Sunday, 28 February 2016

Rushing in...rushing out!

This is a fairly quick post today, but I didn't want people here at Fat Dormouse to feel unloved! I've been posted regularly at The Teapot, as I'm journalling my thoughts about 40 Acts, but I still want to pop in here at least once a week!

I would like to offer a great big fat Dormouse welcome to Jean from A Very Grand Pressigny. Happy you wanted to join us, Jean!

 We went out for dinner yesterday. Mr FD has been doing lots to help some friends set up their TV, and computer and other techie things, so to say Thank You to him, they took us out to dinner. We went to a restaurant not too far from here, called La Murette

It was very nice - I had eggs cooked with lardons and spinach for starter, carbonade for main, and vanilla cream with red fruits and chantilly for dessert. Very enjoyable!

Dinners planned for this week are:
TODAY: Steak with vietnamese dressing & sweet potato wedges

MONDAY: Roast vegetable and harissa cous-cous

TUESDAY: Aubergine burgers, pitta and coleslaw

WEDNESDAY: Italian pork (slow cooker recipe) - this isn' t the exact rtecipe, and I'm using fresh peppers rather than marinaded from a jar, but it gives a flavour of what we're having.

THURSDAY: Pork again, with baked potatioes from the slow cooker.

I'm off to Liverpool for the weekend, so I won't be posting next week...Hopefully I'll have time to catch up the following Tuesday (full working day on Monday) 

Of course, I want to say Thank You for your comments... Lovely people!

PomPom, I saved you some lamb and chickpeas...(Actually, it wasn't very nice, as Mr FD followed the wrong recipe. Never mind!)

Hard Up Hester Thank you for the advice on wandering Followers. I kind of let the furore about Google Plus etc pass me by!

Kezzie: Did you make the vegetarian lasagne? For non-vegetarians Mary Berry's lasagne recipe is very nice!!

Busy Little Chicken shepherds pie with sweet potato topping sounds yummy!! I'm putting your swap parcel together, but time seems to be going so quickly at the moment!! 

Sorry it's so rushed today...Hopefully it will be less rushed next time. Have a lovely week, dear Peeps!!

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Meals and Musings...

Oooooooh! I've lost another Follower. Sorry I wasn't interesting enough, whoever you were. Or maybe there was some disgust that I hadn't blogged in a week - I know I sometimes get frustrated, clicking on a favourite blog and finding it hasn't been updated for a while. No problems there with Ang's blog, somehow she always finds something to blog about every day!!

Today she is blogging about smoking, and a particular brand of cigarette/tobacco, Balkan Sobranie. I won't steal her thunder, you can go and read the post yourself, but I commented on how much I enjoyed the episode of "Call the Midwife" where the doctor's son used reverse psychology to get his dad to give up smoking. As I said, I wish someone had done the same to my father, but back then, it was the few who recognised that smoking was the root cause of so many cancers and chest problems.
Dad used to smoke Gitanes on holiday in France & Switzerland, because we all thought how cosmopolitan and sophisticated they made him look (in his sandals and socks!!), but the rest of the time he was mostly a pipe smoker.
I have also been enjoying this series of "Call the Midwife" because it was in this era that dad was practising as a GP. In Fazakerly, in Liverpool, so not exactly the same area as Poplar, London, but it helps me to imagine some of the things he was dealing with. Mum was the receptionist for a while, as she would not have been alloowed to be a teacher with the children...

I have been blogging every day over at The Teapot, as I am taking part in 40 Acts: 40 acts of generosity during Lent. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep blogging every day, but I'm making the effort at the moment!

This is a clue to what we're having for dinner this evening! One of the Actions for 40 Acts was to shop local - so that's what we're doing!!! I planned to use the pizza van a couple of weeks back, but Natasha wasn't there. Apparently though she was just on holiday, so we're hopeful for this evening. 

SUNDAY: Spicy pork and rice. This is a favourite of mine, to be honest, simple to make, low fat and very tasty. It already has lots of veggies in it so I don't need to add more...although (somehow) we have loads of little gem lettuce, so perhaps I'll make a side salad too. 

