Sunday 28 August 2016

Scrabbling around in the fridge

Yesterday the latest incarnation of Cheeky Bottom Soup made its appearance at Frugal Follies.  This time a scrabble around the fridge yielded yellow courgettes, green courgettes, tomatoes, runner beans and onions.  All bar the onions were free food from my own garden or the prolific gardens of friends,

I bunged the whole lot in a roasting tray with a glug of olive oil and a wallop of garlic and a plonk of pesto in a moderate oven for an hour, then blitzed them.  Some was combined with a little vegetable stock for lunch but the rest will be frozen without stock (to save freezer space) and pulled out in the winter when I need a reminder of summer sunshine.  

Friday 26 August 2016

Childhood Treats

Writing about pop yesterday started me thinking about childhood treats.  Pop was very, very rare back then.  It never appeared at home, only if we were out for a day and we called at a pub on the way home.  A bottle of fruit squash appeared at birthdays and Christmas but otherwise it was water or milk.

The oddest treat I can remember was sandwiches cut on the diagonal.  Let me explain.  In our house sandwiches were normally cut "square", i.e. the cuts were parallel to the sides of the bread.  Birthday sandwiches were cut on the diagonal, as most sandwiches are cut today.  Don't ask me why diagonally cut sandwiches were considered to be a treat: it's totally illogical but I think Mother was very crafty in making me THINK that they were a treat.

And maybe that's a skill which I need to re-learn, the skill of finding modest treats, inexpensive treats, simple ways of making things special.  Too often treats are associated with spending money rather than taking care or using imagination.  My current favourite treats of this sort are freshly ironed sheets and vegetables put onto the table in pretty serving dishes.

Anybody got any more ideas?

Thursday 25 August 2016


That's what it was called in the days of my youth.  Pop.  I can't remember when I last heard a youngster call cola/lemonade/fizz "pop" but that's what it is.  (Note for Americans lemonade means lemon fizzy here.  We also have old-fashioned lemonade which is more like yours.)

I'm a bit of an addict.  Actually I'm a lot of an addict.  I drink far too much of it.  Until a few years ago I was a tap-water-left-in-the-fridge-for-a-few-hours kind of gal but somehow the can of coke or lemonade has taken over my life.  Just as some people get into the habit of buying coffee out almost every day I'm in the habit of three or four cans of Coca Cola or Schweppes lemonade and cola is one of the few things where I am fussy about brands. 

Last night I had a Tesco order and was horrified to realise that of the £66 I spent £39 was for pop!  In my own defence I haven't bought any fizzy for two months but even then it is crazy.  I've now checked the fridge and the store cupboard and I have 140 cans having taken advantage of special offers.  

This lot has to last until the new year.  128 days.  The most shaming thing about this is that I can even think of it as a challenge.

Thursday 18 August 2016

Making the best of a disaster

I had a feeling of uncertainty each time I walked across the kitchen.  Something didn't feel quite right.  The vinyl flooring was lifting slightly.   Nothing major - or so I thought.

As I am planning on redecorating the kitchen this year I decided to ask the landlord to check.  So a chappie came.  You know the sort of chap.  Favourite phrase is "Tut, tut" uttered just after a rapid intake of breath.  Drives you crazy.

Unfortunately he couldn't even manage a "Tut, tut".  The kitchen floor will have to be replaced.  I am not looking forward to it.  Emptying a kitchen so that all the floor standing cupboards can be taken out is not a prospect which fills me with glee.  The thought of all that mess doesn't make me happy.

I don't know when all this joy will be visited on me.  The surveyor has to come and this will not be a cheap job so the landlord will need a budget.  Oh dear.

So, I have decided that one sensible thing would be to eat down my food stores to minimise the stuff which will have to be stored whilst the kitchen is out of commission.  Ah well, that should benefit the budget.  

And as the contractor will have to make good I won't have to pay someone to decorate the kitchen myself!  

Friday 12 August 2016

Comping update

Earlier this year I decided to have a go at doing on-line competitions.   You may remember that I won some fridge storage boxes but there have been other wins.

So far this year I have won, those fridge storage boxes, a one hour life coaching session (interesting experience), tickets to a West End show, tickets to a country show, a pair of "designer" trainers, two books, and my latest win, a selection of Milton hygiene products.

Now entering a competition for Milton products might seem strange for a childless woman in her sixties but the first prize was a whole-house spring-clean.   Anyone who knows my housekeeping habits would think that to be a good idea and the cousin whose daughter is expecting her baby will receive the products I don't need,  Can't be bad.

Further update  The postie has just been!  The Milton stuff has arrived but so has a parcel of books from a competition I didn't know I'd won!!!!  Postie enjoyed my glee.

Thursday 11 August 2016

Sometimes I quite like Amazon

Actually, my life would be a lot more difficult if it were not for Amazon but it's not really my favourite company.

A couple of weeks ago I received a parcel of stuff I hadn't ordered.  The address label was correct for me but I hadn't ordered the stuff and when I checked my account I hadn't been charged for it either.  So, grumbling under my breath at the necessity of wasting my time contacting the company, I started an on-line chat.  I won't go into details but the result was that I was asked just to keep the things or donate them to charity.  I think the total value of the things would have been about £30.

Two items went to the charity shop but with a big "Whoo Hoo" I kept the third.  It was a pack of Sugru.  Sugru is mouldable silicone which sets just by being exposed to the air.  I'd heard about it and wanted to try it and now I could do so at no cost.  The pack I got would have cost £12.99.

It is fantastic!  I mended the handle of the bowl of my Magimix.  I was making do with a bowl with a broken handle as a new bowl would have cost £42.12.  I had a lovely play with the sugru (it's just like playdoh!) and I've saved myself £42.12,  This is the handle with the repair - you may have to look extra hard to see it.  It has been through the dishwasher several times since it was repaired.

Quick update.  I've just had to contact Amazon about something marked as delivered but not actually received by me (the reverse of the above situation) and they have refunded my money and given me an extra month Prime membership in compensation.  The non delivered goods were worth £8 and an extra month prime is worth over £6 and I get my stuff anyway.  Thanks Amazon!