Monday, 23 July 2018

When the cat's away









I spent the hottest day of the year so far sat in the middle of a grassy playing field watching the littlest boy play cricket, and I have to say, it was rather divine. I had a good chair and a parasol and a packed lunch and a good book and yes, it was blissful. Legitimately allowed to sit down and do not very much. It's not something I ever get away with at home.

I left the bigger boys holding the fort. They had detailed written instructions for making lunch, clearing away, dog walking and fruit picking. It was mostly successful although they did make a rookie mistake with lunch. They put the food on the table and wandered off to get something. By the time they returned to the table the dog had eaten a pile of cheese and most of a giant Scotch egg. (Friends from overseas, do you have such things as Scotch eggs? I feel they may be mostly an English thing. I'm not sure they even have much to do with Scotland. They are a nice hardboiled egg, covered in sausagemeat and rolled in breadcrumbs. English picnic cuisine at its finest.)

Lessons have been learned. The dog normally makes regular runs round the table at lunchtime, just to remind everyone of his presence, and that he is waiting for his lunchtime snack. Apparently today he just went and laid down on the sofa with a big happy sigh and a fat tummy. The size of his tea was adjusted accordingly.

I have just googled Scotch eggs, out of curiosity. Fortnum & Mason claim to have invented them in 1738, a quick glimpse of their version here. The one the dog ate was nowhere near this fancy. And apparently in the 1800s people ate them hot with gravy. What madness is this? Gravy on a Scotch egg, no, no, no.

My lunch was sadly unadventurous, cheese salad sandwiches and a packet of salt and vinegar, although I do have plans to cook nice things in the hols. The middle boy has asked to cook a meal or two, so I need to jump right on that before he goes off the idea. And the littlest boy is always game to join in anything and everything that's going on. Although I suspect that given free rein he would always make pizza. At the moment it's runner beans every day, I am sinking under a glut. And now I'm wondering if they would go nicely on a pizza...

The photos are mostly from a hot dog walk at the weekend. All this marching about the countryside with the dog is getting rather wearing. But it's good for me I know, so I shan't complain. I do rather miss civilisation sometimes though. The dog is not fit for civilisation. And to be honest the children aren't half the time either. And sometimes when I get there, civilisation is a bit of a strain. I did enjoy people watching at the cricket though. Some parents were quite, well, how shall I put it, vicariously ambitious. And all very nicely turned out. Their lunches were pretty good as well. I wonder if I am letting things slide. Maybe I should be getting up earlier and doing it all better and making the children be the best that they can be. I shall add it to my list of Goals For The Year. Hoping all are enjoying the sunshine, or at least getting to sit with your feet in the paddling pool. CJ xx

36 comments:

  1. I feel your boys may have raised Bertie's expectations for his lunchtime snack! I love the photo of the phone box. We have a couple that I've seen locally with the mini libraries in them, but we went to Brighton at the weekend and there were 2 adjacent phone boxes by the Pavillion Gardens: one was a coffee shop, and one a plant stall. Such ingenuity. Have you thought of runner bean chutney? I think Nigel Slater has a recipe for it, although I've never tried it myself. Your cricket match sounds blissful. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
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  2. I haven’t had a scotch egg for years. My mother in law , bless her, used to make vast quantities of the things to sell. Her kitchen was a 'no go' area when she was on her production line. That takes me back :) Your lunch sound like top fare in my books anyway, and you got to sit and read. Win, win! Looking forward to hearing about the meals your boys make for you, should be a good summer. B x

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  3. Dear CJ, I was fascinated by the photo of the phone booth stacked high with books.....can you tell us more please as I haven't seen anything like that in Oz? Have you thought of a cold bean salad to help with all of those runner beans? The cricket day sounds like you had a wonderful peaceful day. I would have been very happy with a cheese salad sandwich! Wish we had better temperatures as this has been a very cold winter in Australia. I won't be putting my feet in a paddling pool, but pulling on two pairs of socks and a warm pair of shoes. We do occasionally have Scotch Eggs here in our country. Regards Robyn