MONDAY: Herby lamb and chickpeas....Chickpeas similar to this  but I'm going to add the gremolata ingredients to the chickpeas, and somer spinach too. Lamb similar to this but just done with two chops, not entire racks of the stuff!

TUESDAY: Celeriac cakes and merguez sausages

WEDNESDAY: Vegetarian lasagne. There's no dancing tonight, as it's half term, so I don't need to use the slow cooker. However, the SC has produced a very nice lasagne before now, so I may do it anyway. I'm using a tin of ratatouille as the base for the vegetarian bit of the lasagne. 

THURSDAY: I really don't know. I gave up planning when I got to this point! There's some chicken in the freezer, so I may do something with that. It rather depends on how my teaching pans out this week, but it may be that I'll be shopping and Mr FD will stay at home, so he can do the cooking!

FRIDAY: Again, not sure. I'll probably root round in the freezer to find something. I seem to remember seeing bits of cooked guinea fowl in there,; so I may do a quick-and-easy mostly-vegetable stir fry.

As usual I want to say thank you for your comments...
and what better way than with a cute kitten? 

SANDRA was a bit concerned by Tarot - It isn't initiation into the occult, however, just a rather tricky card game! I think I understand how it is played, but the strategy is beyond me at the moment, particularly as it helps if you can remember which cards have been played. With a deck of 72 cards, rather than 52 this is a bit much for me. I am a Bear of very little brain!

POMPOM missed choosing her dinner last week - what will you have this week, Pompom? 

I hope that my dear Peeps will pop over to the Teapot if they are missing me here. I promise not to push you into the teapot, as ius happening to the poor Dormouse here:

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Energy saving mode?

Hello to all you lovely Peeps. I hope you are all well and sparkly. 

I think today I must force myself to get outside - it is (so far at least) a lovely looking day and I have been uber-lazy recently. Although I slept well, I'm feeling dopey and drowsy, so I probably need a bit of a shake up. I probably should go now - as it's good weather - but secretly I'm hoping that if I leave it, the weather will change and there's a good excuse not to go!!

This week has been nothing special - teaching, planning, a bit of time wasting (I'm good at that!) and my dancing on Wednesday. This weekend Mr FD and I are going to try to initiate ourselves into the mystery of Tarot, as we have our fortnightly card evening on Monday with Monique & Michel. We taught them Cribbage last time, they are going to teach us Tarot this week, but we thought it might be worth trying to get ahead of the game by at least having a vague understanding of the rules.

I have been involved in 40 Acts, so if you want to read what I've been doing there, you can go over to the Teapot

We had pancakes on Tuesday - bizarrely the recipe that I used said that I would be able to make "about 12" pancakes from the quantity of batter. I made 4! I'm not sure if my pancakes were substantially thicker than the ones Mireille Johnson made, or maybe they were bigger. Still, 4 was really a better quantity for 2 people than 12! 

I rarely make pancakes, and if I do, they're usually savoury, and filled with leeks-and-mushrooms in cheese sauce. But I really enjoyed the ones I made, which I had with lemon and sugar. Classic filling!

It's Valentine's Day tomorrow - we won't be doing anything special, or giving cards, but I'm thinking I might make a heart shaped fruit pie - or jam tart - just for fun. Or maybe not. Can I be arsed?! Or perhaps I should take this as my inspiration...?!?!

Last week's food was very nice - the pizza from the van turned into a frozen pizza, as sadly I fear the van has gone out of business, or at least stopped trading. We didn't have the curry on Thursday, but had ding cuisine from the previous evening. And Tuesday's baked fish was very nice. We're not fish eaters really, but we both enjoyed this recipe, as it was hearty and not very fishy!

This week's menus are looking like this:

TODAY: Firecracker turkey (but not on skewers), noodles and stir fried veggies

SUNDAY: Pork and mushroom casserole, rice and carrots

MONDAY: Falafel and halloumi burgers. I used some of a pack of halloumi last week, so need to use up the rest. We'll have these with salad 

TUESDAY: Beef Rendang with rice and green beans 

WEDNESDAY: Honey mustard chicken (in the slow cooker) I haven't got so many lessons this week, as it's school holidays, so I can prepare this before I go to Roanne. Mr FD can cook some potatoes/rice as he wishes.

