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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Its been a cold old day here in Peterborough. I went into town to meet up with two of my good friends at lunch. I was wrapped snug and warm in a thick heavy duty fishing jacket and thick gloves and by the time I got back into the office my hands had gone blue and I had lost the circulation in them. Trouble is makes my hands hurt big time and then I had to type this afternoon.



We are fortunate, snow has hit many parts of the country and the temperatures we are experiencing are peanuts compared to some places. I am very thankful for small mercies and have every sympathy for those who are indeed experiencing bad weather and the power cuts that usually follow. For those of you in that situation take care keep warm and be safe.



I am now esconced in the house in the warmth; I have a little Jack Russell curled up fast asleep next to me on the settee. Legs extended out in front of her dead to the world. One of her ears insists on flapping back, (not a pretty sight and the other half does not like to see her like this) her toes are twitching and she is dreaming, I can feel the spasms passing through her small body. Probably chasing that rabbit that always seems to get away from her or that blooming pigeon which she just cannot tolerate. I am hoping that we have peace and quiet tonight. Last night at about 3.15 a.m. Tyson my ginger tom decided he was coming in the bedroom to sleep and he woke Missy up and she started barking and went flying after him and just would not shut up. Little horror - he only wanted to snuggle up as well. Needless to say he retreated to where he came from i.e. the back bedroom.



All the cats are in, spoilt lot they don't like the cold either and are all draped in their usual poses in favourite positions in the back room. Ah such is life!

Take care

Pattypan

xx

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Waste Not Want Not

Ever made some special recipe and bought in items you don't normally have to make it such things as wine, coconut cream, herbs, ginger, chilli and end up with too much. Why not freeze them and other suitable ingredients down in individual ice cube trays and then if you need a touch of this or a touch of that you have it already and just need to pop it out of the ice cube tray or if you have decanted into a polythene bag out the bag. Items such as wine can be added to casseroles and stews and to gravy and/or sauces to give extra flavour and what better than popping fresh herbs in the midst of winter out of the freezer. All helps to pep your meals up and stops wastage.

Grow Your Own Drugs Series 2 Part 2

Just a gentle reminder that the second part of the new Grow Your Own Drugs series is on BBC2 Television tomorrow evening at 8.00 p.m.

Recipes included in this weeeks programme which is entitled incredible edibles and includes recipes for:-

Oats and almond Moisturising Body cream
Restorative Pear and Watercress Soup
Onion Gargle for throat infections
Turmeric Tae Halia for Arthritis
Quick Fix Tae Halia

Monday, 29 March 2010

Words

We are all the sum total of our many experiences in life
As without experiences we do not learn and do not have personal knowledge
of how to deal with things, how to approach things
and how not to do things
(sometimes learning not how to do things is the most important lesson)
Therefore our individual experiences are many and varied
but we are all unique and different
Instead of feeling threatened or being jealous of the
abilities and accomplishments of someone else
Celebrate those differences as without their shared knowledge and support
We could well be stuffed
So instead of being afraid and stand offish
Embrace and enjoy the experience as if we
did not have these challenges and experiences
We would stagnate and perish
Therefore greet each day with new energy
New love and celebrate the differences
Remember you are unique!
Dare to be different BE YOU!
Pattypan 2010

2001.03.29 My Day and Plans

Its been a cold day here in Peterborough today and it has rained. The dampness has made my joints stiff and I have been moving around rather gingerly throughout the day, at one stage getting so stiff I had to get up from my desk and move around. Needless to say have had the heating on again to keep warm. I also think with putting the clocks forward an hour it always takes it out of you for a few days until the the inner body clock adjusts.

I am looking forward to Easter and a few days at home to play catch up and do some of the things have been putting off for a while and doing a bit of cooking. I like time to play and don't get as much time to indulge as I would like. I also want to make another batch of sweet onion and garlic chutney which is absolutely delish - its one of my favourite preserves. I have a sack of onions that is throwing up the odd onion in shoots, so rather than waste them I tend to do a batch of a preserve like this which goes with anything and is particularly good with cheese, without wasting anything. I then go and get a fresh net of onions from the local shop. A large sack only costs a couple of pounds. I use onions a lot.

I have done some more washing tonight and got the clean washing loaded into the tumbler, and have saved on those items that don't need ironing by putting them straight onto hangers as soon as the tumbler has finished, and then putting them up to air before popping them back into the wardrobes/drawers. I do love the scent of clean washing, although I prefer if I can to get the stuff out on the line to dry. I still air everything and even have an old style wooden clothes airer that is in three parts and opens out. Makes a very good tent for youngsters to play in once draped with an old sheet or blanket so the little uns can play in relative safety. Ideally, I would like one of those Victorian Airers that goes up into the ceiling but I don't have room here. They are very practical for getting clothes dry, and aired. They are also useful for loading up with saucepans and pans, and for drying herbs and dry flowers on. Very practical.

We had the remnants of the Sunday dinner fron yesterday for tea. I went out to lunch with a friend today and had lasagne for my lunch. OH therefore had a cooked Sunday dinner again, and I had the remnants of the Rib of Beef in a sandwich with some onion relish. Very tasty and as I wasn't very hungry it filled the space.

Think it will be a scratch meal for tomorrow night. Probably egg, bacon and sausage with tomatoes or beans. I have quite a bit to be getting on with.

