Tuesday 13 August 2013

Tuesday Recipe post 2 - veg and lots of it!

The recipes I've made today really couldn't be classified into my 'Manky Veg' series. There was still too much life and stiffness in them! They were a good 'week and a bit 'away from throwing out and therefore Manky.

I made a Vegetable and Bean stew from the Hairy Bikers .
An easy recipe using Auvergne, courgette,  ( of which i have LOTS thanks to generous allotment owning neighbours ) 
pepper, sweet potato, tinned tomatoes, tinned cannilini beans and paprika, chilli, coriander and thickened with a slake of corn flour. I've just to portion it up, some for the freezer as it makes LOADS!

At the same time, I roasted off a huge tray of :courgette, leek, tomato, banana shallot, carrot, yellow, red and green pepper, mushrooms and whole garlic cloves. They were all peeled and roughly chopped where applicable. And placed on the unwashed ( gasp) baking tray using the parchment ( it was like new ) from the ginger warning these can break your teeth biscuits. 10 squirts of that one cal sunflower spray. Sprinkling of salt, lemon pepper, parsley and black pepper and into a hot oven they went for ten minutes. I removed the tray and using the handy parchment
 I could toss the veg with no mess! Next I turned the oven down 20 for twenty minutes. Then I turned the oven off and left them to cool in there on the tray.

I'll be honest here. I'd been over to Pam's blog http://agoodlifeintydd.blogspot.co.ukand liked her idea of Veg hash. But by now I'd made biscuits and the stew, I simply CNBA to do anything else! It's in a Tupperware box in the fridge till tomorrow!

Ideas for my delicious tumble of roast veg ( calorie counted to 221 for the lot ) include
Soup, filling for a pie or a quiche, blending together and freezing as the hash until the depths of  Winter or simply mixing with some mayo and salad cream and leaves and having as a delicious salad tomorrow lunchtime!

What would you do?

Ginger biscuits - Tuesday recipe post 1

Somewhere in a very, very safe place is my HG's Aunty Olive's recipe for Ginger nuts. It makes the best ginger nuts ever. However, it is in that very, very safe place. You know what I'm talking about.  I store lots of important things in these very, very safe places. These safe places are usually TOP SECRET, they become top secret the millisecond you want any of the items stored there! We all have them!

So, on reading http://www.frugalqueen.co.uk/2013/08/buttery-gingernut-biscuits.html I thought I'd give them a try!

Firstly I weighed out the ingredients, ( Froogs costs hers out, mine; using the ingredients I had in, would cost more per biscuit than hers. ) which took about three minutes!  She did say it was a quick recipe! I did weigh out the syrup in grams rather than count tablespoons. Top tip, weigh out the sugar first, leave it in the scales dish, then weigh the syrup on top. The sugar slides the syrup out into the pan leaving no mess!

Following her instructions, I made the biscuits. They are currently cooling! They smell good!

Finally I worked out the approx calories for each biscuit. I made 36.
 100g butter ( I used can't believe it ) 540kcal
100g sugar ( I used 50g Demerara 50g golden caster ) 400kcal
350 self  raising flour 1137kcal
200g golden syrup 620kcal
2tspn ground ginger 4kcal

If you add that little lot up, it comes to an eye wateringly whopping 2702 calories. However, that's only if you eat the whole batch! One of my biscuits contains ( roughly ) 75 calories. PLUS you know EXACTLY what you are putting in your mouth! I would have used butter except I didn't have any. But if you read the chemical ingredients on the 'I can't believe it was on offer' which is why I bought it, you know EXACTLY what you are putting in your mouth!! 

P.S. Once I, ahem, find my *safely stored* Aunty Olive's recipe, I will share it with you! What have you made today? What have you got stashed in that *safe* place? 

Monday 12 August 2013

Blogging from Brum.

Here we are in room 439, 
at the crack o'dawn. ( Both Lisa and I both declined the photo opportunity!) 

Technically I'm pretty sure it's before the crack o'dawn, because its still dark outside! I finally fell asleep last night at around 3am. It was 3.13am when I woke up. I should say when I was woken up by the loud mouthed drunks staggering home via the amazingly acoustic empty multi story car park across. I shut the window. Blissful silence. I then had to put  the blanket off my bed over Lisa's charging kindle because that red charging light was burning into my soul. I was trying hard to not remember the  print of the vicious, wild animal staring down at me, eyes that follow you round the room, on the wall above the bed.
Then I reckon to have fallen asleep finally about two minutes before Harry started his own Dawn Chorus. We had the full alphabet song, various other tunes and lots of " I want to git out of my cot".  William got up then, so we gave in and joined in with the waking up ness! So am blogging on the bed, with a nice cup of tea, watching CBeebies against my will! Lisa reports a crap night's sleep too! 

