Posts filed under ‘Cooking’

Happy Post!

A little reminder of why I do this. The premise is simple. You donate to a childrens charity and comment on this blog about the donation and what you wanted to be when you were 8. Want to know more? Please read the About Lesley page….

I was at a mini school reunion a week or so back. One of my friends was home from Australia for a short visit so a few of us met for dinner. It was good fun reminiscing and agreeing that we didn’t feel any older even when our children were taller than us.

However, one small comment brought me up short and I have been pondering it ever since. I post this blog on Twitter, Facebook and Google +, you need to get your blog out there if you want people to read it. My friend reads the blog from Facebook and said ‘Lighten up Lesley, it has been too dark for a while’. In my head I think that it is difficult to be light-hearted when I am trying to get people to donate to a childrens charity but in my heart I know Aileen could be right. I need to bring some light into the blog every now and then.

So the theme of this blog is what makes me happy. There are many, many things that make me smile but I will share a few today….

Travel. I love going to new places but I love going back to some places again and again. I may have mentioned this before but my favourite place is Rome and specifically two places, the Pantheon and the Palatine Hill. The Pantheon boggles my mind, such a feat of engineering from ancient times. Every time I go to Rome I go there, I love to simply look around me. As for the Palatine Hill it is harder to describe. All I know is that I feel peaceful there, I will not analyse it further and risk spoiling it for myself.

My thanks to Wikipedia

Cooking. When I want to think about something then I cook. There is something very satisfying about making pastry, if you haven’t tried it then you really should. Sweet or savoury, you choose, you will feel proud of yourself when you have a completed dish. In chilly weather like this soup is also great fun. Chopping vegetables and simmering gently gives the kitchen that aroma of nominess to come. Today it will be French Onion, one of my alltime favourites:)

Laughter. Although the blog is normally serious I confess I am not. Smutty jokes, wordplay and the odd prank will have me chortling.  My daughter has been a source of some inspiration all her life, she will not thank me for sharing but hey-ho, I will take the grief. The daughter is famed for some of her malapropisms and tangental views on life. She was branded the Malteser by her friends, blonde on the inside (apologies to blondes everywhere). The day she told my mother that her brother was ‘such a homophobic’ had my mother quite shocked. When asked what she meant she said ‘He always thinks the slighest wee pain means he is really ill’. I am glad to say that she now knows her hypochondrianc from her homophobic. She also held a firm belief for many years that you shouldn’t eat red apples as they weren’t ripe like the green ones. Eh???? Unfortunately, I know exactly where these tendencies come from. Me. People have been known to look at me quite oddly when I come out with one of my random thoughts. I remember watching Kiss of the Spider Woman, great movie. There is a scene early on when Luis Molina and Valentin Arregui meet. When Molina is asked why he is in prison he says it is for interfering with minors. I was very puzzled and said ‘Why would he be jailed for messing with men who wear Davy Lamps?’. Not perhaps my finest hour but by no means my worst.

My children. They have always made me happy, even at their most naggy and whiny, every parent out there knows what I mean. They are kind, beautiful and funny. They make me smile, I am proud of them every single day.  They are also sarky, lazy and thoroughly messy. I would say I wouldn’t have them any other way but I would love them to be tidy, please!

Lastly, new donations on the blog. I remember clearly the first donation from Lynn who donated five pounds to CLIC Sargent, I smiled for a week. Every new donation, every new charity, produces the same feeling, it never diminishes. I also love the wacky 8 year-old ambitions. So, come on then punks, make my day:)

Hope you like this post Aileen!

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

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December 3, 2011 at 12:56 pm 2 comments

Stuffed?

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

So, are you all stuffed? Full of turkey, brussel sprouts and cranberry sauce? Did you pull crackers and tell daft jokes? Did you eat your fill of pudding and chocolate? I do hope so, I know I did! I hope that whatever you did on your Christmas Day you had the day you wanted. Some choose solitude, some choose small groups of friends and family, some go with crowds. All are good, whatever pleases you is what I hope you had. I also hope you received gifts that mean something to you. To me it isn’t the cost of a gift but the thought around it that matters the most. I like choosing gifts, I hate shopping but choosing something for someone else is fun.

