On The Menu Today: Brussel Sprouts, Stinky Cheese and Frogs Legs

I am late – but I am hoping my belated post on the SHARE-YOUR-WORLD questions this week will still count!

The lovely Melanie B Cee the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind has given us some fabulous questions this week:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2018/11/12/share-your-world-11-12-18/

I am going to admit, I have not been 100% all week. I had a scare earlier this week. Fortunately I was with a friend who knows all about my history since the head injuries. She went on to cause traffic chaos in a busy London road by doing a u-turn in a major carriage way and whisking me into the nearby accident and emergency…and it has shaken me up. Possibly her driving shook me up more than what had happened to me causing her to react that way! But am still here, live and kicking and trying not to be overwhelmed by it all.

Now without further ado…here is my SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post:

QUESTIONS:

What’s the most ironic thing you’ve ever witnessed?

Ironic? Hmm…I know I have seen ironic things – let me come back to this one because right now nothing is springing to mind. But I am hoping my brain will go into gear later.

I have been deliberating this question since Monday and I am really struggling. I am sure I see ironic things all the time, but nothing has sprung to mind.

There was one situation that used to annoy me…it was a male colleague who used to loaf around. It used to vex me that he allowed me to do all the running round and he swanned in late everyday (if he bothered to show up at all) and sat there on his phone – the muppet! And so many tasks that he undertook he messed up. However, what really really cheesed me off was when a new member of staff started who had restricted movement due to a serious medical condition. The new member of staff had the most incredible attitude and was determined to be independent and an equal member of the team. I cannot tell you how annoyed I was to see the new member of staff being left to carry out tasks, some of them quite heavy work, and the muppet was still lolloping around on his phone.

When my manager started to become infuriated about his habits and had words with him, the following workday he said he couldn’t come because he had slipped over on the railway station platform and hurt his leg. So then for the next few weeks he came limping into work and insisted that he could only sit – with his feet up on a footstool – and was not able to do any physical work. Now the ironic thing is that me and another colleague saw him running like Usain Bolt several times during that period so that he would not miss his train.


Let’s talk turkey.  Pro or con?   If pro, which part do you enjoy most?  Is it for Thanksgiving (American Style any way) only?

Well, I have never eaten real turkey. But recently I did try some Tofurkey slices and made myself a sandwich with salad and mayonnaise. It was not terrible. I prefer my avocado sandwiches in all honesty. But, I might have it again for a change.

One of my American friends said something that made us laugh. She said she wondered why the English don’t do thanksgiving, then she came to live in the UK and saw the size of our houses and she is not surprised any longer!

If someone is making a roast dinner they normally give me something like a nut-roast or a vegetarian wellington – as in pastry casing surrounding some kind of indulgent vegetarian filling. I would be just as happy with a bowl of brussel sprouts and some French beans and a couple of roasties. You might be pulling your face, but everyone wants to do swapsies with me at the dinner table!


If you’d like, share one thing you wish you’d said to someone else, but now you’ll never have the chance.

Hmm…never say never hey!

There are things I need to say to Jack. I need him to put his phone down and agree to sit down and chat preferably with a cuppa. In fact, I desperately want to have chance to sit down and talk to him before…well, I count every day as precious, and I just wish he would give me peace. I wish he would have given me the chance four years ago. So much has happened since, I don’t know how he will receive my words. I am so frightened to hurt him. I love him so dearly. The words I wish to say to Jack have not changed despite everything that has happened:

Jack, there has been a lot of damage done. I don’t understand what has been going on between you and I, it’s confusing and frustrating. This extraordinary pressure on whether a romance will develop has been unbearable. I was never against a romance developing. But I think we should both forget that for now and go back to building a basic friendship.

What happened to you? Why did you go from making me feel we were true friends to shunning and slandering me? I would give anything to go back to the way thing used to be. More than anything you are one of the dearest men to my heart. I do love you very very much. I look up to you and admire you. With you, it is like looking up to an older brother who I am proud of and slightly in awe of. I have lived with you, I know all your faults and bad habits. Yet, I adore you.

Can we put all the damage away and agree that this should not have happened, but that we are both on the same team, working towards the same objectives and support each other?”


