Wednesday, 30 November 2011

 I made a gruesome discovery today, I was going to put some pictures up but decided against it, you may be eating whilst reading this, or you may be of a nervous disposition.

In my quest to complete the bathroom, there are only a few things left to do, finish painting the woodwork, and put up ornaments and fittings. We ordered the floor and paid a deposit, fitting is on Dec 12th so I have to finish painting before then.

The skirting is stopping where it is, so I have painted that, but the new flooring needs to go under the wooden bath side and the wood trucking covering the waste pipes, so to make it easier to paint I removed it all today. And here’s where the awful bit comes in, IT WAS DISGUSTING in the void space, about 3 inches deep in dust and…..things various. I beat a hasty retreat with the wood to the garage, where I could lay it out and Paint it, I (or more preferably Yvonne) will have to venture in with a brush before the glorious 12th. Apparently the new colour scheme is that of a “Zen Buddhist Spa”, lots of Purple and associated statuary, with candles it will be a good place to relax.

Once again to the Black Cat for a cup of Japanese Twig Tea, and by some twist of fate a fresh, home-made Mince Pie with Clotted Cream. The pie was not on the plan, but they looked so good, it seemed rude not to.

Supper tonight was stuffed peppers and couscous, with Garlic Bread, the stuffing was a batch of left over beef ragu, last seen lounging over pasta and between times resting in the freezer. There was a little too much to squeeze into the peppers, so I heated the rest separately.

To the couscous I added a teaspoon of vegetable stock powder and some Harrisa paste, just to stop it tasting bland.

The garlic bread was the remains of my last loaf, thickly sliced, buttered and top with chopped garlic. Into the oven along with the peppers for 20 mins at 180.

Whilst the oven was on, I had some bread to bake, a wholemeal with seeds and some cheese and mixed pepper rolls.

I don’t remember if I mentioned it, but I am going on an advanced bread-making course in Feb 2012, with the famous Tracy Smith the sustainable living Guru.

Have a look at . The course is at the Magdalen Project

Here’s some bread pictures

Before Baking


Sunday, 27 November 2011

My Frugality knows no bounds.

As you all know, I hate waste, especially food waste, and use the most that I can out of all my ingredients. It drove people mad to start with, but they still ate the results, and I am glad to say, are gradually coming round to my way of thinking.

So when Naomi asked for the Chorizo and veg, I just knew that it was a waste of time putting the mushroom stalks in, (She claims they taste bitter) bearing that in mind I saved them for a more discerning palette – Mine.

In between the dog walking and tap fitting this morning I prepared tonight’s dinner, and got ahead with tomorrows as well.

We had some lamb and bean casserole left in the freezer, so I sliced some potatoes and boiled them for 10 minutes, and used them to cover the lamb, like a hot pot.

The potato water had veg stock added, along with tomato paste (Home made) and cornflour to thicken it into a gravy. I also put in a bit of beef stock from the freezer. I fried onions, garlic and the mushroom stalks until soft, and then added them to the gravy. That will go nicely with Pork and Herb sausages tomorrow, along with potato and parsnip mash.

Meanwhile I have fitted the new sink tap, after a bit of a struggle getting the old one out, lots of rusty nuts to undo, being careful not to crack the sink. Anyway it seems to have gone back together without major catastrophe and no leaks so far. Now we are on the home straight, steam clean the tiles and wait for the floor, then just a few fittings.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Work on the bathroom has slowed a bit, due to the day job, doctors appointments and Naomi coming down for the weekend. However I have finished painting the walls, and have set aside tomorrow for cleaning the tiles and all the fittings, changing the taps and tiling a border. The flooring company man is measuring up on Monday, with a provisional fitting date of 12th December, so all must be done by then.

I said last time that I would put up the link for the Black Cat Café, and here it is,

It should induce cake withdrawal symptoms; I feel a trip coming on. There are pictures of the day’s cakes and other info.

I made a huge bowl of my Chorizo and Veg for last night, with Onion Focaccia, there was not a scrap left! In accordance with normal practice, Naomi and Eamon ordered it before they came down – when they come down it’s either that or Chicken satay and Wedges, Oh the hardship!

As I said before, I had a large number of small citrus left over, they were a bit sharp for eating, so I made a Balsamic Glaze, especially good for Chicken or Pork but works on Prawns as well. The Balsamic was not an expensive one, but again quite sharp on its own.

Quarter the fruit and squeeze into a pan.

Add the vinegar and heat.

Boil for about 10 minutes, then crush and remove the fruits.

Add a weight of sugar equal to the amount of liquid in grams.

Boil until it starts to set, strain and bottle.

This gets poured over meat or fish before grilling, or marinades veg etc.

It will soon be time for Christmas Shortbread and Mince pie making, I'm gathering ingredients. It doesn't seem like it's nearly December, its still 12-13 degrees here, last year we had snow at this time.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Bathroom Update

For all of you that are interested, the next stage of the bathroom is complete (Nearly)

Now that the ceiling is done to my satisfaction, (Thanks Norma, your'e trick with the P.V.A. worked a treat!) I’ve put up a plate to stop the heater burning the paintwork; it was at this point that I found that the ceiling is not level, but warped in two directions. Anyhow I managed to bend the plate to fit before securing. It should also reflect heat into the room, now all we need is some cold weather to test it out; it’s still about 11-12 degrees here, even at night.

So after that I started the purple walls, I think they look good, and I will be carrying on with that a bit at a time allowing for shower use and paint drying times.


Food wise, today we have chorizo, onions and peppers with fried polenta. The polenta has been cooling in the fridge and is cut into cubes before frying. 

The veg were chopped Onions and Peppers, with some chopped mushrooms and garlic, also some sun-dried tomatoes. It actually tasted pretty good.

