Apple & Sultana Porridge

It’s that time of year again, the mornings are getting cold and dark. So what could be better than a warm, tasty, autumnal breakfast of porridge with added apple, sultana and cinnamon?

(Quantities for 1 portion)

1 cup milk

1/2 cup oats

1 dessert spoon dried apple pieces

1 dessert spoon sultanas

pinch of cinnamon

Heat the milk on high in a saucepan, until it’s just beginning to simmer. Turn down to medium/low heat and add the other ingredients. Stir frequently to prevent sticking and burning, for 4 – 5 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Serve with a teaspoon of honey.

 

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Red Sky At Night

The following is an example of a normal evening in our house.

I came in from work, stuck my head round the door to say hello to Hubby, and he asked what was for tea. I said there was a Shepherd’s Pie in the oven. He seemed happy, it meant he could stay at his football game for a while longer while I went for a shower. Later, I had showered, and he was standing in the kitchen while I got ready to dish up. I pulled the pie out of the oven, and heard this ‘Oh!’. Now ‘oh’ can mean anything, but this was a very disappointed ‘oh’. I looked round at his poor disappointed face, and the conversation went like this:

Me: What’s wrong?

Him: When you said Shepherd’s Pie, I was thinking Lasagne!

Me: Oh, sorry, nope, this is Shepherd’s Pie.

(A pause)

Him: I’ve been thinking about that quite a bit this week.

Me: What, lasagne?

Him: No, you know that saying. Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning. Red sky at night, shepherd’s pie.

Me: Yes dear, past your bed-time I think!

The Perils of Milking Grass-Fed Sheep

Ok, there are only two words to describe this morning. Squits, projectile. I’ll just let that sink in.

Get the picture? But why use two words when two thousand will suffice? Here’s what happened.

We were about half way through milking (230 sheep in) when, about 3 sheep to my right (and we work left to right), one cocked it’s tail and deposited a smelly heap of slightly liquid crap. I do apologise if you’re eating your breakfast right now, but I like to tell it how it is. Quite often when this happens, we try and take our time or somehow avoid it and therefore make someone else milk it. This morning however, I was the only person in the vicinity of this sheep, and had no choice but to milk it myself. There are 2 main reasons we dislike milking sheep like this. One is that you end up with crap on your hands from touching the unit which has been well coated. Two is that it may release more while your hands are under it’s tail. This particular ewe had a couple more tricks up it’s sleeve. As soon as I touched the unit, it began jumping, dancing and kicking. This is bad enough on a clean sheep, but when it’s flicking it’s heels in a steaming pile of crap, it makes it 100 times worse. I was gingerly attempting to milk it while ducking and diving to avoid flying specks when, with no warning whatsoever, it fired out a stream of greenish, pungent diarrhea.

Now I am a woman of average height, which means that my nose is pretty much on a level with the tails of the sheep in the parlour. I can see what you’re thinking. Thankfully, the laws of physics apply. By the time the warm, stinking mess reached me, gravity had taken effect and it had dropped a few inches. It landed in, and on, my collar. I was wearing a zip-up sweatshirt and a shirt underneath, both slightly undone at the top. I stared in shock for a few seconds at the mess sliding down the front of my sweatshirt, and then attempted to remove it without spreading it further. I kind of rolled the sweatshirt up from the bottom, trying to contain everything, and then draw it over my head. This didn’t really work as well as I’d hoped. I removed the sweatshirt, but spread the contents on my chin in the process. I grabbed handfuls of wet-wipes and tried to clean my chin, and remove the gobs of poo on the outside, and inside, of my shirt collar. Basically, I spread it around a bit, making the affected area worse, and damp into the bargain. There wasn’t much I could apart from strip further, and it wasn’t a particularly warm morning. I had to spend the next hour and a half with a damp shirt, the aroma reaching my nostrils every time I moved.

Thank you for letting me share that with you, I wish I could share the smell too, as I am heartily sick of it now.

Sardine Pasta Bake

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This wonderful little concoction is fairly cheap, packed full of healthy fish oils, easy to make, and tastes good too. What more could you possible want? A few weeks ago I bought a packet of fresh sardines, 99p for 200g (3 sardines). I pulled them out of the freezer the other day, thinking I should probably actually use them. The only problem I had with this dish was the bones, but tinned sardines would work equally well, and the bones are not such a problem. I would say approx 100g (1 to 1 1/2 fish) fresh or 1/2 tin canned fish per person.

4 to 6 fresh sardines, or 2 tins sardines

1 lb pasta shapes

1 tin chopped tomatoes

a little milk (or pouring cream)

a generous pinch of Italian seasoning

2 slices of bread, crumbed

Boil the pasta for no more than 5 minutes, you only want it partially cooked. Grease the bottom of an oven-proof dish and arrange the sardines in the bottom. When the pasta is cooked, mix the herbs and tomatoes in with it and then pour it over the fish. Add a little milk to bring the liquid almost level with the top of the pasta. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top and bake at 200°C for 25 minutes. Easy!

BBQ Chicken Portions

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Last night I tried out this new recipe I found, making  a few tweaks depending on what I had available. Here’s how it goes:

 

8 chicken pieces (I used a mixture of drumsticks and thighs)

6 squirts (tbsp) ketchup

3 tbsp vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp honey

1 garlic clove (or 1/4 tsp garlic salt)

1/2 tsp thyme

Mix all the sauce ingredients in a lidded tub (clip lock are perfect) and add the chicken pieces. Give it a good shake to make sure they are all coated well. (This is where a well-sealed lid comes in handy!) I did this in the afternoon and left it in the fridge for a few hours to marinate, but you don’t have to do this. Line a baking tin with foil (you don’t have to, but it makes it easier to clean later on!) and place the chicken in a single layer inside. Pour the sauce over, and bake at 200°C for 30 – 40 minutes. Check the chicken is cooked by cutting into one of the larges portions with a sharp knife, and make sure the juices are clear, not pink.

While the chicken is cooking, start the rice. It’s up to you how you do it, but I always use the absorption method. I put peas in it too, and would have used sweetcorn, but I was all out. Put the rice (and any veg) into a large pan, then pour cold water in, until the water level is about 1 – 1 1/2 cm above the rice. Bring to the boil, then turn off the heat, but leave it sitting with the lid on for about 20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. You may need to experiment with different sized saucepans until you get it just right, I like to use a mid-sized pan for just the 2 of us, so the rice is no more than 2 cm deep.