Monday, 28 January 2013

Fast Food!

(or at least "Fast Post about Food"!)

This is a fairly quick post: I usually post my menus over the weekend, but as we had guests coming on Saturday (= cooking and cleaning) and Mr FD was installing Windows 8 on my computer on Sunday (= no access to computer) (and loss of all my bookmarked pages. Which I'm a bit annoyed by, but a big THANK YOU to Mr FD anyway for all his hard work on my behalf) So I'm stealing a brief half-an-hour from Monday to post. Monday is my Lesson Preparation day, so it is rather busy. I've planned all my face-to-face lessons: I now need to work on my telephone lessons.

So, Saturday went well with C&A. I cooked the meal as planned and it was very good. They were good company too, so I'll forgive them the lack of communication! It was an enjoyable evening.

Here is the planning for this week:
MONDAY: There was gravy and 2 dumplings left from Saturday night, plus lots of roasted veggies too. So I'm going to bake a couple of potatoes, and some sausages to have with the leftovers.

TUESDAY: Shopping/teaching day so I've pulled a butternut squash and spinach sauce out of the freezer to have with pasta. I seem to remember the sauce was a bit strange but perfectly edible.

WEDNESDAY: Another late home day, so I'll take another pre-cooked meal from the freezer for MrFD to put in the oven. This one is the chicken and sauce that we had three weeks ago. He can be in charge of putting potatoes in to bake alongside the casserole and also some braised red cabbage and leeks.

THURSDAY: Mushroom and vegetable risotto. I won't be following a recipe, but it'll be a risotto with mushrooms, courgettes, green beans, red pepper and cheese. Not too much cheese (I put 400g of weight back on this week. Not a lot, I know, but the numbers really shouldn't be getting bigger! Hence: not too much cheese!)

FRIDAY: Vegetable chilli - aubergines and mushrooms, red kidney beans, onion, garlic and chopped tomatoes - plus chilli seasoning, of course! We'll have this with a couple of tortillas and some home made guacamole (if the avocado ever ripens!!)

SATURDAY: Hairy Dieters' Coconut Prawn curry with some rice. I have some Thai curry paste in the fridge, and some prawns in the freezer so that should be perfect for this. It sounds yummy!

SUNDAY: Again, I'm going to pull a pre cooked meal from the freezer. I'm not sure what's there at the moment - I've not looked for a bit! There's definitely a Vegetable Tagine, but I think that's more of a mid week meal than Sunday. We'll see what's there when I look on Saturday!

LUNCH/LIGHT MEALS: I made an enormous batch of soup on Friday, using a pot-au-feu vegetable pack + left over veggies + pasta so that will keep us going until Wednesday, I think. I'll make a butternut squqsh, parsnip and coconut soup on Thursday, which should see us through to the weekend. I'm planning cheesy-beans-on-toast for Thursday's light meal. We've got chicken rillettes, cheese from Saturday night and some Quorn (hush, don't tell MrFD it's Quorn!) ham. If I buy some Bayonne ham, which Mr FD likes but I don't, that should keep us going in terms of sandwich fillers.

Three of my Liebster blog receivers left comments. I shall pop over to them and see how they've answered the questions I posed.

I think I've answered all the recent comments - but if I've forgotten you, then please give me a nudge!

Here is a special welcome for my next five new followers: Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party certainly brought new people over here and it is lovely that you wanted to follow this blog. I hope you try out some of the recipes that you see - and let me know how you got on with them too!
So, hello to:
Sharon from the blog livewire jewelry . She also does some lovely altered images work too: an inspiration for my crafting!
Evalina Maria, a talented cross stitcher from the blog this and that. I don't cross stitch but I can see the talent that her pieces take.
Debbie B and ziggyeor (who as already commented) and Maureen from the Victorianstudio site. I am SO jealous of Maureen's studio/crafting room. It is so gorgeous that I'm sure she can't help but feel creative when she walks in! I've had a reshuffle in my study/craft room and added some shelves, and cleared my desk, but it still isn't as beautiful as hers. Still, I'm a cheapskate thrifty and don't spend much money on crafting (mostly because it isn't really paid work, but rather just a hobby)

Anyway, welcome to my blog, you dear people.

