Thursday, 17 March 2016


Good Morning to you,

Now don't laugh.

I'm going to tell you what I recently treated myself to.

It wasn't a nice new handbag or a nice pair of shoes.... although either would have been lovely. 

No, I have become the owner of a new, large magnifying glass.

I bet that surprised you. Of all the things I could have said I had bought, I feel sure you didn't expect me to say I had bought myself a magnifying glass.

.... and why have I bought myself a magnifying glass?

Am I having problems with my eyes?

No, my eyesight is fine.

Do my reading glasses need renewing?

No, I can honestly say, I can read the words of my current book, 'Writing Home' by Alan Bennett, that is, as long as I can lay my hands on my reading glasses, you know how terrible I am for mislaying them.

....and the reason I bought a magnifying glass.... is so I can read the small print, which seems to be included in so many letters and contracts which we receive nowadays. Is it me or is the writing in these letters getting smaller?

It started a few months ago, when I was reading our new television contract. I managed to read the main part of the letter without a hitch, but I hit a problem when it came to reading the small print.... I could not read it, as the print was so small.  So I did what many of us do.... I put the letter at arms length.... I'm not sure why, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.... and I feel sure, you won't be surprised to learn, that it didn't work, I still could not read the small print. I moved the letter closer, nope that did not work either, so what to do. I looked up and there on the table, were George's glasses, so I picked them up and placed them over the top of my reading glasses.  There I was, sat in the armchair, with one pair of glasses balanced precariously on top of another.... luckily, there was no one around to see me, as I did look a little eccentric, with two pairs of glasses balanced on my head... but it worked, I managed to read the small print, although I realised it wouldn't be wise to do that again, so I hit on the idea of buying a magnifying glass.... that would do the trick, yes, the problem would be solved when I bought myself a magnifying glass. 

When I finished reading the letter, I removed both pairs of glasses, and made myself a cup of tea. While waiting for the kettle to whistle, the idea of buying a magnifying glass seemed to click with something in my brain, as it brought to mind, someone, I had not thought about in over 35 years. A grand, elderly lady, called Rose. The thought of Rose just flooded my mind. She was such a wonderfully eccentric, English lady, who even in her 90's, still loved to wear her lipstick, blusher and eyeshadow, although not applied with a steady hand, it was part of who Rose was.... she was a fiercely independent lady.... and I loved her feistyness.

Rose loved it when we visited her and always made us so welcome, but, there were a couple of conditions attached to our visit. Firstly, we were always expected to arrive with a King Edward's cigar tucked inside George's jacket pocket and the second condition, we bought Rose, The Telegraph newspaper. The King Edward's cigar, believe it or not, was not for Rose's husband, who had passed away, many years before, but for Rose herself.  She loved to smoke cigars and King Edwards were her favourites.

When we handed over the gifts to Rose, she would always thank us. She would then, almost ceremoniously, open The Telegraph, and lay it on the settee. She would then open a drawer and remove a large magnifying glass, which she would lay beside the newspaper.  She would then ask George to light the King Edward's cigar for her. When lit, Rose would take a few puffs and smile, I think it would be fair to say, she was 'in heaven'. Then while I was making the tea, she would puff away on her cigar, thoroughly enjoying reading the second page of the newspaper. Why the second page, I have no idea and I never liked to ask, but what I did know was that the rest of the pages would be enjoyed when we returned home. 

Now I know, I'm not 90, but if it works for Rose, it works for me.... but where to buy a magnifying glass. I really could not think.  So the magnifying glass was forgotten for sometime.  That is, until I went to TK Max.... and there, lying on a shelf was a magnifying glass.... actually you probably spotted it here on my book. I was amazed to find, when I needed a magnifying glass, I found one.  I can honestly say, I have never seen one in a shop, although to be fair, I have never looked for one. 

So, my magnifying glass, is living in the same place as Rose's, it is tucked away in my drawer, ready to be used whenever I receive letters with small print.... and do you know what the added bonus is, each time I use my magnifying glass, I will always think of Rose.

Now whether or not, what I am making today would be Roses cup of tea, I cannot say, but it is certainly mine. Today we are making,

nothing too complicated, just simple food, this healthy brown rice with green lentils. It is the perfect comfort food, without too much fuss and bother.

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

the wonderful Emilia Mitiku singing Your Not Right For Me. I love Emilia's voice, it reminds me of a combination of Dolly Parton and Madeleine Peyroux's voices.... just gorgeous.

So while I gather my ingredients I am enjoying, Ooh La La both records are from Emilia's album ' I Belong To You'.


Serves a hungry 4
a not so hungry 6

3 large onions
6 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
265g ready cooked tinned green lentils
125g uncooked long grain brown rice
125g (1/2 bag) of baby spinach leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt plus more for seasoning
freshly ground black pepper


Finely slice the onions.

Place the olive oil in a wide pan
add the sliced onions.
Using a low heat,
cook the onions until  they are golden in colour
and slightly caramilized.
This took about 40 minutes.
Slow, but worth it.

Whilst the onions are caramelizing,
cook the rice as per the manufacturers instructions.
I use a rice cooker, so my timings
are different.
When the rice is cooked, 
set aside.

Remove the outer papery
layer from the garlic

crush the garlic
with 1 teaspoon of sea salt

Set aside for the moment.

When the onions are slightly
caramelized add 
the garlic to the pan
and cook for a minute or so.

Rinse the green lentils
with water
add to the pan containing
the caramelized onions.

Add the cooked rice
and still using a low heat,
stir the ingredients together.

Rinse the spinach leaves
and add to the pan.
Place a lid on the pan
to allow the spinach leaves to wilt.

Season with sea salt

freshly ground black pepper.

Then as always,

all there is left to do,

Now, just before I go, I wanted to mention, it seems I have used a lot of olive oil to cook the onions, but you will find, once sliced, there are a lot of sliced onions to cook. You will also notice that once the onions are cooked they reduce significantly. The other thing I wanted to say, was be patient, as it does take a while to cook the onions, but honestly it is worth the effort.   

Also another tip, when you add the spinach, don't leave it too long on the heat as you don't want the rice to catch and burn.  Once the lid is on the pan the heat builds up quickly and the spinach takes only a few minutes to wilt.

.... and finally, I find using a wide pan works well when making this dish... but that is just my personal preference.

Next week, as it will be Easter weekend, I am going to be making a lovely chocolate cake.... you know how much I love chocolate, I can't wait to start measuring the ingredients.

So take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining, 


As always,

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