Paul’s Pantry, “LOL”

A good days baking, I got up this morning itching to get started on making some Malted brown loaves, having received the malted flour and fresh bakers yeast yesterday. So I used a general bread recipe I.e. :

700g strong plain bread flour, 300g malted brown bread flour, 20g salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon oil, 20g fresh yeast and approx 650grams of water.

Basically mix all the above ingredients together, I use a machine to do most of it because my hand hurt with to much kneading, then I turn the dough out onto my work surface and knead a little, then put it back into a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave to prove.

Malted bread dough.
Covered malted bread dough
 
After about one hour of proving I put the dough onto my work surface, divide into three, gently fold each piece in on itself forming a tight ball or long baton trapping air into the folds and then putting each peice into a floured bread basket to prove again, cover and leave approx 1 more hour.

After an hour has passed and the dough has doubled in size, I turn the dough out onto a pre-heated baking tray and score the top of each loaf with a sharp blade, then bake for approx 40-45mins in a hot oven approximately 200c.

First two out
All three now done
 

These turned out beautifully can’t wait to taste them, but what shall we have with it? Well I’ve been fancying a Quiche, so that’s what we will have. Now I watch all these food programs that give all these rules I.e, you must use a certain flour, or you must blind bake the case first etc…. well I worked in catering from boy to man at a high level and if we followed all those rules then half the jobs would never get done. So this is a recipe that has always served me well, I’ve had complements wether it’s served as a luncheon, a bar snack, a buffet or starter, it always goes done well.

The pastry is an alrounder, in other words you can use it for anything, if it’s for a sweet dish then I leave out the salt but add 4 oz of caster sugar, it’s easy and quick to make. So obviously Quiche is savoury so this is our pastry recipe:

1 lb Self Raiseing Flour, 8 oz Butter or Margerine, pinch of salt, and approx 1/3rd of a pint of water. Now put the flour and salt into a bowl rub in the butter/margarine, then gradually add enough water to bring it all together into a ball, you can now refrigerate the pastry whilst you prepare the other ingredients
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Flour, butter & salt.
Fat rubbed in.
Finished pastry dough
 

I’m making one red onion quiche, and two leek & courgette quiches, so my ingredients are 20 oz Chedder cheese, 12 eggs, 1/2pt milk, and for the toppings, 1 red onion, 1 leek, and 1 courgette, also a little oil/butter/margarine just for cooking.
I start by peeling the red onion and cutting it in half and slicing it thinly, I put that to gently cook in a little oil or butter to soften the onions, then remove and cool, then I grate the courgette and wash and prepare the leek before finely chopping it and again cooking in a little oil or butter before leaving to cool. Now grate all the Chedder cheese,  break the eggs into a jug and beat with the milk, then everything is ready to put together.
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The filling ingredients.
Sliced red onion
Onion & leek.
Cooked red onion.
Cooked red onion.
Grated Cheddar Cheese.
 
Now that we have all our ingredients prepared, I divide the pastry into three, I then roll out each peice to line three quiche dishes, one 9 inch one 8 inch and one 7 inch, they are just the dishes I have as my wife accidentally broke my nice glass one, but you could use one big dish or two medium size ones really what ever you have got.
 
dishes I inherited from my parents.
Lined dishes
 

With the dishes now lined, divide the grated cheese between them, top two the leek & courgette and one with the red onion, then season with salt and pepper and then pour on the milk and egg mix dividing it amongst the three dishes. Now put them on a under tray in case of spillage, and place into the oven I cook at 160c for the first 15-20 minutes just to set the quiche then about 25 minutes at 180c, they will be nice and golden when cooked, remove from the oven and enjoy either hot or cold. You can use any toppings and even use different cheeses just experiment.
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Filling in.
Egg & milk on
Cooked ready to eat.
Red onion
A good days baking.
 

Well I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into my day in the kitchen, I feel inspired to do something else now, “now what can I cook next” lol.

Done it.

 

I made it out yesterday, and I actually walked around B&Q and the Range, we had a good shop and bought several plants for the new raised beds, also bought some paint to decorate the new study now that we have had the French windows put in, so all in all a good day. I was a little stressed out the day before, thinking of going out but as I new the shops it was not to bad. The only thing now is I can hardly move all my joints are hurting, guess it’s the most exercise I’ve done for a long time. Caz has put the plants into the bed, I managed to plant two, and put in some seeds, it all looks great I’m very pleased with what we achieved, thanks to Caz.I have also started a new batch of sourdough bread starter, I’m going to get back to making all our own bread again, it’s much nicer, but I also don’t want to be eating so much bread and so it is part of my plan for changing our lifestyle, by eating less processed foods and making it as fresh as you can, so we shall see how that progresses on.