Friday, 25 January 2013

I'm a Sweetheart!

Look ! Even more Followers ! I’ve got 66 now. That’s exciting! (Am I beginning to sound like a slebrity who loves her stalkers a bit too much?!) How happy I am that you have hitched your star to this particular wagon. So, I continue welcoming you: Hello to Star Traci, to OKcamp, to Lesa, to pennyWise  and to Sarah Jane. It is lovely to see you. I will say a personal “Hello” to the next five in my next post.

Mary from has nominated me for an award. The Liebster Award – apparently “liebster” means sweetheart, or dear, or darling etc. You get the idea. How nice that someone thinks I am “sweetheart”- or at least my blog is. Anyway:
Here are the rules:
1. I must post 11 things about myself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for me.
3. Create 11 questions for the people I nominate.
4. Choose 11 new blogs & link them in my post
5. Please leave a comment on her bog so she can learn more about me!
Oh Lord. 11 things – I don’t know 11 interesting things about me. Here are 11 boring things...
  1. I originally come from Liverpool, but I don’t have a Scouse accent (though one can be supplied if required)
  2. My first cat was called Tuppence. S/he (I can’t remember) was acquired by my parents to help catch mice, but wasn’t very good at it. The mouse trap (called Little Nipper) caught more mice than Tuppy ever did.
  3. I am enamoured of Alan Rickman, Dr Brian Cox, Johnny Depp, Spencer Kelly, and Tom Ward. Plus various other fly-by-nights. But especially Alan Rickman
  4. I met Mr FD at my first job in a Special School. He was doing voluntary work, and his last day there was my first day. Just think! We nearly didn’t meet.
  5. I have small feet for my height. My kiné thinks that’s why I fall over a lot. I recently fell (yet again) on the ice, but sometimes I just fall over. I have had things like eyes/balance etc checked out. I just fall.
  6. (Help. Only at number 6) I don’t like offal. Except foie gras. That’s not very interesting.
  7. I love reading. Novels. Crime, historical, modern... I don’t like non fiction much.
  8. Food. I like food. (You’d never have guessed)
  9. I used to do a lot of am-dram (but I’ve mentioned that before on my other blog so it seems a cheat to mention it here) But I’m running out of interesting things.
  10. I’ve been licked by a giraffe. Did you know they had blue tongues, as though they’d been eating liquorice?
  11. I used to play the French horn.
OK. What were Mary’s questions?
  1. What is your dream vacation? I once saw an advert for a cruise up to Alaska, to Glacier Bay, with a rail trip back through the Rockies. That sounds fairly fabulous.
  2.  Have you outgrown your childhood fears? Most of them. Especially the one about the monster down the toilet that woke up when I flushed it!
  3. What is your least favourite food? Offal, as previously mentioned. And brussel sprouts.
  4. What do you see yourself doing 5 years from now? The same as this: living in France, teaching, enjoying life.
  5.  Why did you start blogging? Aargh. Because I like writing, and no one had read my novel. But the best thing I find is that I have “met” lots of new friends.
  6.  What are your favourite 3 movies? “The Shawshank Redemption”, “Truly, Madly Deeply” (Ah! Alan Rickman!) “Love Actually” (Ah! Alan Rickman!) But really there are lots that I like, so I’m not sure they are my “favourites” per se.
  7.  Name 1 major change you would like to do in your life. To enjoy exercise. But I don’t think I ever will!
  8.  What would you do with one million dollars? Give some to charity, give some to my family, invest it, buy stuff, go on a cruise to Alaska
  9.  If you could own any animal, what would it be and why. My dear departed cat Pumpkin. Because she was just so quirky and loveable & I miss her!!!
  10. What is your favourite TV program? I don’t have one, really. I’m loving “Big Bang Theory” at the moment, but I like “Silent Witness”, “Coronation Street”...and others. Nothing very erudite though.
  11. Who inspires you the most? I honestly don’t know. I’m a Christian, so maybe I should say Jesus... Anybody who succeeds in doing good against the odds, perhaps.
Crikey. 11 questions now. I can’t think. My brain hurts. I feel I should think of searching questions, but I can’t!
  1. What is your best memory from childhood?
  2. What is your worst memory from childhood?
  3. What is your most embarrassing moment, that you are prepared to share with us
  4. How do you enjoy getting exercise?
  5. Sweet or savoury? What is your favourite food?
  6. Has any book changed the way you see the world?
  7. Who is your best friend? Why is s/he your best friend?
  8. Where did you last go on holiday? Why did you choose that place?
  9. What was the last film you saw? What did you think of it?
  10. What did you have for dinner yesterday? Who cooked it?
  11. Tell us one thing about why you love someone you love.
Many of my favourite blogs say they are award free – I can understand why, although it is lovely to have people think you “deserve” an award. I will link to 11 of my favourite blogs and tell them that I’ve awarded them...but equally, I will tell them that they are not obliged to continue the link...and if I don’t link to your blog, please don’t be offended. It’s only eleven of my faves – and I have a lot of blogs that I love reading!
(but I’ve got to go and cook dinner now. Back in a bit)

