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.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Good Food, Good Friends, Good Times...

Hello Dear Friends! I hope you are all well, and that you have plenty of delicious things to eat.

Yesterday was supposed to be a fasting day, but we'd decided to go out for a meal with friends on their last day here. Dave and Hazel have a holiday home near here and it's always lovely to see them - they ae so friendly and generous. Last time they were here Hazel gave me a beautiful cross stitch that she had made

Pomme agrees

So on Thursday and Friday I fasted during the day, just having soup, and fruit until dinner time. Then yesterday evening we went to the Relais d'Urfé (we've been there several times fairly recently) for a lovely meal. There was Dave, Hazel and their son, Max, Corinne and her friend Dominique, Richard, and me and Mr FD. Everyone, except Richard who is vegetarian, had foie gras followed by pork fillet in a wild mushroom sauce with green beans and gnocchi. Richard had a salad, followed by fresh pasta with a cream-and-mushroom sauce. Then cheese and an individual Tarte Tatin each.


It was a really enjoyable evening. 

Otherwise this week has been quiet: no dancing on Wednesday, because it is half term, so we called down for apèros with Alison and Gèrome. That was nice! I wasn't teaching on Thursday, which gave me a chance to prepare for next week and to think a little about Sunday's  sermon. I also made some Thanksgiving cards which I hope to sell for church funds. Here are a selection:

Zentangled, of course!

Today I spent the morning writing the sermon: it certainly was easier to write than last time. I wonder why that is the case... Perhaps it was a theme that rang bells with me and so I wasn't struggling to make sense of it. Should you wish to read it, I'm posting it over at The Teapot.

One piece of good news that I had recently is that my cholesterol levels have dropped fairly dramatically since my last blood test two-and-a-half years ago. Then the level was (I think) in the high sixes, but now I am in the high fours. Yay! Sensible(ish) eating, following the 5:2, losing weight, drinking my Danacol yoghurts and taking a plant sterol tablet a day has obviously had an effect!

Talking of eating sensibly (not!) today we had pancakes stuffed with a garlicky-bacony-creamy-cheesy mixture for lunch - very nice. I had a couple of handfuls of mache as well, with a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce over it. Main meals for this week are planned as follows:

TODAY: Hairy Dieters chicken fajitas - but served on big chinese leaves instead of tortillas. The tortillas I have are past their best (aka very stale!) so I'm going to sprinkle them with Mexican spice mix, crisp them in the oven and have them as tortilla chips. If the avocado I bought yesterday is ripe enough I'll make guacamole as well.

SUNDAY: Hairy Dieter's pork souvlaki .We'll have this with a few sweet potato wedges and a tomato salad 

MONDAY: Vegetable chilli and rice. Not much to say about it really. 

TUESDAY (fasting) Easy beef stew  This seems very hearty for only  240 calories but I will trust the website! I may make a bit of parsnip mash to go with it, as it leaves us with 250 calories to play with. Although my lunchtime soup will take quite a bit of those calories too. Maybe some cabbage instead..


WEDNESDAY: Spicy pork (in freezer) and baked potato. OR maybe not...Our friend Steve, who we haven't seen since he split with his wife some years ago, is coming over with his new partner and their baby. If he arrives as planned (he's already cancelled a couple of times) we're having a drinkie-snacky get together at Alison's home, and just soup for supper. 

 THURSDAY: Hairy Dieter's Pasta Puttanesca. A nice simple supper. I've got an appointment at the Dermotologist for a rather unpleasant rash on my foot and ankle (although it has cleared up a lot since I made the appointment two months ago!) so I don't want to have to spend much time cooking when I get back.

FRIDAY: (fasting) Lemon-marinaded chicken, roast veggies and a teeny bit of cous-cous. This recipe says to use roast vegetable couscous, but we won't have that in France. Anyway, I guess that the actual vegetables, roast with a bit of olive oil, will be better for us than the dehydrated roast veggies that one would find in the packet cous-cous. Fewer calories too, I would guess, but I might be wrong there.


As usual, thank you all for your comments. It is always great when people agree (or disagree!) or ask questions, or make funny comments. If only because it means I know someone is reading my pages! 

Mags, and  SaraLouise  both loved the Eddie Izzard quotation . I do think he is a very funny guy, but I have also been impressed with him as a straight actor. We saw him in a television drama quite recently "Castles in the Sky"about the inventor of radar and thought he gave a very good, understated performance.

 I agree with Jane about how nice it would be to be one of our well loved cats...We frequently remind ours (especially rescued Bib) how lucky they are to have ended up with us as their slaves!

Fishcake Random - I hope that this blog inspires you to the 5:2  As my cholesterol levels show, it does work (even when you don't do it very properly!)

Kezzie and Briony - shoes! What problems they cause us! I must get better at going to the shoemenders (and in fact found another more convenient one which I must have walked past hundreds of times and never noticed!) in order to make well-loved and comfortable shoes last longer. A worthwhile expense...but it's always nice to find some bargain shoes to buy too. I remember my all-leather 20€ boots found last year at Noz. I love them!