I do need to get some little easter eggs tomorrow as I plan on doing some cup cakes with a cream swirled topping giving the idea of a nest and then placing two or three eggs in the top. I have managed to find a couple of my fancy baking tins, one a tray of half eggs and the other bunny rabbits, as well as the lamb cake tin that I got last year. Am looking forward to having a play.

I have been following Raymond Blanc's Kitchen secrets and tonight he dealt with bread. I noticed that he used a Kenwood Mixer to actually make his bread with, so might have a play at the weekend. I would also like to have a go at making some home made pasta. Must remember to get some ricotta and some spinach as well as some goats cheese later in the week. Would like a piece of lamb for dinner on Sunday, and also some fish for Good Friday with a poached egg on top. Just simple fare that has stuck for this particular celebration from my childhood.

So am planning, one or two things, will have to see how we get on.

Catch you all later.

Pattypan

xx

Thought for the Day

Everytime
You don't follow

Your Inner Guidance
You feel a loss
Of Energy,
Loss of Power,
A sense of Spiratual deadness
(SHAKTI GAWAIN)
Therefore Trust and learn to listen to your Inner Voice

Saturday, 27 March 2010

2010.03..27 My Day

I slept in this morning a little longer than I had planned on, but never mind I have made up for it since.

Its been a lovely sunny day here for the best part but chilly in the shade. We had a very respectable start to the day by going to pay a visit to our local butcher at Willowbrook Farm in Helpston. They have a lovely big traditional breed butchery which also has seasonal game, jams, pickles, flour, fresh veg, a small frozen section, regular offers on bulk buys and lots more besides. We came away with a rib of beef for tomorrow's dinner, a gammon knuckle, rib eye steaks, boar sausages, smoke back bacon, plain streaky bacon, Quenby Hall Stilton, Gooseberry Jam, a lemon and lime curd, horseradish sauce, tartare sauce and Apricot Preserve with chesnut liquer (have bought this to try to see if I like before I have a go at making myself or finding a suitable recipe). I don't often buy jams etc but if I see something I like the look of which is different I will often buy to see if I like or its worth making before making a batch up and not liking it. Oh and I also got a tray of eggs.

Missy came with us of course, but because she is not allowed in, OH stayed outside with her. They have a cafe which serves lovely food as well and there were benches outside, so we had our breakfast in a very civilised fashion, bacon sandwiches with a pot of tea. It was delicious. It was also lovely to be outside in the fresh air after being cooped up in an office all week.

OH wanted to watch the qualifying for the grand prix, and whilst he was so engaged I went to the veg shop and stocked up with fresh veg for the week. They had fresh purple sprouting broccoli in so I have bought a bundle of that. If you have never had this before, you don't know what you are missing. It has a lot of flavour and is very good for you. Parsnips, carrots, sweet potato, cauliflower, celery, spring onions cherry tomatoes and lettuce. Oh and I nearly forgot a new sack of potatoes. I still have a few left in the old sack but knew if I didn't get another sack soon wouldn't be able to get one. So what's left in the old sack I am going to cook up and mash and put in the freezer. I might also do some bubble and squeak cakes for OH to use when he has a fry up. I tend to go through a sack of potatoes in about six to eight weeks as a rule and it is far cheaper buying by the sack than from the supermarket.

The rest of the day has been spent in cleaning and cooking. For tea tonight we have had rib eye steak with home made chips, fried onion, mushroom and cherry tomatoes, salad leaves, coleslaw and bread and butter. All downed with a glass of cider. Very tasty it was too. I use a griddle for cooking everything on it gives a very good result, plus you can get more on than in a frying pan.

I have also stocked up on milk for the week as well. We usually get through about 4 litres a week.

Sadly I didn't get into the garden today. OH has promised will do the washing line for me tomorrow so that I can get the washing dry. Just hope the weather is okay.

Don't forget to turn the clocks forward tonight.

Take care wherever you may be.

Friday, 26 March 2010

More Gardening Bits and Bobs 2

I had a few pennies spare again this week and ever mindful of my stomach and the fact that I want a proper kitchen garden I have acquired a few more bits and bobs courtesy of Wilkinsons and the Pound Shop.

As we have been having better weather I thought I would save on using the tumble drier where I could and get the washing out in the fresh air. The washing always smells so much fresher once it has had a good blow outside, only problem was my washing line kept breaking. I have therefore bought a bright blue washing line and some new pegs in white pink and blue so that I can make use of the better weather and save my energy bills. For £2.75 I have a 30 metre line and 48 brand new pegs. Now all we need is the better weather. Its been raining here again on and off all day.

Today I have invested in 12 asparagus plants for £8. It is indicated not to crop them in the first year, but only start picking from the second year, so although not an immediate return this year, they should if they grown go on to produce asparagus for the next 15 years. These are the only plants I have bought today.

So to recap I have already:

First Early potatoes
Golden Shallots
Horseradish
2 Rhubarb
1 Horseradish
Mixed Mushrooms

I have however bought some jute string and some plant labels and a couple of fleece blankets for protecting crops.