What odd smell do you really enjoy?

It has to be the odd cheesy smells! The stronger the better!

cheese boardI absolutely love cheese…but my body does not. My body punishes me if I give into my dairy cravings. Since I stopped eating cheese, the smell of it drives me wild with desire!

There is a shop at the end of my road with incredible French cheeses…I sometimes wander in just so I can linger and breathe in the pongy cheesy smells! Aaaaaah brie-lliant!

There are two posts on my blog-site where I describe the effects of my cheesy cravings!

Thankful November….share a story or time when someone did something really great for you.  Alternatively,  share your gratitude moments during this past week.

I just typed out a really long answer and realized it would make a whole post in itself!

IMG_20181114_165943So I will share something smaller and shorter.

I want to tell you about my little glass frog.

He is a very special little frog to me. I have had him for almost twenty years now! I was on holiday in the South of France with Mumma and some good friends. One of them Deidre, had known Mumma since she was a student nurse in her twenties, before I was ever born.

Now Diedre really wanted to try eating frog’s legs (when in Rome). I was pulling faces at the idea of it though. It was not just because I was a vegetarian. I don’t have any problem with other people eating meat. I even cook meat for friends and family (and clients of course). The reason I was so reluctant to watch her tucking into frog’s legs, is that since I was a little girl I have loved frogs. We used to be fascinated by watching the tadpoles in local ponds develop into tiny tiny little froglings and then growing bigger over time.

I guess there are some both meat-eaters and vegetarians who would be just as horrified if they travelled to a country where dog, cat, dolphin or horse are part of the cuisine. If you have a favourite animal, it is really uncomfortable watching someone else tucking into a marinaded and roasted version of your beloved pet! To be honest even the picture above makes me feel really ill.

Well, Deidre was very kind and abstained from frog’s legs during the whole holiday. She said she might travel to France on another occasion and try them out, but she would not dream of eating them in front of me.

Anyway, we visited the mountain village of Èze while we were touring the French Riviera, which is both charming and has spectacular views. We visited the nearby Fragonard perfumery nearby. There was also a glass blowing workshop. We were completely taken by their beautiful creations.

IMG_20181114_165817Later than evening. Deidre handed me a little gift box. When I opened it up this tiny little glass frog was inside. It is about two centimetres tall and it’s length and width are no more than four centimetres each way. I loved it!!! I have never really been an ornaments person, but my one very special little ornament is my glass frog all the way from Èze. For twenty years I have been treasuring this tiny delicate little glass frog, and to this day, there is not the slightest damage on it.

I cannot tell you how grateful I was for Deidre for abstaining from frog’s legs when she was with me and for her gorgeous little gift, one of the only gifts that I have kept for any length of time. So cute!

_________________

After all that talk of stinky food…with a distinctively French accent (France we love you for so many reasons but especially your smoking hot cooking – how do you do it!!) I am thinking of only one song!

 

Macaroni Cheese Dreams

I had a restless night dreaming about things that are bad for me.

mac and cheese

Macaroni cheese, ice-cream, tiramisu, cheesecake, clotted cream and jam on scones.

I love all of these and yet I am really not at all good with dairy. They would seriously make me suffer. Dreaming about my inner secret cravings…cheesy fondue…melted cheese with Worcestershire sauce on toast…battered halloumi…left me tossing and turning all night.

Aaaaah! I have so much to do today, but I am dozy and I have panda eyes because of my macaroni cheese dreams.

Must have a nap before greeting my Goldfinch.

The Sparkling Indishe Has Nominated Me For Another Sunshine Blogger Award

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I have been nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award by theindieshe as you can see from her brilliant post below:

https://indishe.wordpress.com/2018/06/21/the-sunshine-blogger-award/

Please check out her blog, I am sure you will love her posts as much as I do.

These are loosely the rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Use the “Sunshine Blogger Award” logo on your post.
  • Answer the questions the selector asks of you.
  • Nominate bloggers you want to give the award to.
  • Ask the following bloggers that you selected questions of your own.

My responses to the questions asked by her are:

1. What is your secret desire?

Hee hee…

I have many desires.  I would need a whole book to list all of them.  But this is one that I often fantasize about!