So, I'm linking to the following blogs who are among my favourites:
1. Cats, dogs and Eiderdowns
2. Tracing Rainbows
3. The French Village Diaries
4. Tropical Territories
5. New Beginnings
6. Frugal Queen (I'm pretty sure she doesn't "do" awards etc but you really should check her out for down-to-earth advice)
7.Jumbles & PomPoms
8. PomPom's Ponderings
9. 365 Cat Ladies...
10. Mess, Muddle & Fun
11. Fraise Lachrymose

Daphne – I enjoyed the Hairy Dieters’ programme, but I do find their “conversational” presentation side a bit annoying. However, the recipes in the book, and the way they teach me to cook, have been great. And we have our new frying pan! It wasn’t the cheapest on offer, but nor was it the most expensive. It was very pleasing when the omelette just slid out instead of collapsing into a mess and sticking to the pan!
Fishcake Random – I need to get better at checking my store cupboard before I go shopping. I bought a pack of something last week, only to discover I already had an unopened packet sitting in the cupboard! Curses! I should take lessons from you!
Linda – it was good! I’d recommend trying the recipe. You can change it easily to suit whatever veggies you have around, and throw a bit of meat or whatever into the mix as well. I tossed in a bit of chorizo.
Mary –Thank you very much for my award! I think Pauleen also gave me an award, which I’ve forgotten about. It came in the midst of the GYB party and I got a bit overwhelmed. I must check that!
Shannon Chastaine – Thank you: I’m glad you enjoyed the story.
Ziggyeor – I think cooking is easy...especially if you have a recipe...but I do have to say, I am happy to use short cuts too (packet white sauce for one!) Keep trying! It’s lovely to cook for friends – especially if the Other Half does the washing up!!
Linda – I hope you find some recipes here that you can use and enjoy! It’s great to know when you’ve tried something and it’s worked. Do let me know!
Boysmum2 – How did the recipe go down? I didn’t cook it in the end, but it’s on my list to do soon.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

I'm a bit miffed

...but not at you guys. How lovely! I have 64 Followers now! Yay! I will greet you individually, but not all in one go.
So, today, I say Hello and welcome to:
Elizabeth, Daphne, (Yes, Daphne, it is the Hairy Dieters' Book I'm using. I think it's very good!)Diana,  Becka at Girasole Farm, and Terri at Cache-Mire.

I'll also reply to your individual comments when I have a big long time to myself. I'm only popping in to be a bit grumpy. Let me tell you why, and you can tell me if I have a right to be grumpy.

We invited some people for dinner - we don't know them very well, but they're clients of Mr FD and we think there is the potential to be friends... We invited them last Tuesday (not the one just gone, but the one before) and A suggested this Friday (tomorrow). She wasn't sure if they were free, but said that they'd confirm. It is now today. They are due tomorrow. They have not confirmed. Mr FD phoned yesterday, and left a message, but there has still been no reply...

