Fungi Friend or Foe

Our return from holiday saw our lawn littered with various autumnal fungi. Yellow boletes were in abundance, one variety edible…

Another quite poisonous!

If a blue hue appears after cutting or breaking! Steer clear, not good to eat!

I ended up binning the lot sadly, I just couldn’t get John in on the idea that the edible ones might just taste nice!

All destined for the bin!

Though on the other hand I also found a good amount of field mushrooms in the orchard!

I enjoyed these fried in butter on a piece of sourdough toast!

John on the other hand went for the shop purchased chestnut mushrooms. Also very tasty however.

On the subject of foraging still. My blackberry jelly that I made yesterday has set to perfection overnight. The recipe is certainly to follow!

Oh Dear Blackberry

Yesterday afternoon saw an 11th hour rush for the last of this year’s blackberry harvest. We all ventured down the driveway and into our small area of woodland to pick what was left of the crop in the hedgerows. I didn’t mind that many berries had already spoiled or been lost to the birds and insects as there were still many a kilogram deep frozen in the chest freezer from last year. Then I only made a small amount of jam, but this year I plan to make perhaps 14 x 320ml jars.

The kilo or so that we collected yesterday went into a large blackberry and apple crumble with apples collected from the orchard in the kitchen garden. We all enjoyed the crumble last night, warmed through with a good splosh of double cream. Enough left over for the children’s dessert tonight!

This morning I wrestled out the said frozen blackberries whilst defrosting the freezer and half have now been stewed and perhaps 50% of the pips removed. When it comes to jamming them with apple pulp and sugar later this week, I want a velvety texture with not too many pips! I am reminded that I haven’t done a jam recipe in a while, yet I have made a few jams of recent, however unreported as I believe I have covered the likes of damson and plum and Calvados in my writings already! However blackberry jam is pretty seasonal, so prepare for that in the next day or two!

Amritsar is home from school today due to feeling sick this morning. Tara shouted down this morning at 6am ‘Amritsar’s been sick Dadda, Amritsar’s been sick, Will she get the day off’? And yes indeed, she is at home today! We plan on scrumping for a few more apples a bit later before the others return home from school with Sindy.

Whilst defrosting the freezer, I noticed the sheer volume of frozen damsons this year! Our tree has been extremely bountiful! I am almost dreading the grape harvest next month as there is still a good amount of frozen grape juice frozen from last year too.

Ritzy is lying on one sofa playing with her iPad and I am lying on the other writing this diary entry, both dogs sprawling out beside me.

Lunch was a home made pea soup, very light, no potato to thicken and a piece of sourdough toast. Amritsar has been feeling much better since this morning, I think something light again for dinner and she should feel as right as rain for tomorrow’s classes.

Listening to Mozart’s ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’. Feeling relaxed, perhaps a bit sleepy even…

Hope you’re having a good Monday all.

Thank you for reading.

Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner

I spent this morning making a vat of bolognese for the freezer and tomorrow’s lunch. Then I turned my attention to dehydrating our basil plant in the microwave and adding some of the herbs to a ratatouille made with this years home grown produce! You might remember earlier this spring that I flatly refused to grow tomatoes, peppers etc this year. But one of our neighbours gave us a few small plants that he had grown from seed, so I took on the liability of watering them these past summer months, alongside the various herb plants and sunflowers that had been sown by the children.

Well the work done, plants wilting, autumn ahoy and I had the entire ingredients for one pot of ratatouille. Of course I needed to add a couple of onions from the farmers market and half a tube of tomato purée, but voila, here we are, a meal to be had after all that time and effort!!!

A couple of other meals from this last week added to this post. The ratatouille is to be enjoyed tonight by daddy and dadda, so a few preparation pictures were taken, including the children’s share that was just enjoyed with burgers in brioche. Caleb threw ratatouille on Aaliyah’s lap. She had been very happy having just dressed into her pyjamas early, massive screams were enjoyed throughout their meal…

Even though I have a dehydrator, I find that the microwave is best for drying fresh herbs. On this plastic plate is the entire plant of basil leaves that were starting to go a bit yellow and the stems were going woody!

