What do you say when you haven’t very much to say? This is why I’ve titled this post “Interim Report” as it’s just a word or two after the weekend.
I thought I would start by showing you the white cyclamen which I bought before Christmas and which are still looking good. I have been trying to take care of them although I know that once the flowers die, that will be the end of these plants, for they are forced to look their best at Christmas and such plants rarely look good again. However, I will pop them into the garden in a shady part, but whether they survive remains to be seen; I treat them as I would cut flowers, enjoying them for the moment. I water them when they are dry, always by standing them in water, never watering from the top, and removing yellowing leaves and dead flowers. I also move them around so that the rear of the plants can come to the front and enjoy some extra daylight. My two little people are now back on the mantelpiece. These aren’t valuable, my mother bought several of these Oriental figures in the 1960s but these were my favourites – some I kept, some I disposed of. I’m not one for ornamental figures, but I can’t help but like these two.
After some sunny – although cold – days, the weather turned at the weekend, but we made a quick dash to the supermarket on Saturday, mainly because we can have a free paper if we spend over £10 (silly, I know, but it makes an outing for us and we only buy things that are perpetually on our shopping list, such as bananas, cheese, rapeseed oil if it’s on offer – it was – and flowers). We then dashed home; we’d not had a good night the night previously, and the rest of the day was spent relaxing in front of the fire with the paper and yes, I bought a magazine, too.
And just in case you are wondering, that’s water in the glass next to my cup of tea.
But before the relaxing afternoon I decided to make some soup for lunch, and what could be easier than cauliflower and blue cheese soup? I only needed to use half a cauliflower, too, and have the other half with which to make a cauliflower, leek and macaroni cheese tomorrow. It was very tasty, and we enjoyed it with a slice of toast each. This soup only takes about 20 minutes to make and is delicious – well, if you like cauliflower! I only add a little blue cheese (any blue cheese will do, not just Stilton – I used St Agur which it one of my favourite blue cheeses), I don’t want to feel the acidity catching in the back of my throat. I served it with an extra spoonful of crème fraiche and some chopped parsley.
On Saturday evening, just before we went to bed, and although husband had done 90% of the jigsaw puzzle, yet again, I put in the last 20 or so pieces and finished it.
I thought it would be reasonably easy to do as it didn’t have acres of grass, or sky, or sea, but it was still quite difficult, especially the blue door. But it was fun to do.
Returning for the moment to flowers, I can’t resist buying some each time I visit the supermarket. I don’t always go with any particular flowers in mind, but just see what they have. On Saturday I found some flame-coloured tulips and while this isn’t by any means my favourite colour, I couldn’t resist two bunches (they were on offer.) One is now in the hall …
and the other is on the windowsill in the shower room …
Amazingly, the alstromeria that I bought on the 5th January are still looking good; I remove the dead flowers and change the water regularly, and this extends their life.
One stem of flowers has wilted and died, but four stems are still looking good, and the roses have been wonderful and opened up so that they look more like silk artificial flowers than the real ones that they are!
Yesterday, Sunday, was a really cold, bleak, wet day and so I spent time in the kitchen. I made mushroom soup (some of which we had for lunch today and some of which is in the freezer for another meal some other time) and also two cheese & onion quiches. We had half of one of the quiches for lunch yesterday and enjoyed it so much that we had the other half cold for our supper, with salad and baked beans.
Here they are, straight out of the oven. As I’ve said before, I don’t believe in blind-baking, it’s too much of a faff. If you have good, solid tins (never porcelain or Pyrex) which conduct the heat evenly, and I even put those tins onto an oven tray (as shown here) which also is a good heat conductor, and have your oven very hot to start with, and your pastry rolled as thin as you can roll it, your pastry will never have a soggy bottom! I have done blind-baking and non-blind-baking, and quite frankly, if you are pretty adept at making pastry, you don’t need to blind-bake. I know I’m going against all the professional advice, but I’m only speaking from experience. I don’t have a set recipe except I use plain flour, and half fat to flour. Here I used 150 grms of flour and 75 grams of fat (I use Bertolli vegetable spread with which you can bake as well as spread it on bread). I allowed the pastry to rest in the fridge for 1/2 hr before rolling it out as thinly as I could. I used whatever hard cheese I had in the fridge (a mixture of Cheddar, Parmesan and Gruyere), a couple of large onions which I chopped and sautéed, and seven eggs, with a little crème fraiche, salt and pepper (the eggs and crème fraiche mixture I divided between the two tins once I’d put in the cheese & cooked chopped onions.) I had the oven set at 210C (fan oven) to start with and as soon as the quiches went in (centre of the oven) I turned it down to 200C for 30 minutes, checking every so often to make sure the pastry wasn’t burning. The result you can see here.
I haven’t been enjoying the last three books that I bought and they are now destined for the charity shop. This doesn’t mean to say they’re not well-written books, only they’re not for me. I do have lots of in-read books, but I wanted something I knew I would enjoy and so I’ve taken down a book from the shelf which I’ve read it before, but that was over 20 years ago and while I remember the general story, I can’t remember the details. It is Rosamunde Pilcher’s Coming Home. Here it is, below, on the shelf with my other Pilcher novels.
I have to say it’s a brick of a book at almost 800 pages long, but already I’m loving it, re-acquainting myself with the heroine of the novel. It was made into a TV drama series starring Joanna Lumley, Peter O’Toole, Penelope Keith, and David McCallum (remember him in The Man from UNCLE?) and, according to a cutting from the local paper on the 7th April 1998 which I had slipped into the book, it “was filmed around Lelant, St Ives and Zeanor” in Cornwall.
And so, there being nothing I want to watch on TV this evening, I’m now off to the sofa with a cup of tea and this lovely book.
Until next time.