Friday, March 29

May RIP xxxx

Fortunately......not connected or associated with Ernest. May was a tad uneasy on Wednesday, uncomfortable on Thursday........very unhappy this morning (Friday) asleep Friday evening, on our retuen. xxxxx

Monday, March 25

RIP Ernest

Was sad to discover Ernest our little cockerel had died in his sleep. His little call welcoming a new day will be sadly missed especially by his soulmate Mabel x

Saturday, March 23

Keeping warm in the kitchen

Tomorrow we have the family coming for a Birthday Celebration meal as Jon's mum was 83 yesterday. As it wasn't so long ago we had a lovely Sunday Roast for Mother's Day I decided to do something different. I bought this book, a bargain at £4.99 and it is fantastic! Normally I follow my own recipe when making a curry but for once I am following the ingredients and method to the letter.

The reason I am being so precise is because I have decided to have a theme of a "Curry Festival" or as I am calling it a "Curry Fest" so I want to cook a variety of curries - each with a distinct flavour. If I cooked a range of curries from my own recipe - which is basically shake a few jars into the pan/casserols - they would all taste the same.

Yesterday I bought a few new jars of various spices and am now beavering away in the kitchen.
Using crushed corriander I tossed some chunky carrots into a simple brown rice I had cooked - was lush. This was just an idea - nothing mentioned in the book.

As we all have our own preferences regarding the heat of a curry I am making sure the curries vary too. Last night I experimented with the Lamb Rogan Gosh.  Note I didn't use lamb steaks as I wanted a slow cooked version (no hassle and all that!)
SW Lamb Rogan Gosh
 1 onion, peeled and chopped
 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
 1 tsp each of ground coriander, paprika, ground ginger and chilli powder
 454g/1lb lamb steak, all visible fat removed and cut into bite-sized pieces (I used shoulder with all fat cut off) Approximately £8 in price
 400g can chopped tomatoes
 1 bay leaf
 2 x 2.5cm/1in pieces of cinnamon stick
 4 cardamom pods
 3 cloves
 198ml/7fl oz chicken stock
 2 tsp artificial sweetener

1. Fry the onion and garlic in frylight until soft. Add all the powdered spices and fry for 1 minute (add a little water if it gets too dry).
2. Add the lamb steak, tomatoes, bay leaf, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cloves, stock and sweetener and simmer for 30-35 minutes until reduced. (or transfer to oven if using shoulder and cook for several hours)
3. Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon sticks. Stir in the chopped coriander and serve immediately.

We tried this last night and it was beautiful.

Looking in my freezer I discovered a packet of low far pork sausagemeat so I used it in place of the the turkey mince in another recipe from the book....

Turkey Shami Kebabs
794g/1lb 12 oz lean minced turkey
1 small red onion, peeled and finely grated
1 tsp peeled and finely grated ginger
1tbsp medium curry powder
 1tsp finely grated lime zest
 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely choppped
3 tbsp chopped coriander
2 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp fat free natural yoghurt
salt and freshly ground black pepper
low calorie cooking spray
red onion rings and lime wedges, to serve

1. Place the turkey in a mixing bowl with the onion, ginger, curry powder, lime zest, red chilli, chopped coriander and mint, and the yoghurt. Season well and using your hands, mix until well combined. cover and chill in the fridge for 6-8 hurs (or overnight if time permits) to allow the flavours to develop.

2. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.Divide the turkey mixture into 12 portions and shape each portion into a flat, oval kebab shape. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and spray with low calorie cooking spray. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.

3. Remove from the oven and serve with red onion rings and lime wedges to squeeze over.

Again delicious! Jon has been busy with his saw.....I have plenty of fuel..........

The Rayburn is behaving.....

I will be busy in the kitchen where today I will be cooking a Beef Madrass and a Creamy Chicken Korma!

Watch this space.

Wednesday, March 20

J is for Jogging!

