Followers

Monday, 29 June 2009

My Day 29.06.2009

Well it was hot last night and I was late to bed. I had had a very busy day and was tired and could not settle. It was far too warm so at midnight last night I was watering up in the garden! There really is no hope for me; but I am glad I did. Needless to say the plants are all watered up tonight - I don't think the neighbours would put up with my nocturnal wanderings for another night!


Well hasn't it been a scorcher. I am very grateful to have been working in an air conditioned office today but by did the heat hit us when we came out a lunch time.

Had to go over to see my dear mum tonight - we went to see her yesterday afternoon and left dinner cooking whilst paying a short visit. However it turned into two trips as muggins managed to leave the keys at my mum's and didn't realise until we got home.Boy was I popular! The van was too warm despite the windows being down - its cooled down a lot to what it was but its still far too warm trouble is I don't sleep very well when its like this.

Sorry its short and sweet - have had the gremlins in the computer - hence my absence for a little over a week, hopefully now normal service will be restored.

Take care every one

xx

The Home Creamery - A very useful book

Well I was browsing the cookery book section in Waterstones on Saturday - as you do to see what new delights if any they have gracing their shelves, when this book literally leapt off the shelf into my hand and erhm came home with me. Its cal led The Home Creamery by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley and it is a little gem. I quite regularly make my own yogurt - this uses that principle and takes it a step or two further. The ISBN No is 978-1-60342-031-0. It is split into sections:

Part 1 - Cultured Dairy Products

Covers:

Yogurt, Kefir, Butter, Piima Butter, Buttermilk, Creme Fraiche, Quark and Sour Cream.

Part 2 - Soft unripened cheeses

Covers:

Cream Cheese
Cottage Cheese
Ricotta
Goat Cheese
Mozzarella
Mascarpone.

The third section covers recipes using the above mentioned ingredients.

Lets say I am going to be playing a tad in the kitchen and have a go at doing my own. I bought cheesecloth over the weekend in preparation.

I thought I would share

Monday, 22 June 2009

Rosewater and Witch Hazel Toner

This is very refreshing and very simple to make; it is also very cooling. I use this regularly to freshen my skin up.

Ingredients

1/4 pint rosewater
1/4 pint witch hazel

Combine both ingredients in a bottle and shake together - its that simple. If your skin is really oily adding more witch hazel will make it more astringent and suitable for an oily skin. Equally if you have dry skin add more rosewater. if you have exceptionally dry skin add a few drops of glycerine to the mixture this helps balance the ingredients out and makes a very soothing addition.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Pot Pourri - Drying Petals



Today I have started the process of drying the rose petals of my above shown plant which is relatively easy. This particular rose has no scent which is a pity but it will still if dried properly help bulk out some pot pourri later on in the season and take some of the essential oil that will be added then.

I use kitchen roll to lay the rose petals on, which is initially draped across a tray and then the petals are sorted out petal by petal. I cup the rose from underneath and then drawn all the petals together and then tug gently this should loosen the petals from the stalk and the stamen section of the flower.

I have found this the simplest way of disconnecting the petals from the stem.





I then segregate all the petals out on to the kitchen towel on the tray singly. If you look closely at the rose petals right at the point there is a white "heel" - this is the bit that has been connected to the stem and is often referred to as the white part. If you are frosting or crystallising rose petals this is the bit that must be removed as it is bitter.





I then cover over with kitchen roll and leave somewhere warm for the petals to dry - the kitchen roll acts like blotting paper between the layers of petals. Check after a week to see if they are dry - if they are remove and store in a dry jar until needed.

2009.06.21 My Day

The longest day - Summer Solstice greetings to all of you who have celebrated this special day the wheel has turned yet again we are now on new territory; where our hopes and dreams and our reality will change as will our perspective. Let your journey be a learning one done with love and compassion.

