Friday, 30 April 2010

The Other Way..

Most of our friday shopping trips tend to be fairly local, but today we went to Asda in Southport for a change. It was a nice morning actually with the trees in full blossom now, and made for a very pleasant drive.
When we arrived at the store we went over to The Range shop because VT wanted to get a few items. I had a look for small mats, but the only ones they had were far to big for what we wanted. On the way out, we passed the lighting department, and had a look at bedroom light shades. We have presently got deep wine coloured ones, that are now too dark with the low energy bulbs. We have been looking for some cream coloured ones for an age, but they have been too dear or the wrong size. Lo and behold they had some in the range. Absolutely perfect.. and an unbelievable £1.09 each!!!!!! Couldn't believe it. They look super and make such a difference to the room. I hope that I will be able to see better to read my book tonight. These low energy bulbs are ok, but the light isn't as good.
Then went to Asda for our weekend shop. Had a look at the clothing which is dire, and at the books. Got a new James Patterson one I like. Excellent array of fruits and vegetables, and got a lot of impulse buys,, also items that are good for the store cupboard and the freezer.
Sat in the car park afterwards with our coffee. VT had remembered to take a flask and the mugs so we had a decent coffee before heading off home.The Asda coffee shop is terrible, really terrible and we just wouldn't go there. Awful little tables and plastic cups!!! definitely the worst of all of the supermarkets.
Tonight we are having:
Quorn beef and Ale pies,
A little pack of mixed vegetables.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Dull Day

We had intended to go to The Cheshire Oaks today but in the end decided that we just didn't feel like it so we stopped in. VT nipped out to get a few things he wanted and I did bits and pieces in the house. Maybe we will go next week after the bank holiday weekend.
It is actually raining as I type this with little Rusty on my knee. We haven't had any rain for ages really, and we did say that it looked like rain this morning. At least it will do all the plants and flowers some good, they are looking quite dry.
Poor Gordon brown, the papers are full of his gaffe yesterday about the "Bigot" woman, all over the television and the local news because it is Rochdale. I am on a forum which is to do with Delia Smith, and there is a contributor from Australia, and it was all over their news last night too. Oh dear, he will never live that one down I suspect, and it will be one of the defining moments of the Election. We shall see how they do tonight on the Live debate.
Tonight we are having:
No idea at all.. absolutely none whatsoever. We shall have to see what is in the freezer.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

In Which VT gardens...

Since it is green bin day tomorrow, VT has been gardening back and front. He has trimmed the hedge, and is presently attacking the front hedge, which is a mixture of shrubs, and tends to get overgrown little suckers appearing each year. It is only a small front garden with a few pots and a barrel which at the moment is full of dwarf daffodils which are getting past their best. The spring flowers are getting past it now, and are at the stage where they are ready for pulling out. Too early to plant any of the summer things though.
Poor Gordon, in trouble again. he was overheard calling a woman a bigot because she was remarking about immigration, and he has had to apologise and be penitent. he can't do anything right poor man. VT keeps saying..Bye Bye Gordon...
We actually got some post today, I got a book delivered, and a pair of earrings that I had ordered..purple Diamonique and very pretty, and a book..The Cat Who..dropped a bombshell. I have read nearly all of the series, and enjoy the characters and the things the cats get up to.

Jane rang up this morning to say that she had done her Maths test and got 96%..Well done Jane, she was just about to go and do her English test, and rang again later to say she got 84% on that. we had a lovely long chat about what she wants to do. She has found a nice college where she can do a science access course, and is aiming to do a radiography course. Nice that she has something concrete to aim for. She had to pass these exams to be accepted on the course, so she seems to be fine here. pity she hadn't done more sciences at sixth form, but she will get there in the end. She is a trier.
Tonight we are having:
Not altogether sure actually,
maybe a pasta dish with asparagus and mushroom
A Thai green curry with rice and veggies.
Will see later today I think.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The day of The Spring Clean..

VT has burst into activity today..and has decided to clear out the shed. The result of that is that loads of stuff has appeared outside the back door, and two trips made to the tip. He has found loads of things that were either rusty or no use any more, including a wheelbarrow, and two bikes. It's amazing how much stuff gets put into the shed, to be case.. or forgotten. Lots of half tins of paint. He is a busy little beaver in there today, and little Rusty keeps going in and out to see what he is doing. It's no wonder cats get locked in sheds, they are so nosy, then I suppose they go in and settle down then get locked in because they are so quiet.
It is a lovely sunny day today really, and the Spring Blossom is lovely in the back. We don't have a big garden, but there is quite a big plot of land between our house and the row of big houses beyond, and a number of trees.

This was taken in the snow, but it gives a good idea of the size of our patch. It is at the moment quite colourful, because the primroses are still out, and the Spireas are greening up beautifully. A lot of the pots are going to have to go though, because the snow and frost got to them this Winter, despite them being supposedly frost resistant.
All I did this morning was the ironing, which was quite enough with the bed linen on its own. It is lovely bedlinen but you do pay the price for it being pure cotton. At least we have two sets so there isn't the rush to get everything done in one day. God knows how my Mum used to do the washing, and get it dried. Monday was always washday in our house I wonder why? and the house would smell like a laundry for a couple of days, especially in the winter when it was cold. You could never see the fire for a clothes maiden in front of it with clothes on it drying. Then they say "The Good Old Days". We were watching the programme called Blitz street last night. it was very moving actually, what people put up with,losing everything when their homes were bombed out. terrible devastation, and loss of life. Some older people were recounting their memories and they were still moved even after all those years.Not surprising when you saw the sheer power of the bombs they dropped.
Tonight we are having:
Sun dried and Mozzarella escalopes,
Sliced and sauteed new potatoes,
Mixed vegetables with a mushroom sauce.

