Sunday, 26 August 2012

A recipe, my menus and a few bits-and-bobs

I thought I'd share a recipe with you today ...this is what I'm baking for supper tonight. We'll have it with potato noisettes from the freezer and some green beans, peas and carrots.

Autumn Tart
1 potimarron. Now, I have no idea what potimarron is in English. It's a type of pumpkin/squash. Here is a picture of a potimarron
                                                           Any idea what you call it in English?

Anyhow, you need one of these. Plus:
  • 1 onion
  • 200g diced ham
  • 3 eggs (separated)
  • 100g grated gruyère cheese (or similar. I'm actually going to use Comté)
  • seasoning
  • ready made shortcrust pastry (or home made, if you prefer.)
Preheat the oven to 160°C (GM6)
 So, you peel and chop the potimarron and cook it with the onion for 25 minutes. The recipe says steam it, but I’m thinking I may sweat the onion in a little oil, and then add the potimarron to that for the 25 minutes. NOTE: I forgot to say that I added water to the mixture to cook it, as the pan was getting burned!!! In fact I think that's what the translation means, rather than "steam". Just don't forget to drain it!

Purée the mixture, and add the egg yolks and the ham. Season. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks and carefully add to the mixture. Add half the cheese.

Line a flan tin with the pastry, and put the mixture in it. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake for 35 minutes.
This is what it will look like:
On Monday: it did look like this and it was quite tasty. Quite a lot of washing up though - pan for pumpkin,(which needed an extra scrub because I burnt it!) food processor, bowl for egg whites, bowl for mixture, etc etc. But generally, I think it was worth it.

For the rest of the week, I'm going to try to start cutting down on serving sizes, eating a salad before the main course, and trying some lower fat (but hopefully not lower taste) recipes. I want to get the Hairy Bikers Diet recipe book, I think, but at the moment Amazon has sold out. But I shall use their website for some ideas. I also have a book called "Fat Girl Slim"  by Ruth Watson, which works on a similar prinicipal to the Hairy Bikers - big taste, small calories - so I will use that. 

Mind you, having said that, it has occurred to me that we're away for a short break around Lyon next weekend, so we'll be eating well then. Mr F-D will be taking his bike and I may do some walking...I've got to have new inner soles made for what the foot surgeon described as my "difficult feet", so that's why we have to go to Lyon. Mr F-D likes the thought of going further west towards Chamonix for a couple of days then driving back to Lyon for my Monday appointment. 

Still, that doesn't mean I can't try to eat more healthily during the week, does it?!

MONDAY: Lunch: potimarron tart, cucumber & mint salad, a little bit of bread.
                    Dinner: Hairy Biker Chilli Salad bowls (all Hairy Biker recipes are on this link)
TUESDAY: Lunch: as Monday
                     Dinner: warm mushroom and prawn salad, plus a small jacket potato
WEDNESDAY: Scrambled eggs on toast
                     Dinner: Hairy Sweet & Sour chicken + rice
THURSDAY: Lunch: minestrone soup, small portion of bread, cold meat
                     Dinner: seared cod with green olive crust, spinach salad, new potatoes
FRIDAY: Lunch: As Thursday
                  Dinner: Hairy Skinny lasagne - only I'm making it with aubergines rather than leeks. It may change the calorie count, but not too much, I suspect. 

Actually, looking through the Fat Girl Slim book, it was less use than I remembered. There weren't many recipes that appealed to me, and lots of them used either ingredients that will be difficult to find in the local supermarkets (mirin, anybody?) or will blow the budget within days (scallops, squid, lobster...) Never mind, I'll order Hairy Bikers ASAP from Amazon, and wait for that to arrive.

You may have noticed the plethora of posts at the moment. Well, it's only until work starts again the week after next. Then I'll be back to once or twice a week.
Have a good week, folks, and don't forget the Giveaway over on this post

Saturday, 25 August 2012


Aha! I'm finally back writing about food.

But first a catch up on the Travelling Fair front - Mr FD decided he was going to "chill" and not get involved this year. So he didn't. And the giant Casino lorry set up well away from the gate and the post box, so we didn't need to worry. Last night (Friday) there was no noise, as, much to our surprise, the fair didn't open. And today, even though it's past 2 o'clock in the afternoon, it's all very, very quiet.* I suppose the weather isn't particularly conducive to going to the fair - grey and cool - but usually the music and loudspeakers are going by now. We won't be here this evening- we've been invited to Gilles' house for dinner - and we're staying up at l'Allée in Cathy's house tonight and tomorrow. So hopefully it won't impinge too much on us.

