Butternut, Ginger and red Pepper Soup

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A tasty soup with a bit of a zing from the Ginger – mmm my  kind of soup.

 

Ingredients

1 Butternut squash, peeled and diced

1 red onion

1 or 2 red peppers

Coarsely grated ginger

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

parsley to garnish

75g of wholemeal/seeded bread cut into small chunks

1/2 tsp mixed herbs

800ml any stock of choice

2tbsp vegetable oil

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Method

  • Place the onion and garlic (if using) into the pan with the oil and cook until softened.
  • Add the butternut Squash, red pepper, ginger and chilli flakes
  • Stir being careful that nothing gets burnt
  • Pour the stock over the mixture
  • Leave to simmer with a lid on until the butternut is soft
  • Put the chunks of bread onto a baking tray. Drizzle with some of the oil and all the mixed herbs and season with black pepper.
  • Transfer to a blender until smooth
  • Serve with croutons and garnish in the middle

This soup freezes well.

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Hormonal Hens?

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The old and the new Ladies are here together in one place but wow what a week of turmoil it’s been! It’s like having a load of hormonal teenagers at home – I’m laughing to myself.

The first couple of weeks with the three new Ladies went well. Everyone went to bed where they were supposed to and slowly the group has begun to merge at times during the day. It felt like progress until Tuesday evening.

I always check that all the Ladies are accounted for each evening. There were only two of the new Ladies in their house. So I set about trying find her at dusk. I failed but at 6am the following morning, there was Lucy at my kitchen patio doors. She was demanding breakfast! I grabbed my wellies and a jacket, picked her up and took her back to her house.

That evening at dusk, I watched the trio wonder across the garden towards our Hampshire gate heading for home. All of a sudden Lucy stops and doubles back. What’s she up to? I thought to myself. She must have heard me in the kitchen as she looked straight at me. It must have looked like a real comedy as I spent the next few minutes ducking every few seconds as I watched to see what she was up to.

Opposite the kitchen is very narrow hedge. Lucy was looking up and down at it. At one point I thought she was going to fly up at the windows of the old barn but she ducked inside the bush. I waited a few minutes to see if she’d remerge but she didn’t. The bush was so condensed I ended up having to ask one of our holiday guests to hold the hedge back whilst I pulled her out. Lucy wasn’t amused as I took her home.

Next I discovered Spangle was missing! I found her fairly quickly fortunately, she was broody and clucking away in an outside nestbox. I returned her to the house and shut the door. However, I noticed a dead rat on the floor in the pen! Tried as I might I couldn’t remove despite telling myself out loud that it was dead. I walked next door to borrow a neighbour. So the rat was dealt with but Spangle had escaped again. She was just nestling down in the outside nestbox looking very proud of herself. I picked her up and let her fly up to her 10ft high perch, she’s the only one who likes to sleep way up there.

The kids/Ladies were in bed finally – I needed a cup of tea! 😉

 

Sunshine Blogger Award

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It is an honour to be nominated for a Sunshine Blogger award by  Lee-Anne this week.  I certainly would never have considered myself to be awarded anything for this blog.

I am now spreading the “Sunshine Award” by accepting and passing it on.

The Sunshine Blogger Award rules are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions you’ve been asked.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers, making sure to let each one know that they are nominated.
  • Ask the nominees 11 questions.

Thank-you

The questions that I was asked to fill in were:

1. What is your favourite drink?

I tend to drink water but otherwise it would be English Breakfast tea

2. Where is your hometown?

Winchester, Hampshire in England.

3. Do you prefer sweet, sour, bitter or savoury flavours?

My tastes have changed over the years and I’d say savoury now.

4. What is your favourite song?

To be honest I can never remember the name of songs but I know the second I hear the tune.

5. Where do you find inspiration for your blog posts?

Things that happen during my week.

6. Are you a minimalist or a collector?

Oh definitely not a collector.

7. What colour is your suitcase?

It’s so long since I used it but my overnight bag is quite colourful and is used far more. 

8. Which trees do you like the best?

At the moment I would say the Mirabelle Plum tree. It gave the most fabulous crop last year! 

9. Do you have a day job as well as blogging?

I’m a qualified Specialised Teaching Assistant and I help run the family business which is a holiday home.

10. What is your favourite smell or scent?

This is difficult but probably grass cuttings – ahh summer!

11. Do you prefer to eat meat or vegetables?

Give me a vegetable any day… 

I would like to nominate the following people:

 

I have learnt new insights throughout the world from these blogs and made blog friendships too. You’re all an inspiration to my world of blogging, so thank you to everyone who passes by.

If you wish to accept the challenge go ahead but please don’t feel obliged to answer the questions if you’d prefer not to. I also feel there are people I have missed out too for this award so please don’t feel abandoned – I nominate you all. 😉

11 Questions for the nominees

  1. Where in the world do you live?
  2. How long have you lived in your current place?
  3. Do you have a favourite hobby?
  4. If money was no object where would you love to visit?
  5. Do you have any pets/animals?
  6. Do you have a favourite place to write your blog?
  7. Where or what do you like to do when you need to escape and chill?
  8. Your favourite food or dish?
  9. What do you love about your home?
  10. Do you have a holiday booked for this year?
  11. How long have you known your closest friend?

