Pizza baking

I’m generally a home girl and quite content with my own company but this lock down is starting to test my patience. I think it is the lack of control feeling, if I want to make something and am missing an ingredient, it’s not so simple to just pop to the supermarket.

Gloomy mood aside, this weekend the sun was shining and once I got the mundane pizza_webhousework out of the way I made a start on some pizza dough for dinner. Trying to get bread flour, or any flour for that matter, at the beginning of lock down was a nightmare. Everywhere store I went to was sold out. I eventually found some and paid more than what I normally would, but it’s handy to have in the cupboard to make naans and in this case pizza dough.

The dough recipe makes enough for two large pizza’s, so we had plenty left over for tonight’s dinner. If you’re feeling super healthy, add a side plate of salad.

Lock down cooking; Thai steamed fish adapted

During our holiday to Thailand husband and I had a lovely tasting steamed fish in a broth. The lime, mint and ginger flavours coming through made the dish so fresh and full of flavour. We still haven’t forgotten how nice this dish tasted, so thought now is as good a time to try and recreate it at home.

I found a recipe from Marion’s Kitchen which was simple, quick and adaptable. I didn’t have all the ingredients at home so improvised, where the recipe called for coriander I used mint, where the recipe said fish sauce I used soya sauce. No lemon grass, not a problem I used spring onions and lemon instead of lime juice. We didn’t fancy rice to accompany the fish, we had roast potatoes instead.

So perhaps not as authentic as it could have been, but I worked with what we had at home. If lock down has taught us anything it is how to adapt.Thai steamed fish_web

Sorry about the picture, we were really hungry by this point and didn’t think about which dinner plate we were using. It doesn’t look at pretty as Marion’s but it tasted good, this is going to be our go to fish meal.

If you fancy something a little bit different then give this a try.

Lock down baking; scones

I’ve tried making scones in the past and they have always ended up looking like a poor excuse for a biscuit. Taste was apparently nice but they were flat and tough, maybe nice to dunk in a tea but definitely not a scone.Scone_collage_web

Lock down has meant rationing eggs, they are like gold dust here, and there many people I know who don’t eat eggs. The recipe I used does say they are ‘American biscuits’ but you know what, I don’t care. They looked like scones, had a nice height to them, were light and tasted very nice that husband is asking when I’m going to make them again. The small one on the end was for the dog, he had to give his approval as well.

Apart from the taste the other best part about this recipe was it only took about half an hour to make and bake.

Got half and hour to spare, give them a try. Happy baking.

Husbands chicken curry

Husband enjoys making curries, mostly meat but he has been expanding his skill set to include vegetarian meals.
CurryFriends and family who have tasted his chicken curry wanted to know how he made the dish, what ingredients he used and so forth. Using the video app Quik, he has proudly made his first video showing the different steps to making his curry and shared this on Facebook, please take a look. My only advice would be, unless you like spice go easy on the fresh chilli’s.
Husbands bother in law who rarely makes anything that doesn’t involve reheating in the microwave has bought all the ingredients and is ready to make his very first chicken curry. Who would have thought lock down would bring out the master chef in people.

Lock down baking; olive and sun-dried tomato bread

Lockdown has enabled me to rediscover my joy of baking. I have time to find recipes and try them out. I’m not going to go on about the benefits of being in lock down because let’s face it, the whole situation is rubbish.
Bread has always been a daunting experience for me, the lengthy process of making sure your yeast is still ok to use, the proving, then kneading, then waiting for the dough to do its thing.

pixlr_20200413100314004I decided to start off with baby steps and try a simple olive and sun-dried tomato loaf recipe, thanks to YouTube I found Baking with Eda.
Being a small household, I halved the recipe, plus I’m rationing my olives and sundried tomatoes!
For a first attempt the loaf tasted nice but could have had a crunchier crust, not sure if I should have left the dough in longer.

Bread makers out there, feel free to share your tips and advice as I predict there will be more bread making in my future.

I am planning to make soda bread soon, from my research I’ve read this tastes better on the day of baking. Husband has made some tasty dhal, which the soda bread will go perfect with for lunch.

New desk & chair have arrived!

Finally I’ve got my new desk and chair!

For all us working from home, having a comfortable place to work does make all the difference. It’s not just about the ergonomics of sitting properly but it’s also mentally preparing myself to ‘go to work’. I have been taking my new setup for a test run as I write this, I am very happy.

Excuse the dog toys in the picture, doggy will be my office companion for the time being. His contribution will mostly be sleeping on the bed next to me.

Stay safe everyone.


Office plans on lockdown

Due to the sudden lockdown yesterday the office idea didn’t go according to plan. All Argos standalone stores were closed with those inside Sainsbury stores still open.
Got through to a nice customer service advisor to say my click and collect order had been cancelled and I could re-order items at a different store. Poor guy, it was only 8 am and he already sounded worn out, he was very nice and apologised. When I said it’s ok it isn’t his fault he seemed to perk up a bit. Anyone who decided to give an Argos employee any abuse today should remember that, they are just doing their job and trying to make the best of a difficult situation by trying to help Argos customers.
Today was spent working at the dining table and stretching my back out every so often so my back and shoulders didn’t completely seize up.
It wasn’t all that bad but not something I could continue to do throughout this challenging period of working from home. My re-ordered items are due to be collected next week, fingers crossed I get my setup because it is cold in the kitchen even with the heating on & this makes me grumpy.
I’m all for having a healthy work life balance but a minimum of 12 weeks of this and I think even the dog is going to be happy to see me leave the house to go to work.
If you have to venture out, stay safe. If you are working from home, good luck, thank goodness for technology.

