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:

Friday, 24 October 2014

My Birthday Gift to Me!

... is the next Hairy Dieter's book

I've been getting a bit lax (A bit?! she snorts in derision) about healthy eating. The aspirational jeans that I fitted in (albeit slightly uncomfortably) for a brief nano-second are again too tight, and I am becoming rather too familiar with the crisp packet/biscuit combo again.

I've not really fasted for a while either, because of taking anti-biotics, and also because of working away from home on planned fast days. I've decided to change my fast days to Tuesday and Friday. On Tuesday I'm at home all day (at the moment, at least) with a few phone lessons, but c'est tout. On Friday I am out of the house in the afternoon - kiné, shopping and teaching - but if I have no breakfast, & a soup-and-fruit lunch it shouldn't be too difficult. 

The rest of the time, I'm planning on working my way through the three HD books that I have - trying all the recipes, not just picking one or two that I like the sound of more than others. I did this with River Cottage "Veg Every Day", and it introduced us to some very nice dishes. Plus eating more fruit and vegetables, and fewer biscuits and crisps. Hopefully.

But I'll get today over with first - I'm not fasting today! Dinner (cooked by Mr FD - bought by me yesterday!) is a tasty bit of smoked salmon, then calamari rings with garlic mayonnaise and then pork in shallot sauce with gnocchi. I may find myself forced to buy cakes while shopping.

I made a birthday cake a day early, for Barbara, one of my students. It was her birthday yesterday, so we celebrated with Victoria sponge, filled with redcurrant jam and cream (my contribution) and chocolate tart (her contribution) Other students and teachers joined us for a rather riotous coffee break.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Pulled Pork Update!

On my last post, I said I was going to try Frugal Queen's pulled pork on Saturday. Cooked over 8 hours in the slow cooker, it was absolutely delicious!
I had some southern barbecue sauce that I used in place of ketchup, but other than that I followed the recipe. I found it a tiny bit too sweet, and would use less sugar next time, but it was a real treat! We had it with coleslaw, salad and crusty bread and I had to hold Mr FD back from having too big-a-second- helping so there was enough for another meal. It's now in the freezer.

I would really, really recommend it as a très simple dish to cook. 

Today (Tuesday) I'm in a bit of a funny mood. I can't settle to anything - I spent this morning planning next Monday's lessons, but this afternoon has been a bit of a non-starter. I've eaten too much of the not-so-good-for-you stuff (chocolate and cookies) and feel really meh. I think it is partly the anti-biotics (still on them!!) but part of it is just I'm being too lazy.

Listen, Fat Dormouse. You have ironing. Go and do it before Mr FD gets home. (He'll be later than usual - he has kiné and then plans to go swimming.) Go. Iron!

I wonder if I could train them...

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Not quite the Saturday I'd planned!

Mr FD has been away for a few days and I went to collect him from Lyon airport on Thursday...Hah! There's a tale to be told...You can read about it here, over at the Teapot. Anyway, it's nice to have him back, although we're both suffering from coughs and colds.

Our friend Corinne is coming tomorrow for lunch - she and Mr FD love calves' liver (excuse me while I go and retch) so that's what they're having. I'm not. I'm having steak! Mr FD promised to cook it for her and so tomorrow is calves' liver day. With a salad to start (with magret de canard - smoked duck breast - walnuts and croutons) and a bought raspberry/myrtille tart from the patisserie to finish. Fairly easy to make - but the house needed a clean (doesn't it always?!) Four cats and an old house make for a lot of dust/cat fur lying around. Maybe I should get this book:

We were going to do it this afternoon together, as tomorrow morning Mr FD won't have time, due to an extraordinary AGM of the Cycle Club, but this morning he took some bikes down to Roanne with Alison and Gérome to try to sell them in the Trocathlon. This is a second-hand sports equipment sale that Decathlon organises every year: you take your equipment along to try to sell it, & I guess (though I'm not sure) Decathlon take a small cut from whatever you make. There was some kind of hold up, so he didn't think he'd get back till, after making banana/nut/choc chip cookies, pumpkin-and-carrot Thai curry soup and putting tonight's dinner in the slow cooker I tackled the cleaning. Including the clearing and cleaning of six litter trays - yuckety-yuck! He arrived back just as I'd finished!!

I'd planned to have a relatively lazy morning trying to tackle the chaos that is my study, but frankly I can't be arsed now. Maybe tomorrow morning. I'd wanted a not-too-taxing morning, as I'd not slept very well during the week and still feel a bit woozy (although I had a good undisturbed 9 hours last night) - though that might be the antibiotics that I'm on for my cough which is still lingering on after almost 4 weeks. I dislike taking antibiotics, but at least have found that two pots of Activia products a day have helped mitigate some of the effects of the medicines!

