Today has been a frantic day in work. Problems with mobile phones on in class, one madam actually was on Facebook! Confiscation and all the hassle that causes ensued. The noise today has been … almost totally unbearable, as has been the general lack of cooperation and respect. I’m beginning to think there should be a total blanket ban on mobile phones in school. They’re causing no end of trouble and disruption to lessons now. The school does have a telephone system itself and if there is a reason to contact parents, or a reason for parents to contact their little darlings then it can be done via that system. It always used to work perfectly fine as I remember. The rules about having phones turned off (not just to silence) during lessons don’t seem to work, and the problems/issues that result from this …
So, I am so glad to be home. I was met, unusually, by my pusscat who purred and fussed around me until I followed him upstairs to make a huge fuss of him (and he of me) before he settled back down to sleep.
Now, I am sat tippytapping at the ‘puter keyboard and my nose is being comforted by the delicious smell of a winter veggie stew cooking on the hob.
There is nothing like a hearty stew to warm the cockles of ones heart, or to comfort an over stressed me. I will be making dumplings to go in it a bit later on in it’s cooking. Then, when all is cooked to perfection, I shall enjoy eating it while cwtched up under a cuddly and warm fleecy blanket. I’m sure the warmth and the goodness will sooth my frazzled emotions, will calm my jittery nerves, and I will feel so much better. I already do, in fact, as the process of caring for another living creature and then taking the time to create a healthy, hearty feast for myself has been an example of self-caring.
No quantities will be given, just ingredients … I’m very much an instinctive cook and just seem to know how much to put in by looking. Of course, I vary the ingredients depending on what I have available or what I fancy.
Onions, fried in vegetable oil. Today I added some Quorn Steak Strips and fried them until they were browned. Next I added some roughly diced swede, parsnip carrot and potato and coated them all in the quorn and onions. Red split lentils and pearl barley were then added and stirred around to coat them in the cooking juices. Pepper and salt were added and then boiling water. A couple of Just Bouillon veggie stock cubes, a sprinkling of mixed herbs, a couple of cloves of garlic finely sliced (they’ll disintegrate during cooking) and a healthy dollop of English Mustard.
It will take around 45 mins to 1 hour for the lentils and pearl barley to cook. Around 20 minutes before the end of this time I will add dessert spoons of dumpling mixture – approx. 4oz of self-raising flower mixed with 2oz of veggie suet, salt and pepper to taste and maybe a few more mixed herbs. A little milk and water is used to mix it to a sticky dough. The lid is replaced on the pan and it’s all left to cook for 20 mins or so.
Served with a good shaking of veggie worcestershire sauce, it is one of the most comforting winter dishes I know!
I like to have more parsnips than swede and carrots; they give such a lovely, sweet flavour. Sometimes I will add brussel sprouts and mushrooms to the veggie mix, but not today. Sometimes I don’t use the Quorn. Sometimes instead of putting potato in the stew, I’d boil or bake potatoes separately. Today it’s a one-pot feast! And there’s plenty there for tomorrow too!
And now I definitely feel a lot better!