I had planned on roasting the fore-rib of beef that we have in the freezer, but it's too late to defrost that now. I've planned a salad to start, with ingredients that I can use elsewhere, should they not come - it's a River Cottage recipe : Warm salad of roasted squash and mushrooms

For dessert, I'd planned Banoffi pie - We can eat the biscuits planned for the base, I've boiled the condensed milk in its tin, but it can stay as caramel indefinitely, and we'll eat the bananas. Luckily, IF they do decide to come I have a bit of time tomorrow to assemble the dessert, as some of the English courses I've een booked to start now won't start till next week.

But I've still got to consider main course. Roast beef is off. I'm thinking a slow cooker thing that I can put on in the morning and leave to do its stuff. If they don't come I can freeze the extra portions. But what?...Excuse me, I'm off to do a bit of research.

Talk amongst yourselves.

OK, I think I've decided to go with Chicken and red wine casserole with herby dumplings. The only problem may be finding redcurrant jelly, but I hope I'll be able to find an appropriate substitute in the supermarket. I have a bit of time to go shopping between my physio and my appointment at the dermotologist this evening.

So, that's all (kind of) sorted. Mind you, I won't have much time to do cleaning - but I think they'll just have to lump that. A quick zizz round with the vacuum cleaner between lessons, I think!

But tell me, do you think I have a right to be grumpy, or not?
Edited to add: C. texted Mr FD yesterday to apologise and to say that they'd been away. They're not coming on Friday (today) but tomorrow. Which gives me a bit more time to prepare. And redcurrant jelly was dead easy to find - I just had to look in the jams section, rather than the condiments section of the supermarket.
Thank you for all your messages/ comments. I hope the food is as delicious as you all think it's going to my friend pointed out to me in tones of horror, when I told her that C & A were coming for a meal: "But he's a chef!!!!"

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Big smiley smile

How lovely it is to see the number of Followers jumping up from 50 to 59 in the space of a day, thanks to Vicki's Grow Your Blog party. I do realise that my blog isn't the type that everyone will be interested in, so the fact that even just 9 more people like it enough to decide to follow, is really encouraging.

I will say a personal "Hello" to everyone, but I'll wait until the first flurry of visitors is over. If you're here for the first time via Vicki, you might want to look at the post below this one, where I introduce myself more. However, I did forget to say where the name of the blog comes from... So:

I have been known as "Dormouse" ever since I used to turn up at my then boyfriend's (now Mr FD) house after a long working week as a young teacher in London. I'd meet him under Blackfriar's Bridge, on Friday evening, and we'd catch the coach to Maidstone together (where he lived with his parents). Almost as soon as I got on the coach I'd fall asleep; I'd stumble into his parents' house, greet them and eat the meal that Mum had prepared. We'd then go into the living room to watch TV where I would promptly fall asleep again. I'd wake up to go to bed, and by Saturday morning was reasonably refreshed again!

Much later in life (still known as Dormouse) I decided I needed to lose weight, and started this blog to record my progress (or lack of it!) The title of my other blog is Dormouse related, so I thought this one should be too. There is a species of dormouse which is genuinely called "Fat Dormouse" Here it is:
It is also known as the Edible Dormouse (which must give the poor things quite a worry throughout their lives!)  with the scientific name Glis glis As I was a bit of a fat Dormouse, and as I was hoping to get thinner - well, so the name of the blog was born!

Meal choices last week changed a bit, due to the fact I only did a local shop on Tuesday. It was very snowy and icy so I cancelled my lessons (the one I was having and the one I was giving) and stayed in the village. I shopped at ShCarrefour, but, as it is a bit more expensive, I changed things to keep costs down.

To be honest, I've forgotten what we had, but I know we didn't have Pasta with Spring Greens on Tuesday. Oh yes! It was leeks and bacon with pasta. The cod and prawn gratin yesterday was a mixture of a Coley Florentine frozen meal, frozen spinach, a dash of creme fraiche and some frozen seafood mix with a mashed potato topping. It was quite enjoyable. I gave Bib a mussel to eat from the seafood mix. She didn't eat it but spent ages tossing it in the air and chasing it like a toy. I had to take it away from her in the end, in case she ran off with it and stashed it somewhere in the house where we didn't find it until there was a Very Nasty Smell!! She was most miffed.

