Wednesday, 23 July 2014

TOMATO AND PEPPER SALAD

Good Morning to you,

Are you a dreamer?


I don't mean are you are the sort of person who sits and day dreams, I just wondered if you are a person who dreams and then are able to recall those dreams?

Ordinarily, I am not able to recall dreams..... I'm not sure what that says about me.  I'm not sure if I should be able to recall my dreams, so I was surprised to wake up the other morning, being able to recount a dream from start to finish.

Let me begin at the beginning.  I have had something on my mind for a long time..... something I needed to face..... something that I needed to sort out, but I kept putting it to the back of my mind and delaying the inevitable. I  thought that if the problem was given time, it would resolve itself.  Well of course that never happens does it.... when there is a problem it has to be sorted out, otherwise it all becomes too upsetting..... so, I faced the problem, as difficult as it was,  and do you know, I felt a whole lot better.

That very night, when I slept, I dreamt and the amazing thing is, when I awoke  the next morning, I could recall every detail of the dream.

The dream started with me on my own, in the middle of the night.  I was wearing a dress and a cardigan and I was riding a motor bike.  I was in a hurry to get home, and I was driving down a road, I have not driven on, for what must be 35 years.

I was half way home, when what I can only describe as 'little beasties' were trying to jump onto my motor bike, I could not see them properly as it was pitch black. I could only see the light straight ahead of me, which came from my headlight. I did not stop driving, as I knew I had to get home. I just kept swishing them off the bike and with each swish came a sense of relief.  I was not afraid of the dark, I was not afraid of the 'little beasties'. Each one that tried to get onto my motor bike, I just swished off, as if I was swishing a fly.  Finally after much swishing, they were gone, the 'little beasties' had given up and I continued home.  I remember feeling such a sense of freedom and elation.

When I woke up, I recounted the dream to George and he was as surprised as I was, because only now and again can I recall a dream. I can recall fragments, but not the whole dream. Even when I recounted the dream to George, I felt a sense of freedom. The decision I had made was a hard decision, but it was the right decision, for me.

I can remember three complete dreams which I have had in my life, and yes lots of fragments of dreams, but I wonder do you ever recall your dreams?

Do you remember fragments, which don't really make much sense, or do you remember complete dreams?

Talking of dreams, I have something today which can be described as a dream, because it is a dream to make.


A Tomato and Pepper Salad with olives and Halloumi cheese. Don't let the few ingredients deceive you, as this little salad is bursting with flavour and with the abundance of tomatoes and peppers, it is the perfect time of  year, to enjoy this salad.

So, it's on with the pinnie, and the music I am listening to today is,


Gord's Gold, the fabulous album by the Canadian singer, Gordon Lightfoot.  I could listen to his voice all day long.  There are many songs which I could list, but for now, you will enjoy 'If You Could Read My Mind' and 'Sundown'.  I just know you will recognise those two songs.

So whilst I am listening to and singing along with, 'Summerside of Love' I will organise my ingredients.

INGREDIENTS

THE SALAD

Serves:  4

4 large tomatoes
3 red peppers
24 green olives
250g Halloumi cheese

THE DRESSING

80ml of olive oil
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon rind
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of chives
1 tablespoon of fresh basil leaves
and
1 small jar with a lid

HOW TO MAKE 
TOMATO AND PEPPER SALAD

FIRST THING TO DO
is
Roast the peppers and remove the skins.
Allow to cool
and


slice.
Set aside for the moment.

THE DRESSING


Place the olive oil,


lemon juice,


grated lemon rind,


grated garlic,


chopped chives

and


torn basil leaves
into
a


jam jar.
Replace the lid
and


shake
for a few minutes.

Set aside for the moment.


Slice the tomatoes.

Decide which plates you are going to 
use..... I tend to use white plates
as these ingredients look spectacular
when served on a white plate.



Arrange the sliced tomatoes,


the roasted peppers


and
the olives
onto four plates.


Pour over half of the dressing.

NOW IT IS TIME 
TO COOK
THE 
HALLOUMI CHEESE


Slice the Halloumi Cheese.

