Friday, 13 September 2013

Rough week for me and Vegetarian cottage pie with chestnuts and mushrooms

It was all pointing the right way on Monday when I got my buy signal. Tuesday and Wednesday were good strong up days and yesterday saw just a little pull back. I duly picked my shares in three batches, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but up to now my picking  systems have let me down badly.

In the US I bought DRYS,SIGA,GNK,CTHR,ZHNE,SID,KTOS,GGB. Only CTHR is showing a profit and DRYS and GNK look horrible. Re-examining the charts for those two, retrospect suggests I should have been more careful. They were already extended having enjoyed a huge run up.

They are both in the same sector. Dry bulk shipping which is benefiting from a massive rise in freight rates. In theory this should translate directly into profits. So they could still come good.

The FTSE also saw a nice run up but my picks of UTV, BOY, LLOY, INCH, KLR have yet to offer any decent returns. Yesterday I bought FSJ and CKN. They are in the marine freight servicing industry, they have shown steady price growth and should benefit from the market movements that saw DRYS and GNK skyrocketing. They are the best performers in my UK picks even though I only bought them a day ago.

It is early days but the losses hurt.

I pulled out of my small gold holding which looks to be going nowhere.

The big lesson from all this is that the world economy must be on the mend. Such a sharp rise in dry shipping rates suggests that world trade is on the move. Watch out for that tapering and higher interest rates. US retail sales figures are out later today which should give more guidance.

Vegetarian cottage pie with chestnuts and mushrooms

A vegetarian friend came to supper. It is always a challenge finding something unusual to cook. This one did the trick, though my wife had some reservations. Luckily guests seemed satisfied or they were ultra polite.

For the topping I boiled vegetables all chopped small: 2 large potatoes, 3 parsnips, 3 carrots, half a celeriac. When they were soft I mashed them with plenty of butter, about 75ml of milk and a desert spoonful of french mustard.

In the mean time I made the filling by frying 2 chopped carrots, 12 whole peeled shallots, 5 cloves of garlic (chopped). I then added , fresh rosemary,  a desert spoonful of tomato paste, a couple of tsp of Marmite, a tin of chopped tomatoes, a generous splash of white wine, and quarter of a pint of vegetable stock. I added a pound of mixed mushrooms of all shapes and sizes (you can get so many types in supermarkets these days) and 200gms of cooked chestnuts, I used the vacuum packed sort and halved them. 

I put the filling into an oven proof dish and spread the topping over. I added some grated cheese (my favourite is cheddar). I then baked at 180 degrees for half an hour and finished under the grill to brown the cheese.

My wife's complaint was about the amount of tomato paste which she thought dulled the flavour. Try reducing or excluding the tomato paste if you would like to cut back on that rich tomato taste. I think you would have to add some flour for thickening to replace the paste.

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