Category Archives: cooking

Happy Easter

Sunday is the day for the traditional Sunday roast and with it being Easter Sunday it’s probably a legal requirement along the lines of fish on Good Friday. (Do not take that to mean we have fish so please don’t make enquiries in that respect.)

For me the roast in Sunday Roast or in Roast Dinner, if eaten on another day, is not the meat it’s the spuds.  Of course you need the meat because how else would you make the gravy! (The m-i-l made instant gravy with gran u l e s – ughh I can barely type it.)

After  getting home from my last Royal trip I was craving a Sunday Roast as I tend to after any period of avoiding hosptial food.  Now Bernard won’t have a Roast on a Sunday – today being the exception but that was because Auntie Ann made it.  The reason behind this being that he works on a Sunday night and considers the making of a Roast too much for a Sunday afternoon especially if he has only got up at one.  I mean I usually do any Roast we have and it’s not that often but as B has now taken over control of most of the cooking he feels he needs to be involved in additional ways than previously – I used to let him, er I mean request that he cut the meat and he used to stir the gravy BUT only once it had thickened – I once had to trust him with stirring before it had settled and I didn’t think he used the spoon in a manner that fully encompassed the bottom of the roasting tin.

Anyhoo, shortly after I got home we had a Roast and I decided to try something different with the potatoes.  Now I’m not going to say this was an easy decision by any means but sometimes you have to be adventurous and try something new.

When I was on my last Royal holiday me and a lady in the same room were informed by one of the hostesses that Aunt Bessies Roast Potatoes in goose fat were exquisite.  Neither of us were convinced as no ready made Roast Potato can compare to a homemade one.  The fellow patient was 80 so had a few years experience of Roasties, well in fact of everything, so I took note of how she and previously her mother had done theirs and thought I’d give it a whirl.

Instead of par boiling the spuds before popping them in pre heated oil (I use mild olive) her method involved putting the potatoes into cold oil completely raw.

There they are all cold and completely uncooked which is the way they still looked about 40 minutes later – and remember as B was going to work we were on a strict schedule.  A friend happened to ring at this point and she suggested that I turn the heat up.  I responded that considering they were already on Gas Mark 8 I didn’t think that turning them up to 9 (the maximum) would make that much difference.

Eventually though, and let me tell you way more eventually than was to B’s liking, they did look like this…

I do like mine very crispy.  They even looked good on the plate with everything else…

BUT although they were initially crisp, and even though I purposely avoided gravy coming into contact with the top of them, they didn’t stay that crispy and they didn’t have that extreme change of texture that mine usually do with a hard crispy outside and soft fluffy inside.  So would I make them like this again – I think not.

On that note may your Easter be Happy and your Roasties be crispy and fluffy!

Yummy feta salad

I still haven’t completely got my appetite back but as it is returning I’ve been fighting the urge to eat junk other than the odd digestive biscuit.  So last night for tea I really craved and we had the following…

Feta cheese with green and yellow peppers, red onion, cherry tomatoes (need I say – not homegrown), balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, mint, mild olive oil and basil along with multi seeded bread with olive oil margarine (I would have used butter but I did forget the bread and B buttered, or rather margarined it) oh, and iceberg lettuce.  I feel the need to apologise for this, not that I don’t think there is a place in the world for iceberg lettuce but I generally prefer something a tad more interesting in this department, B however does the shopping and I didn’t specifically write ‘entertaining lettuce’ on the list.

We both really enjoyed it – I would have liked to eat more but couldn’t fit another bite in so in fact, we all really enjoyed it as I offered the last bit to Bud thinking he would eat the cheese and leave the rest and after a few tentative licks to ensure it was indeed edible he polished it all off.  It was so good B suggested we have it for tea today too – mmmm, can’t wait.

I came to take my last lot of tablets yesterday before bed and realised that I hadn’t given the ‘Information for the user’ leaflet the once over in this instance for the Rifadin (rifampicin).  Let’s face it although it’s good to know the side effects that can be bestowed on you when it’s a vital medication you pop those pills like a kid stuffs down sweeties at Halloween.

The dispensing label does say about taking the tablets half an hour before food so I had been doing that and the microbiologist had said that they can make people violently sick but I hadn’t experienced this.

So there I was about to pop my last lot of tablets and I have to admit the only thing that prompted me to read the ‘Information for the user’ was that I couldn’t get the tablet bubble strip back into the box without taking the leaflet out, and I read the following…

Taking Rifadin 150 Capsules with food and drink

If Rifadin 150 Capsules are taken with the food and drink listed below you may experience headache, sweating, flushing, fast, uneven or forceful heartbeat (palpitations), dizziness, feel lightheaded or faint (due to low blood pressure).

While taking Rifadin 150 Capsules do not have:

  • Cheese
  • Skipjack tuna or other tropical fish
  • Red wine

Which raises a few points

Red wine – not a problem other than plonking (get it ‘plonk*’-ing) some in a stew a few weeks ago I don’t touch any alcohol at all really – other than the bottle when pouring a couple of friends a drink

Skipjack tuna or other tropical fish – now I’m borne back to the time my Dad had a tropical fish tank and have a vision of a salad sprinkled with tiny brightly coloured fishy goodies like these…

Cheese – Arghhhh! Now what are we going to have for tea?  Mind you I got away with it last night and the salad was really good and to quote a friend it doesn’t actually say – ‘Eat cheese with this medicine and you will die!’