My day started with browsing my blog and preparing some posts. I had spotted two ripe strawberries last night on one of my plants and I thought that I would give OH them tonight. His worship had been nosing and came in with one each - and it was lovely. Ok small reward - haven't been doing this gardening lark long but I can honestly say that I am getting an awful lot of pleasure out of it and am now starting to harvest a little. My courgettes plants have baby yellow courgettes on them. They are planted up in pots. My mixed salad leaf trough is ready for picking as is my cress. There are a few strawberries yet to come. I am only a novice gardener but am very chuffed with what have done so far.


I have had a busy day today, but it has resulted in a lovely meal so it has been well and truly worth it. What have we had - well we always have Sunday lunch in the evening so that we can make the most of the day and get as much done as possible. I do like Sunday lunch mid-day but it is not always practical for us. Sunday lunch the most important meal of the week as far as I am concerned. We have had roast lamb stuffed with slithers of garlic and it was absolutely delicious. To accompany I did roast potatoes and roast onion, new potoates, cauliflower, carrots, peas, runner beans and gravy with mint jelly and it was absolutely scrummy.

Its ever so easy to stuff a leg of lamb with garlic, just cut some slits in the thick of the meat. I used today about two cloves of garlic cut into about three slices per clove, then cut in half again and then slipped into the slits in the thickof the meat. I then added fresh rosemary leaves, a drop of water in the bottom of the pan to start the gravy off with the meat juices; wrap in foil and then cook at gas mark 5 for a couple of hours. Take foil off about half way through to let the meat brown - keeping the foil on to srart with helps keep the meat tender. Its one of my favourite ways of doing lamb.


Well for pudding we have had gooseberry fool and it was absolutely delicious. Its ever so simple to make.

Ingredients

About 1lb of chosen fruit
1 Normal sized tub of double cream
A little sugar

Method

I put my gooseberries into a saucepan with a little sugar and a little water, not too much as I wanted the tartness of the gooseberries to come through. I then simmered for a little while on a low heat until the berries started to crush. I then took of heat and pressed the fruit with the back of a sppon. You don't have to cook the fruit you can simply crush it under normal circumstances.

Then in a separate bowl whip up the cream in a bowl. I used a metal balloon whisk to do this gently and a little at a time, until the cream is really thick, and its consistency is gloopy.

Here it is at the start


And after whipping



And after combining the rough gooseberry puree



And here it is in its glasses it fills four half tumblers, which I added a little spot of the puree into the top of each glass. I then add clingfilm and put all four glasses in the fridge to chill.




I have also put some flowers for drying rose petals and blue cornflower - see separate post.

Later on this afternoon after the heat of the sun had died a little I have been out and started to dig the side border in the garden. I have only done a little way but have managed to get no end of twitch out of the soil so the new plants when I get them planted will have a chance to thrive. I would rather spend the time and get the rubbish out now than to have it all sprout back into life and cause even more of a problem, but it is tiring work. Never mind the exercise will do me good. Intend to carry on tomorrow evening if the weather is okay.

I have also managed to get all the washing done and dried out on the line - it has been a super drying day.

I have also watered up; at the moment I am having to do this by watering can but hope to get the hose pipe sorted soon which should make things a lot easier.

Ah well soon be bedtime.

Take care everyone wherever you may be

xx

Gooseberries Note

I have been looking for Gooseberries for the past couple of weeks but have been unable to find any. Yesterday at my local veg shop they had some and I just had to go back and get some. They were a bit pricy at £3.30 a kilo, but I bought two kilos. I don't have the time to process them into jam at the moment, but if I top and tail them and then freeze them whole then at least I have the option of using them in a crumble or a sponge or as a sauce or even in wine-making or making into jam. I am hoping to be able to come across more so that I have maximum choice of options. But I think Gooseberries are going onto the Plant wish list!

UPDATE all the goosegogs have been topped and tailed. Kept some back for pudding tonight have about three pounds residing in the freezer as we speak.

Mint Recipes 2

I have that many favourite recipes for this very lifting herb I couldn't resist sharing a few more of my favourite recipes. After all it would be sacrilege not to take advantage of the new seasons bounty, and especially to put some ingredients up for use in the Winter months and at Christmas i.e into your own very special Putdown whether that be by storage in the pantry, in the freezer in a chutney; after all they say variety is the spice of life and it also helps tickle the tastebuds.

