I nearly died this morning. I nearly died from shock at what crawled out of Harvey’s welly boot when I attempted to tidy the porch this morning. People who know me well, know how terrified I am of spiders. Well, I picked up the boots and put them down tidily. The welly wobbled a bit, I saw a large dark shape emerge, I screamed and moved back. An enormous big fat body with an ugly warty head and googley eyes appeared. It was a toad. A Bufo Bufo to be accurate, the common toad. I am sure he was quite a posh toad really.
I was relieved it wasn’t a spider and I am quite fond of amphibians. I am not sure I like him living in my porch but I can’t shoo him outside in case the dogs get him. So for now, Mr. Bufo Toad is living under my shoe rack. I hope he will be happy there and at least make himself useful by eating spiders.
Having revived myself I had breakfast. I wanted something different today and went for 100 g Greek yogurt with cinnamon and 1 tsp honey, a blood orange and 15 g of finely chopped almonds. It was really good but not quite large enough. I should have added more fruit. Or not been bring to diet and eaten at least twice as much yogurt – it really was delicious.
We are still at Christine’s while the Club courts are being resurfaced. The court is next to the hop fields so it is a very Kentish location. A very enjoyable hour and half spent playing tennis, eventually in the sunshine.
When I went home I was supposed to be getting on with a specific task I do not really want to do so I quickly found something else to do! I had some very large tomatoes in the fridge. I am not a fan of huge tomatoes hence I had 4 left over from our recent trip to Costco. Hugh F-W uses up tomatoes by drying them in the oven (p. 304 of ‘Veg everyday!’). This is really simple but takes time so a perfect task for a day spent indoors.
Oven Dried Tomatoes
I cut the tomatoes in to 1/8ths and scraped out the seeds. I then sprinkled them with a mix of salt and sugar and laid them on racks over newspaper. I used the grill tray racks.
I left them on the countertop for about an hour, during which time some of the juices ran out. I tipped out the pools of juice and put the tomatoes cut side up on a baking tray. Sprinkled them with thyme, bay leaves and some olive oil and put them in a low oven for 4 – 5 hours.
When they had cooled I put them in a tub in the fridge with some extra olive oil on them and I can use them with roasted veggie dishes or pasta etc. Anywhere you would use sun dried tomatoes, apparently.
First of all I chopped up a courgette, two red peppers and a red onion. I put them on a stoneware baking dish, added 1 tbsp olive oil and some salt to season and put them in the oven for about half an hour on 180° C. While that was cooking I made the dip.
My coconut black bean dip came out much runnier than Kath’s and I suspect that is because used coconut milk and she must have used real coconut. I also used tinned beans rather than dried so they may have had more water in them and my cream cheese may have been a different consistency. Particularly since it wasn’t real cheese but a vegan alternative.
My ingredients were:
1 can black beans, rinsed
3 heaped tbsp Tofutti Cream Cheese with garlic and herbs
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup walnuts
I put everything except the walnuts in the blender and blitzed until smooth. I then added the walnuts and pulsed then blitzed until really smooth and creamy.
I put the cooked veggies in a bowl and added the dip.
I was not so keen on the dip when I tasted it on its own but with the veggies it was great. I think the sweet flavour from the peppers worked really well with the dip. The grey colour is a bit off putting but the flavour is good. There is plenty left in the fridge which I can add to pasta.
I had to get James some bread. He is working late at the moment and wants to be able to grab a quick and easy supper when he comes home. I also bought some lovely ham, eggs and a cheese I have not had before called Shropshire Blue. Unfortunately it means I am tempted to eat it and I was.
So my supper, which I had at about 5pm, was a ham and mustard sandwich. It was so good. The granary bread was malty and chewy. The ham was fabulous as it was so meaty and quite unlike the watery excuse for ham you find in many a supermarket packet. But too many points 😦
Later on I had some of the cheese with celery. The Shropshire Blue is a strong flavoured cheese but creamy rather then sharp. I really liked it. Cheese and celery is a lovely combination. And that was that, food wise for the day. Not a disaster, but not great either.
What happened to Mr Bufo the toad? He was sitting on the doorstep when I went to get Harvey from school. I think he realised this was not Toad Hall and he was last seen hopping along across the patio, hopefully to somewhere safe.