The dinner at Gilles' house is why I'm writing about food. We're taking the starter and Odette and Louis (other guests) are taking the pudding. So I decided to do a sort of "antipasti platter" with cold meats, olives, huomous, marinaded peppers and stuffed courgette rolls. I'll post the recipes below.

Foodwise, I've not done anything very interesting, except for a delicious spicy summer roast chicken which we had last Sunday, when it was very hot. Served with a couscous salad, it was perfect for the weather.

On Monday we had fish cakes (just past their sellby date and so free from Shopi!) with sauté potatoes, mushroom sauce and courgettes
Tuesday - rice with ratatouille and chicken
Wednesday - We were out for lunch, so had Monster Courgette soup and bread in the evening.
Thursday - fish kebabs from the market. Rather expensive, but very nice, with rice and green beans and a tomato/courgette sauce
Friday - ham, salads and hassleback potatoes.

On Sunday, we'll have something from the freezer. Served with Monster Courgette, no doubt!

Anyway, the recipes.
I used Nigel Slater's Houmous recipe from his book "Real Fast Food" **(subtitled "350 recipes ready to eat in 30 minutes") It's a good book, although many of the recipes don't, in my opinion, count as main meals - such as Guacamole, houmous, grilled mushrooms and so on. But it's a book I do turn to, again and again, for certain recipes - including the aforementioned houmous. 
(this isn't the same cover as my book...which I bought some 10 or 15 years ago!)

Mr Slater describes the houmous as "an earthy tasting purée of chickpeas that can become addictive" - and I think he's right. Every time I make this, I could sit there with a bag of tortilla chips and finish the lot!! I always leave rather too much in the food processor,(accidentally on purpose!) so I have to wipe it out with bread!

225g/8 oz tin of chickpeas
6 tbsp tahini paste (I find this is too much, and only use a scant half this amount)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
6 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
Cayenne pepper, to taste

Zuzz the chickpeas in a food processor, with a little of the liquid from the tin until smooth. Add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, and zuzz until smooth. Season with the cayenne, salt and ground black pepper. Transfer to a dish, drizzle over some more olive oil and serve with warm pitta bread.

The Stuffed Courgette Rolls were a recipe I took from a BBC "Good Food" magazine a couple of years ago. I've made them two or three times as summery barbecue nibbles. They're a bit fiddly to make, but very delicious.

4 small courgettes, ends trimmed
3-4 tbsp olive oil
3-4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
250 tub of ricotta
squeeze lemon juice
Fresh basil leaves
50g pine nuts, browned in a dry frying pan.

1. Slice the courgettes lengthways, using a swivel peeler. For 24 rolls, you'll need 24 strips. Drizzle some oil and vinegar over a flat plate and lay the strips on top. Then drizzle more over. Cover and marinade for at least 20 minutes, but up to 6 hours.
2. Mix the ricotta, lemon juice and seasoning to taste. Then add basil and pinenuts to the mixture. Place 1 tsp of the mix onto one end of a courgette strip and roll up. Repeat until all slices are rolled. Arrange upright on a plate and grind over some black pepper. 
3. Drizzle with a little more oil & vinegar to serve.

I have no basil, so I'm adding some pesto to the mix instead, and also adding cream cheese to make it a bit cheesier. I've made the filling with a mixture of cream cheese, marscapone and crumbled feta before, and that worked well.

For the marnaded peppers, I just halved and roasted 2 red peppers until the skins were charred and blackened. Then I put them in a plastic bag until cooled, and the skins peeled off quite easily. I sliced the peppers into thin strips, and put in a shallow dish, with a sliced clove of garlic and some sprigs of fresh rosemary. Then I poured about 3 tbsp olive oil over them and left to marinade. 

I would have liked some yellow peppers too, to make the dish more colourful, but there weren't any in the market yesterday.

* At 14.54 the music finally started. I think I'm quite glad, as it means they are getting some custom...I'd end up feeling bad for them if they got nobody turning up!!

** If you click on the link, which takes you to the Amazon page, you can then "click to look inside"'s quite interesting to read Nigel Slater's introduction to the concept behind the book. He says "many of the snacks in this book can become a complete meal by serving them with a salad and following them with cheese and fruit. I cannot think of a meat or fish dish that I would not accompany with a salad of green leaves" Perhaps I haven't quite taken this on board when I complain that  "many of the recipes don't, in my opinion, count as main meals" ...Maybe I should reconsider several ofthe recipes with Nigel's words ringing in my ears...

