Thursday, 3 October 2013

Currying Favour

The news on Kath is a lot more positive today. Kath continues to improve and they will be bringing her out of sedation sometime in the next day or two. This is really good news and the new organs seem to be settling in nicely. As we all know there is still an awfully long way to go but the immediate danger is hopefully past. Phew!

Yesterday was another day of doing virtually nothing.

I walked around the garden and got another good haul of blackberries, I reckon on another week or so to get them all and then the brambles can be cut back and treated with weed killer. I toyed with the idea of making blackberry and apple turn overs but have delayed that until the weekend for one reason only, lack of apples. I planned a birthday cake for Andrew, it's gong to be all Belgian chocolate and cream, yummy. And I made a curry, which was positively delicious and you will find the recipe later in this blog.

In the afternoon I rearranged my cupboards and wardrobe, throwing out the most disgraceful of my old tee shirts and tops to replace them with the splurge I received yesterday. I don't know about you but my clothing goes through several stages before finally getting thrown out. These are best, everyday, around the house, cooking, DIY, painting or gardening. As I rarely partake in the last three anymore I had a pile of clothing covered in stains and full of holes that really should have gone to the tip ages ago. Part of me wanted to hang on to a few items but sense told me that even if I had my transplant today it would be next spring before I was anywhere near capable of rooting around in the herb garden. By then I'd have added a few more items to the pile so why not start again.

Having given myself a lot more space I retired to the settee for a cuppa and an episode of NCIS before doing a little bit of light housework.

Today Peter has the whole day off so we are going out. There are a few blue plaques that have just gone up that I want to get a picture of and I love the colours of autumn so will go looking for some wooded areas too. I just hope the morning sun keeps shining well into the afternoon because it will make the colours much more vibrant. We are also popping into a shopping center as Peter wants to look for something he forgot on Monday. All I can say is he'd better hang onto the credit cards or I'll be off again.

In the news I've been reading about the idea of making the unemployed work for their benefit. What a brilliant idea, it's something I've been saying ought to happen for a very long time. Why should someone earning more than me in benefits be allowed to sit on their backsides watching TV all day while I'm slogging my backside off to support them?

Yes I know not all unemployed are like that, some do a lot of charity work, some act as carers to sick parents, partner and children but unfortunately they are in the minority. Too many are allowed to fritter away their day doing absolutely nothing and like most working people this really annoys me. I do not mind in the slightest paying for sickness benefit or child benefit for those in need. These are people who have no control over the hand fate has dealt them and are precisely the sort of people the benefits systems was set up to help.

The unemployment benefit though was never meant to be a life choice. It was always meant to be a temporary safety net and used to be a state of great shame for those who were unfortunate enough to find themselves having to claim it. Now it is seen as something of a right without the need to do anything in return. Getting the unemployed into work would help the country in many ways, from keeping it cleaner to making sure the elderly and infirm are well looked after. However there would be a benefit to those who are unemployed too. I know only too well how easy it is to fall into the habit of not working after just a few weeks off sick. I cannot imagine how difficult and daunting it must be for those who haven't had to turn up for anything on time for years. It will get them into a new habit of getting out and doing something useful, it will give them new skills and will also help them socially too.

I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this point as is their right to do so but I can only see good things coming out of this proposal.

So onto that all important recipe.

Beef Curry (you can also use pork, lamb or chicken, just alter the stock to suit)

Serves 2 - 3

350g casserole or stewing beef cut into bite sized pieces.
1 large onion roughly chopped
1 cooking apple peeled and diced
juice of half a lemon
1/2 pint of stock or water with stock cube
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon mango chutney
Spices - now this was an experiment so I added turmeric, coriander, ginger, garlic and cumin ground together in more or less equal measures to make up approx 2 tablespoons of powder. For simplicity I would add 1 - 2 tablespoons of medium heat curry powder.

Place meat into a casserole dish and set aside. In a saucepan heat a little butter and sweat down the onions until slightly caramelised, about 5 - 10 mins. Add the apple to the onions and cook for a further minute. Mix the flour and the spices and add to pan, cook for a further minute. Add stock, lemon juice, sugar, and chutney and bring to boil. Put lid on and simmer for 5 - 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add sauce to meat and put lid on casserole. Place in oven 140 fan, 160 conventional for 1 hour 30 mins - 2 hours. Check at one hour and stir to ensure meat is fully covered by sauce.

Serve with rice, naan bread and more chutney as a side dish. Delicious.

Well got to get my glad rags on, first chance to wear one of my new tops, so excited. Until tomorrow.