Saturday, November 28, 2009

Please note:- my falafel and houmous( I am talking about the recipes in todays blog- not anything bilogical!) did not look like my friend Shirley's! Asked the Master Chef in question and my error.....laziness!! Don't use jars of/canned chickpeas, unless it is a real emergency, use dried chickpeas. Soak dried chickpeas over night and then puree them (no cooking needed!)You can even add a few split green peas to add colour and variety-and don't we all need a bit of colour and variety in our lives? !

Ooof- my bottom hurts!!! Now before your imaginations start working overtime (or maybe it is just me who has the dirty mind!) I decided to remind my two girls what the two things dangling off the bottom of their body are-LEGS and what they should be used for-EXERCISE, not for just displaying cool trousers. So I decided we would cycle (hence the sore bottom) 6 kms to a nearby village, where a friend of mine participates every month in an ecological food fair. Beautiful sunny, crisp day. Ok, so the country lane route was a bit bumpy (roads for tractors not bikes). Ok, so I got the wrong village, which meant we had to cycle an extra 5 kms to get to the right venue (their faces when we arrived at the wrong village was comical…to me!) Actually my Girls did not whimper and whine too much, but what has happened to the majority of the “young, fit, things” of today?

I’ll tell you what has happened (if you don’t mind!)-there is an acute epidemic of laziness! I know I keep harping on about, “when I was young…..” but really, all those eons ago, children were out on bikes, running (often aimlessly!), playing football, playing hop scotch, or on family hikes. Why? Because we did not have computers, Nintendo’s, Play Stations or all day T.V (remember when Blue Peter was about the only thing for us to watch?)

We walked to school, or at least to the bus stop. Gym classes at school were hockey, netball, track, football, tennis and rounders- I know they still do those sports today but “in my day” they were all competitive, tough and played in any weather. I have many a fond memory of tearing about a playing field in howling winds and below zero temperatures in my miniscule gym skirt! Now, if there is a slight breeze or a spot of rain gym is held in the heated sports hall.

Summer holidays were off to beaches for swimming, more rounders, football etc and normally in below zero temperatures! No theme parks or “all inclusive, don’t need to move from the hotel complex, don’t need to bring your imagination, holidays.

I could go on longer but your eyeballs are probably exhausted and my typing finger is throbbing almost as much as my nether region! Anyway- we three survived and we ate some delicious food prepared by my friend Shirley and her husband Peter- Falafel Wraps. We are making them ourselves tomorrow night.

Falafel. Makes 12.

In a food processor chuck in the following:-

400g (13oz) of canned chickpeas –drained.
½ an onion
1tsp of ground cumin
1tsp of ground coriander
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp of plain flour
Salt and pepper

Whizz the whole lot up into a smooth paste. On a floured work surface divide the mixture into 12 equal portions and mould each portion into a flat, round patty. Shallow fry the Falafel (great name!) 2-3 minutes on each side.
Put 2 falafel on a flat tortilla or in a pitta pocket with some houmous (please see my previous blog for recipe for this), some minty yoghurt (natural yoghurt with a spoonful of mint sauce mixed in) and some finely sliced iceberg lettuce.

This is seriously delicious (thank you Shirley and Peter) and …….super healthy!!!

Now wish I had not got rid of my bath tub and replaced it with a super duper shower!Iit would be alright to dip my lower half in the kitchen sink full of cold water- wouldn’t it?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ryvitta and Carrots!!!!!!

Can you believe it- Friday again! Friday in our house is Princesses Night (I think I have told you that before!) My Girls and I cosy on the sofa, watching T.V and having snacky meal. Tonight we will be watching the re-run of last weeks “The X Factor” (we can’t watch it live on a Saturday as my girls go to their Dad’s house). All week we avert our eyes from the newspaper and magazine reports about The X Factor and ask people not to tell us who got kicked out- so we still get a surprise! Actually every week so far has been a surprise, or more of a shock-how have those two performing monkeys (John and Edward) managed to stay in?