I am not very good with dairy.  Milk, cream, cheese, yogurt, ice-cream…these cause calamitous side-effects in me.  Although I love cheese…I can have a tiny bit once in a blue moon and I seem to be able to get away with it.

This might not seem a very exciting secret desire, but anyone who has difficulties with dairy – they truly knows what I mean.

So my secret desire is a huge dairy-feast without the concequences!!!

2. What would you like to be in the next birth?

I am not sure I would ever like to have to go through birth again.  Either myself being born or having to give birth!  I congratulate myself that I graduated from nappies or diapers.  I survived puberty.  I am glad that is all out of the way.

brain universeLife as a human should obviously be very special. The awareness and potential we have is far greater than any other creature on the planet.  Much as I am fascinated by animals and plants, and there is so much to learn from other creatures, it is clear that humans are very different.

Our ability to reason, weigh up matters of justice and morality, appreciate art and music, design and create, ponder and meditate and ask questions like “How did life begin?  Why am I here?  Where am I going?”  are exceptional.  I would never downplay how special it is to be a human with enormous potential.  Sadly, we also have the potential to cause harm to ourselves and others (it is painful to see how many seem to do exactly that).  But we have to make choices and live with the consequences.

I have heard it said that of all the discoveries scientists have made in the known universe, there is nothing that can compare with the human brain.  I know some people do not seem to use their brains!  However, the potential we have is incredible.  Our capacity for compassion and unselfish love are unlimited.  However, it all depends on how we feed our own thinking and what we allow to develop.  Thoughts develop into feelings which lead to words and actions, some of which become habits or practices.  I wish people would care for their thoughts more and make their minds as spectacular and delightful as they were designed to be.

bearsIf I was not a human…hmm.  I have to admit, there are occasions when, I would love to hibernate for the whole of winter.  I believe that is what bears do.  Plus, if I were a bear, I would never have to worry about what to wear in the morning, because I would have a beautiful coat of fur.  I would be allowed to eat as much as I wanted and be big and cuddly and that would be fine.  I am not sure I would get on very well being a vegetarian bear.  However, I am a human, I am never going to be a bear, so I will not worry myself too much about that.

3.What one thing would you like to change?

Ambulance

I guess we all have regrets.  There may be major or minor events in our lives we wish never happened. Sometimes we realize we just made the wrong decision, and now faced with the consequences we may long to be able to turn back time and change that pivotal moment.

For myself, it has to be the night I was buckling under the emotional pressure of having been taunted by ex-flatmate and his fans and friends.  I was out with friends, but I didn’t feel as if I could go home because I kept on seeing him.  Just before I had left my flat that night I saw him in the elevator.  Instead of going straight home when I left my friends, I went to a park on my own to let myself have a good cry.  Hours later as the morning broke, a security guard found me and called for an ambulance.  The crime that occurred that night…well, it has turned my life upside down.

Three years later I am still longing to go home to my flat, with all my furniture and to be back where I belong.  But that is it… it happened.  I can’t change it.  A temporary blip in my otherwise satisfying life.  But I am not going to allow it to prevent me from living a life full of work, joy and helping others.

But if it were in my power, there is an event I think I would like to change.

adam and eve

There is a decision that I guess was the worst in all human history.  The consequences have meant pain and sorrow.  Countless injustices and crimes. Disease, abuse, war and many other horrific crimes.   Humans living out of harmony with what we were designed for.  Sure I would love to go back in time and stop them.  However, it was their decision to make.

Talk about a disappointment!  However, I have no doubt that it is a temporary blip.  I am convinced that this beautiful human family and this beautiful planet can be restored and healed.  All of the damage undone.  They made their decision, but it will not prevent this earth from being filled with happy and healthy humans.  Hey if I am determined to achieve my goals despite the obstacle I face…HOW MUCH MORE SO THE ONE WHO HARNESSED VAST AMOUNTS OF NUCLEAR ENERGY INTO STARS???  Hello!!!  I have no doubt, we will look back at this shameful period in history and think “did that really happen?”

