Tag Archives: Army Basic Training

A Surprise Veg Box From Mr McGregor’s Patch

Oh So Thoughtful Gift, Rocking Dog

Oh So Thoughtful Gift

What a wonderful surprise I had yesterday. How lovely to find a veg box from Mr McGregor’s patch on my doorstep. I am unfortunately being a little economical with the truth, the box has come from some gorgeous neighbours, and not with the name McGregor.

I happened to mention a little while ago to Scott and Graeme that their vegetable plot reminded me of Mr McGregor’s. I am sure all of us as children were read the story of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit. Naughty Peter going into Mr McGregor’s walled kitchen garden for a little extra curricular eating. How I loved that book, nearly as much as “The Tale Of Two Bad Mice”. When Hunca Munca and Tom Thumb realise that the food in the doll’s house is made of plaster is a particular favourite.

The surprise box of veg’ bought a tear to my eye, it was so very thoughtful and so very delicious. Tiny beetroot, celery, carrots, new potatoes, lettuce and radishes. Such lovely ingredients will require nothing to enhance them. Thank you so much for your incredible kindness and I loved the McGregor Patch label, what a sentimental old boot I am!

Surprise parcels are nearly always so wonderful. I love “The Railway Children”, and not just for that memorable scene in the film when Jenny Agutter sees her father through the smoke. The hamper the wealthy old gentleman sends and which the family delights in is a lovely scene too.

Another hamper, another book, I adore “Sarah and Simon and no red paint” by Edward Ardizzone. A grumpy uncle sends a hamper with delicious listed contents to an impoverished artist and his family. It’s a rags to relative riches story with good morals and lovely illustrations.

Then of course there is the Cratchett family who are sprung a surprise when a reformed Ebenezer Scrooge turns up on Christmas Day bearing gifts. Charles Dickens was a marvel.

My most favourite surprise parcel ever is one I think I may have written about before. In March 1980 I was at Aldershot doing my Army basic training. A born soldier I absolutely was not. Basic fitness, maths lessons, kit inspections, room inspections, drill…..I was very homesick. I’m sure I delighted my parents with numerous tearful pay phone calls telling them how i’d been shouted at, had my room torn apart, and been berated on the drill square. There were letters and cards from my Mum and then a parcel. A brown papered plastic ice cream tub was filled with lovely bits of this and that. I can particularly remember a tea towel hand embroidered with my name rank and number and some flowers from the garden. I certainly remember Alyssum Gold Dust in the posy. I sobbed on my scratchy army blanketed bed, it was so lovely to have things that reminded me and smelt of home.

One final parcel story. About a year ago a parcel arrived addressed to me and I was hopeful that Andyman had bought me a little treat. Luxuriating in the moment of opening the parcel I was so despondent to find that the box contained six bottles of “Bar keeper’s Friend” a useful powder for cleaning sinks. Romance is absolutely not dead!

See you Monday. Until then have a great weekend and enjoy the sun – but as I always say, remember the Factor 50!….. Yes Mum!!!

Magical Potter, Rocking Dog

Magical Potter

Pretty Leaves, Rocking Dog

Pretty Leaves

Naughty Peter!, Rocking Dog

Naughty Peter!

Pretty Beans, Rocking Dog

Pretty Beans

Man & Rabbit, Rocking Dog

Man & Rabbit

Pretty Veg', Rocking Dog

Pretty Veg’

Waffle And Waffle- Rocking Dog Brunch

Spot The Pancetta!, Rocking Dog

Spot The Pancetta!

A lovely friend was stopping by for a quick catch up and I decided to get my waffle maker out! It lurks in a cupboard with my abandoned ice cream maker (preferring my Kitchenaid version), an unused American electric ice cream cone maker (why oh why?!!) and various other kitchen gadgetry. I can’t remember where I bought my electric waffle maker but know it’s a bargain basement contraption which makes very good waffles!

The aroma of waffles being cooked is the first smell I remember as a child. We were on holiday in Belgium, five of us travelling in a Mini. As soon as I smell waffles now I am transported back to that holiday as a five year old. In a similar way there is a furniture polish which horrifyingly takes me right back to my Army basic training. It conjures up early morning room and kit inspections, drill practice, bulling shoes, fitness tests, lots of shouting and lots of crying! I was not the best recruit.

Back to Waffles! So what waffles to rustle up? After flicking through my waffle bible I decided on Smoked Pancetta Waffles with Blackberry Maple Pour. The batter includes mustard powder, Parmesan, buttermilk and semolina. Not having semolina in my store cupboard I substituted it with polenta which worked successfully.

After the thick mixture is placed in the waffle maker, it is topped with some thin rashers of Pancetta or streaky bacon. The Lid is closed and the waffle is cooked for approximately five minutes. If you don’t have a waffle iron I imagine you could cook the mixture on a griddle or heavy based frying pan in the same way that you’d cook Scotch Pancakes.

The blackberry syrup was made by heating through blackberries, maple syrup and a strip of lemon zest.

How we enjoyed waffling whilst we ate waffles. Now does anyone fancy popping on by and i’ll get some ice cream whipped up, and I might even get my Ice cream cone making machine out!

Waffly Reading, Rocking Dog

Waffly Reading

Guinea Pig Recipe, Rocking Dog

Guinea Pig Recipe

Essential Ingredient, Rocking Dog

Essential Ingredient

Blackberry Maple Pour, Rocking Dog

Blackberry Maple Pour

Brunch Y'all !, Rocking Dog

Brunch Y’all !

And Then A Walk.., Rocking Dog

And Then A Walk..