Saturday, 13 December 2014

Christmas is coming, the Mouse is getting fat!

Well, not really. I am still fasting (or semi-fasting) two days a week, but I think that after next week I may let that slide for a couple of weeks.

 I have been buying "little extras" for the last couple of weeks, and on Thursday I went to the Irish Shop in Clermont and bought mince pies! Woo-hoo! I know that lots of people make their own, but I'm useless at making pastry, and I find it all a bit of a faff. So Mr Kipling has come (rather expensively!) into our house for Christmas - but I fear he will be devoured sooner than 25th!
I have found a recipe for festive alternative mince pies (sort of mince buns) which I think I will try.
(15 minutes later after I have trawled through the Facebook site where I found the recipe!):
 4oz SR flour, 4oz butter, 4oz golden castor sugar, 2 eggs - 
mix ingredients all together and the add 3 heaped tablespoons of mincemeat. 
Divide into 24 paper cake cases and bake on electric number 5 for 20 minutes. 
Once cool make Orange glaze which is 3/4 tablespoons of icing sugar, grated orange peel and 1-2 teaspoons of the Orange juice to mix it all together and coat tops of the cakes.
We have a Christmas party at Line Dancing next Wednesday, so I think these would be a good thing to make and take. I have a jar of mincemeat from last year, so I'll use that. We have been asked to wear Christmas hats so I have decided to use a straw hat from last summer, with tinsel and Christmas stars on it. I didn't want to buy a cheap and tacky Santa hat, so I thought this would be a festive - and appropriate - alternative. 

I'm also out for lunch with some students on Thursday, so Mr FD will be fending for himself those two evenings (except that I'll cook it and he'll just need to heat it up!) He is recovering well from his operation, although he is still in some discomfort, especially as the staples were removed yesterday. He can do a few things, but mostly he's just moving between the sofa and the computer in the dining room.

I was happy to receive my Christmas Cracker swap from Ellie at Feltabulous on Tuesday. I wasn't going to open it, but she persuaded me to do so! I took lots of photos, but as my friend borrowed my camera-to-computer cable and hasn't returned it yet, I can't transfer them. Suffice to say, I was very happy (earrings! Chocklit! Lovely vintage paper!) and hope she was as happy with the presents I sent her. I can't remember what I sent, but will link to her blog when she posts about it. I did (bien sur!) send a zentangle. I have to do a zentangle today for the Secret Santa at the Christmas lunch on Thursday.
I have also bought a stollen and some Pain de Noel - which is a nutty/fruity loaf which will be delicious toasted with lots of butter!!
In the past weeks, I have purchased a whopping slab of smoked salmon (half price! Now in the freezer), foie gras, luxury nuts and fruit mix, chocolates, florentines, bottles of wine and fizz and crispy things. We're almost set.  It's much easier to spread the shopping over a few weeks - but it's not so easy to resist the temptation of pralines that are sitting there, waving at you! 

We still haven't decided what our main course will be. We are tossing up between duck and beef wellington. I think the beef wellington will win.
with roast potatoes, parsnips, and a green vegetable.

Menus this week are reasonably straightforward:

TODAY: Hairy Dieters' Caribbean Chicken curry

SUNDAY: Hairy Dieters' Pork with apples and cider - basically this recipe but with a rolled shoulder, and no cream! Though I like the idea of cream and as it's not a fast day we may indulge!

MONDAY: Cold pork, chips and ratatouille.

TUESDAY:(fasting)  Bean burgers, and salad

WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY (for Mr FD) Soufflés Lyonnaises with a chorizo/bacon/tomato sauce.
This is a picture of a Lyonnaise soufflé. They are a kind of dumpling-y thing which puffs up when cooked in a sauce - often they are made with minced pike, or chicken, but you can buy them "nature" which is made with just eggs and flour etc. They are nicer than they sound!


FRIDAY: Hairy Dieters' Spaghetti with prawns and courgettes (Not quite but nearly this recipe)

 Thank you again for comments!

TRISH: Colouring books for adults have really taken off here in France - there are loads of them! I bought one myself, but more for the sayings than for the colouring...although I do find it therapeutic. For example, you could buy this...

 ...but I prefer my Zentangling!

SARA-LOUISE: I like ostrich and I have noticed it's taking off at the moment in France...There was a vast array in Carrefour yesterday. I just bought Beef Cheeks however (ready prepared) as Mr FD loves them!

MAGGIE: I think you should try ostrich (and kangaroo) - both are  lower in cholesterol than beef, I believe, and they are a tasty alternative.

KEZZIE - get thee to thy freezer and clear it out!! You never know what you will find!

