Category Archives: Food

I am not a number…..

I am a free man

Yesterday I tried to come up with a bucket and to-do list that had 7 important things on it, and I got stuck after 6, which you will see if you look back at that post.  I shouldn’t have been surprised, the number six is in my destiny right now.

~

Kipling thought that six was important too;

I keep six honest serving men, (They taught me all I knew);

Their names are What and Why, and When

And How and Where and Who

If you can remember those, then you will never go far wrong when it comes to making any decision, writing anything, or making a success of anything you wish to do.

~

There are also 6 healing powers.  The six best doctors are;

Sun, Rest, Exercise, Good Food, Self-Respect, and Friends

But, when it comes to good food, don’t eat too much of it.  Keep well hydrated, and stay away from the booze.

~

In fact there are 6 things one should really stay away from;

Alcohol, Casual Sex, Drugs, Over-Eating, Smoking, and Refined Sugar

All of those will kill you eventually, some will just kill you faster than others.

~

The number 6 is also a perfect number, congruent number, harmonic divisor number, and has lots to do with weird stuff like Zsigmondy’s Theorem, sphere packing, the kissing number problem, and Graeco-Latin squares.

~

Some say we should not worry about material items, including money.  And that worry lowers the effectiveness of your thoughts, dreams, wishes, and prayers.  All I know is that the Angel Number 6 means that our prayers will be answered, although the answer might be ‘no’.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

we each have our own Angel and Goddess

When You Know You’re Ill But Don’t Know Why

today is ideal for those who wish to make it so

to see a fine sunrise would make my day

I know I’m poorly, but I don’t really know why.  Here in England we can only have an on-line of telephone doctor’s appointment, but we have a National Health Service help line, and they play it safe, call them and the chances are they will say you most likely have the coronavirus….. there is no chance of being tested for COVID-19 unless you are a ‘key worker’.

They have told me that I need to self-isolate for another week, which is fine because just going down the 56 steps to the street door is difficult.  Climbing back up again needs to be done in stages because I’m so breathless.

The symptoms I have make no sense, neither do the antibiotics I’ve been given ~ a placebo perhaps.  I believe that the vitamin supplements are doing me more good; A, B, C, D, E, magnesium and zinc, iron, and cod liver oil.  Being isolated and alone is most likely what is wrong with me.  Solitary confinement is a cruel and unusual punishment, and I’ve had about 53 days of that.

I really, really, desperately want to be fit and well again.

Some say that illness is all in the mind.  And that you are just as healthy as you want to be.  All I know is that I’ve had some very bad days since my birthday on March 23rd.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

at least I have a friend to keep me company

Things To Do During Lockdown

the devil finds work for idle hands

If you are unlucky enough to find yourself in lockdown / quarantine / self-isolation, then you will know just how boring, enervating, and soul-destroying the long, long days can be.  Unless you are so ill that all you want to do is sleep, you will probably be tempted to do three things; drink too much, eat too much junk food, watch too much mindless TV.  If you are so inclined you may also be tempted to smoke too many cigarettes, and over-indulge in your other drugs of choice.

None of the above activities are such a good idea.  May I make some alternative suggestions;

