Saturday, 25 July 2020

Lamb Meatballs With Braised Savoy Cabbage With Lentils And Lardons



Ingredients 

Red Lentils now you can either follow the instructions on the packet of lentils or use canned ones

Premade lamb meatballs or make your own 

Lardons if you want 

Vegetable stock enough to braise the cabbage in 

Savoy cabbage cored and shredded 

Method 

First cook the meatballs they’ll probably take about 30 minutes depending on the size and cook at 180 c or higher through and keep warm .Though you can aim to cook the cabbage about halfway through .

Melt the butter in a pan add the landons and cook for 3-4 minutes 

Add the cabbage and mix well 

Then add the stock and cook for 10 minutes till tender

Add the pre cooked lentils and warm through 


Plate up with the meatballs add mozzarella and bung in the oven for a minute or 2 just to let the mozzarella melt 

Monday, 20 July 2020

Turning A StayCation Into A Yaycation

Yaycation that is a phrase I thought I would write let alone say much less irritating than the new normal .


I never thought this would be the year of the Staycation as In April Myself and my husband should have been winging our way to Corfu, we had heard so much about Corfu and we had managed to get a holiday for the bargain price of £595 half board and I was so happy.I though sunshine , wine and ruins and much much needed wandering as that as what I love doing on holiday. I am not much of a pool person or a beach person and I find it very hard to keep still until my gaze is captured by wonder.

More and more of us are going to be taking Staycations and the first Staycation you take in this current climate is always going to be filled with slight anticipation.I do have s Staycation planned at some point in Kent and yes I’m understandably slightly nervous but as long as I adhere to all the current guidelines then I’m sure all will be well (I hope )


I have seen people going on there breaks and it does seem normal out there but changed as we now have to wear masks on buses and shops and this is what I haven't experienced yet.I am avoiding buses and of course I will be wearing them in shops as from Thursday when I do go in a shop.


The shielding for me comes to an end on the 31st July and while I have popped out to the countryside in the form of National Trust and English Heritage properties .


One thing to do is to make sure you have a clean mask in a bag in the car just incase when you do go out you find that you have forgotten to put one in your shopping bag. Of course hand gel as well ( but never keep handle in your car just in case it catches fire because the high alcohol volume in the hand gel  as well as a back of tissues and some paracetamol , most people do have a First aid kit in their car.

I do recommend getting English Heritage and National Trust memberships as there social distancing at their properties is superb.Last weekend we went to Packwood  house which is only one of a few properties you can actually go inside at the moment.






Wednesday, 15 July 2020

My Happy Cat Called Jack

I have a cat I used to have two but now we’ve just got Jack and he’s always just been there as the cat my son has grown up with.I am sure the cat called Jack is happy in his heart , Jack at times does look like some sort of tortured hipster artist or poet who is desperately seeking their muse .The aimlessly wondering in then meowing and the staring into the middle distance are the signs of a true artist as your best work is done when you just stare and it is never just aimless staring .


Then there is the cat food first it was the posh stuff hand blessed by Monks in the Le Loire valley ( this strictly may not be true ) , Jack soon went off the posh stuff just after we had bought a case of 72 pouches , I mean obviously Jack is a blossoming restaurant critic and is yearning after a Michelin star meal I suspect , and will utter four letted tirades if everything is not up to his high standards. But now Jack likes Tesco cat food that is gravy based and touch wood he seems to be holding firm on this , so should I stock up on this cat food.


Jack would be a life observation comedian to delivering startling truth observations on life but he wouldn't be deemed rude as he would be good old happy Jack ( tongue firmly in most on the happy part ).Jack announces himself in a room sometimes and you have to work out he precisely wants and it often turns into an Alan Carr gameshow style programs ( does anyone really actually watch the, , it is time that I can never get back )





And when you have a cat you really do pander to its needs from a day bed in the front door to leaving on Classic FM for it to making sure it has its Teddy bear for bed time .I say Bed time but this usually signals having to let the cat out the front door and 2 minutes later opening to let it back in again.


Monday, 13 July 2020

Does Disability Inclusion Come Easy ?



