Friday, 23 September 2011

What I cooked on Monday!

(or rather what I ATE on Monday!!)
Actually Monday and indeed all week has been very good for "making" both in craft terms and in the kitchen! First off I bought a hand mixer! yay! a gadget! next to craft gadgets I like kitchen gadgets! (still trying to form the right sequence of persuasive argument to put to dh about WHY we NEEDS to buy a bread-making machine!!)
Coming home from a VERY expensive shopping trip yesterday afternoon we chatted in the car about what we'd like to be able to (afford) buy first for our son who leaves for Uni next week - NEXT WEEK! NEXT WEEK!?? SO SOON? - and it got around to what would we buy ourselves if we won the lottery.
A car ahead of us had a super plate that appeared to say "luxury" and dh expressed some interest in a sporty model before adding that perhaps at rising 66yrs was a little too old now for that sort of flashness and would, he said, settle for a more modest but "elegant" car and waffled about millions and squillions of pounds and how you don't see many Rolls Royces these days?  In fact I saw one just the other day! We couldn't, we decided park up in a flash car at our house in our street and get away with it we'd have to move! we'd move, we decided to a large kitchen. I've always wanted a large kitchen!  hence the bread making machine; IF I said, IF we had a large kitchen I'd want a dish washer, a tumble drier! .. and a bread making machine .. what I asked, would HE want?  an au-pair. apparently.   what for? I asked? given that our lads are grown up and our kitchen is now stocked with gadgets and appliances? several mins later we approached the right hand turn and dh was either half in mind of the sporty but elegant car he'd mentally bought and/or half in mind of WHAT the purpose of the au-pair would be either way he JUST managed to make the turn to the startled expressions of the oncoming car ..
THAT I said, has decided it.  NO au pair OR flash car for him!  As we turned into our road we settled for more mundane chat about how long its going to take us to clear the credit card from all the purchases for our son .. a long time! sigh ..

I'm certain we've bought far too much.  But as this is our first experience we've really got nothing to go on and chatting with the sales assistant at Bhs we came around to agreeing that what we WANTED was to send our children off to Uni (their first home) with ALL the comforts and conveniences of OUR home - that we've spent a long time in gathering and affording all the appliances and gadgets too!  I was trying to think back to what I left home with .. not very much - that you can fit in two suitcases!

In amongst all the practical household stuff I'd flung in nail clippers, plasters and paracetamol - for the hangovers? dh enquired? no. I said! for the headaches from the all night studying!?  hmm.  Our son applied online for SIX club night tickets for his first week for "something to do".  something to DO? in a CLUB? for SIX nights? he'll never manage it! I made him "remove from basket" three tickets and said that THREE nights in a club was quite sufficient to get over missing home/us! not to mention how much three nights at clubs would COST!
I suggested to dh that we get a first aid kit and pondered over the "diseases" that I seem to remember hitting the headlines as sweeping through Uni communities of students - meningitis and something else .. what was it? .. something glandular? .. VD? my dh said helpfully? - luckily we'd pulled up at our home before I could recommend a nice bedsit for him to move out into ..

Oh well, we've treated him to a rather posh and flash laptop! and a nice new duvet! fortunately for HIM he managed to show SOME enthusiasm for the laptop at least .. (I feel that the rather nice zipped cover would suit my craft needs rather well and plan to bring it home and put to good use with some fabrics!! lucky for ME then that its conveniently PINK!?)

ALL this expense and as we hurled the lot at the sales assistant dh flung his staff discount card and as we'd been well informed that "today" is "discount day" we effectively got a good deal!  a lot of the stuff was reduced in price, had a 20% discount for the "day" plus our staff discount of additional 20% on top meant that the till roll as it printed off and curled up and over ended up giving us back nearly £100!  Slight moment of panic when the assistant enquired as to dh's posiition in the company and upon hearing "distribution site" went off on one about some disaster that morning with a mixed up delivery which fortunately for dh was nothing to do with him!   (some slight fear that no.1.son might have had some involvement being as he'd been transferred for his last week in his summer temp. job in their internet picking site TO the packing dept but dh felt reasonably reassured that it wasn't anything to do with "us"! phew!).
rather useful carry case?

very useful laptop contained in case!
With all the excitement of the monies being flung back at us by way of discounts I suggested to dh that I ought buy a winter coat! then? (this was before the au pair vs bread making machine conversation) and with some resigned expression of IF you SAY so .. he duly stood guard over our packages while I proceeded to try on the entire coat collection on the shop floor before deciding upon buying the SAME coat as I'm replacing (but in a slightly different pattern/colour) ..
In the end even HE agreed that nice though the other coats were, this one did indeed suit me ..

