leftovers

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I will come clean.  There is little that drives me to distraction more than a fridge full of little pots and ramekins with a little mouthful of leftover this and a little mouthful of leftover that.  If there is that little leftover EAT IT.  On the other hand something that drives me completely over the edge is waste of good food.

Last night we had roast chicken, it was not very large and there was not a lot left over.  But by the time I had tarted it up there was enough chicken and spinach curry for at least five.  More if you had added rice.

Strip the chicken of every little bit of meat, turn the bird over, there is plenty of meat to be pulled on the back.  Keep all the skin, the bones and the parson’s nose (unless you have to give that bit to the dog), we will come to that later (the meat not the dog!)

Fry a finely chopped onion, a good wodge of peeled ginger and a couple of garlic cloves.  Do this on a lowish heat, you want to soften them not turn them into crispy bites.

Next assess your spice cupboard.  I added, turmeric, ground cumin, dried chillies, cardamom seed, whole coriander and mustard seed.  I went slightly heavy on the cardamom and chilli because I love the way they complement each other, but chuck in what you like.  I also squeezed in a lime I found lurking at the back of the fridge, looking rather naked as I had used the peel in a cheesecake last week.

Stir over a mediumish (I am a very precise cook) heat until the kitchen smells divine.

Chuck in the chicken (is that a dance?).  I also added some manky looking button mushrooms chopped in half and new potatoes chopped small.  Add a tin of tomatoes and enough water to cover the lot.

Simmer until the potatoes are cooked and the liquid reduced to the kind of level you like.  Add copious quantities of spinach.  Wait until the spinach is wilted and serve with a big dollop of yoghurt

Fridge leftover curry

Love Gillie x

 

 

pen and paper

My Facebook and twitter feed are full of people talking about new year resolutions and plans to make joy jars, keep diaries, set fantastic goals.  It is a wonderful momentum created by people from all over the world as we try to make our world and our lives better places and perhaps us better people.

Over my fifty or so years I have kept a diary most of the time and added a daily gratitude list some six or seven years ago.  I have set SMART goals and fantastical goals.  I have used simple jottings to set goals and complex systems and programmes to set them.  One system required a whole book to explain the process!

diaries

Anyone who loves stationery will understand the joy of a fresh new notebook ready for you to fill with your observations, dreams, tears and private rants.  The smell of the unused paper and the creak as the spine bends for the first time.  However, the greater joy is to go back and read them.  Several years ago I got out all my diaries, going back to a 1974 Puffin Book Club diary in which I spilled my heart out with gems like “Today I palyed (sic) with Georgina”.  Some entries brought back vivid memories, some took me completely by surprise; I had no recollection of those events and they read almost like a novel.

Diaries can be cathartic.  Any diary keeper who has been through a trauma, particularly an emotional one will remember writing pages and pages of  “Why?”  “What if?”  “Could I have …?”  In my great reading session I came across the diaries I kept after my first husband left me for another woman after six months of marriage.  They made for interesting rather than painful reading.  At the time I thought I would never love or be loved again.  It was good to see how wrong I was and all those people who told be I would eventually come out on the other side were right after all.  Having said that I had no wish to keep those diaries.  They had served their purpose at the time of writing and again at the time of re-reading some 30 years later.  My husband set up a huge fire in our largest wood burning stove and I happily consigned them to the flames, they served their purpose one last time, that part of my life was well and truly over and I had no need of a written summary of it.  All the other diaries, even the excruciatingly embarrassing teenage ones I kept.

Today many people keep a blog like this one and many of those are extremely open and raw, the writer exposing themselves, sometimes anonymously, to a public they don’t know with more honesty than they may to the friends that they do.  But that is not, at least for me, quite the same as putting pen to paper that is only intended for my eyes.

So if you are making resolutions, setting goals and planning a better life then you could do no worse than resolve to keep a diary.

Love Gillie x

 

 

Pretty card and fingerless gloves

Apparently, according to trend forecasters the next hot craft for 2017 is going to be macrame.  Watch out for spider plants in bead adorned knotted hangers.  I love lots of crafts but I can’t see myself taking up macrame in a hurry.

One of the crafts I love, but have not had so much time for as I have been knitting and sewing so much, is working with paper.  I began scrapbooking back in 2000 when we had to buy almost all our supplies from the US and acid free glue was the holy grail!  Things have moved on a long way since then but a lot of the independent shops have given way to big stores who don’t have the individual touch and the more interesting and quirky stock.  One of the trends that has survived and does still offer that quirky touch is the monthly kit.  I used to get one sometimes from an American company that always included a little sample of flavoured coffee (before we got that over here too).  The smell as I unwrapped it was part of the joy of seeing all the gorgeous bits and pieces.