THURSDAY: Mushroom and tomato curry - I'll cook & prepare this before we go to Roanne shopping, & pop it in the slow cooker to keep warm, rather than to cook it, if you see what I mean...

 FRIDAY: Not really sure yet. Maybe chilli - I have kidney beans and mince in the freezer, so it would be easy to do. We have some tortillas that need using, so we can maybe have burritos. Between us, Mr FD & I should be able to make it the right spiciness - I'm usually too sparing and he's sometimes over-the-top!

I haven't been following 5:2 for quite a while, although Mr FD has (except for the last couple of weeks when he's been under the weather) but I noticed I was beginning to get porky again. I need to be more careful, I think, and try to semi-fast on Mondays & Thursdays...That is, eat  less, no biscuits & snacks, and no alcohol. I'm already choosing low fat recipes to help Mr FD with his fasting, so it shouldn't be too tricky for me to cut down.

as always for your comments...

TRISH...the lurgies have been fended off. I feel a bit guilty as Mr FD has had the viral infection (identified as such by the doctor) very badly, while I have had a minor discomfort. Mine has followed the same pattern as his, but with nothing more than a slight pain in the evening, wheras he has been nursing "agonising pain" (His description. I am saying nothing about men exaggerating. I can't feel what he can feel)

The service last week went well. I hate pictures of me, but this one is bearable

 although my surplice makes me look enormous!

KEZZIE: Thank you for your suggestion of an alternative title - I wish I'd thought of it. And while I do try to use up all left over food I don't think I would really expect Mr FD to eat something he found rotting...But, what he doesn't know won't hurt him...!! We actually both ended up eating steak and chips as I didn't eat very much at the lunch afterwards

although there was plenty!

Oh well, that's about it for food and news. Do please let me know if you've tried any of the recipes I link to; it's always good to hear if people enjoy their food!!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Any ideas for an attention grabbing title? No, me neither.*

* Edited To Add: Kezzie has offered the alternative title "Surplice to Requirements" Hah! Thank you Kezzie!

This is a quick post today - I have a lot of ironing to do, including my surplice and cassock.

 My sore throat is developing but it's developing quite slowly so I'm hoping that tomorrow might be okay. So far today I've taken throat syrup, gargled with soluble aspirin, gargled with apple cider vinegar (yuckity-yuck) and drunk a lot of pineapple juice. I also have an antiseptic mouthwash to try gargling with as well. I shall keep up with this to try to keep the infection at bay. Mr FD resorted to the Very Strong Painkillers last night which gave him a bit of respite, and he's in less pain today, although he is suffering with earache now. He's a martyr to the Ear-Nose-Throat department!

I'm relieved to hear that the Very Strong Painkillers work, so I can use them tomorrow if necessary.
(ETA (again) no throaty problerms on Sunday. Huzzah. The event went well.)

Food has not quite been as planned due to not-feeling-like-it. I think today's planned Creamy Chicken Pots -delicious as they sound! - are going to be abandoned for pizza-from-Natasha's-van. The chicken can go in the freezer for another time.

SUNDAY: There's a finger buffet after my re-commisioning service, so I'll probably just have beans on toast in the evening. Mr FD can have something that I find rooting round in the freezer!

MONDAY: I'd planned a frittata, but we had one on Thursday night so that's out. I could do the chicken pots but it's Mr FD's fasting day, so they're not quite appropriate. I think I'll go for Hairy Dieter's Bean burgers with a chicory/orange salad.

TUESDAY: Baked fish with red peppers and tomatoes This is a link to a PDF of some of the recipe book, so you get some other recipes too! You'll need to scroll down to find the fishy recipe.

WEDNESDAY: Slow Cooker lamb stew I won't be worrying about the gluten-free ingredients mentioned though! Thank goodness I don't have to take that into account!

THURSDAY: Chicken & spinach curry This will go in the slow cooker so it's ready to eat when we get home from teaching/shopping on Thursday evening. It will just need fresh spinach adding for a few minutes.

