Hello to you all again. Yes I’m still here at week 8. Hope you are all keeping well and continuing to make the best of this situation, whether you are working long hours, part-time,furloughed and any other status. Hope you are still friends with everyone that is with you? No? Oh well. Try harder. This is the week I put up two fingers to my Apple Watch after last week’s accusation that I wasn’t exercising enough. Rude! I have photo evidence to boot.
Every day this week I’ve either walked, cycled or done yoga or a combination of the three. Everything aches, especially my dodgy ankle/foot but I keep getting told it’s good for me and need to do if I want to continue to eat the amount I am indulging in. I am also sleeping like a log; bed at 10pm, no small talk and the book stays unread. The latter will not make any difference to my attendance at the virtual Book Club.After yoga one morning I asked hubby to do a photo shoot much to his horror. I is a yoga model, in my furloughed world!! It was bloody cold at 7am in the garden. I remain committed to the cause much to everyone’s surprise and wonderment. Well boo hoo to you all and have more faith! And to the hubby, I am not obsessed. It may appear that I am but I am not obsessed. I am on the quest for the sloth pose and when the teacher says, “if you want a little more” ,that will be the cue for the duvet.
Each of the my three bike rides provided plenty of material for you. The first one was with a friend (we’re allowed now, socially distanced). “Don’t worry about the route” she says, “I know my way around the village” she says, “I’ve lived here for years” she says . We definitely got lost and were skirting a local golf course. It was the first day they were open and they were all out in their gear getting away from the families. We ask for direction to Biddenham and the dog walker asks, “where have you come from”. “Biddenham”, we say! He smiles and laughs as I shout, “have only lived here for 22years”. Even the student seemed concerned on my return,”you’ve been gone three hours, it was meant to be 1.5”. Parents please feel free to giggle.
During the second ride, my fellow rider manages to fall and times it for when there was an audience. It’s ok she’s not hurt, and the nettle leaves only stung for six hours. Our ride was like a scene from those old Enid Blyton books….. Two (not seven) go on an adventure. The third ride was with the hubby, who has made it his mission to improve my confidence and cycling skills and create adventure . But I’m like the queen when we go out. Hubby carries everything so I can concentrate on the cycling.He rides ahead warning me of enemies and foul hills and narrow paths. Bless him, he knows I’m a fair weather cyclist; it must be dry, sunny, flat, all off road ideally (I hate the roads) a drink stop and ideally a food stop. Other than that I’m happy to go anywhere, anytime and ideally be lied to about how long we are going riding which he does admirably and I know he’s doing it. Not sure how all that works.
The walks vary and I’ve discovered new parts of Bedfordshire countryside.
I did double denim for one walk as it was so chilly.. I know it’s not a fashion show and I’m nearly 55 but the body was craving something other than leggings.
I’ve been better behaved and have worn leisure gear at all other times . We have even taken to carrying a mini rucksack, a 2.5 hour walk needs a tea break. This increase in exercise (all relative remember) means less time in the kitchen. But you know that whatever I will have cooked will have caused some drama.
So let’s start with the family favourite; the vegetable quiche which nearly didn’t get made. In regular style I get all the ingredients ready and realise there are no eggs. Not really a problem as I was going for my favourite social activity later that day; Sainsbury’s. I meandered towards the eggs aisle and look in horror as it is bare. Did I miss something? When did we move from toilet rolls to eggs ?? Stay calm Seema there are other shops. I see my till friend and moan about the eggs and she sympathises. I make a dash for the smaller Sainsbury’s. Have to queue outside. Grrrr… the quiche is slipping away . I finally get in and go straight to the right aisle and there they are, eggs! Lots of them. Quiche is back on. I am on track the pastry is blind baked with baking paper and beans. The beans are removed. I egg wash the pastry , and bake for another few minutes. Did you spot the fact that I didn’t remove the baking paper 🤦🏽♀️! Anyway spotted it just before filling with vegetables. No quiche next week and perhaps for a while.
Later in the week I decided, not sure quite sure what possessed me to make vegetarian spring rolls from the Prashad cookbook. I can’t explain what made me do it. I had all the ingredients and happen to buy the pastry sheets on my last trip to the indian shop. As you know I’m trying to become a 10/10 housewife and that requires that you must have all random ingredients in your store cupboard. A little like the Domestic Goddess Nigella . You many only use an ingredient once and then in next clearout out it goes. So the gazillion ingredients were prepped for this recipe. I got out the pastry sheets and as required kept them in the damp towel. I painstakingly filled and rolled 20 of the sheets. At 10 I wondered why had I started this? Perhaps we can just make toasted sandwiches with the filling? But I finished the 20 and even baked some of them. They were delicious but the ROI (return on investment) of my time I think is poor even with home made coriander chutney. Perhaps I’m using the wrong equation?