And finally, don't forget to join in my Giveaway, over at this page. I haven't decided on a deadline yet, so I'll keep reminding you!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

To celebrate you all

I like Giveaways. I like Giving Away.
I like you, my lovely 32 followers. And you, other readers who may have popped over from my other blog - I like you too.
I like the fact that even though my blog isn't that interesting, you still make lovely comments, and make me feel part of this blogosphere community.
I like life (generally)

So to celebrate nothing more than it's 23rd August, that Life is Good, and that I bought two things that I don't need, I offer you a Giveaway.

The first is this jolly bag:
It's a Tesco Bag-for-life bag, in fabric made of recycled plastic bottles. I bought it when I was in the UK to carry my stuff around Summer School, as I'd not taken anything suitable. So it's been used for about 6 weeks. The straps are long enough to go over your shoulder. I have myriad bags, all lovely, and so, while I'm tempted to keep this, I don't need it, and I'm sure other people might like it.

The other is this:
A brilliant book by the brilliant Philippa Gregory. She makes history come alive, writing about the Tudor period in such a way that you can believe you are there. I bought this at Hampton Court Palace, when I was there with the students

(Just look at the Little Darlings...) (actually, altho this includes two of my least favourite children from the entire 5 weeks, it also includes 3 of my favourites, so it's sort of swings and roundabouts.) (I wonder if you can guess which are which...)
Top row, left to right: Susie (my lovely AO assistant) Fahti (Turkish) and Sergey (Russian)
Bottom row, L-R, Maria (Russian), Ezra (Turkish), Antoine (French), Luis (Spanish), Gleb (Russian)

Anyway, back to the Giveaway. I saw the book in the Hampton Court giftshop and leapt upon it with glee. "Another Philippa Gregory!" I yelped, not recognising the cover, or the blurb, and bought it without much ado. When I got home I put it on my shelf with the other PG books..and discovered that I had it in a different cover, and I'd read it so long ago I'd forgotten I'd read it!! Don't worry, this is not a sign that it is bad and unmemorable, but just that I read so many books I forget what I have read...I could give it to someone as a Christmas present, but most readers in my family ate now equipped with Kindles, and those that aren't, well, I'm not sure that this is their cup of tea.

So, I thought of you, my Dear Readers.

All you need do to win either of these, is to make a comment saying which you'd prefer - so I can then do two draws for the two prizes - and (why not have a bit of fun?!) say who you think are my  3 favourite students from the picture above. If the person I draw out is correct, then they'll win a little extra something! You can also guess my least favourite too, if you want, but I may not confirm if you're correct for fear of retribution!

It would be lovely if you wanted to become a follower  but that's not necessary. Comments are though!

I don't know how to provide "buttons" and so forth, but if you put a link to this post from your own blog, to encourage others to join in (and maybe become a follower) that would be lovely. But not necessary either.

Courgette Soup

I got home from the UK to find three monster courgettes in the fridge, donated to a hapless Mr FD by our neighbours. "I didn't know what to do with them," he said.

I used one up during the week, chopping it into whatever we were having - pasta, with tomato, mushroom and courgette sauce;  sausages with ratatouille (made with courgette); fish cakes with roast get the idea!

Yesterday we were invited to lunch at the Hotel de la Poste with Gilles and the Carrefour representative. (Much excitement, as Shopi is going to turn into a Carrefour Contact shop - this might mean slightly redued prices, but also points on the Carrefour card. The shop will get a facelift, and Mr FD will get a smart Carrefour polo shirt.) It wasn't a heavy lunch - green salad, roast beef and crispy potatoes, cheese, and fruit salad (and a sneaky slice of tarte aux fraises) - but we certainly didn't want much to eat in the evening.

So I spent a hot-and-sweaty afternoon taking two recalcitrant Very Bad Kittens to the vets (hardly kittens now. George weighs in at a mighty 5 kg and the vet agrees he's not overweight. Just a Big Cat), and then clearing cat trays (we have 5 to deal with. Yeeuch), and cleaning the downstairs toilet where cats have missed the tray, or scratched litter into every possible nook-and-cranny. And then I made courgette soup. It was "very nice." (declared so by a rather surprised Mr FD when I asked him to check the seasoning.) (I don't like tasting the food I cook. Yes, I know. Bizarre)

So here, in case you have any monster courgettes lurking in the fridge, is:
Monster Courgette Soup à la Fat Dormouse

Sweat one chopped onion and 2 chopped cloves of garlic in a glug of olive oil until soft. Grate 1 monster courgette and add to pan. Throw in a couple of stripped rosemary sprigs, a whoosh of salt and a lot of grinds of black pepper. Add water. Not sure how much, just as much as you think, and 2 vegetable stock cubes. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add 2 dollops of creme fraiche and zuzz. Grind some more black pepper over. Serve

It might be nice with some grated parmesan too. I didn't think of that.

