Sunday, 5 July 2015

A Skilletful of Scrumptiousness

Chucking a whole bunch of stuff in a frying pan is a common cooking method for me. You can tell I'm a sophisticated bird. The resultant mixture lasts for a few meals.  Maybe I'll eat it cold as a salad in my lunchbox or it will do as a filling for a frittata, or a wrap which I'll leave be or shallow fry to make a chimichanga.   I make this kind of hash up so often that I couldn't blog about it each time there was a variation.  You'd all get very bored and buzz off. And that would never do for I love to have my web-based gang around.

But I'm have to going to share this one as it is totally delicious. And what's more it's the product of yesterday's cupboard and fridge clear out,  making do with what remains on the eve of a shopping trip.  Here's how to replicate it.
  • Heat a very good glug of rapeseed oil in a lidded frying pan.
  • Dice the last remaining potato and an aubergine into one inch cubes.  Or thereabouts.   Honestly,  if I gave that instruction to Louis he'd have his ruler out but there's really no need to be that pedantic.  Pop them the hot oil and put the lid on.
  • Chop up about a quarter of a chorizo sausage that's been lurking at the back of the cupboard for a while.  I get immense satisfaction when I've use those last remains of food up.  Gaining pleasure in throwing away the empty wrappers is one of my little quirks.  Also, cube up half a block of leftover halloumi and chuck that in.  Leave the lid on for about ten  minutes so the steam adds to the frying process.  It'll all cook quicker that way.  Then open to the elements so that the cheese and potato can crisp up for about another five minutes.
  • Add salt, pepper, halved cherry tomatoes and a lovely dash of smoked paprika to the mix.  Hmm! at this stage I thought that it would all look far more lovely with the addition of a bit of greenery.  Bah! The fridge was devoid of the usual peas, cabbage or broccoli.
  • Result!  Add half a  chopped up Baby Gem right at the end of the cooking process so it just wilts.  I'm sure I've seen cooked lettuce somewhere before and I'm not making it up
There you have it.  A wonderful melange of flavours and sublime textures, slippery aubergine, squeaky salty cheese, a bite of the meat.  Mmmmm!  This might have been a bit of an experiment but it'll be one that I'll be repeating.  Pudding was good as well. Yoghurt with some of my favourite salty caramel sauce mixed in topped with strawberries.  I have to say that this was leftovers at their finest!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Funky, Frugal and Frosty

I'm in the market for a  couple of beds when I move to my swanky Brixham home.  Louis'  old bunk bed gravitated towards his dad's home when we moved out of our old house.   It wouldn't have fitted under the eaves of his attic room.  So I think that I'm going to donate my storage bed to him.  He likes to spread out as he sleeps so a double will be right up his street.  It will also mean that he will have someone to hide his junk when I inspect his room.  Let's make it as easy as possible for him to be tidy.

That leaves me two beds short, one for the spare room and my own.  I'm minded to go king sized as the room is capacious enough.  I have a hankering for one where I can entwine fairy lights through the headboard.  A proper old fashioned number like the all brass version of this one was foremost in my mind until Little Wren pointed out that metal beds squeak.  Do they?  Surely  that can be sorted out with washers and a bit of lubricant.  On the bed silly and not about any part of my person.  Some of you have very smutty minds indeed!

My old fridge that I got from the British Heart Foundation shop didn't make it to storage.  Its door seals were knackered so off, it went  to be recycled.   I could go for a secondhand one again but am minded buy new so that I can get a really energy efficient model.  It saves money and is good for the planet.  That's definitely win-win.  This is where I'm learning something. There's quite a lot of difference in running costs even between models with the same energy label.  Here's the site that you need to go to for comparisons.

Here's the one that's really taken my fancy,  a Gorenje retro. It comes in at number six in the eco-friendly rankings for medium sized appliances.  That's plenty enough space for one mama and a twelve year old's tuck.  More expensive than a bog standard square fridge but it would look a treat in my cream and aubergine kitchen and give me joy every time I looked at it!

Friday, 3 July 2015

It Should be Plenty

In preparation for a life with the extra expenses of running a home as opposed to living in a motorhome with an all inclusive electricity supply on my pitch I'm rethinking my spending.   The exterior of the house needs painting to prevent structural damage and there's a few pieces of furniture and electrical items that have to be bought before I move in.  Then there's the work that can wait.  A new bathroom, turning the very scrappy utility room downstairs into a shower room, repainting some of the inside, a beautiful  Devon bank that forms the property boundary needing serious attention.......  It's all going to take money and some serious saving is warranted. But life is for living.  You never know what might be around the corner.  My job teaches me that on a near daily basis.   I  want to enjoy life in all its fullness.  Spending time with friends and travel near and far are ever present priorities for me.  I'm not going to be giving them up anytime soon.

The NHS pays me a decent wage but its not enough to be wanton!  I've decided that (sob!), aside from new underwear and leggings, clothes buying should be off the agenda for the next year.  Even from charity shops! You can get rather carried away in those places.  A fiver here and £7.99 there and a considerable sum has been spent.  There'll be no books either.  They MUST come from the library or be gifted.  And there'll be a strict embargo on arty crafty fripperies to make my house a home. Unless I make them or receive them as a present they're off the card.  Let's see how long it takes to break that one!

At the beginning of this month I set  myself a budget of twenty pounds a day for regular living costs apart from regular direct debits, school expenses paid through Parentpay and the initial bundle of expenses for setting up home.    Diesel, groceries, cleaning stuff, toiletries, clothes and entertainment in all its forms all have to come out of pot. 'That's plenty!'  I hear many of you scream. And  I'm totally in agreement that I'm lucky.  Many live on far less.

