36 days without shopping.

So the pandemic continues, earlier today the signs were encouraging, since then there maybe a problem in the over 65’s with the AstraZeneca vaccine with only an 8 percent effective rate and Boris is implementing strict new border controls. Read into this what you will, but it looks like its not going as well as we had hoped.

Our food stores are going well, I’m starting to miss things like lettuce and cucumber but we still have a small amount of fresh fruit, tomatoes and lots of onions, along with a sacks of potatoes and the milkman delivers. One of the items I have been very grateful for was when we got back from London, we replaced the fridge and freezer with two high end fridge/freezers from John Lewis. Put together they look very much like a large American freezer, although they don’t have the ice making capabilities, but we bought an ice machine at the start of the first lockdown to combat that particular problem. I’d become tired of my large larder fridge which was on its last legs anyway. Getting down to it at the bottom and the back resulted in groans because of stiff backs and knees, and this is wonderful with the top half being the fridge comprising of two very efficient salad drawers, (so I have four altogether!) and various other compartments and the freezer in the lower half. It is so easy to see everything.

The electronic temperature controllers are superb, it has literally extended the life of salads, tomatoes etc by weeks. I’ve reduced the temperature in the fridge to 2c after reading that every degree lowered in a fridge can extend the life of vegetables and fruits by one week, and there is never any freezer burn and tomatoes, peppers, lettuce etc remain stable and in good condition. It’s been an absolute god send.

Of course we do have the plot.

And we are able to shop that as regularly as weather or inclination allows. The roots are a little small, but still very tasty, the carrots will need to be lifted soon as the carrot fly larvae seems to be enjoying them and I’ll need to prep them and freeze them, but the beets and parsnips are standing well. The leeks look better for a bit of cold weather as do the brussels. The kale is doing well, but then it always does and we have taken to having green smoothies nearly every day to give us a vitamin burst of fresh vegetables.

We quite like kale, carrot, tomato, orange juice and chestnuts from Crackly Woods all whizzed together with a big dollop of local honey. It goes down well as a second breakfast! We have nearly finished the rainbow chard, so I will have to let that recover, but it has been splendid in stir fries as has the kale and we are waiting for a second flush of purple sprouting. We have about five small cabbages left, which is good as it is one of Dad’s favourites and 3 large pumpkins left in store.

Dad has been enjoying my home cooking and has eaten everything I have presented which has included many different pies, cottage pies, stew and dumplings, lamb hot pot, meat free roast dinners, various other roasts and most recently lasagne. Lasagne! I hear you cry. Yes, I know. He enjoyed it very much I believe, but has asked if he can have a serving of cabbage with it next time. That did make me giggle, ‘of course Dad, whatever you want’. He has particularly enjoyed the chicken and turkey pies with leeks, having never really eaten leeks before and has adored with a capital A our roast pumpkins… I don’t think he has ever had them. So I make sure his meat free roast dinners are plentifully supplied with roast pumpkins, roast potatoes, mashed potato, carrot and swede crush and both brussel sprouts and cabbage along with a home made yorkshire pudding and lots of good gravy. I think they are his favourite meal. I think he is quite shocked that he enjoys with such gusto a meat free meal. Which has made life simpler in providing him meals that suit his doctors dietary advice. Hubby and I spent the afternoon yesterday batch cooking for him and made another 17 meals, so he has 37 meals ready in our freezer. I like to keep ahead of the game, especially as my stores will get lower and we are trying to go as long as possible without contact with anyone.

My walk from Lands End to John O’Groats from The Conqueror website is going much slower than I had imagined. Mainly because the world and his wife walk down my lane, so I have taken to walking at night, which has been quite nice, but the rain and the snow put me off. It’s no worry, I’ve given myself 18 months to complete, so I’m sure I can catch up, when the infection rates drop.

And lastly we bake treats. The last of the desiccated coconut and ground almonds made these delicious little macaroons. Most of them are in the freezer to be dished out very occasionally. They were a good way of using up some egg whites that I had left over from making a custard to make a vanilla and blackcurrant ripple ice cream, which was really very good and worthy of our home grown blackcurrants.

They were made in a baking pan for tiny treats that Noelle had suggested from Lakeland, I’m so pleased I bought this lovely tray, I am sure it is going to come in very useful.

Tomorrow I must revive my sourdough, as I’m just about to run out of bread.

I hope everyone remains safe and well, until next time.

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