Friday, 25 September 2015

Ticking Five Goals in One Meal

I'm feeling a bit under the weather this week all sorts of aches and pains including  ear ache. I'm sure it is the change in the weather.  Every year the change from summer to the much colder weather seems to affect me, does anyone else experience this?  I haven't felt much like cooking, so simple food is on the menu this week, however I can still tick my own personal goals with just simple food.  So what are my personal goals I hear you ask ( well maybe not but I'm going to tell you anyway)

ZERO FOOD WASTE - As a child my mum used to nag me to eat my food saying there were starving children in the world and there was me wasting food.  At the time, I would just roll my eyes and mumble under my breath that they were welcome to my brussel sprouts.  Many many years have passed since I was a child, no I'm not saying how many - and food waste has got to obscene proportions.  You only have to look in the bins outside the supermarkets to see tons of perfectly good food being thrown away, but it is not only the supermarkets that are guilty of this.   Love Food Hate Waste reports that 15 million tons of food is thrown away in the U.K. every year, 50% of this is from our homes.  All of the energy, land and animal suffering (oh I am being controversial this week, probably because I'm feeling poorly and grumpy)  that is involved in producing this food.  Transporting it to the shops - more energy, pollution and destruction of land to build more roads for all the lorries - just to throw it in the bin! This week I had some left over mashed potato so made some potato cakes, it's a nice feeling saving food from the bin.  The 'love food hate waste' website has lots of ideas to use up leftovers.  I often think leftovers make the best meals, bubble and squeak being one of my all time favourites.  Do you have any favourite 'left over' recipes?  For these I added some rice flour (you can use plain), salt and pepper and dried tarragon (or any other herbs you want), rolled it out, cut out some circle and popped them in the over with a little oil brushed over.

ORGANIC - The amount of chemicals sprayed onto food is frightening, do we really know the long term effect consuming the combination of those chemicals has on us?  By growing my own I know exactly what goes onto them - very little.  A bit of organic feed and that's it.  There is nothing better than going out and picking the freshest of veg, still full of goodness because they haven't been transported half way across the world and sprayed with who knows what.   Now as you have probably noticed, I am a novice at growing my own, but I have managed to grow a few things including these tomatoes, and with a lot more practice and space I hope to grow more.  Animal welfare standards are also higher in organic milk etc. which brings me onto the next point.

ANIMAL WELFARE - 25 years ago me and the kids decided to stop eating meat and fish, that was our decision, just as the bearded one made the decision to carry on eating meat and fish.  I still eat eggs but try to ensure the chickens have been treated properly so buy free range.  I lived beside a poultry farm where the chickens were crammed into cages and never saw the light of day, they had a short and terrible life, and of course male chicks had a worse fate.   We used to have our own chickens and that will be the first thing I will do when we move back out into the countryside, it will be so good to eat our own freshest of eggs again from our own free range chickens.  Yes, before you say it, being vegan would be even better and I was for a while, but being unable to eat gluten already limits my options food wise.  As long as we all do our bit, meat eaters and vegetarians, for the best animal welfare we can make a difference.  Sorry do I sound preachy?  I'll shut up now.

PRODUCED LOCALLY - I will never managed to be totally self sufficient, we would starve if we had to rely on what I can grow, so will have to continue to buy produce.   However I try to buy as many things as possible that are locally produced.  It puts money back into the local economy, as Cornwall is one of the poorest regions in the U.K. we certainly need it.  It cuts down on food miles and through the box scheme I use it gives the local farmers a fair price.  I would rather my money went to keep them going than into the supermarkets pockets.  If farmers continue to go out of business we will have to rely on food shipped in from overseas, bad for the planet and our economy.  Now if only we could grow bananas in our fields as the bearded one has to take one to work everyday, he's addicted to them!

COOKING FROM SCRATCH -  I like knowing exactly what goes into my meals, no e numbers lurking, no added colourings and in my case no hidden gluten that causes me to run to the loo all day!  It's not always possible, when I get home from work really late there's nothing better than a Sansburys Free From pizza and a glass of wine  At the weekends when we have been busy and there is a house full to feed, the new Indian takeaway up the road is extremely tempting, but on the whole my meals are cooked from scratch.  Better for my pocket, health and waistline!

So a simple meal of cooked from scratch potato cakes made from left over locally grown potatoes, free range locally produced poached eggs and home grown organic tomatoes ticked my goals.    I'm only human, I don't always manage to achieve my goals, but it is something I am working towards.  I'm sure many of you do all of these things already, but I'm getting there.

I'm working extra hours again this week and painting, this is the last room to paint!!!!! Yay.  I'm missing popping around to visit you all but fingers crossed I will have more time soon.