I am going to try and get a few things each week. Still on the list to acquire are:
2 more rhubarb different variety
1 more horseradish plant
Garlic
Elephant Garlic
Button Mushrooms
Strawberry Plants
Figs
Redcurrants
Tayberry
Raspberries
Blackberries
Blueberries
Grapes white and black
Maincrop potatoes

I also would like
Heartsease
Pansies
Peonys
Roses
Rambling Roses
Passiflora
Lillies

Thats just for starters.

We will have to see how things go on, but I am determined to get the Kitchen Garden up and running as anything I can grow will help assist with food for the family whether it be in the freezers, or pickled, bottled, jammed or dried or turned into plonk. Its the squirrel instinct coming to the fore again. I may not be the most adept gardener out there, but I am going to learn what I can, and try and grow as much as I can to try and keep my family healthy. I can but only try.

If it is fine tomorrow the herbs are going to be set from seed - I use a lot of herbs during the year. Hey ho will have to see what tomorrow will bring. Note to myself - must check weather forecast!

Catch you all later

Thursday, 25 March 2010

2010.03.25 My Day

Its been a long day today; I have had quite a bad headache for most of the day and felt lethargic and stiff to what I was yesterday. It started reasonably bright but it soon started raining and it has been on and off all day.I hated rain as a child I hate it more as an adult as when it is wet and damp the bones and my joints ache quite badly and moving becomes difficult, But never mind, we need the rain to grow the crops to feed us all. Where would we be without water - in a right old mess. And I will be alright once the rain has gone.

I have been trying not to have the heating on as much since the weather has been warmer, but tonight I have succumbed. It has been pelting down with rain most of the evening and I got cold. Missy has been curled up on my lap fast asleep for most of the evening, quite content, curled up tight. I have been watching a lovely programme about a couple building a new house in the country using lots of reclaimed items from abroad and this country and by the end of the programme not completely finished but something very special in the making. Sort of put a new perspective on things really. By giving lots of things that just needed a little renovation a second life. The results were pretty spectacular and stunning. Its surprising what can be done with a little vision.

Its nice to see the resurgence of interest in crafts and cookery etc and people going back to basics. Not a bad thing in the grand scheme of things, especially when things are a tad tough. Its not necessarily the winning of a situation that is the important bit but how you acquit yourself and deal with things in general. Those are the important lessons, the ones that stay with you and form part of your own personal template for dealing with life. Only learned through real life and experience.

My Nan every year used to make a clippie rug that was made out of old knitted jumpers or cotton rags and which formed a thick chunky rug pulled through old potato sacks (hessian ones) or cotton flour bags. I watched her from a small child to a grown adult make one year in year out I have the makings of one on the go at the moment but I am using old denim jeans to make a thick durable cotton rug or rugs for the dining room and kitchen. Hopefully I will be able to start the rug itself this weekend - I have loads of strips already cut and really want to start playing and creating this functional rug of an evening when I get home from work. It will be something born out of nothing really I love home made things; its a way of giving your home individuality and often these simple home made items have far more charm and appeal than mass produced items. I really have so much I want to get done but settling down to it at the moment I am finding a tad challenging, but we will get there.

We have had egg and bacon for tea tonight a scratch meal but it went down extremely well. I was starving.

Well will have to get on, Missy has climbed up on my lap, where the computer is currently resident and is trying to edge it out so she can sit there. There is no peace for the wicked so will have to come back to you all another day. She shows her frustration through deep meaningful sighs!

Keep well until then.

Pattypan (aka Tricia)

x

I Would be True

I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
I would be friend of all - the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving and forget the gift;
I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
I would look up - and laugh - and love - and lift.
HOWARD ARNOLD WALTER (1883 - 1918)

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Grow Your Own Drugs

After the very helpful series last year series 1 and the Christmas special we now have another few weeks of watching a very useful programme using ingredients around us and easily availble to us to make home made lotions potions etc. A little bit of hubble bubble, but with a completely fresh outlook. In fact I think James Wong, has gone a long way to de-mystifying the remedies that were available to our forbears, and which have sadly gone out of fashion. I think he has managed to put the zing and wow factor back and people are re-discovering that they can help themselves without having to spend the earth and the added bonus is everything is very very natural.

If you haven't tuned in yet - its on again next Tuesday night on BBC2. Here's the link if you want to find out more. http:www.bbc.co.uktvfeatures/growyourowndrugs/s2

Programme 1 provides recipes for:

Anti-dandruff hair oil
Herb butter for migraine
Wormwood and sage moth repellant
Angelica and Mint Cocktail for indigestion

When the herb garden really springs into action I am really going to have fun playing with these recipes. It may be one to mark even if you don't use the recipes just yet. Remember if you have them you can always use them.

Profound Words

Most of what I really needed to know about, how to live,

and what to do, I learned in kindergarten....

These things I learned. Share everything. Play fair.

Don't injure people. Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours.

Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands

before you eat. Learn some and think some; draw and paint,

sing and dance, play and work everyday some.

When you go out into the outside world, watch for traffic.

Be aware of the sense of wonder.......

The Golden Rule is Love......

Think of what a better world it would be if we all had a basic policy

for our nation and other nations - to always put things back

where we found them and clean up our own mess.



ROBERT FULGHUM (Born 1937)

.......a basic decency and goodness

I read this today and it resonated deeply within me. I hope it makes you feel the same way.

....... a basic decency and goodness

Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness.