We actually enjoyed the initial auditions more than this part of the show. Why? Well, it is a sad fact that society today loves to see people; make a fool of themselves, look bad, have a tough life, lose their fortunes, get fat etc. What a sick bunch we are! We revel in looking at pictures of Famous Peoples Wobbly Bits. We squirm with delight when another celebrity marriage hits the rocks (we really have been spoilt rotten recently with Katie Price and Peter Andre’s shinanikins.) We drool over any scandal or dirt dug up about someone in the limelight who has always portrayed themselves as pure and innocent. We love to criticize the beautiful starlets (we being soooo perfect!). We adore getting the chance to nosey about in the homes of the stars, wether it be via photos in a magazine or on a trashy T.V show. You only need to look at the number of “Gossip” style magazines on the shelves in the newsagents to see we are indeed a nasty lot! We don’t wish them well-we wish them failure, embarrassment and cellulite.

But, I must add, all those contestants on X Factor-the really cringy, painfully embarrassing, squirm in your socks ones- why did no one tell them NOT to do it? How come a family member, friend or next door neighbour who heard them screeching (I mean practicing) did not tell them the truth, did not prevent them from making absolute twits of themselves? I hope someone would tell me the truth! Actually I think I have a bit of a Diva in me-maybe next year I will enter the X Factor! Not sure why at this very moment my daughters are pulling faces, pretending to be sick and about to phone their father to see if they can go and live with him! Strange!

Recipes today are dedicated to Ubergrumpy (Mr Curly Wurly). Check out his blog –it is FANTASTIC. He wanted ryvitta and carrots. We will be having these dips tonight whilst we wish the worst on the remaining X Factor Contestants. If my Girls complain about the food, I shall point them in your direction- Uber!

Dippity Dips.

Serve the following with crusty bread, potato wedges, bread sticks, tortilla chips, RYVITTA and/or CARROT sticks (happy C.W?)


3 Ripe avocados
1 clove of garlic- crushed
½ red onion-finely chopped
2 tomatoes-de-seeded and diced
Juice of 1 lime
3-4 dashes of pepper sauce
Salt and Pepper

Scoop out flesh from the avocados in to a bowl and red onion, crushed clove of garlic, diced tomatoes, lime juice, pepper sauce and salt and pepper. Mash it all up and ..Bob’s your uncle (‘cos he certainly isn’t mine) Guacamole.

Alioli (traditional Catalan garlic dip)

1 Clove of garlic-crushed
Olive oil
A pinch of salt

Put clove of garlic and salt in a blender and slowly add olive oil whilst blending. No idea how, but the end result is a lovely, creamy garlic dip. Quite amazing to watch the transformation (simple things please simple minds!!!)


Homemade houmous is soooooo much better than bought!

400g canned chickpeas
3 tablespoons of Olive Oil
½ teaspoon of ground cumin
1 garlic clove-chopped
2 tablespoons of tahini paste
Juice of 1 lemon.

Bung the whole lot in a blender and blend until smooth!

All very easy, very healthy and very garlicky- so no kissing after!

Wikipedia? Not today thank you.

Last night I was watching a film and one of the lines in it was:-

“I think I would miss you, even if I had never met you”

Something about that sentence made me go all mushy and lovey dovey. Such a sweet thing to say. It brought out the romantic in me and I started to think that one day my prince will come hobbling by on his 3 legged, lame donkey. The more I thought about this statement the more absurd it sounded, to the point where I ruined the whole loveliness about it! You can’t miss something you never had!

I started thinking about other sayings I like and wondered what their meanings were. I was on the point of Wikipediaing them and finding out their origin when I decided “NO” I like the not knowing!

Here are my top 10 favourites? Got any sayings you like? Please let me know:

1.“As happy as Larry”- who is Larry, why is he so happy? Sounds like a good person to have at a party. Anyone know his number?

2.“It ain’t over until the fat lady sings”- does it mean she has a terrible or fantastic voice? Is her latest CD available?

