Saturday, 26 April 2014

Castillo Real Clasica Tempranillo 2013

Red Wine - Vino Tinto

We like red wine, by which I mean we drink a lot of it.
Mr.R buys a lot of our plonk from Lidl, gotta love their reasonable prices.
This Castillo Real Clasica Tempranillo 2013 from Spain was purchased from Lidl, it wasn't a bad bottle of red.
In fact the bottle was empty not long after it was opened. It was soft and smooth, and a perfectly drinkable cheap wine.

Another cheap bottle of plonk. We are not as rich as Roman.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #tempranillo #wine #redwine #Spanishwine #vinotinto

Thank God for grapes! Cheers!
Do you like red wine?
What's your favourite tipple?

Friday, 25 April 2014

Laos - Buddhist Monk

Memories of Laos

I love photos. Seeing the photos we've shot, over the last twenty years or so, always transports me straight back to the time and place they were taken.
Over the last few weeks I've been looking through our old photos, well, not exactly old photos, they were taken during our most recent bout of travels, which we finished about a year ago.
It feels so much longer than a year ago though, time is a funny fella.
Anyway, it was whilst I was looking at our photos, reminiscing and remembering our travels, that I came across this shot of a Buddhist monk at a Buddhist temple in Laos.
I know it was taken in Laos, but I can't remember where abouts. But I do remember why I can't remember - too many beers during our travels have clouded my memory. ;)
I asked Mr.R if he remembered where we were when we shot this, but he couldn't remember either. I guess that's not surprising as he enjoys beer too. :o

Memories of Laos. Luang Prabang? Can't remember. #blog #blogger #blogging © #Laos #Lao #LuangPrabang #travel #BuddhistMonk #Buddisttemple
I wish I was in Laos now, or anywhere that's not where I am - in the cold, wet, foggy North of England.
Where do you wish you were?

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Two Day Roasted Vegetable Curry

Two Day Roasted Vegetable Curry - It's what's for lunch!

Mr.R cooked us a seriously delicious curry a few days ago.
The house was full of the heady aroma of spice. We like spice, we eat a lot of spicy food.
He started the roasted vegetable curry bright and early one morning by making a spice paste, just the smell as he ground the spices made my taste buds tingle.
Then he chopped lots of onions and garlic, which are the base of almost every meal we eat. You can't have too much of either, they're fab.
Mr.R then sauteed the onions and garlic until they were soft, sweet, and heavenly. It is at this stage of cooking that we usually enjoy a small taste or two, but only to make sure they're properly cooked of course. ;)
Mr.R then added the spice paste to the onions and garlic, and left the pot to cook on low for a few hours.
And then the day was over. And that is why I called this meal Two Day Roasted Vegetable Curry - because it took two days to make it.

Roasted Vegetable Curry.
Roasting the vegetables. They're not burnt, the lightening is crap
Roasted Vegetable Curry.

The next morning Mr.R was busy in the kitchen peeling and chopping vegetables. Then he roasted the various vegetables including, sweet potato, parsnip, carrot, aubergine, potato, swede, mushroom, and also a mixed collection of things from the stockpot that Mr.R has in the freezer, and there were a few other things added too.
Once the roasted vegetables were thoroughly cooked they were added to the onion, garlic, and spice mix from the previous day.
Mr.R then added even more ingredients, including various beans, courgettes, and sweetcorn to the pot.
Now all we just had to wait while everything mingled together in the pan, and each ingredient took on the flavours of its neighbour, slowly mingling to what would be the end result - a scrumptious roasted vegetable curry.

Roasted Vegetable Curry.
The sauteed onions, garlic, spice paste, and a few other ingredients

Roasted Vegetable Curry.
More vegetables, and other things added to the onions, garlic, and spice paste

Eventually after what felt like weeks, but was actually only two days, the roasted vegetable curry was perfect, ready to serve, and more importantly ready to eat.
It was, as is all of the food cooked by Mr.R - absolutely gorgeous.
Just writing this blog post, and remembering back is making my mouth water.
You can't beat proper home cooked food.
Two day roasted vegetable curry, it was hot, hearty, and very healthy.

