Archive for November, 2011

Vinegar is King!

As an English woman, I have to say that the only time I use vinegar is on fish and chips and then I usually choose tomato sauce anyway, so it’s rare that I get a taste of vinegar.  Yet vinegar is just so good for you!

Its history goes back thousands of years and it’s thought that vinegar started its life in either China or in France, both being cases where wine was allowed to go off and the owners found other uses for it.

Uses  back then were as an antiseptic, a cleaning agent, a remedy for a sore throat and, of course, to flavour food.  In today’s times, vinegar is even being used for checking out illnesses and it staves off some maladies, so making sure you get vinegar into your system is really worth working at.  The best way for hubby and I (and it would work for children too) is to add a teaspoonful of cider vinegar or ordinary white to a glass of orange juice, as such a small amount seems to strengthen the flavour of the juice rather than  make it acidic.

I was looking at www.vinegar-uses.com , where it gave me loads of ways to use vinegar and I’ve already started using quite a few of them.  The strange thing is that I feel much more comfortable with using vinegar instead of chemical cleaners and detergents for the kitchen and bathroom and it will save money too.  I even cleaned up my stainless steel teapot, which had previously looked ready for the big teapot centre in the sky!

As for getting vinegar into your system, here in Spain they dress torn lettuce leaves and slices or quarters of tomatoes (in separate bowls) with slithers of raw  onion, a little white vinegar, a little olive oil and a pinch of salt. I was never into salads in England but here, dressed in the way I have described, lettuce and tomatoes taste just so good!

After reading all of the stuff on the vinegar site, the balsamic vinegar is my favourite for flavouring food and I found a fantastic recipe on the vinegar site (the article named ‘vinegar as a stocking filler’) for making a tasty glaze that can be used to spread on vegetables or meat, before sticking them in the oven.  It was something like a cup of balsamic vinegar, a tablespoonful of brown sugar and two tablespoonfuls of honey.  You boil the ingredients in a pan and then let it reduce and the finished product is a little like toffee.    In the last few minutes of reducing, add a couple of crushed garlic cloves, a little olive oil and some black pepper to make the taste a one to die for.

What you don’t use you can keep in a tightly-sealed jar until next time and, if it’s a little too toffee-like to get out of the jar, stick it in the microwave for about twenty seconds and it will pour out without a problem!!

Mmmmm .. I made some and I was actually eating it off the spoon…. .

                                   

Hmm …. Now That Takes Some Thinking About …. .

 

 

Why procrastinate now,

 when you can do it later?

9.30 a.m. on Wednesday ….. Er .. But …?

I am up early and expectant ….. .  Not expecting, no, as I could see that happening.

I’m expectant (or maybe that should be expecting after all?) which means that I probably won’t see anything happening at all ….. .

Spain is famed for its ‘no pasa nada’ attitude, which ties in very well with what most people know about their ‘mañana’ attitude as well.  In a nutshell, it means that you should never expect something to be done on the day you were told that it was going to happen.  When a workman says 9.30 a.m. on Wednesday, you really should have asked which Wednesday in which week and, maybe, which year …… .

We’ve been waiting two  years for some people to turn up and, believe me, it has been known to happen!

Today, we are waiting for two double-glazed windows and we do ‘almost’ have hope.  When the man came to measure up about six weeks ago, our question of how long to wait was met with ‘three to four days’  No, I did not hear wrongly.  My Spanish is good enough not to mix up days (días) and weeks (semanas), as they sound nothing alike.  A week later, I rang up and he said that he had said three to four weeks.  He didn’t, he didn’t, he did not!  Last week was week number five and I phoned to ask where the windows were.  He said next week and I pinned him down to Wednesday.

That’s today ….. and I got up at 8.30 a.m. to wait.  It’s now only 9.05 a.m., so they might come …… mightn’t they?

Fingers crossed ……. and watch this space.

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12 noon – No-one had arrived, so I rang the company to find out that the glass hasn’t arrived (why didn’t they ring me to tell me that…?!).  I have been given a promise of tomorrow ….. (oh, I forgot to ask which tomorrow he was talking about ……!).

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Updated on Friday 2 December 2011 – need I tell you …?

They didn’t come and we have no idea when they will be.

That’s life ….. well, here in Galicia, that is …..

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It’s 10th. December and no change …. .

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What a Way to Go…..!

Nothing to do with the jam squares, I hope …. .

 

 

 

 

We, the Hunters …. .

Every time we take our dog Jack for a walk, our neighbour’s dogs (who never get taken for such pleasure) take advantage of the opportunity, so we leave the house as three and, shortly after, we’re five.  Things normally go well, though the bigger dog of the neighbours’  two sometimes goes off and we have to wait, whistle and pray.  Well, today, it was clearly Jack’s fault and even though he always responds to the word ‘home’ or a whistle, he decided to flaunt all rules.

Then the big one followed Jack.

Then we waited, whistled, shouted, questioned ourselves as to whether at this stage we should start worrying, waited, whistled and then went in search of the two missing creatures.