3.“Not on your nelly”- where or what is your nelly? Do I have one? Should I order one?

4.“Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face”-ouch! I know Van Gogh cut off his ear but has anyone really been so desperate as to cut off their nose?

5.“Never look a gift horse in the mouth”- have many of you received a horse as a gift? I personally think it is probably not a great experience to look in a horses mouth, gift or no gift (unless you are buying a horse and are checking to see how healthy it is, but then it is not a gift!)!

6.“Silence is golden”- not if you are in class and the teacher has asked you a question, or in court and are being asked if you are guilty or not guilty! In these cases, silence could have dire results! Additionally if someone is in the huff with you, silence is like torture.

7.“All cats are grey in the dark”- really? Will consider standing outside in the freezing cold tonight to check out this theory……NOT!!!

8.“Eat drink and be merry (for tomorrow we die)-what a dreadful outlook on life! How can one go through life thinking that the next day you will die? Thinking like this could lead to numerous phobias-agoraphobia, somniphobia (incase you sleep in late and then it is already tomorrow and then you die!) electricalappliancaphobia, peopleaphobia (yes, I did make the last 2 up!)

9.“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”- I am more than happy to let the bird in my hand be with the two in the bush! Do you know how many bugs live on a bird? Also the bird will no doubt be terrified at being in your hand and therefore poo in it!

10.“Life is like a box of chocolates” Great saying Forest Gump but does my box of chocolates always have to be filled with coffee and orange creams? YAK!

My recipe today is a traditional English recipe with a name I don’t (and probably don’t want to) understand.

Toad in The Hole- (at some point in history did they use toads and not sausages?)

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (425 degrees F) Put a roasting tin, with a little oil in the bottom, in the oven to heat up. Cook some chunky sausages (any kind you like). While they are cooking prepare your batter:

75g plain flour
1 egg
75ml milk
50ml water
Salt and pepper

Sift flour into a bowl add salt and pepper. Add egg and whilst adding, bit by bit, the milk and water, beat all the ingredients into a smooth mixture. An electric hand whisk will do this in seconds! Put the sausages into hot roasting tin and pour batter on top. Put all straight back in the oven for 25 minutes.

Serve with any veg you like and drown the whole lot in gravy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thank you!

If I have calculated correctly, tomorrow thousands of Americans will be sitting down to a scrummy Thanksgiving meal. I think Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November?! Being British we don't celebrate this festival- we celebrate just about everything else in a truly commercial way! Christmas, New Year, Valentines day, Fathers day, Mothers Day,Easter,Halloween,Bonfire night and Birthdays- infact you can probably buy a card,balloon,banner,giant cookie etc to celebrate every day of the year. In Spain they seem to have a festival everyday- Saint Who Knows Who, Festival of the Village,Town,City etc. They even have Saints Day-every name is a version of a Saints name, so if it is The Day of Saint Peter,all the Peters (or Peres as they say in Spain) will have a party and get prezzies. The list is endless but all these festivals have a common denominator- commercialism.

I am sure I do not need to harp on about how the true meaning of these festivals has been lost under piles of tinsel,cards and other tat. We are all guilty of spending ridiculous amounts of money on holiday rubbish and, with so much to choose from, the saying "It's the thought that counts" is made null and void (you don't have to put much thought into things these days, just take your pick from the zillion impersonal gifts on offer in the shops!)

Tomorrow, no doubt, many a butcher, stationary store, florist etc will be rubbing their hands in glee, counting up their dollars and giving thanks for Thanksgiving.

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving-just in between mouthfuls, spend a nano second remembering the real reason for the celebration-if you remember!

Last night I looked in my sparsely stocked fridge and gave thanks that there were some sausages and some brie. Yippee, I didn't have to have cereal for supper,instead I concocted the following:-

Super Sausages and Beautiful Brie (serves 2)

(actually the brie was a bad purchase-very poor quality, but for this recipe it doesn't matter!)

