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Friday, 27 March 2015

A Family Birthday Meal for Jess

We all had a great evening out last night to celebrate Jessie's 18th birthday.  The day before on the 25th was her actual birthday but she had spent that evening out on the town with her friends, which was only to be expected on the first birthday she has been legally allowed to drink.

So tonight we, as a family celebration, went to a really nice restaurant on the river which none of us had ever visited before.  Not that we could see the view because it was dark, but it was very popular there. 

The staff were amazing.  Which being that I used to train staff I am always aware of bad training, but these I really couldn't fault.  You could tell they loved working there by their friendly chatter, sunny personalities, and the emotional energy they put into their work along with the fact that the restaurant wasn't skimping on staff either.

The food was beautifully cooked and presented, except for Jessies which was a bit over cooked.  On collecting the empty plates the server asked if we had enjoyed the meal and Sarah said how lovely it was except that Jessies burger was over cook.  The server asked if Jess would like something else cooked for her, which Jess declined because she had been able to eat enough of it.  The girl came back a short while later and said that there would be no charge for Jessie's meal and her sweet she would also get for free.  All that and we hadn't even actually complained.  They obviously value their good name and their customers which is very rare nowadays.

I wish I had taken photos of the food because it was all so nice.  I particularly loved my starter which was a haddock and prawn cake topped with spinach and a poached egg.  I have no idea what the drizzle of sauce was that was on it, but the whole thing was more than delicious.  And the bowl of muscles in some sort of garlic sauce that Aimee had was huge.  She simple couldn't eat them all.

I am sure we are definitely going to visit this place again for a special occasion.

http://www.boathouse.co.uk/

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Surviving the Invasion

We are now halfway through the 33 days that my girls have to stay with me while waiting for their new bungalow to become free for them to move in.

It's been hard work all of us sharing such a small space, but we have managed and not even had any frayed tempers lost, which I am surprised at, along with being very grateful.   There has been a lot of give and take and basically all of us having to have a couldn't care less attitude to living in a mess.  It is after all only 33 days, and we can see an end to it.

My only worry has been watching the mould start to grow in the bathroom due to so many of us all having to take baths and drying clothes in such a small area.  I think from now until the end it's going to have to be a continual fight to keep the mould down to a minimum when it can then be fully treated and totally removed.

I do sometimes get quietly frustrated at the Granddaughters not even attempting to put away their bathroom products and make up after finishing with them, along with not putting clothes that need to be washed in the laundry baskets and claim and put away clean clothes as I put a pile of newly dried washing out.  But I am gritting my teeth and keeping quiet about that.

It is hard for them after all to live in such close quarters when they are used to having their own bathroom and bedrooms and can spread themselves as they like in those as no one else has to share with the pair of them.

Although I am actually being a bit unfair grouping the two of them together because the eldest is barely making a mess whereas the youngest is treating the whole place as she treats her own bedroom and bathroom, which have always been disaster areas.

17 days in and my place seems to be more of a mess than it has been up until now, so today I am having a good clean up.  I intend to do the 2nd stage of removing the mould from the bathroom which is all the tiling etc, behind the loo.  I haven't been looking forward to contorting myself to get behind there.

First of all though I have to sort out and clear up the girls bathroom products and make up that it littered in there.  Why they need so much is beyond me.  But soon the bathroom products will be in the bathroom and the make up in the bedroom area instead of it all spilling out and mixed up together.  I have no doubt that within two days it will all once again be all lumped together and spilling off the shelves in the bathroom.

The kitchen is mostly staying orderly as both Sarah and I wash up as we see any crocks, and for now a bleaching of the surfaces and a quick washing of the floor is enough to keep it all hygienic enough to cook and prepare food in.

In the sitting room all bedding is folded up and put on top of the bed for daylight hours and possessions are simply moved from one area to another and kept as tidy as best as we all can.

No one seems to lose anything, but that is mostly because I make sure I remember exactly where I put their bits when having a tidy up, and as soon as they ask where anything is I can tell them.  Generally I have found a place for everything and once they have all left for school and work everything will be put back in it's place.  So they actually do know where to look for anything that may not be in the place they left it, which has usually been on the table or on the floor.

Each day we discuss who is not going to be at home for sleeping and where those that are left are going to sleep.

The choices we have for when all of us are home is…  A single bed, a futon on the floor, a sofa, and an armchair that lays back to form a very small, very short bed.

When only three of us are all at home, the bed, futon and sofa only are needed.  The chair/bed being the very last choice as it's pretty uncomfortable.    It's probably worked out that only twice a week are all four of us home for sleeping.

My Son-in-Law, Mark, spent the first couple of days staying at his Mothers, and the following few nights working away, so he was comfortably set up in a hotel.  After the first week the odd nights that he isn't away working he has been able to stay in the next apartment block in one of these studio flats that belongs to my friend who then left for a seven week cruise. Barry very kindly offered us use of his flat for whoever wished to use it.  So when Mark is home he spends his days and evenings here with us and then just nips over the way to Barry's flat when it's bedtime.

I am sure having survived this 17 days we can all survive another 16.

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Click to View Full Size.

10:30pm and all organised ready for bed.  Sarah's turn to have the bed and she is already tucked up and sound asleep.   Aimee's turn for the sofa having a read before we all settle down.  Louie keeping her company.  Jess will soon be crawling into the futon which is all ready for her made up on the floor, but in the meantime doing a bit of homework on the chair that will soon be laid well back to give me my sleeping bunk for the night.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Chicken Casserole

This is basically the same as the minced lamb casserole but with tender pieces of chicken breast, and with a slight change in the variety of vegetables.

Crock Pot all day cooking

Served 5 and served with French Bread

Ingredients:


Decent sized piece of boneless chicken breast per person
Large onion - chopped
2 cloves garlic - crushed or chopped
14oz (400g) tin chopped plum tomatoes
Tablespoon (15ml) tomato puree
Beef Oxo/Stock cube dissolved in half pint of hot water
Tablespoon (15ml) Worchestershire Sauce
A few mushrooms - chopped
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
3 stems of celery chopped into small cubes
3 large carrots - cubed
4 large potatoes - cubed to about half inch

Preparation:


Lay the chicken breast in the bottom of the crock pot
Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil until soft.
Add the chopped tomatoes, Tomato puree, Stock and Worchester Sauce.
Heat until starting to boil.
Pour it in the Crock Pot over the chicken
Add all the rest of the ingredients and stir until well mixed being careful not to disturb the chicken at the bottom.
Cook on low for 8 hours.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Minced Lamb Casserole

This was my first meal ever I cooked in the crock pot and basically I just got some minced lamb and threw everything in I had by way of vegetables.

Crock Pot all day cooking

Served 5 and served with French Bread

Ingredients:


Minced Lamb 1lb (50g)
Large onion - chopped
2 cloves garlic - crushed or chopped
14oz (400g) tin chopped plum tomatoes
Tablespoon (15ml) tomato puree
Beef Oxo/Stock cube dissolved in half pint of hot water
Tablespoon (15ml) Worchestershire Sauce
Mushrooms - chopped
2 decent size courgettes (Regular Zucchini) chopped into small cubes
2 large carrots - cubed
3 very large potatoes (Jacket potato size) - cubed to about half inch

Preparation:

Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil until soft.
Add the mince and seer until brown.
Drain off the grease and oil.
Add the chopped tomatoes, Tomato puree, Stock and Worchester Sauce.
Heat until starting to boil.
Pour it in the Crock Pot.
Add all the rest of the ingredients and stir until well mixed.
Cook on low for 8 hours.