Does disability Inclusion come easy ?



When I first joined my local ladies choir I was made very welcome but it took me a very long time to slot in and that, in part, was down to me being autistic. When a disability is invisible it can be very hard for you to been seen as anything other than normal but you are normal and being accepted is part of that. Being autistic I don't light up a room always socially and people find it hard to understand me and putting myself across takes a shed load of work and leaves me exhausted. I can write these words now and even now I wonder and worry how my words will be perceived!


Choirs are not always sunshine and roses - the real turning point for me was a rainy Sunday in May last year – my first performance with the choir, it was outdoors, raining hard and hardly any audience. It wasn’t our finest hour and I felt ill-prepared. Things have been much easier since although sometimes I still do find it hard to make myself heard but that is the rhythm of life just like the song! So like a phoenix out the fire I have grown in confidence and faith of heart. Throughout the last year and especially these last few months the choir have been there for one another and I am very honoured to be part of it. And that is the point of belonging to a choir it is a social anchor point and it more important that I ever realised especially during a pandemic such as we find ourselves in and I am so grateful that I have lovely members to reach out to even though we are not singing together.The power of music and friendships should never been underestimated as it is pure magic

Friday, 10 July 2020

Summer Daze Smoked Trout New Potato Salad

Summer daze smoked trout potato salad ideal for those summer days eating Al Fresco upon your terrace ( in my case my decking )

Summer I admit is rather confused at the minute and I have worn my winter coat this week . Summer will be here I'm sure of it ~ halycon days are the long fun filled days we remember from our childhood.

Smoked trout and new potato salad
Smoked trout new potato salad


Ingredients

Smoked trout
Mixed salad
Bacon bits

Jackies Vinaigrette

1 0z light olive oil
4 oz white wine
1 clove chopped garlic
1/2 Dry mustard
1/8 Cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp Brown sugar

Method 

Make the vinaigrette in advance of frying the bacon and warming the smoked trout through.

Cook the new potatoes enjoy for 2 people put to one side.



Combine 1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper,1 clove chopped garlic ,1 Tbsp Brown Sugar ,1/2/tsp dry mustard 1 oz of light Olive Oil , 4 oz of white wine vinegar in a suitable bottle / container that will allow you to drizzle over the salad.



Fry the bacon bits till lovely and crispy , I got my bacon bits from the village farm shop and they were £1.65 , then if you wish also warm through the smoked trout ( you don't have to but it does gives a beautiful roundness to the dish. next mix them together . Combine this with the cooked new potatoes.

View of the boating club
Just popping to the village farm shop


Place on a bed of mixed salad.

Drizzle over the Jackies vinaigrette

And enjoy

Hopefully outside.



Monday, 6 July 2020

Hot Dog Topping Grated Carrot and Black Bean

A few days I had hot dogs ( no it wasn't hot pets ) it was the food ! and I decided I really didn't want chips or fries or anything that was really heavy in carbs with them other than the hot dog buns. So I decided to instead grated some carrot and throw in some black beans and the result was I do have to say rather tasty.


Ingredients

Grated Carrot

Can of Black Bean ( drained )

Dash of Soy Sauce


Method

Grate the carrot I used the big grating part of the grater

Next put a wok or frying pan on a medium heat with some oil in


Stir fry the carrot and black beans together till cooked and warmed through add a dash soy soy sauce and again mix.







serve on top of hot dogs or as a side accompaniment









Social Distancing At English Heritage Properies

English Heritage have started opening a number of their properties up and as soon as I heard I jumped straight on the booking site which I have to say was slightly easier than the National Trust as I could book far in advance with English Heritage.The first property we decided to go for was Kenilworth Castle as we hadn't been there in their yonks and we were desperate for green space and fresh air as we hadn't been further than the end of our noses in weeks and weeks.



And the signs were clear and the staff were remarkably well informed and there was a very calm atmosphere about the place.Social distancing is the new normal and it’s taking a bit of getting used to.









