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Sardines for Supper

Let’s be fair – I only gave the post this title because of alliteration; I could say “It’s Saturday so it’s sardines for a scrumptious supper …” couldn’t I?  But no, I’ve kept it simple, as supper was this evening. More of which later.

I had a better night. I slept and only woke twice (calls of Nature – well, I’m getting on a bit, a’hem, and this happens!)  We awakened to rain but it cleared sufficiently for us to go to Waitrose – yes, we’d only been on Thursday but although I then had my List, there were a few things which I’d needed which hadn’t been added to my List, so off we went.  I remembered that they had Parmentier – the prince of sardines – on offer, and so I picked up a couple of tins.  What a wonderfully bright yellow these tins are, they bring sunshine to a winter’s day (or late autumn day, as the 1st of December is still autumn to me; the Met Office might disagree, some say that the 1st of December is the beginning of winter, but for me winter starts on the quarter day, the 21st December, after which the days gradually lengthen – hurrah!) I have photographed the tins on top of a woven Welsh mat that I bought (yes, in Wales) way back in 1979.  It seemed just perfect for this photo.

We picked up our ‘free’ newspaper, too, and our ‘free’ coffee (let’s not kid ourselves; we pay for such freebies in the goods we buy) and we bought a prawn mayo sandwich and we took these to Ilsham Valley (sorry, no photos today, it was just too hazy) where we sat in the car and enjoyed them before going home.

I had planned to do so much today.  Planned in my head.  I was even too lazy to get out pen and paper and write the jobs down!  Nothing was done, but after so many sleepless nights I needed the rest and it’s still 24 days to Christmas. Does it really take a whole month to plan presents, cards, and food for ONE DAY?  No, it does not!  We are bamboozled into thinking it does, but that might well be another post so I shall cease that topic right now.

And so this afternoon I sat and read the paper with cups of tea and coffee (not at the same time, of course) and for supper, opened one of the tins of sardines – we only wanted something light as we’d had chicken, bacon & mushroom pie yesterday and needed the freshness of salad today.  I made a very simple salad for our supper (sorry, more alliteration) and we had that on trays in the sitting room just before Strictly – the dancing phenomena – came on.

You can’t get more simple than tomato, lettuce, and cucumber for a salad, with some red pepper, coleslaw, new potatoes and sardines, can you?  Oh, and a tiny portion of finely grated cheese.  I do my best to keep our meals within the ‘well’ of a dinner plate; food should NOT go onto the rim of the plate – the rim is there so that you can pick the plate up without putting your fingers into the food.  I can spot a small piece of lettuce on the rim of ‘my’ plate, oh dear!  I only had one sardine, I knew that would be sufficient for me, and husband had two.  As we weren’t very hungry let me explain that there is actually very little on each plate:  I used just one tomato, but I have a very sharp knife and I sliced it into ten pieces, five slivers each, ditto small slivers of cucumber, red pepper, and lettuce.  And the potatoes were tiny and I sliced those, too.  So you think you are eating more than you really are – clever or what?  Indeed, after this we felt we’d had a very filling and nourishing meal.

The freesias have now opened and still have only a slight fragrance, but never mind, they look beautiful. I have moved them from the corner of the kitchen to the breakfast table.

I love this glass jug, all splodges of pink and white on clear glass. I’ve no idea where it came from, but it was always in my mother’s family, I’ve known it since I was a child in the late 1940s and in the 1950s I persuaded my mother to allow me to have it on my dressing table, I loved it so much.  And now it sits on our breakfast table, still being loved and enjoyed.

Until next time.

About Margaret

Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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  1. I often slice small potatoes into slices; it’s strange how they seem to go further that way. Sardines on toast are a favourite lunch of my husband, but I only like them if made into fish cakes which I do now and then.
    Freesias smell wonderful.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, even when I do roasties, I cut potatoes into quite small pieces, then we’ve only had one potato each, but it just looks more! Husband prefers sardines on toast, too, the sardines heated in a small saucepan, but I like them cold on a salad. I’ve not tried making them into fishcakes, that’s a great idea!

  2. Dearest Margaret,

    I get my Christmas cards mailed by the end of November and all my packages mailed to loved ones by American Thanksgiving so I can truly enjoy the many joys of Christmas all month long. We go to concerts, try to have neighbours and friends over for dinner on the different weeks of December. Hand out gifts to the homeless of which we have plenty in our city, Actually we give each of our grands some $’s and tell them they have to fill a bag of what they think a homeless person could use and then on Christmas eve they go out with their dad to each find a homeless person to present them with their gift. Children need to know that there are those that have no warm home and delicious food. It hopefully helps them appreciate what they do have themselves. So for me it does take all the weeks to prepare for Christmas in sharing with others. I love the music of Christmas and the reason for the celebration………Christ is born! We also are invited to our Jewish friends to celebrate with them their Hanukkah which teaches us how others celebrate in December. I’m in my 70’s as you are and find it takes me 3 days to prepare for one dinner nowadays but my husband does the clean up which is ever so helpful. Enjoy the season and all your beautiful bouquets which are always stunningly beautiful. I love your blog.

