Viva The Kitchen Liberation! Celebratory Pearl Barley Risotto

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No rest for the wicked – even though it’s the week-end it’s up early to let the plumber in to start work on connecting the new bedroom radiators. The plumber obviously needs my expert advice which leaves Petula free to wander off to get the papers in the lovely morning sunshine. The morning was devoted to an early spring clean in the kitchen to get rid of the remaining dust and general grime. Then it was fit to prepare a proper lunch of hummus, salads and toasted rye bread. Normal service has been resumed.

Cracking Hummus Salad

Cracking Hummus Salad

The plumbers been and gone and the house is now nice and toasty. I’ve spent the afternoon putting back all the floorboards, being careful not to screw through the nice new shiny copper pipes. Meanwhile Petula has decided to try out one of ‘A Girl Called Jack’ recipes, a Pearl Barley, vegetable and cream cheese risotto. It was delicious – using pearl barley gives it a lovely chewy, nutty flavour and is a healthier grain than the short grain rice that is normally used in risotto. It’s gone down in the magic book of recipes to be re-visited in the future. Jack Monroe’s Recipe Here.

A Hectic Day Ends With A Bowl Of Soothing Pasta

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Chilli Lentil Pasta

Chilli Lentil Pasta

The builders arrive at 08:00, a rushed bowl of cereal and out of the door for an appointment at 08:45. When we returned an hour later it was off to the last undisturbed bedroom to take up the floorboards and notch the joists ready for the plumbers arrival tomorrow morning. The only lunch that was easily to hand were a few crackers and cheddar cheese plus a low fat yoghurt with some mashed banana, then I was once again back at work. The builders were under strict instructions, under pain of death, to finish off all work in the kitchen before they left for the day. Darkness descended and yay, yay and thrice yay the kitchen was liberated! Petula dashed in and pulled together a scratch meal consisting of a can of green lentils plus spinach, in a tomato and chilli sauce all served with wholewheat pasta. It was a delicious treat. We can return to normal tomorrow – although builders will still be here until Wednesday – just not in the kitchen!!!!

Out and about…

Out and About

Out and About

Dispatches from the Home Front – Cheese to the Rescue

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Don’t you feel like this sometimes?

Sometimes We All Feel Like This

It’s been a difficult week

Disaster, the fridge is covered over with a dust sheet, the cooker is nowhere to be seen and as far as I can tell there is no food! How will I make it through the day and more importantly how is Petula going to get us through such a dark time. It looks like the builders will be around for a few more days yet – and to make matters worse the plumber will be here all week-end! So many things for me to worry about while I hoik up the bedroom carpet in preparation for it’s replacement next week – it’s all go at the moment! A call to lunch, that’s a relief, and as if by magic another yummy sandwich appears on my plate. Voila, a cheese, tomato, rocket and pesto sandwich to the rescue – marvellous.

Cheese, Tomato and Pesto Sandwich

Cheese, Tomato and Pesto Sandwich

After lunch it’s back to watching the builders and trying to establish when we’ll get access to the kitchen – another day yet. So, there’s only one thing to do, we’re off out to dinner and as it turned out we had a rather nice fish pie with some perfectly cooked veg – yum. Normal service will resume soon – I hope.

The Great Escape – With A Warm Potato and Egg Salad

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Warm Salad with Potatoes, Eggs and Olives

Warm Salad with Potatoes, Eggs and Olives

After a rather slow start this morning (maybe I shouldn’t have had the one last pint last night, I know, I know, not very healthy- but not very often either), lunchtime approached only to realise that the whole kitchen was now a no go area as it was covered in dust and dust sheets. So we took an executive decision to entrust the builders with the house on the proviso that they didn’t reduce it to rubble whilst we were gone – we then made our great escape to our favourite café where we had a very superior slice of quiche and a salad.  As it was a beautiful day, we then went for a long healthy walk along the beach.

The Great Escape

The Great Escape

Back to full health, I decided to help the builders with a bit of plastering – they did look pleased! After the builders had left we set about finding the cooker so the meal preparation could get under way. Tonight the quick meal of choice was a delicious warm salad with eggs, potatoes and olives Recipe Here.