Monday, 26 April 2010

A Taxing day...

By which I mean I got a directive from the tax Office to say they are taxing my Voluntary Contribution Pension that I have been receiving from The Prudential. They are deducting £15 off my measly amount of £77 !! Must admit I had a strop, till VT checked all my tax information and said that instead of all my tax being paid on my Teachers Pension, some of it is being taken off the AVC's instead. Why?? Beyond me.I don't understand any of the tax stuff..VT deals with all of that.Thank Goodness.
It really is a gorgeous Spring Day today, I am looking out of the window and all of the trees are in blossom. There is a square of land at the back of our garden and it is full of trees which are a lovely colour at the moment, pity they don't last, but very pretty at the moment. The cats love the sunshine, and Bobby in particular is usually to be found in a sunny spot somewhere outside. Our garden is nice for cats really, all the plant pots are sort of cat sized so they can go in and out of them easily. Bobby loves jumping out on poor little Rusty and surprising her.
We took my money to Waitrose this morning..we went posh again. It is a nice shop to go round though, and their veggies are tgood quality. We got some new Quorn Sausages too, with Branston Pickle in them, sound tasty. VT was pleased because he got some reduced vegetable pasties for Friday Night..doesn't take much to make him happy! Aaah Bless!
Jane has sent me an email today to say that she is sulking because we said Oh No when she rang up last night. Well she did ring at the very minute that VT had cut up our Pizza and we were just about to sit down and eat it. We asked her to ring back, but she is in a huff now. She is off for three some nice weather for it.
VT is in the garden at the moment, it is lovely out there but a bit bright for moi, I shall have to dig my hat and sunspecs out.
Tonight we are having:
A Big stuffed Portobello Mushroom..saw them in Waitrose this morning, the size of saucers.
I shall put some tomato in their bases then top with breadcrumbs and a bit of cheese.
Bubble and Squeak cakes to go with them.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Sunday in Action..

VT went out for the papers to find that there was a coupon for a free chocolate bar in the that decided where he went for his trip. Crosby via the particular newagent. Actually the only chocolate we have pretty much is from freebies, they are a good offer, this one was a Twirl worth 70p !!! Can't get over that, 70p for a chocolate bar...that would have been 15 shillings in old money and an absolute fortune. Sometimes when we consider the price of things today, in terms of pre decimal currency you get a real shock. We used to think that getting a ten shilling note in the birthday card was fantastic, you were really rich!! I suppose nowadays it is a ten pound note!
We did the bedding today, and VT hung the quilt on the line where it dried a bit, finished it off in the drier. Fortunately we have two sets now so don't have to hurry to iron it, and can do that later in the week. Then we made the Pizza dough in the bread machine and got that going. Beautiful Paninis for lunch with Pesto, Tomato and a bit of Mozzarella in them. Put in the oven for about 15 mins very tasty.
Crosswords after lunch, and neither proved to be too difficult for us. The big Mail on Sunday one was a little trickier with VT checking some of the awkward ones on Answerbank. That is a really useful site, but we only use it when we are absolutely stuck, and often you find the same clues coming up which means that a lot find the odd tricky one.
Somebody not a million miles from found some Lottery tickets yesterday, in a busy area with no-one looking for them. Checked the results last night and nothing!! hardly a number, on ten pounds worth of tickets. I do have to say the Lottery isn't very successful for us, we have had a smattering of £10 wins and only four numbers once..just after it opened.
Tonight we are having:
Pizza..with our Tomato sauce,
Portobello mushrooms,
Meatfree sausage pepperoni type, pineapple, basil and Mozzarella,
Salad with egg and potato
Rice salad for VT and potato salad for moi.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Lighting up the Garden..

VT went off this morning for one of his weekend mooches. The idea was to get the cats their chicken, which he did, but he also came back with some solar lights for the garden. This was a set of four, from B&M for the silly price of£6.50 or thereabouts. The ones that were in the garden some of them were getting past it, and these look really good. Nice bit of sunshine today too to get them going. At least there was, it's clouding over now. Since we don't have a lawn, he puts them into plant pots and they do brighten up the garden in the evening. i can see how a solar panel would work quite efficiently.

Just to the left of Rusty is a pot with one of the stick type solar lights which are quite good, but the new ones I think are better.
Funny how Solar Lights have become cheaper, like microwave cookers and big televisions..

Very quiet today really, nothing doing anywhere, no post, no deliveries and no callers or phone calls..very strange.
Tonight we are having:
Tacos with the Discovery trays,
Quorn mince made into the chilli base,
Accompaniments such as..
Salsa. Soured cream, shredded lettuce, grated cheese.
very tasty tea actually.Just right for a Saturday night.

Friday, 23 April 2010

St Georges Day Today..