Our food plans this week are as follows:
TODAY: Frugal Queen's pulled pork, with salad and coleslaw and bread. I think our slow cooker (which we got as a wedding present, 29 years ago!) is less powerful than Froogs' - the pork has been on "high" for 3 hours and "low" for 3 hours and still isn't looking ready to "fall apart". It smells lush though, so having switched it back to "high" I'm hoping that after another 3 hours it will be more inclined to allow itself to be pulled apart.

The plan is to use left overs for sandwiches, or to freeze some for another time.

SUNDAY: Aforementioned Calves' liver. I don't know how it will be cooked (I'm not touching it! That's Mr FD's dept.) but my steak will be rare, served with a dab of mustard. 

MONDAY: (semi fasting) Chicken with chilli and leeks. I can't find a recipe online for this, but it is very simple:
Heat a pan with a misting of olive oil. Cook two chopped leeks and two chopped onions until soft, and then remove from pan. Put 2 chicken breasts to the pan & brown. Put the onion mix back in, and add 1.5 tbsp of chilli jelly (or sweet chilli suce or chilli jam) Transfer to an ovenproof dish and cook in oven at 190° until the chicken is cooked.

TUESDAY: Spicy pork chops with chickpeas This has spinach and chickpeas, but I might add another vegetable as well. Haven't decided yet.


WEDNESDAY: An easy one, for Mr FD to pop in the oven before I get home from dancing. Aubergine Gratin. I add mushroom to the mix, and use a cheaper pasta sauce from Lidl, but it's basically the same recipe. I can prepare this before I go, so Mr FD can have his apero night at Alison's if he wishes!!

THURSDAY: Chausson farcis (Stuffed slippers!) - I'm not making my pastry (pouf! I'm using bought puff pastry) and the cheese is Feta, not Vache Qui Rit, but otherwise it's the same. With salad.


FRIDAY: It's the Fat Dormouse Fat Fifty-Fifth birthday!! Maybe we'll go out...BUT our friend Steve is coming over, briefly, and it would be good to see him. There is talk of aperos at Alison's, so we will see what happens there. He's bringing a car over for Jean and Claire, then taking an old one back to the UK (he runs a garage). Foodwise - dunno. On verra!

I think full-on fasting is out at the moment - I tried on Friday, but with the antibiotics and cortisone I felt really wierd! I'll wait until I've finished the treatment before going for the full on fast that I usually try on Fridays.

Several people commented on the fact I've got Christmas prezzies (partly) sorted. It's really only because I love going to Noz and feeling I've bought bargains! I went on Wednesday and bought another present  - a Peruvian hat with ear flaps
What the intended recipient will make of it I have no idea! But I like it (but I'm not a young student at Lancaster University, am I?!)
I also got a bottle of fizz for 2,95€, some coconut milk Thai red curry sauce (used in today's soup) plus various other foodie items and some stationery too. A good haul, but I didn't have a lot of time to browse. Oh, and some yummy tortilla chips
I would very much like to pop back to get some more of these - but by next Wednesday (when I'm next in Roanne) they may well all be gone!

Thank you for your comments. I love hearing from you...I hope Cleo Bonbon finds some recipe inspiration - I really have high hopes for this pulled pork!! - and maybe some more of you willsign up for the Christmas swap. I'm looking forward to it (I already have some goodies from Noz put aside!!)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Ooooh! Christmas!!

I'm actually quite organised for the Big Day - I have bought quite a lot of presents, and even wrapped and delivered three heavy-and-breakable gifts to members of my family. But I do have a habit of buying random gifts in my favourite discount shop, Noz, and discovering that while I appear to have several gifts for (for example) my niece, I have nothing for (example) my brother! I must get my act together and make a list, so I can see where the gaps in my present buying lie.

I'm always in the market for more presents (both giving and receiving!) so I've signed up for the Ship of Fools Secret Santa which is always fun.

My Bloggy friend, Amanda, at Crafty in the Med has alerted me to a Christmas swap, being organised by Creative Chaos.

Huzzah! More Christmas fun. I have signed up, and just thought I'd mention it in case any of my lovely readers wanted to join in the fun!

Talking of lovely readers, here is another Big Fat Dormouse Welcome to Julie from A Tale From Toadstool House. She is a skilful crocheter and makes fabby blankets with BEAR FACES on them! What fun!!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

All on my Own...

...just for a few days though!

Mr FD has gone to the UK to visit his mum, while his sister & her children are over from Canada, and his cousins are visitig from Germany. It would have been difficult for me to get time off from teaching, so he went alone. And after all, I had a break in the summer, which he didn't, so he deserved a little holiday!

