Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Eighth week

Up till now I've been posting my 2015 365 of photos on a separate blog, but, sadly, it's not getting many page views, and, although I write my blog for me rather than anyone else, I would feel happier if others were reading it too, so from now onwards it will appear here on Daisy Row instead. If you would like to see weeks 1-7 please look here.

Day 50

A daffodil in flower in the conservatory

Day 51

Crocus in flower just outside the back door

Day 52

Snowdrops, also just outside the back door

Day 53

Frost on the outside of the conservatory window

Day 54

GT came to visit, stayed overnight - his car in the morning

Day 55

Chicken curry in a home-made dopiaza sauce from a Slimming World recipe

Day 56

Soldiers and Sailors in the garden

How was your week?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Chicken Dopiaza

When my lovely neighbour, Sue, heard that I was attending Slimming World, she gave me this booklet (thanks Sue),

so when GM requested chicken curry for tea last night, rather than resort to the somewhat strenuous activity of opening a jar of curry sauce I decided to have a flick through the Indian section, and was delighted to find a recipe for my favourite:

Now, bearing in mind that I haven't made a curry sauce for quite some considerable time, I was delighted to find that I actually had, hidden in the back of one of my cupboards, all the necessary additions, as well as a couple of halves of onions and half a tin of chopped tomatoes in the fridge. Bingo. As this was a first attempt and only the two of us to eat it (and also as I already had the half tin of chopped tomatoes sitting waiting in the fridge) I halved all the quantities.

For the uninitiated, Dopiaza quite literally means double onion. The recipe actually called for half of the onion, together with the garlic and ginger, to be blended in a food processor, but I dont have one so I just chopped the onion and garlic as small as I could

and then popped them into the pan with the ginger

added a dash of water and cooked slowly for about 10 minutes until they were softish, then added the tomatoes,

the rest of the water and the other spices, and cooked slowly again for another 15 minutes or so,

When the first lot of onions were really soft it was time to add the second lot

and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.

While all this was going on I had cooked a chicken leg in the oven, which I stripped from the bone

added to the sauce

and gently warmed to make sure everything was at the same temperature before dishing up with some saffron rice, GM's preferred accompaniment.

I have to say that this sauce was absolutely delicious, it wasn't too hot, I guess if you prefer a hot sauce you could just up the necessary spices a little, but just right for my palate, with the added bonus of being completely syn-free. It will most definitely become a staple in our house, and next time I might try a slightly hotter sauce, although I dont think I'm quite ready yet to experiment with the vindaloo.

Friday, 20 February 2015

They've gone

For the past three and a half months the petrol station at the end of our road has been undergoing renovation, mainly to have new tanks installed. We were a bit apprehensive before the work started about the amount of disturbance that it might cause, but on the whole I have to say that the contractors have been really good - the only time we were aware of them being there was when they used a huge drill to break up the concrete forecourt in order to remove the old tanks, for a couple of days we could feel the whole house vibrating each time the drill was in action.

And yesterday morning I looked outside and saw this

which (I guessed correctly) meant that the portacabins they had been using as a site office and loos were about to be removed. I'm a bit of a freak for heavy machinery, so I couldn't resist another photo-opportunity - if you aren't that interested I really dont mind if you want to leave now.

Here is the first one being lifted and loaded

As I then had to go out I wasn't able to watch the second one being lifted, but from my studio window I could just see them preparing for the lift (as well as a whole load of moss on the roof of the conservatory!)

Later during the day I had an opportunity to pop round and have a chat with the site manager to compliment him and his crew on a job well done, and I know one person (GM) who will be happy not to have to walk down to town for tomorrow morning's newspaper.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Week Seven

. . . of my year in photos can be seen here

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Valentine's Day . . .

. . . for us is February 3rd, so yesterday was just a normal day, except that it was the first real opportunity this year for us to get out the back and do some work in the garden. I have been itching to do something to tidy up the really wild and overgrown wisteria on our pergola. Last autumn we cut it back really severely, but were still left with this:

so yesterday, armed with lopper, secateurs and a beer, we set to.

What I really wanted was a clean start, to get back to where I would be able to train it properly to cover the pergola and prune it for best flowering results. GM was under strict instructions as to where and where not to cut, and we ended up with just exactly what I wanted.

It may look a bit bare right now and still requires a little bit of fine tuning, but this stuff grows extremely quickly so I'm sure we'll have a few flowers and at least some shade this summer - watch this space.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

2015 a year in Photos

. . . is another of my blogs, which you can read here (please, pretty please).

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Send a Little Love Swap

Back in January I signed up for Mad About Bags' "Send a Little Love Swap" and I was partnered with the lovely Fat Dormouse.

FD and I swapped a few emails, finding out a little bit about each other, and then proceeded to gather together the items to send one another. We both posted our packages at the same time, and both received them on the same day (I forgot to take any photos of the things I sent, so you'll just have to keep an eye on FD's blog if you're interested)

I love receiving packages through the post, especially when they are from foreign lands - FD is an English lady living in France.

Inside the outer wrapping I found this,

so, being more than a little intrigued, I left the envelope until last and proceeded to unwrap the various other packages. One of the items to be included was something handmade, FD had told me that she likes to draw Zentangles, and was there a specific subject that I would like, so I suggested knitting, and just look what she has come up with, isn't it fabulous?

This will be mounted and framed and hung in my studio. I just love it so much.

Another item was to be heart-shaped or heart-themed, so this lovely little tray fitted that bill just nicely.

Something deliciously edible was another item to be included, but as I am currently attending Slimming World and successfully shedding weight, I specifically requested "no chocs" as I didn't wish to be tempted, so FD sent me a pack of delicious (and sugar-free) Vichy mints, as well as a fridge magnet depicting a huge Roquefort cheese (you can almost smell it from here, can't you?).

Something red, well FD also makes the most fabulous cards and she sent me a selection, a couple of which are red, and all of which are really, really lovely. (Scroll quickly past these if naked ladies are not to your taste.)

and last, but by no means least, FD included this lovely scarf, which has a very French feel to it, I love it, and will feel very chic with it draped sexily (ha ha) around my neck.

By then it was time to open the final envelope, inside which was a lovely long letter.

To say that I am delighted with my swap gifts would be an understatement, I am simply gobsmacked, both by FD's generosity and by her talent, so all that's left for me to say is a very big "Thankyou" to Tracy for organising this swap, and to FD "Merci beaucoup, mon amie".