Thursday, September 27, 2012
I spotted purple carrots in Waitrose today, and just had to buy them to try out. We are so used to orange carrots, it is easy to forget that there are other varieties out there to play with.
In fact, there is a whole history of the carrot here, if you are interested:
So, not having tried the purple variety before, and with Tara looking most unwilling, even though carrot is about the only vegetable she will eat, I peeled and chopped a couple of them to plain boil as a taste test.
First point. They bleed! Like beetroot do. They stain your fingers. I guess, if you like carrot skin you can just scrub them and cook them with the skin on though, which will probably solve that, and my hands are back to their normal colour after a rinse. :-)
So, this is what they look like. Very pretty, I think...
After I had cooked them until tender, I drained the water, which had a distinctive blue tinge to it:
And this was what I was left with:
The taste is about the same as orange carrots, so no issues there. However, I was disappointed to see so much of the vibrant colour gone, but if you like carrot raw, this would look very pretty in a salad.
Tara was not impressed by the colour change at all (You should have seen her face! LOL), and she will not be persuaded to change to the purple carrot. As for me, the rest of them will go into the venison and pork sausage casserole I'm making tomorrow. I'll be honest, they are not doing it for me as a side veg, but I don't think I'll mind them in a casserole. :-)
Oh, I do love autumnal goodies and my slow cooker. They are a truly heavenly combination. :-) I made pork and chickpea casserole yesterday, and it is gorgeous!
Tonight we are headed to the grill, however, for a change of pace with some salmon and the last of the new potatoes. Yum!
Oh, and in other news - a table fit for a Druid Feast in the making. A giant 5000 year old oak has been unearthed in Norfolk, and they are making a table out of it:
Enjoy your day. Are you trying something new today?
Due to the frequency of human-bear encounters, the B.C. Fish and Wildlife Branch is advising hikers, hunters, fishermen and any persons that use the out of doors in a recreational or work-related function to take extra precautions while in the field.
We advise the outdoorsman to wear little noisy bells on clothing so as to give advance warning to any bears that might be close by so you don't take them by surprise.
We also advise anyone using the out-of-doors to carry 'pepper spray' with him in case of an encounter with a bear.
Outdoorsmen should also be on the watch for fresh bear activity, and be able to tell the difference between black bear faeces and grizzly bear faeces. Black bear faeces is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear s*** has bells in it and smells like pepper.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
On a day when you see this:
but if you turn 180 degrees you see this:
you know it is a day for seeing Cloud Dragons...
And why was I out in all this rain and storminess?
I was looking for kitchen containers. :-) Plastic and glass - various goodies for the storing of. :-) I managed to get a selection from The Range to test out, so the walk in the rain wasn't for nothing, and I then completely ignored the wafting smells from the big MacDonalds and did a Waitrose sweep for some essentials, plus the ingredients for a random pork and chickpea casserole, before dragging my spoils home while the heavens re-opened. There were some BIG puddles about to play with too! :-)
Had a lovely chat with one of the produce assistants in Waitrose before I left, about the difficulties getting certain fresh fruit and veg into the supermarkets because of the weather. It is truly amazing what goes on behind the scenes in order to get us good fresh produce all year round.
For example, they struggled a couple of months back to secure prepacked broccoli, and were experiencing a shortage of it loose as well. In the end they had to send someone to America to check the quality of their broccoli, and had to import it from there until UK/European supplies improved! I can't help feeling that we as the consumer should be willing to accept local alternatives when a product is temporarily unavailable. It seems crazy to me that a store has to go to such expense and drag a product from so far afield just because of customers whining about not being able to have their broccoli!
*steps down from veg box*.
Glad to hear the weather is supposed to pick up soon, and heaven knows how grateful I am not to have to be wading through a foot of water, or even sandfoam in my own home, like some poor souls, north of the border. How bizarre is that!
Enjoy your day!
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Sports bra, comfort bra, or steel boobie cage, the relief at the end of the day is palpable! You know what I'm talking about, ladies! :-)
Had a nice autumnal day for the most part today. Blue sky, sunshine and pretty clouds. Walked into town, exchanged some library books, found myself a pair of slippers to slop around in this winter for a fiver, and treated us to some sweet goodies from the olde worlde sweete shoppe.
