Motivational photo ….. 1st go

Well it was my intention to start this thing on Monday 16th, but I have a photo and it’s given me something to say, so why wait?021515_1605_Motivationa1.jpg

The photo is the beginnings of my lunch for Monday. Basically it’s pasta with some bits of beef, mushroom, onion, carrot and mixed salad leaves. There is a boiled egg to add later, with some kind of dressing, mayonnaise or maybe even oil and balsamic.

There is a point to this. Mrs H and I tend to watch these cooking programs that seem to be on every channel at the moment. It kind of annoys me a little when the presenter (quite often not a chef/cook) tells the viewer that they ‘should not buy’ the pre-packed food from the supermarket. Then they go on to explain how much cheaper and more beneficial it is to ‘make it yourself!’

Here is the reality! From start to finish, the whole dish took just over 30 minutes to cook and assemble. It would take me just over 10 minutes to call in at the supermarket (at the top of the street where I work) buy the dish and get back to the office to eat it. As for the cost, in the supermarket, it would be around £2.00 – £2.50 for something like this. Of course it is a great deal cheaper to make it myself! Of course it is, but only if the ingredients I used are to hand. To purchase the ingredients separately would amount to a lot more than the £2.50 it would cost ready made. Aha, you exclaim ….. you have all the ingredients now to make another salad for the next day and the next day and the next day ……. and then what’s left goes in the ‘hot composter’ because it has gone out of date. See my point?


Almost there

   The title of this post refers to my attempt at making hummus. It all started, when Mrs H found a bag of dried chick peas, that we had in the cupboard. She was all set for throwing them out, and like a fool, I suggested that I make hummus. Sounded like a good idea at the time, but the reality of overnight soaking and then 2 hours of boiling put a bit of a damper on it. Then, lo and behold, she finds a tin of chick peas that need using up. So I used them. As I say, it was almost there. I downloaded a recipe from the BBC website, and followed it as closely as possible. Result……too much garlic, as that was all that we could taste. Better luck next time.

   Made a bit of a pig of myself at lunchtime!! I had eaten my sausage rolls and Peperami by half past 11, as I wanted to drive out to shops. After buying some new paint rollers, I though a quick pint would be nice. And it was, but the problem was, that I was feeling a little peckish. So I popped into MacDonald’s. I only had a cheeseburger and small fries, but felt a little guilty afterwards.

Conchiglioni fungi

   Serves 2

  • 14 conchiglioni shells cooked al-denti Conchiglioni Fungi
  • 2 rashers of bacon finely diced
  • 4oz mushrooms quartered
  • 1/2 and onion finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely diced
  • 1/2 pint of white sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh English mustard
  • 1 oz cheddar grated
  • 1oz Jarlsberg cheese grated
  • grated parmesan
  • chopped parsley
  • pinch paprika pepper
  • oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. gently fry the onion, garlic and bacon in the oil until cooked, without browning
  2. add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5-7 minutes
  3. season well
  4. fill the cooked shells with the bacon/mushroom mix
  5. carefully place in an oven proof dish
  6. mix the cheeses and mustard into the sauce, and pour over the pasta shells
  7. sprinkle with the grated parmesan, parsley and paprika
  8. cook in an oven at 170 dgs for 15 minutes
  9. serve

Living dangerously

   Eldest finally got in touch at around 10 past 1. I’d tried texting and ringing him since about 11:30, with no answer. He sent a text to say he was catching the 05:00 bus, so I got him to call. Explained that the bus was 16:50, and only every hour so he had better not miss it, or he would miss his tea. I asked him where he had got to, and to my utter disbelief he said “The Dog & Gun” !!!! For those who are not aware, the “Dog” as it is known is one of Leeds’s bad pubs. It is an estate pub in an area of Leeds, that is not very salubrious. In fact the place was shut down for a long time after a fatal shooting some years ago. I don’t think that much has changed since. It is not the pub, more the people that use the place.

   I am doing a slow roasted shoulder of lamb  for dinner,Shoulder of lamb with roasted root vegetables (no butternut squash in sight). The meat is supposed to take 3 to 4 hours to cook so it is in now. The veg will take about 1 hour 40mins, so I need to get the timing just right. I’ll be putting the veg underneath the joint, so it all cooks together. Potatoes will go in at the same time, and it all should be done by 5:45pm, fingers crossed. A query ! Where does British Lamb come from ? As Britain stretches from the Shetland Iles to The Iles of Scilly, that joint of British lamb could have had to travel a long way, to get to the supermarket. In fact, depending on where you live, lamb imported from France could be more local than the British lamb you have bought ! Makes you think a little. I will report back on the success/failure of the dish later.