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    1. It's a tiny little library - following a movement called Little Free Libraries I think. Ideally you bring a book to leave in the phone booth (or box in someone's front garden or wherever) and you can take one away. No strict rules though, if you just wanted to take one I'm sure it would be fine. CJ xx

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  4. Dear CJ, we do not have Scotch eggs here in the Southern part of the US, (although we do have deviled eggs) and I am wondering what "cheese salad" is? We have a Little Library movement here, and they are built by people in the neighborhood and stocked by donations. You "take one, bring one," and they seem to be very popular in some areas. It is a great way to use that great red phone box. I love your photos!

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    Replies
    1. Nothing fancy, just cheese, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, stuck in a sandwich, that sort of thing! The Little Libraries are brilliant aren't they. I'd quite like one on my front wall, but I'm not sure if it would work where I live. CJ xx

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  5. I have never heard of Scotch eggs here in the Czech republic :)But we have the phone books libraries too. They can be found in hospitals, railway stations, etc. You can bring some of your books that you don´t want anymore and take another one you like from the shelves of this "library". I think it´s a brilliant idea. Czech people love books and they are(mostly) very interested in reading. I think so are British, aren´t they? Hana

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    Replies
    1. We are, we are! Great to hear that you have the little free libraries too. CJ xx

      Delete
  6. When my two boys were 12 and 10, determined to make them reasonable housholders of the future, I asked them to choose three main meals that they wanted to learn to cook. They had to do the shopping for themand the I showed them how to cook - as far as I can remember, they both wanted to learn how to cook a roast and spaghetti bolognese, I can't remember the other dishes now. The younger one used these skills to get on the right side of the mothers of girlfriends!!! offering to cook for them. "Isn't your son wonderful!" they'd tell me!!! My sons are both in their 40s with families now and one loves cooking, the other hates cooking but does most of the cleaning - I count that as some success!

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  7. Your boys sound just fine to me and Bertie's antics make me smile. How about Jamie Oliver's roasted cod with runner beans?

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  8. I am not keen on Scotch eggs or runner beans and I for one might have cheered Bertie secretly for stealing my portion. Jack is a nimble climber and is well known for stealing anything edible. He once managed to knock down half a roast lamb leg of the kitchen counter and having successfully secured multiple dinners in one he dashed through the cat flap with his bounty, not to be seen for quite a while....
    I think you should not get up earlier and do it all better - by the sound of things, everything is pretty good anyway and you better spend the time reading a chapter of a lovely book. Love the vision of you sitting in the middle of the playing field chilling out, leaving other parents to get all worked up about a game of cricket. I hope you find today a bit less hot. It is agreeably pleasant here in Scotland, Goldilocks perfect. x

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  9. Good to read that you spent some time relaxing for a change. As usual Bertie's antics have me smiling. I like Scotch eggs, but not with gravy! I'd enjoy the sunshine more if it wasn't so hot. xx

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  10. In my corner of the world, the Netherlands - Groningen, we have a traditional dish that looks a lot like Scotch eggs. It's called 'eierbal' which can be translated as eggball: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eierbal ~ Yvonne

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  11. I love the phone box photo too. Ted ate some chocolates off the table last week :o(. Very naughty. I wouldn't change your picnics either. I have a pathological loathing of the perfect fancy picnic, they should be rough and ready affairs where things get shoved in at the last minute because they need eating up. The children's summer hols memories are largely of pittas stuffed with cheese, salad and tuna being consumed in downpours around various parts of the country, either that or chocolate biscuits that have melted and become gloop. It's character building, no? Happy hols, dear CJ xx

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    1. Yes, this is the stuff childhood is made of. I remember wide-mouthed Thermos flasks with baked beans and tinned potatoes, served on plastic picnic plates, all eaten in the car in driving rain, while the windows steamed up. Perfection. I have a soft spot for a tinned potato to this day. CJ xx