Roasted Vegetable Curry.
Two Day Roasted Vegetable Curry 
served with basmati rice cooked in coconut milk with raisins

The photos don't look good at all, but as I've already said, the curry tasted seriously good.
What's your favourite curry? Or your favourite spicy food?

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Sunday 2014

Easter Sunday

Today is Easter Sunday.
That's it. I haven't got anything relevant to say about this day, and because I am extremely tired, my eyes are aching (from too much messing about online), and rather oddly for me I don't feel like rambling on and on nonsensically, I shall say no more.

Here are some random photos I shot over the last few days, some whilst out walking Barley, others indoors, (which means they are of food) which is where I spend most of my time, eating - obviously, unless - I'm out walking with Barley.

Hello!  #blog #blogger #blogging © #horse
Gorgeous horse grazing. Barley was most interested.

Natures barbed wire.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #barbedwire #thorns #rosethorns #corrugatediron
Barbed wire, and natures barbed wire. Thorns.

Sunrise.  Or.  Sunset.  Can't remember.
Sunrise, or sunset. I can't remember.

Hello!  #blog #blogger #blogging © #horse
Same day, different horse grazing. Barley was equally interested.

HM Coastguard. I think they took the wrong road. The sea is a little bit further to the left.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #coastguard #HMCoastguard #coast #sea #seaview #countryside #scenery #landscape #EasingtonCollier
HM Coastguard. Scanning the coastline for smugglers? 
Actually, no photos of food.
I'm still feeling full from my lunch, a delicious salmon teriyaki, so I don't want to be looking at food pics.
What did you eat today, for lunch, or not, whatever?

Friday, 18 April 2014

Good Friday 2014 - Cadbury Creme Egg

Today is Good Friday.
Time for a Cadbury Creme Egg?

Cadburys Creme Egg.

I'm not going to write about the crucifixion of Jesus, or anything about religion at all.
Not because I don't have something to say about that, or opinions on it, but because - chocolate.

Cadburys Creme Egg.

Yep, I am writing this blog post purely because I felt like sharing a photo of a Cadbury Creme Egg.
That's a bit odd actually, as I don't like Creme Eggs. They are made using the typical low quality chocolate we get in England, and more importantly they taste horrible - far too sweet and sickly.

Cadburys Creme Egg.

However, earlier today Mr.R said he was popping to the newsagent, he asked me if I wanted anything.
Well, what I wanted was a really nice Easter Egg, but as I doubt the shop stocks what I want, I asked for a Creme Egg.
It seemed logical to me at the time.
So, Mr.R returned from the shop with one Creme Egg for me.
The first thing I said, actually the second thing after I'd thanked him, was that the Creme Egg was small. Much, much smaller than I remember them being. I may be incorrect, as I haven't had one for decades, not since I was a child, maybe they've always been small.
I was disappointed that the Creme Egg was small, but also very pleased.

Cadburys Creme Egg.

After all, why would I want something I don't like to be large? Anyway, it was smaller than I was expecting, which turned out to be a very good thing because as soon as I bit into the Creme Egg I was reminded exactly why I don't like, or usually eat them. Creme Eggs are horrible!
But I wanted one, I got one, I ate one.
The end.

Do you like Cadbury Creme Egg?
If not, what's your favourite type of Easter Egg?

Sun - What a Bright Beautiful Start to the Day

It's Sunny!
It's not Sunday, it's Friday, but it was a sun day.

