Friday, 16 December 2011

Its that time of year

I wish everyone who reads this a super Christmas if they celebrate it,  and a Happy New Year, and I will be back in January. Most people I know will be busy at this time of the year so my entry today will be minimal, and just includes an observation at the end and  3 simplest ever festive recipes to help use the inevitable surplus from the traditional foods most buy at this time of year.
1) Choccy fruit
2) Orange Date and Carrot Salad
3) Stuffed Dates
4)  The coming festivities

Simplest way of creating a sweet everyone will want and welcome change from Christmas Pudding
You need: 1 block of decent dark chocolate
Segments of tangerines/satusmas/grapes/bananas of whatever comes to hand.
Carefully melt the chocolate in microwave or on stove top, and dip at least half of each piece of fruit in the melted chocolate.  Even immerse it and retrieve with a spoon. Place the fruit on non stick paper on a plate and put in the fridge to set. Of course there are some people who will never actually get it into the fridge as they cannot resist the temptation to try them immediately.  

Half of a crisp lettuce shredded (Iceberg will do – but don't expect me think what to do with the other half!)
2 carrots - grated
2 oranges – peeled and segmented – messy but unavoidable
4 oz dates – stoned and chopped (if you don't take the stones out first it will play havoc with your kitchen knife)
Some shelled walnuts would be a nice addition if to hand
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
Now don't panic because you can get this from the chemist – 1 tbs rosewater. Actually the chemist won't sell you 1 tbs you will have to buy a bottle.
Combine lettuce, carrot, oranges and dates
Combine ingredients for the dressing and sprinkle the dressing over the salad. I mean sprinkle, this salad does not need to be drenched to make it palatable. It is very aromatic.

You need all the dates that haven’t been eaten, and a block of marzipan.
Just remove the stone from each date and replace it with a piece of marzipan

It was with interest  that I read on a blog I follow:   the entry “I don’t really “do” Christmas, because  as my friends know I also don’t “do” Christmas.  I have become disillusioned with the commercialism and the fact that the reason for the festival has become lost in a materialistic overkill.  I do not begrudge anyone a really happy Christmas, but it is with immense relief that I have “opted out” and am no longer on the stressful treadmill that this time of year had bought.

Friday, 9 December 2011


This week it is 1) musings, 2) recipe 3) knitting Sock it to me 4) Rant
Apparently age brings its compensations so the saying goes.  What is also brings is hard decisions on what is suitable attire!  I don’t want to be seen as “mutton dressed as lamb”, but there again I don’t want to appear as if I have been in a fashion time warp since crimplene hit the market. .  But it is a fine line I walk.  Then it suddenly occurred to me that being somewhat aged, I should be becoming invisible to others, so what the hell does it matter?   And it also seems a bit arrogant to assume anyone would notice me anyway! I base the invisible theory on not very scientific experiments that have been conducted  such as the page 3 Peta Todd’s experiment
I have decided to at last just wear what I want.  For years I was confined to a dress code whilst at work.  This came in during my career, and I never understood how a person when not facing the public should be banned from wearing good work clothes like jeans.  (Except on “dress down days”)  How come I would not be professional in jeans unless it was “dress down day”, in which case apparently I would perform professionally?.  I refused to play this game and never “dressed down”.  If it was not acceptable on say a Thursday, why was it on a Friday? 
So if you see this geriatric in bizarre clothes, it is because of choice and not because due to senility I am not aware of what I am wearing.  But I am mindful that I do not wish to embarrass family members, so may remain a little more conventional if venturing out with them. 
So am off now, to don a snazzy black mini stashed in the wardrobe, and I DON’T CARE what anyone thinks.  Freedom!!!  I never ask “does my bum look big in this?” if one has to ask, then it does, and should not put friends to the no win test.  If they say “yes”, it is hurtful, if they say “no”, they are lying and their trust for the future could be doubted!

