Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Rat Bag

There was I, cleaning out and refilling the cat litters that are housed in the lean-to/garden room.  Long, boring job.  Cats Best litter, bin liners, poly roll, lavender and orange smelling Dettol, mop and bucket and iTunes..all at the ready.    Junior won't do this task, even though half the mogs are hers...unless she is rewarded handsomely and I cross her palm with a ridiculous amount of money.  (Last time she wangled twenty quid out of me for fifteen minutes work. )  No minimum wage for that one!

So, instead of giving Ms Trump I am hard at work and the mogs wander in and eye me up..  I know this behaviour.  It's called 'hovering and then going for it'.  They dive into the cleaned out litters and leave me a 'present' now and again..instead of waiting until I'm finished!  It's like...'Hurry up...I'm desperate..sorry, gotta go!'   lol

Well, I am nearly done.  Last litter just to put down.  I turns round, distracted by some Junior question.  Then..the 'aroma'.   Oh shit....not again!

Then, I spot it and her!    Muppet..by name and muppet by nature..has kindly left a pressie...where the litter usually is.  Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh!  Well, at least it was 'firm' and not like 'soup' this time!    She hasn't been well lately and I thought she was 'on her way out', if you get my meaning.  Rasping with her breathing, snoring, dribbling and crapping 'outside the box'.  I put it down to imminent departure time and have been spoiling her rotten and she's been milking it for all its worth.  I hate smug cats sometimes.   Sigh.   Well, think she has developed nodules in her nose and that explains her 'noise'.  She has the Darth Vader sound!  You can hear her Darth Vadering around the house.

Anyway, before I can get myself together, she stares at me as she wanders off into the house and gives the 'Can't get the staff' look.  Ooooooooooooooooo!
Rat Bag aka Darth Vader is at the back.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Our Ratatouille

When the kids were small I used to make this.  They loved it, apparently!  I had the ingredients to hand last night....needed using up to be honest, so we had this with gnocchi.  Very yum.  All meat-free.

I don't really do exact measurements..lol..  Takes about half an hour start to finish and we end up with about 4 cereal bowls full.


Aubergine - 2
Courgettes - 2 large
Onions - 2 large
Peppers - 2 ..roasted in oven while you are sauteeing veg - I use the red pointy ones..cheaper.
Mushrooms..I use normal shrooms -  200g punnet  We like them!!
Garlic..chopped - 2 cloves
Fennel Seeds..chopped - teaspoon
Dried Parsley, Basil - teaspoon each
Salt and Pepper - to taste
Tetra pack of passata
Squirt of tomato puree
Bit of water to loosen if too stiff
Olive oil for sauteeing the veg
Tsp sugar
Knob of marg/butter


Put the peppers in the oven so the skins blacken a bit.  Should take about 15/20 mins.
Chop the veg up.  I have them all roughly the same size.
Fry up the aubergine, slowly in the oil.  It soaks oil up really quickly, so add water if it gets dry.
Add the chopped fennel seeds.  These really make a difference.
Add onions, then chopped garlic.  Sautee for a few minutes to soften.  Don't let it colour
Add courgettes and mushrooms.  I like the courgettes to have a bit of a bite in the finished dish.
Add the dried herbs, salt and pepper.  Stir for a few minutes.
Add the passata and a bit of water if it's too thick.  I don't like my ratatouille too watery.
Add the tomato puree and stir in, with the sugar.  Sometimes,  tomato can be a bit tart, so that's why we add sugar...but you don't have to.
Let it simmer for 10/15 minutes.
Meanwhile....take the peppers out of the oven .  The skins should be blackened.  Pop them on a chopping board and the skins should come off easily.  They will, obviously, be hot, so use a serrated knife and fork to get the skins off and scrape out the seeds.  You don't want these in your finished dish.   I know people say stick them in a pastic bag or cover with clingfilm so they steam up..but I think it's too much of a fiddle and the skins come off pretty easily my way...doing a Frank Sinatra here!  lol
Chop up the peppers roughly and add to the stew.  (I know it's a faff, but the peppers taste differently done this way.  Creamier.   None of the burpy repeats, if you get my meaning, that you get with raw or braised?  Raw pepper gives me that aftertaste!  Yuk. )
Add a knob of butter or marg..it gives it a bit of a creaminess.
Adjust your seasoning and serve.
Don't have it boiling hot.  Let it cool a tad.  Tastes better then.
We had ours on gnocchi with chopped up mozzarella cheese.
I had some today with a 'buttered' mini baguette and some chunks of mozzarella plonked in the stew.  (we had mozz that needed using up)

