Sunday, 1 February 2015


Today I made some peanut butter cookies.  You take 260g of peanut butter, mix with 200g of caster sugar and an egg, form into small balls and bake at 180C for eight minutes.  I was underwhelmed.  Besides, it is also an awful lot of fat and sugar.

Costing, using Tesco and their cheapest, it would cost around 25p for the castor sugar, 8p for the cheapest egg (but probably not kind production methods), and 99p for the peanut butter.  So £1.36 for about two dozen very small biscuits that were underwhelming.  I suppose I could reduce the sugar, but I suspect that would have a big impact on the texture of the biscuit.

I can buy a pack of value chocolate chip cookies for 40p which are apparently more adequate.  I would maybe need to buy two packets to get the same number of mouthfuls, but even so, it is depressing.

DH kindly bought me a hand mixer, which cost £10.  That seems like a lot of money at the moment, so I need to be using it.  I can cream a butter and sugar mix okay, and I can whip egg whites without worrying about the overbeating that can happen with a mixer, but the North American recipes that state you need to beat something hard for several minutes need a mixer.

I am going to go away and read Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's book on cooking with fruit.  I don't mind making stuff that is a little bit more expensive as long as it is healthier.  I don't think those peanut butter cookies would do it.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Not Baking

I can't remember the last time I did some baking.  It was quite some time ago.  It never seems worth the effort as it is cheaper to buy rubbish and DH and I need to lose weight.  Also, stuff has happened and I rather got out of the rhythm of things.

Yesterday I saw the recipe for Magic Custard Cake.  Why did no-one tell me that this recipe exists?  For those in ignorance like me it is a cake where you mix up all the ingredients and pour into a greased tin and when it comes out there is a pastry type layer at the bottom, custard in the middle and cake on top - apparently.  I can't test it out because you really need a mixer to do this, and I've thrown my mixer out.

Darn it to heck.

Mind you, my hand mixer was older than some of the teachers at bear's school and looking a bit on the grim side.  I suppose I could always lay out for another mixer, but I don't want to, not even an Argos very basic cut price one.  I can't think when I'd use it apart from this Magic Custard Cake, and we really do need to lose weight.

However, bear has a lot of friends around and they are hoovering up the treats like eight year old boys.  I was going to compare them to vultures, but I bet that vultures would remember to put the empty packets in the bin.  So I am going to dust off my cookbooks and try and provide some home made treats that are still likely to be slightly less expensive and certainly healthier.  Bear is suffering from green nose at the moment.  I could do with cramming some more vitamins and minerals in.

So I am going to dust off my cookbooks and see what I can come up with.  I'm not entirely sure how successful I'll be, but it has to be worth a go.  I've found an interesting recipe for peanut cookies that is just peanut butter, sugar and an egg.  I'll test that out tomorrow, I think.  

Bear is being good

Actually, bear is being a bit under the weather.  He is green nosed and a bit gruesome.  However he has just watched Jackie Chan's Police Story and is thoroughly enthused with the whole concept.  Bless him, he got very fed up with the whole concept of a plot and wanted to get on to the stunts.  So all the flirty stuff (which, with Jackie Chan, isn't very flirty) bear was just irritated and wanted to get to the bit where they smashed all the windows by throwing people through them.  I am not one hundred percent sure, as I worry a bit about violence, but as bear has watched lots of YouTube videos about how they set up the stunts, and we are clear that it isn't physically possible to do that in real life so hopefully it isn't too bad.  Bear has been practising his own stunts with poor DH who is getting battered on a nightly basis.

He is now playing 'Tasty Planet' on my phone.  I am not sure about that either.  It is a game where a microbe tries to eat everything.  Bear was happily playing away to the sounds of people crying out in theatrical horror while in the background the best of cheesy 1970s lift music bounced along.  I may ban it just for the background music.