It’s great now that we have the French windows in, it brings the house and garden much more together, and that’s important to me, being able to just step out into the garden, or sit with the doors open but still feel part of the garden, it’s lovely. We have a deep red rose in the garden, it’s one we brought with us when we moved here I guess it must be over 20 years old, we know it as our Aunty Babs rose as it was bought for us by my much loved and very much now missed aunty Babs. The scent from the rose just fills the garden and will now hopefully also fill the house, it flowers all summer long and is the heart of our garden, a very treasured plant.

I also love photography and would love to be able to get out more and to do more of it, when we first moved here I was able to get about more and took some beautiful shots of this amazing island. I have just sold my Dslr camera because I was not using it, but also because I find it difficult to cope with the weight and all the lenses that go with it, so I bought both myself and Caz a Canon Powershot G5x camera, it’s a lovely little camera and easy to transport, and has wifi which is great for blogging, I still have my older Nikon D7000 and some lenses it’s a great camera too but not so portable for me, walking with a stick and sometimes crutches makes carrying a Dslr difficult. Well I’ll have to post some of my photography soon for you to see hopefully you’ll like them. I feeling less stressed at the moment as we have now decided not to take another trip away this coming weekend, though inside I know we will be soon, but it takes the pressure off for now, I really want to be able to just get up and go away at a drop of the hat, but it’s so difficult and stressful I sometimes wonder is it all worth it. Hope you all have a great day and achieve all you want to……

The Plants that we bought.
Planted up.
From the other side
Aunty Babs Rose

Our Garden

 

The garden! I love our garden, I don’t do much in the garden Caz is the gardener and she is very good at tending it. The style of are garden is that of a cottage/wildlife garden, and when talking about my anxiety, phobia, lymphoedema or any other of my ailments it is the garden that will ease all thous issues, the garden is a very healing place, there is nothing better than sitting in the garden breathing in the fresh air, with all the nature around you, then closing your eyes and becoming aware of all the sounds of the garden, it is at this point you can drift into a wonderful meditation, breathing in all that energy in the garden and allowing that energy to fill your body and heal, it calms and energies you.Yes the garden is a wonderful place, and over the last few days we have had the window fitters in and we now have French window out of the back of the house allowing more access to the garden and making the garden and the house one, it’s wonderful.

Now I said Caz does the gardening and I said she is good, well a few years ago we entered the wildlife garden competition and the first year we came third, Bronze, the second year we came second, silver, then we missed a year and when we entered the following year, well we got first, yes GOLD, plus best in class, it was amazing and Caz deserved it for all her hard work. And whilst we are on the subject of Caz, not only is she an amazing gardener, but she is an amazing carer, and is always there when I need her, and no one understands me as she does, she is my sole mate, and I can’t thank her enough.

Our Tilly loves the garden too, she loves rooting around and she loves it when the grandchildren come, being a Lancashire Heeler she just loves herding them up, they all have so much energy and a day in the garden sees them all sleep well at night. Our granddaughter just loves picking strawberries, raspberries – peas and just about any fruit or vegetable and eating it there and then in the garden, you can’t have your food any healthier than that.

I love watching all the different birds that visit the garden, and was so please last year when I took photos of newly fledged Gold Crests absolutely beautiful, then we have all the butterflies and a few years ago the humming bird hawk moth, incredible to watch. We have newts, frogs, toads, hedgehogs, rabbits the list goes on, all these things lift your heart, and gives life a true meaning, I would be happy to spend all the rest of my days just in our garden, if only I could!

So yes the garden is probably the most important part of our house, If you are religious, and I believe I am then it is your church and if God is anywhere then he will definitely be there.

Well that is a little extract about our garden, and from time to time I’ll post some photos of how things are going, if you have a garden then why not go into it today and have a meditate and enjoy the peace.