You will need:-

6 sausages

half a pack of brie (or any cheese that melts)

1 baguette (or any crusty bread you have lying about or in the freezer)

Cook sausages. Cut them in half up the middle. Put the halved sausages on a baking tray and put thin slices of brie on top. Whack all this under a hot grill until cheese bubbling. Carefully put sausages and cheese on top of baguette and EAT!

A great feel good supper that is cheap and easy to make!

Monday, November 23, 2009

When I was young!

Just looking at my daughter lying on the sofa. She has the T.V on, laptop on the table infront of her, Nintendo on the blanket next to her and a glass of juice in her hand. Yes, she is off school sick. Now when I was young....... I lay in bed all day when I was sick. No T.V, computers etc. If I was lucky I was allowed to read my book. If not, the rule was, you are sick therefore should not be able to do anything. Yes, it did make me want to go back to school, being ill better than being bored! Should I be harder on my daughter? I don't think so,here is why:-

When I was young school was fun and we were not under continual assessment and exam pressure. The majority of the teachers enjoyed their jobs and passed over the necessary information in a fun, interesting manner (ok, there were some miserable, old teachers but they were generally the ones that must have been at least 112 years old). School inspections, targets etc were not the most important factor for head teachers.

When I was young we had the freedom to race off on our bikes with our friends. We could explore. We could walk to each others houses without adult supervision. We could get the bus, we could go to the cinema alone. We were taught to make cakes etc. without being terrified of burning ourselves or cutting our fingers off. We played in parks where the equipment had not had to pass so many safety tests that it was rendered boring. The parks had concrete or gravel as a surface- not bounce proof stuff. Big brothers or sisters had to suffer us tagging along to the swimming pool with them. So many things that built up character, sense of adventure, independence and taught us many a hard lesson-but we remembered the lessons we learnt.

Today- we wrap our children in cotton wool so they do not hurt themselves or are in any kind of danger at all. This is admirable, but what happens when they go out into the real world? Or will our children never leave home-too scarey out there?
Ok- just off to fluff up my daughters pillows for her, change the T.V channel (the remote is just out of her reach) and replenish snacks and drinks. Gee, she is lucky!
My Grandmothers Cure!
Just got this off my Dad. I know now we have all sorts of sprays, sweets etc to soothe a sore throat but here is a blast from the past.
Hot Lemon and Honey.
Put 3 or 4 slices of lemon in a mug, add a good dollop of honey (let patient lick honey spoon clean) and fill mug with boiling water. Poorly person should sip this to ease their sore throat and boost their vitamin C levels.
My Dad's Mums recipe actually used sugar not honey. Over 18's, at night add a splash of whiskey to the lemon,honey and water.
Off to buy lemons!

An Aquired Taste.

Have a child off sick today so not much time for neglecting her! Some poeple when thay are ill lose their appetite. I don't! I crave more food than I would usually eat in a week and it all has to have lots of taste. This sandwich filling is one of my favourites (ill or not). It is from The North East of England (home,sweet,home). Those poor Southerners don't even know it exisits: Try it and spread the word. 2010 will be the year of :.-


Grate any hard cheeses you have lying in the fridge-you can mix as many as you like.

Put grated cheese in a bowl with 1/4 of an onion (finely chopped),salt and pepper and enough dollops of mayonaise(if you are ill,make it full fat-you need building up!) as it takes to mix all in the bowl into a delicious,claggy concoction.

Use the above as filling for a sandwich (add some sliced iceberg lettuce) or as a filling for a baked pototoe. Don't be stingy with the quantity! If you are really feeling poorly, I give you permission to stand infront of fridge in your pyjamas and eat spoonfuls of the mixture,straight from the bowl. Warning do not let others eat this cheese savoury if you have been snacking on it-sharing is lovely but not when it is sharing your germs!

It's a Cats Life

In my next life I want to come back as one of my cats. Not any old cat-one of my cats. what a life they have-

That Darn Cat.

