Week 15 & 16: Birthdays, the art of Mezze, the student does good and courgettes anyone?

Hello, are you feeling weary ? Week 15 saw me feeling a little “meh”. I blame the weather. I then saw the excitement around me at the prospect of pubs and bars opening. As someone who really doesn’t drink (alcohol that is) all that has bypassed me. I am certain that it is an age thing. Well I decided not to tell you how little I did that week so I just didn’t write the blog. I know very lazy and possibly disrespectful. I apologise. There was also an incident which shook our little cycling group.

Back to less exciting things ; the domestic goddess in me came riding to the surface and became the laundry machine. For 14 weeks I had avoided going upstairs to sort my clothes (I obviously have been going upstairs but have not addressed the clothes). Have I ever mentioned that I think I may have too many clothes. I blame the fact that I have to have an Indian wardrobe too. You can’t blame me for that! And boy those Indian outfits take up a lot of space and not forgetting the accessories. I often wish I had a walk-in wardrobe like a wag(#first world issues). I suppose I should warn hubby that we may be losing one of bedrooms soon if I have my way. And any visitors, well there are plenty of hotels in Bedford. Back to the clothes. I decided to attack my mountain of hand washing – joy of shopping in India. I also realised I have a lot of yellow tops and that I manage my clothes like my work files : filing is good.

All my clothes are in categories and then they are colour coded.This has nothing to do with lockdown. I was like this before. I even found some stuff that I had bought before lockdown !! At least I don’t iron my socks ; yes there are those amongst us who do this too.

Colour coding : makes life easier

All this tidying made me book a second trip to the tip. Look at that clean and tidy passageway apart from the empties.

Tidy passage

I will have to do the bottle drop and face the drop of shame as I stand there for some time and have the look of “not me honest”!! I may pass that task on. We still have bags of “stuff” that needs to be taken to the charity shop; that is what the spare room is for surely?

In the kitchen we have been back to simple meals and using the freezer stock of late and even had a takeaway-it is allowed !!!

Everyday pasta
Pilau with yoghurt & pickle

However during the weekends we have invited friends to eat in the garden (thankyou British weather for supporting our cause and not raining). Note-we need a fire pit, but it may take up the rest of our small garden. Thanks to some of my own recipes and the lovely Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s book Veg I think I have mastered the art of a mezze. I would like to share some do’s and don’ts.

Book of the moment

⁃ ensure you have plenty of bowls ✅

⁃ ensure you have a big table ✅

⁃ Ensure you have copious amount of olive oil ✅

⁃ don’t worry that you have random flavours on the table (Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern and Chinese)

⁃ don’t get side tracked with dips ( I went down that road. Homemade baba ganoush, beetroot and walnut , lemon and red pepper and coriander & apple chutney. And I had already a supply of a date/lemon & lime one. You know you’re on the wrong path when your hubby says what are we having for dinner and all you have to show for it is four bowls of dips. To be honest it was the lure of the homemade flat bread that got me… served with dips. In the end I ran out of time anyway !)

Pepper and lemon dip
Date , lemon and lime
Baba ganoush prep : smoking aubergines
Beetroot boiled

⁃ don’t get carried away because every recipe looks so yummy. Thank goodness for good old pakoras and hubby’s prawns and salmon.

Pakoras

⁃ do use vegetables that cook quickly not aubergines and beetroot! Although aubergines are my favourite veg.

Courgettes with mozzarella and lemon dressing

⁃ do make Caponata, I even used celery. But be warned it asks you to de-seed and peel tomatoes; I chose not to peel, life is too short plus I was running out of time.

Caponata

⁃ do remain disciplined and not add to your menu because you can.

⁃ don’t get offended when someone thinks the dip you’ve made comes from Sainsbury’s!! Do correct them quickly.

⁃ do make the red onion tart . Easy Peasy .

Red onion tart

⁃ do enjoy the leftovers for a few days 😂

Oh, one last don’t ; don’t agree to go for a bike ride on the day of the mezze making. The beauty of the mezze is that everyone eats together but no more for a while. It has been wonderful creating recipes that reminded me of the deli counter at Carluccios and seeing friends. Still no hugging , especially as we are in Bedford.

If I could describe the garden, the words lush and green would not be an exaggeration. We’re seeing more bees and butterflies because of all the flowers.

The herbs are bountiful uth a second batch of coriander on the go, the courgettes are here finally and delicious. The spring onions are sharp and strong.

We normally pick 2 at weekends. They have to be rationed. The tomatoes are everywhere and just about to ripen. The runner beans and beetroot are still alive. We have a jalapeño peppers but the other peppers have yet to show their face.

Jalapeño

The sunflowers are getting tall but we are still waiting for the flowers: I can’t believe me make children go through this at school. Even I’m wondering how much longer !

Sunflowers 🌻 higher than fence

I am sorry to report an incident that happened during one of our last “old ladies coming through cycling” outing. We were on a familiar route. Our friend Roz unfortunately fell and we ended up having to call the ambulance. I have her permission to tell you all. Thank goodness the ambulance could get to us quickly after some guidance. Anyway, the paramedics were fabulous and funny and professional and looked after her well. We were the support team.

Woman down

She is back home after an op and will be off her foot for 6 weeks. She is already searching for her new bike; she is a tough and pragmatic and no doubt be showing us her scars for years to come. The rest of us went on to cycle just for a further few minutes. I won’t lie it scared the &&&@& out of me but thankfully it hasn’t put any of us off from cycling. And ofcourse I baked , a lemon drizzle for her and one for us!

Cake is the answer

I would just like to say to pedestrians (I have been one) on a shared path that when you hear a bell would you

a) move and get a loud thankyou

b) just stand there talking

or c) turn, look register and still ignore demonstrate your anti-cycling credentials with mumbling and grumbling.

And to those professional type cyclists, get a bloody bell. I don’t want you whispering in my ear to move.Please respect my personal space and those of my fellow old ladies.

To finish I just want to do the proud mum moment. I know it can be a little too much and thankfully there was no FB around for me when she was younger! The student got her degree result last week and she managed to bag a First Class Honours from University of Nottingham in Nutrution. She is certainly set for her Masters in Public Health at Kings College London.My job is done , and as a friend said I can start looking for a good boy for her —- joking !!! No seriously I am joking, unless he’s a builder ? No I am genuinely joking.

Part of my “meh” that I mentioned earlier was because my Papa turned 84 on 2nd July and it would have been mum’s birthday on 10th July. So a tough few days for us all as we are not together. But good friends helped me celebrate mum’s birthday and we did all the things she used to enjoy; eat pakoras, eat cake, drink gallons of tea and round off with shopping and chatting.

Let’s see what the next few weeks bring with masks galore, wishing for no more lockdowns and hoping a positive trend for businesses.

Staying safe and trying to stay with the personal yoga practice.

🙏🏽

Seema

NB: You’ll all be delighted to know that I’m finally going back to work in August for 2days a week. The blog contents will definitely need to change. I’ve even got myself a new diary!

NNB: Ofcourse I’ve had a doggy walk or two since last time.

NNNB: Week 16 saw better weather. Good enough for social walks and ice-creams. As opposed to walking for Exercise. Of course the ice-cream is for energy.

NNNNB: We have booked two summer holidays. We are off to Norfolk to visit my MIL for a weekend . And even more exciting we are off to the Lake District for a long weekend. And for the hat-trick we’ve even booked a restaurant for this coming week.

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