I'm now off to wander around the market and to pick up some fresh fruit and veggies. I'm thinking we might have stuffed peppers tonight, having seen some over at A British Mum's Kitchen - possibly not that exact recipe, but something along those lines.

I hope you have a good day, whatever you're doing.
What would be your favourite way of using up a monster courgette (I still have one left lurking...and it's the biggest of the three!)

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Hot, hot, hot.

(Sorry, I'm cheating. If you've been over to View From the Teapot, you'll have already read this. I'm feeling a bit lazy today, so I'm copying and pasting. Mea culpa.)

The heat continues here in the Pays d'Urfé...after a miserable summer, suddenly the thermometer is hitting all kinds of highs. Our house has thick walls, and stays coolish (the big downstairs room is the coolest), but the cats in their little furry suits are suffering a little. They find shady spots and lie, stretched out, on cool tiles, or perch on the bookshelf where there's a semblance of a draught.

I've spent the past two days in my study, sorting through my papers: since I moved my study downstairs, two years ago, there has been a pile of papers to sort out, which has got bigger and bigger. I finally got down to it on Monday. Most have been recycled, but I've also filed a lot and reorganised my teaching folders. The shelves look tidier, and it has meant I could move two box files of papers (shh...I still need to sort through them) from my "craft area" so I have more room there too.

With the heat, things have been a bit sticky in the study, but I've nearly finished. I should think that by the end of the morning my study will be sorted. Apart from the craft shelves, that is. I should have taken a photo of before and after (apparently the most "successful" blogs always have photographs) but never mind.

The Travelling Fair arrives this week - it's the St Just Fete Patronale - Last year Mr D had a contretemps with the owners of the Casino Lorry. I thought I'd blogged about it, but can't find the post, so maybe not. The huge lorry blocked our post box, and Mr D, having complained politely to the owners, got into a bit of a slanging match which ended up with him being threatened by a large traveller with a metal pole.  Fun. Mr D is already getting worked up about what might happen this year, but, as I've said, if he's not there, they can't threaten him or abuse him...and so what if they do block the postbox? But, for him, I think it's partly the principal of the whole thing, whereas me, I'd forget my prnciples for a quiet life! I fear he will be out there again, making his Point, and possibly causing bad feeling between them and us.

Hopefully, the set up of the fair will go without a battle, and we are actually decamping for the nights when the fair is here. We're going to sleep up at our friend's house, so we can have the windows open and relax, without having tinny Euro-pop blaring out until the last teenager has left the Dodgems at 1.00 am. Last year it rained, so the whole affair was a damp squib, closing at 9.00 because no-one was there; however, the forecast is for cooler, but still dry, weather, so I guess the fair may well do good business.

We'd hoped to be away - we had thought about going over to see Floss's part of the world - but Mr D is now working at the local supermarket, and couldn't get the time off as they are already short staffed. So we'll be up at l'Allée at night (and the Kitties will have to bear the music alone) and come back down to the centre of the village during the day. There's still music and people, of course, because of the processions and other attractions connected with the Fete, but we won't be trying to sleep!

Anyway..I won't finish sorting out the study if I don't get a move on. So I'm going to stop blogging and turn on some music. If you're of a praying bent, please lift the whole Travelling Fair business up and pray for a peaceful outcome. Thanks

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Time to relax!

Well, it shopuldn't be for me, really... I said I'd give myself 20 minutes to catch up reading blogs and I'm still here 40 minutes later! I really should go and do the ironing. I have a tottering pile that's about 2 feet tall and I thought I'd be kind and do Mr F-D's too, as he won't have much free time this next week: he's working every day, and so won't want to spend his free time ironing. We don't usually do each other's ironing - it's a case of do your own when you need to - but as I'm not working and he is, I thought I'd be generous.

So, just before tackling the ironing baskets, I'll make an envelope for a wedding card I made for a friend (don't really like it, but I was devoid of ideas) and go and buy the bread for lunch. Then I'll be dashing away with the smoothing iron.

