Archive for October, 2011

Recipe 3 – Sweet Potato and Squash Soup.

Easy Recipes.

Also posted under Savoury.


Sweet Potato and Squash Soup.

Sweet potato – good for your eyes and your heart.

Squash – full of carotenoids and antioxidants (no, I don’t know what they are either but it seems they are good for you …).



2 ozs. butter.

1 large onion, chopped finely.

1 tsp. ground coriander.

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks.

1 ½ lbs. squash, such as butternut or pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks.

1 1/2 litres (2 ½ pints) hot vegetable stock (one or two vegetable stock cubes into the hot water).

8 ozs. crème fraiche (if you haven’t got any, use fresh cream or natural yogurt but the soup is fine without this ingredient).

Fresh chives, to garnish (dried do just as well but you don’t need this ingredient to make it taste good).

You will need a blender but, without it, the soup is simply broth (chunks of vegetables).


HARD PART –  cutting into the squash (be careful).  Also, ‘tsp.’ means teaspoon and it means a level measurement and not a heaped one.

How to make it:-

 Melt the butter in a pan and a big saucepan and fry the onion gently for about ten minutes, until the onion is soft and golden.  Add the coriander and fry for a minute more.

Add the chopped vegetables and the liquid, then bring to the boil.

Lower the temperature immediately and simmer (just rippling) for twenty five minutes, or until you know the vegetables are cooked (a knife will pass through them easily).

Now blend the mixture in a machine.  If you haven’t got a blender, you can eat the soup as broth and it’s just as gorgeous.

Stir in the crème fraiche and sprinkle with the chives.

Yum Yum!

Sorry, though I’ve made this soup many times before, I have never taken a photo yet.  Still, from the vegetables used, you can imagine how gorgeous it’s going to look – and taste.


Liquidised Vegetables


With a Little Yogurt and Black Pepper Added



(I didn’t have any chives.)



Recipe 2 – Quick Fruit Cake.

Easy Recipes.

 Also posted under Sweet.

Quick Fruit Cake.

No real goodness to brag about but to die for!



½ lb. butter.

150 ml. (about half a teacup) of orange juice .

1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda.

1 tsp.mixed spice.

6 ozs. Sugar.

S beaten eggs.

8 ozs. self-raising flour.

1 ½ lb. mixed fruit (raisins, sultanas, or currants).

If you have some, a little piece of greaseproof paper and aluminium foil.


HARD PART –  nothing  hard about this one, except ‘tsp.’ means teaspoon and it means a level measurement and not a heaped one.

Set the oven to gas mark 4, or 200F / 150C.

Grease out (with a very tiny portion of butter) a cake tin of about seven inches square or eight inches diameter (across the centre measurement).   If you have some greaseproof paper, place a square (or round) piece in the bottom of the greased tin, as this will ensure that the cake will not stick to the bottom of the tin and will therefore come out without breaking.

How to make it:-

Put butter, sugar, liquid, bicarbonate of soda and mixed fruit into a saucepan and boil for three minutes.

Add eggs, mixed spice and the self-raising flour and mix together.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for about two hours.

Check the cake after about an hour and a half, as the top might be brown whereas the middle of the cake is still gooey.  You check it by inserting a knife into the cake centre, waiting about ten seconds, then removing the knife.  If the knife is clean, the cake is ready.  If it’s sticky, it needs a little bit more time.  If you do have to put the cake back into the oven, cover the top with a sheet of aluminium foil and, this way, the cake centre will continue to cook, without the cake top burning.

Wow!  This cake tastes a good as a Christmas cake and, when it’s warm, it tastes even better!



Mine burnt a little bit on the top, as I was concentrating too hard on other things.  Nevertheless, it still tasted good!

Oh, custard, wherfore art thou?

Not in Galicia, that’s for sure ….. though they do have weaker natilla that almost does it for me…….. but not quite.


Recipe 1 – Carrot and Barley Casserole.

Easy Recipes.

Also posted under Savoury.



Easy-peasy and full of goodness.  A serving of barley provides you with more than fifty percent of your daily fibre needs, plus antioxidants, protein, vitamins and minerals. It doesn’t cost a lot  and can be added to lots of different savoury dishes.


HARD PART – if you remember to pour boiling water over the barley the night before, it will seriously reduce cooking time.

 Set the oven temperature to gas mark 3, or electric 325 F / 190 C.

 How to make it:-

Cut fairly thick chunks of carrots and cut the leeks into ½ inch rounds.

Melt the margarine in a large frying pan and then gently fry the cut vegetables for about five minutes, remembering to turn them occasionally in the fat.

Place the partially cooked vegetables into the ovenproof dish and add the barley (after having removed the water), pepper, salt, mint, ginger, crumbled stock cube and the milk and water mix, then cover the dish with a lid or some aluminium foil.

Place on a fairly high shelf in the oven and cook for two hours (or less, if you remembered to soak the barley overnight), remembering to stir the vegetables once or twice during the cooking time.