Could there be something in the air …… like a bitch?

We set off in the direction of a nearby village, walking along very indirect country lanes to get there but not before ringing our neighbour to check that the two hobos (remember ‘The Littlest Hobo’?) hadn’t cut short their own trip and gone home without us (that was highly unlikely).

No such luck.

After about an hour, Jack returned but without the other dog who, though he is very lanky, still carries ‘puppy’ status.

Still searching, we changed direction for home and, twenty minutes later, found Benny (the biggun) waiting for us on our normal route.

But that wasn’t the end of the story because, some ten minutes later, we somehow had four dogs.  We think the other two were part of a party out hunting wild boar (and we were in the middle of it?!) so, knowing, believing and trusting that hunting dogs are not said to be vicious, I proceeded ahead while Hubby held Jack at bay.  The littlest of the new additions appeared quizzical but the beefy partner did a runner (well, I didn’t have my lipstick on and, to me, no lipstick and no earrings is tantamount to nakedness), reducing us to four dogs.  I managed to chivvy the stranger along until his partner came out of hiding and the two tootled off.

Thankfully, there were no stampedes of pigs in a hurry and no sound of guns close by, so maybe we had a close shave ….. who knows?

We made it home with the same numbers we set off with but Jack knew he was in the doghouse.  Still, when he smells the chicken we’re having for dinner, I think we’ll all be ready to make up … .

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They'll Want Me Before I Want Them ..... .

 
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Recipe 6 – Jam Squares.

I love any recipe that is simple, can be done in a jiffy and has healthy ingredients, so here’s one for jam squares.  Made with porridge oats, they take no doing and make an excellent quick breakfast.

Easy Recipes.

Also posted under Sweet.

Jam Squares.

Lots of oats, so that can’t be a bad thing.

 

Ingredients:-

6 ozs. Porridge oats.

8 ozs. Plain flour.

8 ozs. Butter.

7 ozs. Sugar.

2 ozs. Chopped nuts.

1 tsp. (teaspoon) cinnamon.

½ tsp. salt.

½ tsp. bicarbonate of soda.

5 tbs. (tablespoons (like a soup spoon)) strawberry jam.

 

HARD PART – there isn’t one!

Set the oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6.

How to make it:-

 

Pour the flour and the porridge oats into a mixing bowl.

Cut the butter into small pieces and rub into the flour and porridge oats , just like when you make pastry.

When the margarine has been well blended in, add all the other dry ingredients and rub through your fingers for a couple of minutes more.

Grease a 13 x 9 inch swiss roll tin and add half of the mixture, pressing it down firmly with your hand, to make sure that it is a hard and compact base.

Spread the jam over this prepared base (I put the jam in the microwave for a minute, to make sure that it spread easily), then top it with the rest of the mixture, once again pressing it down, to make a firm and compact top.

 Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until golden.

 Allow it to cool, before cutting into little squares (it makes about twenty).

These taste so good and you know that you’re getting some fibre into your system but please remember to leave some for others!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Forty Years of Fear, Yet She Was Right!

Not long before the birth of my fist child, a woman kindly told me that she would rather have a baby than go to the dentist’s.

Having the baby was fine and I went on to do it another two times.

The dentist?

Well, I managed  to space my appointments eighteen years apart – 10 years old (the noise of that kettle turned out to be a drill!), 28 years old (to prove to my young children there was nothing to be frightened of (and it was me who ended up needing the treatment!)), forty six years old (my new husband said a check-up was nothing to be frightened of ….. unfortunately, I had to go back later!) and then the real biggie which arrived before my 64th. year and expected next visit – toothache!

I had been putting it off for about a two years, as it was a pain that kept coming and going (rather like when you have accidentally chewed that foil casing around your apple tart and electricity seems to shoot through your body) and, due to my fear, the possibility of a simple filling became an extraction.  Of course, it had to be the back top tooth and, I’ll give him his due, the Spanish dentist told me that it wasn’t going to be easy.  Strangely enough, it made me feel better about the situation, because I knew he wasn’t lying.

The day came for the extraction and, in the two hours I waited for my turn (in Spain, appointments don’t really exist), I needed to visit the you-know-what five times (nerves and all that).

I got in the chair, mouthwash, lights, a few words of Spanish, a stretching and crushing sound, a piece of thread and I thought ‘oh, no!  He’s going to fasten my tooth to the door handle!’ and then he said ‘esta (that’s it)’.  The tooth had been removed, the thread was for stitches and …

I FELT NOTHING!!!!!

Still, there was an after-effect:-

A Bruiser, Don't You Think?

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I couldn’t see it, so I didn’t have a problem but, as we went to England the following week, hubby kept apologising to friends and family, saying he didn’t do it but that it was where the dentist held me down!  Here in Spain, the bruise didn’t matter as, unfortunately, wife-beating is still a common occurrence, so no-one gave me second glance.

Still, neither the tooth removal nor the bruise hurt, so I’ll get there a bit faster the next time!!

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