Lets talk ‘ice cubes…!’

Excerpt from “Downsize your home and regain your freedom’
Amazon and Kindle

We know ice cubes has nothing to do with ‘Downsizing your home’ …etc etc and the chances you will live/be/eat/drink and sleep alone but lets digress at bit…lets indulgunce for a while.

The most underated, dull, ordinary, standered food item has been the humble ice cube. They have been ignored to the point of gross neglect, and its a shame.

Store away these thoughts and ideas for when you’ Upsize’ back into the mansion, get a job in catering, have nothing else better to do or want to deliver someting unique. You and the guests will end up talking about ice cubes.

Rule 1; Ice cubes dont have to be made out of water.

Water may have been cheap but, apart from fillling up buckets, a few selective individual cubes delicatly placed in lovely glasses can liven up a regular drink.

Rule 2; Ice cubes can go in first and the drink poured over them. Its not a life jacket and does not have to be thrown in as a last resort to bounce then disappear.

Colour your ice cubes. Use the tear off flat pack ice cube bags which are so cheap at the supermarkets (Morrisons £1 bag)

Obviously use natural juices, carrot, cucumber, beetroot, fruits which can be mixed with water to get the right colour and thickness.

If using ice trays, its very easy to layer a couple of colours, but make sure the first layer is very solid first.

For ice trays pop in a pea, rasberry, mint leaf, pommegranite sead, cucumber slice, coffee bean, mini olive, choc drop, nut, or berry. It doesnt matter if they cant drink it and end up fishing it out with their fingers…it will amuse their tiny minds whilst fishing it out:)

If time is a problem buy some ready made fruit juices and use those. Yes it will add flavour but mostly just a sugary taste which is not waht you want.  Drinks loaded with pure ice, just loose the flavour of the drink first.

Tomatoe juice red ice cubes placed into a gazapacho soup adds nice touch. Add Lea and Perins, celery salt etc into the cube and add to Bloody Marys.

Freeze  bags of local cheap grapes when they are cheap and in season and throw the lots into a jar of white wine or sangria.

Freeze lemon/orange/lime rinds and mash them up under a cloth and sprinkle of everything. or drop whole pieaces into pitchers of Sangria.

Ice cubes of rose, orange and geranium waters go well over fruit salads and bowls of melon ot strawberries.

Freeze a shalow bowl of liquid, put a net/foil/papaer over the top and drop down mint sprigs so the stem freezes into the liquid like a mini garden. Use a a central table decoration.

Freeze squares of icream, add some liquer and pop into hot black coffees.  A few squares of sorbet look good over ice creams drizzled with sauces.

Last of all, freeze the left over wines and throw them into the cooking.

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“Medium, rare or burnt to crisp?”

Excerpt from “Downsize your home and regain your freedom’
Amazon and Kindle

To BBQ, or not to BBQ that is the question?

Men like it because its pagan, and a justifiable mess.

Women like it because they don’t have to cook, and ‘he’s’ busy.

It tastes delicious and is a great evening outdoors.

Originally a few flames licked at our food brought us into a world of tastes and smells our ancestors didn’t know existed and couldn’t have dreamt of. Something obviously fell into the fire a couple of million years ago we get ‘a roast’! Wonderful.

Buy a BBQ if you have the outside space. The cheaper ones get used, the more expensive ones get admired.

Never ask your neighbours if they mind, as they will say ‘no’, unless they are invited over to eat.

Start early as no one can see meat in the dark, and avoid eating it raw or  drunk.

Remove all children away from flames with tongs.

Dress accordingly, and eat before the guests arrive so you don’t serve raw meat. Starving people serve underdone food.

Invite friends that help carrying and cleaning up.

Most man can’t resist taking over the BBQ until it either heats up or goes out. Its great therapy for them.

Most flats do not allow BBQ’s in the lease  light up, don’t be a nuisance, dance widely, play loud music or light fireworks. Just eat and keep quiet and you might get ‘smelt’ but not get noticed.

A cheap BBQ set  from Argos it will reduce the risk of it getting stolen, buy it in the winter or on sale and don’t expect hit last.  Even gardeners and thieves aren’t fussed about the £9.99 kit from Argos so it will rot before its stolen.

Get BBQ tools from the Pound Shop,  or a cheap market  and expect to loose the lot. You won’t.  Only expensive BBQ implements go missing.

Think outdoors foods; Corns, salads, coleslaws, jacket potatoes, shrimps, fish….cook the lot and you can eat for three days.

Stock up on aluminium foil from The Pound Shop and start wrapping.

Put everything in large coloured plastic washing up bowls (the ones our Chinese cousins are making for us). All the sauces, all the salads, all the corns, knives and forks the lot.

Fish from the markets is the most affordable but get to know the stall holders to get the best deals.

Marinate the meats. Marinate, marinate, season and flavour all day or over night. Its easy in small fridges. Make kebabs, ribs, all cheap cuts and pretend its a holiday so have fun.

Buy cheap paper plates and cups and big black plastic bags for the rubbish.

Blame a child as the excuse for using plastic. Borrow a child if you need to.

CONS:

everyone eats and drinks before you do. Its very rude but they do.

food gets left on the grass for animals

knives and forks get lost

steaks are not cheap

ashes will burn holes

neighbours get angry

PROS:

everyone eats with out asking stupid gastronomic questions/requests

food can get thrown into the trees

plates/cups/foil gets thrown away or burnt

you can use cheaper cuts

lovely fire to sit around

smoking out an irritating neighbour.

I found the hardest thing about a BBQ is making sure your guests do actually arrive, stay sober and don’t touch the flames.