Friday, 12 April 2013

Buying spree

Yesterday was the fourth day of rise on the DOW. Futures suggest that today could be a down day. There are no volume spikes to suggest a change in direction so, depending on how the day pans out, I might or might not buy more today.

As of yesterday I have increased my investments to 53% of my portfolio. Since that includes the effects of ditching two thirds of my gold holdings that's quite a heavy duty shift. My holdings are now:

Gold 5%
equity 48%
cash 47%

I bought some UK shares in the morning : GLE BWY FGT BDEV SDY

In the afternoon I bought some new US shares: NTWK BRK.B LCI. I also doubled up on shares bought the previous day: GTN HIMX EVC TA TGD

It was a strange day for me. I was up from about 3:30am - I just woke and could not get back to sleep. We had a friend coming to lunch and I had braced myself to cook, for the first time since being ill. (Thanks to all of you who have expressed concern.) The rest of the day I was not firing on all cylinders and dropped off from time to time.

I went on a course years ago and was warned not to trade when I was feeling under the weather. Yesterday I was making hay while the sun shone and did not heed the warning. The result was a very painful mistake. In one of my trades I bought 5000 shares instead of £5000. I had to kick myself hard and reverse the trade. Not much fun when you have to pay 0.5% stamp duty. Hope I did not do anything else stupid that has yet to come to light.

Slow roasted lamb shoulder to prove its Spring

For lunch I prepared a truly fabulous dish. It was loosely based on a recipe left by the friend who my wife left in charge of me while she was away on a conference. I insisted she should go because she was collecting a prize for a book about the first Prime Minister of New Zealand that she has recently completed.

To be honest when served up it was not the most beautiful dish. It would have gotten nowhere on Masterchef. Next time I make it, which will be soon, I will make some adjustments in an attempt to make it look prettier. However everyone around the table was up for second and third helpings and, though I say it myself,  it tasted devine.

José Pizarro recipe: slow-roast shoulder of lamb I had a bone in shoulder of lamb, about 3 lbs. I made slits all over the surface and stuffed in slivers of garlic. I then browned it all over in a frying pan. I did it in oil but don't think the oil was necessary so next time I will brown it dry. It was quite tricky manoeuvring the lamb so all sides got browned. Definitely a hands on job.

I sliced a large onion and a half  and fried it gently until it was soft and then turned up the heat so that it began to brown. I then added fresh chopped rosemary for the last few moments of frying.

I thickly sliced about 5 large potatoes and layered them alternately with the sliced onion in a baking dish with a layer of potato on the bottom and the top. Next time I shall add carrot layers to the mix to give it a bit of colour. I topped this off with the cloves of a whole bulb of garlic.

I covered the potatoes and onions in stock (I've said before that my favourite is Knorr "Touch of Taste"). It tuned out that not enough of the stock evaporated off so there was loads of juice left at the end (part of the reason the dish did not look fabulous). There was much praise for this juice and people ladled loads onto their plates as the meal went on. Nevertheless next time I shall only cover to within about half an inch of the top of the potatoes. Apart from anything else this will increase the proportion of crunchy potatoes at the top.

I placed a roasting rack on top of the dish of potatoes and the lamb , liberally seasoned with salt and pepper on top of that. The idea was that the juices of the lamb would drip onto the potatoes and onions adding to the wonderful flavour. That worked.

Now here's the thing, I put the dish with the roasting wrack and the lamb into an oven set at 120 degrees for six hours!

The original recipe called for a green salad. This, to my mind, was totally inappropriate and next time there will be vegetables.

It was a good thing I was up at 3:30am because the whole lot had to be in the oven by 7:30. 

It was scrumptious and well worth the effort. Serving the dish for a later lunch or supper would have reduced the early morning pain. I did a lot of the prep the night before so it was actually not a big deal. 

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