Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Russian Salad

I grew up in a socialist country, with non-religious parents, which meant that, when I was growing up, we did not celebrate Christmas.  The big festivity of the year, for us, was New Year.  As my parents - and the majority of people that were not church goers - did not do the whole presents thing, what that meant was staying up till after midnight, watching Superman on telly (well, I'm sure it was not always Superman, must have been some other film some years, although the tricky memory and the passage of time refuse to throw up anything else), fireworks, and of course, Russian salad.

Really not sure why - perhaps it was a frugal and easy option to feed even the biggest party of revellers - and it wasn't just the Russian salad - there were always hours of cooking, and baking, and whatnot - but whatever else was served up, nice though it doubtless was, changed from year to year, whilst Russian salad was, and as far as I'm aware, remains, a tradition.

So that is what I made today, in order to scoff tonight.  As is often the case with these things, there are no hard and fast quantities - it depends on what you have in and how many you're catering for, as well as personal taste, but what you will need is

mayo (homemade is best)

First I made mayo - I used Elaine's 10 second method - an egg, a spoonful of mustard, a splash of cider vinegar, a sprinkle of salt, 250ml oil and a stick blender.  It doesn't get much easier than this !

Potatoes - this is about four medium ones, boiled in their skins, allowed to cool slightly then peeled, cubed and seasoned.

Gherkins - three of 'em


Peas and carrots cooked for 6-7 minutes (you don't want too much of a crunch for this) - three carrots and a handful of peas. I didn't use the lot for salad - a couple of handfuls went into a tub in the fridge for when DD next wants a quick dish of rice and veg.

Mix all together with mayo, stick in the fridge. 

A perfect party side-dish, although I have been known to just eat it on its own. Many times.
Happy New Year xxx

Monday, 30 December 2013


Today was a day for pottering around and doing admin - y'know, things like updating the storecupboard and freezer lists, doing the next year's budget, transferring dates into a spanking brand new diary.... And looking over the last year while I was  at it.
And what came to me as a bit of a shock was the reminder of how dreadful the start of the year was, and how it wasn't until after DD's GCSE exams that things started looking up.  Frankly, if you asked me before I checked out the diary, I'd have said that we have had a great year, only slightly marred by the fact that now it seems to be my turn to be really poorly.
I think I will hold on to that thought, if you don't mind ;o)  Next year we will have twice as long of happy positivity and smooth sailing, and that is a promise.
Anyway - I still can't really promise that I will write - here or anywhere else - with any sort of regularity, as sitting down in one position for any length of time is rather painful, and typing isn't going that great, either - but I will try.  In the meantime, some photos of what's been keeping me amused lately:
Next door's cat determined to come and live with us, if only we weren't so mean, what with shutting all the doors and windows on him the moment he tries to climb in:
Approved Food bargains:
Camping in the lounge at Christmas:

More random sunsets: 

Trying out what, according to Tim Moore's You Are Awful (But I Like You), is one of the worst dishes available in Britain (he fails to finish his) - the Parmo.  Well, I've no idea really what the typical take-away version is like, but what I made at home following this recipe  was actually rather nice. 

So, has anyone else ever had a Parmo ?  And if so, what did you think ?

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Happy Christmas....

....to everyone that's been kind enough to read this blog, and big thanks to all of you, especially those of you who have taken time to leave a comment.  I have been somewhat under the weather recently, hence the decided lack of posts - but I will be back very soon.

Back to the kitchen now - it might be just a big roast dinner, but it's a really big roast dinner, and I am rather looking forward to the point when we're all full to bursting, the bulk of the washing up has been done, and it's 7.30 and the last adventure of the 11th Doctor is under way.

Happy Christmas, everyone !  x