This mornings dog walk. #blog #blogger #blogging © #sunrise #sun #sunshine #sea #view #nofilter #noedit

This morning we were blessed with glorious bright blue skies and lovely sunshine.
Although the sun was shining, it wasn't particularly warm, but then it is only April, and we are in the North of England.
The sea views we are lucky to have from every room in our house are of the North Sea, not the Mediterranean.
Mediterranean dreams aside, it was very nice to be able to sit outside in the sun. Well, I say sit, but actually I spent most of the morning squatting on the back-door step, or running about with Barley, our lovely Lurcher.
In fact the main reason I even set foot outside was to play with Barley, he loves being outside, and really enjoys playing tug with his toys.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing with Barley, and he had fun too. Barley also had fun chasing, but thankfully not catching, the huge bumble bees that seem to be everywhere recently.
There was a bird sitting on top of the telegraph pole outside out house, he was enjoying the sunny weather too, happily chirping away. If you strain your eyes, you can just about make out the bird in the photo below. I didn't manage to get any photos of Barley, he was too fast, zooming about.

Bird.  Bird on telegraph pole. Sun flare.

By nature I always feel cold, so I absolutely love the sun, but I don't enjoy sitting in the sun. Typical me, contrary.
Anyway, the sun meant we could play outside, but because it was cold it also meant Barley had a good play because I was trying to keep warm, so I got some much needed exercise.
Playing tug with Barley was a good workout for me, he's much more fun than a rowing machine. And as I sit here typing this blog post I can feel my arm muscles have been well used.

Freckles.  Proof the sun was here.

By about lunchtime the coolness had got the better of me, so I retreated inside, much to the displeasure of Barley, poor dog - he'd happily play all day and night.
Once my eyes had readjusted to the light indoors, I noticed that my face had caught the sun a little bit. My nose and cheeks now have freckles. I must remember to slather my face in lots of suntan lotion tomorrow - that's if the sun graces us with its presence again.

Have you had your Vitamin D today, did the sun shine on you?

Monday, 14 April 2014

Obsessed With Our Dog - Barley the Lurcher

We are completely obsessed with Barley, our gorgeous Lurcher.
Barley has been part of our family for just over 6 months now, and we're really pleased that he's settled in very nicely since we adopted him from the local stray dog charity.
In fact, he's settled so well, it feels as though he's always been with us.
Barley is a very good looking dog, I'm sure you'll agree.
Here's a few photos I took of him recently.



He likes sleeping in uncomfortable positions.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #dog #Lurcher #hound #sighthound #rescuedog #lurcherlove #lurchersofinstagram

Rainbow Dog. Lurcher.

He sleeps.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #dog #Lurcher #rescuedog

Do you have a dog?
Or any other family pets?

Thursday, 10 April 2014

British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter - Review

British Berkefeld Stainless Steel Gravity Water Filter

I love water!
Despite the glass recycling bin at our house constantly overflowing with empty booze bottles, my favourite drink is water - always has been, and always will be.
Nothing quenches my thirst, or makes me feel as good as drinking water does. I've never felt like drinking anything else when a refreshing drink is needed. Well, apart from tea, coffee, red wine, and last but not least real ale. I have been known to have the occasional sip of these delicious beverages too.
But water is my first love, so I prefer not to drink anything else. As the saying goes, If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter
(Barley, our lovely Lurcher makes an appearance in a few of the photos.
Obviously he is not relevant to this blog post, it's just that he thinks everything is for him.
I don't want to tell him the truth just yet - he's still young. ;))
British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter
Unfortunately it was broke. By which I mean, that water was no longer quenching my thirst in the usual pleasant way.
Since we moved in to our current house I've been looking for a decent water filter, mainly because the tap water here is absolutely horrible. It is undrinkable, at least for me. Other people may like it. I don't.
The tap water in this house is seriously chlorinated, and unfortunately the local water board also adds fluoride to our water too, which is very bad.
British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter

British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter
I've always enjoyed drinking tap water, when in Britain, but not here where we live.
The nasty strong stench of chloride hits you as soon as you turn on the tap.
I know that chlorine is added to the water to kill bacteria (apart from Cryptosporidium) and that as soon as the pressure is released from the water; when you turn on the tap, the chlorine is released, but I still don't feel comfortable drinking the water in our house.
Yes, the smell of the chlorine quickly dissipates once I've poured a glass of water, but the taste is unpalatable, and it's not something I want in my body.
I don't want fluoride either. I truly believe that fluoride is very harmful to my health.
Speaking of which, the current government has plans to add fluoride to everyones tap water, or so says an interesting, and very scary, article I read recently in the Telegraph.
But I digress, the tap water in our house is undrinkable, and I have always liked the taste of tap water wherever we've been in Britain, but sadly not where we live now.
It tastes horrible, and I know it's not good for my health.
So, I felt I had to find a way to get access to clean, safe, healthy drinking water.
British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter

British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter
Yep, google knows everything, so that's where I started my search for the best water filter to suit my needs, and my budget.
Eventually, after a lot of research, which included reading what felt like millions of product reviews, and watching YouTube videos, I finally decided to purchase a Berkey water filter. Or to give it its proper full name, a British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter. Or as it is more commonly referred to, the Big Berkey - but that's mainly on American websites.
So I decided to buy a British Berkefeld water filter system, well, that's not particularly accurate, because after all of my research, I then procrastinated for a few months. During this time I felt I had no choice but to drink bottled water, which I wasn't happy doing because I am aware of the dangers of BPA leaching from the plastic bottles in to the water, and the potential health hazards of BPA. Also plastic water bottles are, as we all know, one of the worst things for planet earth, in terms of their disposal. But that's another topic.
British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter
So, after much researching, and even more procrastination, one morning I finally asked Mr.R to order the Berkey water filter system for me.
I say I asked Mr.R because I prefer him to order things I want, as I don't trust myself to order the correct item. I have visions of making mistakes and ending up with 100 water filters instead of just the one.
Anyway, as I've mentioned previously in numerous posts we like to buy a lot of the things we want from Amazon UK. It's usually better value than elsewhere, prompt delivery, and we've never had a problem with them. This time however, Amazon wasn't the best place on price.
We found a website that was a bit cheaper, so they got our custom for the British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter.
I can't remember exactly how much we paid for the Berkey because it was a while ago, but I think it was £95, including delivery. You can check out the website here - Wreckin Water Softeners.
Amazon were asking slightly more than £100, plus £25 for delivery.
British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter

Here's the description of the British Berkefeld Water Filter System, that we purchased.