In Cod we Trust!

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Baked Cod and Roast Parsnips with peas and pak choi

Cod and Roast Parsnips with peas and pak choi

It turns out that replacing your windows in the middle of winter makes the house as cold as you would imagine! So we’re hunkering down for a long haul. To create a good inner glow we started with a fortifying bowl of porridge with added raisins, cinnamon, chopped apple and a dollop of natural yoghurt. After that, several fun hours were spent this morning learning how to tie a bow tie in preparation for an upcoming black tie wedding. This little task was the cause of more frustration than I have known for a long time and the tie very nearly ended up on the fire! In retrospect it is hard to understand why it was so difficult. Meanwhile, Petula had to step lively to avoid the builders booby traps en route to the kitchen, but she came up trumps with a rather nice sandwich of garlic cream cheese, sliced beetroot and rocket all wrapped up snugly in wholemeal bread.

Garlic Cream Cheese with Beetroot and Rocket

Garlic Cream Cheese with Beetroot and Rocket

This evening, due to Petula’s limited kitchen access, she has decided to go for the fall back option of cod in breadcrumbs, baked in the oven with roast parsnips (NOT chips – even though they look like it!), peas and the rest of the pak choi (which featured a couple of days ago!). At least a silence has now descended on the house and, as I’ve been enticed out to the pub with some local friends, Petula will get some peace at last!

Marooned – With Roast Vegetables and Tofu for Company

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Roasted Vegetables with Tofu

A Really Tasty Roasted Vegetables with Tofu

The window fitters are back for a few more days so it looks like I’ll be marooned in the house for a while yet.  I’m slightly concerned about Wednesday and Thursday as it seems that Petula will only have restricted kitchen access!

Today I’m keeping myself busy making new wardrobe doors to replace the old mirrored ones (does anyone like that style?) and it seems to have gone quite well – a little bit more work and then some paint!  The lunch bells gone and it turns out that I’m having a rather nice egg mayonnaise and salad sandwich for lunch.

Egg Mayonnaise and Salad Sandwich

Egg Mayonnaise and Salad Sandwich

Lunch break over, time for a quick walk and then back to finish the wardrobe doors. Meanwhile back in the kitchen Petula is busily creating roast vegetables and tofu for dinner, this was absolutely delicious and definitely recommend it (if you’re not vegetarian, these roasted vegetables are equally delicious with a piece of chicken or fish) Recipe Here.

Winter Sun and Teriyaki-Style Salmon

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Teriyaki-style Salmon

Teriyaki-style Salmon

It’s a sunny day – fantastic!  Once our weekly pilgrimage to Waitrose is over, and following another celebratory cappuccino at the Italian café, it’s going to be a day of walks along the shore – my favourite activity.  But first we have lunch, which today is vegetarian sausages (soya based) seasoned with sage and pepper in finger rolls.  If you look closely you’ll see that the rolls are laced with tomato sauce.  This means that butter is not required and the onions are fried in just a little rapeseed oil, so the whole thing is not as unhealthy as it might first appear!  Petula would have preferred to find some wholemeal rolls but sometimes you have to go with what is available.  And I have to tell you that these sausages are really yummy!

Veggie Sausage Hot Dogs (Soya Based) with Onions and Tomato Sauce - Very Tasty!

Veggie Sausage Hot Dogs (Soya Based) with Onions and Tomato Sauce – Very Tasty!

Lunch cleared away and we’re straight off for a walk along our favourite beach, in some lovely winter sunshine no less!  And it really was a fabulous walk, fresh air, exercise and the sea, just the thing to build an appetite.  Back home, Petula pops straight into the kitchen to whip up yet another dinner – and it’s a treat, Teriyaki-style Salmon (based on a recipe from Waitrose) which we had with some wholewheat egg noodles – Recipe Here.

Teriyaki-style Salmon Teriyaki-style Salmon

Below is a picture of our favourite beach walk taken today in that fab sunshine.

Our favourite beach  to walk along!

Our favourite beach to walk along!

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