Tasty Delights

This week I’ve felt the need to be a little more conscious of what I’m eating. I’ve doubled the amount of water that I usually drink in a day and no snacking at all once I’ve eaten my evening meal. I’ve also been more active in an evening. I used to walk a lot in the evenings but it seems to have lapsed and just confined to a weekend. Also 15 minutes before eating an evening meal I’d eat half a grapefruit. The enzymes are supposed to help to burn fat though has it many other benefits in a diet.

I decided to make a hearty Chicken Chorizo & Chickpea Casserole.

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Adapt quantities for your household

Ingredients

2 large potatoes (adaptable)

1 tbsp vegetable oil

8 slices chorizo (adaptable)

2 chicken fillets (adaptable)

1 leek or onion

can of chickpeas (drained)

can of chopped tomatoes

tomato puree

300 ml chicken stock or stock cube

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1.5 tsp chillie flakes

Good handful of kale or spinach

Method

  • Bring the potatoes to the boil for 8 minutes and drain
  • Add the oil to a pan and cook the chicken pieces
  • Add the onion/leek and chorizo until onion/leek are softened
  • In a large pan/casserole dish put all the ingredients apart from the spinach/kale and bring to the boil.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes
  • Put in the spinach/kale for 5 minutes

Sprinkle the casserole with parsley, serve and enjoy!

As for my desert…

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Well it had to be a slice of homemade Coffee and Walnut cake!

Did I lose weight – yes and feel much better for it.

Spin That Wheel

Now and again I keep my eye open for a bargain. Well lets face it, we all like one.

Years ago my mum taught me to spin. I even made and designed a chair in Design and Technology to accompany my mums Ashford Spinning Wheel. Yes, I passed my O level in the subject. 😉

A newly found friend inspired me to think about taking it up again. She’d recently bought one. My mums needs a bit of TLC but nothing drastic. I looked online to find out how much they cost and was astounded to discover they cost around £300 – £500! Far too much to splash out on.

At the weekend I happened to call in at a local second hand shop. There in the doorway stood this wheel. It caught my eye straightaway. I checked it over and there were a couple of things that need repairing. How much was it – £40.00, that was all. I loved the colour of the wood and the fact it wasn’t new.

 

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Well I had to buy it! 

I’ll call it working progress as I now need to purchase two things to get it working properly. I can call this wheel my own… 😉

Safe and Sound

Last week I had to nip to the bank after work to deposit a business cheque. A simple task but I could never have envisaged my ten minute journey.

Standing in the middle of a grass roundabout was a colleague/friend on her mobile. As my mind absorbed that it was actually her, I took in the surroundings. There was her car 20160125_221934.jpgsquashed up beside an enormous white lorry! Her car had mounted the roundabout slightly and it was close to the entrance of a motorway.

I drove on to a car park. Stopped and looked through my contacts to ring her. Unable to locate it, I thought to myself I can’t just ignore her. I drove back, parked up behind the vehicles and all the debris and flicked my hazard lights on. Grabbed my florescent jacket and checked my colleague/friend was ok. No physical injuries but very shaken, I just gave her a huge hug and held her for a few moments.

Although she had things under control I supported her through her call to the breakdown company and asked if she had anyone coming to help. Her dad was on his way… I dialled the police again though stopped the call as I heard them on their way. We needed help because the traffic was building up as rush hour was approaching fast.

I checked on the lorry driver who was ok and a witness came forward. Her father arrived shortly followed by the police. It was time for my departure.

Today she came back to work and presented me with these flowers and a card. It wasn’t needed though I love flowers and they’ve brightened up the corner of my kitchen. Would you stop at the scene of an accident? Put your own safety first but sometimes a hug is all that is required to help a person through a situation.

Look Lively Lovely Ladies

Ok so the Ladies are our hens but they have such characters you’d almost think they were humans.

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Friends of my neighbours asked if I would like to have their hens as they’re having to travel quite a lot at the moment. Could we manage another 3 I thought to myself. Well two hens were getting quite old and not laying any more so I said yes.

We now have 10 hens!

I’d planned on nestling all 3 on their roosting place at dusk with the others but that didn’t happen. They arrived fairly early in the morning following an hour and a half journey. I couldn’t leave them in a box so put them in the spare run and shut the dividing door off. They had a good sized outdoor area fenced off and a hen house to themselves.

The other Ladies came to see what all the commotion was about. They were running up and down outside the pen. I treated them all to some mealworms whic20160124_122923.jpgh was something new to mine. I left them to it for a couple of hours and as the others were still hanging around outside I thought I’d try to let them all into the unfenced area.

Big mistake – all three of the new hens flew at the older ones. Two of them stood up to the new ones but little Speckle (bantom) was completely mesmerised by this attack. She stood there startled and in shock. Time to separate them. In fact I left them apart until Saturday when I could be around to keep an eye on things.

Lucy (new) immediately rose up and bumped chests with Marmalade and that was it. Nothing more from anyone. They’ve been keeping with their own two groups still but in time I’m sure that’ll change. Spangle is not exactly impressed still and makes the strangest of noises the second she feels someone is encroaching her space.

All was quiet, in fact too quiet so I went to investigate. The older group became rebels and crossed the farmyard, gone under the gate, walked up next doors gravel drive, through their garden up to the back of their place. Why? Oh well they discovered they had a bird feeder. Each time a b20160123_113925.jpgird ate food they were there underneath to catch the remnants. Crafty little ladies aren’t they.

So I’m going to do a rain dance – the Ladies won’t venture over there in the pouring rain. Batten down the hatches guys let the dance commence. 😉