Friday, 10 October 2014

In The Kitchen and Elsewhere

The weather is changing, high winds and squally showers, a lot of them quite heavy, make being outside unpleasant. I’ve said it before: I am strictly a fair weather gardener. Perhaps I’ll take to tending my rather neglected blog again, now that autumn’s here. But for today I had other duties.


My friend Sally asked me to make a culinary contribution to her big birthday party tomorrow, so that’s what I started on this morning: the bottom half of a cottage pie to feed about ten people. I’ll do the top half tomorrow, as well as a pudding of similar dimensions.  As I was in the kitchen anyway, I decided to prepare a mackerel pate as a starter for our own Sunday lunch - pate does better when the flavours have had time to blend.

Doing the vegetables for the meat layer of the cottage pie, I thought I might as well do the vegetables for our Friday lunch, which was to be baked chicken, rice, carrots, sweetcorn and leek, saving me having to start all over again later.



By now I was resigned to finding no time for anything else, so I did a couple of loads of laundry while waiting for the various constituents of the meals to cook. Beloved came in now and again, asking “can I do something, like peel a grain of rice maybe?” but when he got round to it, I was usually at the stage where you do not want 'outside interference’ and I shoo’d him out again.

Things brightened up a bit in the afternoon and Millie and I rushed out for a very short walk once round the castle and a sniff of the breeze up on the bailey. Millie has been back at the Vet’s for another minor operation, this time an exploration of her ears. She was most unhappy when I took her into the back rooms at the surgery and she was, again, very unwilling to allow herself to be shoved into a small cage prior to being sedated for her examination. I bet she rues the day when she was adopted by her new, unfeeling family, who seem to be doing nothing but letting her in for all sorts of indignities. Poor sweetie. The cause of her facial lesions has still not been determined.  I am hoping that autumn will bring relief, what with the impact of both seeds and insects lessening. Either could be causing the allergy.


In the short spell of brilliant sunshine the freshly washed hills looked welcoming but we decided not to risk a longer walk. We found a small tortoiseshell sunning itself on the path. There was a whole flutter of half a dozen or so of them, probably the new generation hatched in August/September, which will live through the winter,  often hibernating in garages and sheds, or even inside houses in the corners of ceilings and under curtains and pelmets.



42 comments:

  1. Poor Millie: but you know only too well the discomfort of medical 'help' however much we need it. I hope she will be sorted soon. What gorgeous colours in your chicken dish. When the weather get like this, pouring rain and gales, I would much prefer to be in the warmth of the kitchen, with the dog and parrots watching and getting titbits:)

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  2. The crickets have invaded my pantry, so I know winter is around the next corner. Too bad Millie is having all these indignities thrust upon her. Humans next? I like to do six things at once in the kitchen also. Mostly today, I made tea and ate baked muffins and cookies from two days ago. We had tuna fish salad on rules for lunch. Your chicken dish sounds interesting.

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  3. What a delicious-looking lunch! The photograph over the hills looks like a fine painting. I took a walk up at Buttercup Farm today, which your outdoor photos remind me of, sparkling sunshine and a butterfly of some sort sunning itself on the path, just as your tortoiseshell is here.

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  4. That does it, next time I'm having lunch at your house!

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  5. I've never heard of cottage pie. What is it?

    Love,
    Janie

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  6. Smashing gem at end! Poor Millie, but they know care from indifference. I'm sure of that. Lucky Millie. Have a fine weekend, Dear-



    ALOHA from Honolulu
    ComfortSpiral
    =^..^= . <3

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  7. Food kinda avalanches in your kitchen. Your guests do not know how blessed they are. But Millie knows.

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  8. It looks like great stuff to eat!

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  9. What a lovely post Friko, full of all kind of "glasshalffull" goodies! :-)

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  10. Friko, your butterfly is so pretty!

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  11. Spiders come indoors here in the autumn, taking me unawares every year. Looks like some good eating at your place, especially the baked chicken with vegetables. My theory is that once I'm in the kitchen I might as well make it worthwhile and get as much done as possible. Of course, then the stack of dishes to wash up afterwards is rather daunting.

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  12. From your descriptions and pictures (not just on this post but also based on what you have mentioned before), you must be a very good cook, quite similar to my mother, I think.
    I know what you mean about being beyond the point of appreciating outside interference - when I am in the kitchen, I either want RJ there from the start or not at all :-) But we are as good a team in the kitchen as we are on the dancefloor and in the office; usually, his part is to prepare the meat or fish and wash the salad, while I do all the other things such as peeling the veg, laying the table and so on.

    The picture of the hills is beautiful, but you know that already :-)

    Millie probably knows very well that she has come to the best home possible. I hope her lesions heal well over the next weeks and months.

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  13. Hi Friko - enjoy the big birthday party at Sally's today and your contribution looks delicious and I can imagine will taste extra good ... while I'm not surprised the aromas Beloved was being greeted with sent him regularly in to join you .. perhaps he was hoping for a child-like scraping out of the bowl?

    Sincerely hope that Millie's challenges ease off and are resolved over the winter - she's much loved and well cared for ... lucky rescue dog - very lucky ...

    Enjoy all the prepared meals and sincerely hope the weather gives you some breaks ... similar squalls and bright sunshine down here .. but we needed the rain ... cheers Hilary

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  14. I'm glad that it's only 8:45am here, and I'm nowhere near hungry yet . . . still at the "coffee only, thanks" stage of my day. Your cooking looks so luscious and pretty, too.
    The fields are beautiful, all bright green and fresh and bright and dotted with sheep? (a guess) How medieval!
    Poor Millie. I think she knows it's all for her own good, but as we all know, knowing that doesn't make everything enjoyable. I hope she will get some relief from her facial issues soon.