But here's a photo of Bib enjoying June's blog over at Cats, Dogs & Eiderdowns

She is fast asleep, leaning against my keyboard. Sweetie!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Home Again

So here I am again, back after 6 weeks away, 5 weeks spent working at a Summer School, and a week with friends and at mum's. It's nice to be back home, but I'm painfully aware of how much French I've forgotten and how much Mr F-D's French has improved. That is mostly due to the fact he's now working in the local supermarket - no staff discounts, I'm afraid, but he does get to bring home past-its-sell-by-date stuff. Just before I went away, he came home with 10 boxes of cereal bars - for a moment, I feared he was going to get paid in cereal bars!!
Just think: ten boxes with 6 cereal bars in each. That's 60 cereal bars!!! He took them into the Cycle Club house, where I think they were well received after a couple of long hard rides.

Today he brought home 3 squashy beef tomatoes. I'll be using them tonight to make a ratatouille to have with merguez sausages, and thinly sliced pork steaks. I'll probably sauté some potatoes too. It's hot here today, but a Southern style vegetable stew is quite appealing nonetheless.

It's hard work for him, and not the most challenging of jobs - especially a day on the tills - but it's bringing in a much needed cash injection. We may be able to survive on this, if we're careful. I did splash out a bit in the UK - well, I'd earned it!! I went to Log Tall Sally and bought my jeans and I bought Mr F-D a little gadget for his birthday. I won't say what, as he reads this blog (to find out what we're having for tea!)  though I think he might guess!

I've come back from the Summer School feeling rather porky. The food was plentiful and good, and reasonably nutritionally balanced, but I'm afraid I just ate too much of it. At the beginning I tried to be good, and succeeded in a baked potato/salad combo at lunchtime but that went by-the-board when I worked out that the hot lunches were usually better than the hot evening meals, and in the evening the salads weren't so appealing. So I had the hot meal in the evening too!!! But,with a bit of effort here we'll get back to the (reasonably) healthy eating. I've been quite inspired by the Hairy Bikers show, which I saw for thefirst time yesterday... I will look on the BBC recipe site to find out more. And I just have!
So, let's see what we can be doing.

I do know I have to exercise too. It's finding something I enjoy, I can do and I will keep doing. Hmmm. Not much to choose from then!

Bib, the Very Very Bad Kitten is asleep, head on my keyboard. Bless! Every now and then a fly buzzes by, and she twitches an ear, but she's not that inclined to chase them. It's too hot. She'll maybe be more active later on.

So, there we are! Thank you for your encouraging comments and emails. They helped keep me going when Summer School was a bit too much. I've been enjoying catching up with people's blogs today - it's my first day home, so I'm chilling. I may do tidying tomorrow...but then and again, maybe I won't!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Oops Sorry!

Yes, apologies if you have been missing me (Thanks for your plaintive little comment, spurred me on to post about something!)

These last three weeks have been hard work, but nothing like as manic as the first week. I have certainly enjoyed myself at times, and although I'm aware my teaching style probably needs to change - I'm too didactic and "school like". After all, this is a holiday for the students too, so should be fun! - I think I have generally done reasonably well. I was awarded the "Star Teacher of the Week" on Friday, for my "organisation, dedication and Fantastic Gastronomy Workshops"! Blush.

My Gastronomy Workshops have been going quite well, again, after the first week. That was chaotic and awful...but, as I've said before, the ice cream in a bag worked. For those who want to know, ice cream in a bag is very simple:
  • 150ml full fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons rock salt
  • lots and lots of ice
  • 1 pint-size plastic food storage bag (e.g., Ziploc)
  • 1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag (or, in my case, a Sainsbury's Bag-for-Life)
Put the milk, sugar and vanilla in the Ziplock bag. Some of the groups chose to add lemon curd, strawberries, and other flavourings. Put the rocksalt and ice in the big bag. Put the ziplock bag in that and shake,shake,shake for 5 to 10 minutes. You then have ice cream. However, here is a hint that some groups chose to ignore: In order to avoid disgustingly salty ice cream, don't put the unwiped Ziplck bag  (covered in rock salty water from the previously mentioned shake,shake,shaking)  in the bowl that is meant for your ice cream, take it out again and tip the ice cream into it without washing it first!!

