did you get the things we needed? (an occasional series)

I wanted a new cookbook stand, and some crumpet rings, and perlmonger required some ‘ose and circlips to rejig the pond pump plumbing. So we ventured forth.

We popped into the village offy to order some wine, and were presented with a 15-egg eggbox which they had saved especially for Henry, which I thought was rather kind.

In Kitchens, I bought

  • 2 crumpet rings
  • a cookbook stand
  • a sleeve to put in the freezer to chill white wine (or anything else, I suppose)
  • 3 individual pudding moulds (to take my 5 up to 8)
  • a pair of shell silicone egg poachers, just because they were so cute
  • a tarte tatin tin, because I’ve always wanted one

Then we set sail for Almondsbury garden centre, where we bought (oh dear):

  • 5m of hose and 4 circlips (so far, so good)
  • some fish flakes – we’re getting through a lot of fish food, because Henry and Ron love it, and have some every morning)
  • a solar pond fountain (oops)
  • 4 herb plants – 2 thyme, 1 parsley, 1 mint
  • a rhubarb crown
  • 3 shrubs for a tenner – we chose a beautiful yellow green grass, a cornus alba and an ajuga
  • a white waterlily, and 2 oxygenating plants
  • a Tradescantia with splendid purple flowers

Henry is thus far unimpressed with his super-sized eggbox, but both he and Ron have occupied the lovely big paper carrier bag from Kitchens.

Moussaka for supper, which will be nice. And then feet up – exhausted.

did you get the things we needed? (an occasional series)

We nipped (or popped) to Gloucester Road yesterday – perlmonger wanted some organic blackcurrant juice (his bedtime tipple of choice), and we had some books to take to the Amnesty Bookshop, and we needed some veg, which might as well be bought there as anywhere else.

On our way (well, it’s not, but you know), we stopped at the village Farm Shop, to try their cafe for breakfast (excellent), and buy a chickie! for today; sadly, they had no big chickies in the rack. Got some black pudding though.

We got Pete his juice and various other bits and pieces (dishwasher tablets, for one) in Harvest. I went into the butchers to get a big chickie!, and Pete reminded me that I had actually enquired in the farm shop, and they had fetched a large fowl for me. :: badger.

We went to the greengrocers and got the veg. We went to the winemaking emporium and got a couple more boxes of concentrate. We went to the new Indian textile shop and bought 50 quid’s worth of cushions to go on the new Very Red sofa (and a fab knitted hat with earflaps and tassels for me, for only £6 – now watch the weather turn …). And a new string bag, as I have lost the old one somehow – took it to Asda last week, and brought it home, and it’s gone; I blame the kittens.

Then we went over to the Chinese Emporium to get some noodles, and some oolong tea, and some palm sugar, and some rice wine, and two tins of fermented black beans, and some soya sauce (guess how much of that was planned?), and then we called at the Better Food Co to get Pete some of his favourite Montgomery cheddar. And a stalk of sprouts and a lovely rosemary and lavender soap and some nettle shampoo and a can of elderflower cordial because I was thirsty.

We’re not fit to be let out. Honestly.

did you get the things we needed? (an occasional series)

We nipped (or popped) to the tip at lunchtime, to dispose of old carpets and various chucked away gubbins from the server room, as previous detailed.

From thence, we went to Costco, armed with no shopping bag and no list. Still, we only wanted cat food and butter. Which cost £192 by the time we’d finished …

  • 96 tins and 48 pouches of cat fud
  • 4 packs of Beurre d’Isigny
  • 1 big box of shortbread, and a multipack of butter cookies
  • some small kabanos, as the big ones were sadly lacking
  • a bath mat
  • a half bottle of dessert wine to accompany the xmyth pud
  • a bag of leeks (a constituent of tomorrow night’s supper party) and a bag of shallots
  • 2 dozen bagels and 8 part baked baguettes
  • a whole Brie, and some Port Salut (bugger, forgot the smoked cheddar)
  • a big gammon to cook up for lunches
  • a tub of good quality choc chips for baking
  • a box of 9 Brita water filters

But – *even better than that* – they had a fabulous heavy duty stainless steel mandoline, something I’ve wanted for ages. I’ve always been wary of them, not least because I couldn’t work out how to store it safely; this one comes with its own storage box, and looks Very Sharp Indeed. Can’t wait to try it out. Some videos here. Sliced finger with every meal.

We didn’t get: smoked almonds (couldn’t find any), or Maltesers (you call *those* fun sized?). They didn’t have any mixed nuts in their shell either; we always buy a bag of these for festering season – we don’t eat nuts, but Iggy likes to bat them round the room, and who are we to deny a chap his pleasures?

did you get the things we needed? (an occasional series)

We nipped (or popped) to Nailsea via the local farm shop. We had, unaccountably, run out of dripping, and so Thursday’s corned beef hash to be cooked in oil – most unsatisfactory. I had vague ideas about buying a duck, although it did seem just a tad over the top to fill the dripping bowl, but the farm shop was duckless, so we had the dripping and a carton of cream instead.

