Monday, January 28, 2008

It's that time of year again

Did my tax return yesterday.

Posted it today.

I've never completed it early enough to post rather than hand deliver it before. What's going on?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I am still alive. Thanks for your concern. I did turn everything off before going to sleep - and left the bedroom door open for extra ventilation.

Turned out that when they'd turned the gas off the pilot light in the boiler had gone out. In retrospect this is something I probably should have thought about. So now I'm warm again. And can wash in hot water. (Though that does involve clambering over all the stuff from the kitchen that's now stored in the bathroom in order to actually get to the bath.)

I solved the lack of kitchen for cooking problem last night by spending it in the pub. Two bottles of wine (shared) and some crisps do a dinner make, no?


Monday, January 21, 2008


I have no kitchen.

I'm hungry.

This is not a great combination.

Builders started this morning and my previous kitchen is now lying in pieces in the garden. A fair amount of work has to be done before I will have a new one. Cooking will not be happening in the foreseeable future.

Edit (6pm):
I'm now cold as well as hungry. I asked them if my heating would work (they had to shut the gas off when removing the oven) and they went and got a part to seal off the pipe and said I'd be fine. Only whilst I can hear the boiler the radiators are still cold and I'm blowed if I know what to do. I've put another cardy on and am going out to get fish'n'chips.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Homemade Chutney

How long does homemade chutney last? I'm clearing out my cupboards and have found a jar that I remember making back in autumn 2000 (or possibly 2001). The bump on the lid is not popped up but I doubt there's a waxed disc. I think it's some variant of an apple or mixed fruit chutney though there's no label.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

2008 Reading Challenge

My new year's resolutions, such as they are, tend to be vague: get fit and healthy, be more organised etc etc. But one thing I had vaguely thought about doing this year is keeping track of all the books I read. And the various cultural things I do - visits to art galleries, exhibitions, concerts etc.

Reading Kathryn's blog today I discovered I'm not alone in this. I've signed up to the 2008 Reading Challenge and whilst I may not post about ever book I read (I figure that a) that's one resolution I'm sure not to keep and b) it would probably be quite tedious) I may attempt to list them here once a month - might be nice to look back on at the end of the year.

Listing the huge amount of trash I read may also make me so embarrassed that it might force me to read some decent literature as well :-)


Monday, January 07, 2008

Fish Provencale

...well that's what my step-mother called it, though I'm not sure about it's authenticity.

But still a stunningly simple and delicious dish. We had it for Christmas Eve at my folks and I liked it so much I reproduced it for the New Year's Eve supper I was hosting.

For me the weirdest thing is it's simplicity - just thyme as a flavouring. As I usually use heaps of spices and herbs I really had to restrain myself - but it really works - the flavour of the fish comes singing through. For the fish haters I made a veggie version with slices of aubergine and large mushroom.

Fish Provencale
quantities are for four - but there's room for a lot of give and take

Fry four chopped shallots and one crushed garlic clove until soft. Add 2oz quartered mushrooms and a tsp thyme (I used a small handful of stripped fresh thyme). Cook for a bit then add a tin of halved tomatoes. Bring to boil then simmer for 5mins or so. Season to taste.

Pour over haddock fillets (1/2-1 fillet per person), cover and bake in oven (Gas Mark 4) for twenty minutes.

Haddock numbers are declining these days so it's not the most ethical of dishes. I assuaged my conscience by buying line caught haddock from Iceland's "well managed and sustainable fishery" via Waitrose.