Kenilworth Castle is perfect for a relaxed stroll and it really does help to blow the cobwebs away.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Slow Cooker Spanish Style Chicken With Pitted Green Olives In A Piquillo Pepper Sauce

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I was provided with some of the ingredients for this meal and the place curtesy of Sous Chef and of course it is up to you where you get your ingredients from you will find the links to the ingredients I was sent obviously in the ingredients list.







Ingredients

Chicken breasts for the number of people  you want

Chopped peppers

Fried chopped Onion

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

1 can of chicken soup

2 teaspoons of smoked Paprika from Sous Chef 

pitted green olives from Sosu Chef 

Chicken herb seasonings or chicken stock

Piquillo Pepper Paste from Sous Chef 


Method

Fry the onion to begin with

Add the tins of chopped tomatoes and soup to the slow cooker along with the chicken , chopped peppers and fried onions

add in some chicken stock or a cup or 2 or water along with some chicken seasonings

Switch the slow cooker on medium and least for at least 5 hours ( longer is ok )


Serve with rice or Cous Cous 









Please do look at Sous Chef's Spanish collection 

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Those Little Steps For your Mental Health

Now I will be brutally honest my mental health has not been the greatest at times and it isn't always linked to myself being autistic there are many other factors at play, depression is a complicated beast and can strike at anytime and lifting yourself out of it can be a herculean task i do have to say.
But do what you need to do to give yourself and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.It is as they say unprecedented times and we all deal with stuff in our own way. I have had periods of depression strike and it was hard for me before I knew I was autistic as I just couldn't get a handle on how I was feeling or why.I was never a take of pills for depression and why well they just didn't suit me personally as I later found out due to me being autistic they messed with my autistic function.This will not be the same for everyone and if you want and need to take tablets then do then is nothing wrong or shameful in doing so.


What helps me is music I telly love classical music and repetition is key for me it is the equivalent of someone stroking my forehead in a soothing manner and is like cool breeze on the soul.I partucalry love Beethoven and also I love at the minute the music of Joshua Bell when je played the theme Ladies in Lavender.


What helps though sometimes it is a murky place is social media I can tweet and Facebook all I like with I have to say unambiguous statuses and someone will come along and offer wisdom and advice.I have to look for the innate light in the darkness and I have to cling onto any chink of light I can fight to find my way again.And given lockdown it has been a topsey Turvey time.




Tuesday, 9 June 2020

There’s Hope In Green #30DaysWild

There’s hope in Green there’s hope in Green I find there’s always something Green about and it’s a very sensible backdrop colour to the world , Green is dependable  like a favourite pair of shoes.And yesterday we embarked like explorers on a walk to the shops well it was a scouting mission for my husband and his Photograghy.My husband remember s playing in certain woods as a child and was happy to reminisce as we walked and he was surprised that it wasn't further as in total we did 6 miles which let me tell you after an eternity in lockdown didn't seem like thousands of miles. But it was lovely for us all to get out as a family and my husband had a couple of days which to take off.






It is these type of days which like a memory marker for us and roots of memories are essential to enable to make sense of the world and everything that is going on.. I mean at the minute Mondays seem to blend into the next Monday with even more mediocrity than they did before.And though Monday is the mediocrity fullstops of the week I like my weeks to be full of adventure and wonder and excitement and that could be anything though I draw the line at sky diving.





I have more Green adventures on the horizon and what joyful situation that is and I can finally see beyond the end of my nose and I tell you it is a very short journey to the end of my nose.Geen distracts me from the turmoils of the world which I know will be changed but Green in nature doesn't care , Green cares.





It’s the month of June and I have to write that to remind myself ! and it’s #30dayswild and I’m loving rewilding myself from my garden to the ever so great outdoors.



Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Chickpeas With Braised Onion , Peppers And Green Beans

I wanted a change from potatoes so instead I literally threw this together and what is good about it it can also be used as a base for a fakeway Chinese for another day , this is my favourite lockdown sort of cooking where I can can make the best use of what I have to hand.We have been cooking for our son who was forced back form university when lockdown struck and so we have had to be inventive with the meals .Lockdown has not only made an impact on our food but also on our finances as well so I have to be inventive where I can and I hope in helping ourselves then this little old blog post can perhaps help someone else.But I don’t want to have to long a backstory that leaves you reaching for a pot noodle instead.






