Saturday, 6 February 2016

Any ideas for an attention grabbing title? No, me neither.

This is a quick post today - I have a lot of ironing to do, including my surplice and cassock.

 My sore throat is developing but it's developing quite slowly so I'm hoping that tomorrow might be okay. So far today I've taken throat syrup, gargled with soluble aspirin, gargled with apple cider vinegar (yuckity-yuck) and drunk a lot of pineapple juice. I also have an antiseptic mouthwash to try gargling with as well. I shall keep up with this to try to keep the infection at bay. Mr FD resorted to the Very Strong Painkillers last night which gave him a bit of respite, and he's in less pain today, although he is suffering with earache now. He's a martyr to the Ear-Nose-Throat department!

I'm relieved to hear that the Very Strong Painkillers work, so I can use them tomorrow if necessary.

Food has not quite been as planned due to not-feeling-like-it. I think today's planned Creamy Chicken Pots -delicious as they sound! - are going to be abandoned for pizza-from-Natasha's-van. The chicken can go in the freezer for another time.

SUNDAY: There's a finger buffet after my re-commisioning service, so I'll probably just have beans on toast in the evening. Mr FD can have something that I find rooting round in the freezer!

MONDAY: I'd planned a frittata, but we had one on Thursday night so that's out. I could do the chicken pots but it's Mr FD's fasting day, so they're not quite appropriate. I think I'll go for Hairy Dieter's Bean burgers with a chicory/orange salad.

TUESDAY: Baked fish with red peppers and tomatoes This is a link to a PDF of some of the recipe book, so you get some other recipes too! You'll need to scroll down to find the fishy recipe.

WEDNESDAY: Slow Cooker lamb stew I won't be worrying about the gluten-free ingredients mentioned though! Thank goodness I don't have to take that into account!

THURSDAY: Chicken & spinach curry This will go in the slow cooker so it's ready to eat when we get home from teaching/shopping on Thursday evening. It will just need fresh spinach adding for a few minutes.

...for your comments 

Michelle and Trish both said they fancied the look of the no-meatballs. I made them and they were very acceptable. I sprayed them with oil and oven baked them, rather than frying them and they were fine. I hope you enjoy them too.

Maggie liked the look of the sausage one-pot. That was good too. I think the extra veggies that I threw in (mushrooms and courgette) helped, as did using merguez sausages. 

Angeljem & Trish both liked the Lolcat I used - I do like Lolcats, although the "cutsie" Lolspeak can be a bit annoying. But I can usually find at least one that fits nicely with the theme.

Thank you for your reassurances regarding blogs, lost followers and oither such nonsense, Kezzie! And Jan , thank you for your good wishes both for my health & for tomorrow.

And so I must trot off and do my ironing, in the company of Kermode & Mayo's Film Review podcast. It always makes the time go quicker!


Friday, 5 February 2016

Muffin top!

At the moment my sore throat is being held at bay. Mr FD says he feels better after "getting rid of stuff from behind his soft pallette". I really don't want to know quite what "stuff" he is referring too. Suffice to say, he is brighter today.

My planned "hard day's teaching" was curtailed by 4 hours when (rather belatedly) I received an email from the company saying they needed to cancel the lesson. Theoretically I should count it as a late cancellation (less than 24 hours in advance) and charge them for it, but they'd lose 4 hours of their lessons then. It hasn't really inconvenienced me, so I'm not going to bother....Mind you, if they do it again I might be tempted...!!

So, instead of teaching, I did some baking! My Friday afternoon student and I have started a tradition of providing cakes to buck us up late afternoon. So today, finding three pots of purée de pommes/peches  in the cupboard I decided to make muffins! One of the pots must have had a tiny hole in the lid as there was a big spot of mould on top of the purée. If it had just been for us I might have scraped off the mould and risked using it, but for someone else I decided not to.

I used this recipe 

Makes: 8 muffins
  • 110g butter, room temperature
  • 135g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 235ml apple sauce
  • 190g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown soft sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
  1. In a large bowl mix together the butter and the sugar until the mixture is creamy. Beat in eggs and mix well.
  2. Next add the nutmeg, allspice, baking powder and the bicarbonate of soda. Mix in well. Then add the apple sauce and the plain flour mix it in all in and make sure it is light and fluffy. Put the mixture into muffin cases.
  3. Mix in bowl the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the muffins.
  4. Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

The recipe said it would make 8 muffins, but I actually made 14 good sized ones with the amount of mixture  - which Mr FD is very happy about as it means there'll be some for him too! I added some dried cranberries to the mixture as well. I'd've taken a photo but my camera is still mislaid. I think I'm going to have to spend Saturday having a really good look around the house. I can't imagine what has happened to it, as I don't often take it anywhere....

