ramtops: (hat)

winter light and shadows

We are about to embark upon a kitchen refit; the prospect fills me with horror, but the end result will be worth it. Tell me it will.
Another thing that horrifies me is the cost of decent appliances – we have a standalone combi microwave (so it is a little oven and grill, as well as a microwave); we paid about £90 for it last year, but built in ones seem to start at the thick end of £600 and just keep going. I’ve been haunting eBay, and finally snared a Neff combi, plus oven, plus cooker hood, for £350 – result.

So yesterday morning we set off for Northallerton, on the edge of the Yorkshire moors, to collect them. We stopped at a Little Thief for an Olympic Breakfast en route, and it really was olympic – neither of us could quite finish it.

We met the chap (who is renovating a really beautiful house, including “just pushing the back wall out 3 ft” – lord knows what that’ll cost him!), and stowed the stuff in the German Barge; the oven went in the boot, and the microwave and hood fitted on the back seat. We wrapped them tenderly in old sheets, and set off for Staithes, a lovely fishing village on the North Yorkshire coast. It’s very steep, but we trolled up and down the hill and little stepped lanes and had a lovely time, finishing with a cuppa and a piece of really very nice coconut, lime and ginger cake in a local cafe. I had a bash at reproducing it yesterday, and my recipe is here.

After Staithes, we drove home across the moor, stopping in Malton en route. Malton is a nice country town, which apparently closes at 4 on a Saturday, but thankfully the nice butcher was still going. They had a BOGOF on pasties and pies, so we bought a couple of each, and some decent bacon. Came home and ate (home cooked) Indian fud.

We think the Neff appliances enjoyed their day out; we thought it a nice idea to give them a treat, as they will shortly be entombed in cabinetry, and set to work for their living.

Yesterday, I made cake, made soup from last week’s lamb bones and a stack of veg, cleaned the new cooker hood, cooked bagels with scrambly egg and bacon for breakfast, had meat and potato pie with cabbage and broccoli for supper, watched Raising Arizona and the BAFTAs … must have done more, but can’t remember.

And now it’s bloody Monday again.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

ramtops: (hat)

Smile please!

Pete has been suffering from A Lurgy, so we weren’t sure whether our planned day out to Lincoln’s Day of (Morris) Dance would come to pass, but he felt OK providing he didn’t have to drive, so off we went.

I love Lincoln – I love all mediaeval cities like Norwich, Chichester, Salisbury, York etc. We’ve only visited once, but it’s going to be somewhere we go regularly, I’m sure. Quite possibly in a fortnight, as there’s a bird of prey display at the Castle, and we found someone who can mend our barometer too!

We gawked in the expensive shops – I fell completely in love with a handbag in a lovely shop where they didn’t seem to mind a bit that I couldn’t afford it, but just brought out different colours for me to try :) We had tea from bone china cups in a little tea room, toiled up and down the hills, decided once again to leave the Castle for another day (see above), and spent quite a bit of time at the Lion and Snake, watching the dancers, particularly the Raving Maes, who I’m thinking about applying to join (although the costumes are probably a bit young for me!)

We had a distinctly indifferent lunch at the pub, and I may well complain to the chain: 35 minutes to produce a couple of sausage baguettes, with a couple of teaspoons of cold caramelised onions from a jar, no cutlery until after the food arrives, *and* a deep sigh when I asked for salt, does not please me particularly. Nor did the advertised “mayo” – no idea what it was, but mayo it most certainly wasn’t. Nice day out, mind, and we bought a couple of splendid stuffed mushrooms, which are destined for tonight’s supper (nice Mr Butcher was quite happy to keep them for us while we wandered round).

supper 5 sept 2010On Sunday, I got up fairly and went for a bike ride – 12.82 miles around the north of the city, to Anlaby Common and thence on to Kirk Ella and West Ella, and home. There are *hills* around there – it’s just on the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds, and it was hard work, but I did it all, so was dead chuffed (and puffed). Came home and ate bacon and egg and sossidge for breakfast, then constructed a huge vat of goulash, and some molten chocolate puddings, for supper with friends. Very sorry to say that they had to cancel due to ill health, so I hope they’ll be well enough to come and eat with us soon – there was enough goulash to freeze! As it happens, I started coming down with the Lurgy last night, and Pete and I were in bed by 9 p.m., so it may have worked out for the best …

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

ramtops: (hat)

