Wednesday 27 January 2010

Bad day at Black rock

Well today I would just like to say is a bad day!!!!!! I feel like crap to be quite blunt about it, I have a cold, only a little sniffle or 2 but enough with the ME to make me feel, how did I put it? oh yes CRAP. It is no longer a case of sick husband in this house but sick wife.

It is amazing how such a little sniffle can make your whole day such hard work, mind you I had had a busy weekend. Darn Childe and her tribe. We had a lovely weekend though, I love my little shadow, that's my Grandson, he follows me everywhere and wants to do everything that Chouet does even to the extent of being cleansed, toned and moisturised with Liz Earle in the morning. We won't mention his make-up application that would just be mean. A photo would have been good but I never think of these things til too late. My Grand-daughter or the Pink Poppet as I call her just bustles around the house very importantly moving all out of her way, well she is only 19mths, oh yeah and doubles as a mountain goat. Climbs everything, not a nervous bone in her. Still as much as I love them all to pieces I do sink into a small pile of exhausted Chouet after they have gone. It does take me a while to recover, sshh don't let the Childe hear that, she won't visit again and then what will I do for snuggles?

More paragraphs said husband, he asks he gets. Today bad day, that's right, I seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time doing stuff with very little to show for it which is so frustrating. It was important stuff, wording for Childe wedding invites, sorting out budget for said wedding, having a massage, but golly I'm pooped now and all things seem to be going wrong, the fire is either smoking or going out, my fingers will not type properly, my nose is dripping, yada yada yada. I have to cook as well....

I am on this instance the queen of left-overs. Left over carrot/butternut squash soup ( that is itself was left-overs) left over lamb and some veggies, all squidged in together with a tin of toms and some thinly sliced potato on top, it will either rock or will be inedible. Do I care? Coz all I really want to eat is Chocolate, toast and crisps...

Friday 22 January 2010

Golly it's Friday again

It's the end of the week again, and husband who was sick husband again but is now well husband was wondering where my blog had gone to this week. I had to apologise but to due to shopping commitments and M.E there has not been much energy for extraneous bloggings. Did you catch the reference to shopping? The economy is safe for a while, I have been shopping, I have spent money on items that I do not need but appear to be so very necessary to my mental well-being.

Oh I do like good shop, I have mentioned this before I know, Tuesday was deemed my shopping day, my excuse was that I had to go to town to look at carpet!!! In the course of this necessary chore I happened to visit a few shops that are quite dear to my heart. Faith, unfortunately no shoes I liked, Monsoon, ditto with clothes, I was getting worried, no shopping done and so few shops left but I decided to gird my loins and and visit Army and Navy. It was a hard job but someone had to do it. I did get a peculiar look from a sales person when she asked me what I was looking for and I mentioned a tea-pot.... Did I collect them? she asked.... I am now ever so slightly worried that I might look like the sort of person that collects tea-pots!!!!

I did buy a tea-pot though, a gorgeously wonderful designer tea-pot from which my tea pours forth in a glorious non-drip stream and tastes oh so much better. The fact that every time I use it I can remind myself how extravagant the purchase was and smile is an added bonus. I also bought husband a treat too, a cut glass chunky bottomed glass for his G&T. He wanted one, he got one. A small thing but I think I might need to remind him of it as I have just shouted at him and called him a wanker; does a glass make up for this behaviour?

I shopped on Thursday too, it had to be done, Mother was visiting and shopping with Mother is one of those must do activities. Like drinking wine on a Friday night. This time I was restrained and only bought books. 2 new cookery books and more novels, as if I don't borrow enough from the library. The cookery books are so gorgeous I immediately want to go and cook but I have restrained myself, The Hummingbird cake book will come out tomorrow when I cook sort of son-in-law's non birthday birthday cake. They are home from Wales and will be feasting at our place tomorrow. Sainsbury's shelves are now empty and in my fridge and cupcoards waiting for the locusts to descend.

