This doesn't mean I am not considering those wonderful people doing amazing things for us all, but it does my health good just to stop and enjoy what me and mine have now and then. Since my last post, which was just 10 days ago, many things have changed a great deal and we are all dealing with and experiencing a very different way of life.
The boys have now been off school for 2 weeks, I am coping quite well with their home schooling as the eldest just gets on with stuff but the youngest needs a little more encouragement when it comes to focus. However they have also been making the best of the good weather, as I tell them at any time when we get sun, by going on their bikes but they are careful and keep a VERY good distance because social isolation is not top of everyone's list! Plus they are doing outside chores in between school work like collecting the eggs, feeding the hens and orphan lambs - the three amigos - which we now have in the garden, and they've fixed my wonky main veg bed ready for the growing season.
Jon is still going to work but practising social distancing which is quite easy when he works in an outside sawmill. Apparently he is classed as a key worker because the company provides important help regarding animal/stock management through timber products. He feels they may close at some point because of the number of deliveries/orders they have coming in and out at times but we will see.
I was very flattered the other day when Tracy of Our Smallholding Adventure suggested I write a post about how I organise my kitchen. (By the way she has a fab new post there; we are two peas in a pod when it comes to this sort of thing.) Some people are comparing life now to how it was in the war years and I agree, but at the same time not trying to tell people who did live through WW1 or WW2 how it was for them. However, I was going to write something a little different but right now I think we're all having to be more adaptable in these challenging times, but I think it CAN be character building, so my post has been adapted, too. When you have to change your life it gives you the chance to realise what you REALLY can do without, how you can substitute items for things you are used to and that in the end it just doesn't matter most of the time. This doesn't just apply to what goes on in the kitchen, I think people will decide what really matters to them once things begin getting back to normal and I frankly can't wait! We can already see pollution has been affected by people not travelling so much, water in the canals of Venice is clearer and maybe the thinking of people will not be so tainted when we come out the other side.
Back to the kitchen. I'm constantly checking the things we've made and put in the freezer or the supplies of things we have in stock that are fresh or in cupboards etc. Variety in our meals is something we are still achieving; we don't have to eat boring meals as long as we concentrate on flavour and the way we use the ingredients we have.
So, I've mentioned in a previous post that we were lucky enough to get to our local wholesalers before things became really serious regarding #stayhomestaysafe. We stocked up on some great staples which has been a total bonus and along side these as I said before, there are things we haven't/can't get for love nor money, namely plain/bread flour so the self raising flour we bought - 16kg of it..
is being used for everything from bread without yeast, pizza bases, sweet bakes, cakes and makes. I've now used up any bread or plain flour I did have and this loaf was made yesterday with the last of it, half and half of plain and SR - came out well, just with there was more!
Bread products in general are a real issue so I am resigned to making fresh Piadina, which I've been harping on about on social media a bit, but it is fantastic and so easy.
It comes from one of Jamie Oliver's books which I love and is well used; it is a great book to use at this time showing us how to Shop Smart Cook Clever and Waste Less - full of use it up ideas!
This can be used for both savoury and sweet meals. I'm also going to dig out a recipe I have for biscuits instead of buying more cream crackers when the current supply runs out to go with soups and for snacks. I used to make soda bread a lot but SR flour doesn't come out as well as even regular plain flour... But, if you have curry you can make simple flat bread and those can also be used for sandwiches or with meat fillings for main meals.
I had to fetch a prescription on Wednesday so went to our local farmers co-op and the fruit and veg shop along side which I have used in the past. This was before I had a panic attack at another shop, just getting to my car before I fell into floods of tears after an old man wanted to hold the door open for me. I then broke down again at the fruit and veg shop about which the people were lovely. It was a surreal experience as I'd not been into Aber since March 12 or to anywhere else beyond the village shop and things outside the house had changed a lot at that point. I feel the anxiety came on as it was a shock to me, even though we live within village life that doesn't have lots of hustle and bustle, that things were so eerily quiet. I'm very happy that we must not go out unless absolutely necessary because when I DO need to go out I know I'll feel safe because I don't have to go to a big town and I know the set up of the shops. We're also getting a weekly delivery of fantastic, local meat from the butcher in the same place so very pleased with that, too, for example these chops. It is great to support local businesses just now.
Therefore from my recent shopping trip I bought items to go along side frozen items and dried goods we already have. For example I can always make crumbles and cakes so have bought lemons for a bit of flavour when I don't have fruit to include in a recipe and apples to make a big pudding which will last a couple of days. Shortbread is interesting when made with SR flour as turns out slightly cakey but very tasty topped with jam!
Nothing is going to waste in the kitchen. Veg odds and ends go into a pot to be made into soup; the huge leek I bought had the tops removed to go with potato, some carrots of which we have tonnes! as this is another thing be bought at the wholesalers, a couple of spuds and some seasoning and voila, lunch today was said soup with some additions from the fridge.
Jon is chief pie maker and this beauty was a mince monster he made last week. Due to the meat, veg and spuds in it, a slice doesn't need too much extra veg on the side - a slice each and four in the freezer.