You can read about yesterday, when I went to Lyon to "see him off" (sort of) over at The Teapot.

This week I bought myself a few goodies to have, but mostly I'm eating from the freezer.
TODAY: Steak, potatoes Dauphinoise, corn-on-the-cob, salad

MONDAY (semi fasting): Lentil Dhal (not eaten last Thursday - see below for why) and rice.

TUESDAY: Merguez and aligot. I bought the Aligot ready prepared, but here is a recipe, from Saint Delia, no less! To try to be healthy I may add a few green beans to this, and have the other corn-on-the-cob too. I suppose it's a French version of sausage-and-mash!


WEDNESDAY: The other merguez, tomato sauce and fresh pasta - nice and quick, as I get in late from line dancing and don't want to be cooking till all hours.

THURSDAY: Soup, as I'm out to lunch with students.

FRIDAY (semi fasting):  Garlic, herb & parmesan crusted chicken schnitzels. I can prep these before I go to teach/shop, and Mr FD can finish them off (he's back on Thursday evening) so they're ready when I get home at about 7.15. I'll have mine with green salad, he can have a frozen dauphinoise if he's not fasting. I've rather lost track of if Mr FD is fasting or not! He just eats what I give him!!!

So...why didn't we have the dhal last Thursday? I was teaching my usual Thursday students, a really funny couple called Barbara and Thierry. They are a couple, and they both work for SNCF, the French railway company. He is a train driver, she is a ticket inspector/guard. They are great and I get on very well with them. As part of their course, we get to go out for lunch once a month, and the Language School pays. We speak English and eat a good Menu du Jour and enjoy ourselves. It's still work for them, but they enjoy trying to speak English, even if they're not really very good! Anyway, last Thursday, Thierry asked if I would like to join them at his flat for lunch - he lives near ILS, while Barbara lives in a village outside Clermont, so they usually have lunch at Thierry's.

Never one to turn down food, I agreed. He has a beautifully restored flat, five/ten minutes walk from ILS, so we repaired there for charcuterie, followed by a typical Auvergnate dish called Potée:
If I'm honest, it's not smething I'll be choosing to eat again in the near future. Too many fatty pork products for my taste!


We finished with patisserie and coffee...then we had to go back for another lesson! After that huge lunch, I certainly wasn't ready to eat a dinner, so I made a carbonara for Mr FD and I had a slice of toast-and-jam for my dinner! I fasted on Friday instead, just having lamb tagine (smallish portion) and a small amount of cous-cous.

Thank You PomPom and Sandra for your comments. See, PomPom I've taken your advice and not gone for complicated meals while Mr FD is away. I'm glad you liked the LolCats, Sandra. I think the recipe-reading Kitten is particularly cute 'n' fluffy!

Now, I must go and cook some soup - curried squash-and-parsnip, I think. Nom nom.

Saturday, 4 October 2014


"Splash-and-dash" is what our friends used to call a quick trip across to France, usually to pick up extra supplies of wine and cheese.

This is a quick lickety-split of a post as tomorrow I'm going to have to tackle a mountain of ironing, and today has mostly been taken up with writing a sermon for tomorrow, that didn't come easily.

So, food this week (mostly taken from the freezer, due to a slight cash flow problem!) is:
TODAY: A frozen potato-green bean and duck mix supplemented with extra duck and extra green beans.

SUNDAY: Beef casserole, mashed potatoes, and carrots. Beef casserole already in the freezer. Lots of potatoes courtesy of our generous neighbours.

MONDAY: (semi fasting) Pork steak (in freezer) with frozen wok stir-fry vegetables.

TUESDAY: Lamb meatballs (mix in freezer), chips, tomato-and-courgette sauce

WEDNESDAY: Meatloaf (in freezer), baked potato, coleslaw

THURSDAY: (semi fasting) Lentil dhal (in freezer), small amount of rice, some curried veggies.

FRIDAY: Not sure yet...!! But possibly a vegetable/pasta melange of some description!

Nothing terribly exciting I'm afraid but needs must!

Thank you for your lovely comments - so many of you commented on how cats like to drink from strange places...We have to have a jam-jar in the sink where Bib likes to lap water from - somehow the bowls of water don't have the same appeal for her!

Mags and Jane&Chris: Pride was great - well worth seeing. We'd also like to see "What we did on our holiday" (that's the one you meant, Mags!) and "The 100 Foot Journey" - it just depends if they come on in VO at the (not very)local cinema.

Mr FD is off to the UK next Saturday to see his sister (over from Canada) and his cousins (over from Germany)  so I'll be on my own. Do you think my menus will be full of gastronomic treats, or just stuff I found at the back of the cupboards?!

And will I have any help from the cats, cooking the food?!