I had completely forgotten about that, till we were in our little cafe in Ormskirk and there were red and white flags all over the walls. I thought it was for an important England football match! then VT said it was for St georges Day.. Felt stupid then. Should have remembered, because my dad died on St Georges Day in 1973. It is William Shakespeares birthday too. Maybe we would make more of a fuss if we celebrated that instead. Trouble is England isn't England any more too many immigrants and other nationalities. There isn't a sense of being English any more these days.
We went into Ormskirk this morning and took my money to Mr Morrison via his supermarket. Did a bit of mooching as well, it was a really nice day actually, but still a cool wind. I bought a great little light coat from Bon Marche in a sort of crushed raspberry and cream colour. Got my bonus card filled too so have £5 of anything next time I go there.
There was a little woman following me around the shop. Really funny, she was telling me her life history. I picked up a jumper and she said there's a hair on that one, then I picked up a v-neck one and she said i don't like v-necks. She said I take size XXL and I'm over fifteen stone you know. I said you don't look it, and she said the doctors said that I have the blood of a twenty year old! I think she was lonely. Anyway I picked up my jacket which I was pleased about because it is a M size and got to the till before she said she didn't like that either.
Went to M&S then. Bit disappointed that they didn't have our salad, and their sell by dates are so short, you really have to search for ones that will keep for more than a day or so.
Morrisons then to get the weekend things. They have a great range, and we got a gorgeous Spelt and Rye loaf for our lunchtime sandwich. I do like Morrisons actually, the one we go to in Ormskirk is clean tidy and always well stocked with good fresh vegetables and fruit, and their bread is lovely. terrific choice.
Came home then and were back by lunchtime, to be greeted by the little ginger girl from next door who knows VTs car, and our two coming down the stairs looking for their chicken.
Tonight we are having:
A baked potato with cauliflower cheese and baked beans for VT. Nice simple tea tonight, but not very St Georgish!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Compost and Peat...

VT went out this morning to get some compost for the plants that we bought yesterday in Dobbies. While he was out, the doorbell rang and it was the people from Hortex delivering two bales of peat, which was all they had left. For quite a few nights now we have been having peat block fires. They make a good fuel, not for when the weather is really freezing, but like it is now cold in the evenings, and they smell wonderful. The Hortex man was lovely, he was saying that it comes from Ireland, and they will only be getting some more in September now. He said, don't be deceived by the weather, it was cold out, and he had been talking to a delivery man who had left Congleton at five this morning, and all his windscreen wipers were frozen.Yet it is lovely and sunny through the window, and little Bobby has been out for ages sitting on one of the garden chairs in the sunshine.
Jane rang up at lunchtime, she is on a long day today. She was saying the buses were rubbish at the moment, and she had been late twice this month because they were late, and she is leaving the house at twenty to eight for a nine o'clock shift. It's only a twenty minute bus ride too. She will be tired tonight, she isn't a morning person like me I am not good in the mornings either.
VT planted his two little box trees in the new pots, and they look really good. We shall have to see how they do.
Tonight we are having:
Not exactly sure yet..Maybe
Sage and onion fillets,
bread sauce
Baked potatoes
Green beans and peas for VT. who isn't a fan of green beans.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A Morning Mooch..

Confrontation in the garden..

Out this morning to get our free coffee at Dobbies before April runs out. It is May next week after all, isn't time flying by? Nice sunny day but the car is covered in a fine dust so VT wanted to get a carwash as well. Called in at the BP garage and gave him twenty pounds toward his petrol. There was a big delivery van stuck in the drive up to the carwash so he decided to get one on the way back instead.
Went to Dobbies and had a good look round. Spotted some Saxifrage plants in the front, that make good pot cover so got two of those. he also saw some little box tree plants for 3.99 each so bought two of those as well. The larger trained ones are £15 quid each so a bit pricey, he is going to make that a bit of a project. get your nail scissors out and trim them!
I had a look round the food hall and bought some after dinner mint crisps, and a pack of shortbread biscuits for half price.
Enjoyed out cup of coffee (free) and took our own biscuits!! all that cost was 20p because he had a large cup which is dearer. Shame they have turned our coffee area into a poncey "old fashioned tea room" with two people on the entrance and about three people inside!!
Jane rang up at lunchtime to ask what you need to put into a Kedgeree. they like that apparently. She makes a big batch of it, and Rachel takes it to work with her and they have it again tomorrow. VT said you.d think she would know how to make that by now..I said she probably wanted to check that she hadn't left anything out. Nice that she is cooking anyway.
Tonight we are having:
Quorn mini balls, like their large ones but smaller.
Tomato sauce,
Carrot strips and green beans as a side.
A bit of garlic bread.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Stay in Tuesday..

Not a lot happening today, we stayed in and did things. I did the top of the cooker, VT cleaned the windows, did the ironing, rang up to order some more peat and about the washing machine. All in all a reallybits and pieces day. I stepped out to do the brasses and it was really cold,very deceptive since the sun is shining and it looks nice out of the window.

This is my Buddah in the sunshine, with the little acer tree that VT rescued from a garden centre. it was on sale because it looked awful, but he has given it a lot of tlc and it is in full leaf now. My buddah I was given when I finished work ten years ago, it always looks lovely like he is smiling, whatever the weather, when you look out of the window hthere he is smiling. I keep rubbing him, hoping for a big lottery win but no luck so far.
VT is in the garden at the moment, with his sun cap on and he is trying to get the pots straight. The garden actually is looking quite good at the moment, with some of the shrubs flowering and the leaves just coming up.