Yesterday afternoon was spent making a card for a friend. I'm rather happy with it, but it did take ages, just because I couldn't decide what to do.  The final card was an easel type card, with a couple of rather neat rosettes on it. If I find the camera before I give her the card, then I'll take a picture.  My inspiration was this card:

but it turned out quite different in the end! 

P.S. I sent Daniel (my student) a quick text to let him know I had made cake. He has just replied:
Yummy !
You know I am greedy.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Sad face: Sore throat

Mr FD has had a horrid, horrid sore throat for the last four days, so bad that he has had to get up in the night because lying down is so painful. He has not been a happy bunny.

Today I am feeling a slight discomfort in my throat and a little bit of burning pain when I swallow. I think it may be creeping up on me. Just in time for a very busy teaching day tomorrow, and then the weekend! Huzzah.

But that's not all...

This Sunday is going to be a special one for me. I'm being recommissioned as a Licensed Lay Minister at church - Archdeacons coming from Marseilles and finger buffets after the service and I suspect that Sunday will be when it is at its raging high point. Fantastic.

What's a girl to do?

After my next lesson (oops, about to start!) I'll be popping out to see what the pharmacy can offer me, but I fear that I'm just going to have to let it run its course, and put up with the pain on Sunday.

I find this advice very helpful though:


Saturday, 30 January 2016

I won't be impressed with technology...

Good morning to all you Dear Peeps!

I see I've lost a couple of Followers...maybe it's something to do with the change in BlogLovin' (or whatever) that has been flying about the Blogosphere recently. As a self-confessed Techno Idiot I didn't really understand what it's all about. I don't "follow" many blogs, but I have bookmarked my favourites to return to over and over. Maybe it means I'll no longer be able to comment - I don't know.

Of course, I could have just lost followers because they are bored with my blog! Perfectly possible!! I know it's not the most rivetting blog around, but I enjoy writing it, and I hope there are one or two people who enjoy reading it. And I hope too that it inspires a few people to try new and different recipes.

Mr FD is on the phone to his mum. He chats for hours to his mum. Me and my mum, we're on the phone for about 10 minutes before we run out of things to say. A quick exchange of news and it's finished! 

And there's never much news, as this blog testifies!

This week, I've been preparing lessons, and teaching. That's about it... We had a little apèro at one of my students' homes - he's going to be renovating our bathroom, so Mr FD popped in after the lesson to discuss the quote and to have a little drink. I tried Japanese whisky for the first time, and was pleasantly surprised. 

We went to Ikea and I bought some neat little shelves to put some crafting stuff on. They fit very neatly between my desk and my existing shelves, without blocking the vent for the chimney. I'm very happy with them (although they did need to be "tied" to the wall, and have a pad of about 1 cm height shoved under the front feet, to counteract the slope on the floor!)

I'm doing a little bit of craft work, but I can't show you as 
(a) it's for a swap, so I'd like it to be a surprise for my swapee
(b) I can't find the camera. No idea where it might be. So I can't take any photos at the moment.

So instead I'll tell you about planned food.
Yesterday we had a rather unpleasant moussaka, made with leftover lamb from the shepherd's pie. I did it in the slow cooker, so it should have been unctuous and gorgeous, but it was watery, and almost tasteless. We ate it, but not with much pleasure, it must be said.

TODAY: Mediterranean Sausage One-Pot.I shall add a courgette and maybe some mushrooms to add to the vegetable content. I'm using merguez sausages this time, rather than Toulouse sausages, so it may be a bit spicier.

SUNDAY: Steak with blue cheese parpadelleI won't be using fancy-named pasta though! It's whatever pasta we have in the cupboard from Lidl! I'm not a great blue cheese fan, but there are one or two recipes where I find it tolerable, so I thought I'd try this one.

MONDAY: Mr FD's fasting today it's "No meatballs" - made with aubergine. I'll make these with a tomato/onion sauce and we'll have a bit of rice with them too. The recdipe suggests "sizzling" them in olive oil. We have just bought a new non-stick pan, so I may try browning them in just a mist of oil in the new pan, to save on calories.

TUESDAY: Another vegetarian meal! Parisian red peppers. I have a pack of chilli halloumi cheese that I bought in the UK in summer (I haven't seen it in France) with a use-by date coming up. It seems like this would be a good opportunity to use it.