  1. Make a plan.  With your partner, friend, long-distance friend(s) make a plan for how you are going to survive and thrive during this present coronavirus crisis.  Make a plan for what you are going to do after lockdown is over.  Make a plan for what you are going to do with the rest of this year / next year / next 3 years.  Me, as soon as air travel is allowed I’m flying to the USA to visit a friend, and we are going to take a long road trip.
  2. If you are well enough take yourself for a walk in the fresh air and sunshine.  Just stay at least 6 feet away from any other people you may meet.  Take your dog if you have one.
  3. Exercise at home.  There are hundreds of exercise sites on the internet.  If you’re not feeling so good then try learning yoga, which is an excellent form of exercise.  If you’re not well enough for that then look for exercises you can do sitting down.
  4. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, get out there and get your hands dirty.
  5. If you aren’t well enough for that, then sit on your balcony, in your garden, outside your apartment.  Take no notice of any officious neighbours, and assume that the police are too busy to be jerks on your behalf.
  6. If your mind is working well enough, then read something challenging, preferably while you are sitting out of doors.
  7. Even if you don’t feel much like eating, then just make yourself cook something you will eat.  Use whatever ingredients you have in the larder, refrigerator, freezer.  Or find a recipe and go to the store, and that will also get you out of your place.  (or order on-line, or get a friend to go to the store for you)
  8. If you’ve been very unwell then you probably look like hell.  Get yourself clean and tidy, put on some cool clothes, and launder all the dirty stuff.  Change your bedding and launder that too.
  9. If you’re anything like me, not doing anything much for 10 days or so, then your place is most likely a hell of a mess.  Clean it all, including your kitchen and bathroom ~ and I mean really clean it.  Me, I did the garret in half-hour stints, because after a half hour I had to sit down and rest a while.
  10. Work on your relationships.  If you live with a partner, then give them some TLC.  If you live with your kids then find some fun things for them to do with you.  Repair any damage you may have done when you were depressed, angry, and insane.
  11. If, like me, you have long-distance relationships, then use the internet and telephone.  Or even write your to your friend(s) in an old-fashioned pen and ink letter or card.
  12. Learn something new.  There are innumerable on-line courses.  A friend of mine is studying Late Medieval Devotional Art through a free Harvard course.  Me?  I’ve reading all about how to survive the end of the world….

The thing is you can be utterly depressed and miserable during this period of enforced self-isolation.  Or, you can make the most of this time so that you emerge from lockdown a better, fitter, healthier, more grounded person than you were in March this year.  I know which one I’ve chosen.  I’ve tried the insane misery route, trust me, it doesn’t work.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

all of the above applies if you’re working from home

Food on Good Friday ~ 2020

this Good Friday share all the bread, wine, and love you have

Back when I was a boy, Good Friday always meant eating fish ~ and for many in England it would mean going down to the local ‘chip shop’ for cod, chips, and mushy peas.  And if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about then you’ve missed out on one of the great meals.

In reality, if you’re a Christian, then Good Friday means not eating meat.  After all we are still in Lent.  So, this week I’ll be concentrating on fish and vegetarian dishes.

If you are a Christian, you will not be able to go to church today, and whatever your religion you will most likely be banned from attending your place of worship.  Personally, I will be going down to the sea to pray for all of us.

First up this week, from the Minimalist Baker, how about this 1-pot curried chickpea soup.  You can’t get much easier than this, and if you’ve been feeling unwell the garlic and ginger in this dish should do you the world of good.  This is both vegetarian and gluten-free.  Gluten is bad for us.

One Pot Curried Chickpea Soup

To go along with that curried chickpea soup, what about the rosemary focaccia bread from Ali at Gimme Some Oven?  I love the flavour of fresh rosemary.

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

From one of my favourite cooks; Chungah at Damn Delicious let me show you this sheet pan Easter dinner.  Now you probably wouldn’t eat this today, but I know a lot of people will be having family over for Easter Sunday lunch / dinner.  If you don’t like the pineapple ham, then try garlic butter chicken instead.  I love sheet pan cooking, it’s so damn easy.

Sheet Pan Easter Dinner

If you are having people over for lunch or Easter drinks, then what about these Easter deviled eggs as an appetiser.  This very easy and colourful recipe is from In Dianes Kitchen.

Easter Deviled Eggs

Heather Christo has a fabulous little collection called Easter brunch decadence.  I really like the look of her strawberry rhubarb scones.

Strawberry Rhubarb Scones

Our final collection today is from Cookie + kate; 50+ spring brunch recipes.  All of these are vegetarian.  I have chosen to feature the roasted cauliflower and faro salad with feta and avocado from this great collection of easy Easter recipes.