What remains will be saved or go towards making my home 'ideal'.  Some will be given away for, in a world of need, it does not seem right to keep all I earn to myself when I have stuff left over for luxuries.

So it's day three of the new regime and how's it going?  Well day 1 put me in deficit by £36.  Eeek! Totally wiped out by having to refuel the car and a monthly meeting held in a curry house!  Nothing spent yesterday though.  That leaves me four whole pounds to let my hair down on a Friday night. It's a good job I'll be studying!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Source

It's that time of year that Louis is off on lots of school trips. Masses of them including a five day jaunt to Normandy in a couple of weeks.  For that one he leaves at the unfeasibly early hour of 2:30 in the morning.  I'm sorely tempted to take the motorhome, park up in the school grounds and kick him out at the designated hour!

This week he spent the day at Buckfast Abbey, a favourite haunt of ours anyway.  He met a monk.   These are the observations about the encounter that he wrote in his workbook that made me giggle.

'Use this space to write down anything about the talk you may want to remember later.'
They eat soup everyday

'Were there things about monastic life which came as a surprise to you?
They eat soup everyday.

A couple of evenings ago we had a lovely time recreating part of a trip that Lou'd been on a couple of weeks ago.  They'd followed the course of the River Lemon, which creates one of the boundaries to our campsite.  After a beans on toast tea Louis told me that he was going to take me to its source, just to the east of Haytor.  What a lovely idea! We scrabbled about in the undergrowth for a while following a stream and then came to the patch of lush bog land that you can see above. From there emanating a gurgling sound.  The source!  And here's Louis at a spot that the boys had dammed earlier.  I was so surprised at how the water course had widened just a few yards down.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

It's a Rose: Honest!

Photo:  Pixabay  
In an attempt to calm the frazzled mind that's inside that grey topped noggin I've been turning to YouTube.  There's a wealth of  meditation and other inspirational tracks.   Let's start on a serious note and rapidly descend into silliness.  The Honest Guys  who I've mentioned before are a good place to start for well rounded relaxation and stress relief.   And just shove in a search for "Jon Kabat Zinn" for lots of mindfulness resources from the master himself.  He got me started with that lark that's turned out to be life transforming.

But me being me I haven't stuck to nice sensible stuff.  Oh no! Instead I've  been experimenting a little more esoterically.  I should have a third eye chakra that's open to the size of a crater by now and  have been going on all sorts of journeys with angels.  Then of course there was that whispering bloke who's supposed to lure in a soulmate.......

Anyway I found out that, apparently I don't need a bloke anymore, at least for anything in the errr, basic realm. For there are binaural soundtracks that play beats at a certain frequency that are supposed to induce multiple orgasm with no hands involved!  Here's a link to an example just in case you're interested.  But wear headphones because you won't hear diddly squat otherwise.  Unless maybe you're a dog.

Anyway I thought I'd give it a go.  Lie back and think of England!  A girl has needs after all.  It seems though that mine, at this point in time, are based around sleep.  I was kipping in about two minutes!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Sugar and Spice or Snips and Snails?

I have no recollection of why I googled the word when  I talked about being a tomboy in my recent plane post. I'm really glad I did though because I came across this little girl on Wikipedia.  Isn't this painting by John George Brown  from the Victorian era marvellous? She's looks so curious about her world.  I think I like her because she reminds me of myself at the same age.   Maybe though,  I tended to be a bit grubbier.  And my hair was way more tangly than that even though I'd given it a good brush in the morning  I still ended up looking like a crazed version of Medusa soon afterwards.   Mama Lovelygrey said that you could stand me still and even if I hadn't touched anything I'd be filthy in five minutes.

More often though, there would be none of that passive demureness. I'd be all dressed up in something really girlie and be as pleased as punch with how I looked.  But then I'd get a bit bored with all that standing around looking pretty so I'd sneak off  to climb something or play with some dirt. Collecting buckets of woodlice was a bit of a favourite occupation.  It occurred to me again when I was under the motorhome trying to track down a leak all tarted up in a lacy blue number that nothing much has changed!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Mind Going Mental

Oh heck!  Since I made the decision to move into the house at the end of the month,the brain has gotten, as my American friends say, a bit more chocker block than it was anyway. And it was fairly full before what with work projects, studying, holiday planning and all sorts of other bits and piece that befit a single full-time working mum with a larger than average demeanour of busyness anyway.   Here's a sample of the extra stream of stuff that's coursing through those neural networks.

Need a new fridge A++ or A++++. Will A+ do?......  Need a bed...... big one for big room......put one with storage underneath in Lou's room so he can stow away stuff, keep room neater and hence earn his pocket money.....How am I going to get those flatpacked shelves back together again? I'm truly useless at that sort of stuff.........Do I really need a landline? Fixed phones are so passe....Must be frugal not just thrifty for a time...this moving lark is expensive!.......Will there really be more cleaning?..friend who lived in van encouraged me to think in terms of high intensity and low intensity reality I clean the motorhome a lot...a little and often....Can I justify expense of keeping  Klaus the Knaus  in storage near A38 for glorified second home type bolthole?....Where would I keep him otherwise?.... would make living room ever so dark if he was parked outside house.....Do I need to pay for yet another lot of postal redirection now that I've changed my last address?......How's Lou going to get to school?...bus? I take him on way to work? time travel? Ha!  not invented yet......Will I miss living  in Klaus? yessssss! but everything must change.  That must be true for Paul Young sung it...Will be nice to have some stuff back...breadmaker, Magimix, pictures,tumble polisher.....jewellery needs a clean....Sofa bed or proper bed in spare room?................Aaaaargh it goes on and on and on.  Must make extra concerted effort in next month to practice mindfulness properly.  If I don't something could well explode!!!!!!!!