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The nice weather didn't materialise until about 10 minutes ago, so we didn't go anywhere today, but I've spent the day roasting a goose breast and legs for tonight's pilaff and baking a gluten free white loaf and a Gluten free jam sponge, both for Charles. He hasn't tried the bread yet but he says he can't tell the difference between the sponge and a regular home-made sponge. I did use plenty of vanilla and Lidl's very best raspberry conserve as a filling.

I've stripped and cubed the meat from the goose bones and made a lovely stock with the bones and pan scrapings, which I shall use for a goose pilaff tonight. I've melted down all the goose fat I have and amalgamated it into one container, which has made more room in the fridge and given me back my basins.  I was beginning to find it a nuisance not having sufficient basins available when I wanted one.

I've also spent several hours going through my baking and ingredients drawers, emptying them and cleaning them, throwing old stuff out, combining stuff where I have more than one carton/jar on the go and moving things from one drawer to another where they've been put in the wrong drawers and led to my buying more of the stuff, till I've had two or three separate lots of various things.

I finally threw out all the cracked every-day crockery, which I also keep in one of the drawers.

These drawers are in my free-standing Varde drawer unit, which IKEA don't seem to sell any more and are the equivalent of other people's kitchen wall-cupboards. After many years and several different houses, I decided that I don't like wall cupboards, so designed my latest kitchen without any, replacing them with drawers and larder cupboards which I find hold much more stuff at a more convenient height. Well, I do have one glass-fronted wall cabinet for glass and china which hangs over another set of free-standing glass-fronted drawers;  together they make up a sort of modern kitchen dresser. The beauty of it is that if we ever move, we can take the drawers and cupboards with us.

It's amazing how much satisfaction I get out of little jobs like this. I plan to tackle the dresser drawers next. I'm going to Halifax again on Tuesday, so might not feel like it till later in the week. I did think I would have to do the larder cupboard, but Charles got fed up with it recently and has re-arranged and cleaned that himself. He's promised to clean the oven, too, bless him.

I was very impressed by the appearance of the sponge cake I made. Charles has suggested that maybe we should make all our cake with this flour, but I shall have to see how much it costs. I didn't notice the cost when I bought it, and I've thrown the receipt away, but I can look at Tesco online. I bought Dove Farm general purpose flour, which I used for the cake with baking powder, and their white bread flour, but I've just looked at their website and see that they make brown bread flour and self-raising flour too. They also make some very nice looking cakes and biscuits. Sadly you can't buy their products directly on line but have to get them from their customers. such as Tesco.

They have lots of recipes online as well, including things like Christmas cake, so that looks like a good resource for us.

Yesterday I found a website called Diet & Fitness Resources; they gave me a free trial period of 24 hours, which I think is a bit stingy, but it has lots of interesting advice and articles, so I might join as a member. It's a lot cheaper than Weight Watchers, although it doesn't offer a diet plan as such, but what it does do is review new research and new diets as they come out and offers lots of good general advice. I've ordered a low GI diet book, which may help

I should really be making myself a menu plan for next week, but it's like working, isn't it? I'll do anything to put it off, even cleaning the kitchen drawers!

I did muck out the fridge as well this morning, chucking stuff out, putting vegetables in the vegetable-drawer which Charles never seems to want to use for some reason, and tomorrow I shall give it a good wash out prior to going out to buy lots of fruit and vegetables. I have a whole drawer full of fish in the freezer, so provided I remember to get stuff out of the freezer in time, I should be able to stick to a reasonable diet without feeling deprived. I plan to ask Charles to cook for John and himself, and I will just cook virtuous things for myself, unless, of course, they're prepared to eat what I'm eating.   Yeah! That'll work!

We didn't go out for our lovely curry last night after all. Boo!

John rather overdid the food (and probably rough red wine) at his TA dinner on Friday night and ended up having reflux which he hasn't had for a long time. He went to bed when he arrived home to make up for lost sleep.   I 'd already showered and dressed ready to go out, when I found him still asleep in bed looking drawn and tired and when I asked if he really wanted to go, he said he would go but wouldn't eat anything.

Well, I knew that meant he would sit there all evening looking martyred and wanting to leave as soon as possible so I rang Alison and asked for a rain-check. Thank goodness we were only having takeaway!  I don't know when we'll be able to reschedule as she's expecting Holly to produce her grandchild any day now.  Still, I've been thinking that now that I feel so much better, I could invite them for a meal here without having to worry whether I would be  up to it by the time the day came around.

