The subject of the first part of this post is about food. It's rare for me to post about food because as much as I love eating, I don't really like cooking. I had to learn to do that when young, my mother was determined to teach me by getting me to cook dinner for our family one day a week. Although I think my dislike actually stems from my years married to a farmer and having to cook three two or three course meals a day plus making sure there was always something in the cake tins as no cup of tea or coffee could be drunk without an accompanying slab of cake or half a tin of biscuits! It became a chore because there were all the other things that had to be done as well. Never mind, they all got done and no one died of food poisoning!
Yesterday, I went for my weekly shop. It was one of those weeks where I'd run out of everything...toilet rolls, cat food, shampoo, laundry liquid, food...you name it, I'd run out.
I needed fruit and stopped off at the greengrocer in the shopping village where I found a most unusual fruit. It was a melon called piel de sapo, which translates to "toad skin". I looked it up and it's one of Spain's most popular melons. I'd neither seen it nor heard of it before but there was a plate of sample pieces. I like sampling new things and tried a piece. It was beautiful! My taste buds shouted "halleluja!" so...I bought one. I sliced it in half and here's what it looks like.
Piel de sapo..."toad skin" melon.
The flesh is very sweet yet tangy and much tastier than a honeydew melon which I find rather bland.
To my delight I also saw mangoes for the first time this season. They were two for $5 which is really cheap for early fruit. They weren't huge but certainly a reasonable size.
A plate of diced mango to which was added muesli and Greek yoghurt for breakfast this morning. Ummm yummm!
The next food item I bought was a pack of four RSPCA-approved chicken breasts for $13. I bought them from Coles because I find their chicken breasts aren't plumped up with saline or whatever is used by some supermarkets. What you see is what you get. I once brought some chicken breasts from another supermarket, nice plump ones, so I thought. Once cooked, they had shrunk to half their size with 1.0 cm or more of fluid in the bottom of the dish. I couldn't believe how small they actually were. I was wary of buying Coles' chicken breasts at first but as the chicken meat supplier I normally purchased from was no longer at the farmers' markets, I decided to try Coles and was pleasantly surprised.
I bake one chicken breast for 30 - 40 minutes in a 180 degree C oven, after brushing with oil and seasoning with garlic salt, in an oven proof dish, turning it halfway through the cooking time which will depend on the type of oven you have. Apart from the oil brushed on at the start, I add no more to the dish.
I had about half the chicken breast for dinner last night accompanied by a mixed leaf salad, tomatoes, red capsicum, avocado and cottage cheese as dressing. Today's and tomorrow's lunches will be cold chicken, salad and avocado on rye.
The above will probably be the first and last post I write on food...
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Now for bit of a whinge and moan about the weather. Oh, it's sunny enough and we had some lovely rain last weekend which, with 75% of Queensland drought declared, was extremely welcome with more rain due in the next day or so. No, what I hate is the wind and have we been having wind! For about the last fortnight or maybe a bit more, it's been blowing a howling gale. We've had one or two days with no wind and it was beautiful. I could have the door onto the balcony, as well as all the windows, open without being blown inside out. Unfortunately, the next day the strong winds would be back.
Today I did my washing. Being in a unit complex we have no washing lines but every unit has a dryer. With the energy costs going through the roof, I only use mine when I absolutely have to. I have a large clothes rack on wheels which is ideal for hanging washing on and I can bring it inside if it starts to rain. Today, the winds appeared to be even stronger with one powerful gust sending my laundry to the other end of the balcony. I looked up in time to see the rack go sailing past the floor to ceiling window, coming to a crashing stop against the railings which fortunately, being metal, are very strong.
I decided to wheel the rack inside but when I tried to do so, the wind was so gusty I had a real struggle. Eventually, I managed and shut and locked the door with relief...then started straightening everything inside which had been swirled about by the wind. I do hope it dies down soon, I think everyone's heartily sick of been blown around...I know I am!
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The Final Cut - Catherine Coulter and J T Ellison (Penguin 2013)
There is or was (I think she may be deceased) an author of historical novels of the same name, but this Catherine Coulter writes crime novels, and does so very well, too.
In this particular instance, she has teamed up with J T Ellison, a thriller novelist in her own right. Together they've crafted a fast paced, page turner in which we are introduced to Detective Chief Inspector Nicholas Drummond of Scotland Yard.
Nicholas flies to New York when he hears that colleague, Inspector Elaine York, has been murdered. Elaine was the guardian for the "Jewel of the Lion" exhibit of the crown jewels of London featuring the infamous Koh-i-noor diamond from the Queen Mother's crown.
He teams up with Savich and Sherlock, FBI agents whom readers of Coulter's novels will know from her previous books. Someone is planning to steal the Koh-i-noor and they need to stop the theft. They discover The Fox appears to be cleverly dodging their traps meanwhile setting traps and false trails for Drummond. He needs all of Savich's computer skills as well as Sherlock's gift for reconstructing a crime scene to chase The Fox to ground. The big question plaguing them though is the identity of The Fox,
With twists, turns and bodies on nearly every page, I couldn't put this book down until it's very surprising end. This is Coulter at her best and I thoroughly enjoyed every tense moment.
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As always, I wish you a pleasant and happy week and weekend.