The new French windows

Entering the garden

Life as a chef

 

So I’ve told you a bit about my lymphoedema and how it affects me, the anxiety, phobia and depression, I do have other health issues to which I will talk about with you as we get to know each other lol, but for now I’d like to tell you a little bit about me as a chef, before the lymphoedema ended my career.
Well I left school at the tender age of 15, couldn’t wait to leave, I hated every day of my school life, and can barely remember one happy moment there. I had been going into work with my father who was head chef of a large 3 star seaside hotel, I worked my summer holidays there since about the age of 12, I would also go in with him in the evenings after school, I loved cooking and I loved the environment of the large kitchen brigade, of which my father was boss, and I too one day wanted that position.
So on leaving school I began an apprenticeship under my father and over the following years I progressed through the ranks of chefs to become head patissier (pastry chef) I loved that position, though I still wanted more. My next proper move up was as second chef of a very large four star hotel with a very large brigade of 15-16 chefs and again I flourished but still wanted that head chefs position.
Things sort of went sideways then for a while, when my parents sold their small guesthouse they were running together and bought a restaurant with a café and a guesthouse in mid Devon, we all went into it as a family, my father doing the cooking, mother running the café, my older brother running the bar, my little brother just enjoyed eating in the restaurant at a table for one lol and yes I was now head waiter! It wasn’t a position that I enjoyed but it was great experience. We was at the restaurant for a few years when my parents sold up and my brother went back into architecture and I for a short while became chef at a private school in Shropshire. I was only there for a short while as my mother and I decided to take on a small café in a small Shropshire hillside town, it was lovely and we had a good turnover, built up a good trade, then the landlord decided he wanted a share of the action and put up the rent, so we decided to give that up and I found myself flitting through jobs, back with dad for a while as his second chef, then chef/catering manager of a large Mecca night club, then to be head chef of a newly opened wine bar serving Mediterranean style food it was a great little restaurant and very special as it’s also where I met my lovely wife Caz.
Caz had started work at the restaurant as assistant manager, and we hit it off right away joking with each other and generally pranking about, Caz also acted as my second chef when I got some freelance jobs from Mecca and we would travel to take charge of a kitchen at one of the clubs and cook for large functions of up to 900 – 1000 customers, it paid well but was hard work. It didn’t take me long to pop the question to Caz and for her to accept, though it took about 18 months before we got married, in the meantime we run a fish restaurant in Lymington, then moved to Devon worked in a Greek restaurant, started a couple of catering supply businesses that didn’t really take off, bought a house, got married, now have a wonderful daughter who has her own family, and we have two lovely grandchildren. I worked in my dream job position of head chef I several top hotels in Devon before running a restaurant franchise which was when my lymphoedema started. We now live in a beautiful part of north Wales with amazing bays & beaches and I love the slow pace of life so different to the busy hustle and bustle of a busy kitchen. And thats it for my career, though I have some funny moments I shall share with you as we spend time together. Hope you have a great day!

Below is a photo of me and my father, I was about 14 years old, seems like yesterday, I miss him so very much.

First blog post

 

Thanks for visiting my blog, I guess it’s always hard starting off, a bit like an artist making that first brush stroke on the canvas, but here goes, I’m basically going to chat about my life and how my symptoms effect my day to day life, and have stopped me from doing things I would love to be able to do.  Just as if you were sat in my front room with me, I will try and put over how I feel, tell you of the things that have helped me, and things that have set me back, prevented me from achieve my goals.

Now I have mention in my (about) page that I was diagnosed with lymphoedema in the 90s and if you are not sure what lymphoedema is, it is what was known as elephantiasis, some still call it that. Now if you are about to eat your breakfast, lunch or dinner, then I apologise and you may want to continue reading later when you have finished, it’s not a pretty sight but it is me, still human with feeling, just a little misshapen, this is a photo of my legs at their worst two years ago, and my life was pretty low then.


As I said not a pretty sight, I won’t show you the backs as they had open wounds approximately 4 inches which did not want to heal. Without wanting to bore you with to much detail, I felt, I was and I am let down by our local Lymphoedema NHS’s clinic, and if it had not been for the great support that I have received from my own doctors surgery, along with the incredible support and care of the district nurses, then my health may be a whole lot worse today.

It was after reading in a magazine for lymphoedema patients that I saw an add for Farrow Wraps, a compression garment for people like myself, but my lymphoedema clinic said they were no good, my doctor on the other hand supported me and got them for me, and they have transformed my life. I can now walk without my legs banging together, my legs are more normal now and do not attract so much attention as they did before, I feel more human.


As you can see, there’s a bit of a difference, (yet the professionals in this field in our area, said they do not work, shame on you!) however after living years with extremely large misshapen legs there were and still are side effects, anxieties, phobia and depression, this has made living the life I would love to live very difficult, but I want to change all that and I want to take you on that journey with me, I will update as much as I can, and will tell you tales of when I was a chef, take you on our journeys in our amazing Eriba caravan, maybe play some songs I wrote, show you photos I have taken, and much more, and hopefully I’ll make the goals I want to reach, defeat my fears and who knows maybe inspire you to tackle yours.

Well I did it, that’s the end of my very first blog, thanks for reading, hopefully you’ll come back.