   You may notice that I have changed the colour of the text on the header of this blog. I received a message on Twitter, after posting my blog, to the effect that the colour was not very good, I quote “hard to read and uneasy on the eyes”. Fair enough. I don’t write this blog just for me to read. See how this colour goes. In case you were wondering about the connection between my blog and Twitter, I have a plug-in for Windows Live Writer, that notifies Twitter when I post. I have a few bits of traffic that way.

Saturday is nearly over…

   To be honest, I’m not really in the mood for writing tonight. It’s been a reasonably good day. Youngest was on respite today, and he seems to have enjoyed it. They had the fire alarm go off, in error, which apparently upset both the kids and the staff. L***** was not pleased about it at all, as it is the third time in as many months.

   I did that Chicken & Tomatoes recipe again, only this time I remembered to take a photo. When I can remember, where my blue tooth pictures go on the PC, I’ll post it on here. How is this for something cool though. I copied the recipe from my blog, into Word. Then blue toothed to my phone, and was able to follow it from there.

A good day….and a recipe

   Well, we did not think it would be. Youngest was in a very good mood last night, but was awake at 6:00am this morning, and we were expecting the worst. However, we have had no problems at all. It’s 10:30pm, and we are trying to get him to settle down. Fingers crossed !!

   I did chicken for tea tonight. It was a made up dish, that worked very well. I have not got a name for the dish, but it is copied below:

Chicken & Tomatoes

Serves 2

  • 2 chicken legs, divided into thighs and drumsticks
  • Half an onion, diced
  • 2 medium sized mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 a 14oz tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1oz of grated cheese
  • 1/2 oz of white breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 oz butter
  • 1 tblsp oil
  • seasoned flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Coat the chicken in the season flour, and brown quickly in the oil and butter. Remove to an oven proof dish and keep warm.
  2. Gently fry the onions until soft, but not browned.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes
  4. Add the mushrooms and tomatoes, and a tblsp of water. stir until mixed well. Season with the salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the sauce mix over the chicken legs, and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and cheese.
  6. Place the dish in a pre-heated oven (180 F) for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  7. Serve.

   Unfortunately, I did not get a photograph, but it does look and smells good. We had it with pasta, but it could equally well with a green vegetable and potatoes. Or possibly a salad.

My Tomato Sauce

This is the first of a number random postings, with a recipe that I like. It will be categorised as Cooking Time.

Tomato Sauce – serves 3 to 4

You will need:

  • 1 x 14oz tin of tomatoes (chopped or otherwise)
  • 1 medium onion – finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 rashers of smoked bacon – finely chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Gently fry the onion, garlic and bacon in the oil until cooked, but not coloured.
  2. Add the tomatoes and sugar, and bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
  5. Blend to a smooth consistency, using a liquidiser or blender.
  6. Season to taste, and use as required.

This sauce will keep well in the fridge for 2 days, or it can be frozen.

For a more rustic sauce, you can omit the blending at stage 5, and use a potato masher to break down the tomatoes.

Cracking Tomato Sauce

Just thought I’d share this…

Serves 3/4


    1 medium onion – roughly chopped
    1 large clove of garlic – roughly chopped
    2 rashers of streaky bacon – roughly chopped
    1 14oz tin of tomatoes
    1 tablespoon of olive oil
    1 tablespoon of fresh parsley chopped
    1 tablespoon of tomato puree
    ¼ teaspoon of caster sugar
    ¼ teaspoon of arrowroot mixed with a little water
    Salt and fresh ground black pepper


1.    Add the oil to a saucepan and gently fry the garlic, bacon and onions, until the onions are soft but not browned

2.    Add the tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil.

3.    Add the parsley, tomato puree, seasonings and sugar and stir well.

4.    Turn the heat down, cover and simmer for 30mins, stirring occasionally to prevent the sauce from catching. Sauce should have reduced by ?.

5.    Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 5mins.

6.    Pour into a liquidiser with the arrowroot mixture and puree until smooth.

7.    Return to the pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for another 5mins. Check the seasoning and serve.

This sauce can be frozen