Monday 30 January 2023

Frying and baking

Firstly fish fingers and chips. At 20 minutes for the chips and 14 minutes for the fingers, it proved two minutes too long on each so the timings have been adapted. They were very good nonetheless:

Next, chicken and ham mini pies (4" across):
Air fried for 10 minutes at 190C, turned out and over, put back in for another 5 minutes, lovely and crispy. The parsnips were roasted on air fry for 15 minutes:
Finally, browning meat for a stew, just 10 minutes air fried, stirring after 5 minutes:
I normally have a hard time getting meat to brown in a frying pan, so was mightily impressed with this.

Saturday 28 January 2023

Another M & S price increase:(

We buy their tins of stewing steak and chicken. At the start of last year, they were £2.75 a can, then just before Christmas, they rose to £4 after several small increments throughout the year.

This week, the steak had risen to £4.50, no doubt, the chicken will follow. My question to myself is how much will be too much before I consider whether to carry on buying them.

I cannot state enough just how lovely and tender the meat is and the flavour excellent. At the moment, they are on a par with buying fresh meat but without the faff or expense of cooking it.

The cost of manufacturing the cans is obviously at play here but even if that eventually came down, I doubt they would do the same.

It is such a shame as canned goods (and packets) are what most of us put in the food pantry containers in the shops. Let's hope it doesn't get to the point where it just gets too expensive, who will help feed the people then? Certainly not any governments. They have made it clear we are on our own.

Friday 27 January 2023

Second lot of air fryer cooking...

The next two things were fruit crumble and roast potatoes. 

I used a tin of gooseberries mixed with a thinly sliced pear. The crumble was added and the container covered in foil. After 15 minutes baking at 190C, the foil was removed and it was cooked for a further 10 minutes:

We had it with custard. It was lovely. Next roast potatoes!

The potatoes were par boiled for 8 minutes, drained and tossed gently in 1 tablespoon oil. They were tipped into the fryer draw and air fried for 10 minutes, turned and air fried for another 10. Final stir and another 5 minutes. They were very crispy and extremely hot. We had them with a lovely tin of M & S steak and kidney and marrowfat peas:

A few too many but we managed!

Thursday 26 January 2023

Frozen ground

 The two spells of freezing weather have frozen my raised beds! That’s a first. I went to fill a trench with veg peelings, easy enough. Trying to cover them with soil was extremely difficult. Just about managed but digging a new trench proved impossible. I shall try again in a few days.

Stocking up a few extra tins for the pantry this week, I noticed tinned potatoes had risen from 36p a few months ago, to 69p, ouch. Apparently this is going to be happening for most of this year. Is it always necessary or are the supermarkets making even more profit? I bet the farmers and producers are seeing very little extra cash from them.

Wednesday 25 January 2023

Bought me an air fryer - I will try and not bore you too much!

Only -6.8 C Sunday night, just -0.7 last night, hoorah!

I have never been one to jump on the latest band wagon for anything. However, after months of watching people use them, I got really interested. We ordered a Ninja Dual Air Fryer on Tuesday and picked it up on Thursday. During the week, we used it to cook a previously prepared pasta dish:

First lesson to learn, cover the top with foil for the first half of cooking to prevent it slightly drying out and browning too quickly.

Second lesson, don't put the cheese on top for the first part of cooking. Add it once the foil is removed.

It took 20 minutes with no warming up of an oven. Nuff said!

The next meal was cooked from scratch in it. Onion browned, followed by browning the pork mince (something we have never been able to achieve in a frying pan), 15 minutes in total with no warming up of the pan! It was nice to see the crispy brown bits (drawer contents not covered for this part) and the semi roasted tomatoes:

Gravy was made from the strained juice and some added to the meat before being topped with potato. Foil covered and cooked at 200C for 10 minutes (needed 15 mins). Uncovered for another 10 mins or until its internal temp was 75C.

It was delicious but I forgot to do a final picture - doh!