Buzz for one minute intervals and massage with hand to let steam escape! When you think the leaves are dry enough, scrunch to dust and pass through a sieve to remove any remaining stalks.

30 minutes cooking time to reduce the sauce.

Place in a storage container or serve immediately,

Daddy and Dadda are having theirs this evening with salmon and fine beans!

Last night was chicken legs, mashed potatoes and loosely scattered petit pois, with a reduction of the degreased, seasoned chicken juices (and a little water) simply poured over the potatoes! Yummy.

Check out the new modern grey plates! Aren’t we posh! A bit of a Thai theme in this week’s menu. Tod Mun Pla (fish cakes) served with rice and sweet chilli sauce. And notice the basmati rice is shaped the same as the mashed potato in the previous picture! Simply done by using one of the children’s bowls from the previous picture to that. Just wet the inside of the bowl a little, pile in your potato or rice, compact down with a spoon and tip quickly in the centre of your plate. Dress your ingredients and sauce around the sides as you please!

The Chives were picked from the garden to adorn Giant Shrimp and noodle Tom Yum. One of my favourite dishes of all time. Bliss

That’s it for now. Have a lovely weekend all.

Back to School

Wednesday of this week saw the return to school by all five children. Tara and Amritsar have missed their school friends so very much over these last six months of lockdown.

At least one thing in our daily lives has returned to some kind of normal. Although, as you know, the new normal does not resemble the old normal at all. I fear that the fear of this virus will be with us for sometime to come.

Feeling Settled Now

The holiday over and a couple of days relaxing at home! Summer Bank holiday Monday here, not much going on! All playing with their screens or watching ‘Mr Magoo’! Daddy mowing his lawn, the dogs chilling beside me.

Another 10kg of Damsons brought in from our tree! I might just make some Damson jam later, perhaps tomorrow morning! Just the thought of de-stoning 1000 Damsons, not appealing!

A mountain of washing sat in the kitchen and lunch to prepare! How does homemade pea soup and a toasted cheese sandwich sound?

Still spending way too much time on Instagram! But still happy with my blog! ‘Another day in the life of’ still brings a smile to me as I hope it does to you.

On the subject of Instagram, a few more pictures to share from our Cornish holiday, hope you like them.

As ever thanks for reading…

Day 6, The Final Day!

Well, we just met local friends, David, Jo, Tara and hubby! The wetsuits are whirring away in the washing machine. Daddy has left, now 30 minutes, to buy the obligatory ‘fish and chips’, something a holiday is not fulfilled without!

Not a lot to say really, only that I appreciate your being there! You, the best people ever, the lovely ones that follow my blog! You are pretty wonderful people xx

Some random images to follow, including the fish and chips!

Caleb seems to be a little aloof!!!

Day 4, Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner

A very fish based menu this week! Being on the seashore this week has been very inspiring!

Sea Bass with roasted Jersey a royals and sugar snap peas

Crab cakes with lobster tail, spinach and fries

Simple skewered shrimp

Sautéed potatoes with plaice, muscles and samfire

Day 3, Friends Visiting For The Day

I sit here, early evening! The children running wild. That is 3 of them at least. Amritsar sleeping on the sofa in daddy’s arms, Aaliyah snoozing on the other sofa.

Friends Thea and a John left a little time ago with their four children after a day of mayhem and frolics, here in North Cornwall on the beach. Lunch was had, a walk on the windswept beach with almost cyclonic winds and drizzle to boot. Further grazing of the large left over buffet lunch and finally this period of exhaustion and the hope the children settle soon!

Now all wandering around like the drones from the matrix movie, just awaiting their pre programmed commands for finally settling!

All just heading to their rooms – kiss and hug later! Let’s look at an image or two of the day!

Thank you for reading!

Day 2, Golithia Falls

Just back from a day out to Golithia Falls near Bolventor. The home of the ancient travellers resting stop in Daphne du Maurier‘s famous novel of the same name, Jamaica Inn. Of course a hideous tourist trap serving miserable food and offering a dismal service to the unsuspecting fools that happen to stumble upon the windswept moors of Bodmin!

