Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Aubergines and Union Jacks

A much looked forward to day off today. I have been struggling against a the latest bug that is doing the rounds at work, and have had a headached that has settled in my sinuses and feels like a giant bear is biting my head for three days now. So you can imagine what bliss it was to wake up at half past six and then realise I could happily go back to sleep again!

Lovely Carl brought me a cup of tea but I must confess that it was cold when I woke up again. I listened to radio 4 while I boiled some eggs for breakfast, and then played with some designs for greetings cards. I have got an idea for decorating some hot water bottle covers made from old jumpers, so I also made 2 Union Jacks out of felt. One was was the traditional covers, and the other in shades of pinks and purples. There is something really satisfying about snipping into felt with really sharp scissors!

After that it was time for a walk, so I wandered around to the local shop where I bought the makings of a moussaka. I have never, ever liked aubergines so had not even thought about making this before...but recently I have come to like them, and as I had time to spare, I really wanted something to cook that would let me potter about the kitchen, so moussaka it was!

Firstly I sauteed some lamb mince, and after it was brown I drained the fat off, and threw in a diced red onion and some grated courgette, cumin, coriander and oregano. I topped it up with some stock, and while it bubbled away, peeled and sliced some potatoes and put them on to par-boil. With two saucepans bubbling away, I sliced my aubergine and griddled them until soft, then put to one side. I put the lamb mixture in an ovenproof dish, topped with the aubergine and then the potato. Next I made a white sauce flavoured with plenty of nutmeg and some grated parmesan. On top of this I layed slices of tomato, and finished with a thin grating of cheese. It all went into the oven to cook while I got stuck into the washing up.

Certainly not the quickest of dishes to make, and it did seem to create and awful lot of washing up, but there was time to get it all done while the moussaka baked, and I did take a lot of pleasure from assembling it and then presenting the finished beast to Carl for tea. Even better, there are leftovers that we can have for a speedy dinner before book club on Friday!

I have spent a happy few hours going through cook books from the library, slipping little bookmarks into pages that I would like to copy from. I have also had a few books arrive from the amazon fairy recently...Nourish by Jane Clarke (although I keep wanting to call it Nurture), Appetite For Reduction (a fabulous vegan cook book which is said to be worth the price for the tomato salad dressing alone!) and last but not least More Veg Less Meat. I love cook books and often read them like novels, but just opening the pages of these let me know that they would not just be read, but used, and often. The best kind of book!

I have not given up on my library project, and plan an update this weekend. Although I do treat myself to books on amazon I am a great believer in the library service and would not be able to feed my reading habit without it! Sadly there are a great many libraries under threat of closure at the moment, although I am happy to say none in my county are in danger. However, wherever you are, if you do one thing this week, find your local library and make it your own! However small there must be something there for you. Cilip has a great 'save public libraries' campaign on at the moment, where they encourage you to twitter about why you love libraries, write to your MP, download an ebook, tell your friends and family to join, and to get down there and use your library yourself. You already pay for this service through your council tax, and the core service is free. Of course you can pay a few pounds to borrow extra things like cds and dvds, but the thought of all those books just there, waiting for you...what bliss!


Dinahsoar said...

Sounds like the perfect day off. Busy and resourceful yet relaxing. When I was a little girl I was often served boiled eggs for breakfast--soft boiled. Love them but haven't made them in years. Once in awhile I poach eggs in the microwave, but it is tricky. Our local library isn't very large and some of the people who work in it are not friendly at I've pretty much avoided it. Sad because I love a good book. I did get my library card but was so put off--as are many in my area--that I haven't been back.

Yvonne said...

Mimi, As a fellow librarian I can sympathise with your "endangered" library situation. It's the same way in the US. Our budget is always cut and we seem to make do on a constantly shrinking budget.