Yesterday next door's cat tried to get in to the house.  I let it.  I miss the cat stories.  However I am enjoying the freedom to actually type without feline terrorism.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Great British Sewing Bee

It's on again next Thursday, 8pm, BBC2.

I haven't even unwrapped my sewing machine that was the result of last year's season of Great British Sewing Bee.

I'm stuffed.  Which is more than you can say about any cushions, quilts, tea-cosies or padded wine carriers that I really should have managed to put together over the last year.

I'm still looking forward to it.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Deceptive Weather

I looked out the window this morning and it looked a little damp and very cold.  I grumbled and got bear and I out of the house.  There is still the grit lying around in the garden from the last lot of snow so it was only a few yards out that I realised just how deceptive the road was.  There had been snow last night, but just a little, which had frozen to a lovely thin, wet glass sheen.  This had been overlain by a further very slight dusting of snow and also slightly melted - not enough to disappear, just enough to make it interesting.  I skidded as I walked.  Poor bear fell, and was not happy at all!  It took me five minutes to cross the Matalan slip road and get down on to the path outside the school.  It was extremely treacherous, not least because it just looked a bit damp.

Now further snow is happening and I am unimpressed.

Fortunately I do have the sort of thing that Wean mentioned, they straps on to my trainers and have spikes to help me grip.  Though if the snow keeps on at the same rate I think snow shoes will be a better bet.

Yesterday I got pounded by the weather as well, and I had to attend a meeting about father.  The basic problem is that he is not getting the calories in.  Another problem is that you cannot tell father what to do or not do.  He will smile, nod and be completely charming - and do exactly what he wants anyway.  I don't think the consultants realised just how tough-minded he is.  I left him with some Baileys, and fingers crossed that will pick him up.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Screaming Swede

I found this on facebook, and I had to have a go.

First of all you get a swede, the vegetable type.  I think they are called rutabaga in North America, and I suspect they are called cattle fodder in a lot of places.  They look like this

First you give it a quick wipe over but you do not peel it or prick it or trim it in any way.  Then you bung it in the microwave on a little plate and cook it for ten minutes.  It oozes a little and 'sings' or 'screams' as the steam gets going inside the vegetable.  After ten minutes you turn it over and then give it another five to ten minutes.  The wonderful people on facebook recommended that you rest it on kitchen roll, and there was a certain amount of bubbled up and caramelised ooze on the plate at the end, but I'm wary of putting kitchen roll in the microwave ever since I set fire to some trying to dry some flowers.

The swede is very hot when you pull it out and I used clean rubber gloves to protect my hands as I trimmed the top and bottom and cut off the skin.  I then mashed it with a teaspoon of butter, though I could have used less.  It was incredibly tender and tasted gorgeous.

I tried this because bear likes swede mashed with carrots and I was delighted at the thought of a vegetable that bear ate that didn't need a pan.  Unfortunately bear decided that the swede was inadequate without carrot.  DH and I wolfed ours down.  I wonder if you can cook carrot the same way?

Monday, 26 January 2015

Feeling a bit Fail

I've looked over my list of New Year's Resolutions.  It is a Fail.  I've looked around the house and all that needs doing.  Definitely a Fail on the housewife front.  As for doing anything about it - not looking promising.  There is a Fail on the energy front.

Actually I'm feeling okay about the Fail.  It's not good, but I'm not giving up.  It's more a 'not succeeded yet' and at this time of year it's a miracle if I succeed in anything.

Today I am being lazy.  Bear was having nightmares at 4am and while he cuddled back to sleep quite quickly, I didn't.  I think I shall just pootle with things that do not require thinking.

Something I will be thinking very, very hard about is the Precious Rocks Collection.  Bear is incredibly into rocks as I have mentioned.  The info is here.  You subscribe and it costs six pounds every single issue for one hundred issues!  I was going to say that I wasn't sure that bear would continue with his interest for two years, but it has been fairly consistent since he could toddle.  The question is, how stupid am I and how much would bear really actually like it?

I'm going to try to not fail at that.