Geez I am tired. What a day! Started this morning at half five- She ruthlessly kicked me out of the bedroom. I just don’t get it; what could be lovelier than being woken up bright and early by a good looking guy like me paddling on your stomach and howling in your ear? I was a bit peckish, hadn’t eaten in over two hours, but first I had to get past the two hissing, spitting balls of fur I share this place with-Girls, I will never understand them. Before cruising the food bowls I decided to check in on the latest addition to the house. Got to feel sorry for her- God hasn’t been kind to that cat-dodgy ears, weird nose, shocking excuse for a tail and truly bizarre way of moving about. Poor bugger doesn’t even get to sleep on the bed-rattles round its cage eating paper! They call it Bunny- what kind of name is that for a feline? Actually I think They have rotten taste in names; take mine for instance- Stinky! I see myself as a Charles (suitably royal) or a Valentino (one for the ladies).

Right, back to the food bowls. Empty! No problem- I will just go and howl lovingly outside her door; works every time. Ooof, She is looking really rough this morning. Hey, careful you don’t stand on me as I walk in figures of eight round your ankles. Good woman, get that tin open. Nope, not my favourite- something else please. Got to be quick before “Hiss” and “Spit” get here. Whoa- not so quick Missus- don’t forget to leave the back door open for me or I’ll just have to come a howlin’ again. Perfect, just trip Her up one more time as She stumbles back to bed.

So, what’s new on the street today? Oh no! Not you. This other cat has a nerve. Not only does he look exactly like me- except my tail is much shorter, stubbier, more broken and cuter than his, but he wears a girly collar with a bell on it. Firstly that collar threw me- wasn’t until I had put on my best show ( huge yawns to show “her” how big my teeth were, how big I was fully stretched out and how fantastic I was at running wildly for no reason at all) that “she” turned her back on me and I realized “she” was a “he”! Secondly that collar scuppers all my chances of catching birds to “play” with.

On the subject of birds; wonder if I should go get another one to play with? Actually as play mates go, birds are pretty useless; knock them about a bit and then they go and die on you. But it’s worth it just to see Their faces when I race into the house to show Them my latest play thing- especially if the head has fallen of it. Oh-hang on, She’s left the rubbish bag outside the door for me to wee on. It’s my special “thing” doing a wee on bags- rubbish bags, school bags, shopping bags- I’m not fussy. Quick dash round in circles and pouncing on thin air, five minutes of terrorizing “Hiss” and “Spit” and it must be nap time. Wonder when She will be up to give me more food.

Got to get a cat nap in before the day really gets going because I have a busy schedule. The carpet and sofa need regular scratching; black clothes need sitting on; rubbers and pencils need knocking off the table and losing under chairs and in corners; hairs need leaving on all kitchen surfaces and piles of important papers need attacking. Big part of my day is to defend my territory- I am the only stray allowed in this house. Defending territory involves puffing myself up like a cotton wool ball, making a lot of noise, avoiding looking directly at my adversary (how scary if I saw they were bigger than me!) and more weeing on things. Obviously throughout the day I have to do a lot of deep throat meowing to remind Her to give me food on demand and I have to use my best sneak and attack methods to make sure my other two feline companions stay suitably fluffed up and nervous. Best part of the day is when She has students and I put on my show. First; up on the table, lots of cute purring and parading around in front of them (making sure my bottom is always in their faces) next; for no reason at all, attack them and finally sit on their books and lick my “bits”.

See what I mean about exhausting! I am dog tired – crikey, how could I forget, I have to prance about infront of the dog next door to drive him into a barking, frenzy ( good job he is behind a locked gate otherwise……!!!) One more tripping Her up session; usual evening routine of going to the door to be let out, then not going out, then going to the door again to be let out and then not going out- strangely She doesn’t find this funny, I think it is hilarious, and then mad dash to Her bed to get my sleep spot right in the middle so She has no room. It’s a cat’s life but someone has to do it.