Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Writing, Carpet, Hot Pots and Thanksgiving.

I used to think I would like to write a book. The more I read of author's blogs (see links on this page), the less I want to do so. As far as I can tell its damned hard work. Then, if you are a first timer, you have got to find yourself a publisher - read what Glenda Larke (Tropical Temper) has to say about it all. She is talking of the 10 myths about authors. No, I don't want to write a book thank you. We now have a lovely clean carpet. I paid extra to have a silicone coating which is supposed to protect it and stop it getting dirty too quickly. We shall see. I looked it up, last time I had it done was June 2008 so that is about 17 months. I wonder how long it will last this time. Certain areas get it worse than others of course. The area from the kitchen to the dining table is the worst of the lot. Funnily enough I used to hire carpet cleaners in England who called themselves Canadian carpet cleaners, not sure why. Today I am going to be making a hotpot which is lamb, potatoes and onions in a kind of stew. I was talking about red cabbage the other day, traditionally that is an accompaniment to hotpot as it 'cuts the fat'. Matt prefers to eat hotpot without it though. I have had the lamb in the freezer for a while so I figured I had better get on and make it. There are dozens of recipes for hot pot on the internet, some with beef and some including lamb's kidneys, but the one I make is a very simple one with simple ingredients. As tomorrow is a Travel League with our bowling, we have to do our main shop of the week today. I am taking everyone from our old league to the My Thai restaurant I mentioned the other week. I hope they all enjoy it. We got fed up with the other local restaurant, very mediocre food. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US so many people will be doing their best to produce a huge meal, generally starring turkey and pumpkin pie. Emeril Lagasse came up with a good way of serving Brussels sprouts. However, when I copied the recipe it also said courtesy of Martha Stewart Living. I will certainly be trying this in the near future as I do get fed up with plain veggies. Emeril's Brussels Sprout and Cheddar Cheese Bake From the kitchen of Emeril Lagasse | Servings: 4-6 Only Emeril Lagasse can think of such a tasty way to make brussels sprouts! This dish will be a nice touch to your Thanksgiving Day table. Ingredients # 4 slices thick-cut apple smoked bacon, diced # 1 cup onion, small diced # 2 cloves garlic, minced # 3 tablespoons unsalted butter # 1 pound Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced lengthwise (about 1/8-inch) # 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme # 1/4 cup chicken stock or water # 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper # 1/4 teaspoon salt # 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper # 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar Cooking Directions Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a 12" saute pan over medium high heat, render the bacon until crisp and golden, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan using a slotted spoon to a heat proof bowl. Add the onions to the pan and cook for 4 minutes or until wilted and beginning to caramelize. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the onions and garlic from the pan to the same bowl with the bacon. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter to the pan along with half the Brussels sprouts and 1/2 teaspoon thyme. Cook the sprouts for 2 to 3 minutes on one side or until they begin to brown. Add 1/2 the chicken stock, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Flip the Brussels sprouts and continue to cook for another minute. Remove them from the pan to the bowl with the bacon and onions. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and cook the remaining Brussels sprouts in the same way, adding the remaining 1/8 cup of stock after they've browned, and seasoning them with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Toss all of the Brussels sprouts with the bacon and onions. Pour the mixture into a 10 by 6 inch baking dish. Sprinkle the top of the dish with the cheese and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown on top. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 to 6 servings To all my American readers, Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow, I am assuming a lot of you won't have time to read blogs.


  1. I agree with you about writing a book, yet, when that wish grabs you, it won't let you go.

    I find that a lot of people do not like Brussels Sprouts. I do, but I hardly ever offer them to guests.

    The hotpot sounds good. I last had it on a winter day in a restaurant in the Lake District.

  2. The hot pot was good. We have enough for a second supper. I have never been to the Lake District, think I mentioned that before.