LAST years "old coat" (minus the scarf)

THIS years "new coat" (exact same scarf)
NOW having started off on what I ate cooked on MONDAY I ought finish with a round up?

I switch to "winter foods" around now.  Same as for craft, I sort of feel that though I prefer the spring summer seasons weather wise I actually find autumn/winter slightly more inspiring and useful! and lets face it you can only "enjoy" so much salad and muesli?
this week I had my appt with the anti-coag nurse to check my INR.
which has dropped - again - and as per normal for me! to 1.6 .. I've tried suggesting that leaving it a whole month inbetween isn't wise but I think they get so excited/relieved when it hints at the desired 2.5 that they rush to hurrah! themselves and leave me to the dose another month ..
anyway. in discussing the drop and likely reasons, I did mention my dietry changes which sees me moving away from muesli or cornflakes or toast to porridge! (yum!) usually with sliced banana but seen here with golden syrup & sultantas OR scrambled egg and grapefruit.  GRAPEFRUIT? grapefruit?! no. NO grapefruit!  it doesn't, she said, "go" with warfarin.  (I'm supposed to KNOW this? its NOT in my yellow book of basic instructions).  Apparently grapefruit is not compatiable with warfarin or some heart meds either .. not sure quite what tipped her over the edge about my tendancy for self managing my meds - the addition of the SPINACH and CABBAGE twice each day in homemade soups and accompanying steamed veggies for lunch/dinner OR the discovery that WHISKY actually does a rather better job at quietening my irregular heart rhythm than the Ivabradine I'm supposed to be taking! .. oh well. that aside I left her furiously typing up my notes in a "tell-tale" manner no doubt to be picked up on by the GP at some later point?
After some discussion about how my blood will thin to water and I'll bleed to death with a rocketing INR I pondered this before asking WHY, then? was my INR "down" to 1.6?? shouldn't, I suggested, shouldn't it be HIGHER? then? .. THAT closed the conversation!  yes. it ought. but it isn't. so? either the machine is faulty? or the whole system is flawed and proves that testing needs either be done every other day for complete accuracy OR might as well leave it a month! then?  anyway, I've got to return in 2/52 and meantime INCREASE my dose of warfarin.  are you SURE? I asked? slightly worried now about the delayed effect of having had both grapefruit and spinach for breakfast/lunch that day not showing ON the reading I was quite relieved when I poked my finger with a knitting needle and found it didn't pour out like a tap .. sigh ..

(and I do like grapefruit too!)

Last week I made my fave: butternut squash soup with chilli! and this week I made a new one: sweet potato and choritzo/spiced sausage also with chilli!  I like my soups flavoursome and HOT and generally dh prefers his in a tin. but yesterday on his day off he decided he'd try a bowl.  forgot to warn him about the chilli .. cough ..

Bakewell Tart

Strictly speaking the bakewell tart was baked on Sunday.  A new recipe this one was made using my new gadget! the hand mixing thingie! which doesn't have an on/off switch and is scarily FAST - both sons had a "go" at it and I think the pastry type case got a bit "over mixed" and was slightly more crunchy than perhaps it ought have been, but nonetheless very tasty and got the thumbs up from no.1.son and dh!
with strawberries & creme fraiche

didn't have raspberry jam, used strawberry instead, but fortunately this complemented the few strawberries I had left! topped with creme fraiche it made a nice sunday "pudding".

Cottage Pie
On Monday called for the baby-gift bag to be delivered to friend and I cooked a large family sized cottage pie which is always a favourite in our family, and a nice way for me to "sneak" in stuff - eg mashed leek with the cheese topped potato.  My family are well used to this trait and often inspect their food for evidence of adding swede, butternut squash and other "stuff" into their foods and I find anything that has a "top" like a pastry/pie or this type of meal has more chance of being undiscovered.
The cats are the same.  For the last month I've been battling to convince them that there is nothing IN their cat biscuits after I made the mistake of switching brands to one they decided they don't like! I've been adding handfuls and mixing it in to disguise them and thought was getting away with it, I ought have been grateful for the small success and not then added the LOT to the acceptable brand and should have known that even a good shake up wouldn't fool two cats!?  there is a lot of mess on the mats now as they painstakingly muzzle their way through their bowl of biscuits picking out and eating the brand they LIKE and spitting out the brand they DON'T like ..

bread pudding!

FINALLY (you are thinking: hurrah!? she's FINISHED!?) FINALLY we finished the day off with a nice bit of bread pudding!  Another one that I often make to use up left over bread unfortunately I'm the only one in the house that "likes" it, dh will have some but luckily both my hairdresser and both like it! and as my brother was taking him a dinner I managed to fling 3/4of the pudding in tin foil HIS way! saves me getting FATTER!?

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