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  15. Like you, the fall brings me into the kitchen and cooking.

    I hope Millie is better soon and the change in seasons might be the remedy to her problems.

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  16. On the first glance I thought you were preparing "Linsensuppe", lol ! I have mostly finished with our garden and it's prepared for the winter !
    Poor Millie, all these trips to the vet ! Hope she will be better soon !

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  17. Friko, you certainly put that rainy day to good use. Cooking for ten, with additional meals on the side...wow!

    Glad that you got some sunshine as the day continued and could get out for a walk in that incredible landscape. Best wishes to dear Millie. May cooler weather help her tender nose.

    The butterfly is a brilliant beauty...no camoflage effect against that bright green for that particular specimen.

    Oh, before I forget, I thought I'd left you a comment on your prior post, but perhaps I dreamed it? Anyhow, I have since had a walk across Central Park and also found lots of evidence of partically eaten acorns and beechnuts. Squirrels have been busy...funny thing is that I didn't see any squirrels on my walk. That's very unusual for this time of the year.

    Hoping you also got my email?

    xo

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  18. We have a rainy day here today and I plan to spend the afternoon in the kitchen, making a huge pot of chili and baking an apple-pear cake, Life is good.

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  19. Ah, I do understand the change of seasons as we are stuck indoors for nine months of rainy weather, and gardening would just be a soaking mess if possible at all.

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  20. I agree. Fall is a time to be indoors cooking and baking. ;) But there are some nice days left but I hope poor Millie will feel better with the change of the seasons.

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  21. Poor Millie.....let's hope that whatever caused the problem will subside now autumn is with you.

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  22. You look very industrious in the kitchen, Friko. At the weekend, I prepare Saturday and Sunday dinners together. Today we had roast chicken, sage'n' onion gravy, roast potatoes, parsnips, leeks and runner beans. Tomorrow it will be 'Chicken Ding'
    (3 minutes in the microwave).

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  23. The chicken/ rice/ leek dish looks sooo good ... I'll be right over ... smiles ... Love, cat.

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  24. That recipe looks tasty. Many thanks. :-)

    Greetings from London.

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  25. That food looks (and sounds) divine! Poor, and also very lucky, Millie…one of my cats has allergies; the diagnosis began with an invasion of his ears & has passed through several types of medication, injections that are now bimonthly and frequent rechecks by his dermatologist (yes,there are vets who specialize in this stuff). His allergies are under control now, so I know that it is possible for Millie. She just has to hang on & be a brave good girl who was so lucky to come to you.

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  26. There's something so soothing about chopping lots of vegetables in a warm kitchen ...

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  27. I have no idea about cottage pie, but if you make it, I'll eat it! Poor Millie, I hope cooler weather brings her relief. I love when you take an ordinary walk "once round the castle." That bench looks like a perfect resting spot.

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  28. I've been pondering your photos, and decided that your cottage pie is very much like what we call Shepherd's Pie. Ground meat, carrots, onion, green beans and corn or whatever is around, covered with a crust of mashed potatoes and baked with dots of butter to help it brown. It's a great winter favorite around here, especially since the leftovers are so good. There's a take-out kitchen on the other side of the lake which makes it, too. Their's isn't quite as good as mine, but it will do. The biggest problem is that they advertise it as "Shephard's Pie." So far, I've managed to keep myself in check. despite the strong urge to go in and suggest that an extra ounce of correct spelling might help their sales.

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  29. Shepherd's Pie for ten? That's a big pie! And a pudding too.
    Your chicken and veg lunch looks very delicious.

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  30. Poor pup.. I'm sure she's forgiven you by now.

    I'll bet your home smells wonderful with all that cooking. And your beloved made me laugh.

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  31. Friko, you have such unimaginably beautiful countryside around you.

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  32. Oh, dear sweet Millie -- I hope they find what's ailing her. My friend's cat who has the same sort of thing she does is allergic to chicken, which is in almost every food. So hard to tell with animals. I suspect her felt betrayal returning to the vet will be gone in a flash when she's back home with you.

    Smart woman you are to cook multiple meals -- all different -- at once. They all sound delicious! Enjoy!

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  33. you found a pretty little butterfly friend there...
    hey, i would eat your food any day...looks good to me....
    i love shepherds pie....mmm

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  34. Your food looks delicious. What a beautiful place to live. So am I, a fair weather gardener. It has been gloomy here all day today. I need sunshine!

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  35. Your dishes are so different from anything I have ever cooked. Look healthy and good though. I love the photos even if the sunshine was ever so brief.

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  36. The hills look so inviting, as does the meal.

    Sorry Millie is having such a hard time. I'll bet she still knows she's lucky to have you guys.

    =)

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  37. That photo of your hillside and valley convinced me that you live in one of the most most beautiful bucolic spots on this earth. Few of us are able to take a quick walk around the castle. I realize that sunshine may be in short supply at times, but oh the beauty that the rain makes.

    Your culinary skills are impressive.

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  38. well, all that food looks yummy. I'm catching up here, reading backwards so now I'm wondering if you are the she.

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  39. I wish the warmth and the calm and sunshine would last longer for you Friko.
    That bench looks so inviting - a nice place to sit if it were warm and calm and sunny :)

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  40. Oh Friko, that butterfly is so lovely!! What a great capture with the camera. It looked almost like a monarch at first glance, but I like the watercolor-like differences.

    So all that cooking… wow. You should just move here and cook for me, since I have such a hard time of it myself. It takes so much energy and it hurts a lot, but obviously you'd feed me well and healthfully! That chicken and veggies plate looked really good, but I can't say the same for the pot of whatever that was. What is a cottage pie? I suppose I'll just google it...

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