Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I have a serious case of the sniffles. Despite the fact that the birch tree pollen I found out recently I am allergic to is not supposed to be a problem anymore by June, I have been sneezing all day. I've read a fair few accounts of the flu symptoms though, including people who have had swine flu recently and sniffles isn't anywhere high up on any of the lists so I'm not really worried about that. I do think I've got a cold though as my head is starting to feel stuffed up - happens in summer sometimes and I've been so hot the last few days, every time I move for more than a few minutes I start sweating buckets and then I have to stop and cool down and I think it's just my body adjusting to it. Of course I'm going to knock everything out of whack by going home to Ireland for two weeks at the end of next week. Although they have been having warm weather as well. Not the 30 degrees it is here today (that's 86 fahrenheit I think) but still into the 20s. I have sooo much work to get done before I leave though that I really don't want to be feeling under par for the next few days.n Heading to bed now with a spoonful of Night Nurse which can usually knock me out fairly soundly and hopefully a good sleep with cure more than any medicine could.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Beans and things

Was very brave today and tried cooking with chickpeas for the first time thanks to a recipe I saw on this blog which I had almost everything on hand for. So easy I can't believe how often I have intended to do chickpeas and have chickened out. I can see them playing a much bigger part in my future eating. Especially since the heat here is making me wilt - anything that adds more options to cold eating for me is a good thing. It's not outrageously warm really but compared to how Ireland normally is, it is sweltering and I reckon it'll take a good few years for me to get used to it. Must have been about 30 degrees yesterday and it was due to be 27 today but it is really humid with it. We had massive thunder storms yesterday afternoon and loads of rain but within an hour you could barely tell it had rained.

Today I feel like I have spent most of the day in the kitchen but I'm doing something for half an hour then need to sit down and rest while I cool down before going for it again. Can't believe it's almost nine o'clock. The tomatoes have finally arrived back at the farmers' market and I was going to attempt my first water bath canning and make some ketchup. But I haven't gotten to it so am going to wait till tomorrow after work.

What I have done:

Cooked chickpeas which I had soaked since yesterday, chopped up tomatoes, feta cheese and combined with the dressing of lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, black pepper and garlic.

Cleaned and de-stalked blueberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants and strawberries. Ate a fair few of the strawberries and made the rest into a rough purree to have with yoghurt for breakfast or desserts this week. The blueberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants are in the dehydrator - it will be interesting to see how they turn out.

Did what seemed like neverending amounts of washing up.

Used gooseberries to make pectin stock. I want to try and make more jam next weekend without having to use jam sugar.

Cooked broccoli and cauliflower to make a bake but couldn't face turning the oven on so that will be tomorrow's dinner. Also cooked some turkey pieces to add to it - will have some of those now with bread as my supper and leave the rest to add to the bake tomorrow.

Podded, blanched and froze a kilo of broad beans (350g podded weight).

Drank lots and lots of water. And watered some plants I just haven't bothered to for a couple of weeks.

Hung up the load of washing I did this morning. Naughty me doing washing on a Sunday again but the heat had me so exhausted yesterday I forgot about laundry until it was almost eight o'clock.

In other news I am working my way through visits to doctors. My bloods are all fine, even, surprise, surprise, my cholesterol (my diet isn't as bad here as it was the last few months in Ireland but I haven't exactly been making a big effort to cook and eat healthily). The colonoscopy was clear of any problems and I just have to go back in ten years for another and in the meantime try to get a hold of my mother's medical records so we know once and for all exactly what type of cancer she had. German doctors are very interested in prevention being the best cure. I did find out that I'm allergic to birch tree pollen so that's interesting. Appointment with the orthopaedic doctor tomorrow about my feet and that should be everything.

And finally I am getting places on my patchwork blanket. I knew when knitting it that I should have been taking care of the end bits as I went along but I didn't so now I just have hundreds of squares that need to be finished before being sewn together. I'm not quite halfway through but it is getting there and going fairly quickly now. Finishing things off is probably one of the most important aspects of most crafts and it's the one I'm least proficient at and could do with working on.

Oh, and I did an online IQ test yesterday and apparently have an IQ of 131, which according to one page I found (obviously I am going to take the one with the most favourable explanation :-) ) means that I just make it out of the highly intelligent category and into gifted. Since I got a good result I think I am going to stop being so dismissive of IQ ratings as a method of rating intelligence!

Edited to add: while I was destalking the currants earlier I thought to myself they might not be all that suitable for drying as they are so small and so juicy - what's going to be left. They've been in the dehydrator for six hours now and, given their small size, I would have expected them to be shrivelled up to nothing but they're not. Really not sure they're going to work out but even if they don't it will have been worth the experiment.