It is also lovely to breathe in the aroma from a freshly picked bunch of mint it seems to restore the soul somehow.I can never resist taking a deep breath and breathing the full aroma of the mint in. Very relaxing.

New Potatoes and fresh mint

I boil new seasons potatoes and then about ten minutes before the end of cooking I add a couple of sprigs of mint to get the maximum amount of flavour. I then drain, add a knob of butter and serve. One of my favourite ways of serving new potatoes.

Mint Raita

Chop up the leaves from a couple of mint sprigs very finely and add to a pot of yoghurt. Serve with a curry it helps calm and cool the heat from a hot curry and is very refreshing.

Mint Sprig Ice Cubes

Collect small mint sprigs and put into individual ice cube holders, fill with water or fizzy water and then put back into the freezer to set. Then in the depths of winter you can produce these fancy ice cubes for insertion in drinks or a punch for a party.

Chopped Mint Cubes (for use in the winter months)

Chop the Mint leaves after stripping them from the woody stem and chop very finely then place in individual ice cube trays and top up with a little water. Fresh mint sauce in the depths of winter. I only use one for the two of us but obviously you add more cubes to the size of lunch party you have. I reconstitute it with a little sugar, white wine vinegar and water.



Ever seen those lovely bunches of fresh herbs on the market stall then here is one delicious way to use a mint bunch

White Chocolate and Mint Mousse

4oz good quality white chocolate
8 tablespoons single cream
A bunch of mint leaves
4 eggs separated
Fresh sprigs of mint or frosted mint leaves to decorate

Gently and carefully melt the chocolate on the top of a double boiler or a bowl over a pan of simmering water or a chocolate pan/sauce machine. Then whilst this is melting at a low heat set the cream into a small pan with about 8 mint leaves and gently warm it, Remove from the heat and leave the mint to infuse in the cream.

Stir in the egg yolks into the melted chocolate, Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Remove the mint leaves from the cream and add the cream to the chocolate mixture. Stir well then fold in gently the egg whites.

To serve spoon into individual glasses and chill for two to three hours. Decorate each serving with a sprig of fresh mint or frosted mint. Serve with crisp wafers or home made biscuits.

Sugar frosted mint leaves

To frost dip leaves in egg white or paint on with a small brush shake caster sugar over and leave to dry for at least two to three hours placing them on a rack so that the air can circulate all the way round.

Pot Pourri

Before you can make this natural room fragrance you have to collect together all manner of plant materials to bulk out the pot pourri and to scent it. Some of the items that are useful are:

Basil leaves

Carnation/

Clove pinks petals (also known as the Gillyflower)

Rose petals

Scented Geranium petals

Lavender Leaves and flowers

Rosemary leaves

Strawberry leaves

Marjoram leaves

Tansy leaves

Chammomile flowers

Angelica leaves

Lemon balm leaves

Bay leaves

Mint leaves - there are various varieties available such as apple, orange, chocolate, eau de cologne, spearmint

Woodruff leaves

Jasmine flowers

Sweet pea flowers

Pansy flowers

Rosebuds

Marigold petals

Heather

Forsythia

Delphinium

Teasels

Rosehips

Larkspur flowers

Cornflowers

Hibiscus flowers

Lemon Verbena

Bergamot leaves and flowers

Whole dried flower heads such as dahlia peony rose pinks or rosebuds
To name but a few

Also orange lemon and lime peels dried

So now we have things growing in the garden, once the flowers blossom or we have a splurge of new growth with leaves it is worth collecting and then drying the material collected very carefully for use later on.