And this is why we only have Christmas twigs this year:

 (Though even the Christmas twigs have caused rather too much interest!)

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Goodness me, where does the time go?!

17h03 on Sunday evening and I haven't had time to blog this weekend!!

Where does the time go?

As the old saying goes: Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana. (I looked for a picture of fruit flies, but they all made me feel a bit itchy!) So here's a rather nice clock instead...


What did we do this weekend? Mundane tasks really- cleaned the litter trays, made soup, did a bit of cleaning, did my ironing, caught up with "Coronation Street" (so - not just "not having time"!), had a cup of coffee with a friend who popped round, sorted out cards to sell at church and finish a Zentangle for someone at church.And my favourite monthly task - calculating my bills and sending them all out. That is what took a lot of Saturday morning, if I'm honest - as well as some of this afternoon. Sigh.

Anyway, food this week isn't very exciting, I'm afraid.

YESTERDAY: Shepherd's Pie with broccoli

TODAY: Ostrich stroganoff (I bought some ostrich steaks in Lidl.) with rice and mange touts.


How could I? Look at those beautiful eye-lashes!!

MONDAY: "Ding" cuisine with the shepherd's pie plus some roasted veggies from the freezer to pad it out.

TUESDAY: Hairy Dieter's lamb, spinach and potato curry. Because there are potatoes in the curry it doesn't need rice. We'll probably have dollops of yoghurt mixed with mango chutney though.

WEDNESDAY: Gammon steaks (brought back from the UK, and in the freezer) with macaroni-and-broccoli-cheese. I'm late in from dancing and Mr FD goes to see friends for a dtink, so this will just need to be popped in the oven as I'll prep it on Tuesday (I think I'll have time between planning and lessons)

THURSDAY: Chicken-and-cashew stir fry. Maybe with a bit of rice.

FRIDAY: Can't remember! Something fairly quick-and-easy, I would imagine.Probably not fasting, but not eating too much! No snacks today, but maybe some breakfast!

Mr FD is in hospital on Thursday for a hernia operation, so - depending on his desire to eat food on Thursday evening - we may have the stirfry on Friday and I'll just have something on Thursday evening that I've thrown together...There's always pasta-veggies-and-cheese, if nothing else!

POMPOM & KEZZIE: I had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner, and thank you for your good wishes.

Lots of you commented on my Freezer audit - it has been very useful as I've been eating out of it quite a lot these past two weeks. There's still a lot in there, but I'll need to do a refill soonish. I'll probably nip into Lidl next Friday with a freezer bag and penguins after my lesson. 

In case you're wondering, when I talk about penguins I mean these:

not these:

I think that when mum first bought some ice packs the brand name was "Penguin" and so we've called them that ever since! 

And where would we be without a LOLcat to finish with:


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Stuffed like a turkey!

It was the Church Thanksgiving dinner today! A delicious meal but it means I got home quite late and don't really have time to blog...especially as we were out all day yesterday - lunch at a friend & colleague of Mr FD followed by a film (Interstellar) in Lyon.

I've eaten very well this weekend, but not had a chance to do much else. Dinners from the freezer again this week!

Sorry to be short and sweet but I haven't prepared for tomorrow's lessons yet!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Rooting through the Freezer

Just a quick edit - for those who might be interested, I have another blog as well, over at The View from the Teapot.

This blog, Fat Dormouse Getting Thinner,  is more about my foodie adventures...but not completely...General woffle really!

 A Fat Dormouse

Last week I said I needed to do a "Freezer Audit" which I did on Monday afternoon, and I discovered that I had a lot more in there than I actually this week we are mostly eating from the freezer!

This morning I have been making a couple of condolence cards -  Alison, Gerome and the children are returning from the UK this weekend after the death of Alison's father. Although I sent a card to the family in the UK (to Alison, her mum,  & her brother), I wanted to give a card to the family here...The kids have lost their granddad, and Gerome his father-in-law, so they too will be grieving. I wanted to give a card to them too. Another friend also wanted to give a card, so I made one for her too.

This afternoon - or maybe tomorrow - I'll make a couple of meals to leave in their fridge so they don't have to think about cooking for a couple of days. I'm not sure if Alison is coming back with Gerome, but if she's not, it will be good for Gerome not to have to think about cooking for the kids (especially as he works) So I'm making a sausage-and-tomato sauce - pasta bake, and a cottage pie. I don't think the kids are very fussy about their food, so I hope they'll like the dishes. I'll also pop the makings of a raclette in the fridge too - an easy meal to have at the end of a difficult day.

(I'm only providing cheese, ham and potatoes. If they want anything else, tough!!)

