Friday, May 14, 2010

Why I'll never be a millionaire

I've been clearing out; I seem to spend my life clearing out but the amount of junk amassed over our lifetime so far is vast and varied: beds, oil paintings, crystal roses, funny, odd shaped wooden things, books, clothes...lots and lots of name but a few.   Now, I will turn my hand to anything, if it means making a profit.  This is all to avoid getting a proper job, you understand.  I bake, cook, sew, paint, manage, teach, cajole and lecture...a jack of all trades, master of nought.   I will also sell things on ebay or adtrader like Craigslist rather than throw it in the dump as, like many of us, the items we store are in great condition, we just don't need them anymore.

So, an ad goes in to adtrader for a cabin bed; I put it up for next to nothing, hoping to give someone a nice bargain and to have it lifted and out of my conservatory where it has been living for the past month.   I'd like to sit in my conservatory without scrambling on top of furniture so by selling it cheaply, I wouldn't break my neck and everyone would be happy.

I get a phone call from a wee girl who asks if it comes with a mattress; no it doesn't, I reply.   I wouldn't sell a used mattress and the bed is being given away for a few pounds.   She hums and haws on the phone, unsure whether it is worth it.   The dinner burning, I try and hurry along the conversation but she can't make up her mind.   Bleeding Nora.   I'm very courteous and tell her to go away and think about it.   Eight phone calls later does it have shelves...yes, see that picture I put up of it, the one with shelves...does it come, see the part where I said the bed was disassembled....does it have pink flowers on the side....what...?, she still hasn't made up her mind.   Another phone call; could I deliver it to the East End of Glasgow?   She'll throw in another £2.50 if we do and, oh, can we assemble it for her? big is the mattress?   It doesn't have a mattress.   Her response: "Whit??   It doesn't have a MATTRESS??  It's no' a bed then!".   She sais she'll think about it and call back.   Similar conversations take place over the course of two nights with different people.

A young lass calls back; she would like to come pick it up.   We go through a rigmarole, trying to figure out a good time for us both; we agree 6.30pm the following evening.   At 8pm she calls to say they can't make it.   We find it difficult to agree on another time and by this point, I'm imagining the bed chopped up for firewood.

Sunday night, the door goes.   It's quite late but I answer it.   It is young lass, so quietly spoken I can hardly hear her and she thrusts money into my hand.   She's come for the bed.   This is the girl who couldn't make it at 6.30pm but she has my address.  Dad comes down to carry the bed away and I can find no change so thrust most of the cash back to her and tell her just to keep it.  And that is why I'll never be a millionaire.

The door goes again 30 minutes later; I'd only given them half a bed.   Idiot.

I've been trying different khorma dishes for a while as it is my husband's favourite but none seemed to hit the mark.   Last night I experimented and think I have come up with the winning formula.   It's very simple, plain and straightforward but my goodness, it was tasty!   My husband loved it and thinks it is the best to date.  Being daft, I didn't write down amounts but I have a fair idea and I don't think you could really go wrong, as long as you don't overdo any particular ingredient.

Helen's Chicken Khorma
3-4 chicken breasts
For the marinade:
Curry Powder, teaspoon
Ground Fenugreek, scant teaspoon
Ground Turmeric, scant teaspoon
Ground Ginger, scant teaspoon
Garlic cloves x 2, crushed but left whole
Pinch dried chilli flakes
Yoghurt, preferably thick Greek style but any would do, 2 large tablespoons
 1 Lemon
Tablespoon vegetable oil
Dash of oil
Large Onion, cut into 8
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Curry Powder, approx. 1 heaped teaspoon
Fenugreek, 1 scant teaspoon
Turmeric, good sprinkling
Sprinkle ground Ginger
Pinch dried chillies
Approx. 1-2 inches fresh ginger, grated
Sachet coconut milk (I use Patak's 50g sachet, sold in packs of 4)
Chicken Stock, 1/4 pint
Double cream, good splash
Ground almonds, approx. 2-3 heaped tablespoons
Small handful Sultanas or Raisins
Scant tablespoon Sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice from 1 lemon
Cut each chicken breast into three or four chunks.   Place in a bowl and season lightly.   Place all marinade ingredients into bowl except lemon; squeeze juice from lemon first and then mix everything together, making sure there are no lumps of curry powder or spices.   It should smell divine and be a lovely yellow colour.   Add more Turmeric if not.   Throw in the skins of the lemon, cover with clingfilm and leave to marinade for at least 4 hours, overnight if possible.