Store all items separately to start with because some of the flowers and leaves can be used for teas and tisanes as well as for pot pourri. Go on start collecting now and then we can start doing some mixing and blending as the season progresses.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Pattypans Hot Mushroom Dressing

I like mushrooms in moderation and I have to be in the mood to eat them. However, one day having got more salad to use up and not really knowing how to dress it up a bit I did a bit of experimentation with what was in the fridge at the time. All I had in there were some oyster mushrooms, butter some salad leaves and tomato, cucumber and onion. I thought that this would be a bit bland and to fill the plate up a bit I gently cooked the oyster mushrooms in butter and oil and they went golden brown on the edges and they were very tasty. The ideal hot dressing for pouring over a bag of mixed lettuce leaves. Go on try it - it really works and if you want to pep it up a bit you can always add some garlic or some chilli. The butter from the cooked mushrooms makes a lovely drizzly sauce for the lettuce/mixed salad leaves. Give it a try.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Sea Shells






"She sells sea shells on the sea shore
She sells sea shells of that I am sure
And if she sells sea shells on the sea shore
Then I'm sure she sells seashore shells"

A tongue twister that we are taught as youngsters (well at least I was) unfortunately I don't know who wrote the tongue twister but it is a clever piece of word art and one that makes you think.

But it also reminds me of when I was a child. Our first holiday down in Cornwall as a family was when I was eleven years of age; I was smitten it was beautiful and we had freedom to roam with no fear. My father told us stories of Arthur and Tintagel and also of smugglers and made them come to life. He fed our souls with his stories, as my granfather had done before him.

My fascination with shells started then, as mum and dad bought my brother and I a little keepsake each of our holiday that year. Mine was a shell crinoline lady; my brother had a shell boat. I still have mine - she is safely wrapped up in storage. She is not the only shell ornament I have - she has been joined by much larger and elegant shell ladies and a little ships.

I used to go beach-combing and shrimping along the beaches in Cornwall. One place I remember is Port Isaac - the fisherman had holding ponds for storing the lobsters and crabs built into the side of the harbour and we used to go nosing to see what they had in there. Equally we were just as content with our buckets and spades collecting pretty pebbles and shells,pieces of driftwood or sand blasted coloured glass. Our buckets were useful for so many things and also for bringing water back to our home made sandcastles; complete with moat and highly decorated turrets. we were forever runnng backwards and forwards sharing our finds. A time to wander a time to dream something that kept us absorbed and didn't cost the earth we were just content to play - an age of innocence. The obligatory wind breaks, all highly coloured every one different like a flotilla of crazy flags all dotted over the beach and in the sand dunes with towels flung over them to dry and mum and dad sunbathing and enjoying the summer weather, the cautious but gentle ouch as we trod barefoot gingerly across the shingle on our way down to dunk our toes then our ankles in the beautiful blue sea and the thrill of being able to see our toes as clear as day through the water.

As children from a very early age we are taught to listen for the sea by placing a sea shell close to our ears and "hearing the sea"!

Sea shells come in all shapes, colours and sizes and you can make all sorts of decorative items and ornaments with them. They look marvellous around mirror frames or picture frames - I have made some small decorative shell frames and intend to put some suitable sea side photographs or paintings in them, and all different ones on boxes.

To me a beautiful shell is a symbol of purity a beautiful shape often gloriously coloured, sometimes with mother of pearl in - truly the seas treasure - you hope to find a pearl in there somewhere. Often it is an empty vessel a shape or form but nonetheless very beautiful a symbol of purity and it is what it is honest and no unnecessary frills.

I love the sea; I love the sound of it as it roars or as it gently slaps in to the shore come change of tide; with whirling swirling sea weed floating in all colours and sizes. The sea it refreshes the body and the soul. Even the sound of trickling water like a stream can rejuvenate and restore.

I have the makings or the start of a collection of sea shells of different sizes and colours, pieces of coral, large abalone shells, sea shell wind chimes lighthouse pictures, ships in bottles etc. etc. for the house I haven't yet acquired but I have some of the pieces up in my current bathroom. I have boat shelves with sea shells in and and a freestanding door stop in the shape of a yacht and a freestanding lighthouse (which in fact is shelves) wooden decorated gulls and birds. I presently have a brightly painted blue box frame on he wall with sea shells of different varieties exhibited therein. Ah well one day.