Tonight we're not having the Mexican Pork, but Hairy Dieters' Steak and Ale Casserole from the freezer. I've got some fresh pasta to have with it, and some broccoli too.

Next week is planned like this (though it may well change - especially Monday, as I forgot to put the ingredients on the shopping list and so have none of them!!!)
MONDAY: Chorizo, chickpea and red pepper stew.   Linda, who was my Christmas Swop Partner (read about it over here) sent me some recipes from a magazine that she thought I'd like. This one sounded just up our I may zip down to ShCarrefour for the ingredients tomorrow morning. I will be very busy though preparing for a new set of telephone lessons (huzzah!) so I may just resort to something very quick and store cupboard-y instead.

TUESDAY: French lesson/shopping/teaching day so it's something quick and easy. Hairy Dieters' Prawn and chive omelette - no link, but it's basically an omelette. With prawns and chives. I think I may have to resort to buying a frying pan though, as ours is no longer non-stick. In fact, it's very stick. I tried making galettes to have with the leek and bacon mixture on Monday and it was a complete batter-disaster-zone.

WEDNESDAY: Another heavy teaching day, so this is either Slow Cooker or Freezer day. This time it's Freezer. I'm using up the excess Lamb and Spinach (scroll down to Sunday on this post for the recipe) from a couple of weeks back. Mr FD will have instructions to put it in the oven, with some potatoes and some prepared cabbage to cook, so it will be all ready when I get home.

THURSDAY: Hairy Dieters' Cottage Pie today, with some kind of green vegetable. Easy-peasy. But wam and comforting.

FRIDAY: This is from a new source of recipes. There has been quite a buzz about the 2:5 diet, where you have a couple of days with a very low calorie count, and eat normally for the rest of the time. I don't think that would suit me, but the recipes are a good source of ideas, which you can make slightly higher calorie by adding vegetables and so on. I'm trying Roasted shallot, aubergine and cumin filo tart  (you'll need to scroll down) but with a bit more filo pastry - I have some sheets of Brick in the freezer to use up) with some roast vegetables - including something starchy.

SATURDAY: Slimming World's Cheesy Vegetable and Rice bake but with different vegetables. I'm not a great cauliflower fan, for example, but I have some "Mexican" veggies in the freezer, so I think I'll throw those in - peppers, sweetcorn, kidney beans etc with a slightly spicy coating.

SUNDAY: I've chosen another Slimming World recipe Beef Stroganoff which we'll have with pasta, rather than rice, as we had rice yesterday.

LUNCHES/LIGHT SUPPERS: We usually eat our main meal at 2.00 when Mr FD gets home from work, but on Tuesday and Wednesday we have it at about 7.00 pm, as I'm out all day on those days. For the other meal, we will have soup (usually generic vegetable soup, made with whatever veggies are loitering around in the fridge, but sometimes following a recipe) and bread-and-stuff (cheese/cold meat/ paté) On Thursday, I try to do something different. This week I'll make a pizza with lots of veggies on top.

The Carrot and Applesauce cake that I made was didn't rise very much, but was packed full of fruity goodness. I think I had it in the oven for too long as the crust was rather tough and slightly too dark. I'm not sure how tempted I would be to make it again.

Thank you everybody who left comments on my last couple of posts. It is a delight to read them.

Jane & Chris, Aninha and Linda all remarked on how Big George fitted (or rather didn't fit!) into the basket on my desk. I had Pomme in there yesterday - and in fact, on View From the Teapot, there is a photo of Pomme in the basket too. She's not quite overflowing like George, but it's certainly a squeeze for her!

PomPom  has a bread maker - the honey wheat loaf sounds delicious! I am sort of tempted by a bread maker, and if we didn't live less than 50m from a boulangerie, I might buy one. But with half-a-flute at 70 cents I don't think it's worth getting a bread maker. I will just enjoy hearing about other people's!

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen - I'm glad you like the sound of the recipes. Feel free to use any that appeal!