Saturday was quite lazy really; Pete manfully cycled firstly into town, to fetch more oats and ingredients to make muesli, and then with his trusty bike trailer to Pets at Home, to purchase cat litter and bikkit, thus dealing nicely with both ends, as it were. I caught up with some Desperate Housewives, tried some low GI-ish sort of baking, and went for a walk through the cemetery, which is full of lovely spring flowers. And dead people.  This brought me out at the end of Princes Avenue on the side of the road I never go – dangerous.  I found two nice shops selling bits – and bought some lovely red beads in the form of a necklace and a bracelet, and some nice greetings cards. Oops.  I was going to go home via the park, but I stopped in the local Sainsburys for some stuff, and the incredible string bag was a bit heavy, so I only did a couple of miles. That was my activity for the day, as far as I recall. Watched the rubbish Doctor Who, cooked a prawn and fennel risotto (with 20% less rice than usual), and a rhubarb crumble (with wholemeal flour and oats), which will do us three days instead of the usual two.

river near DriffieldOn Sunday, we ventured forth to Driffield, a market town in the Yorkshire Wolds. Had a mooch around the town, then set out along the canal for a bit – about 5 miles all told, I’d say. There’s a set of photographs on Flickr if you’d like to see more – a lovely walk, and we shall go there again.

We stopped in Beverley on the way back, as I wanted to pop into Lakeland (it’s quite dangerous living within spitting distance of a Lakeland shop). We bought a new pair of oven gloves (planned), and some small plastic boxes for the freezer, but woe – they have discontinued the range I love, and replaced it with horrible ones with rounded corners, and taller lids, and they won’t stack like the old ones :( I shall write and complain.

Then into Julian Graves for supplies of ground almonds (low carb),  dried cranberries, some yellow raisins, and some chocolate ginger (which ought to be for Pete, but they’re hard to resist …)

Supper was lasagne (with half the amount of pasta I usually use) followed by teeny portions of the rhubarb crumble), but that’s OK because breakfast was three crispbread with marmite and a boiled egg, and lunch was a cereal bar in the car (felt a bit odd after the walk) and half a wholemeal banana muffin. We watched The Dark Knight – at least, Pete did. Far too noisy and splody for my liking, and a bit violent for its 12 rating, I thought, so I gave up about 40 minutes in.  He loved it though, so I’m probably a philistine.

And today, my scales tell me I am no longer officially overweight.  And I don’t care what anyone else’s say.

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

ramtops: (hat)

“Quiet”, would best sum it up, I think.  Stuck a ham hock in the slow cooker in the morning, then took the car out for the first time in a fortnight(!) for the monthly Big Shop, and sallied forth to Makro (mainly for cat food, plus some other bits), Pets at Home (for cat litter), and Asda, for the stuff we couldn’t get in Makro, and also I wanted a basil plant.  We bought a few bits and pieces, and forgot the bloody basil plant.  Then to Grain on Newland Avenue, which we don’t like much, but is the only purveyor of Pete’s blackcurrant juice we can find in the area, and the butcher and greengrocer.

On Saturday afternoon, Pete put up a hanging bracked for the £3 hanging basket (planted, too!) we bought at Walton Street Market on Wednesday.  And then we slumped, apart from trying to work out how Reactive Cooking got hacked, and how to fix it … fix it we did, but how it happened is a bit of a worry.

Watched the last half of Independence Day on C4, which was entirely down to inertia, as the DVD is on the shelf!

On Sunday, we:

  • cooked a big fry up for brunch
  • made a slow cooker’s full of Gujerati beef (recipe to follow)
  • turned 5kg of carrots into wine – well, the start of wine; a couple of quid from Makro for a huge bag, had to be done
  • made some carrot soup with the stock from the ham hock
  • made cheese scones for Sunday tea
  • bottled 11 bottles of red wine

We also got up to date with Brothers and Sisters, which we really like – this season might have new writers, because it seems much wittier this time round.

And that was that.  Tonight we’re off to the Eagle on Anlaby Road to investigate the Hull Transition movement – we go out far more often here than we ever did in Long Ashton!

Mirrored from kestrel.org.

ramtops: (reactive cooking)
chicken and cabbage risottousing up: cabbage, the very last of last week’s roast chicken.

Now, I really didn’t expect this to work at all, but it was really nice, and will be added to my repertoire of cabbage recipes; we get a lot of cabbages in the veg box, so a new dish is quite exciting! ...

read more at Reactive Cooking
ramtops: (reactive cooking)

Liliphant being helpful
Originally uploaded by ramtops
1.5kg chicken thighs turned into lemony chicken with coriander, and chicken tagine with apricot and chickpeas.

All the old veg chopped up and made into soup for next week, with the stock from the gammon cooked in ginger beer (which worked really well).

All helped by Lily sitting on the recipe sheet. But she did do it beautifully ...

cracked ...

