This past week I have embarked on the You with Jamie Oliver app. It’s all about positive changes you can do, one little step at a time. You are set daily/weekly challenges. Previous one’s I have had were, ‘the best part of the day‘, ‘what makes you happy‘, and ‘think positive.‘ You take a picture to symbolise the topic. One was to show ‘beauty around you.’ So I took a picture of a Passion Flower.
This past week however I have found it rather difficult to be positive, what with the boiler being serviced and a leaking pump found! It made us £300 the poorer, though come the winter we will hopefully be toasty!
This weekend has been fun. We had planned on going to Chester Zoo before our membership ran out, but the weather was dodgy so we spent the weekend at home.
It was Saturday after 4.30pm which I really enjoyed. With the radio cranked up as Classic FM’s Saturday Night at the Movies, celebrated Hans Zimmer’s music. I embarked on chopping vegetables and cooking the evening dinner. I used and adapted Jools Oliver’s Wholesome Vegetable and Bean Soup. My volumes are to serve three people.
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- 1 large leek
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
- olive oil
- 1 x 400 g tin of borlotti or cannellini beans. (I used borlotti beans)
- 1 litre low salt vegetable
- Hand full of barley
- 35 g baby spinach or kale (I used kale)
- 150 g frozen peas/ green beans. (I just used a handful of peas and 75g of green beans)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Start by preparing the base of your soup. Peel, roughly chop the carrot and potato, trim, wash and roughly chop the leek. Peel and very finely slice the garlic, chop the onion and then pick and finely chop the rosemary.
- Heat a lug of oil in a large pan on a medium heat, then add the rosemary. Fry for a few minutes, then add the chopped carrot, leek, onion and garlic. Cook gently for around 15 minutes, or until soft, stirring regularly, with the lid on.
- Add the beans (drained), chopped potato (small,) and a hand full of barley. Then finally add the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes – add a little more stock or water if you think it needs it. (Leave the lid on.)
- Finally, add the spinach or kale and chopped green beans/peas, and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the greens are cooked but still vibrant green. (Keep the lid on.) Have a taste and season, if needed, then tuck in.
- Serve with bread… I was requested to make Focaccia.
The recipe for Focaccia was taken from an Asda seasonal brochure.
- 250g of Strong White Bread Flour
- 1 level tsp salt
- 7g of easy bake yeast
- 2tbsp of reduced fat olive oil
- On red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- Chopped sprigs of fresh oregano, (I used some from the garden!)
- Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl
- Pour in the oil and used 15ml of tepid water, mix the ingredients together to form a soft dough
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and begin to need, adding more flour until the dough is of a smooth texture.
- Place the dough in a bowl and put somewhere warm for 45 minutes, until doubled in size.
- While the dough is proving, chop and fly the red onion and garlic. Leave to one side once cooked.
- Chop some oregano and leave to one side
- Once the dough has risen, knock back and then flatten into required shape.
- With your finger press small indentations into the top of the dough and then sprinkle the onion, garlic and oregano on top.
- Put in a pre warmed oven at gas mark 6/200° and cook for 30-35 minutes, until golden.
- Remove from oven, and serve.
Sunday was a lovely early Autumn day. The sun shone and David and I spent over three hours in the garden, cleaning and pruning. I planted some of my bulbs, of Aliums and Snake Heads for the coming spring. Fingers crossed they grow!
Artie enjoyed spending time in the garden and in between terrorising the bumblebees and honey bees, he relaxed taking in the sun.
We still have many birds visiting the feeders, and not an hour goes by that numerous Goldfinches are seen feasting on the Sunflower/Nyger seeds.
Dinner this Sunday evening was a vegetarian roast. I boiled kale, peas, sweetcorn and green beans in a pan while in the oven Quorn Turkey style slices were cooking alongside Aunt Bessie’s Herb and Garlic roast potatoes. I made some sage and onion stuffing and mixed up some vegetarian gravy. Finally I microwaved some mushy peas for David!
Now I am nursing a headache before the working week ahead. How have you spent your weekend?