talk about food (and cats!)

If you are here for A Pause in Advent, you actually need to go here which is my more general blog...But don't worry. You can stay awhile here as well: you'd be very welcome. I may "pause" in a foodie way too!

But, I want to tell you about the lovely day spent with friends yesterday. Mij and Bill came over from the other side of the mountain, and brought lots of goodies - chocolates, wine, delicious-but-healthy carrot cake, and a pile of cycling magazines for Mr FD. Bill is a keen cyclist too, so he and Mr FD spent a lot of time comparing routes and talking about what mountains they'd climbed recently. We ate a delicious meal together (though I say so myself) - We began with warm butternut squash and mushroom salad, which is a River Cottage recipe. As a starter it was lovely, and it would work as a main course too, with lots of crusty bread. Then we had a Hairy Dieter recipe, which was honestly so good you would never know it was "lower calorie" - Spanish style chicken bake. Loaded with roast onion, garlic, tomato, potato, green peppers, chorizo and, of course, chicken it was spicy, tasty and filling. And easy to make! Definitely one to do again. Then we had cheese and a festive-tasting apple-and-mincemeat tart. What is it about mincemeat that immediately makes me feel Christmassy?! I bought the jar when we were in Pezanas last September, in an English bookshop but I saved it until now. I added a little a lot of Calvados and spread it on a pastry base. Then I added sliced apple and glazed it with some greengage jam. Twenty minutes later, and served with Haagen-Daz Salted Caramel Vanilla ice cream, you have a festive dessert!

Mij and I went for a quick tramp in the snow, returning for cake and tea as dusk started to fall. After they left, Mr FD and I sat in front of our lovely wood burner, with a glass of wine and some paté-on-toast, and watched "Strictly..." A lovely Sunday. The first Sunday-in-Advent, spent with friends, enjoying their company. Perfect.
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This week, I'm not sure when I'm shopping, as I won't be in Clermont until Friday and I won't have time on Wednesday when I'm in Roanne. I think I will try to do a reduced shop, using ShCarrefour in the village, and pick up the impossible-to-get-here stuff (Mr FD's breakfast fruit salad fruit) on Friday - if his fruit salad will last that long!

MONDAY: Hairy Steak and ale casserole with leeky mashed potato. I made this a couple of weeks back, but we didn't eat it. It went into the freezer, and came out this morning. It needs another hour cooking, so I may change and have baked potatoes, and braised leeks to use up the oven space. I don't need to make a cake as we have Mij's, which she left for us. Oh, and broccoli - I must use up the broccoli.

TUESDAY: There's a lone chicken breast lurking in the freezer. I'll defrost this, and make a chicken/mushroom/pepper/onion creamy thing to have with rice. It's not a recipe from anywhere, but using sensible precautions (a tsp of oil, lower fat creme fraiche, lots of veggies, only 40g rice each) it will be a reduced calorie meal.

WEDNESDAY: River Cottage Spoufflé. I'd planned this for last Friday, but I was feeling in a can't-be-arsed mood, and so I cooked steak and chips and salad instead. So we can have Spoufflé today. Huzzah!

THURSDAY: Butternut squash and chilli risotto (if I've got risotto rice. If I haven't it will be butternut squash and chilli not-risotto-but-with-rice-of-some-description.)

FRIDAY: Not at all reduced calorie, I'm afraid, but I have a hankering for sausage, chips and beans. The beans part may be difficult, as we may have used our last tin of Branston beans (supplies need to be bought at Christmas!) but if that's the case, I'll make an oniony-tomatoey-courgetty thing.

SATURDAY: I'm not sure. Perhaps a good old spicy chilli to warm our cockles. Yes! I think that's what we'll have. With tortillas, as we've had quite a lot of rice already. Or maybe garlic bread. One or t'other.

SUNDAY: Hairy Easy Crispy Chicken (or, more likely, turkey escalopes) with potato wedges and green salad. I like the suggestion of the person to add chilli flakes to the crispy coating. I may do that.

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PomPom- Thank you for your comments. Our turkey joint from Lidl (mentioned a couple of posts back) was delicious - stuffed with chestnuts and currants, it gave us two good meals. Mr FD pronounced it "possibly even better cold", but I'm not sure. We enjoyed it both ways.
I'm not sure how much posting I'll do over Christmas. As I explain over at View from the Teapot, Mum isn't too computer savvy (neither am I) and gets a bit edgy if someone uses the laptop, in case they do something wrong and it gets broken! (tho' to be fair, I used it to check my emails last time I was there, and did something which meant she couldn't access her emails for months, until my niece's boyfriend was able to come over and "do" something to fix it!) But I will have Tabby at MiL's so I'll try a quick post or two from there, to let you know what we're eating!

Aninha asked me who George is. George is one of our cats: we have four. Pomme is the oldest, and is about (we're not sure, as we adopted her from a refuge.) 9-and-a-half years old. Here she is, being curious over a bunch of flowers.
Then we have George and Mildred (otherwise known as Millie) They joined our household a couple of years ago. We know how old they are, because they were born on 23rd April (St George's Day) 2010 to the cat of a friend. 
Here is Mr FD with both George and Millie. As they are brother and sister, they do often curl up together and groom each other. It is rather sweet.

This is George, shortly after he arrived. He is now a big lump of a cat - not fat, just heavy and big. He is the most placid of all the cats, and puts up with a lot from the little monster that is Bib:

 This picture shows Bib when she just arrived - I found her abandoned by her mother, aged about 5 weeks, at the Michelin site where I worked. So she came home with me. Her name is Bibendum, which is the official name for the Michelin man: as she was found at a Michelin site, it seemed an appropriate name. She has grown up a lot since I brought her home, but somehow, it seems I have no photos of her. That must be rectified! She is no longer quite as tiny and appealing, but she is a real character! She spends a lot of time chasing George, or being chased by Millie!! 

So, there you are, Aninha. That is who George is (and Pomme, Millie and Bib...!)


  1. Hi Mouse! The kitties are so cute! Millie is beautiful. If I got a cat, I would want one like her. Stripes!
    The turkey joint was delicious? Hooray!
    Your menu sounds delicious!
    What a lovely way to spend Advent Sunday, with friends and food!

  2. Oh me! Dormouse, I'm suffering from cat envy, They look such fun. George looks very like our big cat, Alfie. Would love to welcome more cats into our home, but cat/dog combo is compicated enough as it is. Never mind, I can enjoy reading about yours instead.

  3. I'm going to have to try that Spanish Chicken Bake - I'm a sucker for anything with chorizo in it! :)

  4. Alright, nice to meet you all, cats!
    Here are Olivia, 5 years old grampy litlle lady, and Barnabe, my sweety black baby, 2.


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