I am tired and jaded and am ready for a holiday - don't want much just to be down near the sea in beautiful Cornwall - and in the beautiful countryside to be free. If ever there was a place that was my spiratual home - Cornwall is the place. But it doesn't look as though I am going to get there yet - but one day I will. I can at least dream until then.

And of course there has to be a fish - this is my fish wind-chime which was bought from Bude approximately 4 years ago on my last holiday down in Cornwall.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Strawberry Season

One of my earliest memories from school is being in the Infants class and singing lessons. Not that I can sing, but all children join in raucously for a good sing song, and even now if there is a piano being played and people are having a sing song its very hard not to join in. Anyway the folk song I remember first is as follows. No one knows who wrote the song it is just listed as unknown. Here are the words - it seemed appropriate to revisit bearing in mind that tis Strawberry Season and lots of villages are having their local Strawberry Fairs, a quintessential british custom where every one flocks to the tea tent for the first seasons strawberries and lashings of cream - yummy.

As I was going to Strawberry Fair,
Singing, singing, buttercups and daisies,
I met a maiden taking her wares, fol-de-dee.
Her eyes were blue and golden her hair,
As she went on to Strawberry Fair.

Ri-fol, Ri-fol, Tol-de-riddle-li-do,
Ri-fol, Ri-fol, Tol-de-riddle-dee.

"Kind sir, pray pick of my basket," she said;
Singing, singing, buttercups and daisies
"My cherries ripe or my roses red, fol-de-dee.
My strawberries sweet I can of them spare,
As I go on to Strawberry Fair."

Ri-fol, Ri-fol, Tol-de-riddle-li-do,
Ri-fol, Ri-fol, Tol-de-riddle-dee.

"Your cherries soon will be wasted away;"
Singing, singing, buttercups and daisies
"Your roses wither'd and never stay, fol-de-dee.
'Tis not to seek such perishing ware,
That I am tramping to Strawberry Fair."

Ri-fol, Ri-fol, Tol-de-riddle-li-do,
Ri-fol, Ri-fol, Tol-de-riddle-dee.

"I want to purchase a generous heart;"
Singing, singing, buttercups and daisies
"A tongue that neither is nimble nor tart, fol-de-dee
An honest mind, but such trifles are rare.
I doubt if they're found at Strawberry Fair."

Ri-fol, Ri-fol, Tol-de-riddle-li-do,
Ri-fol, Ri-fol, Tol-de-riddle-dee.

"The price I offer, my sweet pretty maid;"
Singing, singing, buttercups and daisies
"A ring of gold on your finger displayed, fol-de-dee,
So come, make over to me your ware
In church today at Strawberry Fair."

Ri-fol, Ri-fol, Tol-de-riddle-li-do,
Ri-fol, Ri-fol, Tol-de-riddle-dee.


And my own strawberries are starting to ripen in the garden the miniature ones and the big ones.

Miniature Strawberry in a hanging basket



Strawberries in planters just starting to ripen



Mustard and Cress -Updated

I am very partial to egg mayonnaise and mustard and cress sandwiches something simple but oh so tasty. I have been getting very frustrated recently because each time I have had a fancy for these sandwiches and have gone round to my local shop they either haven't got the mustard and cress or they charge an arm and a leg for a small punnet. Desperate times have led to desperate measures. I am therefore going to attempt growing my own on the windowsill in the kitchen (pictures to follow), but I thought that you might like to join me in having a go. It might take you back to your inner child and it may help you with your little ones getting them growing things, eating them and learning about them all at the same time.

This can be grown on the windowsill all year long. The instructions I have which are old refer to buying a 25g/1 oz packet of seed which it says will give you several crops - much cheaper than buying cress itself.

1. Buy your seed.

2. Make a growing medium from either a piece of old towelling, folded kitchen towel or paper or cotton wool. This is what you are to grow your seed on.