I've not done quite so well with 5:2 recently. I manage okay through the day, but somehow it all goes a bit pear shaped in the evening. Still, I suppose I'm eating less calories than I usually would, & I'm reasonably careful through the rest of the week.
Our meals for this week are planned to be:
TODAY: Pulled pork from the freezer, tortillas from the freezer, salad.

SUNDAY: Turkey joint stuffed with mushrooms from freezer, (I bought it in Lidl for €5,99 & it looks good. It will certainly do two meals, and I'm hoping for sandwich filler from it too!) roast potatoes and roast vegetable ratatouille.

MONDAY: As yesterday but with pasta (from freezer), mushroom sauce and veggies.

TUESDAY: Hairy Dieter's Quick Cod Gratin - I've had this planned for 3 weeks but never quite got around to having it for various reasons! Maybe this week...everything we need is in the freezer.

WEDNESDAY: Beef casserole (from freezer) padded with rat from Sunday, jacket potatoes and peasncrots.
THURSDAY: Spinach and cheese soufflé omelette with potato wedges.

FRIDAY: Chilli bean and beef stoup.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled & chopped
2 cloves garlic
250g stewing steak
2 tsp chilli powder
0.5 tsp cumin
400g chopped tomatoes
1.25 L beef stock
350g butternut squash, cubed
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
400g red kidney beans

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/GM4 . Heat oil in a flameproof casserole. Add onion & cook for 3 minutes, then add garlic & stewing steak. Fry for 5 minutes or so.
  2. Season, and add spices. Cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring well.
  3. Add the tomatoes, stock, squash & vinegar. Bring to boil, cover and transfer to oven. cook for 2 hours, until the meat is really tender.
  4. Stir in the drained beans and warm through on hob. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.
It's not quite a stew, but not quite a soup. Hence, a stoup. This has, apparently 200 calories a serving (this quantity serves 4) 
This recipe is from the Woman magazine 500 Calorie Diet Complete Meal Planner booklet. There are lots of great 5:2 recipes in it, all under 300 calories. I am impressed by the book, which I have used quite a lot.

Thank you as always for comments. They are what makes blogging a pleasure! Nobody commented on the song that I posted about on Remebrance Day, but I do hope you listened - I think it is such a beautiful song!
POMPOM: If you get the Hairy Dieters books I hope you enjoy the recipes. Ang at Tracing Rainbows is hosting A Pause in Advent this year, so you could join up with her this year if you wish. 
Have a good week, dear Readers, and enjoy your food - whatever you're having!
Anyone for lasagne?!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Peace has to be learned

Apparently that great orator (!) Sylvester Stallone once said:
"I could start a war in 30 seconds. But some countries spend 100 years trying to find peace. Just like good manners, peace has to be learned."
I don't know if this was in a role for a film, or as Sylvester Stallone, but on today, Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, call it what you will, it's a thought worth thinking about:

Peace has to be learned

And sadly, with its thirst for power - dressed up as patriotism, or as religious fervour, or any other name it is given to justify it - this world (or rather the people within it) needs to learn peace.

I will say no more. I don't have the skill with words. Many people all over the "blogosphere" will be trying to put into words their thoughts on this portentous day, 100 years after the First World War, the war that was heralded as "the war to end all wars", but which became the war after which there has never actually been peace throughout the world...

I will simply leave you with this most moving of songs and videos, by the late Clifford T Ward. It is beautiful, and leaves me weeping everytime I listen to it. Please take 5 minutes to click on the link, to listen to this wonderful song...and to remember.

Clifford T Ward
It's all so different now
From just a few weeks ago
When April was about to smile on England
And I had to go

So here I am again
Far from where the blackbird sings
And lanes I love to walk along
Lost in my thoughts

And what of you my love
Though you're so far away
Yet so close to me in all I do and see

And so on my day off
I could have chosen monuments
Historic chateaux, palaces
Or finding ways of improving my French

Instead I wandered out alone
Here where woods and fields abound
And in a quiet corner found the resting place
Of English soldiers killed in war

And what of them my love
Who died so far from home
No last farewell kiss
All that remains is this

It makes me so ashamed to feel alone
Whatever would they think of me
For I shall see my love again

It's all so different now
From those few years ago
When April smiled so sweetly still
And they had to go

Sunday, 9 November 2014

People who love to eat...

Hello! I thought you might be interested in this:

You can read more over at The Teapot.
Usually I join in with Floss's Pause in Advent, but Real Life has taken over for Floss and she hasn't time to host it this year. As I often struggled to know what to blog about, I hope this will give me some good prompts. I will be blogging about my responses at The View from the Teapot Maybe you will join me.

