Thursday, February 27

RIP Elsie

Never for one minute did we expect Sunday to turn out as it did. We took Elsie and Bing to Redcar, where only a week previous we had come across Bing's brother and sister and had a time of great joy and fun.
It happened in a split second. Bing was chasing his ball and I was next to Elsie. She collapsed.
Jon was at her side in a flash, picking her up and running to the van. Members of the public could see something was wrong and came to help.
We got  Elsie into the van and I phoned the vets to let them know we were on our way.
I sat in the back with Elsie and Bing.
We arrived at the vets but Elsie had passed away.

Gone, in a flash with no warning.
Elsie was devoted to Jon and it will take time for the loss to sink in.
She mellowed with the arrival of Bing and spent many hours training him and showing him the ropes, including how to be the "works dog".

Bing will be going to the workshop with Jon and we feel Elsie will be watching over his every move.

Too soon however, whilst she was about 12 she had a good life and we will miss her.
The best dog Jon has ever had.

Tuesday, February 25

G is for Goulash

There are hundreds of goulash recipes out there - this one caught my eye as I had the ingredients to hand and it was a healthy option.

1lb diced lean braising steak I bought £6 worth)
1 large onion (sliced) - I used 3
2 red peppers (sliced)
1/2 pint beef stock
1 clove garlic (crushed)
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp paprika I added more!
salt and pepper

Basically I just put everything into the casserole dish and cooked it all day! Will give our opinion after supper. I must admit this is the type of cooking I enjoy - the slow way, everything in at once. I added some left over mushrooms, tomatoes and peas from last night's dinner and I will serve with rice - and I have some sprouts I will have with mine. Jon isn't a fan of sprouts!

This type of food is an excellent comfort food and so appropriate for such a bad week here in the Nesbitt household. I will explain another day.

For more ABC fun follow the link on my sidebar.

Tuesday, February 18

F is for ......Filipino pork abobo and a new favourite soup.

Another new recipe from my stash of recipe books. I have never made a pork curry before but it was very tasty.


Low calorie cooking spray
6 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli, peeled and thinly sliced
2cm piece root ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tbsp finely chopped lemon grass ( I used dried with a coconut blend)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated (I used asda frozen)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
100ml dark soy sauce
50ml white wine vinegar
4 tbsp tomato purée
4 bay leaves
700ml chicken stock
16 baby new potatoes (I missed these out and served with rice)
2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
600g lean pork fillets, all visible fat removed, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh coriander, to garnish

1 Spray a wok or large frying pan with low calorie cooking spray and place over a medium-high heat. Add the shallots, red chilli, ginger, lemon grass, garlic, ground cumin and turmeric and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until soft and fragrant.
2 Stir in the remaining ingredients and season well. Bring to the boil, cover tightly and reduce the heat to low.
3 Simmer gently for 45 minutes until the pork is tender. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the coriander to serve.

Last week at Slimmingworld one member brought us a new soup recipe she had tried - it was absolutely lush. Note of caution - garlic! Remember you can always ADD not TAKE AWAY. My attempt was indeed too much garlic - would use half this quantity next time - even less.

Lentil Broth

300g red lentils
2 onions
3 carrots
4 celery sticks
1 garlic
1 bayleagf
3 parsley sprigs (I used dried)
1.5 litres veg stock
Salt & pepper
1 fromage frais (I didn't use this)
Chopped parsley & paprika to garnish (I didn't use this)

Wash lentils soak for 30 mins
Spray pan & heat onions,carrots & celery.
Drain lentils and add to pan with parsley & stock
Bring to boil and simmer for 30 mins, removing any scum.
Remove bayleaf.
Transfer to blender & blitz.
Put back into pan and reheat.
Stir in fromage frais and parsley & paprika to serve.

For more ABC fun follow the link in my sidebar.
Next week - G! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Sunday, February 16

Small world......very very small world!

Today (Sunday) we went for our afternoon doggie walk on the beach. This is Bing's second walk of the day and we chose Redcar again - it ties in with our visit to B&Q.

Today Jon needed a new axe!

We usually park up by the Stray Café - but due to the sunshine and drop of windy conditions there was nowhere to park - so we drove on for a couple of minutes and parked at the next carpark.

A white german shepherd trotted over to Bing. I heard his owner shout "Ghost, come here!"
I remembered from our contacts on facebook that one of Bing's brothers was named Ghost. I asked the owner a few questions.......low and behold Bing and Ghost are brothers.


Roxie is Bing's sister (here on lead) trotting along with Elsie, Bing and Ghost!


me at top, Bing, Ghost, Jon and Ghost's owner's daughter!

Small world eh?

Tuesday, February 11

E is for Eggs.