The cats like it anyway. Talking about cats,what a night. VT said they were doing the cat olympics last night..up and down all over the bed Bobby was terrible, all over my head, and I was half asleep, trying to get her off. Whisker torture against my cheek, and purring in my ear, she then decides to go down to the bottom of the bed and plonks herself down on my feet so I can't move a muscle. I shall sleep well tonight.
Last night we watched a very good programme called Blitz Street. it was presented by Tony robinson who I can't stand, but it was very well done. They had built a complete sstreet of pre war terraced houses, set up to be exactly like the pre war ones. Some furnished and they even had one done like a shop. Then they rigged up bombs to be the same as the affect of the bombs in the second war. Devastating damage,windows blown out curtains hanging in shreds, everything damaged or destroyed. Funny thing was there was a pint of milk outside one of the houses, and that remained intact, even after two mega bombs. Really interesting programme, one of three I think.
VT has just made me jump, banging at the window with a glove attached to a long pole he has been cleaning the windows with. He's funny him..always makes me laugh.
Tonight we are having:
Toad in the hole with quorn sausages,
Mushroom gravy,
Squashed potatoes 8oz
carrots and beans.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Still Stranded..

The ash is still falling down and apparently there are a million Britons stranded abroad. the news is all full of people with their stories, some of the horrific. The man from our local Post office is presently in Mexico, due back on thursday, Lord knows how he will get back from there. i would imagine it would spoil the holiday if you were worrying about that all the time.
It was quite dull this morning, but it has now become quite sunny and bright. VT is in the garden tidying up. he was out this morning taking a few pictures. Bobby was sitting on a plant pot in the sunshine. She loves a bit of sun does Bobby, so he went out and caught her on camera just before she moved to come and greet him. Aaah.

She looks so sweet, and she is going to have such a surprise when the plants start growing!

This is as good as it gets with our two. They are usually together, but never on top of each other.
We went out to M&S this morning to get our veggies for the week. We had a coupon for £2.50 off if we paid on our card so that is what we did. There didn't seem to be any shortage of good in there, but the flowers were a bit bereft. We whizzed round so we could get back for our coffee. VT hates missing his coffee mid morning, I think it keeps him going.
One of the nicest pots in the garden at present has been the primroses we bought from Dobbies ages ago. When we first put them in the garden the frost got them and they looked like they were gone, but they have come back and look fantastic, really pretty. I bought them because of their colour I hadn't seen any that colour, and then got two blue pots to put them in.

Last night VT made the most FANTASTIC Pizza. Really really tasty and a masterpiece of a creation.
It had, asparagus, black olives, meatfree pepperoni, pineapple and Porobello mushrooms on it. We had the rest for lunch today. Gorgeous. Well Done VT.

Tonight we are having:
Cheese and garlic Kiev,
Sliced fried potatoes,
Mixed vegetables..carrots and broccoli,
Mushroom sauce.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Bit Late

Doing this today, so it will be short and sweet. The crosswords we do on a Sunday afternoon proved to be a bit tricky today with some very awkward clues, so we were a bit longer than usual. Been a cold day today, but cloudy, and VT reckons that there is a fine layer of the ash in the garden and on the car. Give him an excuse to wash it.
Not a lot doing anywhere today really, VT went out this morning and said it was really quiet not many people around.
Bits in the paper today about things getting short, mainly imported fruit and vegetables, we shall have to see what is on offer tomorrow when we do the veggie shop.
Tonight we are having: of VT's masterpieces,
With, pineapple, sausage (meatfree) portabello mushroom, etc
Potato salad and pasta salad,
Green salad to go with.

Saturday, 17 April 2010


All over the place. We haven't really got any on our car, but VT said there is some in the garden. The airports all over are closed with a very few flights coming out of places like Glasgow. People stranded all over the world, and it's all a real mess. good job we aren't going on holiday anywhere, people are really stuck. Ok I suppose if you are in close Europe you could hire a car and get through the tunnel but otherwise its a mega problem.
Very nice day today too, really sunny. VT went out this morning for a bit, and said it was busy. No sporting events anywhere at the moment so people going into southport etc i suppose. The little cats are in the sunshine fast asleep, cats look gorgeous when they are sleeping. totally relaxed, curled round and the off twitch. Aaah. Rusty is on a blanket on Janes bed, and Bobby is on her little bed with her head resting on the side of it. She has fallen off this bed, sometimes she overbalances and slips off.
We had a lovely panini for lunch, and put some Brie and Mozzarella and tomato in it. not a lot, because we do watch the calories!
Tonight we are having:
Chinese..spring rolls,
Egg fried rice 1/2 a packet each,
Honey and coriander sauce
Stir fry vegetables, with a bit of pepper for VT.

Friday, 16 April 2010

The debate..and Fresh fruit and Veggies...

