Daily lockdown diary? I am a complete failure!
Last post: 31st October
Today: 18th November
Where on earth does the time go to? You would think that in confinement there would be ample time in which to dash off a few daily blog notes, wouldn’t you?
I cannot decide whether or not to insert a daily note with the best that I can recall, or to write a Summary post. I will probably do a quick and dirty summary as I have just realised that my memory is like Swiss cheese (read on).
For now, I plan to discuss food. I was saying, if you recall, that we have renewed our Date Night activities because that really helped me to get through Lockdown v1.0.
Date Night 1 : An Alsacienne vibe – we had Palette à la Diable with Sweetcorn and Spätzles, and Caramelised Oranges with Crème Anglaise
Date Night 2 had escaped my memory and I have been wracking my brains to recall what we ate. Was I really that drunk that I have no memory at all? and why are there no photos? Well, I asked the Crooked Man and he reminded me that Date Night 2 was cancelled. The Crooked Man was very stressed about his tax return. He worked all day until quite late on it and we decided to just have one good course and not dress up etc. We had Duck Confit and Truffade, a bottle of good red wine – and it was delicious and great comfort food, much needed at that point.
That’s helped to remind me of what I need to put in the Summary post.
For Date Night 3, I fancied a little less work. I had been reading Lidl’s festive publicity and thought that perhaps a ready-made meal might be just the ticket. I dispatched the Crooked Man with a shopping list.
A side note on Lidl: I confess to being schizophrenic regarding Lidl. We don’t visit often these days. Back in Orkney, when we had few pennies to rub together, we would get as much as we could from Lidl in order to save money and then we would walk round to Tesco to top up on things that couldn’t be had next door or that I deemed unsuitable for purchase there. Mainly I am talking about fresh produce – I find a great deal to be desired in Lidl’s Fruit and Veg section and much of their meat, fish and cheese is substandard (at least in the UK). It didn’t take us long to work out that all the naughty stuff was ludicrously cheap and that we could have all the treats that we couldn’t otherwise afford – and that some of those products were actually remarkably good!
Now, I have no idea if it’s true in the UK and that Lidl times have actually changed, or whether it’s a location thing, but the Lidl shops on this side of La Manche offer some very interesting and good quality items. The Fruit and Veg remain suspect, which is why I don’t use them for my weekly shop. We pop in when we fancy it. Our Lidl shopping still tends to be indulgence-based but has moved beyond the simple sweets and nibbles phase. Importantly, the prestige ranges tend to be good rather than somewhat disappointing, which was the case in the UK.
The Christmas magazine was jam-packed with “ooh, that looks good” items. We decided to select a meal that would allow me some feet-up time.
Then I saw that the ordinary weekly leaflet had an interesting “recipe” that we both fancied. Not much real cooking involved as it was “take a pack of this ready made pasta and dress it up“. My Date Night had evolved from having no work into having some work. Ah, well.
Stick with me, I do have a point to this ramble.
Firstly, the meal:
Amuse Bouche: Verrine of Beetroot and Cucumber Gazpacho Thai-dressed Prawns with Avocado (all my own work) Cep-filled Pappardelle (purchased) with shallots, chestnuts, white wine, crispy Prosciutto, and cheese (all added by me) Served with rocket Cheeseboard: Beaufort, Fol Epi, Gouda with Red Pesto Ready-made dessert of “Norwegian Omelet”) aka Baked Alaska. No fruit, vanilla ice cream, sponge soaked in rum. Actually rather good!
Now, about those verrines. They are for me the Product of the Year and I cannot recommend them sufficiently. I don’t know if they are available in the UK but if you happen to be in France, I’d say go for it. We both ate two as the first was so very good.
I will certainly buy them again if we are fortunate enough to see them.
The Gazpacho tastes dominantly of Cucumber rather than Beetroot and has a hint of mint. I took a photo of the ingredients as I feel moved to try emulating these in my own kitchen.
I note the inclusion of Raspberry Purée and Red Wine Vinegar with Raspberry. One of my favourite pairings at home is fresh cooked Beetroots in Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar, so no wonder that I enjoyed these.
Last year’s Product of the Year, by the way, was also from Lidl but purchased in Portugal. It was a cream cheese with Truffle and we found ourselves cycling into Vila do Bispo, eight kilometres away from Sagres, on a weekly basis to go and find more. Good as a dip, great on bread or crackers, and fabulous as a quick and easy sauce for steaks or pasta. We haven’t found any so far this year but I keep on looking!
The new Lidl “pub” has arrived with us and I spent a half hour this morning being very excited by the potential of some of the goodies … until I remembered that we are attempting a return to a low carb lifestyle. No Stollen for us. No Pain d’Epice. No chocolates…
We did really well on “Keto” and both lost loads of weight. My health improved and I felt great. The only reason that we failed to stick with it was Lockdown v1.0 and the shopping difficulties that it brought with it – since when we have found it very difficult to knuckle down again. It has been too easy to indulge ourselves whilst away in the van, in a holiday mindset and only too keen to make up for the deprivations earlier in the year. yet, ere we are, in Lockdown v2.0 with the intent of restoring Dietary Discipline. Can it really be done? Yes, I think so. For one thing we both really want to get rid of the wight that we have regained and I particularly wish to rid myself of the joint pain that has returned. The shops appear to be better supplied than last time and the struggle to put healthy meals together should not be as challenging.
The Crooked Man shopped yesterday and was able to find low carb options such as cauliflower and celeriac. He also stocked up on Keto-appropriate Apero snacks such as olives, lower carb nuts, cheese and deli meats.
We’re trying! Even if Lidl publicity is working against me, we are definitely trying.
I’ll just eat this final slice of last week’s Lidl Stollen purchase first. Waste not, want not.