3. Fit into a recycled plastic tray and fit the growing medium to the tray and moisten thoroughly. I then add a little soil and make sure this is also moist




4. Grow cress seed first as it takes longer to germinate than the Mustard. Sprinkle the seed thickly on the growing medium and to germinate place the tray (I pope the tray into a polythene bag to keep the seeds warm) and place in a dark place to sprout the seed.


5. Two or three days later do the same with the Mustard in another container. Repeat as for the Cress.




6. Keep the seeds moist and put into the dark for 3 or 4 days (I covered with some tissue to keep the seed in the dark and then wrapped in a polythene bag outer.

7. Check the seeds daily to see that there are signs of growth.

8. As soon as the seed sprouts bring them into the full light but keep the pads moist at all times.

9. Cut the crop with very sharp scissors when the crop is 1 to 2 inches in height.

This is mine after only about four days




Enjoy in sandwiches, as an addition to salads

For young children as a novelty recyle used egg shells put a growing medium into the shell and then sprinkle on seeds thickly. Grow as above. When sprouted and reached desired height draw on a face and serve with a boiled runny egg to get them eating greens.

Little Acorns



Mum the other weekend gave me a cruet and mustard set which we think is silver plated. It had originally come from my Nan's house although I never knew her to use it. With a little cleaning it has come up beautifully, although we were concerned as the salt could not be taken apart. OH has had a look at and it had corroded slightly on the edge, but with cleaning this has come off and is now easy to take apart. It is a lovely little cruet set very tactile to hold and in the shape of Acorns which makes me wonder whether it dates from the Arts and Crafts period. The mustard pot even has its blue glass liner intact. I am very chuffed with this little piece and I think it is very appealing and will look lovely on the table.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The First Rose of Summer



This is the first rose out of my garden this year - I don't even know what variety it is. All I know is that it is a rambler, but I just love the flower heads. I absolutely adore roses. I bought it a few weeks ago from a local cheapie store for £2.99; it was a bit battered looking and infested with green fly when I got it, but I have nurtured it - it didn't have any buds when I got it. It doesn't have much scent but it is pretty.

Monday, 15 June 2009

What Makes your Pantry Special - Dried Items Part 1

What makes your pantry shelf or pantry different to anyone else's - what do you like to keep in there. What works for you and your family?

The following are just some of the things I do, some of them are slightly out of the ordinary but I make a collection of items that are useful and not always readily available from the supermarket shelf, but more down to the squirreling instincts of the homewife. I also keep in dried flowers and leaves because they can also be used as a basis for a tea or used in pot pourri and home made soaps and cosmetics and in some instances for wine, stuffings,and sauces to name but a few things to do. Its important you dry ingredients as they become available and as you go along and store them safely to use in those recipes later on in the year like ingredients for Pot Pourri. Chammomile is good for a tea - very soothing and calming but it is also good as a hair rinse for fair haired people. With a little trial and error you can end up making some really different and interesting items.

DRIED ITEMS

Drying is one of the older methods of drying produce for future use. Some items are best not dried so its best if you can to employ other methods of storing useful items like herbs, seeds, roots, flowers.

I either dry my herbs in little bunches or strings for things like chillies and mushrooms and apple rings – I try and use the more natural method without using my electric dehydrator wherever possible. I quite like the idea of a solar dryer – but I need to research this more.

Anyway here is how I do it

First of all choose the herb you wish to work with - in this case I chose Sage this one is known as an Ictarina Sage - a lovely Limey Green variegated leaf when fresh but which goes a bluey grey on drying. I use copious amounts of sage in home made stuffings they help pad out a meal a little bit more.

My Sage came out of my window box outside the kitchen window.


Cut the Sage where the growth is at its best and try and leave a neat plant behind you that will put up a second surge of growth.



Tie into nice even sized little bunches and secure with string. Make sure it is nice and tight because the stems will shrink and loosen the string - thats when the herbs will fall out of the bundle if they are not secured properly.



Because my herbs are usually dried either in my pantry off a couple of hooks or off hooks on my dresser I also add a dust shield usually made out of greaseproof paper but you could use brown paper. Tie the herbs at an angle as though you were wrapping a bunch of flowers.



