Saturday, 21 July 2007

8 Random Facts - a Double Whammied Meme

Thanks to Goldfish and Cusp for tagging me to talk all about myself, again. Last time it was only 5 Random Things about me .. I have no problem finding another 8 .. but following the rules is a bit tricky. Memes, I think, are about expanding the blogging universe but, as I said to Cusp only the other day, sometimes I only have enough rocket fuel to keep going round in circles. And very nice circles they are too ... anyway enough chat, here are THE RULES OF THE MEME:

1 Let others know who tagged you ~ Tick
2 Players start with 8 Random Facts about themselves ~ Tick
3 Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 Random Facts ~ see below
4 Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged ~ see below

Years ago during psychodynamic training, I went through a brief period when I was precognitive about things that would happen to me, once I had de-coded the dreams' specifics.
Jung was essential to get me through it.
I was never actually spooked by it, but was relieved to be back in a more random ordinary scheme of things when it came to an end.

Carl Gustav Jung

Through marriage (dissolved) there is an ancestor who was an early coloniser in North America.
The colony was not a success at the time, the settlers faring little better than the silk worms, and little remains today other than a small memorial there and a bigger one in his home town. However, the gentleman in question was generally thought of as the best of an arguably bad bunch and he did not knowingly oversell the scheme to potential Swiss and English settlers.

My paternal great grandfather was Coxswain of the Hartlepool lifeboat and was awarded the Silver Medal for bravery following a rescue in 1907.

This picture of the Hartlepool Lifeboat crew 1924 is from

I mentioned this Devil's Toe Nail in a previous blog.
Goldfish's Whitby Jet inspired this:
I have a collection of stones found over the last fifty three years: a sling shot (used against Vespasian's invasion AD.53) and geodes (which are the same thing) and what I like to think is a stone age scraper (to turn animal skins into rugs and things) small and black, with one sharp flint like edge and its shape worn smooth with indents that fit the index finger and opposable thumb perfectly; a green stone banded with white marble from Rethymnon beach to keep a piece of Crete with me, and a small piece of natural green glass from a meteorite strike which caused fusion with natural silica. Space Glass !

I really really NEED to have open space around me, ever since I can remember. The times I have felt most restricted were when living in urban surroundings. Even when a child living in a small terrace house I could go up into the attic and climb up to look through the small window over surrounding roofs to fields beyond. When my family moved to a street on the summit of a hill there was nothing beyond, just a vast worked-out sand quarry that was devoid of machinery, the home of hundreds of sand martins and open to all, but seemed to belong to me a school friend Dennis and his Jack Russell terrier Tess. This lovely painting can be found at

I once dined with a Lord Mayor of London (along with a hundred or so other diners), in a beautiful ballroom with a string chamber orchestra in the gallery, surrounded by the Lely portraits of King Charles and the Royal Family.

I was far more impressed by the paintings than by His Worship.

I think I may have been a monk (not a nun) in a scriptorium in a former life. Soon after a performance of Murder in the Cathedral (in which I had sung tenor in the monks' quire, chanting Latin in the vestry of the church where it was staged), I visited Winchester Cathedral and, finding myself in the scriptorium, verified this for myself. Or dreamed it.

The Pilgrims' Steps, Winchester Cathedral.

I like wood. My book shelves, bed, internal doors, coffee table, book stand, occasional (reclaimed) chairs, are all natural, solid not laminate, unadorned un-painted real waxed wood.

In my sitting room is a large chunk of curlicued oak, which in my fancy assumes the form of a winged sea dragon rising up amongst crashing waves, but in reality was reclaimed from an ancient oak tree being felled in the grounds of Bradgate Park Leicestershire

Bradgate Hall is now a ruin in Bradgate Park. It was the childhood home of Lady Jane Grey (1537-1554).

She was the daughter of the Marquess of Dorset, who through the machinations of others, at just 16 was Queen for nine days, before being beheaded.

From the website :
In Leicestershire the Topless Oaks in Bradgate Park were said to have been pollarded as a sign of mourning following the beheading in 1554 of Lady Jane Grey.


This is entirely optional, and open to evolving, so if you have not already been tagged on this lovely Meme, and have visited, lurked, or commented on my blog, I would be delighted if you would tag yourself for this Meme, and comment below that you are doing so, so we can visit you and read 8 Random Facts about You.


Wonderously over at Andrea's blog the original Meme of 8 Random Facts evolved into recipes so I am following this second route of the Meme.

Preparation of this receipt may take all day, or a much shorter time if you don't need the rests and lie downs. All quantities may be doubled without increasing the cooking time. You will need a large lidded saute pan, or a lidded stock pot if you are doubling the quantities and your family/friends/freezer can accommodate it. Minor details familiar to regular cooks are included for the times when physical fatigue results in brain fatigue.

SHOPPING: One or two days beforehand. For 6 portions.
1. 500 grams lean minced beef
2. 1 onion
3. 3 large carrots
4. 3 large sticks of celery
5. 3 cloves of garlic, or 2 cloves if it is fresh garlic dug by someone else
6. 200 ml (7 fl oz) beef stock in a tub prepared by someone else
7. 200 grams closed cup mushrooms
8. 1 large aubergine (eggplant)
9. 400 gram tin of plum tomatoes in own juice
10. tube of tomato puree
11. 3 bay leaves dried, or fresh from your own tree (envy)
12. 2 tablespoons dried mixed herbs, such as sage, thyme, parsley, rosemary.
13. 1 tablespoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire (wuster) sauce, a brewed condiment including tamarind and anchovies, which you cannot distinguish in the wuster browness, but is very interesting to read when you need to sit down and have a rest.

