Z considers making a list, but it’s too daunting

We’re going away on Sunday, for the first holiday since September 2019. First to Reading, because we’re going to a party on Monday evening. It was originally scheduled for Saturday – tomorrow, that is – but when lockdown was extended (lockdown lite-ish, by that time), it was postponed. It’s a river cruise on the Thames and I’m looking forward to it immensely, never having been to any such thing. Tim will know more people than I will and I suspect that most of the other guests will know each other, but I assume that a convivial atmosphere will carry me through. We’ll go by taxi from and back to Reading, which we think will be better than staying in a local hotel.

The next day, or possibly the day after if it’s been a bit *too* convivial, we will head off to Pembrokeshire. Looking forward immensely to that too. Wink will, nobly, be in charge here. The house is never left empty. It never has been – well, not since 1945 at latest, anyway.

I have a lot to do tomorrow. I had a List (mental list that is, I hadn’t got around to writing it down) and some items slipped yesterday. I’d been to blood donors on Wednesday and, on Thursday morning, I was very busy: too busy, as it turned out. By mid-morning, I had a sizeable migraine. I usually tough them through nowadays but I didn’t even try and took pills instead, as Wink and I were going out to lunch and cancelling it would have been worse than carrying on. So the pills worked and it was all right, but I didn’t get anything useful done for the rest of the day. I was still a bit slow today, so focussed on food.

Honestly, this sourdough starter thingy. It’s just another pet. I fed it this morning, then took out 300g a while later and put the rest in the fridge. I left the 300g to ferment a bit longer, while I boiled some milk and left it to cool for yoghurt. I went to investigate the cucumber situation – the outdoor ones are healthy but only yielded a single cucumber, whilst the single greenhouse one had 8. Luckily, it’s a variety that has small fruit, so they only weighed the amount I needed for more bread-and-butter pickle. So I set that off (the cucumbers and onions need to chill, salted, for a few hours. Then I got the sourdough bread dough started. And then we had lunch.

When I read recipes in the paper and then online comments, people often complain about the list of ingredients. Yet even a simple meal can take a lot of components. Today, it was prawns, cucumber and tomato. Here is what I used:

Prawns in Marie Rose sauce. Prawns, bought mayonnaise (or else a list in itself), tomato ketchup (also bought, or else another list), Tabasco sauce.

Cucumber. That at least was straightforward.

Tomato, with French dressing. I’d already made that, otherwise it would have been oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, mustard, herbs (can’t remember which). Basil leaves strewn on top.

Lemon. Salt and pepper, obviously.

If everything were made from scratch and listed, it would be around 30 ingredients. As it was, as written here, 11. Took longer to prepare than eat, of course. Tonight, we had mushroom risotto. Tomorrow, hot-smoked salmon for lunch and something with eggs and courgettes in the evening. Then, on Sunday morning, we’re off and meals will be very simple or eaten out for the next ten days.

Tomorrow’s jobs are legion. Help.

4 comments on “Z considers making a list, but it’s too daunting

  1. Blue Witch

    Have a great holiday! Hope you’ve got the lateral-flow tests lined up for your return.

    Those ‘mini munch’ cucumbers (similar varieties are available, not sure which you are growing) are great aren’t they?

    I make Marie Rose sauce with tomato puree from a tube these days (I used to use bought tomato ketchup, but don’t buy it any more after I found that the last bottle was 5 years over its sell-by date as we weren’t using it for anything else as we prefer our own-made condiments), and a half-spoon of horseradish sauce, and lots of ground pepper. And I add a teaspoon of clear honey to the French dressing. But other than that, with you on everything else. Your yoghurt recipe is a great success, and I’ve been using it non-stop since you first shared it, thanks.

    1. Z Post author

      I’m not sure of the variety either. I bought one of those and two outdoor ridge cucumbers and we’ve had at least three kilos from them so far. When I said the outdoor cucumbers only had one fruit, I’d already had three pounds in weight from them, just a few days ago.

      Have you tried making your own tomato puree? It doesn’t keep well, so you have to freeze it – I froze it in a tub and chopped it when it was frozen but still choppable, and used a cube at a time. Really good, if you have a tomato glut. I buy Stokes (Suffolk) ketchup rather than a supermarket brand nowadays, I can’t eat shepherd’s pie (veggie or not) without ketchup and it sneaks its way onto my plate every so often. Glad the yoghurt works. I can’t claim credit myself.

  2. Blue Witch

    I use a silicone ice cube tray on a solid tray base to freeze home-made tomato puree, then tip it out into a bag or box when frozen. But can never make enough for a whole year!


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