Hanging off the Dresser


This is the way I dry most of my herbs and flowers.



Why do I do it - because I think you get farm more flavour and it has no excess packaging and its lovely to actually grow something in your garden and then harvest it. Simple pleasures are the best and more often or not the cheapest. I think doing it this way you get farm more zing or are adding a bit extra to that recipe you are trying out. Herbs are also good companion plants to grow in a veg garden so with a bit of planning you can have fresh veg and herbs – to use fresh and any excess to be dried or frozen.

Parsley - when I can get this to grow (Old wives tales have it that it will only grow for a strong woman)! The colour and flavour of home dried parsley is second to none and tastes a lot fresher I also use it in stuffings it helps pad out stronger flavours and gives a more rounded flavour and makes the stuffing more robust. It makes a lovely sauce for fish (fish is something I am incorporating into my diet more and more as it is good for arthritis sufferers of which I am one - high in Omega 3 oils which are good for lubricating the joints)

Sage - this is something I always tend to keep in as it makes lovely stuffings, and in my household stuffings are used as a padder outer for any meal - I use yorkshire puddings in the same way and often incorporate home made dried herbs into a Yorkshire pudding mix – just makes it a little different and change is always good for a palate. It is also extremely good drunk as a tea for a sore throat although it can be a little strong to take. As the song goes a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.



Rosemary - I love the clean strong pungent smell of this herb and I use it in breads, roasts, in oils to name but a few. I dry in bunches as above and then when completely dry I rub off the limey green leaves into a dish and then decant into storage jars. Don't chuck the stems away they can be tied into neat little bundles and tied and then put into a basket - build up a collection and then they can be added to either a barbecue or to a fire - gives very aromatic scent to a room - but you don't need much.

To rub roll the stems backwards and forward across the palms of your hand or as in the case of Rosemary rub your fingers down the stem against the grain of the Rosemary i.e. down the stem and the leaves once dry should become free of the stem.


Decant into jars - I recycle old coffee jars




Thyme - I buy this in little bundles (known as Faggotts) as I never seem to be able to grow enough of this. I get this off our local market it costs me £1 a bunch but then again it lasts for ages and this is something I use an awful lot so cost is relatively cheap in the long run; we have an exotic food stall there which sells all the dried spices and herbs but they also sell fresh and this is where I get my thyme from. It smells so gorgeous. I tend to buy two or three together and then store them in a brown paper bag until dry. I then decant them into a large glass storage jar. Any bits that drop off as they dry go to the bottom of the jar and they get used up when there is a nest there but usually I just then take the bundle or faggott out whole then crumble some of the thyme over whatever I am using it with. The smell is just gorgeous. I particularly like using thyme with chicken dishes. Its also nice used in home made stuffing.



Happy Birthday Mum



Many Happy Returns of the Day to my Dear Mum - hope you have a lovely day and we will be over to see you tonight.

Here is a bouquet of flowers just for you

Love you mum

xxx

Beadwork

I love beads and beadwork of any sort. I have been fascinated since I was a small child. My mother was left a handmade keepsake by her maternal great aunt, aunt Sue who eventually retired to extended family at a farm at Bicker near Spalding, just up the road from where my mum now lives. Great Aunt Sue was a Tailoress according to the Census and she was forever making things and made my mother a dolly bag covered in thousands of seed beads that had all been handsewn in an intricate pattern. I used to get very frustrated as a child not being allowed to play with it, but this is a true heirloom something that is passed from one generation to the other and is greatly treasured. My interest in beads stems from there.

I have been attending beadworking classes which have been held every so often locally and I have had a go at making several necklaces, although I am slow and I am still a novice each piece seems to get that bit easier. I intend to really have a session and really play once I have a few minutes. I have a bead loom upstairs which I intend to have a go at in the not too distant future.

I just love beautiful unique and distinctive things.

Here are a few of the things I have had a go at so far













I have also done some Christmas tree baubles as well but they are packed up with the rest of the Christmas Decorations.

Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)