Monday, 26 March 2012

Local butchers

I'm not a meat eater but my family are. I will cook meat for them but have to admit to wearing disposable gloves when handling a raw chicken or joint of pork. I also wear my disposable gloves to pick over a cooked chicken or as today had me doing, picking over an oxtail! Now since Hubby and I watched Heston Blumenthal At Home he has wanted to try the oxtail pudding recipe; or should I say, me try the recipe. Every week I use one or the other of two family butchers in the area which are great and use local produce. Whichever I am nearest to when I need meat I shop in. So for the last few weeks I have bought what I needed and looked at the oxtail but never bought it. Well, today I asked for 1kg of oxtail and took the plunge to cook it. Must say it was not the prettiest looking piece of meat I have bought. Meant to take a picture but forgot in my eagerness to get it cooking. But here is a google picture so you have an idea what I was dealing with.

Image from Google
The price was quite cheap, I think it was £5.00 per kilo. I bought a kilo and browned it in the frying pan then added an assortment of veg and stock, bay leaf, peppercorns and deglazed the pan with brandy which went in the pot too after setting it alight (all rather cheffy lol ) and cooked it for hours and hours in my slowcooker. Then this evening I took the tail out of the slowcooker and picked all the flesh off the bone and picked off all the slimy yuck (with my gloves on, of course) From 1kg of oxtail I ended up with this

266g of meat once picked off the bone and fat removed. Not a great deal to make a basin pudding with so I'm thinking of sauteing some mushrooms to add to the meat and making a suet meat swiss roll type thing. Not making it for a few days so shall freeze this and the gravy I made from the cooking liquor and will post the finished product maybe Thursday or Friday. But you can't beat a local butcher for cheap cuts of meat. I think skirt of beef was only £3.15 a kilo and another cut of beef was of a similar  price. I love that you can buy just 3 sausages if that is all you want or 200g of stewing meat. Your not having to buy a 500g pack like in the supermarket it's just get what you want which is very money saving :)

Are you fortunate enough to have a great local butcher? Do you use them?
All for now, bye x

P.S. Welcome to my new follower Janice.

Sunday, 25 March 2012


Well, I'm really disappointed at having to bin my sour dough starter. It started off so well then Thursday it seemed to have stopped fermenting. I left it another day but no, no more action so down the loo it went. Not sure whether to try again. I may give it another go later in the week.

We went to a garden centre this afternoon and bought a few plants and also some long bamboo canes for my peas to grow up. We then had an afternoon trying to sort a patch of the garden to use as a veg patch. First we had to dismantle a huge trampoline which took longer than expected. Five years of standing in our garden did not help when trying to prise sections apart but we got there in the end. Then Hubby got his chainsaw out to fell a horrible conifer. Got most of the tree but Hubby was going in for the kill on the stump and the chainsaw gave up.

part of the new veg patch
 So the veg patch is resembling a right tip at the moment. We have lots of bark chippings to bag up. These were spread all under the trampoline. We still need to cut the conifer into smaller pieces so we can get it in the car to take to the tip and we've a lot of digging to do as the soil seems very compact. I shall keep tackling a little each day next week and eventually we'll get it sorted.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

We've got action!

My sourdough is fermenting, yippee. Checked on it this morning and it was frothing and had bubbles and did not smell pleasant at all but this is the norm according to the recipe.

fermenting sourdough starter    

So now I need to start feeding it every day for no less than seven days. Today I have to add another 100g bread flour and enough water and whisk in to keep the thick paint consistency. I covered with cling film and left in the utility away from draughts. More tomorrow.

Really enjoyed today. I had an appointment between 8.00am -12.00 today with the boiler man to come and service it. Guess what, I was not waiting all morning for him. He arrived around 9.20am so I cleared my ironing pile while he did his stuff. Hate it when appointments are made and you end up spending all day clock watching for them not to turn up.

Got two loads of washing hung out in the garden drying nicely. Chicken in the slow cooker for tea and I decided to have some time on my crafting which I have not touched for a long time. Pleased with what I achieved today and shall try to get a lot more done this week then can show you how far I have got with my Christmas cushion. Had a nice walk with Sherlock in the lovely sunshine, that was until we passed the farmers muck spreading. It stank! Must get some seeds started, this shall be my mission tomorrow afternoon after I wake up from doing my night shift. Hopefully we are going to dismantle the trampoline this weekend or next so we can use the land it was stood on to grow more veg : )

Hope you all enjoyed the sunshine today x 

Monday, 19 March 2012

Menu Week 19/03/12

MONDAY -Slow cooked stewing beef & onion, mash, cauliflower, broccoli,carrots, peas & Yorkshire puddings

TUESDAY - Roast chicken, roast potatoes, steamed cabbage, carrots and broccoli.

WEDNESDAY - Homemade fishcakes, wedges and mushy peas

THURSDAY - Homemade beef burgers/bean burgers, corn-on-the-cob and chips

FRIDAY - Pasta with a tomato tuna sauce and homemade garlic bread

SATURDAY - Homemade pizzas, homemade coleslaw & wedges

SUNDAY - Leftovers from freezer. Whatever gets picked out first : )

No action yet with the sourdough. Lets see what another day brings. Hope it works.

A rather uneventful day here today. The usual Monday morning shopping then some cleaning around the house followed by some glossing of the paintwork in daughters bedroom. I managed to stand on the lid of the gloss tin and have ended up ruining my new spotty socks! I'm usually allocated the paint jobs because I'm better at painting than Hubby who puts too much paint on then we end up with runs. Will be glad when the bedroom is finished. It doesn't help when daughter still isn't sure how she wants it decorating! She had better make her mind up quick because we want to get it papered this coming Sunday.