Oct. 2nd, 2008 11:10 am
ramtops: (Default)

ye olde lasagne dish

Last night was lentil lasagne - I suppose, in fact, I was using up half of a huge bag of spinach. I had the lentils, I had the bechamel sauce made, I had the spinach, the grated cheese, the lasagne … I got the dish out of the cupboard, and WOE! ...
read more at Reactive Cooking
ramtops: (Default)
jam tarts
… of the oven. I’m trying to cook in a different style - more on the hob, and less lighting of the big oven unless I can use it for more than one thing. I have a decent oven in the microwave, so I use that more now as well.

We were supposed to be going out last night, but one of the cats is unwell, and we didn’t want to leave her. Of course, we had nothing planned for supper, so we pulled the last tub of chilli from the freezer (must make some more!), and as it was frozen solid, I set it in a small cast iron casserole in a low oven to thaw ...
read more at Reactive Cooking
ramtops: (Default)
Now, this really was quite barking, and I wasn’t at all sure it would work, but nothing ventured, etc.

As I said, there was more duck left on the carcass than we thought, so risotto seemed appropriate. Basic rule of risotto in this house is 5 oz risotto rice to 1 pint liquid; the liquid can be anything you like, or a permutation there of - stock, wine, lemon juice, water. So, I thought, in a mad, end-of-the-week sort of way, why not use up the bit of coconut milk left from the spring greens the other night ...

read more at Reactive Cooking
ramtops: (Default)

ye olde lasagne dish

Last night was lentil lasagne - I suppose, in fact, I was using up half of a huge bag of spinach. I had the lentils, I had the bechamel sauce made, I had the spinach, the grated cheese, the lasagne … I got the dish out of the cupboard, and WOE! ...
read more at Reactive Cooking
ramtops: (Default)
spring greens in coconut milk

using up: spring greens

This is a really simple and easy dish, and vegan to boot, which is always useful to have in your arsenal of recipes.

Originally published at Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

lots on the go
Originally uploaded by ramtops
Friday night there was Phil Beer and Reg Meuross at Nailsea Folk Club. We attend the club sporadically; I knocked out a quick site for them as a favour a couple of weeks ago, and now we have free tickets whenever we want. Which is nice.

Later Friday night, and also Saturday night, there was a WASP (link is to [livejournal.com profile] perlmonger's entry. Huge, it was. And determined. I killed it with flea spray in the end.

Saturday involved lunch at our favourite cafe, bit of local shopping, a sleep in the afternoon, and [livejournal.com profile] perlmonger's first attempt at drop scones, which worked better than mine do, so he can do them in future.

Sunday was cooking - see photo, and indeed my post at Reactive Cooking, where I keep most of my food related stuff. P continued War on Fleas, so now the house has all been Dysoned and sprayed. We shall Frontline the Tribe *again* today, and hope that sorts it.

Also, Season II of Babylon 5 finished. What a fine, fine televisual feast this is - it seemed to ramp up several notches during the last episodes of this series, and it was very hard not to start Series III *at once*. And we're out tonight - a no doubt thrilling meeting of the Long Ashton Transition Group.

the mango

Apr. 2nd, 2008 11:37 am
ramtops: (nibblous)
Riverford sent us a mango last week. I'm not that keen on mangoes, to be honest, so it sat in the fridge and looked at us in an accusing manner.

So last night I turned it into prawns with mango and basil, which worked rather better than I thought it would.

This week, Riverford sent us more beetroot ...


Mar. 26th, 2008 05:52 pm
ramtops: (nibblous)
I'm very glad I wrote that last post. It reminded me that the bone from the lamb was sitting in the huge cast iron vat. On the top of the fridge, rather than on the gas, being made into stock.

That situation has now been corrected.
ramtops: (nibblous)
I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to four days of doing what I want - I might do some work for clients, I might do some work for our sites, I might do NO WORK AT ALL if that's what I feel like.

I plan to sort out the pulse cupboard - rice and lentils and nice and so forth. Oddments of packets and all that sort of stuff; I have lots of jars in readiness. I also want to do some spring cleaning type stuff, and maybe some gardening if the weather is good enough.

In the meantime, the Roomba is vacuuming the hall, I have hot cross buns rising ready for the oven, and last night I made my first moussaka evah - and it was gorgeous.

Have a good Easter break, everyone.
ramtops: (nibblous)
Last night, we had the Boy Oliver's Pasta Bake - the one that's been on the television ads, I added a yellow pepper, as we had one in the fridge that was going wrinkly. And we had no fresh red chillis, only green, so we deseeded a dried one and used that. My *word*, it was hot - even [livejournal.com profile] perlmonger thought so. But very nice indeed.