Growing Greenpatches, Aninha and SaraLouise - oh yes! The sausages were great! I'm really rather glad that the Spicy bean and vegetable stew was not made, as the sausage and potato gratin combo was a success!!  I do hope Aninha's mint tea helped settle your stomach: I found a lime-and-ginger tea that was great for upset tummies and nausea.

Friday, 18 January 2013

I'm growing!

...but in the right way!

Hello to those visitors who have come by way of Vicki’s lovely Grow Your Blog party! I hope that you will like what you read here, and that maybe you’ll choose to become a Follower. That would be really exciting! I love it when the number of Followers shows an increase, and I hope that people do pop by to see what I’ve been up to from time to time.

I have two blogs. You may already have visited me at Viewfrom the Teapot, which is a less focussed blog, looking at my life in France – and life in general. This blog is more about food. It started when I was trying to lose weight and I thought it would be a good idea to be more accountable to people who were supporting me. Then I gave that up, and just started to share my menu plans and some favourite recipes...Now I am trying to lose weight again (6 kg lost so far!) I still share my menu plans etc. Mr FD comes on to find out what we’re having to eat!! I do mention other things en passant...but it is mostly food!
 I’ve always been a lover of food – and the more of it the better!! I recently admitted to my mum that when I was much younger I stole two shillings and sixpence (a florin, I believe they were called) from her purse and spent it on 6 cream cakes which I scoffed in the park! Mum was horrified - I’m not sure what she found worse: the stealing, what I bought or how I ate them!! 

Mr FD and I always enjoy going out for meals, and while we have to live a slightly more frugal lifestyle here than we did in the UK, we do go out from time to time. There are two restaurants in our village. One is next door –  Hotel de Londres - they make great pizzas, and some good value one course+ salad + dessert meals, but they do lose out on the more extravagant menus to the other restaurant. The starter and main courses are comparable, but the cheese selection and pudding choice are not. 

At  l’Hotel de la Poste the choice of cheese is out of this world, and the three- storey pudding trolley means that you gaze at it for hours, unable to make up your mind! Especially when you can choose up to three things! 
Where we live is not far from Roanne, the home of the world famous Trois Gros restaurant, with three Michelin stars). We have not eaten there; at 365€ per person for the menu (though admittedly with wine) it’s a tad too expensive for us! It would be lovely to go just once though...Maybe I should start saving now and we can go for our 30th wedding anniversary. That’s only 100€ a year to save up! But there are other wonderful restaurants around here where we can splash out! 

Our friends treated us to a meal at Le Chateau du Champlong for our 50th birthdays. We decided to stay overnight as well, and that was a fantastic time. I kept the menu and look at it from time to time with a drooling mouth! (Unfortunately I can’t find it at the moment to share it with you!!!!) There is the Auberge Costelloise (1 Michelin star) which we keep promising ourselves we’ll go to. But there are other, simpler restaurants nearby too – the Belgian restaurant where we ate hearty Beef Carbonade and drank beer that was stronger than the bottle of wine our friends shared!  The wonderful Auberge du Moulin, where we shared with friends a simple platter of charcuterie, a roast chicken and the best chips we’ve had in France. Oh we are lucky to live here!!

While I’ve not always struggled with my weight, the proximity of such delicious food, a distaste for exercise and the onset of middle age has meant that I need to try much harder now. Mr FD also has a bit of an embonpoint if we are honest, but he loves cycling and regularly cycles 60 or 70 km at a go, thus using up many of his calories. I think I need to restart cycling – if you read back over this blog you’ll see I set myself a challenge in 2011 to cycle 1,000 km in 6 months and to raise 1,000€ of sponsorship for a community school in Zambia. My money was put towards building a new toilet block! While I say I don’t do challenge, in order to make me do something requiring effort I needed to have the motivation of sponsorship behind me...I’m not sure what I’ll do to motivate myself this year! 
                                 (This is Mr FD and our friend. He is wearing the cycle club colours.)
This is me when I'd just done my 1,000 km!