Then I bought a sausage roll from Greggs as a wee treat to munch on the way home. :-)
I know ... sausage rolls and sweets are hardly good healthy foodstuffs, but what is life without a little treat now and then. :-)
And talking of that, I have a question for my American friends...
How much does a classic Sloppy Joe cost in the USA, and do they include jalepino?
I only ask because I checked out the menu at our Colchester American Diner today, a diner called Sloppy Joe's, surprise, surprise. :-) A sloppy joe's cost £8.95, which to me sounds really expensive for what I hear is basically a soggy burger, or am I wrong? :-)
Tara went bowling for the first time today. As part of the course she is on at the Institute, they teach social skills, and so they took the class bowling this afternoon for some social interaction. From what she tells me, she came dead last, but had a lovely time anyway. Also, they had some interesting machines there, so she put a fair few pounds from her grant into them - guitar hero, some singing game, and something called pile-up! Stacking boxes to win prizes. At 50p a pop, and a minute of entertainment, if that, it is one seriously expensive game to play! She had about 8 goes at it! But it was such fun for her being out and about with her classmates, and hopefully next time one of them will pay! :-)
Enjoy your day!
Monday, September 24, 2012
I think I have just invented a new recipe!
You see, one of the things I have to avoid with the diverticular disease is seeds.
So no more tinned tomatoes in my pasta sauces, and when I have cheese and tomato on toast I have to dig out all the seeds from each tomato slice before spreading them over my toast, slapping some slices of cheese on top and bubbling it to a golden colour under the grill.
Today I wanted to try and make my own salsa - in order to avoid seeds. The first attempt a few weeks back was somewhat problematic. I followed an Italian recipe and got tomato salad instead. Mental note: remember vinaigrette makes tomato SALAD, not tomato SALSA!
So I bought a beefsteak tomato, and when I got home I de-skinned it by cutting a cross in its base with a knife, putting it into a pint jug and pouring in boiling water, then waiting for a minute until the skin started to peel off.
Carefully, I poured the water down the sink without sending the tomato after it, tipped the tomato into a bowl, and pulled the skin off. Then I chopped the tomato into quarters and spent a pleasant couple of minutes separating it from its seeds using the knife and my fingers - some of them can be quite stubborn! :-) Ugh! Icky stickies! *shudder*
I then popped the flesh into my blender, along with about a dozen fresh basil leaves (I love the flavour, but you may use less), a tablespoon of olive oil, and a diddy bit of sea salt and ground black pepper. Then I whizzed it for one second at a time, testing the consistency after each whizz, until I was happy with the result.
I poured the salsa (can I call it salsa without chilli in it?) into a pot, and popped it into the fridge.
Then I had a thought...
Would the salsa be ok with cheese on toast?
Out came the wholewheat bread slice and the Double Gloucester cheese. Out came the pot of salsa! I toasted the bread lightly, spread half the salsa over the slice, topped it with slices of cheese and grilled it until golden and bubbly.
I grabbed a knife and fork, slipped the slice onto a plate and tucked in. Wow! What a taste sensation! I doubt I'll ever eat a plain tomato with cheese on toast again!
For those who like to live dangerously, make it in your toaster. You lie the toaster on its side to grill the cheese. Just remember to have a catcher's mitt handy when it flies out at the end of the cooking time!
Oooh, and another thing I discovered that is nommy with salsa - grilled fish!
I use a white fish fillet such as coley or hake, but any firm fish would probably be fine. Make sure the fillet isn't more than about 1/2 inch thick because you want to make sure it cooks through without going dry.
Grill the fish on one side for about 5 minutes, until you can see it is properly cooked on that half, then turn it over and give it just about 2 mins on the second side. The spread a generous portion of salsa (with or without the chilli works beautifully for this recipe) over the top of the fish - I use about 2 tablespoons - and sprinkle a little grated cheese on top of the salsa. Grill for a few minutes until the salsa is hot, the cheese is bubbly and a knife inserted into the centre of the fish for a second is terrifically hot when pulled out. That's how I check the fish is cooked through. :-)
I love this with a couple of plain boiled new potatoes for soaking up the salsa sauce, and some green veggies of some kind.
Have a great day! Sorry all of you suffering in the UK like me - from rain, wind and grey skies. Not the best start to Autumn! Let's hope it picks up and gives us some beautiful crisp sunny autumn days really soon. Make up for the summer we largely missed. last year it didn't get really cold until well into November, so it could still happen. :-)
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