Roasted Cauliflower and Faro Salad with Feta and Avocado

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

unlike most of us Marmaduke can get away for the Easter holiday break

Go Shopping? Stand In Line

we may ask you to wait outside the store

This morning I decided to break the coronavirus lockdown, and take a stroll via the post office and one of the local supermarkets.

The post office wasn’t much of a problem, but the supermarket was another matter.  The queue outside the store, of people waiting to get in, stretched 450 yards around the parking lot.  I know it was 450 yards because there were helpful markings painted six feet apart on the tarmac, (blacktop).

Conveniently for my sense of rightness it took me exactly 45 minutes to get into the store.  You know what, if I didn’t really, really need some fresh fruit and vegetables I would have just given up and gone home.  But, it’s also Easter Weekend so all the stores are closed tomorrow, Sunday, and Monday, so if I didn’t get some fresh food today I’d be eating out of cans all over the holiday.

Inside the store was empty, so WTF was making everyone stand in line outside all about?  I’m beginning to think that the government, health officials, doctors, police, and big business are making life as difficult as possible for the ordinary man and woman in the street ~ just to prove that they can.

One can’t even go to the pub to complain and drown one’s sorrows, because all the pubs and bars are shut.

Cynicism is beginning in me.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

I have a new plan;

Fuck It

It seems that I am still very unwell

the infinite elation, pain, and terror of a psychological illness

friendless and nowhere to go but here

About a month ago I was in hospital, and so ill that the nurse said that I looked like a bad advertisement for death.  I had lots of scans, tests, and examinations, some treatment, and after a few days I was discharged, supposedly fit and healthy.  I believed I was cured of my ills ~ I don’t believe that anymore.  I think I’m still very unwell.

Whatever ails me does not seem like a physical illness ~ I’m still meeting my 10,000 steps a day meditative walking target, I’m not sitting in the armchair all day, too knackered to do anything but watch TV, I haven’t taken myself to bed, and I’m not on any medication at all.  I don’t think my body is sick, I think it’s my mind.

(I take some of that back, when I comes right down to it I’m physically not that strong.)

I have a very strange set of unmatched symptoms.  To begin with there is the red V shaped mark on my forehead.  It’s prominent, angry looking, and if you met me it’d be the very first thing you noticed.  I’ve had that red V shape appear on my forehead ever since I was a young boy, and it has always been a certain sign that I was pretty poorly.

It’s like having the mark of Cain, and it tells me that in one way or another I’m fucked.

The headache I’ve got now I’ve had for three or four days.  Everything I eat tastes like cardboard, (apart from chocolate).  And I’m dropping things; keys, books, a full mug of coffee, (that makes a hell of a mess), and this morning while I was doing the laundry I dropped the electric iron.  That thing was plugged-in and hot, but I didn’t want it hitting the tiled floor in my kitchen pointy end first, so I caught it before it hit the tiles.  How the fuck I had the presence of mind to catch the iron by its power-chord I have no idea, but I did and I didn’t get burned.

Oh, and another thing, I am saying and writing the F word a lot, (and a few other choice cuss words), and that is just not the polite English Gentleman I am usually.

Generally I feel like a young boy who has been sent to see the school headmaster for a dressing-down and some corporal punishment, and that young boy hasn’t a clue what he’s done wrong, or why he’s being punished.

You know what?  I think I haven’t been so well lately.

Some say that the sick never truly lose the chaos within.  And that a sick thought can devour your being more thoroughly than a fever.  All I know is the bravest thing I ever did was continue to live when I wanted to die.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

feeling like that lost little boy today

 

Food on Valentine’s Friday

if music be the food of love, play on…..

At St. Valentine’s Day a young man’s mind turns to love and romance, and having been a young man once I can vouch for that.  For all I know a woman’s mind turns to love and romance, and probably food too.

