I have received a complaint. From Debbie. Apparently I am not as comfortable to lie on when we watch TV together. My moobs had gotten smaller and she misses them.
I still have a long way to go but I don’t miss not being able to squeeze into some public toilet cubicles. I don’t miss struggling to wipe myself because I am too fat to comfortably reach. I won’t miss the pad of fat on my pubis which absorbs a vital couple of inches. I won’t miss not being able to buy clothes in High Street shops, instead being confined to the sort of web based stores whose products all seem to contain lycra. I won’t miss going on budget airlines and having to ask one of the cabin crew for one of the seat belt extenders that, according to the safety leaflet, are for pregnant women. I don’t miss having to buy slip on shoes because it is too embarrassing to have to bend over to tie laces in public (when I could actually bend over). I won’t miss the aching joints.
I don’t half miss butter though.
This week I have had a cold which has left me wanting to feed it whilst at the same time feeling too ill to go and cook. Consequently one night last week we ordered Chinese which was lovely but not exactly diet friendly. Coupled with a night out with friends on Saturday which involved more Chinese food and not a little alcohol we were both expecting to have maintained if not actually gained weight this week. We both lost three pounds (which for those of you keeping count means I have now lost over three stone) which goes to show that, to paraphrase Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, when we are good we are very, very good but when we are bad we are lucky.
Because of the cold I have not really cooked anything of note (and if I had I would not have been able to taste it).
This weekend we will be making the Christmas cakes to go in our hampers. For the last few years we haven’t bought presents but rather given hampers of homemade goodies: cake, puddings, jams, pickles and liqueurs. It started a few years ago when I made a batch of chilli jam and some blackberry brandy and has gone on so that there are at least a dozen different things now. I still enjoy making the chilli jam as it easy yet rewarding to make.
Red Chilli Jam
Take equal weights of red chillies and jam sugar( I know it is a cheat and you could add pectin if you prefer t use normal sugar). The sugar is here a preservative so, if you are making a jam for immediate consumption, you can easily reduce the sugar by up to two thirds. WEAR GLOVES. Wash and top the chillies then put in a blender until chopped but not smooth (you are aiming for a 5mm dice ideally). Add the chillies and the sugar to a pan and slowly bring to the boil whilst stirring. Skim of any scum that might form. The jam is ready when the chillies bits turn from opaque to translucent. Pour into warmed, sterilised jars and seal. It should keep for at least a year if you used a 1:1 sugar t chilli ratio.
Blackberry brandy is a pain to make. Aside from finding a clean bramble that someone else hasn’t cleared already you end up scratched to bits. Also all the little hairs mean that, to make something drinkable, you have to filter it which is a pain. If you like the stoned fruit of the devil you can make brandy with them but basically using a ratio of one to one to one of fruit, sugar and alcohol you can make liqueurs with anyfruit. Freeze the fruit for at least a week prior to making to break down the cells then combine the booze, fruit and sugar in an airtight container and leave for six week giving it a shake or turn every few days to help the sugar dissolve. I find for the more delicate fruits vodka makes a good base but, obviously, gin goes with damsons and sloes and brandy with cherries.
If you have a bit longer lead time then a liqueur made with caramelised blanched hazelnuts or almonds and vodka is lovely (if someone can suggest a recipe for a kilo of vodka soaked nuts please let me know in the comments). My all time favourite though is Klatchian Coffee Liqueur
200g pack of whole coffee beans
200g pack of ground coffee
2 litres vodka
1 kilo of sugar
Mix all the ingredients and pour into an airtight container. Leave for several months (I usually make this on New Year’s Day ready for the following Christmas). Filter and bottle.
This is like a very strong sweet espresso with a soft alcoholic kick. I would like to think that it would keep you balanced between drunk and knurd but actually it will just get you drunk and wired.