Choose a day when you can spend all day doing it, in between rests. Suitable times when you can safely leave the preparation in order to rest are indicated. Otherwise preparation time is about twenty minutes and cooking time two hours. For double quantities, cooling time (for the pot) half an hour off the heat, rest, and ten minutes to ladle into freezable containers, where they can stay cooling while you rest, before storing them.

1. The pot as above, and the usual things, such as: chopping board, colander, knives, measuring spoons, wooden stirring spoon, ladle, plates, cling film, bowls, recycling bucket for the vegetable waste.
2. Also, if you need it, a Perching Stool by the stove, from social services equipment store, if you are still waiting for the indoor wheelchair.
3. An office type upholstered chair with arms and wheels, so you can zoom between the preparation table and the sink, if you are still waiting for the indoor wheelchair.
4. For longer rests, a reclining chair, and the bed for longer lie downs.

PREPARATION: This is written in great detail on a good day, as a reminder for me on how to do it, for those brain be-fogged days when I am stumped.

1. An hour or so before you begin, take the meat out of the fridge, so that the coldness of the pack doesn't hurt your hands when you next handle it. Get out the vegetable waste bucket and put it next to preparation area. Put all the ingredients together within reach. Rest. When you are ready ...
2. Chop the onion finely, put half on a small plate, cover with clingfilm, discard the other half, or freeze it if you must.
3. With a knife, prise out three cloves from the garlic bulb, trim off the dry outer layers, finely chop the cloves, add to the onion plate, recover with clingfilm. Rest.
4. Peel, top and tail, and chop the carrot into large chunks, put on a large plate, cover.
5. Wash, top and tail the celery, slice lengthwise then chop into large chucks, add to plate. Rest.
6. Wash or wipe the mushrooms, chop coarsely. Put on another plate and cover.
7. Wipe the aubergine, slice in half lengthways, coarsely chop, add to plate and cover. Rest.
8. Open the tin of tomatoes put into a bowl and cut up the whole plum tomatoes, cover. Wash out the tin, remove the soggy paper label, correction, remove the label, wash the tin, crush and recycle.
9. Take the tomato puree tube out of the package, recycle package.
10. Rest, long or short.

1. Heat the pot, put the meat in, break up the block, season with salt and pepper and brown all over. Transfer meat and juices to a plate.
2. Open the tub of beef stock.
3. To the pot add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery together with a little of the stock, heat gently for 5 minutes to soften, stirring. You may choose to rest now, as the next stage needs attention from No. 4 through to No. 9. If you aim to rest at this stage, turn off heat, remove pot from heat, leave with lid on. Just for a short rest... then,
4. Add the meat and juices to the pot, stir.
5. Add the mushrooms, aubergine, tomatoes and 2 tablespoons tomato puree, stir.
6. Add the bay leaves, 2 teaspoons mixed herbs, 1 tablespoon Wuster sauce, stir. Don't bother to use energy to wipe up spills at this stage. Don't rest yet.
7. Add the rest of the beef stock and stir. The liquid should just cover the ingredients, not so that they are floating around. If more liquid is required, use hot water with a little tomato puree. Put on the lid.
8. Turn up the heat and bring to boil, stirring occasionally, then turn down to a very gentle heat to simmer with lid on. Leave to cook for one hour. You will be able to rest soon.
9. It is worth wiping up spills now, if no-one else is around to do it.
10. Set the kitchen timer for one hour. Rest. If bed rest is required, also set the bed side alarm clock for 55 minutes (or shorter, depending on the time taken to get to your bed). Relax.
11. After the first hour cooking, stir the pot and check nothing sticking to the bottom of the pan. The liquid should be reducing and thickening.
12. Set the timer for the next hour, and rest, as above.
13. After the full cooking time, remove pot from heat and leave to cool. Someone will have to do the clearing up now. Hopefully not you.
14. If you can't face doing anything else except eat it, leave the rest in the fridge for up to two days. Serve with either tagliatelle, baked potatoes or mash, or your low carb alternative, and green vegetables.
15. If double quantities, ladle into freezable containers, leave until cold, then freeze.
16. Tell yourself: Well Done !

Thanks Andrea for the mutated Meme.

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Blogger andrea said...

Sally said over at Andrea's Buzzing About:
"I have added a tired person’s receipt for Beef Ragu onto the end of my 8RT meme tagged by Goldfish."

Perchance you got interrupted? Else the recipe is invisible. Invisible ragú, hah! Sounds like something Harry Potter would eat.

Saturday, 21 July 2007 at 15:12:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Oh Andrea, interrupted isn't the word. I spent nearly an hour typing it out as a postscript to this, then in a tired moment pressed some key or other with my little finger and took myself off to another part of my computer system, and when I found my way back, the receipt had disappeared.
So I went and had a sleep !
I will try again.

Saturday, 21 July 2007 at 18:05:00 BST  
Blogger andrea said...

Wow, thanks so much for redacting all that, Sally! As chance would have it, I've all but the mushrooms (which I don't eat), so I think I shall prep the goodies and throw the lot into the crock pot [slow cooker].

I remember the summer when my doctor was treating me for Mono + Lyme, and had to also break everything down into wee steps, even napping after taking a shower. Therefore I've a small inkling of how much goodwill and effort were required to type all that out, especially all over again. So really, thank you so much.

Sunday, 22 July 2007 at 16:32:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

What a lovely thought, you cooking the ragu this evening ! Hands across the ocean. So glad.

Having a sleep after a shower - that really sorts out the knackered from the tired ! I do so 2/3 days per week.

This was also an exercise in how to break down otherwise impossible tasks, and to say, its ok to do it, lots of us do, for those readers who are relatively new to this tired world.

Mono + Lyme - that's just not fair !

Sunday, 22 July 2007 at 20:38:00 BST  

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