I’m half-way through my “fatigue management” programme – trying to resolve the shattering exhaustion that can creep up on me following the accident.
Getting thoroughly overtired plus the slower brain (another consequence) on top of blindness makes me a risk to everyone: clumsily blundering around and not quite knowing what I’m doing.
I am managing to pace myself a bit better, take a break when I notice the warning signs and set better daily and bedtime routines but there’s still some way to go.
One of the tips from the Occupational Therapist was to have a light and early supper, ideally by about 1900. Usually supper is now homemade vegetable soup, sardines on toast or a little paté – and it means that there’s more of the evening to enjoy too. My latest creations were Mediterranean vegetable tartlets:
3 onions peeled and roughly diced.
1 bulb garlic peeled and chopped.
3 peppers, de-seeded and chopped.
2 courgettes, chopped.
1 large handful dried tomatoes, soaked and chopped.
3 tomatoes, chopped.
4-6 slices ham or bacon.
2 handfuls pitted olives, halved.
4 mushrooms, sliced.
Leaves from a large handful thyme.
Leaves from 3 twigs rosemary.
500g shortcrust pastry.
4 eggs, beaten.
3 tablespoons cream.
Sauté the onions and garlic in a little oil until softened.
In a separate pan, sauté the peppers until softened then add the courgettes, tomatoes, ham, olives, mushrooms and herbs.
Add the onion and garlic to the rest of the vegetables, mix and allow to cool a little.
Roll out the pastry and line individual loose-bottomed tartlet tins. Prick the bases with a fork and press a piece of kitchen foil over the pastry (easier than using beans when baking blind).
Cook the pastry cases 200 C or Gas 6 for 10 minutes, remove the foil and brush the pastry with beaten egg.
Return to the oven for another 2 minutes for “waterproofed” pastry cases.
Fill each case with vegetable mix.
Beat the cream into the remaining eggs and divide between the tartlets.
Cook 180 C or Gas 4 for about 15 minutes until the custard is setting.
This quantity made 10 tartlets (foil wrap and freeze once cooked for another day) plus 2 Mediterranean salmon crumbles (poached salmon portions topped with the veg and a savoury crumble of oats, hazelnuts, dried stuffing mix and butter) plus a final portion of veg to serve another day! I used “black” garlic which I wouldn’t recommend as it darkened all the vibrant colours of the vegetables.
Friends have been sending their own suggestions for light suppers and here are some of the more unusual:
“Fish Mixture – tin of tuna, tin of sardines, anchovies to taste. I use the oil from the tins. Heat until the anchovies have incorporated, add more oil or butter to make it spreadable, plenty of pepper. Now you have a tasty mix which can be frozen. Useful on toast, with pasta, in jacket potatoes.”
“Meat Loaf en Croute
1 lb pork sausage
1 apple peeled and chopped
2 onions chopped
2 small eggs
Salt, pepper, maybe herbs
12 oz. short crust pastry
2 x 1lb loaf tins
Mix together. Line tins with pastry. Place filling in. Place pastry on top. Brush with egg. Cook for 25 minutes 200 degrees. Remove from tins. Brush sides with egg. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes.”
“Tinned tuna, tinned beans and red onions mixed up.”
“Potato cakes are good, I use up left over mashed potatoes or cook and crush up potatoes, mix with herbs and spring onions, again grill with a poached or scrambled egg. They freeze OK as long as they don’t have added milk.”
“Mini fish pie. Get medium size potatoes, wash and bake. Scoop out the inside and mash with butter and seasoning. Coat the skins with oil and fry in air fryer till crispy. Fill with a creamy seafood pie mix. Top with the mashed potatoes and grill.”
“My sister cooks a beef Pattie using a Cornish recipe of our Grandmother, you can make them in batch and freeze them. We used to take them to the beach as children. She just softly poaches a good quality beef mince, cover in cold water with a lot of salt and pepper, lightly simmer for 20mins. Let it go cold in a bowl. Skim off any fat from the top. Roll out puff pastry and use a muffin shaped tin, the same as you would when making a Christmas mince pie, put mince beef inside and pop on a pastry lid. Egg wash and cook for 20 mins on gas 4. You could make them in a larger tin. They can be cooked from frozen. “