Thursday, 27 February 2014

Hate waste

Evening all.

Today I realised that I had rather a lot of "going wrinkly and soft" veg on my vegetable rack.  I was also lacking some inspiration as to what to have for tea.  With freezers so full I can barely shut them, today wasn't the day to go shopping.

So I had four parsnips, one leek, one onion, some potatoes, a very old butternut squash, and loads of carrots with those horrid going black bits on.  So what to do?

I was sure I could do a root vegetable "bakey thing", and a quick flit round t'internet decided me on a gratin.

So what did I do?  Peeled two potatoes, three parsnips, half the squash, and two large carrots.  I also dug out the tub of double cream from the freezer that I had bought "yellow stickered" from M and S at Christmas for 35p a pot.

I chopped half the onion and put it into a pan with the cream and some marjoram found in the herb store, brought it to a near boil and turned it off

I used the vegetable peeler to cut the veg into wafer thin strips and, in a lasagne dish, layered potato, carrot, parsnip, squash And then repeated.

The onion creamy mixture was poured over and some cheddar grated on top (the recipe said gruyere but I didn't have it in - it would probably have been a little less greasy if I had)

Baked for an hour in an oven at 160 c

Grr, still having trouble updating using the Ipad - I will get used to doing this properly, promise.
Anyway, the above was made and was delicious.  WIth the remaining half onion, the leek, remaining squash, parsnips and some more "blackening" carrots I made some vegetable and lentil soup.
I sweated off the onion and leek (chopped of course) in a good dollop of butter.  Left it for about 5 minutes over a low heat with pan lid on, stirring occasionally.  Whilst this was doing, I cut the squash, carrot and parsnip into small dice and then added to the pan, stirring to coat in the butter.  I added cumin, and turmeric and cooked that off.  After another couple of minutes I added 2 litres of bouillon (a veg stock cube made up would do) and a couple of table spoons of red lentils.  Cooked it for about 20 minutes and then blended with a stick blender.
it made 6 portions.

When cold I popped them into the freezer.  I will take one to work every day for my lunch.  So easy to transport frozen and then can be microwaved when I get there.
I also found three manky bananas so made this

Yep, yet another banana bread. 

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Hooray a picture and yummy chicken pie

I seem to have trouble posting my pictures from photobucket on to the blog using the iPad.  But I will persevere.

The above picture illustrates the basic and fundamental law of pie making.  That you put "yum yum" on it in pastry letters.

It started out years ago when V and J were quite small, to try and encourage the fussy devils to eat it. The first one said "beef pie yum yum".  As you see we have gone continental with this one, and got jam tarts with the left overs.

So, easy homemade cheats chicken pie

A block of frozen puff pastry
Left over chicken from the Sunday roast (or a couple of chicken breasts / thighs/ whichever you prefer cubed and fried in a little oil to seal, no need to fry if using already cooked leftover chicken)
1 onion chopped
one can condensed mushroom soup
A couple of handfuls of frozen peas and corn or some diced carrot - whatever you like really

Fry off the onion in a little oil (other veggies too if required)
Add the tin of soup - you might want to water it down a little, I tend to swill out the tin to get Any remaining soup
Add chicken and heat through

Roll out the defrosted pastry into a rectangle - or whatever you need to fit your dish

Put the chicken mix into a  greased pie tin (mine are from Lakeland, but you might use anything suitable.  I find the glass lids of casseroles good for a shallower pie)
Pop the pastry on the top and trim around the edge
Re roll the pastry and cut out yum yum with pastry cutters
Glaze pastry with milk or, if you go really mad, beaten egg
Add yum yum and glaze

Put into a preheated oven, gas 6 or electric equivalents until pastry is cooked and brown (about 15  - 20 mins)

Eat with potatoes and any other veg.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Hollow legged teenager

My DS, J, is nearly 15 and nearly 6' tall.  I cannot have enough food in the house to fill him up.

I thought the whole "teenager with his head in the fridge" thing was a cliche.

I was wrong.

In a typical day he might eat

A lump of Aldi chocolate brioche (cos he doesn't get up in time to have a proper breakfast)
A chicken salad wrap, sausage roll and lump of homemade cake as his packed lunch.  Yes, I know about putting fruit etc, in the kids lunchboxes, but there isn't any point cos he never eats it.  I figure he gets some "health " in the wrap, often some dried fruit in the cake and he will eat fruit and veg when he gets home.  The sole purpose of school food is that he can eat it as fast as possible so that he can go and play football.
Then, when he gets home at 3.30, the real fun starts!