Charles had a specially bought M&S curry for his dinner, but I hadn't planned on anything for myself. and John didn't want anything.  Fortunately there was a box of Charles' mock-paella in the freezer,  to which I added a handful of prawns, since it had hardly any chicken or sea-food left in it, and very nice it was, too.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm feeling a lot better.  I'm going to ring the quack tomorrow and ask if I can increase the use of the Beconase spray, since it doesn't seem to last quite long enough, and if she gives me the go-ahead, I think we may  have it under control!
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Because we didn't go shopping yesterday, I had to get up at 7.30 this morning, wake John and nag him till he got up. In the end we got to Morrison's by 8.45, but really not a moment too soon. Fortunately there was a disabled parking space right by the door, because it was absolutely freezing

When we arrived there weren't all that many people there, but by the time we left it was beginning to get rather overcrowded. I bought John breakfast in the caff, He had two bacon baps and I had one with extra bacon and an almond croissant, with a mocha coffee. Lovely!

While we were there I looked for gluten free flour but there was none. I did manage to find some incredibly expensive white gluten free loaves, English muffins, fruit cake slices and Bakewell tarts (£1.80 for four). Oh! And a sizeable bag of pasta! I've told Charles he must keep the bread in the freezer and just get out a few slices at a time because at £1.99 for quite a small and rather depressing-looking loaf, I don't want any wasted. He's very pleased that he can have Marmite toast again!

He had one of the fruit slices this afternoon and a bakewell tart instead of pudding. He gave me a tiny taste. The fruit slice was lovely, but the bakewell tart was very odd indeed, with pastry resembling very hard cardboard. Presumably you can't really make pastry without gluten.

We'd only been back from Morrison's a short while when the lovely sunshine disappeared and it started to hail........ horizontally.  A couple of the Asian lads from across the road came tumbling out of the house in their vests and bare feet to grab handfuls of the sleet.

Later on it hailed again, then it snowed for a bit, then it rained and melted all the snow, all interspersed with short periods of brilliant sunshine, but Boy!  was it cold!

Unfortunately, when I came to make Penny's Impossible Orange cake, I found I'd misread the ingredients list, making the quantity of ground almonds 2½ ounces instead of 2½ cups, so when I realised my mistake, I had to send poor John out to find some more. He couldn't find ground almonds anywhere!! Eventually someone in Morrison's suggested that he get flaked almonds and I could grind them, so he bought all that were left which amounted to three miserable little packets, which when I ground them and added what I'd already got, just made up the necessary quantity.

It's a remarkably easy cake to make, if extremely weird, but I never thought it would actually become solid. It's sitting in the tin waiting to be released and decorated tomorrow. It looks and smells very nice. I think that rather than being cake, it's a kind of sweet, baked, almond and orange omelette or soufflé!  We shall see tomorrow. 

I had a lovely unexpected invitation a couple of days ago to attend the wedding of the elder daughter of Bulbul, one of my Bengali friends.  We'll definitely go, but I have no idea of etiquette about presents or anything else.  People have suggested that I ask the family, but I think I shall ask another Asian friend of mine, because I'm pretty sure that Bulbul will tell me not to buy anything and, of course, I want to get them something.

John bought us a lovely Indian takeaway this evening and I'm still absolutely stuffedFortunately I suddenly remembered to take the goose out of the freezer, so I hope it will be defrosted in time to be cooked tomorrow, otherwise we shall have to have a very late dinner instead of an early one as we wanted!  Not that it really matters!

I have still not discovered how to listen to jazz on the MyClassicFM Player, but have found a couple of jazz stations I can listen to on the Internet with Windows Media Player, which I suppose is better than nothing.  Of course, it means I can't listen in the kitchen or the sitting room, or on my personal BAB radio in the garden, or wherever, which is an awful bind, but Sailor Vee, I suppose!


Dec. 23rd, 2007 12:47 pm
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I've been desperately looking through the TV schedules to see if my favourite "Scrooged" is going to be shown over the holidays, but I've gone cross-eyed after a few pages.

Oh dear!  My Christmas Spirit has taken a bit of a knock.  There's such a lot to do and we're all skulking in our rooms trying to pretend it's not happening.

At least Charles had a good night last night and has decided that Christmas is not a good time to give up coffee and have withdrawal symptoms, so he will probably cheer up eventually.  In the meantime he's being horrid and sarcastic and I want to go back to bed and pull the duvet over my head.

The house is a tip, the sitting-room is in a state of creative destruction, although it will probably be all right when they've finished the decorations and the tree, but the KITCHEN.......................!!   I need to deconstruct it before I can get any cooking done.  And what fool filled the little sink with water and flowers?  I shall have to do the flowers as well, before I can start cooking.