If he listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what

it is the world needs most. It is not complicated

but it takes courage. It takes courage for a person to listen

to his own goodness and act on it
PABLO CASALS (1876-1973)

Sunday, 21 March 2010

2010.03.21 My Day

Well the weather has been lovely here today; the sun has been out the weather almost balmy reminiscent of a summers day. But today is the first full day of Spring and the promise of things to come. The season of rebirth, growth, survival, the resurgence of life after the long days of winter. This lovely weather is making me feel invigorated and strong, and that I have a deep root system that stands me in good stead. May all of you reach your potential and dreams in the weeks and months to come.

I have had a very pleasant day. Been doing some cleaning as is per the norm most weekends. I have also started to tidy some bits in the garden. The cats have had their freedom for most of the day and we have had no rain so they have been pleased to be out and about Then we went off to the garden centre and had a mooch around there. There was lots I would like, I am especially thinking fruit bushes, trees,canes, plants and food plants. I was particularly taken by a peach/nectarine tree - dwarf ones both off the same rootstock. We were able to take Missy round with us which was nice and she behaved herself well. I have been particularly interested in the different varieties of mushroom that are becoming available. In fact a couple of days ago I was only speaking to the OH about getting some logs, and mushroom impregnated plugs to grow our own in the garden. He didn't seem too keen, but whilst we were browsing today we not only found plugs but also grain impregnated with the spoor and a slightly different way of growing the mushrooms. OH treated me to a kit which is three fibre boards at £4.99 and we bought three packets of spoor back with us @ £3.49 a pack. The varieties we bought back are Shitake, Golden Oyster, and Pink Oyster. There are also Pearl Oyster and white and Chestnut Button mushrooms although the board kit is not suitable for these last two varieties.



















After our rummage round the Garden Centre we took her for a walk down by the river, but the wind started to get up a little and it was chilly; neither of us had taken a coat with us so it got more than a tad chilly and we were pleased to get into the warmth.


Lets just say little girl you have had a busy day so much so now all she wants to do is relax






We have had a lovely tea tonight, Roast lamb, studded with garlic and rosemary sprigs. Very tasty it was too. Served with mashed potatoes, peas, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower and lashings of gravy and mint sauce. Didn't have time to make a pudding, but then again I don't think we really needed one as we had loads to eat. Watched Countryfile which I love watching followed by Lark Rise to Candleford then the Seven Ages of Britain. Am currently watching Restoration Man. I like watching programmes where properties are restored to life and re-born like the Phoenix out of the ashes.

We have had Missy having a wappy moment earlier on. I have one of my 50th birthday balloons suspended off the curtain pole in the bedroom OH put the ceiling fan on as he is watching TV upstairs, which fluttered the balloon. She hasn't stopped barking since. I have removed the balloon and put it where she can't see it and she is still barking at it. Doh!
Hope you have all had a lovely weekend too.
Catch you all soon.
Pattypan
xx

More Gardening Bits and bobs




I was so pleased with the Cloches I bought the other day (I bought two at £1 each) that on Friday I went and bought 4 more. They may only be cheap but will enable me to start off some salad leaves under cover so that we have regular fresh lettuce etc withouth having to pay an arm and a leg. It tends to be pricy in the shops. Also you can't get it much fresher and more full of vitamins I also bought four bags of golden shallots, a horseradish root and another Rhubarb.

I have my eye on some more rhubarb plants a different variety, strawberry plants, asparagus plants, onion sets, maincrop potato sets ( and some salad potatoes would like to get some pink fir apple and some charlotte, or Ratte). Having to do a little at a time as not many pennies - then again am not on my own. Have been utilising the pound shops and Wilkinsons. Would also like some fruit bushes such as gooseberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, whitecurrants etc. Would also like to get some red onion sets and reddy/pink shallots.Will have to see what can afford.

I have been looking through the Dobies Catalogue this evening and they have quite a lot of new products available. Would also like some apple plum and pear trees, but will have to see. I see that they have gourmet mushroom plugs available for Lion's mane mushrooms; oyster mushrooms, shitake mushrooms. They are also doing oyster mushroom straw kits and selling button mushroom grain spawn. I am very partial to oyster mushrooms.

Will probably set some cress seed tomorrow as I love egg n salad cream sarnies with a sprinkling of cress on the top.
Am going to a local garden centre today to see what they have available - just for a look a bit of plotting and planning. Am after getting some Comfrey plants to use as a feed, so will have to keep ,my eye open.
The water butt needs sorting out so will get that done shortly. Then its a matter of sorting out a compost bin as compost is the key to keeping healthy crops.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

2010.03.21 Menu for Sunday

Normally on a Sunday we tend to have a bruch type breakfast sometimes a full english other times Tea and Toast or Croissants and jam and./or a fruit salad. Nothing set in concrete for Sunday breakfast, will use what I have available in the fridge.

Mid-day or later usually a sandwich on the run. Although I do have some risotto left so I might have some of that instead. See what we feel like. The main dish of the day is Sunday Dinner.


Sunday Dinner Roast Lamb, minted peas, mashed potato, carrots, cauliflower and roast parsnip, sweet potato and roast potato.

And something for pudding. Quite fancy a steamed Golden Syrup pudding. Will see if I have enough time to make one.