I suppose you could blend the stew, if you have any 'Bits of veg in my food' haters and use it as a sauce.  lol   I should think that you'd be able to freeze it.  Put  a freezer bag inside a plastic container.  Pour in the Ratatouille and seal.  Keep in the container.  Put them in the freezer.  When frozen you can take the bag out of the box and the bag containing the stew will stack up nicely in the freezer and you can use the box again.  That way you get to store frozen stuff of the same size in nice portions.   Easier to keep in the freezer in an ordered way.  I hate it when you open the freezer door and stuff comes shooting out because everything is frozen in odd shapes.

Oh my God....I'm getting organised!  lol...not enough to post a piccie, though.  You all know what a bowl of ratatouille looks like, don't you?

Saturday, 9 February 2013


If there are any vacuum cleaner manufacturers out there who want their machines testing PROPERLY...send them here.

We have managed, in the last 3 years, to kill off 6 of the blessed things, including a Vax and a Dyson with another that may well be heading for the same fate in the very near future.  Ack..  Not good. 

Come on you vacuum cleaner inventor people..make something that's gonna last!  And get real people who live in real homes to do the testing.

My little, lovely, slender Junior is the Major Tester here..with a little help from The Mogs.  Say no more.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

I know it's the right thing to do

Bought Junior a blummin top of the range laptop.  FOR HER EDUCATION.  Not for Crimble.

It is pink.  She likes pink......

I just happened to be ordering it on 't'internet' as she walked by.

'Ooooo...look at this'...says moi.   'Lovely colour'.

She informs me that she prefers the blue....after I'd pressed 'Send' and ordered the pink!!  Arghhhhhhh and bloody Bollocks!!

Well, no worries.  New laptop..up to the minute technology and all that.  Bound to impress.....?

Nope...No interest.  She prefers her phone for all the techy stuff.   Arggggggggghh x a million (don't know how to do the indices stuff on here).

So, we have come to an agreement.

She can have my tablet (sob) and I will have the laptop (blub).  She can peruse stuff without needing a magnifying glass...and can print stuff up via our new wireless printer that, I might add,  I connected up ALL BY MYSELF!  Woo hoo.  Not bad for an old git like me.

Seriously, tablets...way to go.  I watch (or used to) watch BBC iPlayer and all manner of things in bed, at night, in peace..all comfy and warm...mogs slumbering, comfy, happy on the bed..peace.....and then plop it down at the side of my bed.  Night night everyone.   NO SUCH THING WITH LAPTOP.    Too heavy to plop at side of bed..  Need to unplug,  so the 'Get out of comfy, warm bed' thing comes into play...then there's the 'put it somewhere safe that is mogproof' thing.  Sigh... Not good when brain is half asleep.     So....if anyone dares question my integrity regarding Junior's home edding...then...   Grrrrrrrrr.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


OK.  Been after doing this one for AGES.....

The DIY Vanilla Extract Experiment.

Ready made costs a BLIDDY FORTUNE!!  I REALLY hope this works.  Vanilla extract is a nice addition to baking.

So..wandered around Tescos tonight,  trying to spot the cheapest bottle of vodka...Tell you..hanging around the spirits aisle is hard work.  Why did I have a guilty conscience?  lol  All those beady eyes watching you as you peruse the prices.... Was wanting to tell folk 'It's not for me...just for the experiment'.  sigh

Well...chickened out... the prices were more than I was willing to dosh out for anyway..so we ended up at our local 'Convenient but over-priced' local supermarket.  Well...£10.65 for a full bottle.  Obviously, lots of vodka heads live here!

So...tomorrow....vanilla pods will be split and plonked in the alcohol.

Only have a 6 month wait to see it it's successful. (3 months minimum, 6 months for the good stuff)

If I ever get to Ukraine, shall bring a few bottles back!  lol  Mum and Dad brought some back when they visited in 1991 and, I tell you....nothing compares.  It is SO beautifully smooth..nice..bestest stuff ever.

Don't drink it anymore, although it's very nice with coke..as in coca cola...  Too moorish.     French red wine nowadays,  pour moi.