I hope that you enjoy visiting me here, and finding out what we’re eating. I’ll post again tomorrow (Saturday. Or maybe I’ll wait till Sunday) to let you know the menu plans for the week, so do pop back to discover what reduced calorie (or maybe not!) food we’ll be enjoying in the coming weeks. 

To celebrate Vicki’s fabulous Blog Party I’m offering a small giveaway, suitably food inspired. I’ll pick a name from anyone who comments (you don't need to become a Follower, but it would be lovely if you do!) and send them a recipe book. It will be in French, but it’s reasonably easy to interpret with an online translator/dictionary. But I hope you’ll stay for the craic rather than the giveaway!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Yay, Yay, and thrice Yay!!!

Three reasons to cry "Yay!"

Number 1: Two more Followers! How lovely is that! So welcome Mary-who-doesn't-seem-to-have-a-blog, and Mary from the Craft Hoarder. (though looking at your photos you do seem to be suspiciously similar! I suspect you're the same person who loves me twice over!) Please can I be invited to your cat site too?

Number 2: I have lost 1 kg this week to get me back to pre-Christmas weight. That's 2lb of lard gone - and, to be honest, for not too much effort at all. 

Number 3: (and this really shouldn't be a Yay! but it is!) I was so busy working this morning (yes, really. No heckling from the back, thank you!) that I forgot I had to pop to the local shop for some haricot beans to make the spicy bean and vegetable stew that was planned for today's dinner. It was 1 o'clock before I remembered - oops! The shop shuts at one. Now, admittedly, I could have popped a bit further down to ShCarrefour, but by the time I'd got there and back we'd've been running out of making time. So a quick change of plan , and we're having UK sausages, potato gratin, roast parsnips and green beans instead. It's all looking very yummy and I'm really, really looking forward to it! 

I will have to create soup this afternoon to have tomorrow, as I was going to soupify the left over bean and veg casserole, but never mind. It's a small price to pay for SOSSIDGES!
So, everybody:

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Cats, remote controls...and Food!

Hello everybody! I hope everyone is now back into the swing of things (whatever those things are!) after the Christmas break. Usually I'm very sad to take down the Christmas decorations, but this year we haven't had any up, except some tinsel and a wreath on the front gate. I haven't taken those down yet, but I ought to do it soon. It's just that it's been so cold and wet recently I've not wanted to leave the comfort of my warm study to spend time - ooh, minutes! - inravelling tinsel.

We're now eating normally, except for finishing off the chocolates. Two a night, in place of a dessert. But I will have an apple too. Got to try to keep up the 5-a-day. Last week I gave you the menus up till tomorrow: I'm writing the blog post today, because I want to go to church (well, I'm not sure about the want - but I'm going to go to church) tomorrow and craft in the afternoon.

MONDAY: Hairy Spicy bean and vegetable stew I've made this before, and remember it as being yummy.  I'll make the full quantity (for 5) but then transform the leftovers into spicy bean and vegetable soup for the following three days' lunches/suppers

TUESDAY: This is a quick dish, because I don't get home from shopping/ teaching/ learning French until gone 7.00. So this is an old Slimming World rapid stand by - made with fresh pasta it's even quicker than the recipe states! Pasta with spring greens, garlic and chilli:
Put pasta on to cook. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil & add 2 large chopped red chillies and 4 - 5 sliced cloves of garlic. After about 2-3 minutes, add 200g shredded spring greens (or leeks if spring greens are not available) Stir fry for 5 - 6 minutes until wilted. Drain pasta, add to frying pan and toss everything together. Season to taste and add 30g grated parmesan. SERVES 4

WEDNESDAY: A slow cooker day, as I'll be in Roanne teaching until 7.00 ish. This is a dish called Stracotto; in Italian the name apparently translates as "cooked, cooked and more cooked". It can be used (if the meat is shredded) as a filling for ravioli. I'll be shredding the meat and using the remainder as a pasta sauce some time in the future. There are various recipes for this online, but here is one which is quite similar to the one I'll be using. Except mine uses a tbsp of tomato purée, and it doesn't use cream - but it might now, if I have some reduced fat creme fraiche left!

