the end of the day. The bed was extremely comfortable the bed linen smooth and clean and crisp, the towels in the bathroom were all soft and lovely. Highly recommend it. We booked it through, also highly recommended.
I am sorting the pictures and I will be scanning the pages of the holiday journal ready for the album. I think the title will probably be "Horace and Hector get Lively in the lakes"
I'll explain about Horace and Hector another day - if anyone is interested.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

I am a grandma again! That makes 8 plus the step-grandchildren so altogether 11 grandchildren the oldest will be 21 in November and the youngest was born this morning at 2.30am in Colchester. He weighed in at 8lb 14oz. Mother and baby doing fine and are already back home.
Apparently this was to be a home birth but the midwife wasn't available so they had to go to hospital. They arrived there at 2.00am and baby arrived half an hour later - I remember doing that too.
It will be a while before we see him because they live in Colchester and we don't. I don't travel well on motorways and the thought of going all that way makes me feel ill.
Thank goodness for tinternet!
Now I must make a quilt for him

Monday, 2 August 2010

What Grandma does to keep a five year old occupied

On Thursday last week I had Miss Em so first we did the project on the CeeBeebees comic
and then we did some baking.
We made special sugar free sultana cake and sugar free chocolate cake for Grandpa and then we made blueberry muffins.
There was a momentary imitation of a headless chicken when I opened the cupboard and discovered that DD had taken all the muffin cases.
I then found the role of greaseproof paper and cut out circles to line the tins. This gave us some interesting shaped muffins but did not detract from the flavour at all - so I am told.
I suddenly realised last week that I have no sense of smell. I did have a good sense of smell until the really bad cold we all had a month or two ago. I think I can smell some things but I am not sure. I couldn't smell the bacon frying when I made bacon butties for lunch and I couldn't smell the "Good country air" that made Mr M's eyes water on Saturday and meant that we had to have all the car windows open for ten miles to get rid of it. I can taste sweet, I can taste salty but flavour totally passes me by.
This is a problem because I automatically sniff the milk before pouring it into the tea and coffee but if it is off I can't smell it and when I drink it I can't taste it I could be in trouble.
As milk doesn't go sour any more it only goes bad I suspect that at some point I am going to get caught and suffer the consequences. I also cannot smell the eggs. Now this is something that I have always done ever since I first was introduced to cookery, probably because we had free range chickens and could not guarantee that the eggs we found under the hedge weren't more than a week or two old. So we learnt to crack the egg and sniff, the rule being that if you could smell it it was off.
Fresh eggs have very little smell, just like fresh milk. Give them a few hours and you begin to smell them but if you get a strong whiff then don't consume.
I hope I get these senses back really soon because I feel quite restricted by their loss. I suppose there is hope as long as I have sweet and salty but isn't it strange that the cold should have done what a lifetime (until 7 years ago) of smoking couldn't stop.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Go for a little ride

Yesterday we popped out to the Post Office and then decided to go "for a little ride. I had not expressed a preference for a destination so we headed out along the M4 and the M48 to Chepstow and then towards Gloucester. "Are we going to stop at the Silver Fox?" I asked. "I need to get some money if we are" Mr M replied so we stopped in Blakeney to use the cash machine and drove on.

Unfortunately the sign didn't say open it said CLOSED. We drove on.

We stopped at the Severn Valley Smokery just for a cuppa but as always, when you get inside there is always something we desperately need. We bought Kalamata Olives some ginger spice cheese, a black bomber cheese for me and a large pork pie for mr M, just incase he was peckish as we travelled. Then we had a delightful cup of tea and coffee. I was very restrained and didn't even look at the pastries and cakes available - sigh.
Mr M then said he thought we would "have another go at finding the church in Miserden. This kind of makes it sound like a big difficult thing and it isn't. We just kind of misplaced it last time we went. This time was much better and we soon were exploring the burial ground looking for his Painter ancestors. from there to Cirencester was a short hop and we made the mistake of going to Waitrose for a bite to eat. it cost £8 something for a cup of tea, a cup of coffee and two bacon buns. The bacon was cold, there was no butter on the buns and they were dry. They are off the list of places to stop, that's for sure. We travelled on. At one point we thought we had strayed onto the motorway but it was ok we had just manged to find a bit of dual carriageway. Lechlade has a great shop, well it has lots of great shops. Small individual traders with good stuff. As we didn't have a responsible adult with us we couldn't go into the book cave or Arkwright's Hardware because thye always have stuff we desperately need.
Chips in Tewkesbury, not bad either and then home via Ross and Monmouth. I love these special days out because it is just the two of us with no TV and no computers to distract. So special. Now all I have to do is put the pages in the scrapbook