On our way back to the car, Thor hung back a little. He found a packet of something. A few rustling’s later caught up with something he was clutching tightly! Look dadda he whispers, look, a mouse, I found a mouse! I look down to find Thor coveting a tampon (new). The 4 women passing us noticed our conversation! Much laughing was had to be sure.

All now in their bedrooms shouting from the rafters! I’m sure, give it an hour or two, some peace and quiet for daddy and dadda.

Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner

Some fine dining options this week, though I am not sure that daddy always appreciates the trouble one goes to! But isn’t that the same in every house?

Wholewheat spaghetti with clams

Salmon en-croute with petit pois a la Francaise and butter braised Jersey Royal potatoes

Lamb Filet with dauphinois and garlic green beans

Pulled braised pork, beans, potatoes and crispy cracklings

Sea Bass and Prawns, purée peas and potatoes

scallop, black pudding, peas and dauphinois

A take on a cottage pie. Beef, 3 hours braised in a tomato and onion sauce, sliced potatoes and a mountain of grated cheddar.

Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner

Do you like Chinese Food? Daddy and Dadda absolutely adore it! The thing is, the local town has a pretty ropey take away, that is probably best avoided! Okay, so if you want to eat a decent Chinese menu, the only choice is to make it from scratch! Minus the MSG of course!

Always best served with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc!

Beef and black bean sauce

Egg fried rice

Stir Fried vegetables with soy and pepper

Chinese Broccoli in oyster sauce

Just be sure you don’t leave the dogs alone in the room as you are bringing it in from the kitchen

Another Visit from Jeanie the Tooth Fairy

A very happy Amritsar last night as 20 minutes before bedtime there was a surprise event! Her right small incisor finally gave way. It has been loose for some time now.

Once again there was a picture drawn for the illusive Jeanie, Amritsar’s tooth fairy to the good and righteous children of the land. Thankfully not a list of questions for her on this occasion. Daddy was grateful for that as he stole into their room at 11pm last night, in order to leave a shiny one pound coin!

I am starting to worry that sooner or later, the three little ones will start loosing theirs too! Oh dear, I’m thinking that we are going to be in for quite a bumpy ride!

Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner

Well, being a man of relatively few words nowadays, I have chosen to highlight another ‘Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner’.

Mind you, we have dined out thrice in these last 2 weeks or so! Fine dining in the Egyptian inspired tent at the Vineyard near Newbury amongst other gastronomic destinations that are not too far away from us in ‘The Shires’.

Always a memory of the years we holidayed on the ‘Costa del Sol’. Spanish Tortilla and Frits.

Though on this occasion, some of Dadda’s Triple cooked Chips!

A family staple of Red Shrimp Bisque, fine beans and boiled potatoes.

A Beef and Mushroom pie is always a good idea! Hold the milk or beaten egg on the pie topping. For that extra special, slightly blistered effect, brush with double cream before baking!

Spaghetti and Dadda’s meatballs are always well appreciated!

As you know, we love green beans and this dish of Lebanese green beans were an amazing side dish to Dadda’s Moroccan lamb (not pictured).

How do you serve Trout? I prefer simply.

Lamb filet with Dauphinois potatoes is worth pushing the boat out for. Though I should have used that pun on the previous Trout entry! Elevated of course with Dadda’s home made mint jelly. A condiment of pure bliss.

That’s all for now! The children are all well and today we are enjoying the garden in sunshine. There is talk about bike riding in a bit! Did I mention that both Aaliyah and Thor have started bike riding without stabilisers! Well done both of them.

Sunshine Blogger Award

Well, a big thank you to Ingrid from 

www.experimantsinfiction.com for putting me forward for the ‘Sunshine Blogger Award’. I love reading her posts. There is poetry, words of optimism and the most beautiful imagery!

The Rules Are:

1.Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.

2.Answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3.Nominate 11 people and ask them new 11 questions.

4.Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their posts.

5.List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award in your post.

Ingrid’s questions were:

1.Who is your all-time favourite writer?

You know what! I’m gonna say it! Charles Dickens. I love ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’ so much. But then again Oscar Wild’s ‘The Happy Prince’ melts my heart every time!

2.What is your all-time favourite poem?