So, when this arrived this morning,

 

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and this was inside it.

 

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And inside was this..

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I was a very excited bunny!

Now I was expecting a paper cut kit.  I was not expecting a pair of handknitted fingerless gloves (which happen to be in my favourite colour), a sparkly tea light (perfect for my silver sparkly tea light holder), a yummy hot chocolate kit, a candy cane to dip into my yummy hot chocolate kit and a scalpel with spare bladses AND lovely shimmer paper to use for my cut outs.  This isn’t a kit, it’s Christmas!

Four styles of paper cut templates, all on the theme of Hygge, one of them is a template for a gorgeous little house.

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My paper cutting skills are not brilliant (I once spent an entire afternoon cutting out my daughters’ names in scriptina font for a scrapbook project.  Those were the days before electronic cutters when your only option was by hand, a bulky sissix, or if you were lucky a quickutz.  Scriptina is a fine flowing font that looks gorgeous but is a killer to cut!

 

scriptina

See what I mean!

So I was relieved to see that the designs look more manageable for a non expert like me!  First attempt will be posted shortly,  I have some time this evening and tomorrow and am really looking forward to getting my scalpel out again.

The lovely kit was from Amy Purdie at Embellish Cuts and costs an average of £18 (there are several plans you can opt for)  with free P&P within the UK.  During the course of the month the templates are exclusive to Embellish Box Subscribers.  At the end of the month the templates will be available for sale on Etsy, however Amy guarantees that the cost of the Box will always be cheaper than the individual templates and you get such lovely little extras too!  You also receive the templates in pdf and svg format so you can use them again and again (I didn’t realise this and scanned mine 🙂 )  Commercial licences are also available.  You can see more of Amy’s work here.

I recieved this box for free in return for an honest an unbiased review.

 

holidays

Apologies for the temporary silence.  I am on holiday with my family.  Normal service will be resumed at the end of July.  Meanwhile happy Summer holidays to the Northern Hemisphere and Enjoy the Winter to the Southern 🙂

who’s wealthy now? money no object?

I don’t blog about politics and my personal politics are not up for airing in public, at least not here.  But UK readers cannot fail to have been aware of the terrible flooding that has devastated vast swathes of the country.   Having been flooded, indeed that was the reason I started this blog in the first place, I know how distressing and devastating it is to watch filthy water pour into your home.  Fortunately our flood was transient and quite tiny compared to the horrors that thousands of people are suffering as I type.  The long term effects will be with us for years.  Farmland that will be unusable, family farms that will go out of business, homes ruined, a massive increase in the benefits bill, homes that will never be insurable again….. and that is just the practical effect it doesn’t even begin to touch on the emotional one.

Facebook followers will have seen me rant about the way the Government has handled, or rather mishandled, the situation.  However I think that Jane Young summarises it far better than I can.  Please do read her blog.

http://janeyoung.me.uk/2014/02/11/wealthy-country-money-no-object/

There are hundreds of comments, and they are worth reading too. Please do not fall into the trap that many commentators have of believing that she thinks that all of the Home Counties are full of middle class Tory voters.  . Her point is not that there are not people suffering, of whatever financial situation. BUT that it is when flooding is affecting an area that is PREDOMINANTLY (not entirely) Tory and RELATIVELY (not 100%) wealthy that David Cameron is able to find funds to support them in their need. Meanwhile people who have also been in great need have been told that there is no money available to them. Yes, there is a difference between a natural disaster and ongoing need, But even if you take that out of the equation and look only at the flood victims the levels of support available in the Home Counties overnight compared to Cumbria and the West Country since Christmas is pitiful.

thank you

Thank you for joining me this year.  Whether you lurk or post you are just as welcome. 

Here in the UK we have six hours until 2014.  Some of you may already be welcoming the new year and some of you will have almost a whole day to go.  Wherever you are I wish you a happy and peaceful 2014, may it bring you happiness, a frisson of excitement, a dash of the unexpected and a good dollop of love.

holidays

onepairofshoesatatime is currently enjoying a low key low wardrobe holiday in Turkey (one small suitcase including suncreams etc I was very proud 🙂 )  Blogging will resume on my return in early August.