Sunday, 28 February 2010

Sunday 28th Feb 2010 - Waste Not Want Not Pea Soup

Well Keith reigns triumphant again!  Not just one packet of green split peas (Jasper:   yes you have mistaken peas for .......... something else!) but two!   That should ensure pea soup for the foreseeable!  This is my Waste Not Want Not Pea Soup.  

You really need to have cooked some smoked ham the day before.  What I do is cover it with cold water, about 2 litres, bring it to the boil then simmer it for an hour.  That done, lift it into a roasting pan, remove the skin (but leave the fat on) and roast it, uncovered,  gas mark 6 for 30 minutes.  Don't throw that precious water away that you boiled the ham in because the next thing you do is cook your potatoes in it - a few more than you need for eating with the ham - until they're tender.  With a slotted spoon take out what you need for that meal and leave the remainder in the water.  Well, stock really.  When your pan of stock and potatoes is cold stick it in the fridge:  that's one less pan to wash up today!  Keep the beautiful remnants of smoked ham too.

Before you go to bed put about 5 ounces green split peas in a basin.  Cover them with cold water, stick them in the fridge too and go get a good night's sleep.

Now, next day is SOUP DAY.  Get your pan of stock and spuds out and your dish of soaked peas.  Drain the peas into a colander (you can let that water go - though it might do for watering your plants if you really don't want to waste it.) and rinse them well.  Tip them into the stock pan, along with a couple of cloves of garlic and a chopped onion - red in my case, there being somewhat of a glut(!) - and the lean remains of your smoked ham roast, cut tiny.

Onto the stove with it, bring it to the boil, with the lid on, then let it all simmer away merrily for about 50 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender.  Note that I said "Bring it to the boil", not let it boil (she said, sternly)!

OK?  At this point it looks horrid.  If you've got a stick blender you might like to plug it in now and use it to make this pan of mush and juice into a pan of lovely thick soup.  Otherwise you.ll have to do it in batches in a food processor or a blender.  If the worst comes to the worst use a potato masher to squash all the lumpy bits.

Taste it - more seasoning?  Salt and pepper it to your own taste and just to be posh serve it with a swirl of cream, but you want the over-riding flavour to be the peas and smoked ham with a certain je ne sais quoi..  And if you can find any of THAT in a shop, you're a better man than I Gunga Din!

Friday, 26 February 2010

Friday 26 Feb 2010

Even as we speak - in a manner of speaking - Keith is out on a hunt for green split peas.  I always see them in supermarkets when I don't need any.  Today I do.  The fate of tomorrow's lunch hangs in the balance.  Today is roast smoked ham with potatoes, sugarsnaps and asparagus (frozen I'm afraid) and a red onion sauce.  Tomorrow is home made pea and ham soup - depending on the current pea crisis.

Later........ Lunch was nice, except of course the onion sauce was a pale pink colour.  Well it would be wouldn't it, using red onions?  Why did I do that?  2 reasons:  to see what happened and because they were 2kg for the price of 1kg.  So we've got to have red onions in everything just now so they don't go to waste!

As usual with his shopping expeditions Keith just HAD to bring back something else.  Today it was a Snuggie.  People in England will have seen them advertised on telly but I don't know about anyone else.

This is a Snuggie and I'm under there somewhere!  It's a huge fleecy lightweight blanket with armholes in it for keeping you warm while you read or watch telly or do your knitting.  What a grand idea!

Our camera-shy Sally is actually there in this photo.  Unfortunately she fled behind the chair so you'll have to imagine her.  Her bed is just down there by my right foot and as she was just having her pre-prandial nap I thought I might just catch the old sleepy head.  But no, even though I had Keith sneaking around with that camera, the instant he switched it 'on' she fled.  How does she know, she's deaf!  Our camera must smell.