Ingredients

Sliced Onions

Sliced Peppers

Green Beans

Onion Gravy powder



Method

Start off add some water in to a pan heat up and then add the onions , sliced peppers ,green beans and onion gravy powder.


Keep cooking until the onions are really soft


Then add the chickpeas and continue to heat through for little longer

Then you’re ready to serve with whatever dish you like from steak to adding into a Chinese .











Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Luxury Lockdown Macaroni Cheese

Ingredients 

90 g of Macaroni per person I made this for 4 ( so my husband could take leftovers the next day )

whatever small bit of cheese I had left 

and a basic white sauce which the cheese got added to 

2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard though any mustard will do 

I added garlic with Italian herbs

homemade crotons 

left over soft cheese spread and 3 rashers of bacon

2 Tablesppons of plain flour

500 ml of milk ( I used some longline stuff I had bough mid panic )

Knob of butter/spread



Method

First I cooked the pasta to just about 2 minutes under to what it should have been and set aside 

Next I made a basic white sauce by mixing the knob of butter/spread to the flour and mixed it together to make a paste





Next I added a little milk to it and gently heated it all up while constantly stirring and adding the rest of the milk , I kept going till I had a thick white sauce I added the cheese and Dijon mustard to this as well as some Italian herbs.


I Placed the macaroni in an oven proof dish and poured the white sauce over it for about 15 minutes at 180 while prepared the luxury topping .

I fried some chopped bacon then added in some soft cream cheese and some croutons I’d already made.








Monday, 18 May 2020

How Technology Can Help If You’re Autistic

Technology can really help anyone it can be a marvellous thing except if you’re my old dishwasher that is and you decide to have a midlife crisis and break down! Especially after you’ve treated it to a luxury dishwasher clean the equivalent of going to a 5 star Spa and having all the very best treatments. The technology that has really helped me is my Bose headphones and yes they're worth the price and they really have kept me calm and centred and combats me feeling overwhelmed.Headphones help you create your own piece of nirvana wether you're at home due to the current pandemic or you're on the daily commute or even out exercising.


Noise cancelling headphone are truly the wonder of the modern age because they help tune out any unwanted noise and there can be plenty of that at times.And I remember the old headphone I had as a youngster where I sat tethered to the stereo listening to The War Of The Worlds least now I can wander about and do other stuff !


I love my Bose QuietComfort 35 II and they are the headphones I am going to stick with , they're the right comfort and weight and do not pinch my head at all.I would say when you can with what's going on wait to try some out and see what suits you , but you do get what you pay for in the terms of headphones and I would rather buy one pair and they last a long time then keep buying loads of cheap pairs and have to throw they away.





Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Lockdown LOLs

Yeah I know Lockdown LOLs trips off the tongue and it has been taken up by ITV ( whispers no it hasn’t but you know I’m open to offers and even a spot on This Morning)

So what are my Lockdown LOLs this week well here goes :


You know that face when they don’t like something as a toddler trust me they still pull that face at 21 😂 you think I was trying to kill him with blueberries.

I only gave him some blueberries and raspberries with Elmlea so it wasn’t like I was trying to give him prunes and custard .Trust me prunes and custard was a thing to serve kids in the 70s and 80s.I mean didn’t we suffer enough with out bowl haircuts?




And also there’s a Starling imitating my neighbours mobile phone ring tone !

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Lockdown With Your Cat

Your cat will not failed to have noticed by now that you are home all the time every day apart from when you're taking the bin out which for me is a Friday ,strange how bin day has now started to signify the yay in Friday ... strange strange times. Your cat will mostly likely be giving you more strange looks than it ever did before and certainly it will not care that you're spooked by this.Everywhere you go your cat will be watching you , I am sure the Police song

"I will be watching you " was really about a cat





One way I am helping my cat and my sanity with coping with the sly looks etc from my cat is to give it quiet /safe spaces and one of these is a day bed and a night bed .I know it sounds very very hipster of the cat but this is how my cat is , it has a Danish design deep cat bed so it can curl round.As my cat has got older and it isn't that old it doesn't seem to like those cat bed that have a roof and I have had to give away several of these type of beds.