Still loving soup for my lunch and have just today finished my leek & potato soup so needed to get a new batch of soup made. I have two I want to make this week. One is a recipe for a chowder type soup on the Aldi recipes. The other soup is a cauliflower soup. I have really been in the mood for cauliflower this week so thought I'd make up a colly soup. This is enough for 3 portions.


Half cauliflower broken into pieces
200g potatoes
small onion, chopped 
stock cube dissolved in 500ml hot water
salt & pepper 
pinch nutmeg
300ml milk

I just put everything in a pan except the milk and cook until vegetables are soft.
Whizz with a stick blender and add milk.

That's my lunch for a few days then I'll try the Aldi soup recipe.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mother's Day

Hope all you mums out there have had a lovely relaxing mother's day. I have had a nice lazy day, only had dog walking to do and I made dinner. Dinner was an easy meal of roasted veg and potatoes then salmon fillets popped on the tray near the end of cooking. Had lovely cards (cried at the words my youngest daughter wrote in her card) and gifts and enjoyed my day. School uniform and Hubby's work shirts needed ironing so I said to Hubby "It's mothers day and I'm not allowed to iron"  ; ) He got the message and did the ironing for me.

For a long time I have wanted to make sourdough bread but never bothered because of the long process to get a loaf of bread. Today I decided to take the plunge and get started. I got out my Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall, River Cottage everyday cook book and set about making my starter.

In a bowl I have 50g of wholemeal bread flour and 50g of white bread flour and I whisked in enough warm water to make the consistency of thick paint.

I covered with cling film and that's it. got to leave it now to do it's stuff. The fermentation can start after a few hours or a few days. I shall keep you updated.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Beautiful spring day, again

Don't you just love spring? What a gorgeous day we have had again. The last few days, dog walking has been pure pleasure. Watching new life emerge from the earth. Listening to the birds sing and enjoying the sunshine and warmth on my face. Bliss.

Some of my dwarf daffodils are out. I love these and the wallflowers behind them smell gorgeous. I took advantage of the lovely warm day and got a lot of washing done. When my line was full I put my airer near my front door to finish off drying my bedding.

Loving the warm sunny days too because I don't need the heating on. If this keeps up we should all have lower bills this year. Was really pleased when I checked our on-line banking and noticed our gas & electric direct debits have reduced to £74.00 per month instead of  £128.00 per month. It was not that long ago they were trying to hike the payments up to £150.00 per month! See my old post here so I'm getting there with reducing the bills. Yippee.

I had 11 for Sunday lunch yesterday and we did well to not have much food left over. I had this bowlful of vegetables left and wondered what I could do with them to use them up today.

I chopped a small onion and put it in a pan with some water and added some quorn chunks. I let it cook until the onion was tender then I added a sachet of cup-a-soup and the leftover veg and heated through. I had this concoction with a jacket potato. I really enjoyed it as I love vegetables but my daughters said it looked disgusting lol. I will not waste food and I really enjoyed it so they can think what they like : )

Have you eaten any weird concoctions to use food up?

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Busy decorating

Gosh how time flies when your busy. I have started decorating daughter No3's bedroom. Stripping the wallpaper off is taking longer than I thought it would. I had to dismantle her bed yesterday and take it downstairs to store in the conservatory to make room to work in. Then today I had to empty a chest of drawers and her wardrobe so we could move them to the opposite side of the room so I can finish stripping the final wall tomorrow. A sack of soft toys and clothing is in my boot to take to the charity shop when I go in to volunteer this week. All this shifting furniture and scrapping walls should hopefully have some effect on my weight loss this week (she hopes).

All this decorating is not leaving much time for cooking so I wanted something simple for my evening meal last night. I was cooking a gammon last night for the rest of the family to have and the remainder for sandwiches for the week. I wanted something filling and spicy so made a big pot of veg and lentil curry in my slow cooker for me. This made four large portions and is very cheap to make.


2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated
half a cauliflower, broken into florets
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
half a squash, peeled and chopped
2 potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
half a wrinkly pepper I had lurking : ) chopped
150g lentils
2 hot chillies, finely chopped
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp garam masala
2 veg stock cubes dissolved in 1litre hot water
salt & pepper to taste

Just chop all the veg and then throw it into a large pan or into the slow cooker and cook until the veg is tender. Use any veg you have available. This is a simple quick curry. Was lovely with some basmati rice.
All in the pot ready to cook

Yesterday for my lunch I had some homemade leek and potato soup from the freezer. Never one to waste any food I also had with the soup some rice cakes topped with a little cream cheese and half a salmon fillet daughter No3 left from her meal on Sunday. Can't waste a good piece of salmon : )

Wanted another easy meal today with decorating so this lunchtime I popped all the ingredients into the slowcooker for a bolognese sauce and my lunch today was a bowl of lovely leftover curry, yum. Spaghetti bolognese and homemade garlic bread for tea.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

What a lovely day

Such a lovely day we have had here in North Yorkshire. I took Sherlock for a walk after lunch and it was lovely and warm. I was dazzled by the bright sun and wished I had worn my shades. On the way back home Sherlock stopped to sniff something and when I looked it was a frog. I quickly walked on so he didn't have a chance to paw the frog and hurt it.

I think I shall get in the garden this weekend. Would have today but it's been a day of household chores. Took a few pictures in the garden of flowers just ready to open and a few that have opened.

I had a load of washing on the line to dry today.

I have just brought the washing in and even a pair of Hubby's jeans have dried. Love it when I can get the washing outside.

Thought you might be interested in this site  I have requested lots of things to be sent to me for free, from samples of coffee to dishwasher tablets. I found the link on a forum on the site. Have a look, you might find some freebies you fancy.