Monthly Archives: August 2013

Put on your red shoes, and dance the tofu’s

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Had some spare time, wot wiv being on holiday and all that, so had a go at the following recipes; stuffed courgette and mushrooms, and tofu/red lentil curry…

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Banana, chocolate and blackberry dessert

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…..had a well-deserved shower back at my flat, after a few day’s camping with my sister and nephew, but the water was so hot I nearly choked on the steam. My sister related something similar; she found it impossible to sleep in her house the first night back as it felt so bakingly hot. Amazing how fast your body temperature adjusts to living and sleeping outside, and washing in lukewarm water.

The campsite is not far from Tangleton, and is a mix of field and woodland camping. It appears to be run by hippies (as are all the best campsites and hostels), and is so laidback it’s in danger of banging the back of its head on the floor. It also allows (and indeed encourages) people to build campfires; something not common these days.

We chose a pitch inside a beech and hazel forest and lived for three days in a cathedral of cool, green leaves. The sun outside the wood was searingly-hot, but we didn’t notice unless we stepped out onto one of the stubbly, golden, post-harvest fields surrounding the campsite. We breakfasted late, in a leisurely fashion, on food cooked on a gas stove (pancakes, scrambled eggs) and vanilla lattes made from sachets, then survived on snacks and cereal bars until dinner. The first night was burgers (veggie and otherwise), bbq-d on a grill over a campfire. The second night was tinned steak and vegetarian curry and potatoes, on the gas stove again, augmented with fresh humous (tinned chickpeas boiled on the stove, everything else brought to the camp pre-mixed), crispbreads and black olives. In between we explored the wood, made rough bows from curved branches and abandoned bits of twine for my nephew, and whittled heavy, blunt, un-feathered arrows to go with them. We drank wine, killed wasps, read books on sci-fi and 2nd World War nursing that I’d found in a charity shop and chillaxed to the nth degree. Can’t wait to go back, this time with more friends, more wine, and, quite importantly, more ruddy firelighters….

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Kitchen garden

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Pulled back the curtains so I could water my lucky double-bamboo plant (named “Spike”), plus my little window-sill herb garden, only to discover that the charmingly-rustic wooden box the herbs were planted in had split and leaked brown water over the sill. A bit of mad-scrubbing later, and the paintwork is okay, but the herbs now don’t have a proper home. The parsley was starting to wilt a bit anyway, and whilst the fraggle-haired chives were healthy it’s not a herb I’ve used a lot of so I have to question continuing to waste water on it. So I decided just to save the glossy, fragrant basil plant (now named “Steve”) and gift him a plastic bowl of his very own to live in.

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The improvement in my financial status had led me to splurge on a jar of sundried tomato paste (a luxurious £1.50). I randomly mixed some of Steve’s chopped leaves, a spoonful of sundried tomato paste, a tin of chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, salt and black pepper into a bowl, which was then poured into a tray and roasted in the oven for 25 minutes. I’d had a vague idea of freezing it, and using it in a pasta dish at some point, but I spotted a “Lively up yourself lentil soup” recipe over at http://www.101cookbooks.com and went for that instead…..

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Lepidoptera

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A mutual friend reminded me that it was a year ago that you left us. I found this, thought it was a hopeful sign that whilst your body is gone, your spirit isn’t entirely, and that there’s hope for us all, no matter how desperate the situation may have become….

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-23696070

(Plus the name “Grizzled Skipper” would have probably reduced you to hysterics of laughter).

Back in black

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Things are looking up in Anxiousworld. The austerity drive means that come August payday I should be just about back in the black, and the September payday should put me back where I should be i.e. paying the bills with a bit left over to shove in the savings account (ladies, never ever underestimate the psychological and practical benefits for a woman of having a bit of a nest-egg – it makes it just that bit more difficult for the world to “get” at you when you can afford that emergency cab fare/that deposit on a flat in a safer area/leave a job where someone with a history of abusing women has been promoted to Big Boss).

Speaking of women doing the best of what they can with what they have, I mentioned A Girl Named Jack in a previous post. She’s gained some fame in the UK for a blog about her attempts to feed herself and her child as healthily and cheaply as possible, on the scant income of an unemployed single parent. Here she talks about it, whilst demonstrating how to make some tasty-looking kidney bean, carrot and cumin burgers.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/video/2013/aug/12/jack-monroe-cooking-breadline-video

So naturally I had to make an Anxious version, and oh look! There’s a tin of butter beans at the back of the cupboard I should really do something with. I’ve got the carrot and I think, given how bland butter beans tend to be, that I should chuck in some ginger to go with the cumin…

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Celebrate good times

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Lest people think my life consists solely of work, encroaching mental health issues, and Own-Brand Baked Beans, I did manage to make it to a friend’s BBQ on Saturday. Very chilled out, as you can be with people you’ve known for over 20 years (you can’t pretend with these guys; they’ve seen the bad haircuts and the ill-advised teenage crushes). In-house entertainment was provided by a bottle of Chateau Chunder, one bottle of Quite-Good-Wine-Marked-Down-To-Chateau-Chunder-Prices, plus four kids and two guinea pigs. The youngest child, C, a mere 12 months old, discovered that BBQ’d sausages, encrusted as they are with charcoal, make an excellent medium for complex abstract works of art. Particularly when Daddy has very thoughtfully put on a nice plain white t-shirt…. 🙂

Let us draw a veil over the “Skippy the Zombie Kangaroo” skit, Rapunzel the missing doll, The Great Guinea Pig Escape, plus the hilarious bit where the host burned all the hairs off his left forearm when the gas BBQ misfired. Instead we shall concentrate on the fact that the supermarket Spicy Spinach & Lentil burgers I picked up on the way over (£3 for two boxes), turned out to be quite ace.

Did a bit of creative reverse engineering on the ingredients list on the packet (what the frak is “pea fibre”?), and rather than make burgers, made this viciously spicy lentil bake……

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