I also managed to use up the hateful beetroot, in a chocolate beetroot cake, which was very nice indeed, much nicer than you might think. Should the ghastly red beets even turn up again, I know what to do with them.

Large pot of lentil, veg and tomato soup also constructed, to assist in fending off the traditional Easter snowstorms.
ramtops: (nibblous)
The tough get ... cooking.

[livejournal.com profile] perlmonger has been up to his eyes today configuring servers; that's not something that I can really help with, so I had a cooking frenzy.

So what did you make, then? )
P is now requesting bananananana muffins, but I think I might be too tired. I'll see.

[edit] Oh yes - I took the half of fresh pineapple that was left, liquidised it, and cooked it down with a little sugar and some cornflour. It's gone in the freezer as a cheesecake topping or summat similar.
ramtops: (Default)
well, not quite - and I will be writing up some stuff about 2006; I bet you can all barely contain yourselves. I hope you all had a jolly time.

we had a very quiet festering season, which is exactly what we wanted. We collected [livejournal.com profile] kalunina from Temple Meads on Friday afternoon, and apart from a brief foray to North Street for veg and brunch on Saturday, we didn't stir out of the house again* until we returned her to Bristol Parkway (why she used two different stations, lord knows). And we saw nobody apart from Pat and Dave (WANOLJ) who popped over on Xmyth Eve with some home made gifts of fudge and damson vodka.

mostly, we cooked and ate, as follows:
  • Friday: lasagne with embedded spinach, something that I tried once when we had some of the green stuff to use up, and it worked fabulously well. Just bung a load of fresh washed spinach in between the last meat and bechamel layers.

  • Saturday: lunch in cafe in North Street, boeuf stroganoff and chips for supper. I know, I know: chips. In my defence, it's Rick Stein's idea, and it works so well ...

  • Sunday was 24 hour roast chili and lemon pork. I was so looking forward to this - and I was all geared up to do all the fiddly stuff on Saturday night. But it was disappointing - very dry, and no gravy juices. Don't think I'd bother again. We had it with sweet potato/ordinary potato mash, which was delicious. And some sprouts.

  • The Day bought forth roast goose with apple sauce, red cabbage, sprouts, roast parsnips, roast spuds, home made sage and onion stuffing. All cooked as a team effort, dished up right on time at 3 p.m., and all perfect. I was well chuffed. We were far too stuffed for pudding, and barely managed anything else all day!

  • Boxing Day - cold cuts, including a gammon boiled and baked in spices according to the blessed Nigella, which was beautiful.

we also consumed home made sossidge rolls (go me), mince pies (dozens), walnut bread (go pete), grapes, and god knows what else.

tonight [livejournal.com profile] perlmonger is cooking his wonderful indian lentils with spinach - we've eaten *far* too well over the past few days, and we're both suffering from it :)

*actually, we did go for a walk down the part of the River Avon trail yesterday, but it was miserable and damp, and the cold got right into my joints. My arthritis really is bothering me right now, but hey ho.

now we're going to go into hibernation until NYE, when we will be holding our usual Open House. If anyone in the Bristol area (or further afield for that matter) would like to join us, drop me a mail to my LJ address, and I'll furnish you with details.
ramtops: (Default)
today, I have been mostly baking. I made a fabulous gruyere and cracked peppercorn bread. Or, at least, it would have been fabulous had I had a decent loaf tin instead of the ancient old things I use. It wasn't /quite/ cooked through, but we toasted it, and it was delicious.

and I made some shortbread bikkies, and cut them out with my festering xmas tree and star cutters. And I made some walnut shortbread, and cut them out ditto, except the recipe said to leave the dough in the fridge for half and hour,and I left it in there for about 5 hours, and had to soften it all up again. But they're out of the oven now, and they're gorgeous. I'm going to bung a bit of icing and some glittery balls [fnaar] on the shortbreads tomorrow.

tomorrow - marzipan the cake, have a bash at sausage rolls {dear god - pastry; I can't do pastry ...), maybe some banana muffins.

I got Pete to drive me up to the Kitchen Shop this afternoon (I can't park the Thaab, try as I might) and bought two new loaf tins, and another heavy duty baking tray - now I'm doing lots of this stuff, I want better quality tins, cos it makes all the difference.

and we called in at the local off licence on the way home and picked up 26 bottles of wine (including some vintage Pelorus - hurrah, and some pink fizz just for [livejournal.com profile] kalunina. There are six assorted bottles of fizz on the top row of the wine rack, which should do us through to next year.)

now I'm sitting here while [livejournal.com profile] perlmonger cooks me a lump of Dexter steak before settling down to the X-Factor (which the Tivo is recording.

all recipes are on Nibblous, should you be interested.


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