British Berkefeld SS Gravity Water Filter 

  • Ideal for camping, emergency situations, Rented Properties and everyday use. 
  • For use on municipal or natural water supplies. 
  • Saves you money on expensive bottled water. 
  • Up to 10 litres of reliable drinking water on tap wherever you are. 
  • Filters out: Pathogenic Bacteria (cholera, typhoid, salmonella, E-coli, etc.) Giardia, Cryptosporidium and other parasites, Chlorine, Organics and all types of particle contamination down to 0.5 micron. (When fitted with Doulton Super Sterasyl™ candles). 
  • Portable, lightweight, high capacity filter. 
  • Easy to use. Simple to maintain. 
  • Pour untreated water in the top. Get filtered water from the tap. No power supply required.
  • Supplied with 2 Super Sterasyl™ filter candles or can be adjusted to use 4 filter candles for greater flow (more candles = higher flow rate). When fitted with Super Sterasyl™ filter candles, the output of the SS, assuming regular refilling of the upper chamber, will be approximately as follows: 
  • 2 candles – 40 litres per 24 hours 
  • 4 candles – 80 litres per 24 hours 
  • All SS filters have four holes to enable the fitting of up to 4 candles. The holes which are not in use are filled with removable rubber bungs. 
  • As standard, the SS is supplied with 2 Super Sterasyl™ candles which are 7 inches long, 2 inches in diameter, with a long mount and a wing nut. 
  • For ease of transport, the upper chamber fits into the lower chamber to save space. The capacity of the lower chamber is (10 litres). 
  • Ceramic filter candles can be cleaned to extend life. 
  • Candle Life 2000 Ltrs 6-12 months Total Height of assembled unit = 485mm with diameter 225mm Storage height = 355mm
British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter
I want to purchase the fluoride filters, but they're not easy to find in the UK, and they're quite expensive. I think they cost about £130 for two.
I am of the opinion that you can't put a price on your health, but having said that, that's only relevant if you've got the cash to splash. Splash, water, haha!
Also I have read conflicting articles about the efficiency of the fluoride filters, so for the moment I'm just using the two Super Sterasyl filter candles that were included with the British Berkefeld when I purchased it.
Actually, I'd really like to have a whole house system, because showering in the crappy water we have here is also bad for our health; breathing in the fumes are a known cause of illness. But once again, that's for another blog post, another time.
It frustrates me that we pay a lot of money for our water, and yet it's not as safe and healthy as it could, or, more importantly should be.
I know we're better off than millions of people who don't have access to clean safe drinking water, but that doesn't lessen the point that we are being charged for water that isn't what it's claimed to be. It isn't clean, it's full of chemicals and other harmful substances.
Our government shouldn't be able to poison us, or more accurately medicate us without via permission, via our tap water. It's frightening to think that we are being controlled in this way. Ha! But once again, that is another rant for a future blog post, or have I already written about it? I think I have. It's the tap water, it's messing with my mind.
British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter
Right, I'm back on track, I promise.
I've waited a few months before writing this review as I wanted to use the British Berkefeld for a decent period of time before commenting on it.
So, after much rambling, unusual for me I know. Hehe!
What's my opinion on the British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter?
I like it!
No, I love it! Truly!
It's excellent!
During my research about the British Berkey water filters pretty much all of the reviews were very positive, with the only negative points being mentioned that sometimes the spigot (tap) leaks, that the tap is too low which makes filling your receptacles difficult, or that the water filter takes up too much room on the worktop.
Well, obviously the tap on the British Berkey has to be placed at the bottom of the unit because it's a gravity fed water filter, and if the tap was any higher you wouldn't be able to get all of the water out. All you have to do is either stand the water filter on something to raise the level of the tap, or easier still have the tap at the edge of a unit.
As for the tap leaking, we haven't had any trouble with it.
And finally, space, we have a very small kitchen, but I don't feel the water filter takes up much space at all. We've got it sitting on the corner edge of a unit and it's not in the way.
British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter
What else can I say about the British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter?
The water tastes really good, pure and fresh.
Is it actually as good as it tastes? I don't know.
To know for sure I'd have to send off some water samples to be tested at a lab. And, being the untrusting cynic that I am, I don't think it's worth the expense, because how would I ever know for sure if the lab was truthful. Everyone has an agenda of some sort these days, or so it seems to me, so I'm going to continue to use my beautiful Big Berkey, my British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter and enjoy the lovely tasting water it gives me, in the hope that it is actually good for my health.
I guess sometimes even someone as untrusting as me has to trust.
So, yes, I am very happy indeed with our British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter.
I highly recommend it to all water lovers.
Water - I'll drink to that!
British Berkefeld, Stainless Steel, Gravity Water Filter

What are your thoughts on drinking water?
Do you use a water filter system in your home, if so which one?

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Lurcher at the end of the Rainbow

Barley the Rainbow Lurcher 

I found something better than a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. I found a Lurcher.

I seem to spend a lot of time playing with the photo editing apps on my phone.
This may or may not explain why despite getting up at 6:30am this morning, I haven't achieved much at all today - apart from making lots of edits on photos of Barley our lovely Lurcher.
The sun was streaming into the kitchen all morning today, the window and door glass reflected rainbows all over the room, and lots on Barley too.
As my eyes are now very tired and aching from squinting at my phone for hours and hours, I'm not going to write any more on this blog post, I'm just sharing a few of the photos.
Hope you like 'em!

Rainbow Dog. Lurcher.

Rainbow nose dog.  Excuse the cider, slippers, and washing machine in the background.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #dog #rainbow #Lurcher #sighthound

Rainbows everywhere. Lurcher.

