Saturday, 5 November 2016

A Day of Cooking...

This morning I shot down to Polis to collect the curtain that Anastasia had altered for me - she has been so busy and I asked her to join two curtains to make one big one for the spare bedroom door and when I collected it earlier in the week she had sewn the bottom part on upside down - she was mortified!!!  Success this time - the curtain is perfect for my needs - and finishes off the spare bedroom in readiness for our visitors - can you tell how excited we are about our friends coming????  Anastasia is quite a character - she has the most amazing South African/London/Cypriot accent - she used the word "Palaver" today which you rarely hear at the best of times but it sounded hysterically funny coming from her!  Anyway she is an excellent seamstress and charges next to nothing for her work.

I had about a half hundredweight of black eyed beans to deliver to C&A Apartments and as I was early I managed to catch everyone there as they were serving breakfast.  I couldn't get away with just a cuppa I had to have a piece of poppy seed cake and a croissant to go with it!!!!  Eva kindly packed up a slab of the poppy seed cake for John and I have promised that John and I will go down next week together for a cuppa and a chat as they will be less busy then.  By the time I left Eva had rallied the holidaymakers into removing the beans from their pods and I promised to send Eva my recipe for creamy black eyed bean curry.

I did my Paps shopping - it was chaos as the bank holiday yesterday seemed to have galvanized the Cypriot population into eating meat and so they had invoked the Tesco deli ticket system which is practically unheard of outside of Christmas!!!  As it is not normally in use there were plenty of locals who were stoically ignoring it and adopting the avoidance of eye contact with those of us bearing our tickets - fortunately the butchers are not so daft and stuck to the system even though people desperately tried to circumnavigate it!!!  It always tickles me that I can only get cubed beef by queueing for it - they never have it on the chiller counter so I can just pick it up.  Having got my ticket I was in that rock and a hard place situation when I was in two minds as to whether I should stick it out until it was my turn or just cut my losses - I always get someone in the queue in front of me feeding the 5,000.

I stuck it out and got the meat I wanted and then decided to go and treat myself to some pincushion crysanthemums as Diana has some in her garden which look spectacular and John's Mum left us some money to spend on the garden and they should provide some nice splashes of colour in a week or so (when we have visitors - did I tell you we had some coming???).

It is our turn to do Sunday Lunch this week and I struggle to find something different so I consulted some of the Good Food Magazines which Mum has given me to drop off at Elena's and found a recipe for chicken stroganoff which sounded rather nice so I thought I would get on and prepare it in advance so I wasn't slaving over a hot stove whilst Mum and Dad were here.

John went off to footie and I had a visit from Di and Rob which was nice and when Rob walked back home to keep his eye on the footie Diana remained behind and we spent a nice couple of hours together.  I have to send them both a big big big big thank you for the bottle of wine they brought up for John and I to try.  We opened it to have it with our supper and it was absolutely fabulous - Argentinian and full bodied and far too easy to drink - John did say a couple of hail Mary's before drinking it what with his military background and the country of origin!!

After Diana had gone home I set about making the pudding for Sunday - I had found a recipe for a plum tart made with ginger - I know mum likes ginger and I like to try and find something to tickle her tastebuds.

It was nice to have an afternoon pootling about at home and I like having time to myself to cook when I have all the ingredients I need and an idea of what I want to make.

John likes to come in from footie and be able to smell something in the oven so I had got a pack of puff pastry from Paps and decided to use one half on the plum pud and the other half to make some baked brie en croute for our supper.

John had seen the recipe on the internet.  Basically you cut the cheese in half, fill the middle with caramelised onions and fried lardons, cover with puff pastry and bake - it looked so easy on the instructional video but I had no end of trouble trying to get the pastry to stick and no amount of egg wash was going to persuade it otherwise - on the video the man just sort of whipped the pastry up and smoothed it round and made a lovely parcel - mine looked like a car crash!!!  Then I baked it as per the instructions and ended up with a soggy bottom - how do you cook something with puff pastry that has a filling and ensure that your bottom isn't soggy???  Anyway we discarded the uncooked pastry - the rest of it was delicious - it needs more practice obviously but I would do it again although not for company until I have got it refined!!!

Clocks go back tonight/tomorrow morning - summer well and truly over as it will be dark early and the weather always seems to change overnight.  I will now spend several weeks trying to restrain John from lighting the wood burner!!

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