WEDNESDAY: Slow Cooker beef cheeks in ale Unfortunately we couldn't get beef cheek, so it's not as economical as it could be, but I'm hoping that the quantity will do 3 meals for 2. I'll be putting it in the freezer. Mr FD will be in charge of the accompaniements of mashed potato & carrots.

THURSDAY: Orange & herb chicken - but with just oranges and chicken legs. I can put this in the slow cooker before we go out teaching/shopping. As it's another fsting day for Mr FD, I'll probably have some bread, but he'll just have veggies.

FRIDAY: I haven't decided yet, but it's likely to be a slow cooker recipe that I can prep before going to Montbrison to teach...but as I only have an hour between getting back from one lesson and having to leave for Montbrison, I may choose something that Mr FD will have to cook himself. From scratch. Which is no problem for him! But in that case, whatever it is, it won't involve chilli of any kind. The last two times he has cooked something involving chilli, he put in too much and I found it almost impossible to eat. He has a higher tolerance for spicy food than I do.

As always I want to say Thank You for your comments...
Kezzie: when I left teaching in mainstream education I had cupboards full of Just-in-Case resources which, truth be told, I hadn't used in many years...A lot had come from my mum's resources when shez left teaching! It pained me to have to throw it out, but not many of the staff wanted any of it. Did your advisor make any comment about your paperwork mountain?!

Dawn: Thank you for your comment - and yes, the teaching was fine! It was a bit tricky as the two lower level students had forgotten almost everything and the other two hadn't, but at least I had enough to keep everyone occupied. They like me as a teacher, which helps, and they have intimated that they want to have further hours with mle. I suggested they might like to consider splitting the group.

Maggie: I used to do ballroom dancing, but it was by myself, as Mr FD refuses to dance. It didn't work, as I never had a regular partner. Line-dancing suits me better as you don't need a partner for that!

Lovely Grey: I hope you enjoy the salmon!
Jo: I hope you decide to join in with 40 Acts. I  found it inspirational last year. Here's this year's video...


Saturday, 23 January 2016

Welcomes, Work and What-We're-Eating

Hello, hello Lovely Peeps!

Firstly, I need to say a big Fat Dormouse Welcome to two new Followers. First there is Rae from Felt By Rae who is my swap partner for Mad About Bags's Send A Little Love swap. Then we have Jo from A Whole Plot of Love . 
It is lovely to have you both along for the ride!

 I've been quite busy this week. A couple of weeks back I organised my craft shelves to make them more user friendly (although I am still finding myself , hand hovering by the shelves, thinking "Where did I put that?")

Then I decided I needed to sort out my teaching shelves - I have SO many bits of paper and folders full of lesson plans from various companies. As so many teachers may recognise, I have a "well, it might come in useful one day" mentality. Having gone through folders and thrown out (or rather, put into a bag to be taken to the recycling skip!) things which haven't come in useful in the last 5 years (possibly because I'd forgotten I had them!) or things of which I discovered I had 10 copies, I have reduced the amount of shelf space taken up with folders. It's taken me about two days to do, but I feel I've made inroads. However I do have a very large pile of "Filing" - that is to say the things that I do think will be useful, but which require putting in the appropriate folder. Not looking forward to that job one little bit!

Teaching is going well, and I'm starting to pick up some more jobs. One I'm not looking forward to though is on Monday. It's with a nice group that I taught last year, BUT in 2014/15 they had 50 hours planned, but only completed 34 of those hours before stopping in April (too busy, I believe) Which means I am now having to do 16 hours with a group who, if I'm brutally honest, didn't get very far in their first 34 hours. I'm going to spend all the time revising what we've already done, only to run out of time so we don't progress much further. It's been, difficumlt planning the first 4 hour lesson (aargh!) because I have no idea what they will have remembered & what they will have forgotten. Added to which, there was a definite split in abilities. Oh well. It's work. Which is always nice!!

Anyway, what's the Food plan this week?

TODAY: Pasta bake, using bits and bobs from the fridge. I had planned something different but then forgot to buy the vital ingredients!!

SUNDAY: Honey Duck Breast with broccoli. I bought 3 duck breasts at half price a few weeks ago, and put them in the freezer. Time to pull one of them out, I think! I love duck!!

MONDAY: Monkfish kebabs (but we're having them with noodles and stir fried veggies, not with rosti)

Mr FD will be cooking this one, as I'm teaching until 7.00 in Montbrison, so I won't get home until 7.45. 

