What a lovely day! An hour spent bellowing at my nana – not out of malice you understand, but remember, she’s tone deaf so you end up repeating things in incremental degrees of volume until you’re screaming NO THANKS I DON’T NEED A METRIC TONNE OF MINT IMPERIALS I’M ON A DIET like you’re trying a hail a taxi from the moon. Bless her, it would be quicker and easier for me to have my side of the conversation tattooed onto my body and relayed back to her via sign language than it is to have a two-way conversation punctuated only by the sound of her hearing aid whirring away like an old 56k modem. Bless her though, I’d not change a bit about her. Even the answers in her Puzzler are hilarious – when she doesn’t know, she just adds random letters in like someone upending a Scrabble board.
But, before we went to my nana, we spent three hours walking dogs! It was BRILLIANT. I love dogs (not as much as cats – it’s my ambition in life (or rather death) that when I snuff it, I lie in a living room with eighty cats picking away at my carcass and eight pouches of Bite ‘n’ Chew in my birds nest hair) but we can’t have one in our house. It wouldn’t be fair, as we both work long hours and I’d spend all day worried that the dog was looking out the window with a doleful expression on its face, waiting for our DS3 to come bouncing over the speed-bump/her at Number 2 at the bottom of our street. So. How to get some body magic in and meet new dogs? Easy! We rang up a local cat and dog shelter (Brysons of Gateshead) (I’m not sure if that needs apostrophising and now I’m stressing, so if it does, I’m sorry) and asked if they needed people to walk their dogs – and they do, so we did!
After spending ten minutes doing my normal parking routine of driving into a parking space, leaving it, driving back in at one degree less than before, checking the lines, driving out, putting my wipers on instead of my indicators and then finally driving in another bay just up the road, we were there, and after handing over ID (lest we stole the dogs, I assume) we were given Max (a spaniel, I think) and Scout (a greyhound). Off we trotted, with the greyhound almost immediately pulling me over. I’m a big guy, but this bugger was strong! Paul had worn a shitty pair of old trainers so he was fine clarting around in the mud, but I’d inexplicably chose Chelsea boots to wear, and I pretty much skated my way through the mud along the Bowes Railway. We spent ages trotting along with the dogs who were wonderfully behaved, giving them a good walk (and us some great body magic) and generally enjoying ourselves. The dogs seemed happy to be made of a fuss of and getting some fresh air, even if my dog (Max) spent a horrendous amount of time picking absolutely every bit of rubbish up off the ground and trying to eat it, followed by me trying to stop him – I don’t think we’d be able to take dogs out again if I returned it with a Panda Pop bottle poking out of his bumhole.
Here they are!
Gorgeous little buggers. Great way to get more exercise and to help out a local charity. They also need cat cuddlers but I don’t think my heart can take it. Here’s our two, beautiful as ever. You’ll note the cat beds hanging from the radiator, spoilt little buggers.
Bowser is particularly pleased, as he managed to get a whole piece of cod for his tea. Cod from the recipe below, which was also our meal this evening…enjoy!
to make baked cod with samphire, you’ll need:
ingredients: 250g of halved cherry tomatoes, 100g of pitted black olives, two tablespoons of capers, two tablespoons of mixed herbs (not the mixed herbs – use thyme, dill and oregano), four cod fillets (frozen), tablespoon of olive oil, two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and a packet of samphire.
and to make baked cod with samphire, you should:
recipe: place the tomatoes, capers, olives and fish in a pyrex dish – fish nestled amongst the other ingredients rather than sitting on top. Make a oil from the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and herbs and drizzle over the top. Add salt and pepper. Put into the oven for 20-25 minutes (if frozen, if you’re using fresh go for 15 minutes and check if it needs longer). Five minutes before the fish is ready, boil a pan of water, chuck in the samphire for two or three minutes and sieve. Put that on a plate, add a piece of fish and some of the capers/tomatoes/olives. Drizzle over some of the liquid that was released when the ingredients cooked, and bloody well enjoy!
extra-easy: perfectly. There are syns, but you’re supposed to use them, and again I’ve been fairly conservative with the syn value here – the dish serves four, and the two syns is per serving, but you could lower the amount of olives and adjust the syns accordingly. It’s really not high though, and the ingredients are beautifully simple. Samphire can be tricky to find, and if you’ve never had it, give it a go. It’s got a strong, salty taste, but is delicious – you can eat it raw, but I prefer it blanched for a moment or two just to take the edge off. It grows by the sea and really adds to the fish dish!
Enjoy. What a day!