2010.03.20 My day

I have sort of had a moochy day today doing a bit of this and doing a bit of that. I have also been for a very long walk down by the River Nene and through a wild area that is now a boarded walk. Needless to say Missy came with us. She is very funny to watch when she is off the lead, she runs in circles and figures of eight, is always on the go and seems to relish the freedom of being off the lead and being able to scent out new things. She does not like pigeons, barks at them and then if they start to hop off she goes flying after them. Difference is she does not fly. The same with rabbits. Mind you someone went by on a bicyle and she chased them as well. Crazy animal.

Needless to say we were having a lovely walk, the wildlife and vegetation seems to be a good 3 to 4 weeks behind, nettles are only just starting to sprout up, (I was looking as would like to have a go at some nettle gnocchi, some nettle beer and some nettle wine). The Catkins are just starting to blossom and there was some pussy willow buds in bloom not many. The willow is still bare but sprouting out of its base trunk, and is the most marvellous mix of colours.

We were walking along talking with Missy out front - next thing we know she has stepped off the board walk - we believe because there was grass under the surface of the water - the next thing we knew Missy was in - the look of shock on her face spoke volumes, but she swam - her first experience of water and she got out herself. We had only walked a short way further along before she was in again this time by choice. I only wished we had had a camera with us. So I think we have a bit of a water baby on our hands.

I am a bit of a newbie to growing certain crops, potatotes being one of them so I have been reading what to do and am also starting to plan out what I am going to do with the Garden and I am learning and enjoying the process.

The potato sets I bought in the week are Pentland Javelin which are apparently a first early. You are supposed to plant them now and between May. As mine only have a few sprouts on them they need chitting. Not sure what this entailed, but on reading the River Cottage Veg Patch book indicates that chitting means leaving the potato sets in a tray in the light so that they form chits or nodules i.e the start of new growth - the preferred chits per potato seed being two to three. They are therefore in a tray loose in one of my mini greenhouses to enocourage these chits. Once these chits are formed I apparently need to dig a hole and into this hole I need to put some manure and some scrunched up newspaper then placing in the chitted potato about 20cm down or 10cm for earlies placing the potato in chits up; preparing the potatoes this way is supposed to help them along.

Then we have to wait for the potato tops to show and then I have to do something called "earthing up" and this is achieved from what I have read by raking up the soil around the plants to create a ridge of potatoes, which protects the potatoes and prevents light getting to them as otherwise they would be green and inedible. Earthing up also helps with weeding. As flowers appear on the tops remove them as this will help increase the yield.

To harvest

First earlies and second earlies will keep for a week or so only.

Maincrop allow these to dry in the sun for a day or two before storing somewhere dark in hessian or paper bags.

My dad always used to say that Potatoes were a good crop to grow on soil that hadn't been used for growing anything recently as it helped clean the ground out.

Well I have made a start. Will report back when the potatoes have chitted and I come to plant them.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Squash Risotto with Goats Cheese and Crispy Sage

I have never made a risotto before and so I am having a bash at one for tonight's tea. Yes I have had various forms of risotto at posh restaurants but never at home. And even if I don't get it quite right at least it will be work in progress and another different type of meal to add to my repertoire.


So here goes nothing. I am shortly about to start and will report back later on.

The recipe I am using comes from the River Cottage Veg Patch book by Mark Diacono.

Ingredients

900ml vegetable stock
1 medium onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 sage leaves finely chopped about 2 tablespoon
1-2 garlic cloves chopped
250g arborio rice
small glass white wine
375g squash or pumpkin peeled weight diced small

To finish
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
about 16 sage leaves
75g piece of Parmesan or Pecorino (or tasty cheddar)
2 Goats cheese logs (Mini ones not big ones)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the stock in a pan until almost boiling and then keep hot over a very low heat.





In a heavy based saucepan sweat the onion in the olive oil until soft but not browned about 10 to 15 minutes.


Add the chopped sage and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Now add the rice and stir to coat the grains with the oil then add the wine and stir until most of the liquid has been absorbed.



Pour in about a third of the hot stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until almost all the stock has been absorbed stirring regularly but not all the time. Add the squash or pumpkin and a little more stock and continue to simmer gently stirring occasionally until the stock has been absorbed. Continue to add more stock a little at a time until the pumpkin is soft and the rice is nicely al dente.

You may not need all of the stock, the texture of the finished risotto should be loose and creamy. I add one log of goats cheese at this point pinched into smallish pieces and to melt into the risotto mixture.


When it is almost ready heat the sunflower in a small pan and fry the whole sage leaves fora few seconds until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.


Now its time for the final stage that adds so much of the creaminess to the dish. Stir in the butter and the grated cheese and season well adding slices of the goats cheese to the dish stir through until meltingly gooey. Divide between serving bowls and throw a few crispy sage leaves over each portion. Grate the rest of the cheese over the bowls of risotto Serves 4



UPDATE:
Wasn't too bad for a first attempt, tasty and very filling. OH had one complaint it had no meat in it! Men!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

2010.03.18 My Day

Its been a long old day today - started off cold and then went warm then colder again. I don't function too well in the cold it stiffens up my joints and makes them very painful. Have had a chinese for tea this evening, that's why I didn't post up a Menu for today. It had fresh pineapple in and that's helped a little bit.The rest of the evening have had phone calls from friends which has been quite nice and have play catch up

Am very tired at the moment and just want to sleep. Hopefully will get some time to play at the weekend.

