Day Off – Part1

It is half term and our lovely childminder is on the Mainland today. So I have taken the chance to have a day off and we spent it gloriously. The day started with an early morning dog walk in our local park and churchyard.

Old trees. Old graves. I really love walking in the churchyards in England. The old lichen covered gravestones are so beautiful.

Cappucino and a Florentine in Bembridge

Blue house, yellow house, green house….

Very little boats

And lunch! At The Spinnaker, Bembridge

Very British Ham, egg and chips; French chicken terrine and Italian goats cheese and tapenade pasta.

48 Dinners- #2-Bratwurst

Authentic German Bratwurst.

Authentic English potatos for potato salad made with reasonably good mayonnaise and boiled eggs

Authentic picked beetroot for beetroot salad

Bratwurst with mustard, potato salad, beetroot salad, fresh tomatos and the greens that were wilting in the fridge (broccoli and spinach). A lovely meal that I began cooking at the bells of the 6.00 pm news and we sat down at the table at 6.30. That left a good portion of the evening free for the homework and laundry extravaganza that is a feature of our Wednesdays.

Weekday Easy- 48 dinners.

It is the age-old problem of the working household…..how to make a healthy, tasty and (importantly) quick meal that all the family will eat on a weeknight.

I spent considerable time at the weekend putting together a list of some 48 dishes I or Husband-G can quickly rustle up when I am time-poor and tired. My plan is just to take the daily decision-making process out of the equation altogether and just choose something from the list.

Today was creamy chicken and vegetable pasta (sans chicken for vegetarian Husband). I started by prepping all the ingredients above. Mushrooms, peppers, onions, broccoli. Add to the pan, add optional chicken, add a carton of good quality passata and then when cooked through stir in the light cream cheese (or sour cream). We had this with spaghetti this evening, but I often use rice.

On the table in under 30 minutes. That’s my idea of a Tuesday night winning dish.

 

*It might not be pretty, but it was good.

Drinks Party!

The recent months have been pretty busy Chez Gusto. I have been retraining which involved returning to University. Baby-G is growing and started Junior school. And then I returned to the world of full-time work. So all in all we have shamefully neglected our hospitality and entertaining skills and have not hosted any of our friends for quite some time.

In early January we decided to host a very small drinks party. We invited just a few friends…. enough that we knew we could fit around the fire on a cold dreary January afternoon.

Husband-Gusto suggested making the affair even easier by buying ready made canapes. But I decided to do a mix and match and bought some ready-made an others I made myself. Pottering in the kitchen making fiddly bite-sized edibles is definitely my idea of fun! The above was the laden table. It was nice to keep some of our Christmas decorations for a while longer!

These were simple tortilla wraps. The non-vegetarian version I spread tortillas with cream cheese, layered smoked salmon drizzled with lemon and then cut into finger-sized pieces. The vegetarian version was cream cheese layered with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil.

This was a pre-made potato spanish omelette that I cut into handy cubes.

Italian and German salami platter

Easy skewers. feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and a basil pesto dipping sauce (take a jar of basil pesto and add a bit of olive oil).

This is, in my opinion, the best branded hummus available. Sabra (and they do an amazing Baba Ghanoush also).

Finished off with a great hunk of Stilton and fruit.

It was a lovely afternoon. So nice to host our friends and very relaxing. We decided we definitely have to have a small drinks gathering again in the very near future!

 

Winter walks

It has been a cold and wet weekend. But as they say…there is no bad weather, just bad clothes and so I bundled up in my coat and boots and took the dog [who is well provided for in her own coat] and went for a couple of welcome walks. First to the woods.

  

We came across this magnificent bull. He was very interested in us and the dogs but we dared not venture too close, no matter how cuddly he looked.

This was about 9 oclock in the morning, and the morning was still dark.

Then we moved down to the beach. I love walking on the beach on cold and wintry days.

Sunday suppers in winter just lend themselves to simple, cosy and easy.

So we had chicken noodle soup with baguette and smoked Bavarian cheese followed by bananas with hot chocolate sauce.

Tea, a favourite tv show [below]  and then bed by 9 pm. A perfect Sunday.

https://www.channel4.com/programmes/escape-to-the-chateau