THURSDAY: I am going to revisit the Hairy Dieter's Minced beef and potato pies These worked well last time, although I made them as bigger pies to share rather than individual pies. That meant I only made two (serving 4 portions) rather than serving 6...but I used less dough, so maybe the calories evened out.  We'll have these with veggies, but obviously no more potatoes. Probably carrots and something green - broccoli, perhaps.

FRIDAY: I'm planning on buying a jambonneau at the market (a lump of cooked ham) on Thursday, so we can have a type of croque-monsieur for supper that day. So for our main meal on Friday, we'll have cold ham, potato wedges and home made coleslaw.

SATURDAY:  We're having another Hairy meal: Cod and Prawn Gratin. I hadn't noticed this was so low in calories. If anyone is following the 2:5 eating regime, this can be a 250 cal meal with a few tweaks. The blogger I've linked to goes into more detail on this. I just like it as a tasty, low calorie meal. Again, this will be with vegetables but no potatoes.

SUNDAY: I'm back to the slow cooker again. For the last few weeks I've been cooking meals for 4 in the slow cooker and freezing the remainder, so I have meals to fall back on. So far, I've got lamb with spinach, chicken in spicy sauce, pork Catalane, and Wednesday's Stracotto. This will be another meal to add to that: Mexican Pork Chops I prefer the recipe I've linked to, as it also uses kidney beans & sweetcorn, so I'll use that idea to add some more vegetable matter to the mix! My recipe uses a green pepper in place of the green chillies - and no garlic! It definitely needs pepping up a bit, I think!!

There you are! Our light meals will all be of the soup/sandwich variety, except for Thursday's Croque Monsieur Light. I made a fairly humungous bucket of very thick soup (so it can stand being thinned down a bit) with the Pot-au-Feu barquette that I bought a couple of weeks back. In fact, that barquette held so many carrots that I have about 10 left over! I am going to use some of them to make a Carrot and Applesauce cake I'll be throwing some sultanas and cranberries into the mixture too. That will go into the oven while I'm cooking tonight's Lentil Herder's Pie.

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It was lovely to have some comments on my last posts. It's always nice to know people are reading, and are engaged enough to comment. And look! I've found out how to change the text colour!

Pompom: you're right, I think I am enjoying my slow cooker. It has certainly made things a bit easier when I'm working, and it's lovely to come home to a hearty cooked meal, not just a quick thrown-together meal.

Cro: Argh! Lindt chocolates!!! If they were the little Lindor balls, I'm with you on the possibility of addiction setting in. I adore them...which is why we rarely have them in the house.

Ang: I'm becoming a great fan of the Hairy Dieters. I found the series a bit "twee", although I know it's their style, faux-discussing what they're doing, but the recipe book is great. it also gives a good idea about where one might be going wrong - just slugging the oil into a pan, for example, instead of measuring it. I hope you continue to find the recipes helpful.

Karen: I've not tried that recipe yet. How did it go? Mr FD is a firm fan of the food as well, because it's good and hearty, yet low fat too! Brilliant!

Linda: I've never seen Peep Show, although I do like Mitchell & Web. I think I need to do something with our remotes though - with a new sound box and the Freeview box, it now requires three remote controls to watch anything! I quite like the idea of taping them to a cat - but I suspect the cat would complain!- or else hold it to ransom:

Aninha: You ran 9 km!? Hey, well done! I can't even imagine what 9 km looks like, never mind contemplating running it! I hope your French classes go well...Mine are basically conversation with a très sympa teacher...and some homework. I wanted to gain confidence in my everyday conversation, and I think she is helping. On Wednesday I had a long chat with a pleasant couple as we waited in the Orange shop for our turn with an assistant. I understood them, and they seemed to understand me. Yay!

Crystal: I don't remember your picture of Noé with the remotes, but I'm deffo tempted to try it with George (who is the most placid of the cats) Though he may not be so accommodating if I try to mock him. They know, you know...

And to finish the Cats-and-Remote-Controls conversation:

I forgot. I have this photo to share with you too:
Big George overflowing out of Tiny Bib's basket that is on my desk. He couldn't really be comfortable, could he?!