Tuesday, 28 July 2015

My new Toy and a result!

For my birthday this year, Yvonne brought me a dehydrator. (Thanks ever so much) 
I planned to use it on tomatoes and beetroot and maybe make some corn chips, that sort of thing.

For a first attempt, I decided to make some potato chips, following a recipe I found online.

I sliced the potato thinly, using an electric mandolin I brought years ago (I confess; I'm a sucker for a gadget) which has the advantage of never cutting your fingers.

I then blanched the slices in boiling water for 5 minutes and let them air dry.

Then I arranged them on the trays and turned it on for 8 hours.

After a couple of hours, I rotated the trays, the slices were starting to curl up a bit so I guess that means that it's working.

And here they are, pretty good and no oil.

I just need to work out flavouring and I'm in business.

In other news, I had an email from my energy supplier today, they wanted to increase my monthly payment by £ 48!!!!!! I was straight onto U-Switch.

I found a new deal that left me £ 8 a month better off than before the proposed increase, so effectively £ 56 a month better off than I would have been by not switching.

I rang my supplier to tell them I was switching and they tried desperately to keep me; they "re-calculated" my rates but could get nowhere near the new offer. In desperation, they warned me that the figures I had been quoted were probably false and I would get a nasty surprise when I found out the true costs. Hmm!!! 

I quite reasonably said that if that were the case it would be a breach of contract and there would be trouble. The response was that it happens to everyone, but nobody ever complains because it's too much hassle. I think desperation was setting in at this point.

Now what can I do with £ 672 next year?

Out for a meal.

We went to Rockfish in Brixham for a meal last night, and once again it was superb. They have only recently opened the Brixham location but we had previously been regulars in Dartmouth, where the quality of the seafood was amazing.

And once again we were not disappointed, the restaurant sits over the fish market and you take pot luck with the selection on offer, based on what's been caught. So last night there was no Plaice for Yvonne, sad but better than a frozen fish of indeterminate origin and age.
Instead she had the ever so slightly out of focus Scampi with a salad,

whilst I had the mixed plate, Red Gurnard, Monkfish, Prawns and Calamari,

I had this with Mushy Peas, which I cannot resist! and unlimited chips, that's right if you want more just ask, they just keep coming. 

The Calamari is cooked to perfection (as is everything else) unlike some you get that can be a bit rubbery this is melting and delicious. The only one I've had better was in a tiny Tapas bar in Tarragona, full of locals and woodsmoke.

And to wash it down, in celebration of the weekends coming Blue Moon,

Desert just had to be a banana split,

We heard a lady? at another table loudly announce, "Of course; it's NOT a Gourmet experience. But it's alright." Maybe she would prefer the aforementioned defrosted Plaice, in some dimly lit pretentious establishment at double the price, surrounded by fawning staff. Accompanied by 'Artisan cut Gourmet potato pieces, lightly fried in virgin oil from somewhere exotic.'

As for us? I think it's safe to say, We'll be back!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

A week like any other.

I don't really know where this week has gone, and yet it hardly seems like much has happened. Well nothing out of the ordinary anyway, and I won't repeat all the usual things that I do that you know about. Sunday (19th) I visited Totnes Good Food Market, alone unfortunately as Yvonne was still not right. I went down to the Leechwell and said one for her, in fact I did all the things we normally do, just on my own.

I brought Steak for Sunday and made some potato and Sweet Potato wedges,

dusted with mixed herbs and Salt.

As an experiment I made a grated Beetroot and Cheese loaf,

which I took to Millie and Me on Monday, to see if they were interested in it for lunches.

As you can see, she made it look great,

Today's Special inspired by An amazing new bread from Richard at Well Bread Beetroot & Cheese filled with Goats Cheese and Roasted Red Peppers!

In the course of the week, I made another 30 loaves, 44 Rolls and Scones and 20 Biscuits, a fairly normal week,

Sourdough Scones

Sourdough Rolls, Beetroot and Pine Nut

Sourdough Spelt and Oatmeal

 the biscuits were Chocolate and Orange Cookies for Millie and Me and contained 200g Chocolate as well as all the usual suspects. But they were nice!

