A Spicy Start To The Day

I am a great tenant you know. I keep the little nest immaculate for a start. I am also very considerate. I am not noisy at all. If I do listen to music or watch something on television, I keep the volume down very low. I am careful to invite friends round who will behave and remain quiet-ish. If I want to invite any noisy friends round (some of my friends have the loudest laughs) I wait until my landlords are away on holiday.

And here is something else I do when they are on holiday:

I CARAMELISE ONIONS!

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I love onions! But my landlords don’t like the smell of onions when they are cooking. I also make curries and chilli, just about anything with strong flavours and cooking odours! I made samosas a couple of nights ago.

When my landlords are here I am very considerate, I cook bland non-smelly food, because the cooking smells would waft upstairs to them. But as soon as they are heading on holiday, I rush down to the supermarket and buy onions!!

And this morning…the breakfast I am cooking for myself is another favourite treat when my landlords are away. I am making:

SHAKSHUKA

Which may possibly be the best breakfast on the planet. I know that is very debatable. But when you are as considerate as me and you have bland breakfasts everyday…a spicy breakfast treat is something to get excited about!

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I Vote Goldfinch!

Should I publish another sunshine blogger post (yes more nomination posts in the pipe-line) or should I publish a little account of my plans for today with Goldfinch? Well…I need to work on the nomination posts…they need a bit of colour in them, so I will save them until I can do them justice. So I vote for another Goldfinch post!

He is coming he is coming! Goldfinch is coming!!!

I have to work all day before he arrives, so I have decided that rather than stressing about cooking a meal that is ready as soon as he arrives (limited time frame for eating), I am going to grab a take-away from the posh Thai restaurant at the end of the road. He likes Thai food, he says all Australians like Thai food. I love it ever since I have known Goldfinch.

The band that Goldfinch wanted to catch while they are playing here are The Decemberists. I have been listening to their songs over the last few days…they are like stories, the videos with the songs are so interesting to watch. I think this video will give you a bit of an idea of what I have felt as I have been going through their tracks.

It tells a story…you can’t help but feel so much for the guy who is the star of the video. The first time I saw it I was totally drawn in. Couple of bleepers from the people sitting in the diner shortly before the music starts. Just to let you know if like me, are picky about what you watch or listen to.

Music starts at 1:40…but it is worth watching the guy’s story before you hear the emotive lyric that I think will touch you like it did me.

Well…I have a busy Wednesday ahead…so will be off the radar for most of today. But you know I am smiling from ear to ear with the gorgeous Goldfinch by my side!

I Am Spending A Fortune On Feeding My Goldfinch

When I do my own food / grocery shopping, I usually go to the local Sainsburys supermarket.  For years I went to ASDA or Aldi, but there is no ASDA and no Aldi near here.  Nor is there a Lidl, an Iceland, or a Farmfoods.  When I first moved to London I lived a five minute walk from an enormous 24-hour Tesco Supermarket.  But there is no Tesco near here.  So instead I now shop for myself at Sainsburys.

The nearest supermarket to my little abode, at only two minutes walk away, is an organic supermarket named Bayley & Sage, but everything there costs a fortune…I went shopping there once, just after I moved here, and nearly started choking with the shock when the cashier told me the price of the small basket of items I had collected. So I don’t go there unless I want to buy a treat for Goldfinch or to buy sandfire (it’s the only shop near here where I can buy it).

When Goldfinch is coming I switch to shopping at Waitrose…because in my head, (if not reality) I think I will find better produce.  But it also costs more.  I just like to feel I am giving the best to Goldfinch.  One of the things I love about shopping at Waitrose is the chance to collect a free Waitrose magazine (along with my free coffee).

The Waitrose magazine has some fantastic recipes.  I have always been a big fan of supermarket magazine recipes.  I like them because they normally don’t have a ridiculous amount of ingredients and you don’t have to have been a contestant on Masterchef to be able to follow their recipes.

I like to bake…and I especially like to bake for Goldfinch. This weekend I made a traditional favourite savoury dish which I have made many times before.  But for pudding I thought I would turn my hand to trying a couple of recipes from last month’s Waitrose magazine.

ice cream.pngFirst of all I made the toffee-apple ice-cream…which involved making caramel – a messy job but somebody has to do it!  It has ripples of caramel soft golden apples, crumbly biscuit bites and creamy vanilla ice-cream…oooh la la!

upside down cakeThen I made the upside down. maple, walnut and apple cake, which was warm and ooooozing with caramel.