Somewhat late....but here is my ABC Wednesday contribution! In my quest to raise funds a spot of training is on the cards.....

Bing sorted out my footwear......
a little hobby he has at the moment!

and then assisted me on my expedition!


Saturday, March 16

Cancer Research - my little contribution.

Since Race for Life started in 1994, an incredible six million participants have raised over £493million, more than any other UK event series raising money to fund cancer research.

Some of the Race for Life women take part in celebration of surviving a cancer experience. Others take part in memory of a loved one or to give hope to a cancer-free future. But all share a common goal: to raise money for Cancer Research UK's groundbreaking work and to help save more lives.

The money raised so far has been used to fund the work of over 4,000 researchers, doctors and nurses dedicated to helping more people beat cancer.

This year I am taking part in this event, along with members from my Slimming World Group, I am Group Leader. (Race for Life team, not Slimming World!) I am writing to all my friends near and far to ask for support – in many ways.

1. The basic sponsor route where a small donation is made for the event itself. This can be done on-line on our Just Giving page.

The big advantage of this as a UK taxpayer is the gift aid supplement.
You have the facility to remain anonymous.

2. Suggest a fund raising activity we could organise.
3. Help out at any of our activities.
4. Suggest ANYTHING at all which we could try.

Any suggestion or donation will be gratefully received. Please feel free to pass this on to anybody you think may be interested or who may themselves have any suggestions or guidance. Watch this space! Thanks so much for taking the time to read this.

Tuesday, March 12

I is for Intelligence.... The Intelligence of Dogs
According to S. Coren, author of "The Intelligence of Dogs", there are three types of dog intelligence:

Adaptive Intelligence (learning and problem-solving ability). This is specific to the individual animal and is measured by canine IQ tests.

Instinctive Intelligence. This is specific to the individual animal and is measured by canine IQ tests.

Working/Obedience Intelligence.
This is breed dependent.

The Intelligence Ranking

Stanley Coren is a neuropsychologist and professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Coren has published articles in medical journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Public Health and Sleep. He has appeared on numerous television programs including Good Morning America, CNN, The Osgood Files and The Today Show. Dr. Coren is a fellow of the American Psychology Association, American Psychology Society and Canadian Psychology Association. He was recently awarded the Killam Memorial Fellowship.

Ranks 1 to 10 Brightest Dogs Understanding of New Commands: Less than 5 repetitions.
Obey First Command: 95% of the time or better.

Rank Breed
1 Border Collie
2 Poodle
3 German Shepherd !!!!!!!!!
4 Golden Retriever
5 Doberman Pinscher
6 Shetland Sheepdog
7 Labrador Retriever
8 Papillon
9 Rottweiler
10 Australian Cattle Dog

Canine IQ tests can be found here

We have ambitions for Bing! The people at Puppy Class have commented how quickly he is learning.
Like many other dog lovers/owners we watched Crufts. The Agility Class is one of my favourites. It would seem that training can not commence until Bing is a year old as his muscles and bones need to be fully developed. At The Dog Club there is an Agility Section which I am hoping to join when Bing is old enough. We are going to build some low hurdles for him in the paddock so he gets the basic idea to jump. We will also look into buying a tunnel...again so he gets the idea he plays with it by running through it.

This puppy was 6 months old when this video was taken............hmmmmmm watch this space! For more ABC fun follow the link in my sidebar.

Monday, March 11

Memories from my teenage years...1Books (1)

As a 14 year old this was one of the books I studied at school.
I have no memories at all about the plot, characters or setting.
All that I know is it was about aeroplane fatigue in the world of a quantum mechanics!
How utterly inappropriate for a young teenager eh?
A brief synopsis just goes to show what a ridiculous choice it was.
Amazing I was not put off English Language for life!

Plot summary
The anti-hero of the story, Theodore Honey, is engaged in research on the fatigue of aluminium airframes. His current project, overseen by Dr. Dennis Scott, is to investigate possible failure in the high aspect ratio tailplane of a new airliner, the fictional Rutland Reindeer.