Missy seems to have recovered with the foot problem that she has had and is chasing around all lary again. She is so fussy and very funny. She comes chasing up the stairs in the morning has to be with me as I get dressed, trying to trip me up in the process, but she is lovely. This morning we woke up and there was Tyson my ginger tom on his back all his feet in the air flat out and Missy was the same on the bed feet in the air. What a pair.

Will catch up tomorrow evening.

Take care

pattypan

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Spring Stirrings - Thinking of the Garden

I have bought some goodies today for starting to do things for the garden




The first is a set of 5 trays of 20 pots for seedlings £1 set of 5

Two poly tunnel cloches £1 each from the Pound Shop in Peterborough


Some peat pots again £1 for 20 pots



And finally but not last a rhubarb rhizome from Wilkinsons and 2 x 10 sets = 20 sets of Pentland Javelin potoatoes. Thought growing the first earlies would clean up some of the soil in the garden.
I didn't think I did too badly.
This evening I have been sifting through my seed box which had more or less collapsed have decanted into two separate boxes, one for flowers and ornamentals the other for vegetables and fruit herbs. Now just have to get the garden and the growing houses sorted out. I thought that the gardening would help get me out in the fresh air and also hopefully grow some stuff for the freezers and bottling to be put up for the winter months. Wel that's the plan anyway.
I am hoping that the weather will be okay this coming weekend in order that I can start to play .

2010.03.17 Menu for Wednesday

St Patricks day it is today But my menu for tomorrow is a very quick one - simplicity again - it makes life easier during the week when time is so limited and so precious especially when I want to get on with other things.

Breakfast

Cereal - Sugar Puffs again and the last of the Melon

Lunch

Sandwiches probably Salmon and Cucumber for me and Cheese and onion for OH

Evening Meal

Home Made Chips with eggs, bread and buter and baked beans (OH will be pleased its home made chips)

Pudding Appe Pie and Custard or Gooseberry fool


Have a good day

Update on Missy

Missy has settled into the household extremely well. In fact you could say she has well and truly moved in on the pair of us and has taken over. We don't leave her on her own and she goes to my step-daughters during the day; she has a dog of her own and is currently fostering a cruelty case for the RSPCA. So Missy has company during the day. She normally comes back extremely cream crackered - it takes her all her time to acknowledge you of an evening as she is intent on catching up with some shuteye. Apaprently she doesn't stop all day long. My step-daughter noticed during the day yesterday that there was a little blood on her paw. She mentioned this to OH and she seemed to be okay last night although a little off colour. Come this morning and she has not been able to put her paw down and was hardly putting any weight on it when she did. I therefore suggested to the OH that he tae her to the vets to get her checked out. She wouldn't let us look a her paw. V et has inspected her, but Missy would not let her look at one of her claws because it was so tender so some pain killers and antibiotics later and £42 lighter in the pocket Missy has been sent home to rest. Pardon did I say rest - she doesn't understand the word. She seems a lot perkier tonight. Step daughter got to the bottom of the problem though it would appear she has a split pad near the nail.










What a state to get into! You can tell she's more than looked after.
Aw bless her.

2010.03.16 Menu for Tuesday

Breakfast

Cereal and toast (this week its Sugar Puffs and I have a young pup who has become addicted to them)!

Lunch

Sandwiches Cheese and Tomato

Evening Meal

Spagghetti Bolognese
Apple pie and custard


Nothng complicated but good simple food

Monday, 15 March 2010

Squeak











I had company whilst I was preparing posts today. She would not go away wanted her mum and a big cuddle I think








Sunday, 14 March 2010

2010.03.15 Menu for Monday

Breakfast


Cereal and toast and/or melon


Lunch I am a lady who lunches am going to a local pub!

OH sandwiches


Evening meal


OH remnants of Sunday lunch (I always cook extra to save time so that I can get on)


Pudding Apple pie and custard or gooseberry fool (using gooseberries out of the freezer


Very simple for a Monday night meal

2010.03.14 My Day



In Peterborough we have had a lovely sunny day today. Its nice to wake up with the curtains and blinds open to be greeted by the early morning sun, although with no real warmth in it at present it is far more cheerful than the long grey skies we have been suffering this winter.

Well have had a busy but good practical day. Had an early start this morning and we had kippers with bread and butter followed by melon for breakfast and very tasty it was too. We then ventured to a local freezer centre which has a lot of offers on other bits as well far cheaper than the supermarket and I had to get some bits for my mum there as well.

We then descended on my mum and spent little while with her. It was lovely to see her again and we had a very pleasant time with her, although not long it was lovely and she loved the flowers and chocolates we had bought her and her card. Mind you I got scolded because she told me not to buy her anything. I wasn't having any of that.

We then came back home OH watched the grand prix I got on with housework, and piles of washing. Still have a lot to do, but at least have made a start. The better weather is making me want to do more. The cold tends to make me hibernate.

Where is this year going too - March already I think this year has got its roller skates on. I want to get out and sort the garden out a bit. Its been a lovely sunny day here again, but the wind has had a very cold edge to it so I didn't stay out too long. I am hoping next weekend's weather is okay so that I can make a start on doing some clearing. I have managed to locate my box of seeds so I shall be at some point starting to sort out what I want to have a go at sowing this year.