Is it time do you think to go and ply husband with G&T to apologise for name calling?

Monday 18 January 2010

Monday Mutterings

I think I am suffering from shopping withdrawl symptoms, actually there is no think about it, I know I am, I got excited when nice husband took me to Homebase on Saturday. How sad is that? We also carpet shopped and that wowed me too. I am having a bad M.E experience at the moment and this is reflected in my position; on the settee. It is annoying and painful and I absolutely loathe being like this, I know that after nearly 21 years I should be used to it but every time I get like this again I realise that like many things I forget how bad it can be. One of the worst aspects is my inability to get out of the house...That is bad, good for my money but bad for my soul. I do believe that I am so much better if I can out in the world, have a coffee and maybe throw a little shopping spree. As a witch you would think that I might be on a higher plain, maybe more spiritually aware or wishing to go and commune with nature, but no, I am definitely of the more mundane, everyday spiritual mold. I can appreciate the beauty of nature in most things, the higher planes to life but I do love a good pair of shoes or a great hand-bag. I get a thrill in the cook shop at all the gadgets that I have yet to buy and probably have no use for and all the beautiful array of bake-ware, I love to run my fingers over throws and cushions for the soft tactile pleasure of it, perfume and make-up adorn me and make me smile with glee at the change I will hopefully behold in my face, the packaging is a pleasure in itself, book shops make me quiver with the delight of opening a new novel and losing myself for hours in another world, but my heart truly does belong to shoes, those wonderful, shiny, oh so tempting shoes that lure me into trying them on and demanding that I buy these leg lengthening, calf thinning, improbably high, wonders that I may only wear once but will look at and cherish, who then lead me to the hand-bags because each new pair of shoes really needs just the right perfect hand-bag to go with them. Yep I was right I am having shopping withdrawl.... Tomorrow I shop. Look out world.

Tuesday 12 January 2010

Melting moments

Well the snow is finally starting to melt, the house sits in a widening pool of snow free land and the sound of drips fills the air. It was beautiful to see the snow and wonderful that I was able to drive out and see the romance that was the snowy landscape but oh god I will be glad when the world gets back to normal.

One step in the process is that husband is back to work husband... Yay.... 3 weeks was just a bit too long for him to be home and still alive. I wonder how many other women are in that situation? Now don't get me wrong, I love my husband more than anything....hmmm more than my chocolate brownies????? Anyway stop drooling, where was I, ah yes loving husband. I do love him but I love my time on my own too, I was too late to marriage to take kindly to someone with me 24 hours a day 365 days a year. When would I get the time to manically sing along to Abba whilst dancing like a loon? Why is it that even when we are both home it is still the woman that does the majority of the chores? I can be a bit anal about doing things the proper way ie: my way but I have mellowed lately and will let others do chores. I might still be waiting for that to happen but I can hope. If husband was home all the time how would I sneak in the furniture rearranging, sy decorating or new cushions or curtains? Not to mention coffee with friends? No the best place for husbands is working. To that end I I rewarded back to work husband with one of his favourite meals, Shepherds pie, last night. Quite an easy day for me too because of the cunningly frozen shepherds pie from last week.

I was going to be cooking up a storm at the weekend but unfortunately surrogate son-in-law's father has had a heart attack and the family are whizzing of to his bedside, as is only right and proper, I wish the family all the best and send lots of healing to them but there is this little selfish bit of me that will miss seeing The Childe, surrogate son-in-law and adorable grandchildren at the weekend. It seems ages since they were last here eating me out of house and home and demanding "fwoth fwoth".

I might even had baked a batch of my famous gluten and dairy free brownies, still if they arent here I can't eat them and I will not get fat. See there is a bright side to most things.

Gluten and Dairy free Brownies

8oz caster sugar
2 eggs
4oz soya marg... or any marg
2oz gluten free plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1 1/2oz cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
choc chunks chips whatevers.