I LOVE eggs, indeed the main reason we keep chickens is to enjoy the wonderful eggs they produce. I have eggs every day for breakfast :-

Poached eggs on toast

Boiled eggs with soldiers.

I LOVE chopped boiled eggs with left over curries or chilli concarne

Egg and healthy chips - awesome.

Scotch eggs and salad

Slimmingworld Quiche.

This week as part of my challenge I made Egg Foo Yung.

Here is the recipe I used.

4 eggs
Cup of chopped onions
Cup of frozen garden peas
Cup of frozen sliced peppers

Heat frylight in pan and cook onions. Add peppers and peas.
In bowl beat eggs and add cooked veg.
Stir in eggs.
Return pan to heat and add mixture a ladle at a time. Cook until brown and egg is set then flip over.


I also discovered an authentic Chinese chicken and sweetcorn soup recipe. I never realised eggs were the magic ingredient.

1litre chicken stock
4 eggs
Left over chicken
Frozen sweetcorn.
1 tablespoon cornflour dissolved in tablespoon of water.

Pour stock into pan and blend cornflour into mixture.
Heat until thickens then pour in beaten eggs and whisk quickly.
Stir in sweetcorn and chicken pieces heat thoroughly.
Season to taste.

E for Eggs for ABC Wednesday.
For more fun follow the link in my sidebar.

Sunday, February 9

A very different beach outing.

For a change from Skinningrove we ventured a few miles along the coast to Redcar. Whilst it was a windy dry day, the beach was quite deserted and Elsie and Bing had an enjoyable run about. Freida was resting at home as she twisted a muscle last week when out with Bing and whilst she protests loudly at being left at home, we know she needs to rest for a while.

The blot on the landscape - well one of them, has to be the wind farm just off the coast, it can be seen in all its glory as you approach Redcar promenade, so fortunately whilst we knew it was in the background, we still had some lovely scenes to soak up.

The other eyesore has to be the vertical pier - again we deliberately parked where we would not see it. But for the record it looks like this....

It was built to replace this :-

This building has caused an outcry in the borough, especially when it was runner up in the country's ugliest building pole.
Here is the press account.

Modern times eh? I think not, however we enjoyed our afternoon before driving home.

Saturday, February 8

Tuesday, February 4

D is for Dhansak and chicken update!

It's back to the curry experiments this week, with D being for Dhansak - from my Slimming World Curry Heaven book. I followed the recipe to the letter however I had some left over cooked carrots, turnip, parsnips and cabbage which I used instead of just the carrots - I also transferred it to the top oven of the Rayburn. This uses less heat than the hotplate.

Lamb Dhansak
100g dried red lentils
511g carrots peeled cut into chunks
2 onions peeled and thinly sliced
400g chopped tomatoes
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground cumin
2tsp ground coriander
2 tsp finely crushed cardamom seeds
Spray light
596g lean lamb leg steaks cubed
2 tsp grated ginger
6 cloves garlic
3 red chilli
2 tsp garam masala
4 tbsp chopped coriander

Put lentils carrots onions and tomatoes in a pan with the turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, and cardamom seeds. Add garam masala if using powdered version. Add enough water to cover lentils and veg. Simmer gently for about 25 mins til lentils are tender
Spray light into pan place on high heat, brown lamb in batches, add ginger, crushed garlic, and red chillies. Cook for a few minutes then add to lentil mixture with 198ml of water.
Cover and simmer for 1.5 hours remove cover for final 30 minutes. Stir in garam masala and chopped coriander
Serve with rice and additional vegetables or salad if preferred.

 Chicken update! Woop woop! From the left....,Eva, Bev and Mabel or Olwyn........ so next week E will be appropriately Egg recipes/dishes. For more ABC fun follow the link in my sidebar!


Saturday, February 1

Friendships through dogs.

Back in July I started going to the beach every day with Bing. Previously we had walked up the village lanes with my neighbour, but as the farms and stables became busier it was so much more practical to jump in the car and drive the 5 minute drive to the beach, where Bing had more space and freedom to burn off some of his energy. More importantly, it gave him the opportunity to mix with other dogs.

Whilst there are a few dogs and owners who come down frequently two brothers, with their dogs go every day.

Their dogs are Taz the little whippet,

and Juno the large black Labrador.

Since Julie we have met up each morning and the dogs really play well together. Paul and Al stay for about an hour and the dogs have a really good run around after each other, with other dogs and chase the balls.

At Christmas we received cards from both of them and the dogs of course.

Paul, Al and I have a chat about what we are doing later in the day and any plans for tea. Paul and Al both enjoy cooking and Paul has baked pies for Jon and I, today it was Al's turn to bring some steak pies he had made.....I think it should be my turn next!

A friendship from nowhere...but I always find nice people walk their dogs don't you?