But what to do?  Perhaps the young man want’s to take his best girl out for a special meal, in which case find the best restaurant within a reasonable distance of her place, even if you can’t quite afford it…..  If the restaurant is in or near a good hotel, and if you think she would like it, then book a room, have champagne sent up.

Or, you could cook something special for the object of your affections.  Here are some recipes that might go down well on this Valentine’s weekend.

First for this Valentine’s Day we have a steak.  Cooking a great steak is fairly easy if you know how, and Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has a fabulous recipe for smoked ancho chile salted steaks with drunken burst sweet cherries + burrata.  If your paramour likes a big red with their steak, then maybe find a bottle of Barolo.

Smoked Ancho Chile Salted Steak

From Joy the Baker there’s a fabulous recipe for shrimp étouffée risotto.  Joy suggests that you cook this dish together ~ whatever floats your boat.  (An étouffée is a spicy Cajun stew made with vegetables and seafood.)

Shrimp Étouffée Risotto

If you want to risk pasta, what with your date dressed up to the nines and all, then we have 15 romantically simple pasta dinners that scream ‘That’s Amore!’  This from Brit+Cco.  This is a very risky dish of linguini with clams, but it’s so easy and so impressive.

Linguini with Clams

Should your love be vegetarian, vegan, of just into eating a lot of plant-based food right now, then Heather Christo has a collection of 100 plant-based recipes.  To save you the bother of looking through this list I’ve found you this beet quinoa salad with pomegranate, mint, and pistachio.  This dish can serve as a starter, entree or a side, and you can make it ahead of the evening and keep it in the refrigerator.

Beet Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate, Mint, and Pistachio

Our idea for a romantic dessert comes from In Diane’s Kitchen; this delicious looking strawberry pie.  Diane says this is the easiest strawberry pie she has ever made, and face it, you don’t want to be spending all evening in the kitchen.

Strawberry Pie

Our final collection for this Valentine’s day comes from Country Living; 65 Best Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas for the Most Romantic Date Night.  I particularly like this Engagement Chicken Pasta, but maybe don’t tell her what it’s called unless you have the ring.

Engagement Chicken Pasta

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

if you are eating Italian, ask if the restaurant has a demi-frizzanti Franciacorta.  That will impress.

Stress #7 ~ Anxiety and Depression

if you’re going through hell, keep going

Severe anxiety and depression will blight your life, make you incapable of doing even the simplest things, alter your personality for the worse, give you panic attacks, headaches, breathing problems, digestive problems, heart problems, extreme fatigue, and fill you with a foreboding of doom.  Oh, and most likely your blood pressure will go through the roof.

Go to see your doctor and most likely they will tell you that you are suffering from a mild to moderate state of anxiety and depression, and medicate you with something like Xanax or Prozac, amd maybe Zyprexa.  All of these drugs directly affect the chemistry in your brain ~ when you take them you are not you.  All of these drugs have serious side effects, up to and including making you want to commit suicide.  Unless body, mind, and spirit are all nurtured, full recovery can never take place.  Taking an antidepressant / anti-anxiety drug is just painting over the problem, you need to find the proximate cause of your severe mental illness and find a way of dealing with it.

The potential causes of your anxiety and depression are many and mostly a part of what should be a normal life ~ but even normality can be taken to extremes.  You will probably have recently experienced, or still be suffering, one or more of these shattering events; death of a loved one, or someone you felt you should have loved, a failed relationship, a toxic and dysfunctional relationship, separation, leaving home, divorce, physical illness, a very shitty job, loss of your job, poverty, bullying, fear, taking care of the sick and elderly, worry about getting old and your looks, lack of good sex, spiritual issues…..  and you are most likely addicted to booze, medication, or something like pot and cocaine.  Also, anything and everything bad in your past means you are suffering from stored pain.

Nobody is even remotely interested in your pain.  Your family and friends will proffer fatuous and useless advice.  You must be willing to take full responsibility for your own physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.  Especially you must stop hurting yourself with booze, too much medication, drugs, cigarettes, bad food, not eating, and not getting enough sunshine, fresh air, and exercise.  If you don’t take care of yourself you will get sicker, you might die.