And as soon as you start any task that your cat doesn’t deem worthy then they’ll appear and let you know ..





Friday, 1 May 2020

The Struggle Of Being Autistic

I am autistic I discovered this in 2018 , I mean it's not like I found it like a lost sock.I for years had taught SEN children as a teaching assistant and I was was good at it and in 2017 I sought a diagnosis which is the diagnosis equivalent of going to Mordor will many struggles along the way.
You might look at me at think well she doesn't look autistic , yeah sorry about that my obvious label fell off.I don't aspire to be anything other than myself and putting how I feel into words is hard like finding that lost sock I mentioned.
I do not have an art talent and neither am I science genius ( I am no Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang theory.Think that lady of the chase Anne and that is more close to me with an incredible knowledge yet knitting alludes and if I did knit I am sure they would be some sort of knitting zombie apocalypse army and this is coming form the person who put google eyes on an Avocado .I do think life is made better by google eyes.
I think what I am trying to say without socially distancing beating around the bush is that I am an adult , I was that autistic child you see the one that is socially awkward and doesn't seem to gel with other kids.
I am not an autistic messiah on social media not do I claim to be though I do have to say I really have got better at baking and made some bread the other day. The kitchen did look like I was running a Mexico drugs cartel ( I am not I assure you )
SO do stay along for the no filter me ... I don't swear and I am not rude ..... googly eyes on a aubergine any one ?!

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Easy Peasy Carbonara

Yesterday was a carbonara sort of day and made me think also of my Italian holidays.


Ingredients 

2 tablespoons of plain flour 

Knob of butter / spread 
Mixed herbs 

Garlic 

Spoonful of mayonnaise 

500 ml milk


Method 

Make a roux with the flour and butter heat gently over a pan 

Once it’s all smooth then gradually add the milk 

Throw in the garlic herbs etc add a dollop if mayonnaise and a crack of black pepper 

Set aside 

Cook your spaghetti 

Reheat the sauce adding in a little extra milk if needed

Poor over spaghetti 

I had mine with salmon and green beans and bacon 




Sunday, 26 April 2020

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Money Saving Tips for People Who Struggle with Cash

Some of us are more likely to struggle with cash than others.
It’s not that you don’t want to save money, it’s just that you have a hard time controlling the impulse to spend all of the cash that you earn as soon as it lands in your bank account. Maybe you get blown away by all the marketing and ads that you see when you’re living your day-to-day life. Or perhaps you have a problematic relationship with money that stems from somewhere else in your life.
Whatever the reason for your issues with money, it’s time to overcome the problem and start making progress towards a better quality of life. We’ve got some top tips for people who want to stop struggling with cash, once and for all. 

1.   Try Used Before Buying New

We often prefer the idea of buying new items rather than checking out thrift stores when we need a new piece of furniture or an updated phone. However, you’d be surprised how many high-quality items that you can get for a low price when they’ve been used, even if they were only used once or twice. Plenty of people open the packaging of an item and decide that they don’t want it. That means that you’re getting something that’s basically as good as new, for a fraction of the price.
These days, you don’t have to even wander around charity shops looking for what you need. There’s the option to shop for used items on everything from eBay to Facebook Marketplace. 

2.   Use Cash, Not Card

Spending just cash is often the best way to improve your relationship with money if you have a habit of spending passively. Basically, spending passively means that you buy things without thinking about how your purchases are going to affect you in the long term. However, if you go out knowing that you only have so much money to last you the entire week, then you’re more likely to pay attention to every penny. 
Freeze your debit or credit cards if you have to or give them to someone who will keep them out of reach. Once you’ve done that, figure out how much cash you need for each day, and take only that amount with you wherever you go. 