Heat a wide pan.
Place the Halloumi cheese into the pan.

At first, you will find a milky residue
will appear in the pan, but don't worry,
once the milky residue has cooked out,
the Halloumi will start to brown.

Keep checking as you want the Halloumi
to be a golden brown. 

When one side is browned, turn the Halloumi cheese
over and brown the other side.


Place one or two pieces of
Halloumi Cheese over the salad.

Pour over the remaining
dressing.

Eat with some good crusty bread
and you will
have a fabulous lunch.

George loves mopping up the juices with
his bread.

You might be wondering why I left the Halloumi cheese until last to cook.  It is a preference of mine, I love Halloumi cheese, when it is warm as it has a soft texture.  Left to become cold and it tends to have a rubbery texture..... a texture I don't enjoy.... but one which George does.  So it is all down to personal preference.

Also there is no salt in this dish as Halloumi cheese is salty, as are the olives. So salt is not required.

Please don't be deceived by this salads simplicity, as these few ingredients make for a lovely lunch. I always have roasted peppers in the fridge during the summer time, so this salad really does not take long to make.

Oh yes, before I go, I thought I would mention..... I have never driven a motorbike in my life, but as a teenager, I rode pillion on a friend's motorbike..... the sun was shining and we rode along a deserted, sandy beach in Cyprus..... I can remember  the overwhelming sense of freedom I felt.

mmm, that is interesting.... I have discovered the link to the motorbike ..... I haven't thought about that day for many a year.

Take care and I will see you on Sunday.

This week I will be joining,


and






Sunday, 20 July 2014

SUMMER DELIGHT

Good Morning to you,


This year I have been fit and healthy and I have not been struck down with any of those horrible winter or summer viruses, which seem to be around throughout the year. 

.... but yes you have guessed it,  today I am not well.... I am coughing and spluttering and feeling poorly.  George had a terrible night's sleep.... I think I kept him awake with my coughing, so I decided to get up early this morning, as sitting upright, certainly helps with the coughing and it allowed George to get his rest.

So my words are few, there are no stories today, but what I  want to share with you is,


a lovely summer drink, which I call a Summer Delight.  It is non-alcoholic and perfect for these warm summer days.

So it's on with the pinnie and as I was deciding which album to listen to,  I discovered a lovely surprise,


the fabulous Otis Redding, the album was tucked into the back of the shelf where I keep all our albums and I haven't listened to it in a long time. I remember listening to 'Sitting on the Dock of the Bay' on my transistor radio, as a teenager..... yes really a transistor radio.... that was many moons ago.

So whilst Otis serenades me with 'These Arms of Mine',  I am ready to organise my ingredients.


INGREDIENTS

Enough ice to fill a jug a third full
125ml elderflower cordial
250ml apple juice
125ml lime juice cordial
1/2 litre of sparkling mineral water
1 lemon
1 lime
1 apple
3 sprigs of milk

HOW TO MAKE A
SUMMER DELIGHT


Place the ice cubes into a
large jug

and


add the 
Elderflower cordial,


the Apple juice,


the
Lime juice cordial


the sparkling
mineral water
and 
stir.


Finely slice
 the 
limes
and
 add to the jug.


Finely slice
the
lemons
and 
add to the jug.


Cut the apple into segments
(I have to tell you, I absolutely love
this little gizmo)
and


 then slice the apples.

Add to the jug.


Wash the mint

and


add to the jug.

Stir everything together.


Pour into a
summery glass
and add a 
sprig of mint
and garnish with a 
slice of lemon
or 
a slice of lime.

..... there are a few instructions that will help you enjoy your Summer Delight even more.

Firstly, find a good book to read...  I am reading 'The Vintage Teacup Club' by Vanessa Greene.  

Secondly, find a shady corner in the garden.

Thirdly, place your favourite chair and a little table in the shady corner.

Fourthly,  find a small stool to put your feet on and place in the shady corner.

Fifthly, take your Summer Delight and your book into the garden and place them on the table.

