Steamed Veggies (and other hot air)

Steamer

My culinary adventure continued today, as well as purchasing my pie tins (a day early!), I also bought myself a steamer! I’ve been meaning to buy a steamer for quite some time now, the thought of less washing up plus more enjoyable veggies was one that I finally succumbed to today. The steamer I bought is the sort that sits on the hob, it has two steaming compartments and after successfully passing it’s first trial (and mine, I’d never used one before), I think it will get more than it’s fair share of use as time passes.

For a little more I could have purchased an electronic steamer but you may have gathered by now, I’m not keen on kitchen accessories or electronic gadgets cluttering up my worktops, yet I have plenty of space on them. I like the idea that if for some reason I lose power due to a power failure or my cooker dies, I can still prepare a meal on my camping gas stove in an emergency. My new steamer goes a long way to doing just that if ever I needed it to.

We did have pie tonight as well but not one of my making. My local supermarket sells lots of locally produced food and one area they excel is in the bakery and preprepared pies etc. They sell one pie that both my daughter and I love, yet it is a simple sausage patty encased in suet pastry…………..YUM! So we enjoyed one of our favourite meals with less than half the normal washing up and probably used less electricity in the process.

Reading: I’ve not done much of this recently and my poor old Bookshelf page is looking rather neglected. I have updated the page to include a book I picked up over Christmas but I’ve only read the first couple of chapters, I hope to read more over the coming weeks and to start my reading reviews once again.

Films: I am now the happy recipient of Sky Movies on demand! This has seen me watching simply loads of films but until now I’ve not been writing my thoughts on them. As with my reading, I hope to start my movie reviews once again. One of the best films I watched over the Christmas period was the latest Sherlock Holmes. A thoroughly enjoyable romp though I think it may have been better had an English actor played Sherlock though Robert Downey Jr gave it his best shot and didn’t really spoil it for me that much.

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More Pie Dishes & Chilli

Picture of red kidney beans

Image via Wikipedia

First of all, I’ll tell you a bit more about the pie dish saga: I took a walk down the High Street to my local Lakeland store after work today and they have enamel pie dishes, 3 for £5! So I think I found an even better bargain than I thought I had. Friday will be the big day and the pie making will commence next week.

After some advice from a very close friend I made my first chilli con baked beans today. I like just about any food that has chilli added to it but I have always hated chilli con carne because I really do not like kidney beans. It seems I’m not alone in this dislike of the bean and it appears that quite a few people use baked beans to replace the kidney beans. The result was a very tasty meal enjoyed by yours truly and it is something I would recommend to anyone looking far an alternative to kidney beans.

Why the sudden reappearance of these type of posts on my blog? Not an easy question to answer but I have always felt the need to write and now after much deliberation plus lack of creative inspiration, I’ve decided to post on whatever comes to mind once again. I’m not going to pretend that this will be a daily occurrence because I know it won’t be. To start with I have a new love in my life and there are going to be evenings where I will simply be doing other things.

Thankfully, I’m also still in gainful employment. This is still a temporary ongoing situation but one that I intend to fight hard to keep, I will also be filling you in on this as and when the mood takes me. All I will say at the moment is that the store is readying itself for stock take, a task I seem to be heavily involved in as we prepare for the stock take team to come into the store.

Rather belatedly, I would like to wish one and all a Happy New Year, let us all hope that 2012 is one to remember, for all the right reasons. For me, 2011 turned out rather well in the end and I’m really hoping that 2012 carries on for me in the same vein. I made no New Year resolutions other than to enjoy life and to try to enjoy what ever comes my way.

Pie Dishes

Mason Cash Pie Dishes

The clock has ticked just past midnight and I can’t get off to sleep! I’ve lain there two hours now trying to reach the land of nod and all I’ve done is toss and turn, I’ve turned my pillows over several times. I plumped the pillows, I’ve punched the pillows, eventually I threw them off the end of the bed and got up!

So, what is keeping me awake on this early January night? Pie Dishes! Yep, pie dishes. You would think after the recent expensive season I’d be worried about paying for it all but thankfully I’m in that rare position of not having to worry about the credit card bill because A) I don’t own one, and B) I paid for my Christmas and New Year in cash! It wasn’t extravagant by any stretch but we had a good feed and a good drink. We enjoyed ourselves!

So, back to pie dishes then. To be even more exact, Mason Cash pie dishes (see image).

It all started Monday when I went into my local supermarket to top up on a few essentials and I noticed they had a piemaker in their sale for £15. Not a bad deal I thought to myself, I love a good home made meat pie and I’m certain this kitchen accessory would do a nice job but being the sort of person I am, I much prefer to have a few pie dishes in my cupboard so that I can make up a few as and when the mood takes me rather than have yet another electric gadget gathering dust on the worktop.

Earlier this evening I started searching the net for what pie dishes were on offer and where I could get a nice deal on some useful and easy to store pie dishes. Lakeland came up with the answer! They have a four Mason Cash pie dish set priced between £7.99 and £13.99 depending on what size and shape you want. This got me thinking of all the yummy meat pies I could concoct and what lovely meals I could enjoy. The thought of meat pie with tatties and veg covered in thick gravy two or three nights a week was beginning to make my mouth water. Chicken and sweetcorn pie, chicken and peas, minced beef and onion, beef and potato, on it goes all with tatties and two or three veg and gravy!