Melt the marg and add cocoa powder, do not eat it is disgusting. Mix eggs and sugar very well til light and creamy, add butter and cocoa mix, mix, add flour, baking powder, vanilla and choc chunks and mix in. Place in an 8inch square tin and bake for 30 mins at 180c. I also add nuts if I am in the mood it depends who I am cooking them for.

Leave in tin to cool for 10 or so mins, cut into squares. These freeze really well and take about 30 secs to defrost in the microwave. Yummylicious. These do duty as wedding cake, birthday cake, any occasion cake and cheer me up cake.

Saturday 9 January 2010

Watery Laptops

Two blogs posted in one day!!!! Whatever is the world coming to? It is my own fault, I decided that my lap-top needed a wash with my drinking water.... not good for it, after a shout to hero husband who came running downstairs to save wifey's lappy it is now battery less and sitting in airing cupboard to dry out. I was therefore even grumpier last night than I started out. Still annoying husband graduated to hero husband for a day, he is now lazy slug husband and I am not sure if he deserves my Chicken, chorizo and bean concoction. Of course I will feed him just not sure if he deserves the repast.

I do, I have been slaving away today sorting out Christmas decorations, finally after years of the same large cardboard boxes stuffed to the gills with smaller boxes all neatly labeled ( anal me?) I have devised a new system. Now I know I am the queen of the decos but I think getting down 6 large boxes and going through them each year was getting me down and to be honest a bit like hard work. Whilst sick husband was sick I took done the decos and couldn't put them away in usual boxes because they were in loft and I don't do the loft, why keep a husband otherwise? The decos needed an alternative storage til boxes could be got down. It just so happened that lying in the garage were 6 nice new plastic boxes with lids just perfect for the job. It was the work of minutes to strip each room and tree ( I have 2) and place all decos in boxes, complete tree in one!!!! I liked this idea and decided I would sort out what was left in the loft when sick husband was no longer sick and tidy up my storage. Job done. Even lazy slug husband approves coz they are more tidy in the loft, yes that is right, said lazy slug was concerned over tidiness!!!! Whatever next??? Consequently though I needed a supper I could shove in oven, and incidentally use up all the cold meat from pizza day. My taste buds started thinking and came up with:

Chicken, chorizo and beans
Now 3 ingredients are a bit obvious and they were not measured, just popped in pan together with 2 onions sweated and garlic and 3 chillis. I like our home grown purple ones coz they have a nice smoky heat.
also in were:

3 tbsps black treacle
3/4 pint veg stock
a large handful dark brown sugar
tin toms
more chilli powder
tin tom puree

all were lumped in together and bunged in oven to cook slowly for 3-4 hours.. I may adjust taste depending on my mood, today I am serving this with roasted carrots and pepper and jacket spuds. A meal suitable for a busy wife and a lazy slug husband.

I have noticed that this bears a distinct hint of my soup from earlier in the week. Easily explained, my taste buds have cycles of tastes and this month's is obviously smoky chilli and tomatoey....

Friday 8 January 2010

Grumpy Friday

I would like to announce that sick husband is no longer sick, he has been renamed annoying husband. Possibly due to the vast length of time that he has been at home, working from home before Christmas due to snow, Christmas shut-down, sick husband week and now working from home AGAIN because of snow. It is enough to drive a woman to drink, actually it's Friday night, it's pizza and wine night...OH YES. I am not looking forward to that much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Does sarcasm work without voice inflection?) I know what you are thinking though, how do 2 people who are gluten and dairy intolerant do pizza. I can tell you it is quite easy and as a few of my friends can attest it is quite yummylicious too. Friday night is also tv night, it is the one night of the week that I become a dedicated tv viewer and if there is nothing on the box there is always downloads. Sssh don't tell anyone. Food is on a tray, wine is in the glass, feet are up and viewing goggles are on. Ahhhh bliss.