Sixthly, sit on your chair, put your feet up, read your book and enjoy your Summer Delight..... blissful.

Take care and I will see you on Wednesday.





Wednesday, 16 July 2014

RUG HOOKING

Good Morning to you,


On Saturday, my girl friends and I, spent a lovely day together at the Customs House in Sunderland. We arrived in the morning to take part in a Creative Masterclass for rug hooking and clippy mat techniques.

Our tutor, Kathy, is a very talented textile artist and her exuberance for the art of rug hooking  is infectious. Kathy is the type of person, that after an hour in her company,  makes you feel you can achieve anything.

The course was run as part of the WW1 Centenary and we could choose to make either a poppy wall hanging or a summer garden wall hanging.  I chose a summer garden design, but of course, in the shape of my favourite design..... a heart.


I chose ribbons, lace, cord and net material and as I love pink and blue flowers in my garden, that was the path I followed, but somewhere along the line, I seem to have forgotten that, as I made predominantly pink flowers.... I think I just fell in love with the assortment of pink lace.  I can easily get back on track, as I have blue materials and ribbons here at home, so I can make  a few blue flowers to intersperse with the pinks. 


This is the first flower
I created,


my second flower,
(This photograph does not do justice to the design)


my third flower,


my fourth flower,


my fifth flower,
and
 finally, for now,


my sixth flower.


I love this material, the colour is perfect
and I love the crinkly look,
although to be honest, as much as I love it
for this project, I really do not like
this type material for clothing,
as I always feel I want to reach for my iron and
 give the material a good ironing.


This is not the end result, but I thought you 
might like to see how the colours work together.
Quite nice, I think.


I also need to add some green,
so I am playing around with some
material to see which I like the best.

As you can see, there is still quite a way to go to finish the design.  I am not a fast worker, I like to take my time,  to think about a project.  A couple of my friends finished their projects, so on this occasion, I have to get a shimmy on, as our designs are going to be on the Customs House website.

Have you noticed that there is something missing... there is no music playing.... yes, even when I am sewing, I love to listen to music. I created the sixth flower, here at home, and I listened to, well I won't tell you straight away, I will see if you recognise the lyrics,


'I rode my bicycle past your window last night
I roller skated to your door at daylight
It almost seems like your avoiding me
I'm okay alone, but you've got something I need.

I've got a brand new pair of roller skates
You've got a brand new key,
I wish that we could get together
and 
try them on to see'

Do you recognise the song? I bet you do and if so, I just know you will not be speaking the words, I feel sure, you will not be able to help yourself....  you will be singing the song.....  'Brand New Key'


Do you remember Melanie singing the 'Nickel Song', I'm sure you know 'Ruby Tuesday'..... I can't stop singing 'Brand New Key'....what about you?

There is still a little way to go to finish my project, but I thought you would enjoy seeing how much I have achieved.

When the wall hanging is finished, I am going to ask George to make me a wooden backing so I can hang my summer garden, on the wall, in my sewing room...... all will be revealed....quite soon.

....... yes, you guessed correctly, I am keeping George busy with woodwork.

Take care and I will see you on Sunday.

This week I will be joining,


and






Sunday, 13 July 2014

PICKLED CUCUMBERS WITH OLIVE OIL

Good Afternoon to you,


I have to tell you, there is a new diva in this house.

..... and the diva is in the kitchen..... no I am not talking about myself, I am talking about George.

George has decided that after all these years, he would like to learn to cook... but  he never cooks... he enjoys eating, but has never shown any interest in cooking, well apart from the times he cooked using an open fire.

.... but now, he has decided he would like to learn to cook using a conventional cooker.

... and he has requirements.

He has asked for his own apron..... which is fine, but the apron has to have certain additions.  He would like a circular loop attached to the apron, so he can tuck a tea towel into the loop, and when I asked why he wanted to use a tea towel, he said because he had seen chefs on the television use them and he felt it would be a useful item. I think this is strange as I have never felt the need to use one.

I have also been told, he will not be calling it a pinnie as the word pinnie does not sit well with him.