3.   Get Someone to Shop With You

This isn’t an excuse to send someone to the supermarket for you when you’re feeling lazy. However, if you know that you have trouble with sticking to lists or impulse purchasing, then it might be helpful to have someone you care about to join you as a kind of shopping buddy. They can come with you when you’re going to the supermarket to buy food every couple of weeks, and make sure that you don’t spend anymore than you’ve planned for. 
This is a great way to build up a habit of saying “no” to your impulses. As you begin to feel more confident in your ability to control your temptations, you’ll be able to start going shopping on your own again. 

4.   Look for Extra Ways to Earn

Maybe your issue with cash is that you never have enough of it. If the life that you want to live can’t be funded by your current career, then it might be time to look for other ways to earn. You’d be surprised by how much money you can make by setting up a freelance career in your spare time on the internet. You may need to borrow money from somewhere so you can afford a computer and the equipment that you need to run your side job, but eventually you’ll end up with a lot more cash in your savings account.
You might find that you’re so good at working digitally, that you can even turn it into your fundamental career. That means that you have the opportunity to build an entirely new lifestyle for yourself. 

5.   Sell Everything You Don’t Need

Finally, speaking of looking for extra ways to earn, go through all of your belongings and commit to selling anything that you haven’t used in the last few months. Unless the item has some serious sentimental value, then it’s probably just taking up space in your cupboards or closets. Get rid of the items that you don’t need and you could make a profit in the process. 
Not only will you make some extra money from your sales, but you’ll end up with more space in your home, and less clutter to worry about too. 
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Friday, 24 April 2020

Chocolate Loaf With Green Tea and Vanilla

I was bored this morning so I vacuumed did the washing tidied oh and baked .....





Ingredients


100g/4oz unsalted butter, softened
110/4oz Dark Sugar
2 large eggs
0.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp powdered instant coffee (optional)
175g/6oz plain flour
80g/3oz cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
100ml of Green Tea or you could use milk if you wish

Adjust quantities to suit.


Method 


Preheat the oven to 160c or gas mark 4 . You can either grease and line a 2lb cake tin with baking parchment or as I did use cake release from Lakeland.

First mix the sugar and butter together till fluffy .



Add the plain flour , coco powder and baking powder,  ( the optional coffee powder if you wish )
Add the 2 tsp of vanilla extract.
Next mix in the eggs.





Add 100 ml of Green tea.

The mixture will seem quite loose this is fine.

Pour the mixture into your prepared loaf tin .




The bake in the oven for around 1 hour 20 adjust your cooking time if you have a fan assisted oven.


Turn out the loaf , leave to cool.

Then decorate as you wish .

Hello boredom .. Hello



Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Giant Cookie Cooked In A Skillet

Giant Cookie

What is better than a normal sized cookie WHY of curse it is a Giant Cookie , do you have to share well that is open to debate !


A skillet is a handy piece of kit and it is one I am glad to have in my kitchen it is a very faithful friend  and it can be used for so many recipes and the first one I had to try was of course a giant Cookie.

Ingredients 



125g Soft Brown Sugar 

2 teaspoons of Vanilla extract

100g(4 1/2 oz ) chocolate chips

185g of plain flour

a Tablespoon Of Nutella

a Tablespoon of peanut butter 

1/4 tea spoon of baking powder

2 eggs

Milk to bind it ( add just enough to suit )

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 180c. I slightly greased my skillet

2.Using a wooden spoon or electric whisk to mix the egg into the sugar and then adding one Ingredient at a time. Mix well till mixed ! You’ll end up with Cookie dough .

3. Fill your skillet and pat down well.

4. cook at 180 c for around 25 minutes but keep at eye on it.

5. Leave to cool and serve with ice cream.

Serves 4 or 2 hungry people 







Of Wishes

Of travel I dream of where to go heart and mind do wander so 

Of cobbled streets and winding roads and getting lost I love to do 

Of exploring high and low and finding hidden gems of street bars and cafes to watch the people come and go

Of evenings golden glow bouncing of ancient stones I  hark back to fond times of travel as I knew it

Of a promise I make to my feet you will roam again 

Of a promise to special friends we will will tea and spa again