To try and clear my head of all these yummy meals I intend to have once I’ve purchased my pie dishes, because I will purchase four in the very near future, I’ve just had to get up and tell you all about why I can’t get to sleep tonight.

I hope if you are having trouble getting to sleep and you end up reading this that whatever it is keeping you awake is as mundane as the rubbish running around my head these past two hours.

The Café

In response to Indigo Spiders The Last Sunday Picture Press

Visual Prompt 2 -- Frittes by Danny Dutch

Visual Prompt 2 -- Frittes by Danny Dutch

“Just look at all that metal” thought the old man as he sat waiting for his meal. He sat and thought most of the time now that his beloved wife had departed this world two years ago this week. He came to the same café, sat at the same table, ordered the same meal, the same coffee, everything was the same as yesterday and the day before. Nothing changed apart from the thoughts in his head, though just lately even they had been on only two or three topics,

He could remember a time when traffic on this road was a rare event, maybe once or twice a week a car would travel up the street. Horse and cart being the main transport back then. Now it was clogged with cars, buses and lorries from early morning to late evening.

He had come in this café the day of the funeral. He had been on his own at the funeral apart from a couple of nurses who had attended his wife in the final weeks. When it was all over he had walked into this café and ordered a meal, this was her wake and he attended it on his own. They had had friends in their early days but as those friends had kids and growing families, he and his wife had slowly been ostracised for not having the normal family, in the end it had been just the two of them. They walked together, they talked about everything under the sun, they read the same books and lived in total harmony, without the need for outside entertainment or friends to live their lives.

Ever since they had been married they had come to this café every Sunday to have a cooked breakfast. He loved being able to treat her to this one day off from looking after the house and the gardens she was so proud of. After breakfast they would walk the mile or so to the river, sometimes walking alongside the river, sometimes getting on the river boat that went down stream on a day trip. Sundays were special to both of them, a time to get away from the work that had to be done. Time to talk about everything other than housework, the plants or his work as a solicitor.

So now he sat here at this table every day, waiting for his meal and coffee. Other regulars to the café would nod or smile at him. Staff would ask him how he was and go through the motions of giving him the menu yet they all knew what he wanted. In return he would politely look at the menu without reading it then place his order.

It was the same meal he had had on the day of the funeral, roast beef with all the trimmings and black coffee. He cannot even remember why he had ordered it on that day. He didn’t really enjoy beef or black coffee but he had become accustomed to it these last two years and felt that it would be wrong to change his order now. Some days he actually did look at the menu, there were several fish dishes that he really liked the look of but he always ordered the beef. One day perhaps he would change his order and surprise them all, but not today.

He looked out of the window once again, watching all humanity pass by. This area had once been a small town on the outskirts of the city, now it felt like it was the heart of the city. High office blocks blotted out the sun, vehicles of all sorts filled the air with their fumes and people rushed everywhere never taking a moment to look at the monstrosity the small town had become a part of. He could not even walk the river banks anymore! Smart flats and offices had been built on the open fields that were once the playground of youth. The land now being classed as private property where once footpaths had led for miles alongside the river. The riverboat had gone never to be replaced so now he never went down to the river, it had become just another trading artery within the big city. There was little pleasure left by the river now.

He ate his meal, not really enjoying it, tipping the waitress his usual ten percent and left the café. Even though a café had stood on this piece of ground all his life it had changed beyond recognition from the first Sunday he and his wife had entered for Sunday breakfast. Then it was just a small, single story building housing the café and not much else. Now it was a tall office block with shops either side of the café which itself was a new building and not the small beautiful little café he once knew. It was still owned and run by the same family though, nowadays it was the grandchildren that ran it but he felt he knew them all and was happy to bring his custom to them after all this time.

Standing on the footpath, he looked down the street towards where the river had once run freely, sighed and then turned to walk the other way, back home to tend the beautiful gardens his wife had worked so hard on all her life.

©2011 Trevor Litchfield

The Allotment (an afternoon in the sun)

Raised Bed Garden

Raised Bed Garden (Image by VeggieGardeningTips via Flickr)

Gardeners tend the soil,
weeding and feeding their bounty.
Building raised beds
for herbs and delicate plants.
Removing pests by hand,
or more innovative means.
Coffee grinds ward off slugs,
caring yet effective against the pests

Hoses lead across the paths,
bringing much need water.
Water soaks into the ground,
a cool drink in the midday sun.
Potatoes soak up the moisture,
cabbage funnel it down leaves.
This artificial irrigation,
keeping these plants alive.

Their tools kept clean and tidy,
their sheds fit for a kings visit.
Nets lay over the fruit bushes,
birds sit on the outside looking in.
Bees flit from flower to flower,
pollinating and collecting as they go,
this is the life many of us don’t know.

©2011 Trevor Litchfield

This poem is my entry for this weeks One Shot Wednesday

One Shot Wednesday

One Shot Wednesday

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