Oh yes and the apron must have a large pocket in the front.... not sure why, but this is what he wants.

So in the near future, under his strictest of guidelines,  I will be making an apron for him.

So while he is waiting for his apron, he is using my older butchers pinnie.... oops, sorry, apron.  The first meal on his list, is his favourite.... a Sunday breakfast.

So with his first Sunday breakfast under his belt, the diva has emerged.  I  have to sing his praises, not once, not twice but with every mouthful of food I eat.  I have to tell him how wonderful the food is, how it tastes and yes, that I am really enjoying it. I have to listen to how each part of the breakfast was made...... I can't help but wonder if he has forgotten that it was me who taught him how to make the breakfast in the first place, but somehow I think he has forgotten that little fact.

Now, I really don't mind teaching George how to cook, but my concern is, what will he want to learn to cook next.....I am hoping it will be nothing too involved, but I have a feeling it will be.  I am really hoping that this is  a 'flash in the pan' (sorry about the pun). If not, I think I have  a really interesting time ahead of me.... mmm, I wonder if I can divert him with some woodwork?

So the breakfast, has been eaten.... and duly praised. The dishes have been washed and put away and George is reading the newspaper, so whilst all is quiet,  I have decided to make,


some pickled cucumbers with olive oil.  They are lovely eaten with bread and cheese or mixed into a salad and they can be stored for a year.... but that never happens in this house as once the storage time has past by, they are usually eaten, by George, within three months.  I do not make a lot of pickled cucumbers, but enough to fill a 1 kilo kilner jar.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I have chosen to listen to is,


Lionel Richie.  Natasha asked me once who I would like to see in concert and my answer was Barry Manilow and Lionel Richie.  I love 'All Night Long', 'Dancing on the Ceiling' and 'Hello'. To be honest, when it comes to Lionel, the list of songs I enjoy listening to are endless.

So whilst I am listening to 'Sail On', I will organise my ingredients.

Before we start, I wanted to let you know, that this is a two day process.  One day to soak the cucumbers and onions and the second day to complete the pickling.

INGREDIENTS

750g cucumbers
(approximately 2 large cucumbers)
625g onions
75g sea salt
500ml cider vinegar
80ml water
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
4 dried bay leaves
10 very small dried chilli peppers
75ml olive oil

1 kg kilner jar 
(sterilized in your normal way)

HOW TO MAKE
PICKLED CUCUMBERS
WITH
OLIVE OIL

THE FIRST DAY


Top and tail  two cucumbers
and 
finely slice.


Remove the skin
and 
finely slice
the onions


Place the finely sliced cucumbers

and


the
finely sliced onions


in a large bowl
and
cover with water.


Add the sea salt
and stir.


Cover the bowl with a plate
to make sure the cucumbers
and onions stay submerged.
Then cover with a tea towel.

Leave over night.

THE SECOND DAY


Place the cider vinegar,


the bay leaves,


the
crushed coriander seeds,
the
black peppercorns,


the dried red chillies

and


the 
water
into a non-corrosive saucepan.
Bring to the boil
and simmer for 10 minutes

Whilst the cider vinegar is simmering,


drain the cucumbers and onions.
Rinse in cold water
then


using a colander, 
remove as much liquid as possible.


Ladle the cucumbers and onions
into a sterilized kilner jar.

Once the cider vinegar 
has simmered,
allow to
stand for 10 minutes
then


whisk in the olive oil


and ladle the
vinegar into the kilner jar.

When the cucumbers and onions
are covered, seal the jar
and place in a cool cupboard for 
at least 3 weeks.

The reason I have made these pickled cucumbers today is I was gifted a couple of cucumbers.  George and I would not have been able to eat both of them, so I decided to pickle them instead, as this way, the cucumbers will last much longer.

Oh and just before I go, I have been talking to George about some birdhouses and bug houses which I would like him to make..... and yes, he is going to make some for the garden.  Phew, that was a narrow escape.

Take care and I will see you on Wednesday.

This week I will be joining,

and






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