...for your comments 

Michelle and Trish both said they fancied the look of the no-meatballs. I made them and they were very acceptable. I sprayed them with oil and oven baked them, rather than frying them and they were fine. I hope you enjoy them too.

Maggie liked the look of the sausage one-pot. That was good too. I think the extra veggies that I threw in (mushrooms and courgette) helped, as did using merguez sausages. 

Angeljem & Trish both liked the Lolcat I used - I do like Lolcats, although the "cutsie" Lolspeak can be a bit annoying. But I can usually find at least one that fits nicely with the theme.

Thank you for your reassurances regarding blogs, lost followers and oither such nonsense, Kezzie! And Jan , thank you for your good wishes both for my health & for tomorrow.

And so I must trot off and do my ironing, in the company of Kermode & Mayo's Film Review podcast. It always makes the time go quicker!


Friday, 5 February 2016

Muffin top!

At the moment my sore throat is being held at bay. Mr FD says he feels better after "getting rid of stuff from behind his soft pallette". I really don't want to know quite what "stuff" he is referring too. Suffice to say, he is brighter today.

My planned "hard day's teaching" was curtailed by 4 hours when (rather belatedly) I received an email from the company saying they needed to cancel the lesson. Theoretically I should count it as a late cancellation (less than 24 hours in advance) and charge them for it, but they'd lose 4 hours of their lessons then. It hasn't really inconvenienced me, so I'm not going to bother....Mind you, if they do it again I might be tempted...!!

So, instead of teaching, I did some baking! My Friday afternoon student and I have started a tradition of providing cakes to buck us up late afternoon. So today, finding three pots of purée de pommes/peches  in the cupboard I decided to make muffins! One of the pots must have had a tiny hole in the lid as there was a big spot of mould on top of the purée. If it had just been for us I might have scraped off the mould and risked using it, but for someone else I decided not to.

I used this recipe 

Makes: 8 muffins
  • 110g butter, room temperature
  • 135g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 235ml apple sauce
  • 190g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown soft sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
  1. In a large bowl mix together the butter and the sugar until the mixture is creamy. Beat in eggs and mix well.
  2. Next add the nutmeg, allspice, baking powder and the bicarbonate of soda. Mix in well. Then add the apple sauce and the plain flour mix it in all in and make sure it is light and fluffy. Put the mixture into muffin cases.
  3. Mix in bowl the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the muffins.
  4. Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

The recipe said it would make 8 muffins, but I actually made 14 good sized ones with the amount of mixture  - which Mr FD is very happy about as it means there'll be some for him too! I added some dried cranberries to the mixture as well. I'd've taken a photo but my camera is still mislaid. I think I'm going to have to spend Saturday having a really good look around the house. I can't imagine what has happened to it, as I don't often take it anywhere....

Yesterday afternoon was spent making a card for a friend. I'm rather happy with it, but it did take ages, just because I couldn't decide what to do.  The final card was an easel type card, with a couple of rather neat rosettes on it. If I find the camera before I give her the card, then I'll take a picture.  My inspiration was this card:

but it turned out quite different in the end! 

P.S. I sent Daniel (my student) a quick text to let him know I had made cake. He has just replied:
Yummy !
You know I am greedy.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Sad face: Sore throat

Mr FD has had a horrid, horrid sore throat for the last four days, so bad that he has had to get up in the night because lying down is so painful. He has not been a happy bunny.

Today I am feeling a slight discomfort in my throat and a little bit of burning pain when I swallow. I think it may be creeping up on me. Just in time for a very busy teaching day tomorrow, and then the weekend! Huzzah.

But that's not all...

This Sunday is going to be a special one for me. I'm being recommissioned as a Licensed Lay Minister at church - Archdeacons coming from Marseilles and finger buffets after the service and I suspect that Sunday will be when it is at its raging high point. Fantastic.

What's a girl to do?

After my next lesson (oops, about to start!) I'll be popping out to see what the pharmacy can offer me, but I fear that I'm just going to have to let it run its course, and put up with the pain on Sunday.

I find this advice very helpful though: