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Friday, 31 July 2009

Back Home Again

Well its been an interesting week mum had her operation on Monday and was released on Monday evening. I stayed overnight with her on Monday and Tuesday night; she is starting to heal nicely, but I must say it was lovely to spend some quality time with my mum. Needless to say I left OH at home in charge of my moglets - or should I re-phrase that and say moglets in charge of OH! My mild mannered cheeky cats really took the michael - well at least Tyson did - OH could not get him in for his tea and so left him out overnight. Cat was easily locatable as he goes and spends his days in our Greengrocers shop curled up in a basket. Apparently he was extremely grumpy and slept for most of the day - I came home in the evening and went calling him and he came more or less straight to me and let me pick him up, he then proceeded to snuggle up to me moaning and whimpering and was very grateful to receive his tea. I took the precaution of leaving him in so OH did not have a repeat performance. The kits,and the two OAP's were no better, they decided that the dining room was the new brands hatch and were racing around re-organising items along the way. I gather from all accounts that he was pulling his hair out with them. I think he was relieved when I came home, but needless to say they have been extremely good for me. I am now safely back in Bedlam.

Catch you all later

xx

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Catch up

Just an update to let you all know everything is okay - am decamped at mother's home at the moment as looking after her after her operation yesterday but will log back on as soon as I am home again and hopefully will have my new laptop as well by then. Hope everyone is okay beautiful sunny morning here this morning. Got up at 7.00 a.m. made sure mum was comfortable and had a cup of coffee, had breakfast the usual routine OH arrived at 8.00 a.m. to bring me back into town. Surprisingly we were back in Peterborough in about 20 minutes obviously hit the traffic just right, as mum lives about 15 to 20 miles out of Peterborough and there is usually a tail back of traffic from the villages and outlying villages where she lives, so didn't do too badly. It was nice to come in from the villages - I really must escape the City its doing my head in. Oh for the peace and quiet of the countryside.

Catch up soon hope everyone is okay

xx

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Take a Packet of Puff Pastry

Sausage Sage and Apple Plait

This makes a nice warming main meal if served with gravy and vegetables or you can serve it with a side salad. It is very tasty.


Ingredients

9oz puff pastry
9oz sausagemeat
1 small onion peeled and very finely chopped
2 tsp chopped sage fresh
2 small cooking apples peeled cored and chopped
2 hard boiled eggs chopped
salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg beaten to glaze

Roll out the pastry onto a lightly floured board to an oblong approximately 12 inches by 10 inches. Transfer the pastry to a baking sheet.

Mix together the sausagemeat onion sage apple and chopped eggs and season with salt and pepper.

Shape the mixture into a roll and place it along the centre of the pastry.

Cut the pastry on each side of the filling into 1/2 inch wide strips making diagonal cuts. Brush the strips with beaten egg.

Wrap the pastry striops over the filling to enclose it and brush the top with egg.

Bake the plait in the oven pre-heated to 400 degrees F Gas mark 6 for about 35 minutes until the top is golden and brown.

Serve hot or cold.

Enjoy this is a very tasty meal.

Since my last post

Since I last posted, I have developed a terminally ill computer and am currently posting from a loaned machine. Which I must say is a lot quicker than my old one. I am suitably impressed. I should be getting another one in the next day or two. Sadly Bessie has gone to the big computer blog in the sky and is completely cream crackered. I have been reliably informed (from someone more computer literate than myself) that all my data and recipes, photos etc. can be retrieved. Fingers crossed and toes plaited.
Yesterday evening OH treated us to fish and chips for supper - done in proper beef fat so proper fish and chips. They were lovely but not good for the waistline but very tasty. He was going to have Chinese ribs, and I was going to have smoked haddock with poached egg, so that was put off for tomorrow night's tea.
Today I have finished off all my ironing which has been hanging airing in doorways through the house. I therefore decided to tackle getting it put away on the rail hangers (that have a mind of their own and sink - end up with lop sided rails) and the wardrobes. Still have a load more to find a home for but the bulk of is neatly pressed, aired and sorted. I have also bottome out my bedroom and polished and hoovered and had the windows open all day. It has been a lovely day here very balmy and muggy. I have also sorted the airing cupboard out and sorted out a load of old clothes that I will never wear again for the charity shop. There are three bags full to go round, but OH can take them round on Monday - I don't want to leave them outside as it might rain and they would get ruined.
I have also washed the winter duvet - I cannot get it into the machine but somehow or other OH manages it. It has come up well and once aired properly is to go into the airing cupboard ready for the winter months. I do like to be cosy during the winter.
I am going to change the bed and wash the patchwork quilt tomorrow and then hoover through again and that should be the bedroom done until the run around at the end of the week. I do like things to be nice and clean.
Bathrooms next on the list have plenty of white vinegar and washing soda. Have to scrub all the paintwork down as bathroom gets a bit mildewy around the skirting being as it is an outside wall and the bathroom is downstairs (our downstairs toilet is a little room on the end of the bathroom). I also want to sort out all my essential oils and pot pourri refreshers so I know what I have and haven't got and sort out the surplus bathroom supplies.
.
Then its the kitchen and the dining room and the lounge and hall. Then the back bedrooms and then the garden - then I might be able to sit down and do some serious playing with my sewing and preserving etc. and I also want to have a go at soapmaking and candle making. I do have a plan of sorts its just I keep going off on tangents.
My mum has to have a small operation on Monday and she is not to be on her own for at least 48 hours after her operation so I am going to stay with her overnight to make sure that she is okay. My brother has just gone on holiday to Italy for a fortnight with his family. Hospital called her in at short notice for a pre-op appointment on Friday and told her they were doing this Monday
Catch you all later
xx

Friday, 24 July 2009

Unexpected Pressie

I received a lovely surprise yesterday from my OH. I have been struggling with a digital camera that doesn't have many pixels and have been very disappointed with some of the results I have received. Especially with my attempts at photographing the lady Moon who is so beautiful but who I haven't been able to capture with any success. I was however quite happy to carry on and do the best I could with what I have. Bless his heart he has bought me an all singing and dancing digital camera as he knows I enjoy my blogging and its his way of helping out, so I am hoping that after I have got to grips with how to use that the photos will speak for themselves. He also bought a digital card that should hold approximately 1500 photographs - now that really does give me something to go at. I am really all excited. I am really looking forward to getting to grips with this and some of the technology on my computer which I have thus far not used or got to grips with. I think I am a very lucky girl.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Redcurrants

Especially for Anne of Silversewer

Redcurrant Jelly

2kg/4lbs redcurrants
Sugar - see below

All redcurrants or a mixture of white and redcurrants may be used.

Rinse then well in a colander but don't bother to remove any stalks. There is no need. Place them in a preserving pan and heat gently for about half an hour until pulpy softly crushing the fruit occasionally (a potato masher is good for this). Pour into a jelly bag and leave to drip overnight into a bowl.

Measure the juice and allow 500g/ 1 1/4 lb sugar to 500ml/1 pint as redcurrants are rich in pectin and acid and will take more sugar. Warm the sugar in a bowl in the oven then stir it into the reheated juice, dissolve the sugar then boil fast (recipe says for one minute but in my experience it is invariably longer than this it varies) skim and then pour into hot clean dry jars. Setting will occur rapidly and speed is essential. Cover and seal in the usual way. The yield from this jelly is small but it has a wonderful flavour as it is concentrated.

Taken from the Preserving book by Pan books ISBN 0 330 25563 0


Or if you want something a little more pokey

Redcurrant Gin

600g/1 1/4 lb redcurrants
300g/10 oz caster sugar
750ml/27fl oz bottle of gin

Crush the redcurrants with the sugar then transfer the mixture to a jar. Pour in the gin, cover and seal and shake the jar daily. Leave in a cool dry place for about 3 months - shaking the jar daily for a period of 4 weeks. Strain the gin and then decant into clean bottles. Alternatively serve the gin by pouring it off through a muslin lined non-metallic sieve and top the jar up with more fruit and sugar as the level goes down. Sieve to serve.

Herring Roe on Toast

Ever get a fancy for something to eat that you haven't had in a long time. I am like that at the moment. I quite fancy a plate full of Herring Roe on toast.

As a child one of the dishes that used to be served up on a regular basis for Saturday night tea was Fried herrings roe on toast. Argh you say but it looks wet slippery and awful. Well as the saying goes never judge a book by its cover. They taste absolutely delicious and are very simple to cook.

No doubt there is a season for Herring Roe - one can never tell these days. If I remember rightly as a child I think it used to be the winter months when we ate this tasty meal for tea, but I may be wrong.

The last time I had them was last year - I acquired two tubs at a knock down price from the fish counter at Waitrose. I have been looking for them since, whether it has just been me in there at the wrong time. I will just have to keep on looking.

Anyway they are very simple to prepare:

Quantity of Herring Roe
Flour
Salt and Pepper
Oil and a knob of butter

Wash the roe in a colander under clean running water. Leave to drain. Make sure no cats are about. They are rather partial to helping themselves or at least mine are so when I am cooking I tend to send them out.

In a frying pan put the oil and the butter and heat gently until butter has melted.

In a separate dish or bowl put flour and then season with salt and pepper. Mix together and then dip the Roe in the flour to coat. Add to the frying pan and cook until golden brown on one side then turn over and do the other side - should be a gentle even heat as otherwise the Roe will burn.

Under a grill toast slices of bread until golden brown.

Add the Roe on top of the toast sprinkle with a dash of vinegar and then serve. I think this is delicious and it is not an expensive supper to prepare.

Tarragon Vinegar

If you have Tarragon growing in the garden now is the time to preserve it for the winter months.

Tarragon is a lovely green herb with the most wonderful aniseed flavour that goes wonderfully with fish and chicken. It is very simple to make, most of the work goes into gathering your items together and there is not many of them.

Ever since I discovered this wonderful herb I have loved it and started growing my own and every summer without fail I make a batch of this vinegar for use in the winter months.

I always use a preserving jar of sorts to steep the tarragon in the vinegar and only bottle some off every so often. If you find a pretty bottle it can be decanted into this to present to a friend as part of a goodie hamper for Christmas.

There are two types of Tarragon. I only use the French Tarragon not the Russian which does not impart as deep a flavour and is rather insipid by comparison.


Ingredients

A good bunch of Fresh Tarragon
2 pints of white wine vinegar

Wash the tarragon and leave to drain in a colander for a few minutes. To help release the flavour from the herb run the blade of a knife down the stem to help bruise the leaves and release the lovely aromatic smell.

Pop into your glass preserving jar and pour over the wine vinegar. Put on the lid and allow to macerate for at least a couple of months. You can actually put a fresh sprig of herb into individual bottles and then top up with vinegar, however I tend to use the preserving jar method for maceration and then if bottling I drain everything off and put a fresh sprig of the herb in individual bottles but this is more for decorative/presentation purposes.

A splash of Tarragon vinegar can be added to gravy to lift it and add a bit more flavour, you can use in Tartare sauce, any chicken dishes, as a dressing for salad in its own right, as the basis for a salad dressing and home made Mayonnaise. I use it in home-made Prawn Cocktail/Marie Rose sauce as just a dash of this always helps lift the sauce that bit more.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Lavender Pot Pourri

Ingredients

4 cups dried lavender I have pale lavender and deep blue combined
3 tablespoons of round orris root powder (this is what fixes the perfume)
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon, mace and allspice.
6 drops of lavender essential oil.

There are two methods of making pot pourri wet and dry. This method is the dry method.

2 days before you collect your ingredients together mix together the lavender essential oil with the orris root powder using a teaspoon to blend and combine the two together. Pop into a pot with a lid to mature for a couple of days.

Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix really well. Then add the oil and orris root mixture and combine really well. Put the mixture into a paper bag or a kar with a lid and store away in a cool dark place for about 6 weeks for it to cure. Use as required, adding whole spices, leaves, flower heads, flower petals for decoration and to bulk out.

This can be used in an open bowl in scented sachets or in a proper pot pourri box or pot.

Cheese, Pickle and Biscuits

I love cheese and biscuits, the stinkier the cheese the better. My mum is very responsible for this as whilst she was carrying me someone mentioned a cheese called Gorgonzola> Mum had never had it before but she suddenly developed a craving for this and had to have some. So I was innoculated from the first with stinky cheese.

Needless to say when Mum found out that she was carrying my brother it was early days and being superstitious she didn't tell my Nan until she was sure everything was okay. Well that was the intention, because mum developed a craving for Gorgonzola and my Nan took one look at her and said not again. She knew.

Mild cheese is not an option in this house - it has to be strong and have flavour.

Well cheese and biscuits is a common repast in this household, or a ploughmans or cheese sandwich served with a lovely crispy apple and a bit of chutney. Even the cheese is served with chutney or relish on the crackers - sometimes even a fruit cheese, although I have still to get to grips with making these. The last time I had a go it spat at me and burnt me quite badly.

I also serve leek relish or onion and garlic marmalade with the biscuits and with goats cheese - very moorish. We love our cheese and all the bits and bobs that go with it. Believe it or not a teaspoon of relish or chutney on top of the cheese and cracker really does bring the flavour out. I also serve fresh fruit such as grapes, plums and pears oh and of course the celery. Go on have a try it does pep up.

Oh I nearly forgot - you must have Pickled Onions - especially if serving Pork Pie as well.

Take a Pack of Frozen Pastry


Bacon and Cheese Puffs

Ingredients
Packet of frozen puff pastry
Enlish Mustard
Cheddar Cheese - preferably mature - stinky and strong and/or Gruyere
Baon preferably streaky but any other will do
1 egg

Take a packet of frozen puff pastry a block or pre-rolled

If block please roll pastry out once defrosted to a sheet approximately 1/8 of an inch thick.

Cut into 4 inch squares which will make approximately 12.

Smear English mustard diagnally from one corner to the other add a strip of bacon to fit over the mustard from corner to corner preferably streaky but any other will do. Then add a slice of cheese approximately 1 inch wide from corner to corner the same. Beat the egg in a separate bowl then egg wash one opposite corner and fold the other corner into the centre and then pull the egg washed corner over on top of the corner that you have just folded in. Egg wash the top of the pasry and bake approximately Gas Mark 7 for about 10 minutes until golden brown and puffy. Eat hot or cold - guarantee they will not last more than a couple of days.

Welsh Rarebit or Posh Cheese on Toast

This is a dish from my OH's side of the family and keeps in the fridge for quite a while (that is if its not eaten first).

Ingredients

Cheese - preferably cheddar
6 tablespoons of vinegar
mustard powder (enough to make a teaspoon full) or ready made mustard a teaspoonful

Cube half a pound of cheese and put into a small saucepan with 6 tablespoons of
vinegar (may need a little more depending on consistency - i.e. if too thick slacken down with some more vinegar).





Add a teaspoon of mustard powder.

Melt cheese and ingredients together slowly bringing to the boil




can serve straight away from the pan on some toast and then place back under the grill to brown.





Or can be put into a bowl or a jar and left in the fridge until required again. It will last two to three weeks in the fridge - not that it gets that far in our house. Can also be used in toasties with some slice onion. Dependent on the cheese it will either be sliceable/cuttable or it will be grainy and crumbly, and you can use a fork to scrape it up and place on to toast in small pieces.





Enjoy - its a good way of using up cheese that is starting to dry out or that which has been opened too long.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

What Makes your Pantry Special - Dried Items Part 2


Dried Vegetables

Chillies - I dry my own and they are the finishing touch to my home made pickled onions. To dry them I use a bodkin and string and thread them all on then leave up on the dresser to dry. I tend to do them as a garland or mini string done as a garland I can drape them over the dressers to add a touch more interest yet being practical as they are in the throes of drying.

Dried Chilli ground down to a powder and then mixed with pepper and cloves is a very tangy seasoning for adding to pumpkin and/or squash.



Dried Mushrooms

I string mushrooms - you can do this with any edible variety of your choice - at time of preparation I keep to one particular variety to string - I mix them up in jars later on. I string them the same way as I do chillis only this time round I use a bodkin and string but I put a big not in between each mushroom and a little space. I then hang them out of the way to dry. Once dry I pull from the string and place in glass preserving jars. I then use in winter casseroles to help pep them up a little.


Dried Mushroom powder

This is basically the dried mushrooms blitzed in the food processor. It is very good for adding extra flavour to soups and casseroles and also with some boiling milk, butter and a little thickner (cornflour) to make a soup in a mug.

Take a Packet of Puff Pastry

It surprising what you can do with a pack of frozen puff pastry. My mum used to do these for us as children and needless to say that they used to disappear very quickly indeed. We used to have fun decorating them as well.

1 packet frozen puff pastry
6 oz icing sugar sieved to remove any lumps that have formed
a little water to mix
a little pink/red colouring
2 teaspoons of jam
1/4 pint fresh cream lightly whipped
(these are also very good filled with buttercream but extra icing sugar and butter should be allowed for that version)
Few drops of vanilla essence.

Defrost the pastry - (this is important if it has been in the freezer)

Roll pastry out into 2 strips about 3 inches x 12 inches usually at this point I split into about 16 mini strips Place on a damp baking tray and bake in a hot oven for 12 minutes or well risen and cooked. Place on a cooling rack to allow to cool.

Mix up the icing sugar with the water to a reasonably stiff consistency so that it coats rather than dribbles off - if it does this there is too much water/liquid so add a little more icing sugar to stiffen it up add a little colouring until it is the colour you want it to be. Turn over one of the pastry slices and then spoon over the icing.

Spread the remaining slice with jam. Spread on the fresh cream with the vanilla essence over jam. Top with iced pastry slice. Should make approximately 8 mille feuilles.

You can also do a large one of these fill with fresh whipped cream and then add fresh fruit of your choice or a tin of mandarins.

My Day 21.07.09

Well its been a horrible day so far. I sleep with the curtains and latch windows open during the summer months especially when it is warm and balmy weather. But this morning I woke up to a miserable white foggy world where it was absolutely teeming it down with rain. It has been like that ever since just loads and loads of rain. I haven't therefore ventured far and have been attacking the stack of ironing in the bathroom, about half way done. At one point I thought I would run out of coathangers but I have found the secret stash - hidden in other half's wardrobe. Thought was going to have to go out and buy some more - heaven forbid as I thought I had stacks - I just couldn't locate them. Now I know why!

As I am speaking I have my mug of tea to one side and the sun for the first time today is trying to let herself known to the bedraggled human race. But then we need the water, for the crops and to live. It is one thing that we do need - its like buses though when you need one its never there when you don't you get tons come. The cats are very fed up they don't like the wet and keep calling to me as though I can make it go away. Whilst I am ironing I have the radio on for company usually Gold, playing all those songs haven't heard for a long long time. So I am chilling but being productive as well.

Well tea time over for now, at least whilst I am ironing I can let my thoughts wander on what I want to do over the next few weeks or so and do my usual plotting and planning. Its a bit like when I have the jam or chutneys on the go a touch of hubble bubble toil and trouble.

Catch you all later

Home and Hearth - The Fireplace

LOGS TO BURN

Logs to burn, logs to burn,
Logs to save the coal a turn
Here's a word to make you wise,
When you hear the woodman's cries.
Never heed his usual tale,
That he has good logs for sale,
But read these lines and really learn,
the proper kind of logs to burn.

OAK logs will warm you well,
If they're old and dry.
LARCH logs of pine wood smell,
But the sparks will fly.
BEECH logs for Christmas time,
YEW logs heat well.
SCOTCH logs it is a crime,
For anyone to sell.

BIRCH logs will burn too fast,
CHESTNUT scarce at all
HAWTHORN logs are good to last,
If you cut them in the fall
HOLLY logs will burn like wax
You should burn them green
ELM logs like smouldering flax
No flame to be seen

PEAR logs and APPLE logs,
they will scent your room.
CHERRY logs across the dogs,
Smell like flowers in bloom
But ASH logs, all smooth and grey,
burn them green or old;
Buy up all that come your way,
They're worth their weight in gold.

Unfortunately I have been unable to locate the Author to attribute this to. It can be found in E. M. Hull’s Poem Book of the Gael:

Now is when we should all be stocking up for our fires - as ideally fire-wood needs to be nice and dry before being used on the fire as if it isn't it can cause a multitude of problems as the poem details above. I envy those of you who have an open fire/woodburner as it is truly the hearth of the home with many providing heat and hot water, for the household and in today's day and age it is beneficial to have a choice rather than being reliant on one specific form of heating.

As a child we always had a fire and I used to lay on the hearth rug in front of the warm flames reading or watching the T.V. and/or just dreaming. But we used to be warm and snug and always got into our jim jams in front of the fire and always got dressed in front of the fire. Latterly as a young bride in my first home, we had an open fire which was wonderful. My husband at the time got fed up with it though and replaced it with a living gas fire, but it was never quite the same as our log fires were, so to me a practical lesson was learned there and then if you have the facilities for a proper fire then at all costs keep it wherever possible.

At the moment I don't have open fires; the house we rent has two chimney stacks, but both are fitted with gas fires which are ugly and both have been condemned anyway. I think because of the age of the house that extensive work would have to be done to get them working again, which is a position we have no control over at the moment being as we merely rent. However, I can dream and plot and plan and one day I will have my fires again, but in the interim I have been researching bits and bobs for when I do and thought I would create this post so that I have something to relate back to for the future. I also thought I would share what I have found out as it may be useful for those of you who have a proper fire or who intend to re-instate them.

I also like the look of the new multi-fuel stoves - one day.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Someone came a Knocking

Someone came a knocking at my wee small door
Someone came a knocking, I'm sure, sure sure;
I listened, I opened, I looked from left to right,
But nought there was a stirring in the still dark night
Only the busy beetle tap, tapping on the wall,
Only from the forest the screech owl's call,
Only the cricket whistling whilst the dew drops fall
So I know not who came knocking at all at all at all

By Walter De La Mere

As a child I belonged to a local Church Community group known as the Pathfinders, a youth club of sorts and we were actively encouraged to learn new things via this association. One I remember was to learn the names and bring as many examples of wildflowers that we could - I won first prize for this a little ladybird book of wildflowers which I have to this day.

Another time we were entered for a big area poetry competition for public speaking and I had to learn the above poem. I remember the day, I was only about 8 or 9 and we were shipped from Peterborough by bus, I think to Coventry for the actual competition. I had never done anything like this before and needless to say it was daunting speaking in front of all those people but we didn't do too bad as a group - after all it was a group competition. The auditorium that we were in was based on the design of an ampitheatre where you were in effect in the hollow of the audience. Public speaking used to be a big thing on the curriculum when I was a child, and of course there was always the end of term school plays so it is nice to see youngsters taking part in public speaking competitions again. It helps hone up prsentation skills.

I also remember that we used to have to give talks in our English lessons to our peers on a subject that we had researched; sometimes the subject was given ad hoc in the lesson and you literally only had about 10 to 15 minutes warning of what the subject was to be. But that only serves to help you think on your feet.

I have always loved poetry since I was a small child, even when it seemed to go out of fashion I have always read or had a go at writing my own. It is nice to see it resurging out of the wilderness again.

Pattypans Rock Cakes

Ingredients

8 oz plain flour
1/2 level teaspoon of salt
2 level teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 oz butter
2 1/2 oz sugar
4 oz dried fruit
1/2 teaspoon of ground mace maybe a little more taste and see what you think
1 egg
2 tablespoons of milk
Cooked in about 20 minutes

Gas Mark 6 or 400 degrees F


Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl. Rub in the fat gently to the flour mixture until resembles very fine breadcrumbs, mix in the fruit and spice.

Beat the egg within an inch of its life with the milk and add to the dry mixture. Mix in well with a fork - mixture should be slightly stiff not slack but should not be too sticky or wet the right consistency is when it leaves the sides of the bowl clean.

Split the mixture into approximately 12 portions I use an inbetween sized spoon (it was actually my christening spoon) and pile the portions onto a greased baking tray (a little demerara sugar can be added at this point to give that little bit of extra crunch. Rough up with a fork so they are uneven. Bake in a moderately hot oven for about 15 to 20 minutes - cool on a wire tray

Sunday, 19 July 2009

The Sunken Garden

Speak not - whisper not
Here bloweth thyme and bergamot
Softly on the evening hour
Secret herbs their spices shower
Dark-spiked rosemary and myrrh
Lean-stalked, purple lavender
Hides within her bosom, too
All her sorrows bitter rue.

By Walter de la Mere (1873-1956)

Jam Jar Suppliers

I have been browsing the web as you do via some adverts in the Home Farmer Magazine, which I hadn't seen before and have located the following company which seem quite reasonable on their prices and also offer a little more variety in jars and bottles. Their website is http://www.jamjarshop for those of you interested in having a browse. They certainly have the Bon_maman jars I was talking about in my earlier post.

Lakeland Alert

Just to let you ladies know Lakeland have added even more items to their preserving range. I popped into our local shop in town on Friday and they now are selling Kilner Preserving jars and seals and also two different types of bottle for storing home made ginger beer a massive set of 9 and then the standard sized bottles with the proper spring lids. They also come in wooden carrying crates. They are approximately £30 a go maybe a little cheaper. They are obviously for the autumn catalogue. They are going to be ideal for making homemade cordials, squashes, home made liqueurs, ginger beer, apple pop, apple cordial. They are a little expensive but for the quantity I think it is a good buy from what I have seen on the Internet. So it may well be worth the investment because once you have these bottles you have them for ever unless you break them. I am a afraid that I am a little sad as I spot jars and bottles which are a useful size or slightly unusual and then save the bottles and seals and recycle them with my own produce in as the variation of bottles etc is not always there.

I was one of the early converts to the Tefal Jam pan which is wonderful for making small quantities of jam whilst being able to get on with something else at the same time. With the set of this you get the Mamade Type jars thick stocky ones and they are ideal for jam and ease of pouring the produce into. I have been in touch with Lakeland about this but they have no plans to add to their list at the moment. Seems a little odd providing things like this with equipment and then not being able to get it. But the only way that you will end up with the items that you want from them is by pestering them with emails. I have done the same thing with regard to a canner as this is something that I would really like as well.


I have also used the sauce bottles from Ascott and they are also very good, not just for sauces but for smaller bottles of cordial too and for storing home made fruit vinegars in. You only limit yourself with what you do with things.

Easy Lemon Mousse

It surprising what these few ingredients will make - go on have a go it is very light and moorish. And don't forget to store your used lemon peel and shells in the freezer to make a batch of home made lemon peel in readiness for Christmas i.e the making of the Christmas cake and the Christmas Pudding. To store all you need do is put the shells into a polythene bag or ziplock bag and just pop in the freezer. The recipe for home made peel I will post up separately. Oohps I mentioned that Christmas word - there must be something in the air.


4 eggs
4oz caster sugar
2 large lemons
1/2 oz gelatine
3 tablespoons water

Separate the eggs out placing the yolks into a bowl with the sugar beating the mixture until pale and creamy. Grate the lemon rind finely and squeeze the juice from both lemons and add to the egg mixture. Place the gelatine into a small bowl or cup with some cold water and leave to stand for approximately 3 minutes to "sponge". Stand the bowl in a pan of simmering water and allow the gelatine to dissolve. Cool slightly and stir in the lemon mixture. Leave for a few minutes until the mixture starts to set. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the lemon mixture. Put in a 2 pint straight sided moulded glass or ovenproof dish or individual sundae dishes.

To freeze: cover with a lid of foil, label and freeze.
To serve from the freezer remove the foil and thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for 4 hours at room temperature.

Grapefruit and Melon Refresher

This is very light and fresh especially if chilled on a hot summers day. But there is a twist, you can freeze it for the winter months as well. This was the starter I had for my wedding breakfast.

1 small ripe melon (I use Honeydew if I can get it)
1 grapefruit peeled and segmented removing as much of the white pith as you can.
2 tablespoons of lime juice (if fresh limes are not available cheat and use lime cordial) it is just as good.
2 oz caster sugar

Halve the melon and remove the seeds. Peel the melon halves cut the flesh into cubes and place into a sturdy container with the grapefruit segments, lime juice and sugar. Leave to stand in the fridge for a minimum of one hour.

To freeze: cover label and freeze
To serve fresh: place mixture into wine glasses
To serve from the freezer: Take out of freezer put in fridge to thaw and leave overnight. Serve in glasses.

Serves approximately 4 servings

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Photographer has lost the plot

No you are not going mad - I have only just noticed that the wrong dates are appearing on the photos published. Now I have got to work out how to stop it doing what its doing. Severe migraine forming!

Many apologies trainee photographer flunked again. Nil points!

Something in the Tins

I don't know whether it is a country thing or not but my Nan always used to do a big bake and keep something in the tins for unexpected guests. It was a formality that she never budged from or compromised and good friends were often offered something to eat several cups of tea from the very large teapot and/or Mazawati coffee; if she had just got a new batch of wine that had recently been bottled an improptu glass of this and that would be offered as well.

To say my Nan was interesting was an understatement. She was a very quiet woman who had her own set of priorities and a christian faith which she did not shove down your neck and allowed you to be yourself. She had a very good sense of what was right and wrong, as did my Popl. She was a very peaceful person and the home that my Granddad (Pop) shared together for 60 years was a very peaceful place a little eden in the madenss of the progressing world. Nan didn't often blow her top but if she did you knew about it. She was also the matriach of our family a very kind, loving generous woman who worked hard all her life and who didn't miss a trick. My early memories of Nan are that she was always on the go very rarely sat down and if you wanted to talk to her you had to join her in what she was doing. I did not really get to know her well until my Granddad died and then we became extremely close.

One of my lasting memories of my Nan is just before she died she had to into a nursing home and the family used to congregate to see her there. On one occasion she had asked my Dad to take a bottle of whisky to her, and a couple of glasses, and there she sat holding court in the nursing home handing out the whisky to family and compatriots. She even tried giving some to the nursing staff as well!

My Nan bless her heart always did a weekly bake and always had lots of goodies in the tins in the pantry, that hallowed place where young people were allowed to peer but not venture into for fear of knocking something over (Nan's pantry was long thin and narrow and had a meat safe esconced in the lower regions as well as flagons of cider, mead and bottles of this and that as well as bottled fruit).

As I got older and she realised that I wasn't going to be breaking or knocking things over - I was allowed in little by little to fetch bits and bobs out for her. Whenever people called in unexpectedly at my Nan's house (there were always people in and out to buy and collect eggs, to buy apples or veg etc.) if it was someone she knew well they would often be invited in for a cuppa tea and a bite to eat; sometimes if pickings were on the wrong day of the week it would just be plain biscuits but if it was a Sunday or Monday just after the bake now that was a different kettle of fish.

Sunday morning was always Masawati Coffee day i.e. piping hot milky coffee with a good tot of rum in it and by gum was that bliss on a cold icy wintry day when the fires were lit and the house was snug as a bug. But those tins - ah the contents of - they were scrummy. Treacle tart, fairy cakes (what everyone refers to as cup cakes) scones, ginger cake, fruit cake, coconut cheesecakes, sausage rolls, chocolate cake, apple tart, rhubarb pies; chocolate coconut, tiffin, scotch pancakes, shortbread, home made baps slathered with butter and potted dog and bread loaves which was lovely for toast and honey for breakfast. All the baking was stored in recycled sweet tins (the big sweet tins like Quality Street or the tins that held biscuits in were always utilised and they were all different shapes and sizes) and added even more fascination to Nan's pantry. This is something that I also do is recycle the sweet tins and use them for popping the baking into.

Much of Nan's big bake was for meals in the week - this was before she got a freezer. Once the freezer was on the scene she used to stuff its gunnels full of goodies for the winter months and the baking would be done as usual for the week utlising all the goodies from her large kitchen garden and the orchards.

It was a different age and a very special time where people cared more for each other but I think that is the country way of life - helping your neighbours in times of difficulty because it could so easily be you. But I feel it is a more honourable way of life.

So don't chuck your sweetie tins/biscuit tins out - recycle them - I use them for storing the baking in, but I also use them for storing lace, tapestry wools, beads - whatever else you can think of and they last for years and years if you look after them well.

Little Treasures

As many of you know my OH is currently out of work like so many other people in this day and age and pennies are tight. Before he lost his job I regularly used to support my local charity shop(s) but unfortunately I have not been able to do this, of late and I have been looking longingly at some of the treasures that I have seen; but have had to walk away. For a time I haven't ventured in as I haven't wanted to be tempted. I have been a little sad of this, because it has been a win win situation as far as I am concerned I have managed to acquire some very lovely bits and pieces for my home which in turn helps fund other projects and people in need. But it has been a case of needs must and all that and you do have to cut your cloth according to your kelt. I love pieces with a story i.e a family story or something that has been found and repaired and made useful again. It may even be the story of how I found it but it all adds to the rich tapestry of our own individual worlds.



Last week I spotted a china wash bowl with a foxglove design on it.It was a good price at just £5. It is minus its ewer but that is not really a problem as I love the bowl as it is and have some ideas as to how I can put it into use.

Here's a close up of the pretty detail



This is more in line with what it would have been used for earlier on its life. That as a refresher bowl within my bedroom. Filled with water and floating rose petals on the top it would be a very refreshing experience - especially on a warm night, whereas normally would have to trundling down to our downstairs bathroom. Now all I have to do is to seek out a suitable wash stand to use it with.

At the minute that may take some time, however I do have the wash stand chair. Its one that belonged to my Nan has canework on it and it has suffered from woodworm in its time. I therefore thought I might give it a new lease of life being as I don't think it will come up too well if I were to re-stain and varnish it which is ideally what I would like to do, so I thought that I would give it a shabby chic look fill in the woodworm holes with filler, sand it down and then paint in cream paint.

I also have a Lloyd loom style nursing chair in apple green. It was the nursing chair my mum's friend used for her daughter who is now in her late forties. When they emigrated to Australia the chair came my way and I have had it ever since. It still has its original cover, but that needs replacing and I hope to work a needlepoint chair cover with roses/rosebuds and/or trellis work to recover it. I don't intend to touch the paintwork itself, just clean it down a little, as it is gilt edged and I don't want to ruin its original patina.

Cream painted accent pieces are a theme in my bedroom in any event mixed with pine; I have a jewellery chest with purple roses painted on; this keeps all my modern jewellery in and was bought as a birthday present by the OH.



I also have a cream quilt stand (formerly a towel rack but I have put it to a better use) and cream wrought iron bed. Then I have big pine wardrobes, and chest of drawers. I currently have an old chest in the bedroom that is neither one thing or another so that may get china handles with little roses on if I can get them and repainted cream. Will have to see.

This morning however, I poked my nose in round at my local charity shop and had a little look around. It's a rarity as it is a church based charity shop so you know whatever is raised is going to a good cause. Even the local vicar takes his turn in the shop. I had no intention of spending anything - there were a couple of bits that I was interested in, including a very tall glass cake stand and mega large one and a glass flower stem plate for turning any container into a flower bowl.I will give it another week or two, and if the items are still there and I have the pennies in my purse then it is meant to be - i.e. serendipity. We will have to wait and see.

However for the princely sum of £1 I have acquired 5 yards+ of cream cotton lace (60 pence) and also a brand new Style paper pattern of a baby's christening gown for 20pence and a 20 pence donation. I thought the pattern had been used so was pleasantly surprised when I opened it to find it had never been used. Something else for me to have a play with. Nothing very much really but something to fire my creativity and to put into use elsewhere. So do look out in the charity shops for the baskets with odds and sods in they often hold little treasures that will inspire creativity and a different use.

A pile of frothy cream cotton lace



Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Everything Stops for Tea



Getting into the swing of having a go at a tea cozy has abstractly tuned me into a song from my childhood. You know how it is when you get a tune in your head and it keeps playing over and over - well this one is doing that to me at the moment. This is by the original artist Jack Buchanan and the song originally comes from a show "Come Out Of The Pantry" (Goodhart / Hoffman / Sigler) I found this little link where the song is actually sung. It is from a much more gentle age where good old English manners were certainly the norm and not unusual like it is today. I have tried to put the link in but for some reason it isn't taking it. It is on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGQASun9d8E.

I am slightly ecclectic in my choice of music, I think it comes from the fact that my father always played the piano when I was a small child and my Granddad used to play the banjo. It was cheap entertainment and good quality family time as well - even if you couldn't sing too well at least it was a good laugh. Karaoke seems to have taken over from the good old fashioned sing song.

If you want to join in the words are below.

EVERYTHING STOPS FOR TEA Featured in Buchanan's 1935 comedy film, "Come Out Of The Pantry" (Goodhart / Hoffman / Sigler) Jack Buchanan
Every nation in creation has its favourite drink
France is famous for its wine, it's beer in Germany
Turkey has its coffee and they serve it blacker than ink
Russians go for vodka and England loves its tea
Oh, the factories may be roaring
With a boom-a-lacka, zoom-a-lacka, wee
But there isn't any roar when the clock strikes four
Everything stops for tea

Oh, a lawyer in the courtroom
In the middle of an alimony plea
Has to stop and help 'em pour when the clock strikes four
Everything stops for tea

It's a very good English custom
Though the weather be cold or hot
When you need a little pick-up, you'll find a little tea cup
Will always hit the spot
Everything stops for tea

You remember Cleopatra Had a date to meet Mark Anthony at three
When he came an hour late she said "You'll have to wait"
For everything stops for tea

Oh, they may be playing football
And the crowd is yelling "Kill the referee!"
But no matter what the score, when the clock strikes four
Everything stops for tea

Oh, the golfer may be golfing
And is just about to make a hole-in-three
But it always gets them sore when the clock yells "four!"
Everything stops for tea

It's a very good English custom
And a stimulant for the brain
When you feel a little weary, a cup'll make you cheery
And it's cheaper than champagne

Now I know just why Franz Schubert
Didn't finish his unfinished symphony
He might have written more but the clock struck four
And everything stops for tea

Healing Corner



Let this little flame enter into your heart, soothe your pain and ease your sorrow
May this little flame this violet flame give hope when your heart is heavy
Let it enter the black spots and lifts the shadows
Remember this little light this burning flame glows for your future
But don't forget to live for today Carpe Dieum
Grasp the mantle and live your dreams while the life force is strong
This little flame lights your way so your path is firm and strong
Let its glowing light penetrate your shadows and lift the pain and sadness
Remember you tread lightly in this world and sometimes your strides are long
Let you tread gently gracefully with dignity and grace


For my friend Jackie who has recently gone an operation for cancer and has to undergo chaemotherapy treatment may she be strong.

For Nita and Paul and their loved ones may they find the strength and love to enjoy today, so that they remember today tomorrow.

For those that have passed before us and wait to hold our hands

And my mother who has to see the Anaesthatist tomorrow.

Please feel free to add your prayers and wishes in for those you respect love and hold in esteem. This is for you and those in need.

Group prayer and hugs can help achieve strengh and unity and positivity.

Let us give a group hug to those in need.

Filling up the Bookshelves





These are just some of the books I have shifted from upstairs to the downstairs front room, I already have a free-standing bookcase which is absolutely chocca full and there are still more to come down.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Sweet Smelling Gifts


Earlier on I posted about collecting ingredients together to make your own home made pot pourri etc. At that time I asked my lovely mum if she would mind collecting any dried flower heads from her garden, particularly the roses. Tonight we popped over to see her for a little while - didn't tell her we were going and surprised her. Bless her she has done as I asked of her she has been collecting the flower petals for me and drying them as I asked and tonight I have bought two jars of dried rose petals home with mer. I am rather chuffed as when it was my parents' 40th wedding anniversary I bought them a Rose for the Garden called Ruby Wedding. It has been a prolific flowerer ever since and it is this rose's flowers that make up the bulk of the petals.

On an even more romantic note, my Grandfather George (mum's dad) on the day that my mum was born he was down at his allotment and brought back a huge bunch of red roses for my Grandmother Dora, and being as she was born in June, mum was called June Rose.



But that is not all I am sat next to a lovely big bunch of lavender which has dried in mum's conservatory and it smells absolutely gorgeous. I am definitely going to be making some lavender bags, to slip into my undies drawer and to keep the sheets sweet smelling in the airing cupboard, and I have a recipe for soap so I think some lavender oil and dried lavender soap is on the cards too.


I consider myself doubly blessed. What a lovely gift.

Thank you mum - I know you pop in from time to time.

Tea Cosy


Well I have done one half of the tea cosy and am pleased as punch with the way it is coming along. Now just have to do the other side. All I need to do now is to find a pattern for the same sort of thing for egg cosies. Think they will look very swish on the breakfast table. Am getting the bug for these and I thought might make some useful Christmas presents. Also have plans for a Cream and Pink set to go with Summer Chintz service that have and also blue and white to go with the T G Green Cornishware crockery I have.



Part 2 under construction

Freezer Preserving


Well on Saturday managed to get a load of small cherry tomatoes that were at a very good price. Have managed to get 6 2 portion bags plus one mega back of small cherry tomatoes into the freezer. I use them up on pizzas, or to add to a soup base, or in chutneys or as part of a fry in the morning. Or cooked with larger and other varieties in a roasting tray in the oven with balsamic vinegar and brown sugar and then when caramelised served on warm hot toast. They have a multitude of uses if stored in their more natural format as that way you can utilise and get the maximum potential out of them. If you run out of tomato juice at Christms for Bloody Mary's for example just defrost some of the cherry tomatoes and put them through the juicer.

So in effect have 6 plus meals taken care of for during the winter months and what better way to perk a meal up than with sweet cherry tomatoes.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

2009.07.12 My Day

Hello everyone I do hope you and yours have had a good weekend.

I have been busy trying to dry the kitchen out this weekend as well as doing normal household chores and also washing, getting it dried outsides without using the tumble drier (trying to save the pennies and the planet. So guess tomorrow night will have a stack of ironing to do.

OH has tried to fix my CD player to my digital stereo system but it looks as though it is going to have to go in to the shop for surgery as the CD player is not playing properly at all, so at least have established what the parameters are in this regard. I had recently bought a CD lens cleaner and also located the instruction book but can you find them when you want them - not a hope. Somewhere safe as usual. They will turn up.

I have also been playing with some knitting. Now I don't consider myself a knitter, I am shall we say work in progress. However the other day I unearthed a load of patterns that I had forgotten about. Some of them I had picked up from a charity shop. And I was browsing as you do and I spotted a tea cosy pattern.

Now to be honest I have had my eye on a similar pattern in our local John Lewis store but they wanted about £10 for it. Now I have quite a bit of odds and sods of wool that I am gradually using up. So I nabbed some of this and started to follow the pattern and I am really chuffed with the way it is coming up. I have chosen an apple green and cream colourway and am nearly through one side (only started late last night)so it may be that If it works out okay be making some for Christmas presents. Its given me all sorts of ideas as to what can and cannot do and to tell you the truth I am actually enjoying playing. I am beginning to wonder if some of the knitting I have done is far too simple for me and that is the reason I am getting bored with it and tend to put it down. Will see how this goes and will hopefully post up some photographs when it is finished. I do like things to look nice.

Some of the odds and sods wool has been used in my crotchet blanket worked in stripes and some of it has been knitted into squares for a throw that is work in progress. I tend to have different things on the go at any one stage, as I cannot always afford to buy the wool am working with or have run out of the filler wool like the cream wool for my striped blanket. But not only that when I come home at night during the week, after concentrating all day long, and after cooking tea etc. sometimes I don't feel like doing very much - and if my hands are really stiff sometimes knitting is a little too much for me.

We have had chicken portions cooked in the oven with onions and garlic, new potatoes, leeks, peas, green beans and cauliflower with loads of gravy. It went down very nicely.

Well its about time the cats were called so I will say goonight and take care of yourselves and I hope this week is good to you.

Catch you all soon.

xx

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Who would have Animals

Well in the past day or so have had one disaster after another - both unexpected both caused by the cats/a cat.

Woke up yesterday morning to an egg encrusted kitchen floor. The cats had got up to where the eggs were being stored and smack a complete tray of eggs everywhere. Was not a happy bunny.

Came and sat down last night left Merlin in the back room supposedly asleep. When I went through to the kitchen later on my way through Merlin was crying, which I thought was a little odd. Got through to the kitchen - he had knocked the kitchen tap on which had overflowed (as I had washing up to do in the sink) and the kitchen floor was under about two inches of water. (I have those lever taps which are easier for me with the arthritis but obviously not cat proof!

I am waiting with baited breath as to what the third hazard is going to be!

Needless to say I am slowly drying out the kitchen!

Catch you all later.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Slithers of Sunlight

Slithers of sunshine through grey black clouds
Spitting rain that lasts for hours
Gentle breezes, gusty gales,
Occasionally it even hails

Golden sunlight gently creeping
Through dell and dale forever seeking
Every nook and cranny thats dark
Opening up the cobwebby parts
Painting a colourful picture in all
Better than steel grey skies so dull

Gentle heat and red hot days
Shimmering gleaming suspended globe in space
Providing heat to nurture growth
Gently spitting, major weeping,
globules of rain pit-pattering, beating
Like a drum, tarum tarum toray

Softly falling, slightly gleaming
Sleet then Snowflakes shimmering light,
Falling quicker, in a dither
Like a feather pillow packed real tight

Slowing fall out, nearly stopping
Leaving virgin snow pristine
Covered pavements, not a foot track
Dustbins wearing fancy hats
Children sledding,calling squealing
Rushing down the slippery ramp

C. Pattypan 2009

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

LAVENDERS BLUE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYrdEBLecZg
Lavender's blue, dilly dilly,
Lavender's green
When you are King, dilly dilly,
I shall be Queen


Who told you so, dilly dilly,
Who told you so?
'Twas my own heart, dilly dilly,
That told me so


Call up your friends, dilly, dilly
Set them to work
Some to the plough, dilly dilly,
Some to the fork


Some to the hay, dilly dilly,
Some to thresh corn
Whilst you and I, dilly dilly,
Keep ourselves warm


Lavender's blue, dilly dilly,
Lavender's green
When you are King, dilly dilly,
I shall be Queen


Who told you so, dilly dilly,
Who told you so?
'Twas my own heart, dilly dilly,
That told me so

Its wonderful to see the lavender in full bloom it creates such a lovely sight and such a lovely fragrance. I don't have any lavender here at the moment,
but one day I aim to have a mini lavender avenue along the path in the back garden edging the lawn and also in the front garden edging the path as well. I intend to set my own seed and grow the plants on and then do some standards as well as having the line.


I absolutely adore Lavender, it smells just so lovely. I have been addicted to lavender since I was a wee tot; one of my first sewing lessons was to make a lavender bag for my mum at school. I remember mine was a green taffeta heart shaped affair trimmed with a dainty white lace. I was so proud to have actually made something and I think then is when I really started to make things. Such little things give lots of pleasure and make your undies smell lovely as well. Unfortunately that lavender bag was lost long ago. Mum used it for many years to scent the sheets in the airing cupboard, refreshing the lavender yearly, but there was a burst with the water tank and it ended up being badly stained and I think thats when mum chucked it.

My mum's neighbour has a full border of lavender in her front garden. She unfortunately does not use the lavender, so mum gets it for me from her. Needless to say I make use of it with little lavender bags and shoe stuffers etc. It scents the linen wonderfully.

Lavender can be used in cookery and one of the recipes that attracts me and one I intend to have a go at some point soon is Lamb cooked in hay with a dressing of lavender flowers on it.

You can also make a lavender sugar for decorating cookies and/or decorating cakes or being incorpoated in the mix. It has to be used in moderation, however here is a cookie recipe

Ingredients

4oz butter
6 tablespoons caster sugar
6 oz plain flour plus a little extra for dusting
2 tablespoon of fresh lavender florets or 1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender roughly chopped.

Cream the butter together with 4 tablespoons of the sugar until light and fluffy and the mixture has gone to a light creamy yellow. Stir in the flour and the lavender and bring the mixture together forming it into a soft ball. Put in a bowl and cover and leave to chill in the fridge for approximately 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C, 400 degrees F or Gas mark 6. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and stamp out about 18 cookies using a heart shaped or disc shaped cutter (or cutter of your choice). Place on a heavy bakin sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until lightly golden.

Leave the cookies standing for 5 minutes then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Pattypan's Flapjacks

I have been making this recipe for flapjacks for years, the original recipe was for half the amount that I use, but then it was a less deep pan that was recommended for use, whereas I use one pan, but deeper so that you get nice chunky slices of flapjack. They go down very well on charity days that we have at work. But to get maximum results I nurse the mixture once it is in the oven checking every so often until the mixture turns a nice golden brown without being overdone.

Oven setting 335 degrees F Gas Mark 3

Ingredients:

8oz margarine
8 level tablespoons golden syrup
6oz granulated sugar
16oz rolled oats
1/2 level teaspoon of salt

Grease your chosen tin well.

Put margarine and syrup in the pan and leave over a low heat until has melted together remove from the heat and then add the sugar, oats and salt. Mix and combine thoroughly.

Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and even out. Cook in a moderate for oven for between 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown (depends on your oven as to the timings, so be careful to nurture it).

Take out the oven and let cool for approximately 5 minutes or so. I then using a plastic spatula mark out slices. I then leave to cook and finish off on a baking rack. Once cool I use a knife on a board to cut into segments.

Enjoy these are very moorish

05.06.2009 My Day

I suppose today has been a really lazy day because of the constant heat and I don't tend to sleep too well in this hot weather. I spent a little while first thing catching up on my favourite blogs and then posting some on here as well.

Its been a kind of introspective day for me today where things and posts have been sparking memories that I thought were dormant but which have come back with a rush of pleasure and a tinge of sadness for what is past.

Yesterday evening I started to re-arrange the books shelves by the fire in the front room - I have a lot of classical literature in lovely bindings, but for practicalities sake have had to box them up and put them out the way so that I can put out some of the books I do use on a constant basis, my preserving and cooking books and my craft books. That is still work in progress as there are still some more to come down later on and there are still more books to box and put up. And I have an ever growing wish list of books that I would eventually like at some point. I love my books and use them extensively. There is no hope for me where books are concerned, I love them; love looking at them it is a very tactile experience for me. I don't like cd/dvd books it really is not the same.

At the moment I have lots of ideas of what I would like to do, and am busy gatthering little bits and bobs together like pretty fabrics, muslins etc. and then I intend to have a serious play. I would also like to have a go at candle making and soap making in due course. I have also created a "shopping list" for all those items I need to have a serious play.

I have courgettes only little ones, but one of them will be rather nice roasted with the pork I think. Don't laugh its only a wee one but it is my first courgette this season



Then melon and ginger for sweet, or the remnants of a home made tarte tatin which I had for tea last night with ice cream. It was absolutely scrummy as the pictures below show.





I also managed to get a lot of cheap peppers for 50 pence a bag which I have prepared for the freezer - I make a lot of stir-fried meals where a bit of everything goes in - its a good way of using up what you have in the fridge. So have 5 bags of two plus portion bags esconsed in the freezer together with a couple of bags of leaks. So I am quite pleased that for a little bit of effort on my part I have 5 potential veggies for stir fried/chicken dishes during the week.



We have had torrential rain this afternoon, but we needed it - we only had it for a little while but it has freshened up everything which I am quite pleased about. Mind you the cats weren't too happy and came flying in the back door rather rapidly.

Whilst I was doing the preparation for tonight's tea, I got a visitor/Administrator - she came to oversee operations, and came and parked herself on the open kitchen window ledge a strip of approximately 3 inches. When it comes to food she just has to poke her nose in. Bless her heart - she is every hopeful of an extra tit bit here and there. Of all my cats, Squeak is the one who has to be near me if not on me and is usually the first to greet me in a morning.



We are having roast pork for dinner tonight with sage and onion stuffing, home made apple sauce. I prepped all the vegetables earlier on, we are having roast potatoes, roast parsnip and onion, new potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, shredded buttered cabbage, peas and a little mashed potato and gravy.






And here are the cooked items







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Memories

I love the Moon that big bright glowing orb that hangs in our skies in all her glory once a month and its full moon in a couple of days time. I am now supposedly a grown adult, and I still adore the moon, but as a child I was always very aware of the moon in all her glory. I was always fascinated by the shadows that the moon used to cast and the silvery moon beams as they used to reflect off items. Pure magic to a child who flew on magic carpets to Egypt with her father at bedtime, ,saw the sphinx the pyramids and camels roaming under a massive expanse of sky. These were my normal bedtime stories and we couldn't wait for bedtime as my father was a born story teller and kept us entranced. My father encouraged my imagination and gave me a place to go to escape once life got too tough in the big wild world.

To me she, the Moon is magnificent and always has been - sometimes more beautiful than at others especially when you get a proper harvest moon when she seems to develop a golden glow. Note that I use the term "she" for to me it is the female energy I pick up on more than the male.

We often used to go and see my grandparents when I was younger and then come back late at night. The radio would be on, the programme being "Sing Something Simple" and we would as a family have a good sing song on the way home - not that I can sing terribly well but would have a go. They would range from children's rhymes, folk songs to other current popular songs, like Four Wheels on my Wagon, but even now all these years later I still remember them they are a huge hidden part of my life even now. A regular was Aiken Drum (unfortunately I do not know who the author is/was)

Aiken Drum

There was a man lived in the moon,
lived in the moon, lived in the moon,
There was a man lived in the moon,
and his name was Aiken Drum.

And he played upon a ladle,
a ladle, a ladle,
And he played upon a ladle,
and his name was Aiken Drum.

And his hat was made of good cream cheese,
of good cream cheese, of good cream cheese,
And his hat was made of good cream cheese,
and his name was Aiken Drum.

And he played upon a ladle,
a ladle, a ladle,
And he played upon a ladle,
and his name was Aiken Drum.

And his coat was made of good roast beef,
of good roast beef, of good roast beef,
And his coat was made of good roast beef,
and his name was Aiken Drum.

And he played upon a ladle,
a ladle, a ladle,
And he played upon a ladle,
and his name was Aiken Drum.

And his buttons made of penny loaves,
of penny loaves, of penny loaves,
And his buttons made of penny loaves,
and his name was Aiken Drum.

And he played upon a ladle,
a ladle, a ladle,
And he played upon a ladle,
and his name was Aiken Drum.

And his breeches made of haggis bags,
haggis bags, haggis bags,
And his breeches made of haggis bags,
and his name was Aiken Drum.

And he played upon a ladle,
a ladle, a ladle,
And he played upon a ladle,
and his name was Aiken Drum.

Another was

By the Light of the Silvery Moon by Doris Day. I was a big Doris Day fan as a child and I still love her songs.

By the light of the silvery moon
I want to spoon
To my honey I'll croon love's tune
Honey moon, keep a-shinin' in June
Your silv'ry beams will bring love's dreams
We'll be cuddlin' soon
By the silvery moon

Place - park, scene - dark
Silv'ry moon is shining through the trees
Cast - two, me - you
Summer kisses floating on the breeze
Act one, be done
Dialog - where would ya like to spoon?
My cue, with you
Underneath the silv'ry moon

By the light of the silvery moon
I wanna spoon
To my honey I'll croon love's tune
Honey moon, keep a-shinin' in June
Your silv'ry beams will bring love's dreams
We'll be cuddlin' soon by the silvery moon

Act two, Scene - new
Roses blooming all around the place
Cast - three, You - me
Preacher with a solemn-looking face
Choir sings, bell rings
Preacher: You are wed forever more
Act two, all though
Every night the same encore

By the light, not the dark but the light
Of the silvery moon, not the sun but the moon
I wanna spoon, not croon, but spoon
To my honey I'll croon love's tune
Honeymoon, honey moon, honey moon
Keep a-shinin' in June
Your silv'ry beams will bring love's dreams
We'll be cuddlin' soon
By the silvery moon
The silv'ry moon..

I think becuase my father's life revolved around music, the imagination, writing, reading what was called the fine arts, he transferred his passions on to me and to my nephews. My grandfather played the banjo and used to keep us entertained by playing the banjo on wet days and having us sing along with him. My Granddad really could play the banjo and I have never heard anyone play "Duelling banjos" quite like Pop did since. Apparently in his youth he was offered a full time job with a Dance band, but he did not take it up as he had a young family to support. My uncle played the banjo also but wasn't as good as my granddad. Uncle also played the drums. My Dad played violin, piano, church organ and cathederal organ.

Dad had a wale of a time with my nephews - he really enjoyed them.My brother and I were only the warm up act. I don't play any instrument, but my brother played the violin, my nephews both play the flute, so even now we still have these special gifts within the family passed on from one generation to another.

Ah special times that have passed but never forgotten.

Ice Creams and Sorbets

Now that summers here how about planning a few special treats for either in the week after the children get home from school or for Sunday afternoon Tea. Here are a few well tried recipes for your delectation.


Makes approximately 1 3/4 to 2 pints of ice cream

Ingredients

10-12 Mandarins to make about 18 fl oz of juice if using fresh Mandarins)
(You can use canned Mandarins for this recipe but because they are far sweeter reduce the amount of sugar to 7oz)
Juice of an orange
9oz caster sugar
9fl oz double cream plus some for serving
Mandarin segments to decorate

Method

If using fresh mandarins divide them into segments and then whizz them up in a food processor with the orange juice, whizz for about a minute and then strain though a fine sieve. Measure 18 fl oz of juice - use any extra for something else or a fresh drink. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.

Whip up the cream and fold in the juice. Spoon the mixture into a plastic or stainless steel bowl to mould and then freeze for at least 2 to 2 1/2 hours until soft frozen.

Take the mixture out and whisk then return it back to its mould (this is to break the ice crystals up so that they are finer). Cover the cling film and place in the freezer for at least 3 to six hours.

Unmould the ice cream about 15 minutes before it is required then decorate to taste adding extra cream and mandarins or other decoration of your choice liked flaked chocolate or mint sprigs.

Thinking on this I think I am going to have a go with a few of the other different tinned fruits to see how they turn out.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Come Walk with me

Come walk with me my friend a little way
To keep each other company as we travel on our paths each day
Through thick and thin through strife and many problems all untold
Its the depth that varies, not the thickness nor the fold

To smell the roses, love the light and dance the dance
Be it a waltz a quick step or a quick romance
There are days that are happy, full of smiles and grace
Where sun shines lovingly and fleetingly upon your face
A grin that glows and spreads panoramically from ear to ear

Then there are days of gentle summer dripping rain
Trickling, till puddles form again
Or sunny soothing warm enchanted days
With brilliant sunsets in the sky beautifully displayed
Or gusty winds that gather speed apace

Whether it be on a country path or polluted city road
Or through a wood, or bending river or the lode
Or lightning and thunder completely in your face
Its the journey that defines who we are and what we we face

Not the objects or scoring points or causing strife
Its the lessons that we learn that define our fate.
We remember, learn and then hold onto someone else's hand.
It offers comfort and support and strength of mind

So come dear friend lets share and pass what time we have
And make the most of opportunities that come our way then pass
And to love each other for our good points not our bad
To do any other would make me sad.

A Warts and all friendship where we don't have to explain
We are loved unconditionally for ourselves not state of play
So come dear friend, walk a little way with me
As our walk takes us near and past the sea
Where the shell bleached white it rests on the golden sand

In the distance the dolphins and the porpoise play and have such sport
And the waves gently break, on the golden sand
Where the sea horse runs not walks.
So come dear friend walk with me a little way
For tomorrow we may not pass another day

Pattypan

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)