It is a pleasure cooking and baking for my Goldfinch.  But I spend twice as much money on my food shopping when I know he is coming to visit.  I am spending a fortune on feeding my gorgeous Goldfinch.  But I love it.  I love him you see.  I love any chance I have to give something to him that shows him how I feel and how happy he makes me.

 

Hungry?

I have been tagged for a “3.2.1 Quote Me!” Challenge on the theme FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD, by Rory himself, aka Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip!, the architect of these challenges, as you can see from his original post below:

321 Quote Me – Food Glorious Food

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Rules: 3.2.1 Quote Me!

Thank the Selector – THANKS RORY!

Post 2 quotes for the dedicated Topic of the Day.

Tag 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me!’

I don’t know why. but I always feel closer to those of my friends I have eaten with / dined with and especially those with whom I eat with / dine with regularly. It always makes me feel more comfortable, more informal, and just as if I have a closer bond with those friends. And I love it. Having dinner with a bunch of friends or family is probably my favourite way to spend and evening – especially when it’s home cooking we are devouring.

More important than the food itself, is the atmosphere. It is so wonderful to be with people who you cannot help but love. No tensions, no rivalries – just peace and harmony. It is so much better for the digestion. Even if you have the simplest of fare – where there is love, you will thrive.

Is the topic of food a good enough excuse to include a song which always makes me think of Jack? He always sang this at dinner!

The three bloggers I am tagging for the “3.2.1 Quote Me!” Challenge are:

It’s Dinner Time!

I noticed Teresa, aka The Haunted Wordsmith, has been trialling a new non-fiction prompt. I do think I naturally am inclined to write more non-fiction, so these prompts do appeal to me. I could not resist today’s because it was about food!

What were family dinners like when you were growing up?

Is there a special meal that has been handed down through the family?

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2019/05/21/nonfiction-prompt-may-21/

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Image by Дарья Яковлева from Pixabay

I do remember family meals. And as I look back I think we ate very simply really. We did not have a huge amount of variety in our diet, which is probably why I find variety so important now. I find it hard to have the same food all of the time. Also, we had a pretty decent main meal for our school lunch – so our evening family dinner was normally fairly simple.

Monday to Friday we would come home from school and we would normally have something simple. Sometimes a sandwich. But usually it would be something on toast.

Or we might have something else from a tin (with or without toast). I reckon we helped Heinz make a fortune!

When we finally had a microwave, we had a wonderful addition to our weekday family dinners – BAKED POTATOES. This was a welcome alternative to toast!

baked potatoes

If we wanted a pudding after our meal, there were either jam tarts or yogurts. Mum used go buy Penguin chocolate bars. Which were two thin layers of chocolate biscuit with a chocolate cream in the middle and coated in a thin layer of chocolate. They are a bit like the Australian Tam Tams. I have to admit, I was so fed up of the same chocolate bar. I craved something different.

When an Aldi supermarket opened up in the town center and everyone said there prices were great, Mum headed down there and she bought cheap versions of popular favourites. I remember Racer bars, which were like a cheap Marathon or Snickers bar, and Titan bars which were like a cheap Mars bar.

Now the weekend was very different. Every Saturday all of us would spend the day together. We might play tennis or some other sport. If the weather was bad, we might do a jigsaw or play a board-game. One of my older sisters would teach us some tap dancing. My oldest sister would practice first aid procedures on us (she was doing her nurse training). My brother would play on his computer. We often went out to play with other families – football, rounders and hide and seek. So on Saturday because there were so many of us (often we had friends over as well) Mum used to make a big buffet. She would make lots and lots and lots of sandwiches! There would be crisps (No Frills Crisps) and sometimes mini sausage rolls or mini pizzas.

Mum would try to make a cake for us all. Normally it was a date and walnut cake or a Madeira cake. If she did not have time to make a cake, she would buy a Victoria sandwich cake from the supermarket.