My favourite poem has to be Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. It is such an epic story. And if truth be known I did live a few houses away from his blue plaque in London for many years! But can I add, my favourite quote from a poet is in fact Lord Byron ‘Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine’. Something we can all learn by…

3.What is your all-time favourite novel?

After some debate with John that non-fiction is not a novel, we googled and found out that it is! So my answer to this one is obvious. And that would be ‘Eighteen Moons’ my family story, quite unlike any other. Search Amazon for details. It really will fascinate you from cover to cover!

4.What is your favourite quote from a movie?

Well, another quote! My own personal favourite would be Ripley from the Aliens movie, ‘Get away from her you BITCH’! But John has just shared his and I smiled. So I am also including it in my answer! ‘When Harry Met Sally’ is the movie. And the scene at Katz restaurant on the lower east side. We dined there ourselves once and enjoyed the most amazing salt beef sandwich! In the movie, the character Sally emulates an orgasm whilst sat down to eat! The waiter stops at the table opposite and asks what the young lady would like. She replies ‘I’ll have what she’s having’! Lol

5.Can we save planet Earth from ourselves?

NO sadly.

6.Are you religious? If so, what religion do you follow? Tell me a bit about it, as I like to learn about different religions. 

No thankfully. But if truth be known, I’m a bit of a tree hugging pagan! Mother Nature is as high as it gets in the ‘Godly Realm’!

7.What languages do you speak?

I’m An Englishman! Guess?

8.What do you look for most in someone else’s blog?

Emotion. Pure and simple. And hopefully a smile! Refer back to lord Byron’s quote…

9.What is your main aim in writing your own blog?

To promote my book of course, that’s the reason why I started to blog almost 2 years ago! Yes, I’m in it for the long haul.

10.What is your favourite food?

Celeriac mousse!

Just kidding. It has to be ‘Shellfish’ for sure. Oh! And Chips… see below for tonight’s dinner! Crab cakes and Chips! Pure bliss.

11.Would you go to space if you had the chance?

I think so, who wouldn’t! Though I am sure my 10 year old self would have shown so much more enthusiasm about it!

Okay that’s it from me! Did I find my mojo again? Can I associate myself with words once more?

Okay! Now my questions to whom I am in turn nominating!

What brings you the most happiness in life?

If you could ‘do it all again’? How would you have done ‘it’?

Following on to that. Who would you be now?

What makes you get up in the morning?

Do you like Dalmatians? And if so, why?

Apple’s IOS or Android? And why the preference?

What’s your ‘Porn name’? Add your first pet’s name to your mothers maiden name!

Do you ever give a political opinion on your blog? I choose not to. So, why do you (or not)?

I have a design degree but also did year 1 of a geology degree! What 2 opposites make you happy?

What started you blogging?

Now, we have all engaged with the image of the rainbow over the lockdown period! I want to see a real myriad of colour now, so my final question is ‘what is your favourite colour? (Hehe.)

Okay, my nominees are:

Greg Vessar

Macey Wilkie

Sandomina

John Malone

Trè

Kristie 

Ab 

The Tiny Potager

Blogs by J

Josef Havelka

Shaheen 

P.S. I remember that I blogged every single day through the months of lockdown in the UK! I think that now that lockdown has been eased here and after my quandary of several days of questioning my words! I would once again love to find them within my diary posts a few times a week at any rate! No pressure on the days, no absolute rules! A few times a week, a few days off here and there That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Updates on family life, here in ‘The Shires’ to follow

Weekly Update

It is true that I have been grappling to find words this last week. Sadly this is still the case! I did think that I would be re-engaged by this point, but sadly not.

I can only ask for you to bear with me.

The family are all happy with no major tantrums this week. And these final weeks of the little ones attending school comes to an end on Thursday as the summer holidays begin.

Homeschooling the girls feels so much less pressure now than it did mid lockdown.

Have to dash as Remus is making demands on me to go out for a run in the garden.

Everyone in the throws of getting ready for bed at the moment, though they will be coming back down for an hour of television in a short while.

Again, sorry for my absence of late! As ever, thank you for reading.

Last nights lamb curry saw the chance to use my new stainless steel ‘Thali’ plates from India! Though I did have the feeling of international flying before the meal was done!

I really must invest in the more traditional round tray with the individual bowls I think!