For this post I'm joining Amys lovely Five on Friday

Chickpea xx

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Friendship and Home

For B xxx

We have had a busy few weeks with family visiting and staying and last week a very dear friend came to stay for the week.  We haven't seen each other since she came to stay last year, but we soon slipped back into our old routine, sitting and chatting as if she had never moved away.  That's what friendship is about for me.  It doesn't matter how far away they live, or how long ago you saw them, you slip back into that friendship like a pair of comfortable slippers.

We had some lovely trips out including seeing Cornwalls' own Kneehigh Theatres performance of Rebecca, with all their usual fun, drama and quirkiness.  They are touring the play so if you get a chance go and see them, if only to see the incredibly imaginative way they transform the set.

We also went to see 45 years with the wonderful Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay.  It is a beautifully observed study of a long relationship which changes over the years as the couple age.  Their whole life together and their relationship that Charlottes character was so sure of is suddenly brought into question when a ghost from the past intrudes into their comfortable life.  It will not be to everyones taste but I found it very thought provoking and left me mulling it over for days after.  The added bonus for my friend was that it is set in Norwich, her home city and even included a friend of hers as an extra.

After living in Cornwall for several years, which is how we met, my friend made the decision to move back home to Norwich for various reasons.  Although she loved Cornwall, Norwich is where she grew up and will always be her home, just as Cornwall will always be my home.  We are both lucky to be able to choose to live in our 'home' counties.  Many thousands are forced to leave their homes and set out for an unknown future in other countries.  I have found it heartbreaking to watch the news in the last few months, seeing desperate people risking their lives to find somewhere they can be safe and start a new life free from fear.  I know it is a very contentious issue which has brought out the best and the worst in people.  The comments on social media have truly shocked me and made me feel like withdrawing from any form of online contact.  It saddens me that people I know are reposting such hateful things without even checking the source, just accepting things as fact when a couple of minutes research would show that they are complete lies.  I feel battered and bruised by the whole thing and needed to just withdraw and lick my wounds for a while.  However what I feel is nothing compared to those desperate people.  To me they are my fellow humans who need our help.  You may not agree with me and that is your right.  I will continue to do what I can to help, I have put together some toiletry bags that will be taken out to the refugees.  If you feel you want to do something,  various organisations have lists of what is needed, look up your local collection points.

Our plans for moving house have been put on hold to spend time with family and friends.  Next week will see me picking up the paint brush again in readiness to put the house on the market.  The excitement of it all has dulled in the face of images of families sleeping on the side of roads.  I know how lucky I am to have a roof over my head.

Chickpea xx

Friday, 4 September 2015

The Little Things

After months of working extra to cover colleagues sick leave I have had my first Friday off for months.  I was ridiculously excited by the thought of having the day off, I hadn't actually planned anything but that was the pleasure of it.  So what exciting things did I get up to?...........Well I cleaned the fridge and cooker, caught up with washing and general tidying up.....yes I know, but they really needed doing.

It has been a cold and miserable day so I didn't feel like going out anywhere instead I spent the afternoon knitting, drinking cups of tea and listening to the Archers.  It was bliss!

So in celebration of the return of Five on Friday, here are my five little things I did today.

1. I didn't get out of bed until 7.30

Isn't it lovely when you don't have to be anywhere at a certain time and you can just get up when you want and decide what to do depending how you feel on the day. Hair tied back in a scrunchy, no make-up and scruffy old clothes.  Bring on retirement, I'm sure I will be just as busy but at least I will be setting the agenda.

2. I had the time to try a new recipe 

I'm not sure what to call these but they were tasty.  After eating more convenience food due to being so busy and getting a little careless with checking labels lately I have been suffering badly from my gluten intolerance.  It was fun to have the time to make some gluten free food from scratch.  I'm not sure the label 'wraps' was a good description of these but by adding some cumin to a basic batter of   gram flour, water and salt, these were delicious served warm.  They would be nice to dip into a curry or with home-made hummus.

3. Working on my winter wooly

I don't know what's happened, but this cardi has turned out huge.  Usually my knitting comes up just the right size so I don't bother to make a sample anymore.  I came very close to ripping it all out and starting again but there was hours of work in it already, so I am turning it into a chunky oversized jacket instead.  I'm sure it will keep me toasty in the winter.

4.  Caught up with the Archers

Funny how you can miss this for months and then just fit back into it as if you have never been away. I thought it would help to catch up with what is happening among 'country folk' for when we become country folk ourselves.

Anyone else a fan?

5.  Collecting Bees

I am not a philatelist, but when I saw these advertised I couldn't resist, aren't they gorgeous.  They come in a lovely presentation pack.  I have enjoyed reading about the bees on the stamps today.

I hope you had a lovely Friday as well, it really is the little things that make life enjoyable.

Chickpea xx