We have had a good week, except for A's father's death (see previous post). We were particularly happy to welcome Steve for a few days. Steve & Cathy were good friends here, with a holiday house they were renovating. Unfortunately their marriage broke down, and while we have still seen lots of Cathy, as she got the house here in St Just in her divorce settlement, we lost contact with Steve. However this weekend he came out with a car for Jean & Claire (Steve is a garage owner) and with him came his new partner and their toddler son. It was lovely to meet them, and I'm happy to say that I found her easy to get on with. It's good that we are able to move on from the stickiness. Mind you, I can't wait until Cathy comes out again!!

We had a meal at a mutual friends' house on Friday - I fasted until dinnertime, but then it all went pear shaped!! We had smmoked trout paté in smoked trout parcels with salad (my contribution), followed by endives wrapped in ham in a cheese sauce. Then cheese and finally apple tart. Very nice!

More and more, I am finding that after a heavy meal the evening before, I don't want breakfast, so yesterday I just had an apple and a Danacol yoghurt...but dinner was lush!

 I made the Hairy Dieter's Lamb Dhansak from their new recipe book. It was fabulous! I added some spinach, so I guess it was a Lamb Saag Dhansak, but whatever it was, we really enjoyed it. I can't freeze the leftovers, because it had butternut squash in, and the spinach was frozen, so I think this might become what Frugal Queen calls "Ding Cuisine" for tomorrow - but I might root out some naan breads from the freezer, rather than have rice. I think there's some naans in the freezer...I think I might have to do a freezer audit this afternoon, as I have to try to find room for a turkey roast, stuffed with mushrooms, and two ostrich steaks which I bought in Lidl on Friday.

Today we're having a proper roast dinner with a good big chicken that I bought in Lidl. Red Label, so it wasn't cheap - Red Label is the closest I've found to "outdoor, humanely reared" - but it's a good big size. I should get three meals out of it, plus stock. I found some parsnips, so we'll have roast potatoes, & roast parsnips, carrots and broccoli. Miam-miam!

MONDAY: Ding Cuisine Lamb Dhansak. If there are no naans in the freezer, I'll make these flat breads - very easy and very good!


TUESDAY: (fasting) Chicken Stir Fry - with veggies from the freezer, + more fresh veggies too. Some noodles and chilli sauce.

WEDNESDAY: Chicken-and-chorizo pasta bake. Prepped on Tuesday so Mr FD only needs to stick it in the oven. I'm Line dancing on Wednesday evening...struggling to keep up with all the new dances being thrown at me!


THURSDAY: Sausages (from the UK) with roasted ratatouille (roast veggies, really!) and potato wedges.

FRIDAY: Hairy Dieters' Quick Cod and Prawn Gratin - again prepped ahead of time, so Mr FD pops it in the oven, as I'm out teaching till 7.30


As usual, I thank you for your lovely comments. It's great to hear from you.

KEZZIE: Thank you for your kind comment about the zentangled cards (and for your lovely card which I received during the week!) They seemed quite popular at church. I'm thinking of designing some Christmas cards next!  Sad face :-( about your card making magazines though!

JANE: Just for you!

MAGGIE: I didn't get to have the lemon chicken this time - the best laid plans of ( Fat Dor-) mice and men...But it looks good and simple, so I think it will appear again soon!

POMPOM: I really like the Hairy Dieter books - but if you're trying to eat less meat, they're not so good! I find that the majority of their recipes are based round meat. But then, they're two blokes who love their meat, so they have tried to create a way of cooking and eating that allows them to eat what they love but in a healthier way! And it certainly seems to have worked for them!

That's all for today, folks, but look out for a post on 11th November, either here or at the Teapot. I have a lovely, moving song to share with you.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

As a life goes so another comes: the circle continues.

This week has been a fairly normal week - going to work, coming home, watching TV, enjoying good food. We had good news on Wednesday (Bonfire Night) - I have become a Great Aunt!
My niece gave birth to a litle girl who has been named Lydia Florence. The proud Grandfather sent a photo which I'd love to share - but, what with t'internet being a public forum and all that, I feel uncomfortable doing.

I found this little outfit in Noz
so that has been sent off, together with a dou-dou which is so-o-o soft and cosy.
and a couple of pairs of cosy socks. I have to say that there are some wonderful baby clothes, and I have been particularly tempted by this range
With the kitty on it is so sweet!!

So a joyful week in our household.

Not so for my friend Alison, whose father died unexpectedly on Thursday: He had had a heart attack but was expected to make a full recovery. She had flown over to the UK to see him, but he died before she could speak to him.

Please, I ask you to remember her and her family in your prayers.