And Maggie - the potato pie was very delicious  - though not as good as the one made by a fairly local butcher. They are only available on Friday, andyou need to be quick. They go very quickly! They are pricy too, so it's not a treat for every week!

And to finish with: I have joined in with a Christmas cracker swap, where you fill a kitchen roll tube with lots of goodies, and make a cracker with it. My swap mate is Ellie at Feltabulous
I wonder if she'll send me a tube stuffed like this one:



Saturday, 25 October 2014

Cats have a scam going -

 you buy the food, they eat the food, they go away; that's the deal. (Quote from Eddie Izzard)
Sometimes that seems true with our cats, but as the weather gets colder I think they will stop going away, and spend the evening in the warm with us. In fact I can tzell that autumn is drawing on, as Millie spent part of last night in bed with me - it's lovely to have a soft, warm, purring body next to mine, but her "pudding" with her claws can be a little painful through my PJ top! I will have to keep a scarf under my pillow to cram under her paws when she arrives!

Poor Bib got shut in the kitchen by mistake last night. "It's okay", said Mr FD. "She didn't starve. She clawed open the biscuit bag!"

As I said yesterday, our food plans are mostly courtesy of the Hairy Dieters - some alterations & substitutions may have to take place however, as halfway through my shopping expedition yesterday I lost my shopping list! So I may not have all the ingredients I need for all the recipes!! 
I also bought myself a new pair of shoes as my old comfortable wear-with-jeans shoes have split right across the sole. I finally found a shoe mender but (boo, hiss) he said that it was too late and they couldn't be mended. It's really frustrating as the leather uppers are in perfect(ish) condition, it's the soles which have gone. Still, my fault for not finding a shoe repairer sooner. They have lasted being worn almost every day for a year-and-a-half, but I would have loved for them to have lasted another year-and-a-half!
Blurry picture of new shoes!

I had to buy them from the blokes' department though, as the womens' dept was all high heeled boots and shoes, with absolutely nothing that was remotely like what I needed! The very few possibilities did not go up to my size. Luckily my feet are big enough to be a small blokes' size, so I scoured the mens bit - and found about five different types that I could buy.


TODAY: Merguez sausages, potato pie and green beans. Potato pie is a delicious local speciality (most definitely not Hairy Dieters fare!) - potatoes in a cream sauce in a puff pastry case!!!

SUNDAY: HD Chicken Chasseur, celeriac mash and carrots - of course, with some of these recipes coming from their newest book, I won't be able to find the exact links on t'internet. However, I'll link to similar recipes, such as this one and this one for the mash. You can work out for yourselves how to reduce the calorie level (like semi skimmed milk, less butter and no cream!!!)

MONDAY: Spicy Mexican Meatballs (again, not Hairy Dieters!!) with rice and green beans. I probably won't make the rice given in the recipe, but just do ordinary boiled rice. Or maybe pasta, as we're having rice tomorrow.

TUESDAY (new fasting day!) HD Vegetable curry and rice (just 25g raw rice) The link isn't to the Hairy Dieters recipe, but to another 5:2 recipe ite that I sometimes use. Similar recipes...
WEDNESDAY: Hairy Dieter's Spicy Pork - I really haven't planned this very well...It's rice again!!! Still, it is rice-in-different-guises so hopefully Mr FD won't mind! 
THURSDAY: Hairy Dieter's Moussaka I want to make enough to pop two portions in the freezer for another time. I'm not working this Thursday (time to write my sermon for Sunday!) so I have more time to prepare this. I wouldn't have chosen it otherwise, as there seems to be quite a lot of faffiness.
FRIDAY (fasting again) Hairy Dieters Cod-and-prawn gratin 
I got a large short-date jar of tomato sauce in Noz on Thursday for 89 cents. I also got a very sturdy case for my tablet, which acts as a stand for it as well. As I am starting to use my tablet for teaching a little more, it will be useful. It looks something like this:
Retailing at about 21$ (16€) I got it for 6€! I was very happy.

Thank you, as always, for your comments.
FISHCAKE RANDOM: I would definitely say go for the fasting 5:2 regime, but be prepared to cut down a tad on other days too. Otherwise, I think that you won't lose weight as quickly as one might wish. And don't think "Oh I couldn't go without food for so long..." It's not that difficult! 
And regarding husbands who aren't very good at leaving enough for another meal - usually I dish out in the kitchen, and hide the leftovers before he gets a look in! It's the best way to go!

KEZZIE: The pulled pork verdict: delicious...and very, very easy to prepare! Go for it! We're still training the cats to iron...Oddly, they're not very keen on the idea.

Thank you POMPOM, TRISH, JANE&CHRIS, and BUSY LITTLE CHICKEN for the birthday greetings. We had big choux buns as a birthday treat: like these, but the size of your fist!

 That's all folks!
Motto for Life: