Apparently we’re now in a preserve war…

Posted in Food and Drink on August 31st, 2009 by Coffee

Megan seems to think that we’ve thrown down the oven-glove, and we’re now in a battle of the preserves. Let the battle begin!

Our effort  today  was a chilli and tomato jam.


It was a bit of a fluke that we had this on hand ready made though. I’d actually pulled the page out of our massive folder of recipes as it told me what type of spinach that we could plant his late in the year. A few hours later Bec pointed out that it had a chilli jam recipe on it. I have no idea how I missed that! Good job we had all the ingredients on hand…

Over to you Megan, beat that!

With a “significant other” like this….

Posted in Rants And Rambles on August 31st, 2009 by Coffee

We always like to cook ourselves something yummy on holiday weekends we spend at home (to make up for not tasting exotic cuisines from a foreign city while on a weekend break). That meant a trip to the posh supermarket on Saturday morning to stock up on completely unnecessary but yummy things to get us though the long weekend.

On the way back down to the tube on the escalator Bec was standing on the higher step behind me. Suddenly I hear this voice full of absolute glee say…

 “Do you know, I think you’re getting a bit of a doughnut to go with your receeder! [ni-eghhhe-heeehe!…]”

That’s right, kick a man when he’s down!

The thing that’s really hard to get across in the written word is just how much glee was in her voice at the time. If I said “lots”, it would still be a massive understatement!

And she wonders why I refuse to get a haircut… Sigh.

We will not be outdone!

Posted in Food and Drink on August 30th, 2009 by Coffee

We refuse to let Megan try to score any bonus blogging brownie points by documenting the making of jam.

So today we managed to use up all the courgettes that we would otherwise have thrown out in a few days by making another batch of courgette chutney.The fact that we had to go and buy a whole lot of apples that we’ll probably end up throwing out in a few days in order to get the one apple we needed for the recipe  is beside the point!
Actually, I’ve just  looked back and found out that it was at exactly the same time last year that we made the last batch. I guess we are as boring as we think we are! No puzzles were done this year though, so maybe we’re slightly more exciting than last year.

Or maybe it’s just that the  weather’s been a bit better this year!

Whatever. Anyway, this batch of chutney has turned out a heap darker than last year’s, but I swear we did nothing different. I guess we’ll just have to wait a few weeks to see how it’s going to taste!


Some Dim Sum?

Posted in Food and Drink on August 30th, 2009 by Coffee

As we’d gone to all the trouble to get the steamers yesterday we thought we’d better use them!


We’ve passed what we worked out was another Asian supermarket close to here many times on our local bike trips, but never gone in to see what they had.  Today we did, and got a few dim sum type dishes for our Sunday brunch along with a few other bits and pieces. Most of which needed to be steamed. Perfect!


Yum! And now we know it’s there, we might be making more use of the local Asian supermarket….

A different view

Posted in London, Rants And Rambles on August 30th, 2009 by Coffee

It’s the last long weekend until the end the year here this weekend, so we’ve been trying to make some use of it and the nice-ish weather to couple some chores with some fresh air and exercise.


So yesterday we jumped on the bikes and went to have a look at the Thames Barrier. “That’s hardly far from your place”, I hear those of you that have been here say. But if you look really carefully at the above picture you might spot that it has been taken from the other side of the river!

Luckily we didn’t have to swim across towing our bikes.  Just a bit further east is a dinky little roll-on-roll-off ferry that shuttles backwards and forwards across the river.  Of course we got the timing completely wrong both ways, getting to it just a little late, and had to wait for a whole crossing to complete before we could jump on, but that gave us time to make friends in the queue with a guy playing some primo reggae Floyd on his car stereo.


The “chore” part of the whole exercise was to go and get some bamboo steamers from an Asian cash and carry in North Greenwich, but as it was our first time exploring down there a tour we took the long way. Which started getting a bit long for one of us (someone was a little cranky now and then), but we got there in the end and got our steamers. And somehow a collection of little bowls fell into the trolley too.  Hmmmmmm.

We took the shorter way home (but still had to wait for the ferry…)!

A forest on our balcony…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on August 29th, 2009 by Coffee

As I seem to be earning a few blogging Brownie points by filling in some of the silence as Jo seems to be taking a well earned rest, so here’s another small filler for you. Meet our lettuce trees!


Unfortunately this is the  last ever sight of them, as the tall lettuce trees have pretty much gone to seed and it tasted pretty horrible. So they’ve been cut down and chucked away. Hopefully the little ones that were planted a few weeks later is still ok.

The rocket’s also started to flower, so I think we’ll have to try that tomorrow and see how it tastes…

Coriander Confession Time…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on August 26th, 2009 by Coffee

I think it’s about time we ‘fessed up. For quite some time now we’ve reverted to buying coriander to meet our cullinary needs.

I think the combination of completely the wrong pot, the parsely for a pot-mate, and our occasional forgetfulness with regard to watering them on some of the hotter days meant that we never really managed to stop the plants bolting.

On the upside, it has meant that we’ve managed to get a few coriander seeds for the next curry that needs them!