Some herbs are showing signs of stirring in the garden, chives, thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage and bay leaves so I bought a few of these in stripped the thyme and rosemary off its stalks and chopped the rest and mixed them into some butter. I also added the zest of a lemon and the juice of half a lemon. I then stuffed the shells into the cavity of the chicken - it helps keep the chicken moist and give it a lovely flavour. I then pinched the breast skin of the chicken quite vigorously as this helps to separate the skin from the meat. I then put in two large bay leaves and the herb butter under the skin together with a couple of slices of lemon and thenstood the chicken on a bed of carrot, celery, onion, parsnip, swede and garlic (we crush this down to make a gravy at the end of cooking) and popped a tent of foil over and then popped into the oven Gas Mark 4.

I also did Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary, peas, carrots, broccoli, roast parsnip roast potato mashed potato with the chicken and lashings of gravy. Very tasty it was too.



My Mum bless her heart had made me a large apple pie which we were going to have with tea, but we were both full so that has been put back for tomorrow night when OH will have the remnants of tonight's tea. All I have to do is make some custard.

The gooseberry fool is in the fridge we shall have that later on in the week- if you want the recipe for this I have posted it - just put in Search "Gooseberries".

So I have pretty much kept to my Menu Plan for today which I am quite chuffed about. I am sorting of trying to plan my meals a bit more and use up what we have in the house, including what is in the freezers, the pantry the pickle and jam store etc.

I have also prepared three boxes of sweet potato for the freezer all ready to pop into a pan and just add some rosemary for later on. I have some parsnips and sweed to do similar with. I am very fond of pumpkin, squash, and root vegetables.

I have just prevented a bust up in the street I could hear yowling and Tyson was about. For the past few weeks or so we have had another cat a male interloper prowling Tyson and Merlin's territory and both have been getting a bit hufty pufty. Merlin gets terribly hufty and nothing seems to calm him down and Tyson was having none of it either. He saw the interloper off and then decided he was coming in for his grub. So he is all settled down for the night now (probably lurking in the airing cupboard if I know him).

We are nearly at the bottom of another sack of spuds; we seem to go through one roughly in about 6 weeks. So will have to make some enquiries to see how much they are at the shop. Will probably make some mash for the freezer with the remnants so that can go straight to using the new bag. It will soon be time when won't be able to get them and the only ones will be able to get will be new potatoes. They have their place but I do love my mash and I don't like wasting things.

Menu for Sunday

I have planned a cooked breakfast for Sunday morning for myself and other half. A little while back I bought some proper oak smoked kippers and they have been in the freezer since, and being as I am starting to clear the freezer so that I can clean it out and re-stock, I thought it would be good to have a kipper each with bread and butter and then a piece of melon and a cup/mugs of tea to wash it all down with. I have an early start being as it is Mothering Sunday in that I am going to see my Mum as she is going to lunch with my brother and his family. They have arranged to pick her up after the Grand Prix - and my OH wants to watch the Grand Prix also so that means an early visit to my dear Mum.

Proposed Menu for today

Breakfast

Poached Kipper served with bread and butter
Melon with Ginger
Mugs of Tea


Sandwich when we get back mid-dayish with more tea

Sunday Lunch
Roast chicken with mixed herb butter
Roast Shallots
Roast Parsnip, potatoes sweet potato
Cauliflower Cheese
Mashed Potato
Carrots and Cauliflower

Served with Goosebery Fool for afters.

Well that's the idea anyway

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potato



I love rosemary roasted sweet potato as an accompaniment to a roast dinner. In fact its a big hit with most of my family and puts in a regular appearance most weeks. Its what I call a good padder outer. They are very simple to do and very full of flavour.

I love the flavour of Rosemary and I love to grow it in the garden and then dry it in bunches for use later on in the year. This year though I have already used up my supply of Rosemary which was put down last year so I am after some more plants to reallly stock up for this year.

You will need:

Sweet Potato about 1 per person (or more if you want plenty). Peel off the outer skin and put in salt water quickly as otherwise will start to go black and discolour until all the sweet potatoes are prepared. Then cut into cubes. I then drain on kitchen paper and put into a hot pan of pork dripping/goose fat or a light olive oil. Sprinkle with dried rosemary or fresh if you have it and toss all the sweet potato and rosemary in the oil until well coated. Add a pinch of salt and then cook until golden brown.

To ring the changes occasionall add some whole cloves of garlic to cook in with the sweet potato also.


Enjoy

Thai Influenced Tea

I haven't had much to eat today with one thing or another so come tea time I was absolutely starving. However I didn't just want anything to eat I wanted something to fill me up and without giving me inbetween hunger gremlins in between meals. In the past few weeks I have bought a couple of foodie magazines which has been a real treat for me as they have become a bit of a luxury item so I don't get them very often these days.

I chanced upon one in particular which I am quite taken by called goodtoknow recipes which has a lovely practical array of recipes of different costings an it only costs £2.20 so double bargain and quite a nice selection of recipes to boot. I had read a recipe for a Thai Curry with Prawns and Broccoli, which I had made my mind up to try, but I had been accumulating some of the items to go in. The recipe serves four, prepartion time is 5 minutes and cookling time is 10 to 15 minutes.

