Monday, 28 February 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat's Cheese

New recipe no. 5 - Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat's Cheese.  Well, sort of!!  I didn't have any goat's cheese so I used Feta cheese instead and I didn't have a courgette, but I did have some mushrooms lurking in the bottom of the fridge!  Having said that this was very, very tasty and I will definitely be doing it again very soon.  It is also one of those recipes that having done the basics, you can add/take away any ingredients you fancy or need to use up. Best of all, I was the only one eating it and there was loads left, so that's lunch tomorrow sorted!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

The Start of a New Garden

Although I have the allotment, I plan to also grow some things on the barge.  I going to have window boxes around the wheelhouse to grow salad leaves, cherry toms, spring onions etc.  And then I will grow herbs in pots on the decks as well as some pretty flowers (probably edible ones!).  The idea is so that I don't have to go up to the allotment first thing in the morning when I am making my lunch to take to work.  Also, when you are cooking you need herbs to hand, not five minutes walk away!  I have now started to clear the garden to make way for Rob's chickens and a lot of the pots have gone up to the allotment but some have found their way on to the fore deck of the barge.  The sailor is guarding the mint and Mr. Mole is overseeing the thyme.  There are two empty pots waiting for sage and parsley and the other three pots contain geraniums and crocus.  I haven't decided what to put in the wellies yet, but they were so sweet that I couldn't resist them! 

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Normal Service Will Be Resumed Soon

My BT landline and internet is down at home and has been since Tuesday.  At the moment BT are saying they will fix it by next Tuesday (good of them!).   However in the meantime, I can read your blogs at work but for some reason I am not able to comment (or reply to comments on this blog).  So please bear with me, I am keeping up to date with you, albeit silently (no comments about that from those that know me!!!)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

More Jigsaws/More Aches and Pains

Pete has so much on his plate at the moment; the yacht, the barge, the house and all while he is working away during the week.  I didn't like to ask him to put the greenhouse up on top of it all, so I roped in my wonderful Dad (whose birthday it was yesterday, Happy Birthday Dad!).  We have spent all day working on it and all we have got done is the frame.  Dad has volunteered to come back in the next few days and glaze it.  I am so lucky with all the men in my life!  However, I did point out that perhaps next time we do some father/daughter quality time perhaps it ought to be over a nice meal, rather than on an allotment up to our knees in mud!

I thought I would share this picture of some of the allotments around me.  As you can see, overall it is nice and tidy, and a good place to be.
Finally, here is my garlic popping its head up.  I planted over a hundred cloves of garlic, including elephant garlic which has yet to make a show.  In the pots are garlic chives and chard.

Monday, 14 February 2011

The Joys of Getting Older!

I spent all weekend cleaning the boat, ready to to move on  next weekend.  Firstly, I took everything off to put through the dishwasher and washing machine at home.  This gave me an empty canvas to work with.  Having sat in its winter mooring for the last two years,  Carpe Diem was looking a little neglected and the condensation has worked its magic, leaving black spots everywhere!   Emily came and helped me on Saturday (she is a lovely young lady) and it never seems quite so bad when there is two of you at it.  So we got stuck in cleaning out every nook and cranny.  However, any of you that knows anything about boats, knows that this involves getting into positions that I didn't think were possible, stretching to the point of breaking and climbing over tables, chart tables etc.  Boy, do I ache today!!  It has to be better than any work out that you pay a fortune for!!   Of Course Emily, being young, took it all in her stride and is bouncing around today as though we did nothing!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Rant !!!

A few years ago, some bright spark decided that all adult teachers should belong to the Institute for Learning.  It was obviously so that some consultants could make some money because there certainly wasn't anything in it for us teachers.  Then a couple of years later, another wit decided that adult teachers needed to be QTLS (Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills). I thought we all qualified once we completed our teaching training and were given our certificates (adult teachers have to be teaching when they do their teacher training).  So we all had to waste a lot of time again scanning in our qualifications and writing stupid little essays justifying our jobs!  And still there was nothing in it for us.  Until now anyone who worked in the public sector had the fees for this non-entity paid for us.  Now guess what...................yep you're right, we have all now got to pay our own annual membership fees of £68.  I quote '...IfL has been working towards a self-financing model that will work as well as possible for you as a member of IfL'.  It is not self-financing, us mugs have got to pay for it!  Again I quote '...IfL is independent of the government and has created opportunities for influencing a range of national policy and decision making.'  If it is independent, why is it compulsory for all adult teachers who want to teach to be members?  Again I reiterate, we get absolutely nothing out of this except the occasional glossy leaflet telling us how good they are at doing nothing!  So, if we are lucky enough not to be made redundant, we have a pay freeze for three years, face a pay cut as we will certainly have to pay a lot more in to our pension funds (which believe me certainly are not gold-plated as the press would have you believe) and to add insult to injury we have to throw £68 away just to keep our jobs, with absolutely no choice in the matter.  Oh and our pay is a lot lower than mainscale teachers, even though we have to be just as qualified.  But it's okay, because we are all in it together say the multi millionaires sitting around the table in Downing Street!  Okay, rant over!!!!!  Have a good weekend xxx

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Tonight I cooked a vegetarian shepherd's pie.  This was an absolute delight, real comfort food, very, very cheap and dead simple and quick to make.  Frugal and healthy all in one go!  Even the kids who are true carnivores loved it.

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
(serves four good sized portions)
Soften two onions in olive oil, add carrots, celery, mushrooms (or any other veg you may have) and fry for a further 5 mins. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, 425ml veg stock, 100g red lentils, dollop of tomato puree (or tomato ketchup), bit of garlic and splash of worcestershire sauce and simmer for 20 mins until red lentils are tender. Put into ovenproof dish, top with mashed potato and grated cheese. Cook in oven (180C/gas 6) for 30 mins until top crisp and golden. 

Tonight we had it with cabbage and there is enough for me to take to for lunch tomorrow (if Rob doesn't eat it for supper!)

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Jigsaws and good news

Pete and Ian have spent the weekend putting together my new shed for the allotment.  It was very cold and their poor little mitts were frozen on Saturday.  On Sunday they did the sensible thing and got a fire going.  I kept them supplied with bacon sarnies, cups of coffee and free advice!  Apparently the instructions were all wrong and I had bought totally the wrong kind of shed  (I think most of you women will understand what I am getting at here)!  Needless to say, at times the language was particularly choice!!

Still, they got it done in the end and now my lilac wheelbarrow is all nicely locked away.   Thank you boys!

We had some great news at the weekend.  My favourite middle son, Stuart (top right hand corner), and his girlfriend Kerry (bottom left hand corner) got engaged.  It was all very romantic.  Stuart whisked Kerry off to Munich for her birthday weekend and proposed in a very beautiful temple.  He immediately texted when she said yes and we were all waiting in the pub yesterday when they got back.  Kerry is so lovely and if I could have picked a wife for Stuart, I would have chosen her.  Congratulations to Stuart and Kerry and welcome to the family Kerry xxx