The following week, our theme was based on our trip was to Hampton Court. Very loosely based... Hampton Court was built in Tudor times. Queen Elizabeth 1 was a Tudor. She had bad teeth because she ate a lot of sweets. So let's make sweets!!! We also looked (a bit) at dental hygiene, but mostly we just made sweets: chocolate rice krispie bars, chocolate truffles, coconut ice and fruit creams (should have been peppermint creams but I forgot to buy peppermint oil!). That week was very popular!

The fact she had rotten teeth is, apparently, why she is never shown smiling in portraits. That may not be true, but equally, it's perfectly possible. You might enjoy this Horrible Histories clip - the students did!
File:Queen Elizabeth I by George Gower.jpg

The third week we went on the worst Educational Trip ever to the London Bridge Experience and the Clink Prison Museum. The London Bridge Experience was a "Horror" fest which had some of our children (and teachers) refusing to go in, and others running out screaming in terror. Though to be fair, many of the students loved it...but it was hardly educational! Anyway, the link was "In the past, in  prison you didn't have healthy food. You didn't have much food at all. We have food. We're lucky. Let's make scones."
So we made sweet scones (choice: dried fruit, chocolate chips or plain. Surprisingly, everyone chose choc chip!) and savoury scones (choice: tomato puree, cheese, paprika, mixed herbs.) We forgot to put salt in the savoury ones, so they were a bit bland, but quite successful. The ones with tomato won the competition, as theirs was the least bland.

Last week was Medieval cooking, as we went to Warwick Castle. That was a great trip out with loads to see and do. If you want a day out with children, I'd thoroughly recommend it - it's probably expensive, but we had a packed day, and I wanted to stay at least another hour, as we'd not done everything I wanted. And the jousting knights were really very cute!!

So we made two (slightly adapted) Medieval dishes. We made Tartys in Applis

2 apples
2 pears
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried fruit
2 Tbsp. butter,                                                                                                                                       
1 tsp. mixed spice
saffron, to colour
Take all fruits and cut them up into small pieces. Mix fruit, spices, and butter in a bowl until well combined. Place filling in a pie crust, and bake for 25 - 35 minutes or until golden brown. Eat. 

And we made Frytour Blaunched
  • Finely ground almonds
  • Ground Ginger -
  • Sugar
  • Salt - use to taste.
  • Pastry dough
  • egg
  • Honey
  • Red grape juice


Mix almonds with sugar, ginger, and a little salt - this should be a sweet, slightly spicy blend.
Roll out the pastry dough.
Cut the dough into circles pastry, placing filling in the middle of one piece and then covering with the other side sealing the edges; and make sure the edges of the pastries are securely sealed. Brush with egg
Bake the pastries in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile warm a little honey and grape juice to make a sauce.
When the pastries are baked, pour a little sauce over the top.

They were both suirprisingly tasty! The frytour should have been fried, as the name kind of suggests, but I baked them instead. The sauce should be red wine too, but I substituted grape juice, because of the youth of my chefs!

Our final week is Romans, as our trip is to Bath (I wonder if I'll get the chance to slip into Long Tall Sally !!) But the cooking also has to try to use up the leftover ingredients...of which there are many, thanks to the rather profligate ordering of my collerague in the Junior Gastronomy team! For their breadmaking she asked our Shopping Person to get 4.5 kg of flour (3 bags) and used half of one of them!!! We're left with almost 4 kg of SR flour to use. I don't think we'll manage it! So we're making a Roman-style Lemon Cake (using ground almonds and flour), Chocolate fudge (which the Romans would have loved, but wouldn't have had, because it uses condensed milk, chocolate and sugar) (Spot the very weak link!) and Fairy Cakes (because we bneed to use up what's left!)

So there you are. While I've avoided tasting most of their creations, I still have put on weight, as the food here is so plentiful and so good. I will struggle going back to smaller meals - and at more civilised times! I'm eating breakfast at 8.00, lunch at 12.15 and dinner/tea at 5.30. I'll have to get used to different times again...

And next week I'm off up to Liverpool to see Mum. She fell about 6 weeks ago and broke both her wrists. She's been staying with my brother, and then at home with my suister. So I'm going up to stay for a while. I'm not sure when I'll leave yet - I've booked my flight for 16th August, but it depends on how mum is. I'll probably just have to let that flight go and rebook later, but we'll see.. With Judy and Mike doing all the hard work, I feel I can't really just breeze in for four days and then breeze out again. However long I'm there I may not be posting, as my Tabby appears to have completely conked out. Mr FD is posting the receipt (we only bought it at Christmas) so I may be able to get it mended, or exchanged, but I don't know. Let's wait and see.

Thanks for your comments Guys. See you soon.