OTOH, I usually find doing the flowers wonderfully soothing, so maybe it's a good idea after all!

Perhaps I should try to chill out.  The trouble is, that I've still got the words "silent ischaemia" running round in my head.  I don't want to mention it to anyone before Christmas, but OTOH, I'm finding it a bit difficult to cope with on my own.  It's very silly of me, because, after all, it may not be that at all.

I know!  I shall have a socking great Gin and Tonic with my lunch!  That should do it!  And then I shall put on a CD of Carols!

It's an absolutely beautiful day today which made going to Aldi almost a treat, in spite of having to spend ages scraping the frost of the car windscreen.  It would be really terrific to have a sunny Christmas!

Happy Christmas to all my friends,
by the way.  I'm sure it will be lovely!
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John drove off in Lucy at 12.30 yesterday to pick David up from Hexham and proceed down the M6 to Birmingham.  I don't know where they're staying, but I know they hope to eat in the Balti Triangle, or whatever it's called.  If only we could remember the name of the lovely restaurant Serge took us to last year.  It never occurred to me that I could have e-mailed Serge to ask until it was too late.  I'm such an eejit nowadays!

Today they were planning to go to the National Motorcycle Museum and then eat and drink beer until the Tattoo starts at 6.00.  I imagine they must be either in their seats by now, or almost there.  I hope they enjoy it.  We never know whether things we do with David will be for the last time as his Parkinson's gradually gets worse.  I fdon't know if they plan to do anything on the way back tomorrow, but I have been told to ration him in for the evening meal!

I was planning to do all sorts of things today, but I simply couldn't wake up this morning.  I've been feeling extra exhausted and it's all my own fault.  I allowed myself to run out of pills of the correct strength of Diltiazem, so had to take a smaller dose for a couple of days, and then I completely forgot to take the second dose yesterday.  I found it on the table by the side of my armchair this morning, so that means that yesterday I had even less of the drug.  Like I said before I'm an eejit!

Never mind, maybe I'll have a bit more energy tomorrow.  I keep saying that I want to clear the extraneous stuff out of the dining room and I'm absolutely determined to at least make a start on it tomorrow.

I have managed to "feed" the Christmas cake, make some scones and a cherry cake this afternoon and I managed to remember to get the steak out of the freezer.  It took me ages to find my favourite cherry cake recipe, though.  I must stick it into my scrap book.  I used to be so well organised, but my house is chaotic now.

It was very nice to be able to listen to the Jazz while doing the cooking.  I can see that having a DAB radio in the kitchen will encourage me to be in the kitchen more.  I might even get up earlier if I don't have to stay upstairs so that I can listen to Radio 7 in the mornings!

I'm now listening to the CD of Rock Follies I bought a couple of weeks ago and remembering how much I loved the series and the music when it was first on TV.  I can also remember feeling swamped with nappies, child-care and unrelenting domesticity and how much Good Behaviour resonated with me even though I adored my little boy and how I leaped around the kitchen singing it when no-one else was around.  It's quite amusing to think how shocking such sentiments were at the time;  I'm sure no-one else in the Church Young Wives Group would have done such a thing!

"I've played a Mother so now I get
Some time off for Good Behaviour"

"Booze and Music for me again
and a crop of fancy men!
I'm free again"

Or words very similar.

Not only that but I loved the Rock beat of it.  I still do.  John was never at all keen on dancing and apart from some ghastly TA mess dos, I never danced again after Charles was born, except in private.

I used to dance a lot when I was a young woman.  Every week, my friend and dancing partner Eric and I would go to The Hot Club of London which was held on Sunday evenings in the Shakespeare in Woolwich and which mostly played Trad Jazz, Blues and so forth and he and I would dance the entire evening.  Occasionally we would go to The Marquee and various other venues.  But after my parents moved away from London, I lived too far from Woolwich to keep on doing it.  Such a shame!

They say that when they're very old, no-one regrets not spending more time at work, but I certainly regret not spending more time dancing.  Who knows?  I might not have got so fat!

It's only a few days now before I go back to see the cardiologist.  I pray that they can do something for me to make me less breathless and more able to walk, but I'm almost prepared to make a bet that they'll say it's a lung problem and refer me on to the pulmonary consultant.  And then who knows how long it will be before I can get an appointment?  It will be a year on 1st. December since this first started and I'm beginning to feel very much afraid that I'm going to be stuck like this.  I don't like it!

Oh well, nemmind!  Time to go and peel the potatoes.


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