Pomme, curled up next to Mr FD. She looks a bit "simple" in this photo, but she's not really. She's quite a wily cat, especially when it comes to food. She's the only one who has learned to hold something down with her paw to stop it sliding away when being licked (as proved yesterday with the caramel muffin case!).
Here is Big George definitely trying to keep out the cold. He is sleeping on one of the blankets that I knit for Spanish Stray Cats - but he has decided that this one is his. He will sometimes share it with Pomme and Millie, but rarely with Bib. She wriggles too much. It's sweet seeing George and his sister Millie together as they often groom each other.And this is the Baby of the group, Bib, in her trademark curled-up-as-tightly-as-possible pose. It's funny when she climbs on a lap and does a sort of somersault to end up, curled like this, but upside down, in your arms.
It is cold here, so all four have been searching out warmth and comfort, so in the evening they are all gathered in the sitting room with us - usually all round Mr FD "Cat Magnet" - Millie in his arms, Pomme on his lap, George on the back of the sofa next to his head, and Bib curled in the corner of the sofa. Sometimes one will deign to come and sit on my lap, but not often. Sigh. Still, it means I can knit SSC blankies, without having George conducting lightning raids on the wool!
This was taken in 2010 but shows Mr FD in definite "cat magnet" mode!
With the cold we have been yearning for spiciness and comfort foods. So what is planned for this week?
Well, I have abandoned the Hairy Boys for a while and returned to my collection of recipes that I have been putting together over several years.Here's the folder, full of slightly sticky plastic pockets with various recipes in them.Some cut-and-pasted from t'internetOthers from magazines - these are in French, but I can understand them no problem.
And others from various English magazines too - ones from before we moved and from others brought back from the UK. Several on this page were from Good Housekeeping's article (many years ago) which gave a month's worth of recipes - some are ones I return to again, and again.
So I thought I would return to the Book for some favourites that I've not cooked for a while - and some new recipes that I saved but never cooked!
TODAY: I had planned a veggie chilli from the freezer, but in fact we had that as a heat-up-while-Alison-is-here meal - Our friend came for mulled wine on Thursday evening so I popped the chilli in the oven so it was ready to eat when she went. So today we're having the salmon dish that I'd planned for then.
SUNDAY: Paupiettes de Dinde au cantal In fact the recipe I have uses walnuts instead of mushrooms, but I think I prefer the thought of mushrooms. Otherwise the recipes are similar. We're having this with roast potatoes, carrots and green beans. I've not cooked this, so it will be a new experience!
MONDAY: Quick Sausage Stew - this recipe came from who-knows-where but is a quick-and-easy for when I get in late. I might even prep it on Sunday so it just needs warming through.
* 1 tbsp olive oil * 6 chipolatas * 1 onion, sliced * can of chickpeas * jar of tomato sauce, or home made * 150 ml chicken stock * 1 garlic clove, chopped * zest small orange *handful frozen spinach, thawed
Heat the oil and fry sausages until goldren brown. Remove. Then cook the onion & garlic until soft, adding a splash of water if necessary. Add chickpeas, sauce, spinach and stck & bring to boil. Reduce heat, add sausages and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Scatter zest over the top & serve with bread.
TUESDAY: Fasting. An old BBC Good Food recipe, Vegetable Tagine with cous cous. This uses butternut squash - one of my favourite vegetables, but I think I will roast it before using it as the recipe, as I like the slightly caramelised flavour that roasting gives to a squash. I'm also using apricots (yum) instead of prunes (yuckity-yuck)
WEDNESDAY: Pasta bolognaise - this was planned as a Mr FD warming up meal, as Wednesday is my Line Dancing night. However, as I am not teaching in the afternoon, I will probably not hang around Roanne for 6 hours just to go dancing. I will come home and try to do some practice toute seule with the internet to help me. The sauce is in the freezer already so the pasta will just bneed cooking. I may - just because I love it! - make some garic bread.
THURSDAY: Yoghurt spiced Chicken Now, I have to say that the online recipe isn't very helpful, because it says "Make double the quantities of the spice mix" but fails to tell you what the spice mix is. It is taken from a series of recipes where you had the same base, but then rang the changes around that basic recipe. So the spice mix is: 2 tbsp cumin seeds, 2 tbsp paprika, 1 tsp ground coriander, grated zest of half an orange. Grind the spices & zest together & then use as instructed. I don't have the mustard seeds used in this recipe, but I'll probably just pop in a tsp or so of grainy mustard instead.
FRIDAY Quick Curry + a small amount of rice. This curry, made with chorizo (!!) is cooked in 10 minutes - perfect when I get home from shopping and teaching at 7 pm. It isn't however good fasting food (437 calories a portion!!!) but I'm giving myself a short fasting break. One fasting day a week plus one sensible (small brekkie, small lunch, no snacks) day.
All the recipes take less than 30 minutes to put together, even if one or two take longer to cook. Easy to make, I think, even if you're not a great recipe follower. Maybe this week is a little "meat heavy", as I do try to have two vegetarian meals a week, but the chorizo curry doesn't use too much meat, and the chicken fillets that I've bought are only about 150g each. I do need to try to eat more vegetables though - I usually only manage 4 portions a day...an apple, a portion of vegetable soup (this week's is butternut squash and tomato, with a few lentils and a bit of pasta) plus two other vegetables at dinner.
How good are you at eating your recommended five (or is it now seven?!)-a-day?