It happened… we can’t change that it happened.  But one day it will fade into a distant memory.  All the pain will be forgotten.

My questions to my nominees are:

  • I was thinking of inviting you over for a cheese and wine night (soft drinks available for those who do not indulge)…Do you have a favourite type of cheese?
  • Did you wear a school uniform?  What was it like?
  • What’s your most embarrassing typo on your own blog posts?
  • Do you like weddings?  Why? (Or Why Not?)
  • Describe your perfect shoe / footwear?
  • Do you like “abstract” art?  Could you please explain it to me?
  • If you owned a shop, what would you be selling?
  • Do you have a favourite ice-cream?
  • Do you have any former school friends who are famous?
  • If you were going to dance at a special occasion, what would be the song that would make you want to get up and start dancing?
  • If you were being a tourist for a day in London – where would you like to visit?

My nominees are:

isaiah46ministries

Makafui

Josephine M

Lica Ramos

juantetcts

Well…I hope you enjoy the award and the questions I have asked you.  As a little inspitation for the sunshine blogger award, these are two great sunshine songs to light up your day.

 

Coffee Cups (Cherry Chocolate Granola)

Another working week over and done with and now it is Sunday….my day of rest…NOT!!!

Even on my Sunday I am up bright and early because I have a lot to do today…but first I am determined to enjoy my breakfast….I have had fruit all week for breakfast (and salad for lunch and dinner every day I was at work)…but today…ooh la la…I am having cherry yogurt, I bought it for Goldfinch and forgot it was still unopened in the back of the fridge with a use-by-date of 14-05-18. And because I have never been in the habit of eating yogurt naked….I nipped into Waitrose straight after work last night to buy some granola, and fell for chocolate cherry granola which I can only imagine is going to taste incredibly yummy. I have just made my coffee and am waiting for it to percolate and then I am going to enjoy.

Aaaaah…..so nice to have time to feel I can just dawdle along in first gear for the next hour or so…so nice!!!

Speaking of granola…I had an odd experience in a health store on Wednesday. My landlady asked me to buy her some spelt muesli. They did not have any in Sainsburys supermarket, so I nipped into an expensive health store across the road where they do stock lots of spelt foodie items. I meant to nip in and have a look round to see if I could find what she wanted. But as soon as I walked in a shop assistant bounded up to me and asked if he could help me. So I told him I was looking for spelt muesli…his face reflected panic. I followed him around the store twice before I realized he did not know where to look. I was sure we had passed a section with cereals. He came along with me. He picked up some spelt flakes off the shelf and handed them to me. I thanked him but said I was looking for muesli. So then he picked up granola off the shelf and gave it to me. I started to find myself becoming a bit giggly. I said that it looked nice, but I knew my landlady already had granola, she had asked me to buy muesli. He replied “but granola is muesli, they are the same thing”. I told him I think they are slightly different. He asked me how. I looked at him really finding it hard not to express my amusement. I described granola as being a bit crunchier than muesli. He started reading the back of the packet of granola. Then he said to me “I’ll tell you the difference between muesli and granola. Muesli you have with milk at breakfast time, whereas granola you have with fruit and yoghurt and you eat it in the afternoon.” I was really taken aback at the confidence he delivered his conclusion to me…and I was dying to laugh but politeness helped me to restrain it. Anyway, he then said that they didn’t sell muesli. I thanked him for helping anyway. Within moments another shop assistant appeared with a bag of gluten free spelt muesli in his hand.

I bought myself a coffee cup this week….I have been looking for one for weeks, but didn’t like the colours I saw, but fell in love with the one I saw in Robert Dyas homewares store. But then two days later a friend nipped round with some clothes I had lent her and she gave me a coffee cup…I remember telling her how guilty I feel every time I buy a coffee because of the difficulties recycling coffee cups so I intended to buy a coffee cup to have in my work bag. So now I have two as you can see from my photo!