2)Recipe:  Tasty Roasty Veggies.
I used chunks of peeled potato, sweet potato, and acorn squash and quartered onion..  I see no reason why parsnips, carrots etc could not also be used.  I then put into a polythene sandwich bag two tablespoons of decent cooking oil (olive oil would be ace), 1 or 2 tablespoons of honey, handful of dried mixed herbs, good pinch of salt, and a mighty grinding of black pepper.  Rubbed  the bag vigourously in the hands until the contents mixed well.  Then added the vegetable chunks and ensured all well coated.  Put them on a tray that is lined with non stick baking paper or greaseproof paper (Well this reduces the washing up afterwards!).  No 4 for about 40 mins.

3) Sock it to me
 Never judge a sock by its shape!  They can be deceptive. Last week I mentioned socks that were knitted in a ribbed tube and so here is the pair I knitted this week.  Tube socks are really comfortable for the wearer, look normal once on the foot, and of course the heel never wears out because the sock is put on differently each time so wear is even.    I used King Cole Yarn and liked the colours as they said Fruits of the Forest to me.  Don’t know what colour the manufacturer has stated!   I also knitted a conventional pair from same yarn and have to say it does go a long way.

4) Rant.  I asked Specsavers why I had to wait 2 weeks from test to receipt of new glasses and was told it depended on the complexity of the lenses.  Well, hitherto I have had the same lense and had glasses dispensed within a week, (from the same store), and also why do I have to pay up front?  Apparently all customers even those who have been loyal for years and never breached contract with them, are having to pay up front because some customers have reneaged on the deal.  Like keeping all the kids in after school because of one naughty child in the class.
I asked Tesco why the alarm goes off when I enter and leave the store.  Got standard response of how disappointed they were to learn I had a problem, (not as disappointed as me), and they will tell the deputy store manager.  Because it was a standard response they have failed to tell me why the alarm goes off.  Effective communication?  I don’t think so.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Oh yes you can!

This week has not been a good week and if you want to know the ins and outs I will put it as the last entry, so if you dont want to hear unadulterated misery then you dont have to!  But unfortunately I have not been able to prepare a lot for this week, so it s confined to 1)"Yes you Can", which is aimed at knitters,2)podcast recommendation of a podcast that is brand new and  3)my week

1) Yes you can.
 Sock knitting is growing in popularity in Knitting World. Many knitters are wary of trying sock knitting as it sounds complicated when they hear phrases like wrap and turn, short row, turn heel etc.  Sock knitting is like any other knitting in that there is a hard way and an easy way, and as an introduction it pays to try the easy way to help boost confidence.  In case you are wondering why on earth someone would want to wear hand knitted socks, then the answer is they are so comfortable, and well worth the effort. 
So it is worth considering trying to knit a sock that has none of the complicated technicalities involved.  This is achieved by basically knitting a tube which is open one end and closed the other, like a bag.  But if it is done with some ribbing it envelopes the foot snuggly and doesnt sag.  There are two sites which have splended patterns showing how easy these socks are. 
The first is and this link is to the very comprehensive pattern.  The second is which is splendid as a knitting resource for loads of free patterns of all sorts. Put in their search "spiral socks" and see the pattern, you may have to register it is free, but it is a good site for other purproses besides socks.

2) Recommended Podcast.
  This week it is a brand new podcast that I am recommending and can be found and is a vegan podcaster with kniting featured.

3) My Week
Started with a shock on Monday when Ian and I went for routine eye tests, and it was revealed that Ian needs further investigation and may have glaucoma, and on my part cataracts have appeared.  The last time my eyes were tested was only last February when I had sunglasses prescribed for the times my reactolite lenses were inadequate.  On Wednesday we realised Hamish our sixteen and a half year old British Short Hair cat was not coping with his condition and I took him to the vet and returned home without him.  Hamish is now with his brother Maurice in Cat Heaven. This knocked me sideways somewhat and I am still walking around his feeding station which is no longer there.  The pics at the top of this entry are of chocolate point Maurice in colour and a monotone pic of Hamish who was blue point.  Unfortunately I do not have to hand on my laptop better pics.  So not the best week and one of the reasons this blog has not got much content.