After our long journey on the M6 yesterday in the portable greenhouse, we dumped the stuff in the hotel room and wandered into the city centre. The boys were treated to fries from a certain global fast food establishment, and the grown ups went to M&S! 
Harry and William had a splish splash in the bath when we got back and got their pjs. CBeebies went off at 7pm. Both boys sang the goodnight song beautifully then promptly ignored it! Eventually they both fell asleep. We tried to watch Dragon's Den. But the only channel not to work on the whole tv was BBC2! 
We watched Law and Order, Lisa didn't last till the end; missing the not guilty verdict , then lights out!! 

I suspect the real reason for our bad night was not due to our mini city break, but because of the reason we are here. In just over an hour we have to be on the ward at 8am, for Harry to have his latest EUA. So the specialist in the absolutely brilliant Birmingham's Childrens Hospital can look into his eyes to see how the land lies bilaterally in the world of Retinoblastoma. It's 8 weeks since his last visit and we are hoping that there is still nothing to report. Fingers crossed everyone! I'm now off to get a wriggle on! 

( During the latter part of this post, I nearly expired due to the stench wafting from Harry's nappy! Even William was complaining! Lisa reported it was at least a six wet wiper!! ) 

The alarm Lisa set last night just went off!! It's officially 6:30am! 
Rachel x 

Thursday 8 August 2013

Spinach and Cottage Cheese Rolls

Why have I not made these before now? So easy, so delicious and only 135 calories, so good for you! 
I know, they are not the neatest, prettiest rolls ever made but now I know what I'm doing, next time they'll be perfect!  Bargain too. Each one cost around 50p tomake. 

Busy social day ahead. Coffee with a pal this morning. Then the picnic lunch and gossipy afternoon with my other pal. 

I also knit the back of the cardi, this time using white - it looks much better. I've a different pattern in mind too for another one. 
At this rate, it will soon be finished! 

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Today's jobs.

Well, I've done some ironing.
Made a start on a pile of mending and altering. Including a lovely frock that is for going to my nephew's wedding in.
I've started a new knit. Not sure if I like it yet ... I've some super soft fluffy wool that I've knit as the borders and teamed it with pale purple for the main. I had a chunky white planned, but in the light of day the whites don't match. It's just a little cardigan for a baby girl. I have a few friends with babies on the horizon and after my last project, I fancy something that will be finished sooner. If I like it I will show you, if I don't like it I will show you....before pulling it back.
I've pottered about in the kitchen. First Aid box sorted out and the garden is beckoning now! It's stopped raining and the sun is out!
Later , I'm going to make some cheese and spinach filo rolls for a picnic with one of my favouritest old chums tomorrow. Not seen her in ages so it'll be a fabulous gossipy day. This girl is THE funniest, wittiest person on my planet!
I love days like this. Over to you....what have you done today?
Actually have already pulled it back!! Starting with the white. Btw fluffy wool is a NIGHTMARE to cast on and a knit - mare to pick up stitches!! 

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Ta Daaaaaaaah! .... Again.

Last night I wrote ( a much wittier entertaining post than you are going to read here ) my finished project post. I hit 'publish' and it published it in a parallel universe because it most definitely ain't on this one. I asked Twitter. NO help ! I asked Mr G. NO help! In desperation I turned to blogger itself. NO help. Grrrr. So here I am on Groundhog Day showing you my latest finished project! 
 It's a cardigan for Madeleine, Harry's big sister. She was five in February and on a trip to the North East to see the Uni one, I bought the wool and the pattern in a darling teeny tiny little wool shop. 

I started it as soon as I got home. Age 5-6. 
This was on a size 4 needle. I impressed myself with the neatness. The pattern knits up fairly quickly and I soon had the back and a front done. 

