Monthly Archives: July 2013

Courgette, Chilli & Basil Salad & Cheese plates

My Salad of the Month – possibly Year

Courgette, Chilli & Basil Salad

Courgette Salad a la Oliver/Chiappa

Boy it’s been hot the last few weeks.  Though I longed for some warmth for most of last year, I have to admit working in this heat is not a joy.  It doesn’t make one very hungry either.

We, the Dark Lord (my partner in life) & I, have taken to ‘cheese plates’ (the Dark Lord’s passion – is it possible I am shacked up with the Abyssal Wallace – and further does that make me the Fairy Gromit?).

Back to cheese plates.  I add some salad to try to counteract the fat content with some greenery.

I have found this gem from Jamie Oliver.  Lovely ribbons of paper thin courgette, tiny diced chilli, basil leaves & a mustard vinaigrette.  Heaven!  I make the dressing & keep it with the other ingredients in the fridge and just shave off a few ribbons of courgette as and when I need something that tastes sinfully good in this heat.

Here’s Jamie’s recipe (Thank you Jamie & Ms Chiappa):

I make it slightly differently because I like it all green: green courgettes, green chillis.  I also expect Jamie used a mandolin but they scare me to death so I use a potato peeler – the sort with blades that are 90 degrees to the handle.

Also quantities:  Half a medium courgette & half a chilli make enough for us two for lunch with about 1/4 of the viniagrette.

More about Cheese for budget cheeseplaters – To keep the budget from blowing up, I buy 3 different cheeses a month and cheddar more often as a back stop.  Usually I buy Brie or Camembert, Stilton & a random one other.  Stilton being the favourite of the dark force.  We have a sliver of each plus something like a slice of quiche or ham, bread or cheese biscuits, olives & tomatoes and of course a salad of my invention.

All of the above ingredients most supermarkets have in a cheap basics, essentials or savers type range.  The cheap cheese is really not at all bad.  If we are in the money, we might have one really good cheese which lifts all the rest.  I have a yen for the lovely, stinky Epoisse but that really is for special occasions.


Word of the Day – Ubiquitous

Ubiquitous – adjective meaning: Present, appearing, or found everywhere: “his ubiquitous influence”.

Of donor cards… A rant @BBCr4today

As the recipient of foreign offal, I feel moved to respond to this morning’s Today programme.  I tossed a quick tweet into the ether this morning but 140 characters just doesn’t cover it.

I mean no disrespect to my unknown donor re: the offal description.  In fact, I will be profoundly grateful for the rest of my life.  I find sick humour helps when discussing things that still make me feel slightly squeamish.

When my kidneys failed, I lost my job, my flat and even my ability to concentrate & remember fully.  At the age of 44, I had to go home to live with my parents.  But by far the worst was the dialysis.

I expected the dialysis to be unpleasant but I wasn’t prepared for how bad it was going to be.  I took the graveyard shift, thinking that it would allow me to find some work during the day. There are 3 sessions a day: morning, afternoon & evening. You have to go 3 times a week and each session can take 3-5 hours.  Even when my dialysis sessions were event-free, which was not often, I got home between 12 midnight & one o’clock in the morning and was exhausted for most of the next day.  When the blood did not run smooth, I could be poleaxed for 3 or 4.  Don’t think it keeps you going as well as a real kidney either.  The truth is that each day without a working kidney, the closer to death you edge.

I was very, very lucky. I have my life back and I only had to wait 2 months from the start of dialysis. The average waiting time is currently about 3 years. I am also quite old so hopefully this kidney will see me out.  Some people may need 3 or 4 in their lifetime.  I am not prone to emotion but the thought of those brave people (10,000+) still waiting does make my eyes damp & bring a large lump to my throat.

There are approximately 15,000 accidental deaths a year which might have suitable organs, yet only about 3,000 transplants take place.

So imagine my rage this morning when I wake up to the suggestion that people on the transplant lists should be penalized for not carrying a donor card because the government is too lily-livered to adopt ‘Opt out’ rather than ‘Opt in’.

The answer is definitely not to punish the sick and dying  for not carrying a piece of paper while they thought death didn’t apply to them, or to force the bereaved have to make this decision when they are at their lowest ebb.

We, the people, need to register, tell our next of kin and our government need to legislate.

There endeth my rant.

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