Creating my home office

I am working from home until the foreseeable future and we have just been told that due to husbands asthma has been asked to work from home. We thought this might happen but weren’t sure. Problem we have is that we only have one office setup which husband will have to use as he will be working on the desktop and I have a laptop.

I am not keen on the idea of working from my bed, the sofa or the kitchen dining table and there is little chance of both me and husband working in the same space. I’ll end up wearing my headphones to block him out!

I need to have a morning routine and feel like I’m going to the ‘office’ like I would normally just without the commute. So today we have been scrambling to try and find a suitable desk and chair for me that doesn’t take a minimum of four weeks to be delivered or collected and doesn’t cost a small fortune. We have successfully found a desk and chair I am happy with and can collect this week, hopefully before the store also closes to the public.

This may sound odd but I am excited to create my own working space. I know where the desk and chair will be setup, close to plug sockets, plenty of light and space.  I did think about also buying a desk lamp and maybe a potted plant but I’m getting a too carried away. First thing is to get the desk and chair then think about accessories.

The only other thing to work out is how to survive being at home with husband for a minimum of 12 weeks. The headphones may come in handy after all.

The virus is here, what are you doing about it?

Coronavirus, it’s here and it’s taking over. Why? Because we, the public are letting it by not listening to the advice being given by health professionals who know what they are talking about. Yet still there are many people in the country who think they know best. Don’t listen to those who think the virus can be prevented or cured by having honey and lemon with a bit of turmeric and maybe ginger, no, no no! This will help boost your immune system but offers no protection against the virus, there isn’t a cure, there isn’t a vaccine and even though it is great to have a faith, group prayer en masse will not help. Which brings me onto people who are still visiting heavily populated areas, you are that close to each other you might as well sit in someone’s lap. Remember just because you feel fine doesn’t mean you are not a carrier who could pass the virus onto someone who will not be fine. Seeing Facebook comments such ‘I don’t see any evidence of social distancing working to prevent the spread’ is worrying, have these people not seen the news, China, Italy?

We are being told not panic buy and hoard food people as there is plenty but it isn’t helping to alleviate fears. By seeing others scrambling to get their hands on toilet roll, hand sanitiser and pasta but if you’re in the Asian community then its chappati flour, or any flour for that matter, lentils and rice even the levelled headed people are thinking they need to do the same or face living off whatever they can finding hiding at the back of their cupboards! Supermarkets were meant to have dedicated time for the elderly, NHS staff to do their shopping, this has been difficult to enforce because instead of respecting this have chosen to ignore and go shopping at this time anyway. Nothing like a pandemic to show the selfish side of the human race.

To some I might sound a bit harsh but both myself and husband work for the NHS, me non clinical, husband clinical, just travelling to work is putting his health at risk. He moved into training future staff 2 years ago and like his colleagues is being called back to work on the wards, it’s all hands on deck.

I am one of the fortunate ones who can work from home but not everyone is able to. You will still want to have your supermarket stocked so you can have another run of supermarket sweep. Don’t forget pharmacies that will remain open to ensure people can still get their medicines. Teachers who are working on a rota to ensure children of key workers are looked after so their parents can still work. Don’t forget the take away restaurants staying open so you can have your Friday night fried chicken and chips. This is just to name a few.

We all have a responsibility to do our bit to help curb the spread of the virus. Wash your hands properly, that might be like teaching people to suck eggs but I’ve seen people leave public toilets without washing their hands. Be sensible about how you interact with people, we want to try and avoid putting extra pressure on our strained NHS because of arrogance and stupidity.

The NHS staff are doing the best they can to care and protect you, help them by staying home.

No spring chicken!

The clue is in the title. There are days when I feel energised and ready take the stairs at work instead of using the lift. Then I go to the gym with my youngest two siblings.

As you know I’ve been embarking on a bit of a fitness journey and I am pleased with the results so far, there are days when I feel energised and ready take the stairs at work instead of using the lift. Then I go to the gym with my youngest two siblings.

Ok, they are about 15 years younger than me, go to the gym more than I do and have started running regularly, they joined a local park run group!
The first time I went to the gym with them I stupidly thought I could do their routine, I was sorely mistaken.

My voice may have said I was fine but my facial expression and the lack of colour on my face betrayed me and showcased how I was really feeling…broken. Yes I slept well that night but that’s because I was exhausted and my body was internally crying wondering why I had put it through that torturous moment. I’ll tell you why. Pride.

After the workout I could barely see because of the sweat blurring my vision let alone walk, but I had to plough on through and show no weakness until I was home and nursing a cup of tea..tea always makes things better.

Despite my determination my body won out and I have had to accept that being fit and of course healthy is a journey.

A long journey.

I can’t keep up with the youngsters, yet. I’m not overweight, eat okish and exercise regularly. If I wanted to I could train like them but at the moment my priorities are different, or so I tell myself.