When the vegetables feel cooked (do the carrots pierce easily with a sharp knife?), sprinkle with grated cheese and return to the oven for about five minutes, to allow the cheese to melt.


If you like meat, you can stir some small chicken slices (raw or cooked) into the meal before cooking, or serve the meal with sausages, cooked either separately or in the meal itself.

NOTE – chicken must always be fully cooked before you eat it, or you could be quite ill: one hour for small chunks is long enough to be sure.

Here’s one I prepared earlier!  I didn’t have any carrots and I most certainly wasn’t going to drive the twenty eight kilometres to the nearest supermarket.  And, anyway, it’s Sunday and guess what?  The supermarkets here don’t open on Sundays!

A quick stir and into the oven.



That orange colour is squash but it could easily have been some other pretty coloured vegetable of your choice (e.g turnip or sweet potato).


The End Result.


Well, what did you expect?


A Bad Hair Day!

Well, it was sort of a bad hair day.

Have you eve wondered what you would do if you had hair dye on your hair and, before the time came to wash it off, you became involved in some ‘this can’t wait’ moment?  I’ve often wondered and I’ve never had a problem …….. until last night.

 Our visitor was supposed to go at 7 o’clock and hubby and I were going out at eight.  As a hair dye takes thirty minutes (though, are you like me, you like to give it ten minutes more, just in case?), the visitor needed to be gone by, well, before 7.20 p.m..

And he did go ….. at 7.20 p.m.on the dot.  Well, that’s life, isn’t it (my fault for being honest about my deadline….).

 Box open, hair dye into plastic bottle, a vigorous shake, top cut off the bottle and hair dye on.  Perfect .. and then I could enjoy the pleasure of listening to the thunderstorm for the next forty minutes.

Eight o’clock arrived and …. a terrific bang (my Nan always told me that it was God getting his coals in..) …. and no electricity!

Walking around the kitchen with arms stretched, I hobbled to the fridge and found the torch where it should be (somebody up there likes me!), right there on the top of the fridge.  Candlestick, candles and matches located, I set myself up at the kitchen sink with two mugs and the little bit of warm water that was left in the kettle from our earlier cup of tea.  In the flicker of the candlelight (my hubby now had the torch) with every pour from one mug to the other, that water became less and less.  Just how do you get rid of gooey hair, when there is no hot water? Quarter past eight and hubby thought of checking whether it was a simple problem with the electricity and …. hey presto!

Bad hair days – they’re not so good, are they?  I’m pleased I was lightening (more than just a pun, eh?) my hair and not darkening it.

That’s life, I suppose.


Passing the Buck (shame on me!).

I left my children.  It’s true.  Well, there comes an age when you really do have to start thinking about yourself, don’t you think?  And I was fifty three years old.

 Two of my children saw the sense in my move but the other doesn’t yet seem to have forgiven me (after six years …).

 I really do feel that if children tell their parents that they are going to move to another part of the world, or even another part of the same country, that those parents have raised their children well.  Those young adults had the confidence to test different waters so, if you’re one of those parents, be proud!

 So, how come it doesn’t work the other way round?  How come independent adults with their own families and their own homes can make me feel guilty?

 Then I read a list of forty five points from a Greta Powell, a lady in Australia.  Now ninety two years old, she had earlier listed the forty five lessons that life had taught her.  Number eight read ‘release your children when they become adults, it’s their life now’.

Maybe that guilt feeling was mine but I feel a whole lot better now.


True or False?



In every establishment, there is always one person

 who knows what’s going on.




That person should be found …..




and shot!

Supermarket Queue Rage – Aah!!

Well, I’ve heard of road rage and now I’ve experienced supermarket queue rage.  Please believe me when I tell you that it happened by accident and I’m not proud of myself …. .

 It was thirty minutes before closing time and the queue was about twelve strong, each of us with two or maybe three things.  The lady on the till phoned a message and I gathered (well, it was in Spanish) that she was probably asking for someone to open another till, to help get the queue down.

 I was at the back of the queue and, as the assistant brushed past me, I followed her to be the first in the queue.  Now I know that this isn’t the practice in England.  In England, you honour the position of the people in front of you and you all move across to the next till, keeping the same order.  In Spain, there’s a mass movement of bodies and, if you’re not knocked over in the rush, you take what place you get.

 And that’s what I did, last night.

 “It’s me,” said the woman who was trying to push in front of me.

 Like a red rag to a bull, I replied “It’s me (shame on me)!” and an argument of tit for tat started.  I then topped it with “the Spanish don’t normally respect order (which is very true, as they hate rules of any kind)” to which the main antagonist then started arguing-cum- discussing (it really is so hard to tell) something with her husband and the two people behind her.

 With a look of I don’t really want to do this in her eyes, the shop assistant put my things through.

 “This won’t happen again to me” said the woman behind me.

 “Nor me” I replied.

 When I got to the car, I was totally ashamed of myself and my husband pointed out how many times the same situation had happened to us.  By the end of the evening, I was quite proud that I had stood up for myself.

 That’s life, I suppose … .

(I hope I don’t bump into that same woman again).