I had a phone call with Mother today and she is reading my blog, Hi Mum... ttying to comment but we need to work on that. She mentioned that I had not blogged yesterday. No I hadn't, we went to work in the snow to sort out a big problem, it took 10 minutes, but still it was nice to see the world all snowy and white, very romantic and pretty if you don't have to live, work, travel etc in it. I did enjoy it but by the time I was home and had done chores I was decidedly grumpy. I have no reason why just was, it might be early onset of the January blues or it could just have been plain old-fashioned exhaustion. Who knows, who cares, dont feel so bad today but that is because it's Friday and time for:

(Gluten and dairy free) Friday night Pizza

250g doves farm flour
175ml soya milk
1 egg
45ml oil

Mix all of the above to a soft and gooey dough, it will not be rollable, kneadable, or anything other than spreadable with a spatula or spoon so please don't try. I either make one deepish 12 inch round or two very thin 12inch rounds, it all depends on my mood. I use baking parchment on a baking tray, this goes in a 200c oven for 15mins and is quite amazing when it comes out, it has air pockets in it which is amazing given that there is no raising ingredient apart from egg.

Whilst this is baking I make the tomato base, I usually use 1 tin of tom puree to 1 tin of water, approx 1 tbsp sugar, a good helping of easy garlic or garlic puree and loads of basil or oregano. If annoying husband wants a spicy pizza I add chilli pepper as well.

Then it's up to taste and preference for toppings, tuna, meat, veg anything goes. I load the cheese on which is not overly health conscious but who cares? I use a mix of Goat's cheese, Sheep's cheese and Buffalo mozzarello, this is more watery than normal pizza mozzarello so I try to squeeze as much liquid out as possible. I always use Pecorino though, this is a Sicilian hard Sheep's milk cheese and is invaluable in cooking it quite happily takes the place of parmesan in most dishes. Once assembled I cook the pizzas for approx 13 minutes til the cheese is how I like it, Goat's and Sheep's milk cheeses do not seem to melt as nicely as dairy but they still taste good, although if you can get hold of Cretan cheeses Graviera and Kefalatori try these because they are delicious and if you do please let me know where from coz I can't find them.

So there it is my Friday night antidote to the blues and annoying husbands.

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Snow men

Ok so it's snowing, am I the oldest snow man making person? Not a child in sight and there is a rather dashing snowman called Boots sitting in my garden. I admit to not growing up yet and would have loved a snow ball fight but sick husband, who is now not so sick, was on a conference call. How boring is that? I will have to amuse myself by laughing at the silly antics of drivers in the snow. How come in this country we turn into blithering idiots when snow appears?

The snow of course was beautiful to look at but rather stating the obvious it is cold so to that end I decided my soup making skills needed a winter warmth boost. My health kick is off to a good start and I must admit having the sick husband at home to cater for has helped and lets face it it is more difficult to naughtily snack when husband is at large. Goodness knows how I will cope when he eventually gets back to work. Anyway back to my winter warmer, I needed a slightly different variety on veg soup, more hearty and maybe with some warming curryness..

Lentil soup for cold winter days

A large handful or 2 of red lentils
tin of tom puree
boiling water,
chilli powder
garam masala
mixed herbs,
1 or 2 tsp sugar
lemon juice

Rinse lentils and add booiling water, bring to the boil and skim off any foam, add in the tom puree and all the herbs and spice. Now me being me I tend not to measure herbs and spices but just shake in to taste. Taste is such an arbitrary thing that I hate to tell exactly how much chilli etc you would want to use. I simmered this for about 1/2 an hour and servd with hot buttered toast.
Not so sick husband sat down to lunch sniffing queryingly and tentatively tatsing trying to place the tatse, bless his little cottons. He did enjoy his bowl of winter warming lentils though.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

What's cooking?

