House projects and vegetarians

What do they have in common? The bane of my existence? I hate both of them? Well no. Actually they have nothing in common. I like vegetarians and was one for nine years until I fell off the bandwagon. What happened is that they both impinged on my life this past week very heavily.

I have spent most of the weekend staining grapestake for the remainder of the wooden part of our fence. The last metal parts arrived as well, so we are ready to have it all put up. Much of the wooden one is up already and when the grapestake is stained we will be able to put up the last of it.

We also had an emergency. The swimming pool started to drain and I finally tracked the leak down to the return pipe from the pump to the pool, but the crack in the pipe was under our concrete pathway – fortunately not very far under. So I got to jackhammer it out, dig down to the pipe, cut out the offending section and redo the pipe. Then refill the pool. Fortunately all went well. So that was the house project part of it (or some of the house project part – there were a few other projects as well…

Also, Grace decided to become a vegetarian. So I am reducing the meat in our cooking and increasing the vegetables – not a bad idea anyway. We have managed pretty well so far. The highlight as far as I was concerned (but Grace didn’t like it) was a cauliflower and spinach in mustard cheese sauce – sort of like a Mornay.

Creamy cauliflower and spinach

First, cut up the cauliflower into small florets and boil until only just cooked. You can do the same with the leaves as well if still attached. Then transfer to a pot with a little olive oil and gently cook with chopped spinach until both are soft and hot.

Make a simple roux with olive oil and flour and make it into a basic white sauce with milk. Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pot and heat it on medium high. Stir in about three tablespoons of flour very thoroughly and carefully so it is completely mixed and continue to heat for about a minute but do not let it brown. Then slowly add two and a half cups of milk stirring vigorously to make a thick and creamy sauce. Stir in a cup of grated cheddar cheese and two tablespoons of strong mustard and keep heating until the cheese just melts. Then pour the sauce over the vegetables and combine and salt to taste.

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