We watched The Debate on last night's television between the three leaders. It was actually quite well done, and a good watch with no clapping throughout, and well spread out questions. Personally I though Nick Clegg did very well..but would it be enough to swing my vote to Lib dem..Hmmm, not so sure. Gordon did well too and even made the odd joke Bless him. Thought David Cameron came over as being aloof and a bit disdainful, certainly didn't do as well as Clegg. We shall see what happens with the next one.
We went over to the Aintree Sainsburys this morning . We haven't been there for ages, not since my last Walton visit. It was really quiet, and the Liverpool schools are still out too. The shop seemed to have an awful lot of empty spaces on the shelves with a distinct lack of certain fruits and veggies, mainly the imported ones. I sent VT to look for a couple of bananas and he came back to say there weren't any! No bananas, only in great big bags, no loose ones. I only wanted them to ripen my avocado too. Did quite a big shop, I like that supermarket, they have a terrific range of Quorn things, and we got a few new items. VT said there was something going on in the shop with groups of managers in huddles all over the pklace. the shortage of the fruits must be due to the volcanic ash that is causing so much disruption everywhere. It's held up deliveries I suppose.
It is a gorgeous day today and a real pleasure to go out on a drive still a cool breeze though which catches you unawares. We were watching the news at lunchtime, and there are no signs that planes are going to be leaving or entering any time soon. people all over the airports stranded or waiting for news. i remember when we were stranded a Stanford Airport orlando once for fourteen hours and that was Hell. You just want to get moving, and it doesn't look like people will get anything from their insurance companies either.
VT is in the garden doing a bit more. He says he has just given little/big Bobby a brush which is good, she is moulting white hair everywhere at the minute, must be the warmer weather.

She tends to leave her white hairs all over the place, so a good brush really helps. well done VT.
Tonight we are having:
Fishless fingers, tartare sauce
mushy peas for VT and Green beans for moi.
A baked tomato
And Chips!! a real once a fortnight treat. Only 200grms between us though.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Volcanic Ash

Lovely day today, but not if you are flying anywhere. There are no flights leaving the country from anywhere today at all due to some Volcanic Ash coming from Iceland. It is way up in the atmosphere but would damage planes if the fly through it so all planes are grounded. VT said that he hasn't seem any vapour trails today at all, usually there are loads, we are on a flight path from Manchester and Liverpool. I feel sorry for people stranded in Airports, there is nothing worse than hanging around.
We went for our April coffee at The ladygreen garden centre today. It has a lovely little coffee shop/resturant and was quite quiet today, even though it was a lovely day and sunny. We got our two free coffees and a packet of biscuits..a bargain 80p! There were lots of beige anoraks and jackets there, and women with grey permed hair, and old men with baggy trousers. I felt quite smart actually, and VT always looks nice.
We had a look around after, and bought two nice deep blue frost resistant pots for the garden. VT had said that a lot of our pots had been destroyed by the bad weather this year, especially the terracotta ones so we need some replacements to tidy thing up a bit.
Tonight there is a big debate on the television between the party leaders, should be interesting. I wonder how they will get on.
Tonight we are having:
Lamb Grills Quorn
Mashed Potatoes or squashed potatoes,
beans and carrots.
Pear Crumble to follow.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

20% Off..

Got a card through the post from a clothing store that I frequent. I buy quite a lot ofg things from themso an offer of 20% off is enough to get me through the door. So we journeyed into Maghull this morning for me to have a look. VT very kindly drove me and he had a bit of a mooch while I went into the shop. There were three or four men outside waiting for ladies..they should have a man creche with coffee and papers!! Had a good look, and bought a new purpkle jumper in their sale for £12, a pair of very pretty bras and some new Sloggi knicks. Then I got the 20% off so saved a bit. Excellent..I like a bargain. I think Bon Marche is a great shop, they always have something I like and at really good prices. The shop was heaving actually, wouldn't mind shares in them.
I thought we would have had time to call in at the garden centre for our free coffee, but actually we were a bit late so came home for a tiny one instead..sorry VT that was my fault. I did buy him a custard from Sayers as a treat though!
Tonight we are having:
A recipe from 101 Cookbooks. I have done this a couple of times in the past but not for a while.It is:

Almost Cheeseless Pasta Casserole Recipe
I used a 100% farro pizzichi pasta here, but whole wheat penne is much more readily available - shoot for something made from whole grain flour, and roughly that size.

zest of one large lemon
8 ounces dried whole wheat pasta (penne or something comparable in size)
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and sliced into quarter sized pieces
3 handfuls kale, chard, and/or spinach, loosely chopped
2 cups plain Greek yogurt (I use 2% here)
2 egg yolks
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and torn into pieces
scant 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
Preheat oven to 400F degrees, with a rack in the middle. Butter or oil an 8x12-inch baking dish, or two smaller gratin dishes. Sprinkle with lemon zest and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it generously, and cook the pasta until al dente. Just 10 seconds before you are done cooking the pasta, stir in the butternut squash and kale - for the quickest possible swim. Quickly (but carefully) drain. Now run cold water over the pasta, squash, and kale (just enough to stop it from cooking). Shake off any extra water and set aside.

While you are waiting for the pasta water to boil, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, garlic, and salt in a large mixing bowl - set aside until the pasta is boiled. Then. when ready, add the pasta-squash-kale mixture to the yogurt mixture and stir in half of the almonds. Scoop everything into the prepared baking dish(es), sprinkle with olives and feta, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve sprinkled with a bit of the chopped fresh mint and remaining almonds.