20180310_214048The taller one I bought and the shorter is the one she bought for me. Oh…I can help save the planet in style!  Every morning when I turn on the news before I head out for work there is a news item about single use plastics – bad bad bad….  Ever since we watched the beautiful BBC Blue Planet and especially the recent Blue Planet ΙΙ, we have all become very upset that our magnificent oceans and the myriad of sea creatures that leave us full of wonder and awe are being damaged by our daily coffee purchases amongst other things.  My next purchase will be a re-usable water bottle, a solid one that I can wash out again and again.  I must do this because I do buy a lot of bottled water. I can’t bear to think of harming the creatures in the ocean I am fascinated by.  (I heard that by the end of the year plastic drinking straws and cotton buds will be banned.  I am not sure who uses cotton buds anymore anyway.  Every health professional sternly tells you not to stick them in your ears.  Maybe some people have other uses for them.  But my life will not be cramped by the absence of straws or cotton buds.)

My lovely lovely wonderful Goldfinch is somewhat of an expert on waterways and the environment.  He says much more needs to be done.  I am sure he is right.  I am sure the vast majority of people would be pleased to make sacrifices where needed to preserve this incredible planet.  I asked him last week, what does he think is the next practical solution to take.  We are getting rid of plastics we don’t really need and re-using coffee cups and drinking bottles more.  I asked him what is next.  It sometimes seems a bit overwhelming, but I think most of us understand that we all need to do something or give something up.  The collective effort can achieve huge results.  Do you know the story about the starfish on the beach?  I don’t have time right now, but I will relate it in another post.

My other exciting buy this week….Higgledy Piggledy Pies…four new vegetarian varieties and on offer in the Waitrose supermarket. I can’t wait to try them.  I have not baked a pie in ages.  Pastry…not very waistline friendly.  But I feel in the mood for baking savoury things at the moment.  I am an occasional baker.  I bake for friends.  They love my bakes and tell me I am an amazing baker and should apply for one of these TV baking shows.  I know better.  I am not a great baker at all.  BUT I DO KNOW HOW TO READ.  I obey the recipe precisely, every letter!  It is a very clinical mechanical way of baking, but yes the bakes come out well.  All credit to the recipe writers.  I never remember the recipes.  If you asked me to jump up and bake a sponge cake or shortbread right now, I would not be able to do it.  My head does not retain recipes.  But I have made hundreds of cakes and biscuits by faithfully following other people’s recipes.

I found a recipe for a dish that looks absurdly simple but delicious. It is so simple that I can actually remember it. Take one 600g tub of fresh veggie soup, the type you find in the chilled section in the supermarket, and heat gently in a saucepan and then add 400g tin of cannellini beans (after draining and rinsing of course) add any seasoning you desire. pour this concoction into an oven proof dish. Then take a fresh garlic baguette and blitz it in a food-processor (or you can grate it if you don’t own a food processor) It should be nice chunky crumbs, not fine crumbs. Mix this with grated cheddar cheese (the recipe specified 75g but I would probably leave that to the eater to decide how cheesy they want their supper to be). Sprinkle your cheesy, garlicky bread crumb mix over your bean and veg soup base. 15 minutes baking in an oven that has been pre-heated to 200°/fan 180°/gas 6.  This recipe could turn out to be an easy tasty simple supper for when friends come crashing through the door.  Or it might be awful.  I am going to experiment on a friend and his two teenagers who are coming over for dinner next week. So long as I serve chips with it they will be happy! And a naughty pudding. I think pudding will be something simple like brownies…..I refuse to put in excessive effort for teenagers because most would be just as happy with a gooey cake that came straight out of the box from a supermarket.

By the way, if you don’t own a food processor.  I have never had one up until a year ago.  There was life before my food processor… and life after.  The main difference is making my own hummous which I do most weeks, my own pesto…yum yum yum, and things like home-made coleslaw are so easy to make.  Whizzing up cookie crumbs for a quick cheesecake base etc.  I like it.  It is hard to imagine life without a food processor now.  I don’t buy gadgets generally.  My sister and her husband have all sorts of juicers, spiralizers, pop corn makers, doughnut makers, an ice-cream maker.  I am sure these are all fine things in themselves, but my cute kitchen can’t store too many gadgets.  But the food processor definitely deserves it’s place.

I finished my cherry yogurt dressed with cherry chocolate granola and my coffee some time ago and now I am going to have a shower and get going…busy day ahead.