Have you ever seen a real life rainbow dog before?
Gorgeous isn't he? 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Venison Stew

Shoulder of Venison 


Mr.R made us a seriously good venison stew for our lunch a couple of days ago.
He purchased the venison from Lidl, gotta love Lidl for their good value food.
I think he paid about £6 for the pack of venison shoulder, and it lasted us for four meals.


We both really like venison, it's lean, tasty, and it's good for health.
Mr.R made a really delicious stew using the venison shoulder, which initially he was going to serve with various steamed vegetables. But he changed his mind and decided to make it a one pot meal, adding the vegetables and potatoes to the stew.


For £6 the packet of venison shoulder was really good value, especially considering it made four meals for us. It may not stretch so far for everyone, we don't eat particularly large portions.


Yep, I did have a squirt of HP sauce on my venison stew, although I only had a very small amount, and so only ate it with a few mouthfuls. In the end I felt that the venison was so good, it didn't need anything else.


Do you like venison?
Do you shop in Lidl?

Friday, 4 April 2014

Bread Virgin

Bread Virgin
White, Wholemeal, and Rye Loaf

I love bread, literally.
I don't mean I really really like it, I actually do love bread. It's always comforting, and better still when it's home baked.
Bread Baking Bread

Bread Baking Bread
Mr.R enjoys bread making, but I'd always thought it was a laborious process, despite him telling me it was very quick and easy to make. Well, apart from the proving time.
So, a little while ago I thought it was about time, at the ripe old age of... Nope, I can't write my age and post it on the World wide web for all to see. Let's just say I am slightly over 21.
Anyway, I decided it was about time I lost my bread virgin status and baked some bread.
Bread Baking Bread

Bread Baking Bread
Mr.R told me what to do, and I did it. Sort of.
What actually happened was Mr.R told me what to do, and then I said I'd never remember what he'd told me, so I wrote it all down.
Then I went in to the kitchen, which is not a room I particularly enjoy being in as I truly believe that cooking is mens work, where I immediately changed my mind about making bread, so I asked Mr.R to help me.
So although I intended to write this post about me losing my bread baking virginity, with the details of how I baked my first ever proper loaf of bread, it wasn't exactly a solo activity - but then losing ones virginity never is.
Thankfully Mr.R obliged, by which I mean he stayed in the kitchen with me, and went through the whole process of bread preparation.
Bread Baking Bread

Bread Baking Bread
My memory is bad. Despite having detailed written instructions, I would never have managed to get much further than weighing the flour before I cocked it up, if Mr.R hadn't been there telling me what to do and when. Bless him!
Mr.R helped guide me through each stage of the bread making process, from weighing the ingredients, (this first loaf was a mix of plain white flour, wholemeal flour, and rye flour) to mixing them together, then kneading the dough, setting the timer for the dough to prove, proving the dough, pre-heating the oven, and finally baking the bread.
Bread Home Baked

Bread Home Baked
So, how did my first ever, or more accurately my first ever with the guidance of Mr.R, bread baking turn out?
It turned out great, even if I do say so myself. And Mr.R was correct, baking bread is a very quick and easy thing to do. Apart from the proving time, when all you have to do is wait, the only bit of activity is the kneading, which if you've got weak wrists like I have, you'll be willing the minutes to fly by fast.
The result of my first home baked loaf of bread was seriously tasty, especially once I'd smothered my culinary creation with lashings of butter.
Bread Home Baked

Bread Home Baked
The proof of my skill in the kitchen can be seen in the photos included in this blog post.
I've even have made a few more loaves of bread since that first one, all of which I did completely by myself. Apparently after you've lost your virginity it boosts your confidence to get in the kitchen, get busy with your hands, and make things rise all by yourself. Not bad for a beginner.
Bread Home Baked

Bread Home Baked

How do you like your daily bread?
Home baked by your own fair hands?
What's your favourite type of bread?