Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Bags One For Me!

Do you have an accumulation of bags? Years ago, I read that the average family has 17 plastic carrier bags [this was in the days before bags-for-life, and biodegradable ones, when the shops gave them away free] Most of my bags now are thin cotton tote bags. "I've collected up all the bags," Bob said "and put them in one 
bag, on a hanger in the Futility Room" I thanked him, admitting that did look a lot tidier. Then when he was busy watching The Mandalorian, I sneaked in and tipped them out - that one bag had ten more inside it. I daren't tell him I've already found five more in other places...
Liz lent me her book of Brian Bilston poems -this one seems to have been written especially for me
you have bags of bags

in your bags 
you keep more bags all bagged up 
in bags for life.

if there was a competition for number of bags
you would have it
in the bag

i dont know why you need so many bags
its not as if you have anything to put in them

except other bags.

Monday, 26 October 2020

They Dined On Quince

Unlike the owl and the pussycat, I don't possess a runcible spoon, but when Liz mentioned that someone in her village had put out a help-yourself-box full of quinces, I thought I ought to at least try this unusual fruit. I collected about a third of the box contents [thank you, generous householder, whoever you are] They weighed in at 1.5kg. 
I considered making quince jam [the Portuguese word for quince is marmelo - from which we get marmalade]  and also membrillo -the quince fruit paste which the Spanish serve with manchego cheese. In the end, Liz and I decided a simple fruit compote would be most versatile. I checked out the internet and found this recipe.
Nigel Slater says get a good knife- cutting and peeling is difficult- and you need to cut out the woody core, and manky
brown bits. 
Peeling was laborious - look at that one that looks like a"builder's bum" - some fruits looked fine outside, but were bad inside. In the end I got just under 3 jars of fruit. 
And I reduced the syrup, as Nigel suggests - this jewel coloured liquid can be swirled into yogurt, drizzled over pancakes, or stirred into sparkling water. 
Things to note 
  • the flesh is white [as you are preparing, drop it into acidulated water or it will discolour] but it cooks to a an apricot/pink shade, and the syrup reduces to this lovely pink.
  • it has a beautiful fragrance [and yes, I could smell it as the pieces bubbled away in the poaching syrup]
  • the compote will keep up to a week in the fridge- or can be frozen. So Liz had a jar, I have a jar- and the remainder is in the freezer.
If something is like a quince, is it quince-ish, or quincy?
Here's a trivial fact - in the TV series, we never did discover Quincy's first name -although in Episode #33, we saw a business card showing his first initial was 'R'. At least Colin Dexter finally revealed that Morse's moniker was Endeavour!

Sunday, 25 October 2020



Our service at UCF today will be led by friends from the charity Christians Against Poverty. The service will be livestreamed from 10.30am. The link is HERE. [if you get stuck, go to YouTube and type in United Church Ferndown] 

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Nuns With Guns?

There we were, driving up the A11 towards Cornerstones and I saw a van. "Whatever are actuators and dash pots?" I asked Bob. I knew that actuaries deal with risk and insurance. But who are these guys? To call somebody a dashpot sounds a bit insulting. It seems they are mechanical terms, actuators are involved with valves, dashpots with shock absorbers. 

We continued on our way and then Bob said "What's that?! - Catholic Protection?" a van shot past us   He had misread the wording [this picture is from their website, I never managed to get a picture] ACAPS is Anglia Cathodic Protection Services [electrical stuff]  I was quite disappointed - I did so want there to be Nuns-With-Guns, or at the very least, Father Dylan with a taser hidden under his surplice
Now we're at Cornerstones for a few days. With some odd jobs to do. These are listed on the blackboard in the Futility Room. 
In case you are wondering, we took a poster out of a clip frame and put it in a better frame, and it's slipped! 
Looking forward to some Serious Relaxing, and not too many chores over the weekend. Grateful to the team back to UCF for organising the Sunday service. 

Friday, 23 October 2020

Mairzy Doats And Dozy Doats...

 ...And Liddle Lamzy Divey

I always thought that was a daft song, but like mares and does, I enjoy eating oats - on cold winter mornings I eat porridge, and usually throw a handful of oats into my toppings for fruit crumbles, and I love sweet oaty biscuits, and savoury oatcakes. Currently avoiding granola, not wishing to damage my temporary filling - but fond of the softer, fruity muesli. 

A recent pantry audit revealed quite a few containers with small amounts of nuts and dried fruits. I decided to use them up by making a batch of muesli. 

I picked up a huge bag of five flake muesli base for £5 on Salisbury Market. Oats, plus wheat, barley, rye and toasted malted barley flakes. I spent my loyalty points on a bag of dried apple flakes in Grape Tree. Then I added my leftovers - fruit raisins, cranberries, dates [chopped] sultanas, nuts almond, walnuts, hazel nuts and a few pistachios seeds I had a jar of mixed seeds. By weight, I used 80% flakes, 15% fruit, 5% nuts and seeds. I mixed up 500g at a time in a big bowl. Some commercial muesli has added sugar and/or milk powder. Mine doesn't. To keep it fresh, I packed it in lock'n'lock boxes. 
And here it is. I think this has worked out about 50% of the cost of "luxury muesli" from the supermarket, and tastes lovely and fruity. Being away for so long over the summer meant my baking supplies didn't get used up as fast they might have done. This has cleared the shelves and I can get fresh stocks for my Christmas baking. 
This little stack will provide plenty of breakfasts, with cold or hot milk - and I can make some flapjacks or streusel type toppings too. 

Another opportunity to avoid food waste, in a creative way

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Pålegg Or Opsony?

Pålegg [pronounced paw-leg] is a Norwegian word. I learned it recently on Carole's Blog. It basically means 'spread' or 'something-to-put-on-a-slice-of-bread'. I was intrigued, I knew about smorgasbord, the Scandinavian open sandwiches, but didn't realise there was a name for the topping. I investigated further. One writer sniffily declared that those who say there is no direct English equivalent are wrong, because we Brits have the word opsony. Well that was a new word for me too. It comes from the Latin opsonium, and was in use till about 1800. So now when Bob suggests a snack, perhaps some bread or toast, I can ask him "What opsony would you like, darling?" 

Most of the time, my preferred opsony would be Marmite. 

His would be crunchy peanut butter. Just occasionally we have both - a thin smear of Marmite, topped with PB. 

So you'd have expected us to like this new product. But sadly we tried it and we're disappointed. It didn't taste right at all and the nut pieces were too... regular. We shall keep to our separate opsonies, and only mix them occasionally! 

What's your favourite opsony? 

PS - I also like lingonberry jam from IKEA - but being Scandinavian that would have to be described as a pålegg

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Happy Birthday Steph

To a brilliant daughter, sister, friend, wife, and now mum. This past year has been the strangest ever, full of sadness, sickness, sunshine and some incredibly special moments. You've coped so amazingly well with all that life has thrown at you in the past twelve months - but you always bounce back, sparkling and radiant as ever. God bless you today and always - and may your birthday be full of love and joy.  Looking forward to seeing you again before too long.