How do they do it eh?  Why do all household appliances seem to pack up at the same time?  The cooker has been on the blink for quite a while but it wasn't unsafe so I still use it.  The washing machine has been conking out programme by programme for a couple of years.  Soon we'll only be left with 60* and Boil - you can't treat woolens like that can you?  Just this week Keith noticed the TV on switch sometimes works and sometimes not so now that has to be left on stand-by, which we don't normally do so as to do our bit for the environment.  Lightbulbs out, all out!

I'm not usually one for playing music of any sort at home.  In fact it drives me mad and I hate it in the car too.  Give me a quiz show or news programme, otherwise leave me to the wonderful sound of silence.  There is one voice though which I never tire of:  Susan Boyle.  That lovely sound, clear as a bell and you can tell every word she sings.  I hope someone will tell me when she brings out her second album.

That's me for today!  Have a lovely weekend.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Mon 15 Feb 2010

I was sad to hear today of the death of author Dick Francis CBE.  I'm not a follower of horse racing, nor a gambler, but I do love a rattling good who-dun-it. And though Dick Francis' novels were mostly set somewhere in the racing world, there never seemed to me to be any 'sameness' about them.   I'll always be able to find room for him on my bookshelves.

Why is it that when my hairdresser comes to the house, the whole world and his wife and dog come to visit?  Just after she arrived Keith's friend, Ron, came in and he and Keith stood there in the kitchen having a high old time drinking coffee and chortling as my head got fuller and fuller with bits of aluminium foil.  It's rare for Ron to stay for more than about half an hour so he must have been enjoying himself today.  Bless him!

While  we all sat there, me with a frozen foil-wrapped head, waiting for my colour to take,  Mimuvver and sis arrived.  Of course I would mormally make some tea and sit with them and put the world to rights but today was different because I had to sit there, quietly developing.  I know exactly how a turkey feels on Christmas Day now!

When my head was safely stuck under the tap Ron left.  Mimuvver and sis stayed to see the Great Shearing then they went too.  Later on that afternoon,just as I was about to start cooking our meal, our friends Ingrida (the bride in my sidebar photo) and Regan turned up with their two wedding CD's to watch. 

I bet you we won't see a solitary soul now for weeks.  Our visitors are like buses:  you wait ages for one then 3 come all at once!

Sis and I were messaging on Skype last evening, talking about the more disgusting element of my last entry:  bottom burps.  We came to a conclusion that animals must be politer than us because you can't hear them, only have this general all-pervading pong emanating from their direction.  We reckoned without horses!  They must be the loudest bottom burpers in the business............unless, of course, you know different?

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Sunday 14 Feb 2010

D'you know what? - oh er Happy Valentines Day by the way - it has come to my attention that we Brits are laughed at FOR BEING TOO POLITE

Who would have thought it?  I watch Benidorm you know and I thought quite the oppoaite was true but apparently not..  We're always saying please and thank you, sorry and excuse me.  When we learn how to address our teachers, it's ".please, miss"  We are taught from a young age that we must say "excuse me" or "pardon" if our bodies make noises other than we would wish them to.  

In fact we do take this to daft extremes don't we.  I mean, how many times have you burped when you're alone and saie "Oooh, pardon".  You're on your own for goodness' sake!  Just whose pardon are you begging?   Do you put your hand over your mouth if you yawn when no-one's there?  So do I!

And if our coat sleeve brushes against someone else's as we pass in a doorway we have a real sorry fit:  "Oh sorry, please excuse me, I do beg your pardon.......".  Yes, I'm beginning to see why foreigners think we're a bit odd!

Keith is at it again.  I told you before when he starts with "I've been thinking........,"  he's dangerous.  Dangerous Keith.  And it's usually going to cost.  Since I last wrote he has redecorated our bedroom

He's hung new door between the dining room and conservatory, complete with a little brass stick so I can undo the little bolt at the top.

He's organised for a dealer of some sort to put into his saleroom some items we want to sell
And straight after those items have gone from the house he's going to redecorate the dining room.  I can't keep up!  Oh, and brace yourself mum, he's coming to see to the redecoratrion of your spare room!  And sis, if you appen to read this, you heard it here first!!!

lots of love,