When making curry, turn the oven to 200 degrees and once warmed, place the chicken onto a shallow baking tray and bake for 20 minutes until cooked with the tips and edges starting to darken.   The chicken should be cooked and no more, cut open a chunk to check; it shouldn't be pink but it will cook for a further 10 minutes in the sauce so if it is borderline, do not keep cooking in the oven as you want the chicken to be tender and not overcooked.

Pour a little oil into a deep saucepan.   Add the onion chunks and stir.   Add the curry powder, fenugreek, ginger, turmeric and chillies and stir to coat.  Cook for 5 minutes on a low heat and then add garlic slices and grated fresh ginger.   Stir to coat once more.   Cook for a further few minutes, adding a few drops of water if it looks like it may catch and burn.   Dissolve the coconut milk inside the chicken stock until you have a thickish paste.   Pour on top of the onions and garlic mix.and stir.   Once it comes to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes until it thickens slightly and then add the double cream.  Stir.   Add the scant tablespoon sugar, lemon juice from half the lemon and some freshly ground black pepper.  Stir and taste; you shouldn't need any salt but add it now if you do.  It should be a little bit sweet yet tangy with a little bite, thanks to the pinch of chillies.   Add the raisins, the ground almonds and stir.   
Take the chicken from the oven and put it into the pot with the sauce; do not pour any of the juices left behind on the baking tray into the pot as you want a thickish sauce and this will thin it.   Simmer with a lid on for 10 minutes (put rice on at this point!).   Remove a chicken chunk, cut it open and check it is cooked; taste it, it should be firm but tender.   Squeeze over the other half of the lemon over the chicken curry and serve with plain boiled rice.

This recipe was tried by Valerie from yoga and she loved it so it has another seal of approval!   I recommend it wholeheartedly.   Pictures to follow.

We made Spaghetti and Meatballs; we made minced beef ones but also chicken ones for Kelly....they went down quite well.

Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes

Salmon Fishcakes with cucumber and carrot sticks

Braised Beef in Beer with Onions, Mash and Baby Carrots...recipe to follow.

Saturday Night dinner.....

 Feta, lemon and herb stuffed poached and chargrilled chicken with a white wine cream sauce and mixed veg, served with a potato rosti.  Recipe to follow.


Sumandebray said...

see selling is not easy! Thats why 3rd party selling agencies make money.
Khurma is a tasty treat.

Unknown Mami said...

And that's why I am afraid of putting things on Craigslist because people drive me bonkers!

aladdinsane12 said...

i have had some very good and very bad experiences with craigslist. including:

-getting 4 flatmates off of it (3 of them good, 1 of them not so good)
-getting a couch off it. it wouldn't fit through the door, so it took us 3 hours to take off both the door hinges and couch legs
-getting a coffee table off it. i thought the man was going to kidnap and kill me when i went in to get the table
-sold stuff on it. people are REALLY obnoxious.

chicken korma is my absolute favorite! i used to have it once a week...then i started to gain like 10 pounds and i had to stop :)

Rummuser said...

My son just cleared out a great deal of things that have somehow collected over our lifetimes. The whole lot goes to a garage sale to finance an animal shelter and I was quite happy to see a lot of them go. There are more which I am determined to get rid of one way or the other,

Beth said...

Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes!!! YUMMY.
Checking in on you! Hope you all are well.

Melissa B. said...

Why is it that I always get so HUNGRY when I pop over here? I share your need to clean things out. I've started the process by selling books on Amazon...

LisaDay said...

I will never be a millionaire either. I find that stuff so frustrating.


Jayne said...

That right there illustrates why I don't like selling online or through the newspaper - encourages the weirdness to begin. If we can, we tend to give to the cancer hospice shop, give to family or throw away. It's easier on the nerves.

Shelle said...

i couldn't imagine going thru that...i let hubby take care of it...we give everything away anyway!