It is now Boxing Day or St. Stephen’s day if you prefer. The clearing up will be finished and the leftovers nibbled. I love leftovers and will boil up turkey bones to make broth tomorrow, yummy. Then there is the finding space for all the gifts received. This makes me think I have too much stuff. I will therefore start a clearout, declutter, implement a minimalist strategy – I wish! I may not get everything just as I like it but I will make some room in the cupboards over the next few days. I will then recycle the bottles and those things I can now live without. I am sure you will all do the same so that someone else can benefit and even enjoy those possessions you can now live without. I love recycling, the notion that someone can use what has had its time with you is sensible, practical and helps others, why wouldn’t you want to do that?

At this time of year I start to think about resolutions as well. When asked I say I never make them but I do in my head. I will be nicer to people, kinder, fitter, thinner, work harder, travel more, get my life how I want it to be. All these thoughts run through my head now. I make too many resolutions in my head, will not succeed at them all but if I can achieve a couple then perhaps that will do:) One thing I do intend to do is keep going with this blog. I am amazed that so many people have written to me in only 10 months. It is heartening to see all the good that you do, you really are a wonderful lot.

So please, take this as my thank you to you from me. I could not do this without people and I am truly humbled that you take the time to read my words and tell me about the kindnesses you do. I know there is a lot of darkness in this world but you counteract that with your actions and words……..

Thank You!

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

December 26, 2010 at 8:34 am 1 comment

Comfort?

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

I cooked today. Nothing new there but I cooked one of my favourite dishes from childhood, broth. There is something about making a large pot of broth that comforts me nearly as much as eating it. At the risk of coming over all Nigel Slater (and that is something I am happy to be for a while), there is a joy in peeling and chopping when you can see, smell and taste the final result in your mind.

If you have read the blog before you will know I am from Northern Ireland and we have many popular dishes that are pretty unique to us. The recipes for champ, potato bread (aka fadge!) and soda bread are all pretty standard. However, when it comes to Irish Stew and broth family traditions are followed. Some make their stew with lamb or mutton, I make mine with shin of beef. When it comes to broth I have to follow my mother and use ‘our’ traditional ingredients.

This is not a cooking blog but this is one recipe I will share with you. If you chance to make this then I hope you enjoy the end result as much as I do……

To start you need chicken stock. If you have a chicken carcass then place it in a very large pot, cover in cold water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour. Strain the stock and you  have the basis of your soup; wash your very large pot and return the stock as this recipe will make a large pot! If you don’t have a chicken carcass then use some decent quality ready-made stock.

Once you have your stock then the chopping begins. I will give some instruction on the quantities but if you make this a few times you will know what balance you want to achieve with your broth. This is good, broth is a personal thing and  should end up how you want it.

Bring the stock back up to a good simmer and add 3 chopped onions. Then come the peas and soup mix that will give a real substance to the broth. You will need a cup and a half of soup mix and a cup of non-soak dried peas. You can use the peas that require soaking, the only thing you have to remember is that they need to soak for a few hours before you start. Some of you may be asking at this point what soup mix is. Soup mix consists of barley, lentils and small split peas and adds flavour and oomph to the broth.

Once you have added the onions and soup mix leave to simmer for about 30 minutes. I use this time to prepare the rest of the vegetables and herbs to be added. Be warned, you are about the enter the chopping zone!

You will now need – carrots, parnsips, leeks, parsley and celery. I use 4 large carrots, 3 large parsnips, 3-4 leeks depending on size and a large bunch each of parsley and ‘baby’ celery. If you can’t get the young leafy celery then use 3 stalks of celery but chop quite finely. Chop the carrots, parsnips and leeks into medium pieces. Chop the parsley and baby celery finely; I use only the parsley ‘flowers’ but like to use the baby celery stalks as well as the leaves as they add real flavour.

Once the 30 minutes have passed add in all the above and bring back to a simmer. Add more water during this time if you feel the broth is too thick, again a matter of personal taste. In about another 30 minutes when the vegetables are tender your broth is ready and it will be mighty fine.

Then comes the eating, bliss! I will eat the broth as it comes but you may like to have hot crusty bread. Others love to add boiled potatoes to the broth as well; another good option. The best thing of all? Broth is always better on the second day if it lasts that long. The flavours come together and it will warm you from tip to toe. It may not look Michelin starred but for me, it has the taste that takes me back to childhood and will always bring me solace…..

We all have things that take us back to childhood in the best way and this is one of mine. Making and eating this lovely broth will always make me smile. Sometimes we need to smile and when I do I will make this. I am keen to hear what takes you back and makes you smile; perhaps you will come and tell me?

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

November 6, 2010 at 1:50 am 2 comments


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