Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Busy Nesting

 I know some of you probably thought I had died, broken my arm and couldn't type, finally tossed the computer into the canal in frustration , but actually none of that is true.  We have had some on again/off again connectivity but the main reason is that I have been "nesting".

I am sure that you have read about animals that store up more nuts, build the walls of their burrows thicker, eat enough to form an extra layer of fat to hold them through what they sense will be a long and/or hard winter.  Well, my instincts from long ago have been telling me to do the same.

Mike and I have been foraging and sawing wood to load up onto the roof in case we run out of coal and need to keep warm (ish).  It has not been all at my suggestion either.  He seems to have the urge to do so also.  We have stopped looking for kindling size and are now keeping our eyes out for small log size.  I am amazed at the amount of wood that can be found along the canal.  Some of it is much too large for us so we leave it for others who have large wood burners in their homes.  But, there is a lot of free firewood to be had and we are harvesting our share.

I have also been stocking the dry goods and shelf stable items cupboards until they are bursting with the ingredients for warm and comforting meals.  The freezer is also chock a block with food .  A couple of years ago the canals froze and people couldn't move for almost a month.  If that happens this year and we find ourselves in a location with no walkable store near (like where we are now) we will be prepared.

I have also been cooking and baking more now that the weather is cooler. 

I recently bought two eggplant, or a they call them aubergines, and I used them in a way that I have never done before.  I made eggplant pizzas.  I sliced the eggplant into rounds, oiled them, then put spices, sausage and cheese on them and baked them in the oven.  They were excellent, if I do say so myself.

I have also made two loaves of soybean bread with flax, whey, wheat bran, protein powder and mashed soybeans.  They taste quite good, I must say. And, the added benefit is that the beans, whey and protein powder provide a substantial amount of protein per serving.  It makes especially good toast and last night it made great grilled ham and cheese sandwiches when I felt too lazy to cook anything more complex.

I used some more of the above cooked beans to make a lovely apple, garbanzo bean and mandarin orange side salad.  I wasn't sure how it would turn out but it was quite good.  The beans "marinated" in the dressing and took on that flavor and it was quite yummy.

A chicken pot pie without the crust and served over mashed cauliflower has also been on the menu.  Now that is a real, traditional winter/autumn comfort food if I do say so myself.

Planned for this week is Swiss steak using frozen leftover French onion soup as part of the base.  This will also be served over mashed cauliflower.  My grandmother and mom made great Swiss steak that I always looked forward to having.  Mine has never been quite as good but it will do in a pinch.

At a local market Mike snagged a large, very large, bag of apples (seconds) for a £ and I am planning on making  some applesauce and apple butter with them.  I love apple butter and applesauce in the stores here is quite expensive.  Ergo, make your own.

I found some RTC blueberries (probably the last affordable of the season) so bought all three and they are now in the freezer to enjoy some cold winter day in pancakes, muffins or such.  Right next to them are some foraged blackberries that may turn into jam or a crumble this winter.

See what I mean, I am squirreling things away and lining my nest to make things all warm and cozy during the colder times.  Has anyone else had this urge?

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