From there to Nailsea, primarily to go to the petshop and get still more cat litter for EnRon, who don’t like the stuff we had in the garage (obviously). However, the farmers’ market was on, and we needed a couple of other things, and and and …

  • a pack of mixed game (venison and pheasant mostly, I think) £5.90, to be made into a casserole for tomorrow with butter beans (already soaking) and dumplings
  • 4 x faggots, to be cooked with lashings of onion gravy, and served with mash
  • 1 pack of venison sausages
  • 1 loaf of stilton and walnut bread (as I didn’t get round to making any bread last night for reasons I shall tell you later. Probably.
  • some very nice smoked buffalo cheese (at least, the cheese is smoked – not sure about the buffalo), and from elsewhere in the town
  • 2 bottles of shower gel and some aspirin from Boots
  • a plastic box to put all my winemaking gubbins in
  • a big bag of approved cat litter, a feathery thing onnastick and a flea comb (for the cats, just in case you were wondering)
  • some fresh chillis and ginger
  • a bag of hazelnuts and some porridge
  • a trawl round the charidee shops (I love doing this), which brought forth two nice square earthenware dishes, a copy of War PLC for 25p, and a rather nice teal velour top

Now I am off to turn a big box of windfalls into apple wine, make a cherry cake, have a cup of tea and a mince pie, and quite possibly collapse in front of the telly for a bit. Enjoy your weekends, all.

zombies at noon

We are shortly sallying forth to quercusZombie Invasion of Babylon Cabot Circus, the new temple to consumerism that opened in Brissle on Thursday.

Underpinned by a Harvey Nicks, this shopping centre “boasts” one of the largest car parks in Europe, apparently and is, probably, doomed as it opens just as a recession looms. It was originally to be called Merchants Quarter (without, IIRC, any apostrophes), but the good citizens of Bristol objected due to the slavery connotations. It is now, naturally, referred to as “Slaves’ Quarter” by many of us, and *we* know how to apostrophise properly, oh yes.

There’s been a huge amount of trumpeting in the local press about how the 4000 new jobs this place has created. Mostly, I suspect, near minimum wage, many of them from branches of the same stores which will now close. The Evening Post, in the same edition, trumpeted loudly about how wonderful the shopping temple was, and how worrying it is that small independent shops in Gloucester Road and Bedminster are closing, without any apparent sense of irony.

The only appeal this place holds for me is an Apple Store, but I doubt I shall go near it today, as the whole bloody place will be utterly heaving. I do need to buy some vegetables, a cat collar, and a book on home winemaking today, but city centres being what they are these days, I won’t find the first two in Slaves’ Quarter, I’m sure. There are a couple of Tesco Express stores, which I won’t patronise on principle, and a Marks and Sparks, but I don’t buy their overpriced food either. Those everyday bits of shopping will therefore have to be done later, and elsewhere. Suits me fine – I can’t see me spending much time there.

But oh … the siren call of the ShinyStore may prove hard to resist.

weekend 20/21 sept 08

harris hawk in flight
Originally uploaded by ramtops

On Sunday, we went Out! to Puxton Park, a fairly new family park that has some falconry displays, which is why we went. Birds of prey are very difficult to photoraph in flight, as you may tell from the Flickr set.

Puxton is really nice – only four quid to get in, and an assortment of animals to see, a good restaurant (what looked like an excellent Sunday dinner for £5.95), a wonderful farm shop where they do their own butchery, and the meat is completely traceable. We bought a duck, and some interesting teas. Umm – roast duck for supper tonight.

Saturday we did a round trip to the tip at Backwell with the plastic bottles and electrical gubbins that needed disposal, to Nailsea for a plastic box for storing rice (they didn’t have the right size) and a peer at the farmers’ market, and then to Portishead to inspect the organic veg shop that runs a box scheme. It passed, so we shall sign up with Vegbox2U, even if they do have a very silly name. We came back via Sheepdrove to look at the farm butcher there, who also passed with flying colours, so when we have reduced the mound of dead animal in the outside freezer, we have found a couple of good local suppliers.

Other than that, there was fish and chips on Saturday night, thai veg curry last night, and lots more Babylon 5.

A nice weekend.

Did you get the things we needed? (an occasional series)

We sallied forth this morning to Costco; this was for two reasons – firstly, we were running low on cat fud, and that would never do. Secondly, when we opened the 20kg bag of basmati we bought the other day, it had mould in it, so we needed to return it. So – few tins of Whiskas, some butter if they had it, ditto kabanos. How much could it cost?

It cost … £159.51. For:

  • a sack of onions
  • a hunk of gammon to cook for our lunches (20 quid, which will do us about 4 weeks, so good value)
  • 6 packs of Isigny unsalted butter
  • lots of cat fud (72 tins, I think)
  • a pack of box files for, um, filing
  • 1.3kg of Alpen muesli
  • Terry Pratchett’s new book, Nation
  • a big bag of red onions
  • a big bag of dried blooberries (for putting on my porridge
  • lots of garlic – sadly they had none onnastick, which is how we usually get it
  • a big tub of chocolate chunks, for baking
  • 2 packs of kabanos
  • a pack of pancetta
  • 9 Brita water filters
  • a pack of smoked trout – in my defence, they were dishing out samples of this, and it was gorgeous; I reckon I can do 5 meals out of a tenner’s worth

Time to batten down the grocery hatches for a while, I think 🙂

p.s. White iPhone next week, or black? I can’t decide.

p.p.s. Fancy that – Costco obviously put the payment through immediately – £182.76 including the replacement bag of rice, for which they had given us a refund on the debit card. Has that hit the bank? No it fucking hasn’t. Seethe.

