Thursday, 26 February 2015

Things I've learned this week......


Over the last few weeks I've taken to reading the newspapers, online, at lunchtime. 

But I'm not just browsing the headlines. I've been turning to the more 'in depth' and 'interesting' articles hidden in the arts, culture and lifestyle sections .......

And, wow, there are things going on that I had no idea about! ........

Here are a few from the last few days that caught my eye ...



There's a long lost Dr. Seuss book ............... and now they've found it!           

                 ......and I want to know ........how they knew about it?

  (my try at Dr Seuss - it so poor - sorry!)

It's called 'What Pet Should I Get' and it will be published in July ......

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Is this the answer to my prays? 

Scientists have developed a chocolate bar to make you (and me) look younger - 'Esthechoc' 

I've checked it's not April Fools Day - so this might actually be true !!

Apparently a daily 7.5g bar could change the skin structure of a 50 year old to that of someone in their 30's !!!!! They claim that it will increase antioxidant levels and boost circulation to preventable lines - keeping skin looking youthful and smooth! - I'm just going to pop to the shops to see if my usual bar of chocolate will have the same effect .......

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Apparently, in the US you can buy a bra that's a gun holster !? 

I discovered this when I read about a woman who shot herself dead whilst adjusting her bra! 

I think the less said about this the better ..... just thought you should know ..... hmmmm ....

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And my final discovery this week is that over 200,000 people would rather live on Mars than here on Earth!

Originally I thought they were taking about people living on Mars Bars - that I could understand - but people who would volunteer for a one-way mission to the red planet?

No, I do not get that at all......

Especially after I read that researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) reportedly found that any manned mission to Mars would result in the crew dying after 68 days!

And they want the project turned into a reality TV series!

I suggest that there may be poor ratings after 68 days!

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Well, that was my weeks reading and enlightenment (!) ....... I think I may go back to reading my book at lunchtime!

Have a good Thursday
Lizx







Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Chilli Con Carne with Chocolate


There are so many ways to make a chilli - when I was reading up on other recipes for this post it seems that every chef has his (or her) own recipe and all claim it's 'the definitive one' the 'one you must make' or 'the true original recipe'.

Well, to add to all of those here is mine! I don't claim it to be anything other than a good old home made chilli recipe that suits me and my family. It's rich in flavour, meaty and with just enough heat and smokiness.

One thing I did get from all my reading is that there is no definitive dish so feel free to add and adapt to make your chilli just right for you & yours.....

Recipe - serves 4

500g lean minced beef
1 large onion - chopped
2 celery sticks - sliced
1 large red pepper - chopped
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon smokey paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
2 cloves garlic -crushed
1 x 400g can red kidney beans
1 table spoon grated dark chocolate - I use 100% cocoa but you can use whatever you want.
4 tablespoons tomato paste
A glass of red wine
half a pint of beef stock
Slug of olive oil
Salt & pepper

For fixings to go with it choose from boiled rice, chopped avocado, Pico de Gallo, Grated mature cheddar, watercress, sour cream & chives, nachos, salsa or a good old jacket potato......the list is endless.......

If your going to cook it in the oven pre-heat to 170C /Gas 4


First grab a large heavy based cooking pot that has a lid. You are going to need to seal it well and cook this dish for about and hour plus - so you don't want it drying out. I use a heavy enamel casserole that can be used on the hob and in the oven.

Pop the pot on the hob and add a good slug of olive oil. Add your mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and keep it moving until it's started to brown....


Now add your chopped onions and, again, keep them moving around the pan until they have taken on a glasses look....


Add your celery and peppers - give it all a cook stir and continue to cook...


Now you can start to add all your herbs and spices.....


Make sure all is coated well and then add your garlic - I love this smell - smoky paprika & garlic....


Now add you wine - I know I said a glass but I just slosh it in from the bottle - then I slosh the rest in a glass!!!

Let the wine bubble up a bit - it helps to burn off the alcohol and to make it sweeter....


Next add your tin of tomatoes....


Your tomato paste.....


Your beef stock......


and your bay leaves.

Pop the lid on - if it's not a great fit but a layer of foil under the lid first - place it in the oven or over a low flame if your cooking on the hob, and leave it for about an hour.

If your cooking on the hob give it a check every now and again to make sure the base isn't catching and give it a gentle stir.


After about an hour the liquid will have reduced and you should be left with a thick rich sauce. Add your kidney beans and then pop the lid back on and back in the oven or the hob for another 20 minutes.




Remove from the oven and add your grated chocolate, salt & pepper. Stir and taste if it need more flavour add a little smoked paprika or a little more chilli. Finish with a handful of chopped parsley or coriander leaf and serve with the fixings of your choice.....



Now, kick back and watch the sport or film of choice whilst enjoying.....

Have a good day

Lizx


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Saturday Morning on the Canal


We spent last weekend in a little apartment overlooking a busy canal.

And the photo opportunities were too great for me to miss.......



The day started off clear & frosty with ice covering barges......

Those that were 'live-aboards' had their fires alight - and the smokey smell of coal fires filled the air....with only a slight breeze the smoke drifted lazily about the barges.....


As the sun came up and warmed everyone through, barges started to move along the canal.....


And by lunch time life on the water had become very busy......


A coal barge was delivering fuel to all the 'live-aboards', day trippers were taking out boats and even a stag party appeared on one barge - all, supposedly, dressed like sailors and all very 'merry' from their weekend liquid diet - I didn't take any photo's of them........I'll leave that image to your imagination!!


so with the constant quack of the ever present ducks, and the quiet 'put, put' of the diesel boat engines, it was a very happy and relaxing world to live in for a while.....


Perhaps next time I visit, and when it's a bit (well actually a lot..) warmer, I may persuade a few friends to hire a barge with me and we too, can go on a day trip along the canal......I'll be sure to take my camera!

Happy Tuesday
Lizx