And then on Friday I decided to make Bakewell Tart. Only because Mark Avery teased me with his efforts and it looked so tempting and not to mention the fact that it had been at least a week since I had baked. Standards were slipping. So I measured out everything on Friday morning to get to it after my walk and our road trip . I didn’t get to it until dinner time and I was so busy talking that I didn’t add all the flour I had weighed. Then I wondered why the pastry didn’t work. Both student and hubby rolled their eyes and questioned my sanity as to why I would attempt this at 9pm on a Friday. I cleared up and went to watch Gogglebox. Energised after my 6am yoga class on Saturday I started again with the sweet pastry . I now had 2 egg whites waiting for me for brekkie . Anyway the pastry would not roll, kept cracking. So I decided to put it in fridge. Sent an SOS to my baking helpline (no response). Had my breakfast and tried again. A little better but still didn’t roll. Stay calm, seems to be the week 8 Mantra. You can do this. What to do! So I just rolled as much as I could and then just pushed the pastry around the tin with my fingers. Hey ho! Whatever it takes. Anyway it tasted blooming marvellous , I know so because it was for 12. There are 3 here. One is not eating cake. That leaves 2. So being a feeder , I shared. Who knew that Bakewell Tart was so many people’s favourite and would be the cause of PRST (pastry rolling stress disorder).
I was late to the party in finding out about the opening of our my favourite Indian takeout in Bedford . On Thursday , I got whiff off it and and within a few minutes I had passed on the intelligence.It was the most rewarding task of my week.So those that live in Bedford or have known me for a while will know that Bala is place I get the samosas and our Friday night takeouts. In return for my news I heard back about another takeout place being open (god damn it had been open all the while 😂). I get spring rolls from there – you can see how cruel this timing was for me. By 5pm I had ordered . By 6pm I was collecting for 4 people and was the dealer for Bala and London Sweet Centre takeaways. Home cooking is good but takeaways are in another league.
So when you dream of a road trip, you imagine being in a convertible zooming along a lovely long road far far away with music drowning the wind and the sound of the engine. Perhaps a scarf keeping your hair in tact. Back to reality …this road trip was with my hubby on Friday, in a VW Golf down the M1! We get into the car and then don’t turn around within 10minutes – Bedford isn’t that big so the car must have realised something was either wrong or lockdown is over. The last time I saw my beloved M1 was on the 16th March. Well it was all just normal, nothing special , nothing has changed, same cars , just no jams. And it was the same on the M25 and M4. Not sure how I thought I would feel but it was just meh ? We collected mail and some bits from the flat, including two bowls and a cake stand; you can never have enough bowls 😉. Then onto Southall to Papa’s house to collect mail and check the house. We rescued his supply of beer and snacks. What an anticlimax that road trip was.
The student handed in her dissertation earlier this week, much relief and celebration. She surprised me again by arriving downstairs by 10.30am on some days. She has become so motivated by fitness and healthy eating. She keeps sending me recipe ideas.I wonder if I’ve influenced her? The whiteboard has been re-created for abs and full body workouts. Her runs are getting longer. No junk is being eaten, more for us and no need to hide anymore. Student has been creating some rather colorful salads and interesting recipes ; she just hadn’t learnt the art of bowlage (the creative and practical use of bowls to prepare ingredients for a recipe).
And in general news some entrepreneurial girls in the neighborhood have started a car cleaning racket. They are so good that we’ve booked them for a monthly slot. The smell of money to the young is so appealing that lie ins are a thing of the past- well that’s the rumor going round.
The Bedford tip has re-opened. Hoorah. But hold on you need to book an appointment. I can imagine the conversations, “Yes madam what do you have …. ummm bottles and cardboard. Does Thursday at 4.20pm suit? But we will need the bay back at 4.40pm.” The Garden Centres are open – I wish we had a bigger garden (#first world problem). But either way we are going, one day soon I hope, one can never have enough compost especially as we await the arrival of the Veg Trug during week 9.
As more of you go back to work in a safe manner. I wish you well. At least it will stop all those people who just come and loiter at your desk without invitation. Make enough room for a personal tea station as you won’t be allowed to go into the kitchens. Please don’t ruin your street cred by taking a flask!!
Seema -staying alert !!
NB1 Has anyone seen Boris recently ?
NB2: Rishi Sunak are you sure you’re a Tory
NB3:Good luck today anyone working in London trying to social distance.