Most importantly stop trying to please other people all the time.  You cannot ever change other people, you can only distance yourself from them so they stop hurting you.  You must be the real and true you, and not someone that those around you think you should be.

Some say that you cause all your own problems.  And that you just spend all your time feeling sorry for yourself.  All I know is that you will get much better if you stop listening to all those unhelpful toxic people.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

you can get used to almost anything

except death, but by then nothing matters

Food on Friday ~ Healthier Eating

life is not merely being alive, but being well

It still behoves me to search out recipes which will help me to live a healthier life ~ to be fit and well.  And in all honesty, that isn’t hard, there are plenty of very tasty, good-looking, and very healthy recipes out there, including on many of the cookery blogs I have been following for ages.  Not only that, some of the cooks I follow feature mostly very healthy, allergen-free, and gluten-free dishes.

For me, the three main things I need to concentrate on are to eat much leaner meats, eat a lot more fruits and vegetables, and use much less salt.  That shouldn’t be too hard, should it?  Actually, I’m finding the much less salt thing quite difficult.  Oh well, nothing worthwhile is ever that easy.

First this week we have Diane’s recipe for vegetable rice soup ~ and if you ask me this dish is fantastic.  This looks easy, nutritious, and very healthy, perfect for a weekend lunch or a light dinner.

Vegetable Rice Soup

Next, from that specialist in wholesome food, Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest there is this citrus avocado salad with orange tahini vinaigrette.  This is a very simple recipe, but so good looking that I’m prepared to bet good money that it’s delicious.

Citrus Avocado Salad with Orange Tahini Vinaigrette

From Erin Clarke, at Well Plated by Erin we have an easy, healthy, and juicy crockpot Mexican chicken. You can make this with chicken breasts or thighs, depending what’s good in your supermarket today.  Looks great.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

Another chicken dish, this time classic chicken noodle soup from Holly at Spend with Pennies.  Easily made from scratch Holly says it’s cozy, comforting and delicious ~ it looks it.

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

From Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats, how about this smoky butternut kale salad with goat cheese and apricot vinaigrette ~ and it’s not just another boring butternut squash kale salad either.  (except I might be tempted to use Wensleydale instead of goat cheese)

Smoky Butternut Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Apricot Vinaigrette

Our collection this week is from Good Housekeeping; 16 healthy salmon recipes that are beyond tasty.  These are all fabulous dinner recipes, and not just midweek either.  From the list I’ve chosen to feature this very easy roasted salmon and beets with herb vinaigrette.  I must try this recipe this weekend.

Roasted Salmon and Beets with Herb Vinaigrette

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

poor Marmaduke only has healthy eggs for his dinner tonight

Food on Friday ~ Home Grown

growing your own food is like printing your own money

Some say they can’t grow their own vegetables because they just don’t have the space.  And that all that bending and kneeling isn’t good for them.  All I know is that if you get yourself a planter, or three, you can keep yourself in organic vegetables for 8 months out of every year.

Buying a planter can be quite expensive, but if you’re handy at all you can build your own.  And if you’re no good at DIY, then find a man who can.  (I made that planter above)

And if your space is really very limited, then just add some ingenuity.

Growing your own fruits and vegetables seems daunting to many people, but it’s actually very easy.  All you need is a few square feet of good dirt, water, and a little time.  Among the benefits you’ll see are;

  • improving your health (and your family’s)
  • saving money on groceries (your planter should last decades)
  • enjoy better tasting food
  • know exactly what you’re eating and where it came from
  • stop worry about food safety
  • have a sense of achievement
  • get some outdoor exercise
  • reduce your impact on the environment and food waste

If you have no idea where to start there are innumerable websites that will give you advice, hints, and tips; garden organic, good housekeeping, david domoney, to name but three.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

try it, and I guarantee you will like growing your own

 

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