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  12. A lovely post, as always. Your boys sound just fine to me, and Bertie is being a doggy dog, all self-respecting dogs steal food! Ours are well versed in the art!xxx

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  13. I definitely advise against getting up earlier and doing things better because it sounds as though you have got the balance exactly right.... especially days spent in the shade in a deck hair with a good book and a cheese sandwich. I would nurture that desire to cook in your middle boy though. Sons nos. 1 and 3 are both excellent cooks as a result of nurturing an early interest. In fact son no 3 learned at an early age he got invited to all the birthday parties because he used to bring home baked brownies ( which his mother dutifully boxed up beautifully!) as gifts. What a naughty puppy although I'm sure Hector would do the same given half a chance. Having given up eating meat twenty odd years ago it is the things like scotch eggs that I miss.

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  14. I have not heard of Scotch Eggs here in Pennsylvania in the US,but they sound very good.
    I enjoy visiting with you so much, as I learn new things and really enjoy a peek into your life over there.
    My daughter's fiancé's family visited us from Denmark last week, and I learned so much about their culture and habits.
    I have begun to eat breakfast as they do!
    I have some dense and filling bread or toast with some slices of cheese.
    And I am loving it!
    Have a cozy afternoon. : )

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  15. Trust me those boys will be far more vigilant the next time they are on lunch and dog duty at the same time. That or they will be hungrier again ;)

    Your photos are always great. Love the telephone box library! Very cool. I want to eat sausage now, I hope you're happy. I'm more sausage roll or meat pie than Scotch egg. :)

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  16. The dogs adventure in the kitchen made me laugh. Our Hank thinks nothing of getting things off the counter and immediately ingesting them, he looks so innocent but I swear still has the crumbs in his beard. Sounds like you are starting off the summer in just the perfect way.

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  17. Funnily enough I was looking up scotch eggs this week. We are not eating red meat etc, so I am planning to try alternatives such as covering with minced chicken or turkey or maybe even a cheese and onion type covering.

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  18. I had a British friend more than 40 years ago who introduced me to scotch eggs and I have loved them ever since. I like to spread a sweet/spicy mustard on them. Yummy!

    ReplyDelete
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  19. So glad you found time to sit with your feet up and a good book. Your boys sound like they are doing very well, despite the odd mishap. Daughter and son-in-law made a similar mistake with their new kitten. They left some food out on the table and came back to find a paw print in the cheese! Scotch eggs - now there's a thing. I haven't had one for ages ... it's lunch time here .... maybe I just have time to nip to the shop!

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  20. I know I live in Colorado but I just love Scotch eggs. I have a good friend who is married to an Irishman and she makes wonderful Scotch eggs. Whenever there is a friendly get-to-gether, she knows what to bring.

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  21. I have just found your blog from a comment you left on Gillian's blog. From the comment I had a feeling that your writing style and topics would be just my cup of tea - now I've read the first post I am delighted to have found you. From a new reader in New Zealand :)

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  22. For your runner bean glut, see if you can find a copy of the River Cottage handbook about Preserves. Pam Corbin does a really delicious recipe for pickled runner beans, they turn out crunchy and sweet - well worth trying!

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  23. I love the phone booth turned into a free library.. really inspirational. The beans are a great harvest.. cooking them with a bit of bacon and onions is my favorite way to prepare them. Have a super weekend! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  24. I think you should ease the children into a life of crime early on so that they can overcome the barriers that come with age and respect for authority. Would the cricket parents have anything worth stealing? Perhaps in their cars?

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  25. In Holland we eat Scots eggs with gravy. But I must admit we are a bit crazy over here!

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  26. I do love a naughty pup, haha. It's day 2 of gloom and doom here with rain coming and going and I am loving it! Must say I am really jealous of your blueberries, we got not a one this year, they are blue but all shrivelled up and look so pitiful. Enjoyable wee post, as usual - hugs xx

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