First of all, many thanks to all those who have commented and have reassured me that what I have been writing hasn’t been boring you all witless!
It has been a lovely sunny day here in South Devon. There really is nothing I like better than a day that isn’t too hot, nor too cold, no chilly wind, indeed, just the right temperature for us to work in the garden.
Well, I say “us” but husband does the lion’s share while I prepare meals because if I go into the garden and work first, by the time I’ve done that I’m too tired to start cooking.
So here is husband above, in old gardening clothes, sweeping up the leaves from the walnut tree. The grass will have one last cut very soon. The garden always looks tidier once the grass has been cut.
While he was sweeping up, having already been for the Sunday Telegraph (to read later), I prepared breakfast. I had half a grapefruit again, and husband had the last of the tinned prunes. Then husband had porridge (oatmeal to those in USA and Canada) and I had Jordan’s Raspberry Country Crisp, which has few raspberries in it so this is something of a misnomer; I’d call it Country Crisp With Hunt the Raspberry! (On top of which I sliced some banana and scattered some sultanas.)
We then changed the bed linen. Husband helps with this as he knows my arms ache shoving the duvets into the duvet covers and giving them a good shake – we have single duvets on a double bed, which is cosy as there is then no risk of a draught down the middle when one of us turns over. I do recommend this. Once the bedroom was tidy, I filled the washing machine and got my little electronic helper working for me.
Husband then returned to the garden, opened up the summerhouse (which actually needs a clean out before autumn/winter really sets in), and I decided to do some cooking.
I had a couple of Bramley apples in the fridge so thought I’d cook them so that I would have a base for four small ramekins of apple crumble.
Then I cooked 500grms of lean steak mince, first sautéing onions, adding the meat and browning it, adding a can of chopped tomatoes, and some seasonings (I used dried basil today, and beef and veggie Oxo cubes) adding some water and then allowing it to simmer for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, I peeled potatoes as part of the mince mixture would be turned into a cottage pie for the two of us, and the rest would be made into two two-person lasagnes.
As the potatoes were simmering I made a béchamel sauce for the lasagne, adding a carton of low-fat cottage cheese and just a little parmesan for extra flavour. I don’t use cheddar cheese as in a cheese sauce, it’s too oily on top of lasagne, I find cottage cheese added to the béchamel makes a lovely sauce which complements the mince and the sheets of lasagne (I use fresh lasagne from the supermarket chiller, not dried).
Here are the two two-person portions of lasagne and (closest to the camera) the cottage pie. They are at the ready-for-fridge-or-freezer stage, they still need to go into the oven when required, for the final baking.
Unlike a lot of the cookery programmes on TV, where they must have a veritable army of cleaners rushing around after the messy contestants, I have – as my mother instilled in me – always cleared up as I cooked, starting with a washing up bowl in which is hot soapy water, and an empty dishwasher. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, on these TV cookery programmes I’d have marks deducted for messy, unhygienic cooking, and all cooks would have to have long hair covered/tied back. I can’t stand seeing long hair dripping across someone’s face and dangling close to the food. Seldom do I see anyone washing their hands, too. Yes, these programmes are fun, but let us not kid ourselves. They are not about learning to cook or learning about food values or how to cook on a tight budget or how to eat for good health.
For lunch we finished the French onion soup I made yesterday and after I’d tidied the kitchen I also went into the garden – as husband had emptied some of the pots of the dead cosmos and dahlias, I planted them with tulips and narcissi.
I have now potted-up 12 pots with spring bulbs. I have about four more to do, but again have run out of bulbs, so perhaps one more trip to the garden centre will be made in due course. In the back border I have planted six large alliums which were a birthday present. I have planted Queen of the Night tulips, which are very dark purple, in the above black ceramic pots.
We spent about half an hour in the summerhouse with a cup of tea and a Marlborough bun cut in half (we bought the last three in Waitrose yesterday, knowing that there would be one each yesterday and one to share today) and I had a quick look at the Sunday Telegraph’s Stella magazine and the Sunday section.
About four o’clock we called it a day. Husband put all the gardening tools away into our small garden shed (around the corner of our house, tucked almost out of sight, a shed he built himself many years, to match our house, i.e. not a wooden shed, but breeze block which is rendered and painted to match the house walls) and we came indoors.
I will now do the ironing and put the cottage pie in the oven to cook. The sitting room is tidy …
and if there is nothing I want to watch on television this evening, there are always plenty of books to look at. I love to come in from a day in the garden to a tidy sitting room. It needn’t be pristine and polished, but I like the two sofas’ cushions tidy and the carpet swept. It is far more relaxing to go into a tidy room than into one and then having to start tidying up!
I hope you have had an enjoyable Sunday, and that the sun has shone for you. Have a good week, whether you go to work or are retired.
Until next time.