TUESDAY: Root vegetable Boulangèrefrom the Hairy Dieters, plus grilled pork chops. We're going to Ikea today, where I hope to pick up one of their frozen hams. They sold them last Christmas - ready boiled for roasting. It's hard to find a gammon joint here, so these are useful. I'm hoping they will have some from this Christmas.

WEDNESDAY: Shepherds Pie - the recipe from my Slow Cooker bok, involves slow cooking a shoulder of lamb, then shredding the meat and topping with potatoes. I'll start off the joint in the slow cooker before I go out in the morning, then Mr FD will be in charge of the rest before I get home from dancing.

Last week I had a lesson cancelled and so was able to do all the Debutant AND all the Novice dance sessions. I was knackered at the end. I really do have to practise this weekend as the new dance we learned was easy-but-complicated. Should you feel inclined to watch what I get up to, here's another group dancing this one

THURSDAY: Using up some of the shepherd's pie mix, we'll have "ding" cuisine when we get back from shopping/teaching tonight. With rice and vegetables.

FRIDAY: I haven't planned this yet as I do the next week's plan on Thursday before going shopping. Last Friday we had Spanish-style chicken done in the slow cooker - peppers, olive, chorizo.

Thank you for your comments!
Lovely Grey clicked on the Tortoise link from last week...If you haven't, please do.  I don't know if you made the salmon & chickpea dish, but Mr FD did. It was lush. I recommend it.

Sorry there's nothing more exciting for me to write about. Hey-ho! I do admire people who can find things to blog about every day. Mind you, starting from February 10th I'll be blogging about 40 Acts again, over at The Teapot! 

I'm looking forward to this again - it has certainly made a difference in my life - not a big one, it's true, but I have learned to look at situations through more generous eyes (from time to time)! Still a work in progress , of course!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Possibly the most important tortoise you'll ever meet

Hello dear Peeps.

The very first thing I want to do is share this. Please watch it, as a tribute to the late, great Alan Rickman. One of the last things he did was to do the voiceover for this video - it is helping refugees.

I've put it on my Facebook page. If you are so inclined, perhaps you could put it on yours too.

Thank you.

 I've been making cards this week - if you wish you can see them over at The Teapot.

Yesterday evening we had a very enjoyable dinner - a really easy oven-baked risotto, with bacon and leeks. Similar to this recipe but with leeks instead of onions and no cherry tomatoes. I also stirred in a big spoonful of cream cheese near the end of cooking which added to the creaminess. We had it with a chicory based salad.

TODAY I have planned baked sausages with two onion marmalade. I will pop a couple of potatoes in the oven to bake and probably squeeze in a dish full of endives for good measure. 

We'll have this with gnocchi and green beans. And possibly carrots too.

MONDAY: Aubergine lasagne - except with my lasagne I'm not actually using any pasta! The aubergine is the layering material. I think it involves a bit of crumbled feta in the sauce too (I don't have the recipe handy, and Bib the cat is resting on my arm so I can't disturb her to go and see.)

Eeeew - triple chins!!!
TUESDAY: Chicken-and-olive casserole I'm teaching so will be late home. Mr FD is in charge. I started with this student last week - he is a real sweetie! Loves talking - which always makes life easier! On Thursday I had a phone lesson with someone who gave one sentence answers to all my questions, which made for a difficult 45 minutes! Daniel does not have that affliction - the problem may be stopping him talking long enough to teach some grammar!!

Again, Mr FD is in charge. I was going to choose another curry recipe, but I'm a little wary of Mr FD's curries now. When he made the curry last Wednesday I couldn't eat it! It was too spicy. In fact, he agreed it was too spicy, as even he - who likes a hot curry - couldn't finish it. I managed to pick the veggies out, and eat those. But his flatbreads were absolutely delicious!!! I couldn't fault those.

THURSDAY: Tomato and bacon sauce, with mashed sweet potatoes (cooked in the microwave) and salad. This is a quick throw-together meal for when we get back from shopping.

So there you are! The menus that are planned for this week.

As always, thank you for your comments.

obviously going with the tortoise theme this week!!
POMPOM - Thanks for the dinner invite last week. I don't often eat shellfish & crustaceans so lobster will be a treat!
I assume KEZZIE doesn't like mushrooms! How can you not like mushrooms?! (Well, I understand how you can't like mushrooms, as I don't like brussel sprouts, but all the same...)


Friday, 15 January 2016