* Plonk – slang word for alcohol sometimes prefixed by cheap

Not a Sunday Roast

For tea today I intended to do a Sunday Roast with tea tomorrow being Bubble & Squeak.  For those of you who don’t know, this is traditionally a dish made on a Monday out of leftovers from the Sunday Roast eg, potatoes, veg, meat and essentially gravy.  Okay in our house we don’t really have leftovers very often certainly since we got Buddy – oh, what am I saying we didn’t have many before.  The leftovers, or rather extras, are heated up in a frying pan with a touch of oil.  We had it the week before last and B actually preferred the Bubble & Squeak to the Roast.

Roasts aren’t something we usually have in fact when forced to analyse it due to being anaemic meat isn’t something we usually eat, well B has ham on his barm cakes for work.  (Except and forgive me if I’ve already mentioned this, for one night when I was in hospital when he had made his usual batch at the beginning of the week to freeze and tucked into them one night to find there was no ham on either barm cake.  Bless!)  I knew I didn’t eat that much dead animal but didn’t realise just how little and this could possibly be why I am normally slightly anemic.

After both the Myeloma Nurse said and one of my vegan nutrition books (which stops just short of saying meat eaters should be lined up and shot) admitted that the best utilised sources of iron were animal I’ve made a concerted effort to eat more.  I don’t want to talk about the lamb madras the other Saturday which I forced down and which nearly put me off Indian curries completely.

So today we were going to have a roast again.  That would be twice so far this year at home as opposed to not at all last year.  B got the veg from Tesco and as I was going to the library in ‘the village’ I thought I’d visit the local butchers for some very fresh beef, they have their own abattoir, and go the post office.

Now at the back of my mind I kinda thought that the post office may have funny hours on a Monday and that some businesses may close however since I was going to the library I thought I might as well call anyway.

As it turned out the back of my mind was right and after a successful trip to the library it turned out the post office has an extended lunch on a Monday and the butchers was closed.  So for tea we ended up having quinoa with tomatoes, onion and mint with haluomi cheese in pita pockets.  At least quinoa was on the list in the ‘shoot meat eaters’ book as a source of iron.

Return of the Killer Tomatoes

Does anyone, other than me, remember that film from the ‘80s Return of the Killer Tomatoes?  It had George Clooney in it before he was GEORGE CLOONEY if you know what I mean.  I had cause to think of it yesterday for some reason.

Last night getting tea I had reason to grill some tomatoes.  I remembered that I’d seen Gordon Ramsey cooking on the vine tomatoes – on the vine and they looked just FABULOUS on the plate.  B, who still does the shopping in a morning on the way home from work, always, at my insistence does his darnedest to get tomatoes on the vine.  I don’t have many food foibles (I don’t think) but this is one – there’s more taste and you get the smell of the greenery which I love and always reminds me of my Dad growing them on his allotment (oh, how pretentious of me I mean, plot).

So with a view to them looking just FABULOUS on the plate, right next to the mash and sausage, and also because it was all of 30 seconds quicker than plucking them off and slicing them, after I’d washed them, I slapped then under the grill.

My error in judgement in saving those 30 seconds materialised in well, a number of ways.

There I was concentrating on how to arrange said tomatoes on the plate when I  sniffed…

Sniff.  ‘What’s that smell?’ – check pan handle, no that was fine.

Sniff, sniff.  ‘That’s not the smell of cremating sausage.’

Sniff, sniff, sniff.  ‘That’s not the smell of burning tomatoes.’

Sniff, sniff, sniff, sniff.  ‘Ohhhhh, I wonder what burning tomato vines smell like?’

CLUNK – As penny drops.

Nearly but not quite on fire – kinda glowing!  Press vine down so that it’s out of reach of flame.  But remember they will still look FABULOUS on the plate.

B comes into the kitchen as I’m plating up…

B:  ‘Why’ve you cooked them like that?’

Me:  ‘Because they’ll look FABULOUS on the plate.’

B:  ‘I have to pick them off – myself?’

Me:  ‘Well yes, but they’ll look FABULOUS on the plate before you do.’

B:  ‘I don’t know about that.’ Anything that increases B having to fiddle about with the food on this plate before he can eat it – not a good idea – I knew this – I did. But remember ‘FABULOUS on the plate’!

Me:  ‘Do you just want the tomatoes?’

B:  ‘Yes!’ or rather ‘YES! For the love of humanity why would I want something that I can’t eat on my plate and that you could so easily have removed before cooking and whilst you were at it spent 30 seconds slicing so I don’t have to risk them exploding all over the show?’

Do you know how hard it is to get a cooked tomato off a crispy vine?  I do, its hard, its really, really hard.  Well its really, really hard if you want them to look FABULOUS on the plate!  If you want them to devolve to their base elements – skin, flesh, seeds and water – AND still be hot it’s easy, really, really easy!

Note to self – add tinned tomatoes to shopping list