Tag Archives: food

Reflection, Reserch and Rabbit Pies!

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Reflection has played a massive part of my posts on the theme of gratitude. Looking back over my life so far has given me a great deal to smile over. Reflecting on past joys should not detract from the right now, indeed memories should inform our happiness and guide us through experience to future smiles. Right now is the most important moment, we can plan for our futures celebrate our past but we must ensure that the moment we are in is the best it can be. Being grateful for the moment we are in is not always possible but even in the difficult situations we can always see good.

Right now I am greatful for rabbit pies, not something you would expect from the average pescetarian. Research was not required for I pulled out the old tried and tested recipe popped the top on a bottle of cider and stewed two bunnies with onion, carrots, herbs and mustard seeds until the flesh fell off the bone then rolled out short crust for the bases and puff pastry for the tops- “Simples” as the meerkats say. I made these little “Bright eyed pies” for a local charity fund-raiser and they went down a storm, the first pie variety to sell out and guess what, when the results were called yes you guessed it my pies were announced the winner.
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People choose not to eat meat for various reasons, I am not a card-carrying, preaching carrot cruncher and I never will be. I choose not to eat meat because I find it upsets my digestion, I do not think that affordable, ethical meat is readily available and after the best part of ten year not eating it I don’t miss it, I don’t hanker after it, in fact I just don’t want to eat it. I respect the choice of those choose to eat meat along with those who choose not to, I hope that they respect my choice too.

When I presented my Rabbit pies, much discussion was had over my diet. I found myself almost defending my choice to a certain party. Now I know that I did not research before the fact so here is the post-mortem as to why carnivores in Britain should perhaps look at Wild Rabbit as an option if they are going to choose to eat meat. Three reasons to consider Rabbit.

1. There are an estimated 38 million rabbits in the UK and rising. (Guess what they breed like rabbits)
2. Collectively they cause approximately £100 million pounds worth of damage to crops each year. (If I hazard an educated guess there that will push up vegetable prices so everyone including the vegetarians will suffer as a consequence)

3. These animals are truly free range and never have to suffer the trauma of the slaughter house. Death for the rabbit might not be nice but it is swift.

So for those of you who have only met me through the blog posts you might be surprised by my offering for the local charity pie off. Yes this vegetarian presented rabbit pies and WON! Right now I am grateful for the rabbit pies, for the money that has been raised for local charities, Rabbit was not my only entry I also made a Mushroom and Stilton pie selection, but I knew I was catering for carnivorous. Recipe for Rabbit Pie will be posted once I have learned a little more about wordpress, I want to have a part of my blog that will be used to share recipes – so more research required.

K – Kitchen moments … there will be more to come!

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Keeping to the plan, I should be reflecting on kitchen moments, they are many, many memory moments in countless kitchens. From the gathering around Formica sides of the uni days and before, to more recent get-togethers at pine tables in the posh end of town as the song goes you’ll always “find me in the kitchen at parties”.

We call it the heart of the home, for it is the place where we prepare the feasts for the family, food to share with friends. Breaking bread, communing in the simplest of forms it starts on the sides of the kitchen so there is no surprise that in a party you feel the heart beat of the home while you chat, you giggle, the cool kids come together in kitchens.

There are the standers, those who seem to hover and chat, leaning and laughing as the time passes. Chair surfers who cruise from one conversation to the next. Nibblers listening to the going’s on around them whilst double-dipping bread sticks in the humus. At the centre of proceedings the host, topping up glasses checking that the guests in their home is more than ok. Roles swap, drinks are drunk as time passes we move on but with us we take memories of the nights we share, those kitchen moments.

To open your house, to prepare food in your kitchen, to share at your table is a gift we should be eternally grateful for. To provide sustenance, feeds not only the stomach but the need for us to be we are all that is said human beings not human doings. A Sunday lunch cooked by or for a friend might remind you of the family meals share in childhood. Stirring the cooking pot, stirring up shared moments.

I am sorry for tonight’s post is short, rushed and will have to be revisited.  Today I am thankful for the kitchen moments, for the dishes that I cooked for others and the plates that have been passed to me, the glasses raised, laughs shared and the songs that have been badly sung!

What the F- Fungi Freinds and Family.

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First time I tried to write this morning I found myself flummoxed as what to put. The fosters fairy may have exerted her influence on me yesterday, Friday night with friends laughing and chatting lead to fuzzy headed Saturday. This morning I have been flagging to say the least. So I wrote a list made coffee and found myself some breakfast…

Mushrooms on toast, it is a favourite on delicate mornings, I think it has helped. So to my F words. Over a beer or three the “F-ing” possibilities were debated. It seems there is a theme with my friends, as flatulence was the first thing someone said… thank you for farting would just be an absurd. Fungi however, I am grateful for them this morning.

Fluke and I wander as often as time allows. A favourite place to walk is the woods above the town. Kicking up leaves, squelching through mud puddles, feeling the changing seasons around you I might only be a few minutes from the urban sprawl but I am free. Often as we walk I reminisce, Fluke is not the best conversationalist. Friends introduced us to the woodland walks, while Bob, Stella and Fluke sniffed their way along the footpaths, we wandered nattered and laughed, there are many moments in the woods that made me smile.