    • Margaret Powling

      You certainly personify the Christmas spirit, Lucy, and it’s wonderful that you are teaching the younger generation that not everyone has a home and warmth, security and food. But I’m not ‘into’ Christmas in such a big way; we enjoy being with family, that is a given, but I do feel we do tend to go overboard just for one day and I like to spread goodwill all year, if I can, even in small ways. This means that we put items into the food bank container in the supermarket on every single visit. I’m not religious like yourself, but I don’t think you need to be to celebrate a festival which is about giving and thinking of others. I’m so glad you enjoy my blog, that’s lovely to hear.

  3. The little glass jug could be Nailsea Margaret, if my collector Aunt was alive I could get a definitive answer! Anyway it’s very pretty.
    You are lucky on the sardine front, I used to love them, especially on toast but they don’t agree with me anymore. I’m cracking on with Christmas cards at the moment, I have to write so many little updates in them that it’s quite a task and equally I receive similar notes back. It’s not always good news from people who I only keep in contact via this yearly ritual so there is much to be said for more frequent contact and less good and not so good news at Christmas, perhaps?

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, it might well be Nailsea glass, Heather. I have a book on this glass factory but it’s a very old book and the photographs are black and white. Not very helpful when there is pink in this glass jug!
      I’m afraid I’ve given up on updates in Christmas cards, otherwise there would be something for me to write in each and every one and I certainly don’t want to go down that awful road of The Christmas Letter! Oh, how some very witty people poke fun at these in letters in the paper! Sometimes “hope you are keeping well” suffices. The Christmas card was invented to prevent people having to write a time-consuming letter. I intend to keep it that way.

  4. I like that rule of food inside the rim of the plate. My heart plummets into my stomach when someone gives me food and it’s not only piled high, but also every bit of surface is covered. I like genteel food. Freesias are so beautiful, they have so much charm.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, that’s what a rim is for, Ratnamurti, although you seldom see rims on modern plates, sadly and as plates are very much larger and now rim-less, people pile rather too much on and a consequence of this is obesity. It plates were made smaller and people were taught at school how to eat, and not pile plates high with food, that could be a good starting point to combating obesity. That, and lessons in home economics/cooking!
      The freesias look beautiful, they have opened even more today.

  5. Your lovely presentation of the sardine tins and also your meal has sent me into a yearning for some sardines now! I shall have a look in Waitrose at the weekend for this particular brand if they are one of the best. Your meals are always beautifully presented. We went to York recently and called in at a Toby Carvery (first time for us) – I was shocked at the piles of food on some people’s plates. Apart from the meat (which was obviously limited as it’s served by the chef), there was a vast array of vegetables and accompaniments. The sight of some plates actually turned my stomach!

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Mrs LH, for your kind comment regarding the presentation of the sardine tins. I had this little woven mat in the kitchen drawer and suddenly remembered that it was red and green and might look good with the tins. You should find them in Waitrose and while they are more expensive than other brands, they are 135g to say, John West’s, 95g.
      I’m obviously not alone at how many of us are shocked by the amount people pile onto their plates at a carvery. Because they are ‘allowed’ to do this, and return for more if they wish, it encourages gourmands not gourmets! Yes, the sight of some of the piled-high plates does turn your stomach!

  6. I like to cut into small pieces too – it seems to go much further and looks nice on the plate too.
    I, too, dislike a piled plate – not good for the eye or the stomach.

  7. I agree with everyone’s comments about not appreciating being served huge portions when out. I was out for lunch with family members today as a treat and the hamburgers we were served were huge. Mind you, we had asked that the bacon and egg (as listed on the menu) be left out – and it still towered ! My burger was delicious – all of the ingredients were fresh and good quality – and left some uneaten. I didn’t need any dinner, that’s for sure…… Your simple sardine salad supper (more alliteration 😋) looks lovely xx

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, hamburgers or beefburgers as they are called in the UK (hamburger, as you know, isn’t because there is ham in them but that they originated – so I understand – in Hamburg) are now over-large. It’s years since I had one and I don’t think I shall ever have one again, far to much beef/fat and then there’s the other ingredients, such as cheese. I feel ill even thinking about all that grease, Lara! Tasty yes, healthy no. Yes, I should imagine that they ‘towered’ even without the bacon & egg. I do think restaurants and cafes have played their role in helping our two nations to spread (I use the term advisedly) obesity. Yes, the sardine salad was good, and reasonably healthy (only a tiny portion of coleslaw.)

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