Serves 6 -8 as a side.
Probably a bit of garlic bread on the side.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


One of the problems with doing a big load of washing on a Sunday is that you are left with a big load of ironing to do on the next few days. So, it was the ironing day today.Since we bought the new bedding, which is gorgeous, I have rediscovered the need to iron bed linen.It comes out of the washing machine so creased, but it is actually quite nice to get it all crease free and nicely ironed. I don't mind ironing actually, I like the way you can freshen the clothing and make it look good again.The worst thing we ever had to iron though was Jane's old school skirt. It was box pleats, and had to be held down while it was pressed..absolute murder. VT and I used to do it every Sunday night during the school term.
He has been zapping the weeds in the front and the back gardens today. It was a lovely sunny morning, but the sun went in at lunchtime and it has gone quite cold now.VT has just lit a fire again, I can hear him throwing the fuel on.
Jane has been emailing me today on her new phone. She said she was on the bus, sending emails. There was a man on the floor of the bus last night, and she thought he was dead, and then he started snoring!! All human life gets on buses. She said the bus driver was really grumpy, and this little old lady got on and gave him what for and told him off, she said it was really funny.
Tonight we are having:
Quorn bramley apple sausages, with apple slices
Mashed potatoes,
Spring greens.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Sunny Monday..

Nice day today, VT is at present in the garden getting rid of weeds . He says the dandelions are growing apace. Why is it that the weeds are so prevalent in a garden? They never seem to lessen no matter what you do.The daffodils at the front are nodding a bit, I don't think they will be hanging in for much longer.
We nipped into Crosby this morning to get the weeks veggies, and the hedges are definitely getting greener, and the fields have been ploughed so that is a good sign.

Little Bobby is sunbathing on top of the hut, not in it at the moment. She likes the garden in the sun and was out for ages yesterday, sitting on one of our chairs in a sunny spot.
Sainsbury's was really busy, but it is such a small shop. They didn't have enough checkouts open and I was on pins in case our half an hour free parking was gone. We were ok..just.
Tonight we are having:
Sliced fried potatoess in fry light,
carrots beans and broccoli.

Sunday, 11 April 2010


We always do our crosswords on a Sunday afternoon. There are three main ones, the Daily Mail You magazine one which I do, The Sunday Express General Knowledge one which VT does, and the Mail on Sunday Big general Knowledge one which we do together. Somethimes they are quite hard and sometimes not, today they were reasonable, with the more awkward clues having to be researched on the Computer. Ones like "The crying of Lot 49 author of for example..not a book I know. I am quite good on book ones and VT is very good on science ones and geographical ones. We make a fairly good mix I think.
The other thing I did today was to finish a letter to John and Ann, my brother and sister in law in Perth Australia. I tend to start a letter, and then add to it bit by bit for a number of weeks till I have enough in it to post. This one was 6 pages with all sorts of odds and sods of news happenings etc. I'm going to send Ann some books I have a set of, called the Hamish McBeth novels. Complete rubbish, but good fun to read, and a nice light read. So, today has been a wordy day.
Beautiful day today too, sun shining, and a real touch of everything growing now. Green shoots of recovery eh!VT went out to Crosby to get a few things, and he dug his light weight summer coat.He is looking for a new one, and is finding it hard to get what he wants, since a lot of them are padded and too warm. He used to get good jackets from Littlewoods but since they closed he has struggled. Even in The Cheshire Oaks, there are plenty of sports type shops and designer shops but nothing ordinary. It's quite hard for men I think, plenty of choice for women but I think the men are let down.
Tonight we are having:
Pizza as usual with our tomato sauce,
Pineapple, mushroom, a meatfree pepperoni,
Salad with potato salad for me and rice salad for VT.


Saturday, 10 April 2010

Twas A Grand National...

Every year we have a flutter on the National. Since it is up the road at Aintree is is very local. Not a horse racing fan, but it is difficult not to get involved with this race. There always used to be a sweepstake at school which was good fun, and you'd back the horse you got. Very rarely won, but did a year or so ago and got a bit of money back. This year I backed..
I usually pick mine on the names, for example my dad was called Joe etc. VT backed
Most of our horsed finished. VT got a third, and the highest one of mine to finish was sixth. But it is all good fun, makes it more interesting when you watch it, and we only do £1 each way.
Jane has just rung up on her new phone, which now takes emails, all singing and all dancing phones these days.
VT went into Maghull this morning to get a few bits, and he said it was quite busy, but it is a lovely day today, with the sun shining.
Tonight we are having:
Hot Dogs with meatfree hot dog sausages, pickles, tomato sauce etc.

Friday, 9 April 2010


Seems like we are going there a lot these days. mind you we don't go mad in there..too expensive. Just got the weekend things really and a few things on offer. Anybody notice the terrible price of tomatoes lately..they seem to have shoot through the roof at the moment. I do like my tomatoes, but the price of the ones on the vine is exorbitant, £1.99 for 6 tomatoes!!!! I wish we had a greenhouse, then we could grow some, the ones my Dad used to grow were wonderful, now they had taste to them. He used to always win prizes at the local village show with them, and they smelled like proper tomatoes should. I think they are picked too early while they are still green so the flavour isn't there.
Phone went last night, Hello its Christine from the Village surgery..Is that Jennifer? You have a prescription to collect from the last hospital visit you had.. Me..That was four weeks ago!! At least they didn't get me in for a review..Got away with that.o Four weeks ago though..I could be dead and buried by now.
Anyway VT has just been over for the prescription which was faxed through, so that's an improvement at least.
Lovely warm day today, with a definite Spring touch in the air. For once the car actually felt warm when we got back in and VT actually took his coat off. He was saying he would have to get his short sleeved shirts out. Bit early for me though, I feel the cold more than he does.
Tonight we are having:
Sliced sauteed potatoes 8oz
Crispy Quorn fillets,
Green beans for moi and baked beans for VT

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Is There a touch of Warmth in the Air?