One occasion Fluke met a friend, he wanted to be a forager, thought himself as Somerset’s answer to Bear Grills. The three of us walked for best part of an hour to the middle of the woods. There is a water tower where paths conjoin here we stopped, selected a bench and began to make a brew.

Fires in woodlands are a big no no! I am aware of this and when dog walking I only ever want to leave footsteps. My friend thinks the same way but he was a good boyscout and came prepared. He pulled a Ghilli/Kelly kettle out of his rucksack. Lit a small fire in the base and waited for the whistle to tell us the water was boiling.

Well we waited, poked the little fire and waited some more… Soon enough (about 30 mins later) I was sat in the sunshine drinking tea. Fluke was happy as the Water tower is a great place to play fetch,  we chatted, giggled and perhaps even flirted a little it was fun.

When you walk with dogs you meet people it is an inevitable pleasure of being a pet owner, add a curious water boiling contraption and the possibility of tea on a brisk day and we became a magnet for other dog walkers. Every person that passed greeted us with smiles and a pair of local foragers stopped to admire the kettle and share their favourite locations for mushroom hunting.  A place I still need to explore.

Food and drink brings people together, it might be a fundamental of life, providing sustenance but the act of fellowship that comes from breaking bread with friends or family feeds the soul. Do you recall the last time you opened your home, laid the table to share a meal with friends and family?

For sure there have been many times that bring a smile if I muse over food related gatherings of the past, some of the funniest have been f**ked up dinners.  Burned Cous Cous, (yes that is possible). Lime cordial being used as a substitute in a recipe (that was a florescent dinner). Custard that you could eat with a knife and fork while hot (Dan still will not risk custard).  All of these moments are punctuated with the silly laughs of shared friendships and family moments.

My family and friends. I have no idea where the F’ I would be without them, so today on the F-day I am appreciative of fellowship and friendship. Fortune shone upon me when I found my friends when I was gifted my family. For this I am forever grateful.

For those who haven’t met him … this is Fluke.

Fluke

How to deal with bedslugs?

We have reached Sunday, our week is almost over and again it is a fabulous blue sky day. My Son may not be aware of the improving weather, for him at 16 it is college holidays and he seems to have lost the ability to get out of bed before dinner time.

Teenagers are a strange breed, I know I was one once but I was a different variety. I was goby and forthright, I knew my mind and was not going to let anyone get in the way of me being right, so I rebelled and moved out. By the age of 17 I had three jobs a flat and my hard-earned independence, I partied and laughed.
My teenage years were short-lived but I do look back on them fondly the year I lived by my own means, life before Dan taught me a lot… it is amazing how much you learn when you are determined not to be wrong. But I was never a bed slug, I did not have time.

The teenage bedslug is perhaps a male breed of adolescent. These slovenly youths, loiter under duvets till darkness approaches, late afternoon brings the first tentative movements from their pits, normally heading towards the kitchen to empty fridges and leave a trail of dirty plates and sandwich crumbs in their wake.

Over the years many tactics have been used to handle the bedslug, I recall my mother brought my older bedslug brother the loudest alarm clock of all time. I used to go into his room and turn it off after 10 minute, he was immune to its incessant hollering.

I have tried the bacon sandwich technique, the hope that the aroma of food will prompt them into early surfacing … This has mixed results. Today, food based bribery has won the day. My bedslug surfaced for Easter eggs and the promise of roast lamb at Grandma’s.

Perhaps teenage boys are a lot like dogs, and should be encouraged to modify their behaviours with food treats, now where did I put that clicker?

Happy Easter one and all.

for the love of lentils

On this cold and dreary Saturday morning I headed to our local super market, to buy those things that are required. A simple list to enhance the store cupboard and possibly tempt my teenager into another taste of meat free cooking, this was the plan at least.

 

Now being a sandal wearing lentil muncher, I am not adverse to the odd pulse, from Dahl to Mental Lentil soup (my own recipe) these little spheres of veggi joy are included in many a meal. Much to the teen’s dissatisfaction. Indeed the young man of the house only has to hear pop of the kilner jar to decry “I ain’t eating that stuff” this is normally followed by a mumble about meat, a short compromise later and there are two dishes being prepared, one with the much worshipped flesh that he chooses the problem solved.. or is it?

 

I used to eat meat and indeed I was partial to a rare steak or indeed a good bacon sarni. When almost a decade ago I made the choice to change to a more vegetarian diet (I still eat some fish) Daniel was given the option to, making an informed choice is something that is welcomed in this home.

 

Over the years we have baked and roasted souped and curried cooked all kinds of ingredients in endless ways, but the lentil rebellion persists. Not a pulse will pass that boys lips. I thought I had struck a golden idea some years back when Dan delighted in a good curry. Excellent I thought and set about preparing a fine mushroom dasak for our dinner table… just as those little disks of orange deliciousness were to about to hit the cooking pot in he strolls, the curry phase was over!

 

There does come a time in every mother’s life when you can no longer avoid a fad with down right trickery. The dislike of broccoli cannot be overcome with a swift rebrand to “green cauliflower” and this is the point that we reached about 10 years ago but cooking twice still makes me a little sad.

 

So to today while in my heart I would love Dan to at least try something before he decides it is unpalatable I see him as the man he is becoming and will make a ham pasta bake alongside the lentil gardeners pie … I just hope that as he goes through life he only applies the “bean there done that attitude” to lentils.