Sunday, 22 July 2012

Here we are again!

Life has been better this week as I did advance planning ~ as much as I could. This weekend has been another weekend of chilling, which included meeting a friend for a meal in Newbury. Hannah came up from Southampton to see me and we had a lovely natter and a meal in a riverside pub. Two large glasses of wine, and a huge dinner later, I felt very "relaxed"!!! Hannah and I shared a plate of bread, olives, feta and oil (and the swans shared the bread too!), then I had a pint of prawns, with aioli and warm ciabatta, with a mixed salad. Then we shared a white and dark chocolate gateau with ice cream. Yum! Luckily, some colleagues wanted to see a film, so we shared a taxi there and back, which made it reasonable. Otherwise, it would have been £30 just getting a taxi into Newbury and back.

I've also taken time to plan ahead, again, so I won't have a weekful of stressful evenings, which is what happened the first week here, when we were having to plan four 90-minute lessons every evening. I'm much chillier now!

Food continues to be plentifuil and, for mass catering, very good. Some of the teachers are complaining of various things, but me? I'm stuffing my face quite happily!!!
Highlights have included:
  • waffles, chocolate sauce and sliced banana (I added the banana myself. Quite a brainwave, though I say it myself!)
  • Lamb tagine and couscous. Niot very spicy but full of flavour
  • Calamari to die for! I think the best battered calimari I've tasted (though to be fair, I haven't tasted that many) with a spicy chilli sauce
  • Beautiful light tempura-style batter on fish. I don't eat much fish normally, but I've had it three times since I've been here. It's very good. Sometimes battered, sometimes in a buttery hollandaise type sauce.
  • Scones and jam for dessert yesterday. There was cream on offer too, but I prefer my scones creamless. Anna, my Greek friend, was practically orgasmic over the cream though; it was all she could do not to lick the plate!!!
I'm not quite enjoying the teaching yet, but I think I'm geting there. Of course, I miss Mr F-D, the Kitties and my friends in France, but there are new friendships growing here which helps. Thanks to everyone who has sent messages of support. They are much appreciated.

Signing off until next weekend. Fat Dormouse xxx

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Skool Dinners!

Hello everybody!
This last week has been more than a bit of a nightmare! The organisation here leaves a fair bit to be desired, as everything is done a little last minute (For example, we won't know our teaching groups for tomorrow until tonight, about 8.00 pm. So, tell me: how do we plan in advance, if you don't know the group level?!) I understand that some of it is unavoidable, but equally some of it is, I think, through disorganisation.

Never mind! I've spent last week getting tenser and tenser, and more and more depressed and tired, and complaining. But yesterday (Saturday) was great. We were free! Many people went to Newbury to shop and chill and go to the pub and eat out. I was tempted, but instead spent the morning planning what I could plan ~ it was actually a pleasure, because it was calm, quiet and under no pressure. I was taken in to a big Tesco to buy supplies for the Gastronomy workshops (we are looking at tooth hygiene and making sweets this week!!! There's an odd juxtaposition.) and then I came home, read magazines, had dinner and watched an episode of "Homeland" I'd not seen this series ~ it was really good. I think I shall have to ask Mr FD to order it on line (or try to buy it in the UK)

Anyway! Food. That's what this blog is about! It's very plentiful and reasonably good too. If I wasn't careful, I could put on pounds and pounds! The Academic Manager claims she put on a stone last year!!!
Breakfast is a full English every day, except Sunday when it's pastries, eggs, cheese, ham etc. I've been trying to just have toast and 1 thing ~ an egg, bacon, beans etc ~plus a bowl of grapefruit.
Lunch has a choice of three hot meals ( vegetarian, and two meat dishes) plus jacket potatoes, salads, and cold proteins, such as cheese, fish, pate, meat. Two puddings, and/or fresh fruit. I've been having a jacket potato plus salad and soup. And fresh fruit.
Then dinner is the same again ~ but with different choices!

So, for example, yesterday I had toast and bacon, then for lunch jacket with loads of yummy salads and some houmous and a bit of chicken/bacon/mayo combo then flapjack and a banana. Then for dinner I had herb crusted fish with sauce, green beans and "rustic wedges", followed by a doughnut. (I won't mention the slices of pizza and garlic bread I was gibven by some teachers who cooked for themselves.!)

Friday evening was terrible though ~ we had all had a bollocking because of lateness to meals (we have to sit on the tables with the children) and one or two of us had got over emotional. There was a lot of shouting and some crying (yes, really!) because we were all so overtired ~ so I'm afraid I just went for comfort eating...I won't list what I had, but it was mostly junk. And a lot of it. But the pint at the pub was very good. And very welcome. As was the double single-malt that I had!!!

Anyway. Next week is another week. I'm hoping it will be better, because I've already been able to plan one set of lessons for the week (for me and for the other teachers who'll be taking Gastronomy) so that should relieve the pressure for several of us. There are several of us, because the Gastronomy workshop has been so popular ~ I had 20 last week, and apparently there are already 27 takers for this week, without counting those students who arrive today!!! We'll need two classes, I think, each with two teachers, possibly. I'm planning on planning another set of lessons today, but I'm going to go to church this morning. I hope it's a Eucharist: I feel in need of feeding!

No pictures. Sorry. But I forgot my lead to load photos from my camera. Never mind.

Report from the front, next week. Take care, my Lovelies!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

School Dinners Here I come!

As I'm off to the UK on Thursday to teach at a Summer School for 6 weeks, I may not be blogging that often. I'm not sure what the food will be like - the brochure says "Students are well-catered for with three balanced meals served everyday, which provide options sensitive to all dietary requirements including vegetarians, vegans and any religious or cultural needs. In addition to this, students are offered refreshments twice a day." I don't know if this includes the teachers!!! 

I plan to try to eat healthily and do lots of exercise (there's a swimming pool, apparently) but of course, I am notoriously weak willed so my good intentions may crumble when faced with full English breakfast, chips for lunch and chocolate cake! Who knows...

Maybe I'll be like Veg at the blog Never Seconds taking photos of her not-always-very-nutritious school dinners.

MONDAY: This is what I had for breakfast:

Here is my lunch:
and I had some fruit for my tea:
Now I'm off for my nightly walk to the pub.

You'll see! I'll return from the UK a shadow of my former self!!

So, please don't forget me, Dear Followers! Pop in now and then to see me, and I'll let you know how things ae going.