Might be, it is certainly warmer today. VT spent a lot of the morning doing his window on his car. A while ago now the one on my side wouldn't operate properly, it wound down then wouldn't go up again. he managed to get the window up again then got the part to repair it from the Toyota garage. No idea why mine went first because I don't use my window that much, not nearly as much as he does his. Anyway the other day he came in from one of his trips, and said that his was going,
so he ordered the part from toyota and spent today putting it right. from what he was saying it was quite tricky, and would have cost at least two hours laboutr in a garage plus the fifty quid for the part. So the boy done well.
Quietish day here on the whole..rubbish post and nothing happening of note. VT took a load of stuff to the recycling baank, most of it packaging and jars etc, we seem to do a lot of recycling these days, wonder how we managed with the bins in the old days really.

The daffodils in the barrel look lovely in the sunshine this morning, nodding their little heads in the breeze. They last for ages too, then we take them up and put geraniums or something in for the summer months. VT came in and said the big planter at the end of the garden has broken too with the frost..really sorry about that, we have had it for donkey's years, and it has a large Spirea in it which comes up regularly each year. If that planter has gone there must be loads of others too. Shame.
Tonight we are having:
Pasta bake with 4oz of pasta asparagus and a jar of tomato and mascarpone sauce.
A little bit of garlic bread
and a creamed rice pudding.The last of the easter treats.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


We decided that we would go out for a bit of fresh air somewhere. i thought we were going to go to Dobbies for our free coffee so I put a new pair of shoes on, since we wouldn't be walking far there. VT said when we were in the car it would be good to go to Ormskirk since he wanted to go to Argos to get a new card for the camers. Wasn't expecting that but didn't matter.
Got a statement from the bank and some money out, then went to Holland and barratt, VT went card hunting. I bought three of their meatfree pepperoni sausages and some of my skin hair and nails tablets which were half price. took them to the desk and the girl checked them off and put them on the counter. i asked for a small bag and she said in a big high pitched voice.."We charge 4p for a bag now"!! So came out of the shop looking like a shoplifter with three sausages and a tub of pills in my pockets!!!
Had a look in the Bon Marche shop but for once didn't see anything I fancied, and Superdrug and same there. Nothing to spend my money on!! Walked over to the Hallmark shop and saw some tempting Thorntons chocolate on sale but didn't buy that either..but did get some Yankee candles. A lovely little glass jar of Willow Breeze and two votives of the same flavour. Nice in the bathroom, since they are a gorgeous shade of light blue. They were 25% off so pleased with those.
VT took some pictures of the baskets outside the kitchen is of little dwarf daffodils and the other of pretty yellow primroses that have been blooming for an age.

And the barrel outside the front door. These have been so late coming out this year, but are in full bloom now and look really attractive.

And pretty little blue flowers in the back garden..forgotten what their names are, but they are a gorgeous colour.

Tonight we are having:
Quorn fillets in a sauce..maybe watercress, and with mushroom.
Potato croquettes.
Broccoli and carrots.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Tuesday not Monday..

Why is it that when you have a bank Holiday it throws you out. I have spent today thinking that it is Monday. Seems to put you out for the whole week too.
We nipped out to Formby this morning to get our veggies for the week, went to M&S for those. VT called in at Tescaw for some petrol first..£30 and goes nowhere, I remember the days when £5 would fill the tank!!!
Got a good selection of veg from M&S and a few deals as well. they had a good deal for a jar of Italian sauce, pack of pasta and two ciabatta loaves for £3. nice wholewheat pasta too.No coffee shop though it is only a ssmall simply food store, but they have a Per Una section at the back. Too expensive for me though, i get some of the items at the outlet store in Cheshire Oaks.

Little Rusty is still having her eye treated by VT, who very carefully puts the eye cream in twice a day. It is looking better too. He is really good at giving the tablets and creams etc., I think he should have been a scientist or a pharmacist. Distinct lack of opportunities for the likes of us eleven plus failures, you just didn't have the career paths open to you.
Today Gordon brown has declared an Election..suppose that will mean that we will be innundated with politivcal propoganda,May 6th can't come quickly enough, get it all over with. Suppose tories will win, and we will get the smart couple in Number 10. Tories back in crosby..I hope not!!
Tonight we are having:
Goats cheese and cranberry escalope,
Sliced potatoes in Fry light,
Mixed veggies
Cranberry sauce

Monday, 5 April 2010

Easter Monday..

