Boxes, Boxes, Boxes everywhere and not a lid that fits !

I think that after +/-30 years of boxes and by boxes, I mean plastic ones of various hues and sizes, I might have got the problem of missing lids, or lids that don’t fit solved. Not by me, you understand, but by the brothers Joseph.

Jospeh Jospeh is an English company started by twin brothers in 2002. Not that I have been a great fan of theirs, the beautifully stylish dish brush, dies quickly, its bristles are just not up to the job. And I actually abhor the latest trend for all colours to be garish, lime green or yellow or bright blue , pink or purple. Plastic well designed articles that we are led to believe will make our kitchens or bathrooms a better place. But I know what works in my kitchen, I like wood for stirring and absolutely detest glass chopping boards for cutting, oh the noise of the knife on the board !

However, for 30+ years I hadn’t really come up with a solution for plastic boxes and their lids! When I had kids at home I had drawers full of them but even now they are essential, for that bit of left over, or for freezing liquids into a nice shape, before vacuum packing and storing. But the lids were always a problem. Somehow or other they had a mind of their own and many would just go Walkabout, to Who Knows Where!

Back in the 90’s help was at hand in the form of Patrick, the entrepreneur husband of a friend. My friend also had problems with boxes and lids and his solution was in fact very simple. Get a waterproof marker and number the boxes and their lids. This we duly did, threw away lids without boxes or boxes without lids. This I have done ever since, even as recently as last summer, when I enlisted the aid of grandchildren whilst in France.

More recently in London, I have been buying boxes from the Chinese supermarket,the equivalent of take away boxes, this too thwarted my box organisation, because unbeknownst to me, not all Chinese take away boxes are equal, so yet again rummaging to find the right lid to box.

The Joseph Brothers boxes are simplicity, three sizes, colour coded, orange, red or blue depending on size and even better, they all click into each other, so no more boxes floating around the cupboard or drawer! ( Now why didn’t I think of that ?)

Have I told you about gravy?

I myself am not over keen on gravy. Growing up gravy was Bisto. Was there another way? Not that I knew, and I was a fussy eater, there was no way to find out. And now, as we rarely have a roast dinner, my gravy making skills were rarely called upon.

However, there are occasions when it is needed and as Himself loves sausages with creamy mashed potatoes and onion gravy I had to step up to the plate, and I did.

Therefore I have been making an onion gravy now for several years, but it is seriously a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I got my inspiration many, many years ago whilst giving cooking classes in Brussels. One of my go to books at that time was by Anthony Worrall Thompson ( he of pocketing cheese from Waitrose Fame). Basically, it is a cross between a Barbecue sauce, a Sauce Chasseur, a Sauce Poivrade or a Cumberland sauce.

To start with here is a list of possible ingredients

  • 3 fairly large onions , red or white
  • A good splash of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 red wine
  • 1/4 cup red port or sherry
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of jam/jelly ( red currant, bramble, black currant etc
  • 1tablespoon horseradish sauce

Chop the onions and sauté gently in the oil for several minutes until they brown, stir occasionally and make sure you get the brown stuff from the bottom of the pan.

Pour in the red wine and stir well to get all of the good bits incorporated.

Add the rest of the ingredients, one by one and stir in well. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes. If too thick, dilute with some stock, water or even more red wine. Taste. It is unlikely to need salt.

Leave to cool and then flat bag in plastic bags and freeze. It freezes really well so I always make a fair bit as it is always there, if you have to start from scratch each time, it is a bit of a pain, but never reach for the ready made stuff, this is so much better, so much so that if I liked Sausages and Mash, even I would eat the gravy !

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