Costco gone to the dogs

We nipped – or popped – to Costco at lunchtime. I needed to buy a large chunk of pig to do my traditional Summer Camp gammon, and we also wanted some other bits and bobs.

And their stock was dreadful; NO Beurre d’Isigny. NO kabanos (perlmonger‘s standard lunchtime fare). NO shallots onnastick, or even loose.

But they did have pig, which is now cooking gently in coca-cola, a recipe which has no business working, but patently does, given the way the denizens of Carmarthen fall upon it on an annual basis.

And we got part-baked baguettes and duck breasts and 48 cans of cat fud and parmesan and oak smoked cheddar and some interesting round bread with serrano ham and emmental chiz inside which might be nice for lunch.

The gammon almost went into the huge cast iron cauldron that ccomley brought me back from France. But not quite. So I covered it with a tin foil hat, and weighted the lid down with two bricks.

And the bastard thing has leaked coca-coalesque steam, which has run over the hob, down the front of the oven, and under the cooker and dishwasher. Deep joy.

It’s in the oven now.

balance of Easter weekend

We didn’t do much Sunday – ate a humungous fry up for brunch (lamb and rosemary sossidge, apple-smoked bacon, egg, black pudding, beans, sourdough toast), and then some nice fresh home made scones for supper. And slumped.

Monday I decided to go to Ikeal. Astonishingly, perlmonger elected to accompany me. The roads through Bristol were very quiet; this was because everybody in the area was already *at* Ikeal, and it was *packed*. Still, we trundled round, buying 2 wicker hampers to tidy up Under The Stairs, a plastic mat with fish on for the cats’ food bowls, a new step stool, two mats for by the patio doors, and some tealights.

Came home and cooked dinner. We bought half a salt marsh lamb last year, and so we decided to cook the leg (why did we only have one leg, when it was half a lamb? Was it deficient in the leg department?). This leg of lamb was *huge*. And utterly gorgeous. Studded it with garlic and rosemary, and bunged it in the oven with a good sloosh of red wine. Had it with green beans and garlic in tomatoes, and roasted spuds.

While it was in the oven, we did indeed clear out the horror under the stairs, and put down the new door mats. So Project House is continuing well.

Last night, perlmonger chopped the rest of the meat off the bone, and we minced up most of it. We cooked some into Madhur’s Ground Meat with Peas, which unaccountably I have not put online yet. There are two more tubs of mince in the freezer, and some sliced lamb in the fridge, so thats [counts] five exceedingly generous meals from that joint.

Did you get the things we needed? (an occasional series)

We sallied off to Nailsea yesterday morning – it’s a nice little town that has most of what you might need for day to day stuff. I wanted to get some more catnip for the Tribe – they love it, but they want it in a herbal form. Sadly Aaron’s Pets didn’t have any, so the search continues (we are almost out of it). I also nipped (or popped) into the opticians to have my glasses adjusted *again*.

The rest of the haul included:

  • a new cutlery drainer to replace the ancient and horrible dark green plastic thing
  • a shoe cleaning kit wooden box, reduced to £6.50 in Woolies – been after something like this for *ages*
  • a small non-stick saucepan; I don’t like non-stick, but for scrambled eggs and white sauce they’re handy
  • cress, red chillis, eggs, beansprouts, new potatoes, cabbage from the greengrocer
  • 2 plastic bottles from the pound shop, to put my vinegar and lemon juice in (switching to a green cleaning regime, bit by bit)

Then we hurled round to Taste at Barrow Gurney, to pick up some rhubarb, and a couple of their most excellent pasties for lunch. Disaster! – all gone pasties 🙁 So instead,

  • 2 crayfish tartlets – gorgeous, consumed with homemade lentil/tomato soup for lunch
  • some Parmeggiano Reggiano
  • a small sourdough loaf
  • apple smoked bacon
  • a stalk of teeny tiny vine tomatoes
  • organic milk

And that was that. Home for lunch, then the rest of the day was mostly slumpage for me after the disturbed sleep on Friday.

Supper was sublime – we did the Boy Oliver’s Hot and Sour Pork with Rhubarbe, and I recommend it most highly. Really, really lovely. And there’s enough left over to put a tub in he freezer.

Watched the first episode of Dirty Sexy Money, which was just bad enough to be good, if you know what I mean. And I Tivo’d The Day After Tomorrow, of which I had had such high hopes that I actually *paid* to go see it, and it was appalling. I might watch it this afternoon to see if it’s as bad as I remember.

Happy Easter, all!