He swipes a bag of crips from a cupboard under the stairs as soon as he enters the house

He will then raid the cake tin again

He might make a cheese and ham toastie

Maybe a pear or tangerine from the fruit bowl - often both

A handful of biscuits

Maybe a slice of toast

Then dinner - meat, potato, veg whatever
Then yogurt for pudding

Maybe a bowl of porridge or cereal before bed.

The real insult is that he is as skinny as they come.  <<sigh>>

Anyway tonight's tea seems to have done the trick

Slow cooked braising steak, creamy mash, mixed up ends of cabbage and some carrots.  Good solid winter food the sticks to your ribs.

Sorry for lack of pictures, having some issues.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Happy New Year

New year, new start

No resolutions, just do it.

This really shouldn't be called "Running Green Llama" as the running has come to a permanent end - but instead I shall be "Walking Green Llama" or "Cycling Green Llama" or "Yoga - ing Green Llama".  Anyway, you get the picture.

So, the lose 10lb challenge, 30 day Abs challenge, just get on and bloody do it challenge.  I am filling in the "My Fitness Pal" diet and exercise diary, though I am not sure whether it is helpful or not to see that the pear you've just eaten is over 100 calories.  Weightwatchers didn't count much fruit and veg, it was generally "free".  When a pear and a Satsuma is the same as a bag of crisps it gets a little disheartening.

Yesterday Peter got his new bike and so he and I went down the lane and back on our bikes.  8 miles round trip but it was the first we've done for a while and my backside is very aware of that.  What a lovely day it was though - bright blue sky and sunshine.  It gives me hope that spring is just round the corner - unfortunately in my heart of hearts I know that we still have a long way to go.

We then went to the cinema last night - £18 for the two of us!  But still a relatively cheap night out - we resisted all snacks, being quite capable of going 2 hours without eating.  Particularly as we had just partaken of a Gordon Ramsay recipe of Lamb kebabs with salad - delicious, though J described them as "like a chewy lemon"!.  I must take photos.

Anyhow here is the recipe

Lamb Kebabs with peppers and tomatoes (serves 4)

500g lean lamb leg steaks
1 large red pepper
1 large yellow pepper
8 chestnut mushrooms
8 cherry tomatoes (skinned if you like, but I didn't bother)


finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves - chopped or crushed
1/2 tsp each of oregano, mint, thyme, tarragon
1/4 tsp ground (but I used dried, even though I've fresh in the garden) rosemary
1 tbsp. olive oil

mix marinade ingredients.  Cube lamb and toss in  marinade - leave as long as you like

Basically chop peppers and thread alternately onto metal skewers (if using bamboo, then soak them for a bit)
Cook on barbecue, griddle or grill for about 5 minutes on each side.

We served ours with a green salad and homemade coleslaw.  Delish.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Cooking from Scratch

I love to cook from scratch but sometimes it's hard to find time.  On Sunday night I turned the chicken carcass from dinner and some wrinkly veg into lovely stock.  So last night I had the rather gruesome job of picking all the meat off the bones, straining the stock, adding fresh veg and turning it into wonderful, tasty, nutritious soup / stew - probably for about £2.  it will provide about 10 - 12 meals.  A lot of its contents would have probably ended up in compost.  The pain of cooking last night meant that tonight I just had to warm a bowlful up for my tea.  Trouble is I still had to cook the kids something as they won't eat the stew!

I also made this..

Lemon Drizzle cake - a family favourite.

At some Point, I will post the recipe

Friday, 13 September 2013

So, I have been a little poorly - the pressure in my sinuses are making the world seem a little unsteady and a bit fuzzier.  It's a bit like being on a boat!  As I am generally OK when sitting down, I have been looking at some photos and thought I'd post a few favourites here.

Firstly, My "comedy sign of the day" photos.

(from Sweden)

(New York City)

(NYC - obvs)

You have been warned! (Pennsylvania)

Yeah - right (Pennsylvania)

Sounds Painful (Ohiopyle state Park - Penn)

Another knob (Penn)

Me with Frank Lloyd Wright's knob (Penn)

Yep - another knob (Penn)

Makes a change from the Knobs (Bedford County - Penn)

Well, with all those knobs! (Intercourse, Pennsylvania)

Erm, no thanks (Philadelphia)

Really? (Philadelphia)

No comment (France)

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Testing uploading a photo - but seems appropriate for a day of rememberance.  Great Uncle Charles' Grave, Poperinghe