And there was Sunday! Which meant a roast dinner for the family! I think it was normally chicken that Mum would roast. Occasionally she made something different – like one day she made liver and onions. Or sausage and mash potatoes was another family favourite for Sundays. Even though I have not eaten meat since I was six years old, I can still remember the taste of the liver – and it is not a good thing! We would always have a yummy dessert too. If Mum had time, we might have her trifle or it would be a family size gateaux from the Iceland supermarket.

This was basically what we had week in week out for many years. And we did pretty well. We were champion swimmers and we were on all the sports teams at school. Looking back it does seem very boring, compared to the way we eat now. But there was love! You know the proverb 🙂

When Mum started work, which was when Milly started school, I was ten years old. I started trying to cook for me and my sisters after school. Mum was a nurse and she would sometimes only arrive home at work at nine o’clock at night. Dad would come home from work at five o’clock. We would normally have one of the neighbours oldest daughters look after us for an hour after school or we would have a recorder lesson somewhere else. We needed food before we went swimming. So I started to make vegetarian cottage pies, stir-fries, pasta and curries (with sauces from a jar) and as I became older I started to try recipes from cookery books

I think Mum was very glad to come home from work and have something waiting for her. We would be back from the swimming pool and climbing into bed by the time she was home.

That was family dinners! Now I make sure I have lots of variety and I have lots and lots of salad and veggies. I feel as if I ate too much stodge growing up – but we were able to burn all those carbs because we were so active. Now I am in my thirties, I could never get away with that kind of diet!

I Am Clock Watching

This is when time begins to slow down. Two hours to go until I can lock up and head back to the little abode. I have done everything I could see needed doing. I have also cleaned everywhere.

I am just waiting now. Waiting for the door to open and more clients/customers to arrive. Waiting to lock up and walk up the hill back to the little nest. Waiting to devour the left-overs I brought home last night after dinner at a friend’s house.

veggie casserole.jpgbf trifleI have had two Weetabix and a cup-a-soup so far today and my belly is rumbling! Time is going so slowly. I can’t wait to tuck in to a vegetarian sausage casserole with herby vegetarian dumplings…followed by a bowl of black forest trifle.

Just over two hours until I slip into a food coma!

 

Food For The Brain

Food For The Brain

  • Blueberries
  • Avacadoes
  • Dark chocolate
  • Green tea
  • Apples

Apparently these are the top five foods for the brain… well, this is what Dad keeps telling me over and over again.

I am having all of them…..except I am really not in the mood for apples.

I love fresh, juicy, crisp apples in the summer.  But this time of year the only way I can get my head round apples is in a crumble.  I have to admit, I am super-duper fussy with my apple crumble.  I mean I would always be polite when someone with a proud grin sets before me their prized apple crumble.

But in reality…..I only like it my way!!!!!!!!!

Apples sweet cinnamon perhaps some sultanas thrown in.  And then a huge deep layer of crumble.  Crumble being the main event.  Sometimes oats thrown in or some brown sugar to give a bit of a crunch.

Then thick custard.  Hot or cold I don’t mind which. For extra indulgence a caramel sauce. But I respect apple crumble tastes differ.

When I lived in the countryside I was forever coming home to find a kind friend or neighbour had left a box of apples from their trees on my doorstep.  So I made a lot of crumble each autumn and had a lot of friends round on cold evenings for hot toddies and crumble.  Some had the same preference for crumble over fruit as me and my youngest sister.  But other friends complained vehemently “where is the fruit?”

Actually……I really wished I had perfected a blackberry crumble.  I used to use blackberries in an oatmeal cakey scone recipe.  It was yum but very tricky to make.

But the yummiest has to be cherries…..but in a pie.

This is just fruit.

Don’t get me started on pecan pie, banana bread, bakewell tart, carrot cake, choco cheesecakes, black forest roulades, melting choco puds with butterscotch sauce……I am hungry.

I am remembering all the dinner parties I threw in the past.  I miss that.  Living in a tiny bedsit in London means no huge dinner parties.  Although, I have squeezed up to twelve friends in…most had to sit on the floor…it was rather cosy!  One of the guys knocked a glass of red wine all over my white curtains.  I have been happy here….but now I am thinking of all the things I miss.  Memories are dominating me and devouring my contentment.

Maybe I am eating too many blueberries, my memory seems to be sharper than ever.  Perhaps I have had too much food for the brain.  Need to switch off for a bit.