Thursday, 31 December 2009

Central Heating Boiler and weather

We had a lot more snow here and this morning I was woken up at 6.40 by the sound of my Baxi Solo 2 central heating boiler in distress.
It was so cold during the night it was really having a hard time getting going, and was making this worrying cracking sound as well as its normal clicking sound, as it tried to ignite, like... click.. cracklecraclecrack!
Then igniting and going off again.
It kept doing that for a few minutes as I stood in front of it feeling cold and hoping it would be ok, it was like it was desperately trying but could not quite manage.
I actually started talking to it and telling it to be good and behave itself.
So now it seems ok, except a couple of the radiators are not heating up properly.
I have turned the controller to constant heat (its thermostatically controlled and switches off when it gets to the desired temperature),and will keep it like that until I have decided what to do. I don't want it breaking down over New Year and trying to get an engineer out.
It was checked in the summer and received a perfect health certificate, so let's hope it is just a bit tired with all the work its having to do.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Vegan Rashers





Here is an image of the Redwood Cheatin streaky style Veggie Rashers.
Available direct from the Redwood Wholefood Company or many shops in the UK.
Previously we have used these to make vegan all day breakfast, with a fry up including things like mushrooms, scrambled tofu, tomatoes, veggie sausages and baked beans, but they also work well in sandwiches. I will definitely use them in soup again as they gave it a pleasant smoky flavour.
Today I noticed our second "Christmas Waste skip" being delivered. Residents on the estate generate so much additional waste over the festive period that the housing association now provides skips to take the extra rubbish generated. This was one of the motivating factors behind my "frugal Christmas".

Hibernating

The later part of December has been mainly spent at home.
This year I had decided not to make any special effort for the holiday and not to buy any Christmas gifts.
Certain people received gifts from me from items I already owned which I decided to pass on. Mostly they were wrapped in paper recycled from last year.
The Wednesday before Winter Solstice I had noticed the 5 day forecast for some very freezing and icy conditions and snow. So I went out in the rain to post my Christmas cards, and take my recycling to the recycling point on Beaconsfield Sreeet.
The next day, the snow and ice began.
Each morning I got up early, opened the curtains and saw ice and snow.
The Winter Solstice went by and still I could not get out the house for the snow and ice.
Jeff bought cat litter to spread on the steps, as no grit or rock salt was available.
I went to my hospital appointment at the RVI on Tuesday 22nd, in a taxi, and had a walk through the hospital corridors to the letterbox to post some last minute cards. the most walking I had done for days.
The following Wednesday the snow was totally compacted and no gritting had been done anywhere locally, so I had someone collect me to go to the Time Exchange Festive Meal.
Vegetarians were offered Shepherd's Pie and Veggies.
Christmas Day and Boxing Day were spent at home with Jeff, as the roads were too bad to go anywhere, and the pavements completely iced over.
In the last few days the weather has got a little milder and the rain has melted some of the snow and ice.
However the forecast is for more snow, sleet and ice with well below freezing temperatures at night.
My neighbour has been providing me with some interesting scientific papers to proof read and in return I am getting lots of complicated vegan dishes made from "A Vegan Taste of the Middle East" by Linda Majzlik and some shopping done.

Creamy Fakon and Vegetable Soup

Creamy Fakon and Vegetable Soup
Ingredients:

* 2 strips Redwood Cheatin Bacon Rashers;
* 1 tablespoon chopped onion;
* 1 tablespoon chopped mixed peppers;
* 3 sticks chopped celery;
* 1 tablespoon split red lentils;
* 2 heaped tablespoon marigold vegetable bouillion powder;
* 2 teaspoons tofutti sour cream
* 1 litre water;
* 1 tablespoon olive oil.


Method:
Fry the rashers and onions in the oil then add the peppers and celery.
Fry for 10 minutes on a low to medium heat.
Add the lentils and coat them in the oil, then add the water and cook covered until the lentils are soft.
Then add the boullion and cream. When it is dissolved turn off the heat and let the soup cool.
Add it to a blender or food processor and blend until totally pureed.
Return it to the pan and reheat gently. Serve with toast.

More or less water can be added depending on how thick you want the soup.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Artichoke and Tofu Yummy Rice


I bought a lot of stuff from the Suma catalogue this month. Thanks to Tamara from Time Exchange for helping out with collection.
So here is what I cooked:

1 tin Cooks and Co Artichoke Hearts in Brine;
2 onions;
2 trimmed leeks;
2 carrots;
1 pack Taifun Graffiti Tofu Terrine (pictured);
1 tbsp olive oil;
1 tbsp frozen peas
2 portions Suma Fairly Traded Brown Basmati rice
1 tbsp frozen mixed peppers (Iceland sell these in the frozen Veg aisle, they are better value for money than fresh peppers);
2 tsp Marigold Reduced salt Vegetable Bouillon powder.

Saute the chopped onions and leek in a large pan then add the finely chopped carrots.
Cook until tender then add the frozen veg and the tinned artichoke hearts.
Add the bouillon powder now.


Simmer with the pan lid on, on until it looks like everything is cooked. Then add the terrine, chopped into large chunks, and the rice. Stir together and serve.

Makes 3 portions.

Could also be known as Painter's Reward!

Kitchen finished

At last the kitchen is finished. After waiting for the new plaster to dry, Jeff, 2 volunteers from the Time Exchange, and myself put a few coats of paint on, and today Jeff moved the fridge freezer back into the kitchen.
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