Sunday, 1 September 2013

A Chill in the Air

Well I know I was going to take the rest of the day easy but things didn't quite go to plan.

Sorting through the salad drawer in the fridge, looking for something to nibble, I came across a packet of blueberries fast approaching the squidgy stage. I like my blueberries hard and sharp so didn't want to eat them as they were. So I hit upon the idea of muffins. Out came the bowls and mixer and before long I had a dozen muffins in the oven rising nicely. With the baking bug still working it's magic, I quickly cleaned up the utensils and found myself making a Victoria sponge. I'd plopped the mixture into the trays just as the muffins were ready so did a quick swap. In short by five o'clock I had twelve muffins and one very large sponge cake ready to be eaten by tea time. I know it seems a bit much but I have two hungry men at home at the moment so they won't last long.

All baked out, the rest of the day was mine so I lay on the settee watching an old black and white film, I don't even know what it was called, until it was time to do my meds.

In the evening I was surprised to find the X Factor had started up again, another sure sign winter is on it's way. I don't know how but I'd managed to miss all the fanfare that usually accompanies the start of this show, maybe I'd blotted it out, who knows. Anyway I loved the show when Sharon Osbourne was on it so, despite my reservations, decided to give it a go.

It had reverted to the old format of having just the hopefulls and the judges for the first audition. This I thought was much better as you could actually hear the acts and the judges comments without all the noise of an audience drowning them out.  However that was the only good thing about it. The contestants were the usual bunch of the deranged, the oblivious, the mediocre and those who believed that a few tears and a story about a falling out with their mum would get them through, sadly in this case it did. Worst of all was Mrs O's behaviour. Clearly hamming it up for the cameras I found her irritating this time round. Once again this year I'm going to give it a miss, my blood pressure just won't take it.

It was most definitely a cooler night last night than I've experienced for quite some time and as I result I slept like a baby. Today, although quite sunny, there is that unmistakable bite to the air that you only get with the approach of autumn. The back garden is awash with the leaves from the Silver Birch and my plums are ripe for picking, about the only thing I've successfully managed to grow this year. The days of summer are numbered but the weathermen say we are in for a lovely September, I hope they are right.

Today I'm trying a new recipe, cinnamon lamb tagine, I'll let you know how it goes. One thing I do like about the colder weather is the excuse to start making comforting soups and hearty stews. Although I like my salads and start craving them come April, soups and stews are my favourites. Partly because they are so easy to make, basically shove it all in a pot and hope for the best, and partly because you can make huge quantities and freezer it for the days you don't feel like cooking. I have a new recipe for a spiced sweet potato soup that I can hardly wait to try.

In the news two important events caught my eye.

Firstly the vote on whether we should take military action against Syria. The vote went against the idea and I can't understand why David Cameron is so surprised about this. The British people are fed up with war, especially wars that really have nothing to do with us. We have lost hundreds of young men and women in conflicts we had no right being in in the first place. The British people are also wary. Having been lied too by Bush and Blair it is going to take an awful lot of convincing before we trust a politician over a reason to go to war again. Besides our armed services are being slowly but surely dismantled and ultimately we can't afford another war.

The problem is that despite everyone professing to hate Margaret Thatcher, she was the last British Prime Minister, since Churchill, to take us into war and win. And every prime minister since then wants a similar legacy. They want to be remembered as great statesmen but it is hard to be great without a backbone and our recent crop of politicians would be hard pressed to find one between them. However there is hope and it lies with those who voted against Cameron, unfortunately they have also signed the death warrants for their careers. Pity!

The other story is that of Nelson Mandela who continues to be at death's door or improving with mind numbing regularity. This week's see-saw reporting first had Mandela being released from hospital, then they said that was untrue and now, this very morning, they've announced he is being released from hospital although his condition is still serious and is at times unstable. Is it just me that finds all this just a little, well, weird?

Right off to the kitchen to make this lamb dish. Did I mention Strictly starts next weekend? I did? Oh, I won't mention how excited I am then.