30 May 2011

Updating the Kitchen Utensils

It gets boring cooking the same thing over and over again. Even watching Master Chef didn’t inspire me to create more interesting dishes. However, I was impressed by the 15 year old boy who won this year’s Britain’s Best Dish contest, earning high praise from the top chef at the prestigious Savoy Hotel who proclaimed the dish to be faultless; £10,000 cash, and an apprenticeship at the Savoy…. the latter because of the impact made on the Savoy chef in not only cooking but designing the winning dish. This was the dish:

Vanilla friande served with amaretto cream, fromage blanc sorbet and blueberry compote

My trouble is I’ve been out of action in the kitchen for nigh on twelve months. The visit by Arth Ritis played havoc with the joints, very limiting when there’s heavy pots and roasting dishes to handle. Then, when I got back in the swing I couldn’t remember what I used to cook. It’s been sausage and mash, fish and chips, and lots of other easy stuff. So while my Guy was away in Australia I went shopping, not for food but for ridged fry pans and other vessels with which to improve the daily diet.

I’m pleasantly surprised by the fry pan. All of a sudden my meat is succulent and really tender and fish is to die for. No more oven or grill cooking for this little gal. Even the casseroles taste better when done on the hob, although I did manage to do a sausage casserole in the top oven, using a smaller dish that was easier to handle.

I went mad at the garden centre as well. I now have rocket lettuce, basil, rosemary, chives, parsley and apple mint growing in pots on the window sill along with numerous trays of sprouting seeds. Along with hardboiled eggs and the sweetest and tiniest tomatoes I’ve ever eaten the salads are now tasting like a salad should.

Mind you, we still eat the occasional scrumptious meat pie. Having found one we really like it is hard not to buy them occasionally. Okay, okay, once a week isn’t bad, is it?

Having spent money on cooking utensils, I went into overdrive and bought more stuff for the house. Since the country was in the middle of a heat wave I needed something to cool me down during the night. A spate of local burglaries was instrumental in scaring the neighbours so we followed the police recommendation that all windows be kept shut at night. Since the burglar(s) had climbed through open windows I definitely didn’t feel like sleeping with the windows open.

After two nights of profuse sweating, I decided to buy a fan. Not your ordinary little fan, oh no, I went the whole hog and bought a tower. When he arrived home and viewed the acquisition Hubs thought I was mad. I’ll never sleep with that thing on, he said. But he does. Deafness means he doesn’t hear the gentle, repeat gentle, noise and although he hasn’t said as much I think he appreciates the cool breeze that floats like a wave over his hot little body. A good feature is that the fan has a timer so it switches off when we’re in the Land of Nod.

Heehee I bought clothes as well but I used my own cash for those purchases. I didn’t want to incur any wrath, you see. I’d spent enough! The reason for the new clothes? I’d lost so much weight I literally had nothing to wear. Everything looked enormous on my now sylph-like figure (Hmm!) so a shopping spree was essential. Honest! Now I’m having a great time parcelling the oldies ready for the charity shops. I’d better watch it with the cooking or I’ll be putting it all back on. The charity shops are much too far away to fetch back all my gear.


  1. I love cooking but I do get times when I can't think what the hell to make!

    A spending spree is a great tonic occasionally isn't it? :)

  2. whoa now that is a shopping spree...smiles...glad the food is on the better side...that makes a lot of other things more least in my book...smiles. happy monday val!

  3. Oh, I am sooooooooo jealous because I have neither a talent for cooking or growing things.

    Valerie, that salad sounded HEAVENLY! Yummmmy!

    And speaking of a heat wave and a fan...we just got our first heat wave here in Philly, and I've had to use my ceiling fan for the past few nights because it's been so hot, and I refuse to put my A/C on until at least the middle of June.

    Glad you had a great time on your shopping spree!

    Happy Tuesday, dear lady!

  4. Kitchen utensil shopping? How fun is that?! I have a grill pan like that and we use it quite often....especially on rainy days when we can't use the grill OUTSIDE!

    Congrat's on losing the'd you do it?

  5. Valerie, lucky you and I think it's wonderful that you've lost weight and need some new clothes because of it. I truly look forward to that day and every day I keep trying.

    It's hot and muggy here now and will be for the foreseeable future, but I don't want to put the air-conditioning on as the electricity bill shoots through the roof. We have our fans running at night. Fortunately when we moved into the house 20 years ago all the bedrooms and the family room had had ceiling fans installed and they are absolutely wonderful. The one over our bed keeps us nice and cool at night and neither of us really hear that quiet hum as other-half can sleep through anything, and my hearing isn't the best these days anyhow, and in this case it is a plus ;)

    Your new cooking pans look great. I have a lot of cookbooks and now I have the food blogs, but there are still some days where I don't know what to fix. Congrats to that young man on winning his prize and apprenticeship. For someone so young that is quite an achievement. I bet his parents are proud of him.

  6. Good for you Val.....I like the look of that fry pan and smiled at hubs thinking re the fan. As far as the clothes go I am with you there, I am down 20 and 1/2 pounds and had to purchase a few new outfits myself. Doctor said today not to loose anymore but I honestly want to loose 10 more. I like how well I feel with the weight off. I do wish the arthritis pain would go away with the weight but I guess I can't have everything.....:-)

  7. I love to shop for anything,but I especially enjoy
    Buying kitchen gadgets...

    So how did you lose the weight ?

  8. That's a fun shopping trip. You're a lucky gal! I'm still trying to recover from my crazy smoking incident in my kitchen with my grill pan. LOL


If you're new to A Mixed Bag you might find something to interest you, a bit of mirth, a story or two, or some pictures. I'm so pleased you popped in, do leave a comment if you have time.