Thursday, 19 May 2011

Of Mice and Men

I love my husband.  No, I really love him.  You see I can't deal with mice.  Dead ones are just about OK as long as they are still whole and not dripping juices.  But live ones that jump about and run up your arm will reduce me to a screaming quivering wreck.  And our cats frequently deliver mice presents (sadly not nice presents) at 4am.  And they miaow loudly to let us know how generous they have been.  And my husband always gets out of bed without complaining and sorts it out.  He even talks to them.  Last night was one such night.  And he caught the invader with 2 wellie boots and a shopping bag.  And I didn't hear him swear once.  Unlike last week.  I had to ban his mobile phone for that - it was only fair as the same punishment had been meted out for our 11 year old the week before.

Another time I'll tell you about my screaming-on-the-sofa-because-the-cat-brought-in-a-mouse-only-it-was-only-a-half-eaten-burger-story but that will have to wait for another time.

I really really love my husband.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Sunday Sermons and Salmon

Today is week two of four consecutive Sunday mornings on the woman at the well - John 4.  Just glad he's not doing 56 sermons on the same passage as Lloyd Jones apparently did in the 1960s! This morning we were challenged that our faith is more than religion, but a real experience of a living God.  Powerful stuff.  Enjoyed the songs too - though hoped no one noticed that I was playing 'All my days' by ear as I had brought the wrong song book with me. 'Love Divine' for the last hymn - pulled out all the stops on the organ (literally) for a rousing finish :)

An early Sunday lunch of Salmon Parcels with steamed rice:

Pre-heat oven to 200c. Cut generous squares of foil and butter the middle bit.  Allow 1 salmon fillet per person.  Place 1 fillet fish on each piece of foil then add finely chopped veg - today we had carrots, spring onions, brocolli, chicory and leeks - you can add anything you have in the fridge but it needs to be chopped fairly fine and all the same size so that it cooks in the same time as the salmon.  You don't want overdone fish and underdone carrots!  Add 1 tbsp soy sauce per person and close up the foil parcels, not too tight so that the steam can circulate inside the parcel.  Cook in pre-heated hot oven for approx 12-15 mins depending on the size of your fillets.  It should be just done.  Serve with rice and more soy/chilli sauce on the side depending on your tastebuds.

About to go walking with friends - attempting the '10 walks in West Kent'  over our summer weekends - Horsmonden today.  Hopefully there will be 5 people and 2 dogs - can't wait.  Finishes at a Pub :)

Just going to make some brownies before I go for the youth group tonight.

Brownies: Preheat oven to 180c (160c if a fan oven) and grease and line a brownie tin.  Mix together with an electric whisk for 2 minutes:
275g butter
375g caster sugar
4 eggs
100g self raising flour
70g cocoa powder
100g packet dark chocolate chips
Pour into brownie tin and cook for 35-40 mins - should still be squidgy in the middle.  Cool in the tin then cut into squares.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Foraging Forays!

Welcome to my 'Kemps Kronicles' blog!  I'm a singing, foraging, baking, preserving, vegetable-growing, lecturing, researching and  dog-walking midwife - so I can't guarantee a cohesive thread through the blog.

Last summer, due to a period of ill-health, I had time to forage through the Kentish country lanes and made mountains of preserves - selling them throughout the year for the local midwives' charity. I made quite a bit of money as it goes but wouldn't recommend it as a sole means of income - by my calculations I earned £1 an hour!  For Christmas my husband (Mr. Know-it-all [no really, he does!]) bought me a foraging day in Dorset with Mat Follas (winner of Masterchef 2009) and finally this week the long-awaited day came.  I was not disappointed - neither with what I learned in the lanes and hedgerows or with the 3 course lunch that followed.

Today I put what I had learned into practice.  Walking the dog through the local nature reserve (dis-used ragstone quarry) I identified and filled my pockets with the following: Wild horseradish, vetch (a member of the pea family that grows everywhere), cow parsely (I now  know the difference between this tasty edible flower and it's deadly cousin Hemlock!), wild marjoram, dandelion leaves, hawthorn leaves and dead nettle flowers.  Arriving home I paired these with smoked mackerel and added spinach leaves from the garden, rice noodles, cucumber, spring onions and coriander - and a vietnamese style dressing - and we sat by the stream to enjoy the fruit of my endeavours.  Happy times!

Dhaka Diary

I'm back in Dhaka (Bangladesh), five weeks after my last visit in July, to help facilitate the first ever online election of executiv...