We had our fair share of medical fun as well, I appear to have trapped a nerve in my arm, it got me worried because I thought that my bone spur had returned. I have full movement however and a hot shower relieves the pain so I know its not that. 

I had the same thing years ago and I'm desperately trying to remember the stretch that the physio showed me which provided almost instant relief. Yvonne meanwhile had to go to the Dr in the midst of Fridays downpours to be shown how to use her new inhaler.

On Saturday we took advantage of a decent day to go out for a random tour locally. We had coffee in the Riverford Farm shop and brought a few cherries to go with the picnic we planned to have. We had a stroll around the gardens at Buckfast Abbey, looking really good at the moment and I spotted a young bird in one of the ponds, catching insects.

We picnicked by the river Dart, under the shade of trees,

and then visited a local garden at Hill House.

Sunday started with rain, back to normal. Maybe this week will be a bit more exciting (but not too much!)

Saturday, 18 July 2015

It's been a funny week.

I've been busy this week, Yvonne hasn't been well so it has slowed us down a little, (recurrent infections, she's seen a specialist, just waiting to see GP for further actions based on his report)

I have taken the chance to clean and tidy the loft and take rubbish to the tip, four loads so far, plus one car-full to a local Charity Shop. Also I've used the space I've gained in the loft to clear our spare room and pack everything away. All I need to do now (All?) is decorate and get a new carpet.

I've baked some loaves and rolls as well, a few less than last week but still enough to make it worthwhile.

In just 13 days I will be a pensioner, I can hardly believe it, I didn't realise, last September that it was my last day at work, or I would have tried to savour it. But so far I haven't missed it. When the wind is howling in February I certainly won't.

There's nothing more to report really, hopefully if Yvonne feels better tomorrow we will go to Totnes Good Food Market.

Saturday, 11 July 2015


I made Granola this morning, the full story is on my bread blog but here are a few pictures. It had Oats, Honey and a mixture of Raisins, Cranberries, Walnuts, Cashews, Pistachios and Chocolate chunks. Rather nice actually.

I also made some Spelt and Oatmeal Sourdough, as an experiment. It made a soft sandwich type loaf, with a hint of Sour.

I also have a mention on Oats shop and Cafe website, check it out at 


I'm on the shop tour page, under the heading "Fresh Baked," at least it's not "Half Baked"

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Fruit and Veg

At last it's that time of year to pick berries and dig up new potatoes. I did both today, ably assisted by Yvonne who picked a load of Black and Red Currants for me whilst I was walking the dogs. I joined in when I got home.

We got 4 pounds of currants between us,

 and a good amount of potatoes from the single bag (of 6) that I lifted. They will go nicely with our salad.

I made jam with the berries, adding 4 lbs of sugar and 36 g of Pectin (Currants are low in Pectin so I added this to get a good set) I didn't add any water, just washed and drained the berries, this left enough to start heating without burning. My new induction hob got the mixture bubbling in about a minute.

and I filled 9 jars.

that's a few jars for me and some for Amy and Naomi when I see them next.

Huge excitement, we have a new supermarket in Brixham (well just outside) Aldi have made it down here, so we went and had a look. We got some very good quality veg and salads at ridiculous prices and scoped out the other stuff as well.

I'm a bit of a sucker for unusual flavours of crisps and I found these,

they were really tasty, and strangely red, which incidentally stuck to your fingers (a little worrying, what will it do to your stomach) 

Totnes market tomorrow, time to stock up on the weird and wonderful atmosphere.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Yvonne designs a garden.

Our front decking was in a state, it looked lovely but it was dangerous to walk on and little used, except by birds and slugs!

As you may have seen, we had the whole lot ripped out and replaced last week, it was awful to lose so much foliage and for a while it looked like it could never be as nice again but......

Yvonne worked like a demon yesterday and now you can see the start of the new garden, yes the plants need to grow but they will and more importantly it will be Yvonne's creation and not just her tending the place that someone else planted. 

So here's some work in progress pictures,

and some more of it when she packed up for the day, just before it was all watered in.

Its her garden now and it looks fantastic.

And in other news, my black Tomatoes are nearly ready to sample, and the Blackcurrants are just about pickable.