Separating all the seeds from the chaff today by swirling a plate around took me right back to trips to the old goldmines when we were schoolkids too. It was almost even fun!

First real 2009 harvest…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on August 16th, 2009 by Coffee

It was about time that I cleared off a few of the ripe chillis so that hopefully the plants will keep producing more and more flowers and therefore chillis. And we also decided it’s a nice night to munch on Bec’s first two red peppers (they’re at the bottom of the pic, obviously)

Note: that is a dinner plate, not a bread and butter plate!

The big green ones are the Anaheims, and the little red ones are Chilli Bombs.

Yum! And best part is there are still many, many more out there!

God save our gracious Queen….

Posted in London on August 15th, 2009 by Bec

Well, today I became a British citizen!

The last stage in the long, long process (well to be honest once I was allowed to put my application in that only took five weeks, it was just getting through the qualifying period that took so long, especially as they kept changing the rules) was a ceremony at one of the local council offices where you do your swearing and collect the all important citizenship certificate.

I was even slightly nervous waiting for my ceremony, though I’m still not sure why?  I even managed to convince Mike to come with me. Actually I didn’t have to do that much convincing as he thought it was a good idea that someone could bring a camera along and take photo’s to mark the event.

It’s an interesting little event. There was a huge mixture of people from different cultures.  I feel sorry for the Registrar trying to correctly pronounce all the names (she did a pretty good job though)… Especially as mine and only one other person’s were basic English names (there were about 25 of us).

So after we listened to some councillor talk about joining the local family and also about the local community or something, off I went to swear allegiance to the Queen.  Then after some photo’s with the councillor and Mike (who (the councillor, not Mike) was quite particular about where you placed your hands when holding your certificate) that was pretty much it .

So now I am officially a British citizen.

You may be wondering why there is no picture with this post as that was pretty much what Mike came along for? Well that’s because Mike left the memory card for the camera sitting attached to the PC after taking the shots of the swimmers this morning… hee hee hee!!!

How the other half picnic….

Posted in Rants And Rambles on August 15th, 2009 by Coffee

We seem to be catching up on or posting quite a bit on news this weekend!


Last weekend we had another surprise package of a weekend.  A trip up northwards (just a little bit) to attend the first concert that we’ve been to in ages. It wasn’t quite the sort of crowd or concert that we’ve been used to in the past. I can honestly say that this is the first concert where I’ve seen cut-crystal champagne glasses and silver cutlery arranged on a linen tablecloth, along with a 7 candle candelabra!


What concert? It was Jools Holland and guests playing in the grounds of Belvoir Castle  (pronounced, apparently, “beaver castle” – go figure!). And very good they were too. Bravo (how very English of me)! But… the music for us was almost overshadowed by the fun of people watching. A hugely mixed crowd there, from family groups with young kids to family groups with older kids to groups of 20 somethings to groups of 40, 50 and 60 somethings. And everything in between. Including a hen’s night of about 20 women right next door to us.


The most entertaining bits of the night were pretty much at the beginning and the end.  The beginning because we arrived to find a queue about 400m long of people all carrying tables, chairs, chilly bins etc. While us boys waited with all the gear, the girls duly trotted to the back to queue and mark a place for us. This was the strategy that most people arriving followed. So very English to have that many people queuing so nicely without any sort of stewards etc. around to tell people what to do (which would probably just have made things a complete disaster).

I did say “most people” didn’t I?  One family arrived and the mother took one look at the queue and said something like “that’s a ridiculous queue. I’m not joining that.” in a fairly posh English accent, and marched herself and her family up to the front and just barged in. Then she somehow managed to find some way to completely ignore anyone who tried to politely point out that she might have, you know, jumped the queue just a little?… I still can’t quite believe they got away with it, and I’ve no idea what that taught her kids about how to behave.

Luckily the queue moved pretty quickly anyway and we managed to get in and settled well before anything demanding our attention was happening.

The end was equally entertaing as  finding the car in the car park in the dark at the end of the concert was a bit of a mission, but once enough cars had cleared out of the way we managed to track it down. I assume the trip back was smooth. I was asleep for most of it!

And another highlight was Bec’s attempt at opening some Cava…  She reckons she’s never opened a bottle of bubbly where the cork goes flying out.  And we had no idea what direction it went flying in either.  I just hope nobody ended up in A&E due to a cork in the eye!

It helped with the overall enjoyment that the weather was perfect for it too, although we seemed to have forgotten how much cooler the nights get in the countryside. We were very grateful for the rug to cover our knees…

On the way towards the train station on Sunday we called in on another local event. A raft race in “the Deepings”  . Apparently this used to be a regular event, but after a couple of years off they seemed to have forgotten what was meant to happen for a while. Which meant that seemed to be running very late, so we saw very few rafts, and even less racing before we had to leave to catch the train back to London. But it didn’t matter.


The village was lovely to walk through, the air fresh, and the fish and chip lunch was probably one of the nicest we’ve had for ages.

There was even nice little fair type thing on the main st.  I managed to actually hit some of the sweets with the cork air pistol thingee and knock them off so I could take them home.  Twice!


Thanks, Liz & Dave, for a great weekend!