It will take a bit of time to get used to, especially what to select to cook it on and what temperature and for how long etc.  


Monday 23 January 2023

Another Wasgij puzzle finished

 Coldest night so far -7.7C.

This is the picture on the box:

and herewith the completed puzzle:

You have to imagine the view the tourists have looking towards the castle - this one was quite tricky!

Sunday 22 January 2023

Frosty snail trails

Opened the lounge curtains to this:

 Foggy and -6.8C, pretty darn chilly!

Monday 16 January 2023

At long last!

 I had a 3 day ECG early November. Although no results received, finally I have an appointment in 2 weeks time, for a repeat scan, on a Sunday!

Watch this space.

Thursday 12 January 2023

Raised bed protection

This is the second year of doing my autumn/winter composting directly into the soil. Last year, other than a few carrots and parsnips trying to regrow, plus many potatoes, it composted very well.

Both new beds created last year, have had deep trenches dug into them. A two inch layer of leaves deposited in the bottom, before being topped with kitchen waste about three inches deep. It was then covered over with soil.

Once the final trench was filled in, it was raked and covered with bubble wrap, a new thing for me as I usually just use weed membrane fabric. This will be lifted and the soil inspected for any problems before being lifted off early spring. A tarp or some such cover would work well on larger areas. Seeds are then sown directly into the top layer of soil and if there are any compost remains, their roots will find and feed off them.

I don't have many earth worms in my two new beds but they will come as the base of each, is sitting on earth.

Once I need to sow seeds, the soil should be a bit warmer under it. Once the seedlings emerge, the top nets will go on and the bubble wrap laid on top of that to give them room to grow plus extra warmth.

Wednesday 11 January 2023

Thought I had a bread fail!

 Even though instant dried yeast is supposed to be fine to freeze, thaw, then use; obviously it isn't necessarily so!

The last few batches of bread have been behaving erractically, this one more so:

No dome but once sliced open it was fine:

Crispy outside, soft inside and very nice - how weird!

Monday 9 January 2023

Testing testing!

 I had read on the internet somewhere ages ago, about saving your toilet and kitchen roll inner tubes for making mini fire 'logs'.

Each tube is thickly packed with shredded paper until no more can fit into it, then used as mini logs on the fire:

They burned fine. Not as long as a small log but longer than kindling. Not all councils allow shredded paper in the bins so if you are in one of those areas, and have a fire, give it a try.

Saturday 7 January 2023

Walking with the little one!

 We spent the New Year long weekend up with DS and family. It was quite wet to say the least, but we did all get out for at least one good walk:

We had a lovely if tiring time. She is a lively and very bright lady and in the few days we were there, celebrated New Years Eve, New Years Day (our Christmas with them) and her 3rd birthday, all of which involved presents! 

DDiL cooked some lovely meals (one of the recipes we pinched off her), despite feeling very under the weather still. Poor lass, she has been off her feet for weeks and just can't get to see her doctor, absolutely shameful.

Once back home all the washing was done as quickly as possible and dried indoors (not using the dryer). Our radiators generally get quite warm in the 1 1/2 hours they are on in the early hours, so any moisture from the washing on them, evaporates quickly. For the most part, we are still managing to keep warm with them on for that time, plus three or four 10 minute firings during the day. This relatively mild weather is helping.

We also managed to finish our Christmas jigsaw started mid December. It was quite tricky for a 'normal' one:

We each got a 1000 jigsaw for Christmas plus we still have two more Wasjig ones from DS and family - should keep us going!

Monday 2 January 2023

Happy New Year

 Hope you all got some sleep and not too many loud bangs from fireworks disturbed you. We had some idiot letting off one rocket every 30 seconds until 12:30 when finally, they let everything off and we could all relax.

Didn’t hear Ruby so think she was ok with it all.

We shall take stock of what needs doing this month, write yet another list and make a start in a few days. Decorations were taken down before New Year as I don’t tend to keep them going unless we have visitors.