Still cold today, the weather isn't really picking up yet even if the flowers are looking better. The two baskets outside the kitchen window are lovely, one with primroses and the other with tiny miniature daffodils. Splashes of yellow everywhere, the big forsythis bush in one of the neighbours garden is totally in bloom. Pity it doesn't last though, we have one by our front gate, and it is lovely for a few days then nothing, just a green twiggy bush.
VT nipped out this morning to get a salad for our lunch to go with the leftover pizza, and he said it was quite busy but he got through quickly.
Must admit our naughty but very nice Easter hazelnut cake we had last night was lovely, looking forward to a second piece of that tonight.

I think if I was ever on a Come Dine With Me programme that would be my pudding.. the flavours are gorgeous together. Don't know what I would do for the other courses, vegetarian food never does well. Otther people always excpect meat or fish.
The family in the end house are going away for Easter, and she has asked VT if they could borrow his ladders. These must be the most well lended ladders in our village, they are presently with the neighbour the other side who was repairing his satellite dish the other day. Good ladders!
Tonight we are having:
Pasties from Waitrose for an easter treat,
Some more of the Hazelnut gateau...naughty.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Easter Sunday..

Dawned fairly sunny, but VT said it is cold out, a bit of a breeze I think.
We did a bit of baking this morning. Since we were both ill over Christmas i didn't make our usual hazelnut gateau, so decided to make it for Easter instead. i had the hazelnuts and the raspberries so thought it would make an easter treat for us.

These are all the bits before it is assembled.

Finished piece with the eleven circles to represent the twelve apostles without judas, and one little mini egg on each. The good thing about this one is that it is even nicer tomorrow than today. The raspberries were lovely, got them from waitrose frozen ones, and they defrost beautifully.
We spent the afternoon doing the crosswords, and making the pizza dough for tonight.Jane rang up and said that she was looking for a shop. we said she would be lucky since it is the one day when they are all closed, but maybe she will find a convenience store somewhere. She said rachel's Granny had sent the each a chocolate egg from hotel chocolate £30 each..hope its a good egg.
Tonight we are having:
Pizza with our tomato sauce,
portobello mushrooms, Meatfree pepperoni, pineapple, pepper for VT
Mozarella cheese,
Salad, and potato salad and wild rice salad for VT
And..Da Da A Pudding,
our famous Hazelnut cake.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Good friday..

Easter preparations..not many in our house really, just a matter of stocking up so we have enough ordinary things to last till tuesday.
We don't have any plans for a special easter lunch or meal, we tend to have the same weekend things as usual. i am planning to do our Christmas Hazelnut cake for Easter instead of at Christmas. I have the hazelnuts already bought, and the raspberries in the freezer from Christmas. Unfortunately we were both very under the weather over Christmas, so I will make it this weekend. I am going to decorate the top with little mini eggs instead of raspberries, and make it a bit different for the season.
We went to Waitrose in formby this morning to do our shopping,I thought it would be quite quiet, but the car park was heaving actually, and the shop busy. We were lucky and found a parking space just as someone was pulling out. The shop was busy, but you can still get round well enough, it is a pleasant shop. We got all of the things on our list and when I said to the lady at the checkout how busy it was, she said you should have been here yesterday, it was like Christmas! We decided to have a coffee in the cafe since it was latish, and we wouldn't have time to go home for one..£7 10p for two coffees, and a pack of two shortbread biscuits!!!! No wonder there were only 17 people in the cafe! Wouldn't like to have a meal in there! It's actually cheaper to go to costa which is our favourite one of all. I think they are pushing it for what is after all a supermarket.
last night I made a pear crisp.

I made the crisp in a different way from usual which is the rubbing in method. this time I used wholemeal flour, a handful of oats a tiny bit of sugar, and I melted the margarine and then mixed it in. Very quick and very successful, it made a lovely crisp almost flapjack topping. the reason I made these, was that I had a pack of very nice pears that were beginning to go overripe so wanted to use them up. Well worth it. I wanted to put ginger in, but couldn't find any in the cupboard, but did have a pack of pumpkin spice mix I had bought in the states. perfect..that had cinnamon ginger, nutmeg and other spices and was absolutely perferct.
Tonight we are having:
Fishless fingers,
Mushy peas for VT and a pack of steamed green veg for moi.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Hares and rabbits..

Ist April and no practical jokes this year, that I could spot anyway. April dawned nice and sunny but still breezy, and it is Maundy Thursday today. The Queen is giving out her 84 pennies today to 84 men and 84 women.
The vet rang fairly early this morning to say that little Rusty's results were very good. her Thyroid level is 5 and a normal cats is 7 so that is ok, and her other results were fine too. VT is doing sterling work giving her the tablets twice a day so he deserves a pat on the back for that. Added to that he has had to put eye drops in now, and the lovely little thing just stands there and lets him. She really is his cat, and absolutely adores him follows him everywhere except when she is asleep.
So well done VT. He is making one little cat better. The only thing the vet said was to give her some senior cat food, and a variety which she gets anyway, and watch the salt in her food. Otherwise carry on and another blood test in six months. Overnight results eh! and a personal call from the vet..I have to wait two weeks for mine, and what's a personal call?
Did the kitchen floor today so that is sparkling, was going to do it yesterday but the weather was horrible so did it today. Post came at 2.30 theres progress modern postal service for you. Remember the days when the post was on the mat when you came down in the morning?
Tonight we are having:
A simple pasta bake with asparagus and a few mushrooms,
A bit of garlic bread,
Pear crumble and a bit of creme fraiche.