So today I mistakenly made the mistake of asking sick husband what he would like to eat for supper...hmm make mental note not to ask husband this question again. He wanted something nice and easy he said, Shepherds Pie, now this may be easy if you can pop to the super-market and pick up a ready meal however when both of you have issues with gluten and dairy this becomes less than easy, in fact it becomes a make one from scratch kind of day. Usually this wouldn't phase me, I am after all partial to spending time in the kitchen creating hopefully yummy dishes, however... why is there always an however? Where was I oh yes not looking forward to cooking because I had to go to Sainsburys and after that I am usually so exhausted I do not feel like cooking, but I wanted to please sick husband, and yes I have heard of women's lib, I just like making people happy. Sainsburys!!!!! Hell, full of people stockpiling in the event we get snowed in for an hour or so. My god the shelves were bare and it was heaving, unheard of for a Tuesday Lunchtime. Starbucks made up for it though, nothing like a Venti Soya latte to put a smile back on my face. That and a sit down to read this weeks Grazia.

Back to the Shepherds Pie I have now educated sick husband that it is not quite an easy meal; yummy though, or at least I hope it will be:

Tuesday's Pie

500g Lamb mince
4 carrots chopped very small
approx 500ml lamb stock
dried mint
rice flour to thicken
worcestshire sauce
mashed potato

Fry onion add carrots fry til softened add mince, brown, add stock, mint and flour, boil add more flour til as thick as you like it, arrange carefully in a casserole dish or slap in haphazardly if you are me, smooth over mash potato and bake in oven for 1/2 an hour. 180 c for me.

There we have it a tasty gluten and dairy free supper to make the Sainsbury shopping blues disappear and sick husband happy.

Monday 4 January 2010

Monday soups

I mistakenly thought that by now the shops would be less crowded and I could pop into town, escaping from still sick husband in the mean time, and have a relatively quiet shop and browse. Not that I need anything in the sales but a new handbag is always an option. So there were queues for the Multi-storey, queues up the High Street but the Goddess smiled on me and I found a nice parking spot right where I needed to be.. woo hoo thought I this bodes well, unfortunately that was it, everywhere was heaving, ug, I hate shops when they are full of amblers and idlers. I shopped for what I wanted and thought a coffee would be a good consolation present. Agghh no, they were queuing out the door, now I am rather partial to a Soya Latte but that was beyond a joke, and it was full of children... shudder. I hightailed it home to fetch myself some lunch and sick husband of course. What was there to eat? Bugger all to be honest so Monday soup was magicked up:

1 tin toms blizted to a pulp
1 tin of whatever beans were in the cupboard, Butter beans to be precise,
1 tin of tomato puree,
1 1/2 tbsp black treacle
alot of chilli pepper,
Basil, a shake of
salt to taste,

Heat, taste, serve.. Yummy after a fruitless shopping day not to mention the bringing in of the logs, laundry and have I mentioned the sick husband?

Saturday 2 January 2010

Who am I

Who am I? That is a good question. Do I go for the existential aspect of this? Course not. I am many things. I am happy. I am a wife, I am a witch, I am called the oracle by friends and family ( annoyingly I have a vast font of useless and sometimes useful knowledge), I am a grandmother by adoption, I love life, laughter, food and wine. Golly this could go on for ever, that's it a quick precis of who I am.

I have M.E (aka CFS) and fibromyalgia, I am gluten and dairy intolerant but I let none of this affect me if I can. I am disabled, so what, I will wear high heels if I want to, If I can't walk I might as well not walk in style! I am a green at heart but drive a huge Chelsea Tractor, comfort has to win sometimes over policy. I try to offset this, honest I do.

Today was a strange day in planet jaywitch. husband is ill, poor chap some hideous vomiting/diarrhoea bug, and in bed for 2nd day of the New Year, so I decided to de-christmas the house, slowly but surely I took down all the lights, decorations and trees. It is now bare! I like the Christmas decos but I do get bored of them but once they're down I miss them! Nothing consistent about me!!! Well that's the 2nd day of 2010 done and dusted what's next?