The Veg and Chorizo

Fried Polenta Cubes

Put them Together

I must give a mention to a local café in Brixham; over the years it’s been Veggie, then greasy spoon (X2) and is now back to Veggie. It’s called the Black Cat, and has a great range of food and drink, if there is a website I will put up a link. Judging from the location of my readers it’s fairly unlikely that you will be around, but if you are I can recommend it. We had green/herbal tea there yesterday, with carrot and cardamom cake. Yum.

I want to get as much of the bathroom done as I can before next friday, as Naomi and Eamon are coming down for the wekend, but I have a busy week with work, blood doners and Tizer to the vets. He has been ill for a while with gastric problems, and He's Epileptic, but we have found that he has a low white blood cell count. Tests have been repeated and we are waiting for results, but I suspect he will have to go back again next week. He is only 8, not old for a Labrador. Here he is in happier times, enjoying a swim

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

It’s quite amazing, just when you have a problem you talk to someone in an unrelated way and they give you the answer. I’ve been very frustrated with the bathroom ceiling as you will be aware, anyhow the dark patches kept showing through whatever I did. Then the toilet flush broke, Yvonne and I had a row about it and she went off to Norma’s whilst I tried (successfully) to keep it going until I could get the new parts. When I had calmed down, I went to retrieve her and we got to chatting with Norma and Phillip in general. I mentioned the ceiling and Norma said “I know what that is, hang on”. She gave me a tin of PVA glue “Paint that on over the brown marks, it’s the remains of the glue from the old tiles, it will seal the surface so you can paint over it”.

So I’ve done that and sneaked off to work, hopefully it will have dried and will take paint on my return.

I’ve also got to check my preserved apples, they have been sitting in a mixture of water and campden tablets for two months now, last time I checked they were fine, Grandmother Winnie used to keep her apples like it and I have been trying to copy her, unfortunately I couldn’t remember the proportion of tablets to water, but Jean next door helped me out with that one. Yvonne told me that there is a huge bag of apples from her awaiting me, so if the stored ones are good, I will do the rest that way. Good news, they are fine, and still taste good, so we have done the bag we were given, and some stewed for tea tonight, with custard.
Bottled Two Months ago

That is the best thing about my new life in Devon, everyone is on my wavelength, and we all help each other. It will soon be time to make Christmas biscuits to give out around the place; also I want to try some orange vinegar and orange whiskey (You can tell I’ve got a load of oranges spare)

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Bathroom Update

At last I've got the ceiling painted, and filled in all the cracks at the wall/ceiling join, however there is another problem rearing its head, the flush mechanism is broken, short pause whilst I get my hands wet.

The plastic plate on the siphon was out of position, I think I have fixed it back, tried it a few times and its OK, cant keep testing it though, as we are on a meter and each flush costs.

Yvonne's gone to town for a look around, its a good sign as she wasn't feeling able to go out on her own a short while ago, left me with a bit of time to prepare food.

Tuna and Pasta tonight, a light meal that requires almost no prep, whilst pasta is boiling finely  chop an onion, add frozen peas, a drained tin of tuna and mayo.

 add the cooked, cooled pasta and stir. Keep in the fridge and serve with bread.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The bathroom is proceeding, although there is a patch on the ceiling that plaster will not stick to, driving me nuts as it lingers until you are standing under it, or otherwise engaged? Before falling with a sickly “splatt”. We will overcome though.

Food tonight will be a roast veg and mozerella puff pastry square, I am not a masochist, and life is too short, so I buy my pastry ready made – sorry Mum.

Anyway, oil a tray and roll out, the rim of the tray gives a good thickness guide for the pastry.

Cut a line about 5cm in from the edge all round, this helps the edge to “puff” in the oven.

I used oil and vinegar to coat the middle, adding Chorizo, Onion and Peppers, topping with Mozerella.

Into the oven for about 20 minutes at 180.

Meanwhile, I have brought some more paint for the bathroom ceiling and put two coats on, trouble is, the colour still shows underneath, so it will need more tomorrow.

To hide the hole in the ceiling, I’m going to put some false beams, painted purple of course.

Short pause for the tart. Here it is in all its cooked glory.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

At last, I’ve started re-decorating the Bathroom. When we moved in, it was probably the room that needed it the most, but it’s taken me till now to get round to it.

We’ve brought the paint, fittings and bits and pieces for it over the last week, and as it was raining I thought I’d get going. There were cork tiles on the ceiling that were coming off, it looked like the ceiling was coming down, although after getting them all off it looked instantly better. I’ve got one coat of artex over it, but it needs another to fill in all the dents and irregularities, so I’ve got a bit of time until it dries to update my blog.

In-between doing that, and whilst Yvonne wanted to use the bathroom, I sorted out our meal for tonight.  After the success of the beef stock and barley soup last night, I felt like a cold meal (Yvonne can never decide what to have so I made an executive decision) and made a spicy couscous salad type concoction.

First, and whilst the couscous was soaking I fried onions, garlic and chopped chorizo in its own fat, adding a teaspoon of Harrisa Paste and some chopped dried apricots and sun dried tomatoes. After this was softened and the couscous was fluffed I mixed them together. Just before serving I will add chopped almonds and sesame seeds.

Last night Norma came round with some eggs from her new chickens, looking forward to them soon. Anyhow I had just cracked a bottle of Rhubarb wine (to see how it was coming on) and offered a glass to Norma. Turns out that she has never had Rhubarb before, but thought it was good. It tasted especially good to me as I grew the Rhubarb, and it reminded me of my Grandmothers home made wine which she used to make when I was a lot younger than I am now.

I’m afraid that after a rather good lunch I got a bit over enthusiastic with the artex and put it on a bit thickly. As the first coat wasn’t really dry it’s started dripping off the ceiling, so I’m going to leave it for the day.