Honey, a widower, in addition to his work, must bring up his young daughter, Elspeth. The events are narrated by Scott in the first person.

Honey is unimpressive in appearance and is so intensely focused on his work that his relations with the outside world—never that good to begin with—suffer badly.

Throughout the story, people judge him by that appearance, or by his varied and unconventional outside interests, such as pyramidology -- the study of possible esoteric interpretations of the Pyramids.

Honey has predicted, by a (fictional) theory supposedly related to , that it is possible for an alloy structure to fail long before the design life customarily predicted by design standards. He is using a spare tailplane from a Reindeer aircraft in a fatigue test.

Honey's theory predicts that the metal at the root of the tailplane will fatigue and fail with a crystalline fracture. For Honey this seems merely to be an esoteric and engaging problem in pure science; for Scott it is a concern of the first magnitude, as Reindeers are crossing the North Atlantic daily, carrying hundreds of passengers.

Honey's prediction becomes all the more alarming when Scott links it with the recent crash of a Reindeer carrying the Soviet ambassador, which had total flying hours close to Honey's estimate, and which crashed in northeastern Quebec.

The crash report, including photographs, is inconclusive, and Scott feels that the remains of the aircraft must be physically examined.

Friday, March 8

Mother's Day.

Every Friday I take my MIL shopping. Today I had an overwhelming feeling of grief for my own mum. What I would do to be able to take her shopping, she loved it.
Not so long ago I wrote about mum here and as I re-read the post a few minutes ago I couldn't really alter anything about it.....I miss my mum and always will. Yet I feel her presence around me - certainly I do not have to look far without seeing an object or reminder of mum.
Today I will take Mavis to the library where an old college friend of mine works. We always have a laugh when we talk about days gone by - carefree days of 16 year olds travelling to college on a bus. I must tell you about some of our adventures one time.......there are quite a few over the 2 year period.
After the library is the supermarket experience. No doubt I will bump into people I have known for years and yes we will share laughs again......part and parcel of surrounding oneself with people of the same disposition eh?
Once the shopping is packed into the car we will have a spot of lunch. A new cafe has opened in Guisborough and I hear they do a good to try.

Sunday - Mother's Day itself and the family are here for lunch.
We have a new Marks & Spencer's food outlet here and I am absolutely bowled over by the quality and variety of what they have to offer.....
so the menu looks like this....

Melon starter
Roast Potatoes & Parsnips ala mrs nesbitt's faffing about
Mashed Potato (Adored and worshipped by nephews)
Yorkshire Puddings
Vegetable Bake
Sprouts, Brocolli & Spring Greens
Peach Melba gateaux provided by SIL!
Should be a good one!
We will be raising a glass to mum too.
Enjoy the weekend - here's to mum's everywhere.

By the way - received £10 discount from M&S due to a technical hitch when ordering! Good one eh?

Wednesday, March 6

H is for Healthy.

We are quite confident that Bing is a healthy puppy. He is now 18 weeks old and continues to grow by the day. Even though we are with him all the time his growth is apparent by the record of photographs I have taken.

The stairs are no longer a difficult task for him - he now uses them with confidence.

He loves to sit with Elsie and likes to lay on our feet.

He copies everything both Freida and Elsie do.
Yes, a healthy good natured chap!

For more ABC fun follow yhe link in my sidebar.

Sunday, March 3

Size matters!

Bing's favourite corner.
Teddy, chews and ball.
Notice picture of mummy and daddy in the background.
His bed! lol!

Saturday, March 2

Tonight Matthew I will be mostly looking like..............

Patrick Moore!

My glasses were eaten by Bing! Well at least half of them....then hoovered up.
Not looking good. Home Insurance claim.
Whilst he could have chosen Jon's basic reading glasses he went for mine instead.
The vari-focal all expensive ones!

Watch this space! (those who can!)