A little something that has always made me smile. I hope that you will enjoy it too.
OCCURRENCE: Copious quantities in all urban areas with trace elements in most others.
- Surface is often covered in powdery painted film
- Boils at nothing; freezes for no reason
- Melts if given special treatment
- Bitter if incorrectly used
- Found in varying grades from virginal state to common ‘ore
- Yields to pressure applied gently to selected points
- Has great affinity with gold, silver, platinum and precious stones
- Absorbs great quantities of expensive substances
- May explode spontaneously without warning or reason
- Softens and takes on a rosy glow when immersed in hot water
- Most powerful money reducing agent known to man
- Highly ornamental – especially in sports car
- Can be a great aid to relaxation
- Pure specimen turns bright red when discovered in natural state
- Turns green when placed next to a better specimen
- Highly dangerous in inexperienced hands
- Possession of more than one considered illegal
New recipes from the past week include lavender shortbread. I wasn’t sure whether garden lavender can be used though there seems no reason to assume that it can’t. However, I forgot to take into account that its flowering period is now over! I think I may once have made shortbread (though never lavender flavoured) but it was so far in the distant past that I decided it could count as a new recipe. Sourcing culinary lavender wasn’t easy but I eventually discovered that Bart spices do a small jar for £1.99 and that it’s available in Waitrose. We don’t have a local branch so I called the two nearest branches; neither stocked it. Ocado will deliver but since I was ordering nothing else this wasn’t an option. Eventually I found some at Webbs garden centre in Wychbold (a place definitely worthy of its own post sometime soon) – a decent sized bag for £1.79. I’d intended using a recipe found on the Cotswold lavender site but it was only when I began that I realised it contains rice flour and I didn’t have any. No matter, I found a shortbread recipe from the baking booklet produced by Bygones Museum in Babbacombe, Devon (bought more than twenty years old, used constantly and very reliable). I made the shortbread as shown and added the lavender. It was ok but only partially successful; it was just not sweet enough. I think that perhaps lavender is a little bitter so more sugar is required to counteract this. I have added rice flour to my shopping list and will try again. I’m sure I can also improve on its appearance.
A Greek recipe for spanokopita (spinach and feta in filo pastry) was very successful though I shall make a smaller quantity next time. As I wasn’t sure how well it would freeze, I had to eat it for lunch and dinner on two consecutive days as husband is not keen on this kind of food. I’ve made something very similar in the past but finding recipes that are totally unlike anything previously cooked is a near impossibility when one has been cooking for forty years!
The chicken dish was again similar to others that I’ve made but it was in my recipe scrapbook , handwritten on a slip of paper. It’s been there for years and I’ve no idea from where it originated. It was a tasty blend of tomato, peppers, onions, various spices and chicken, of course. I shall make this one again.
These little frittatas are a Slimming World idea and very quick and simple to make. Simply pop a selection of chopped vegetables (I included potato, asparagus, spring onion and a little bit of ham) into bun tins, season, pour beaten egg over the top and bake. They tasted fine hot or cold and would be great for a picnic. I’ve made frittata lots of times but never so small. Is it stretching the boundaries to suggest that they count as a a new recipe?
Saving the best for last: by far the most delicious new recipe made in the past week was the French onion soup from my blog-friend Margaret’s recipe. (You may recognise her name from the minted pea soup I made last week). It was very much enjoyed but I forgot to take a photograph! There is plenty of Gruyere cheese left over though so I shall be making it again very soon. I’d planned to use the cheese for Gruyere and tomato tarts as shown on the box which contained filo pastry but I’ve decided that the soup wins on this occasion.
Using tried and tested recipes I’ve also made this week …Vegi-burgers (a regular favourite from Jack Monroe’s fab cookery book A girl called Jack), a chocolate fudge cake and a coffee and walnut cake, a crustless quiche (similar to the tortilla recipe but with cheese) a strawberry roulade (even more regular), an apple and nectarine crumble and black-bean chicken. And we’ve been eating runner beans…..a lot of runner beans.
Regular readers will remember that I decided to challenge myself to try at least two new recipes each week during August. In week!
Week 1 coincided with my starting a new job and although it’s only sixteen hours a week, I arrived home mentally exhausted. Not that I’m using that as an excuse for not meeting my target – I did, but you might have been expecting something a bit more complex than soup and bread.
The minted pea soup was made using a recipe from Margaret, one of my favourite blog writers. I already had the ingredients (petit pois – I always buy these rather than regular frozen peas, potato, onion, stock cube and mint concentrate) so didn’t need to buy anything specially. Although I’ve eaten pea soup, I’ve never before made any. I like my soup thick and with texture but it could easily have been made thinner by adding more liquid and smoother by blending for longer.
The rustic-looking rosemary and seed loaf recipe came from a Sunday Newspaper supplement torn out months ago with the intention of making it that weekend. It didn’t happen at the time but I thought it would be the perfect accompaniment to the soup. The recipe called for a tablespoon of rosemary (I added two since it is one of my favourite herbs) and 80g of mixed seeds). Made with oats and yogurt, it is quite dense with a scone-like texture (though not crumbly). It was very filling. I experimented with freezing a couple of slices and defrosting today, a week later. It was fine. I will also add that it tasted very good when spread with crunchy peanut butter (but please don’t tell my Slimming World consultant!)
Both the bread and soup were very tasty and I will definitely make them again even though Husband wasn’t keen on either! Unsurprisingly he was quite happy with the lemon cake I made!
I think that the new job will be fine; I’ve gone back into HR. It’s a branch of an international freight company and everyone is very friendly. The systems and processes are different to those I used to in the past but I’m getting there. There are a lot of advantages over my previous job. Most of all it’s really nice to do my job sitting down! My ankles and knees were very uncomfortable after standing for several hours in the shop. Add to that – no more climbing of 42 stairs dozens of times a day, working only three mornings a week with no Saturdays, and that there are no screaming children (some upset, others undisciplined) to contend with – it was a good decision, a very good one!