 Mads came round and I tried it up against her for size. I was a bit worried about the size, but it is a cropped cardi .... Anyway our Madeleine is a tall sturdy lass and this cardi at this size would have fit her for a DAY! So I pulled it all back, knit the next size up on a size 5 needle. Because I could! It didn't take long at all to get going and before long, I had a back, two fronts and a sleeve! 
 I admit, on the bigger needles, it's not quite as neat as the first one but I was still pleased. Then I came to a stop. I lost my knitting mojo. I started faffing around with cake pops! 
However, of course it needed finishing so off I went. Sleeve two was a right royal P.I. T. A ! Not once, or twice, but THRICE that swine was pulled back. I just couldn't concentrate! I hate sleeves at the best of time. Increasing alters the pattern and I'd made allowances but my holes were all over and the bobbles were random. Grrrrr. But then a miracle. The sun came out, I was off work and I sat in my garden and set to. Finished. Then to my sheer joy I discovered I had to go around the whole garment and pick up and knit for the frill. I'd not noticed a frill on the picture. I did the sleeves first.
Only had to pull it back once! Then a delightful 158 stitches round the back and fronts. Can you tell that I adore picking up and knitting evenly as much as I adore sleeves? Finally I was done! A three hour man hut found the button - isn't it a darling?

Et VOILA! A cardigan is born! 
I only hope she likes it! 
Do you? 

Btw a similar cardigan I spotted in Monsoon was £45
This is knit in Sirdar Wash n Wear doubleCrepe double knit and with the pattern and button cost approx £12 to make. I've plenty of wool left to make a matching bag I think. And I've plenty of other wool to use that I was given to knit another one ( in a while ) for free! 

*****NEWS JUST IN ******
I think she likes it! Bit of growing room too! 

Saturday 3 August 2013

The world and his wife are....

Juicing. Or it seems so. EEEVERYone at work is at it. Eeeeevveryone on fb is at it and I've seen a few bloggers at it too. Me? Not on your nelly! Even if you lose 14 stone in a fortnight!

Have you SEEN the mess that a juicer makes? I have. We have a juicer, bought by my son on a whim a few years ago. We bought carrots, oranges and apples etc. He was so excited with his purchase and was so eager to make one.... The world  me and the HG held our breath. This boy had lived off plain crisps, beans, mashed potato and wafer thin ham for months - bloody kids - I'm sure they all go through a fussy eater phase; ergo I was FRANTIC with worry he wasn't getting enough vitamins etc. I bought vitamin supplements and he did eat weetabix but I still admit to being neurotic mama.
( I was v grown up during this phase of his, I simply and calmly served up the family meal every night, quietly removing his plate with no fuss all nonchalantly like - even though I was BURNING WITH RAGE AND ANGER BECAUSE MY FOOD WAS BEING REJECTED AND HE WAS BEING SO NAUGHTY AND JUST EAT YOUR FLIPPING TEA ON THIS INSIDE, and eventually he did start eating properly again! Although he still won't eat pasta or scrambled egg. WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM?????!!!!!!

Anyway, we held our breath, he sipped the first one - orange, it was acceptable. The apple was ok, but the minute a carrot went in hailed death to the juicer! He didn't like it. I tried it. It was rank. I tried a recipe I'd found online, with ginger, lime and cucumber. It was frigging revolting. It was wrong on so many levels. Firstly electricity to make it is KILLING the planet; NOT healthy. A billion quids worth of oranges a week, NOT healthy....for my purse. A fruitillion hours spent dismantling the juicer and scraping pulp from nooks and crannies, NOT healthy for my temper. What a mess. It gets under your fingernails. The outside of a juiced courgette stinks and feels like nothing pleasant on this earth.
So, as you can probably guess, I WILL NOT be hopping aboard this latest juice band wagon. I'd rather have my 5 a day as main and pudding, not as a down it in one because its trendy. Oh my word, how uncool of me, using the word trendy!

In other news, my purple chillies are now fruiting! The do look like they have gone bad, but the label says they are purple, so I believe it! I have some juicy tomatoes coming along nicely too!
I spend most of my day outside in the garden on 'death to all butterflies watch'. I watch, incredulous, as they fill up on nectar from my lavender plants at one end of the garden, gathering energy for fluttering up the other end of the garden to where my beloved vegetable plot is. I am currently defending several Cavelo Nero plants, sweet potatoes, beetroot, turnip and basil. I have netting. I have a tennis racket! Butterflies don't make a satisfying thwack sound though! They are not even pretty butterflies. Just bog standard Cabbage Whites, this year there are tons of them. What is a natural predator of these pests because they can come to my house and naturally predate to their hearts content!

So, if you are juicing, good luck! How are you spending these sunny days? What are your top butterfly tips? Do let me know xx
Rachel x