The recipe as in the magazine is:

200g broccoli
225g Thai Fragrant Rice
400g tin reduced coconut milk
2 tablespoon of Thai Green Curry paste
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp granulated sugar
4 spring onions sliced
500g raw peeled tiger prawns (if using frozen defrost before using)
220g can sliced bamboo shoots drained
Zest and juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaves

Instructions
Prepare the broccoli by trimming off a little off the stem of each spear.
Place your rice in a sieve and wash through with cold water to get rid of some of the starch then cook in boiling water for 10 minutes until tender.
While the rice cooks place the coconut milk curry paste fish sauce and sugar in a large pan or wok. Slowly bring to the boil then add the broccoli reduce the heart and cover and simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes until just tender.

Stir in the chopped spring onions prawns and bamboo shoots and stir well. Then bring the mixture back to the boil and simmer for two minute, stirring occasionally until uncooked prawns have turned pink and the defrosted ones are just cooked. Stir in the lime zest, juice and coriander.

Drain the rice in a sieve and divide between 4 bowls, top with the prawn curry and serve.

Well you see I didn't have all the ingredients so I sort of did a compromise and used some bits that I did have in the fridge.

Firstly the items I didn't have:
fish sauce
bamboo shoots
lime
Coriander leaves

What I did have though was add the following:
few oyster mushrooms
Pak Choi
Thai Jasmin Rice
Schwarz Ginger, coconut and lemon grass paste
And I just added these - I kept tasting the spiced milk as I went along until it was to my liking.

I think you can cater this recipe to whatever you have lurking in the fridge.Anyway it was completely yummy and I am now extremely full. Just fresh food with frozen prawns) and no nasties.


Friday, 12 March 2010

Early Mother's Day Surprise for a Step Mum

I was quite touched and pleased to receive a surprise card through the post today from my Step-Son Paul and his new Partner June. I have had a difficult few days and this simple gesture with a beautiful card totally made my day and cheered me up a little. I must have done something right somewhere down the line.

It is not an easy thing to take on someone else's children especially when you haven't got any children of your own. But gut instinct set in and an urge to protect and nurture both children clicked in and I treated them as my own. Both children also received extra tuition at home which helped them both considerably and both wanted to learn.

What are we dealing with here you say - I am no paragon of virtue. I am human and I certainly am not perfect. I certainly did not find it easy at times. All I could do was do things with love and with pure intent. A lot of the time you can do no right and another time you can do no wrong with children.

I like most people when I moved in with my partner didn't expect his children to be on the doorstep asking to move in especially when both lived with their mother. I certainly wanted to know why and it stemmed down to the fact that both children were not happy with their mother's boyfriend. I think it is far more difficult for a man to take on another man's children. I am by no means casting everyone in the same mould as every case is different, but generally speaking women tend to be more accepting more nurturing. Mind you there are always exceptions.

So to receive this card today was very special.

Thank you Paul and June.

It was much appreciated

xxx Tricia

March - Food in Season

Now what delectables do we have waiting for us this month then?

Rabbit
Spring Lamb (Ideal for Easter Lunch - yummy)
Venison

Apples
Pears
Rhubarb forced

Mussels
Oysters
Salmon
Wild Scallops (if you haven't tried this make a point to do so - you don't need many as they are very rich and only need gentle cooking)
Sea Trout

Beetroot
Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbages
Cauliflower
Chard
Chicory
Endive
Garlic
Curly Kale
Leeks
Lettuce
Nettles (how about making a batch of home made gnocchi for the freezer - poor mans spinach)
Onions
Spring Onions
Parsnips
Potatoes
Radishes
Sorrel
Spinach
Squash
Turnips
Watercress
Wild Garlic

Now that's for starters I am sure I have missed some out somewhere

Thursday, 11 March 2010

If By Rudyard Kipling


This particular poem by Rudyard Kipling was one of my father's favourite poems, so much so, his best mate who was a Calligrapher prepared as a suprise present this poem for him on vellum. It helps give strength during difficult times and expresses most succinctly those feelings that are not always aired or formed into sentence by the owner. I find it very profound and very meaningful and it is one of my favourite poems too. Poetry does not seem to be as fashionable as it once was but for myself I gain great pleasure from the fusion of words thoughts and feelings expressed this way.


IF

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!


By Rudyard Kipling

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Tuesay is Book mooching day

I don't normally meet anyone uring my lunch hour on a Tuesday an I usually nip into town, its a good 15 minute walk from the office I work in to get into town. The exercise does me good.

Tuesday is usually book mooching day when I pop into the cheapie book shop, W H Smith's Waterstones and have a browse on whats on the shelves. Its nice to see whats available and sort of have a loose plan as to what I will keep on the wish list and which books I really am interested in and then try and save up or wait until there is an offer on. Unfortunately I just cannot get used to CD books they are not tactile like the written page, the feel the touch the smell and the story that unfolds between the pages.

At present I have my eye on a Bob Flowerdew book at the moment,its a gardening book but has lots of preserving ideas and recipes in it I think it was called Eat it Grow it or some such like - I know the book when I see it. I have also seen a couple of further preserve books, but I fear I will be a little while in acquiring those, will have to wait and see how the pennies span out.

Books and magazines of varying descriptions and someone else's take on how they do things are all very interesting and sometimes I end up taking someone elses idea that step further and putting my own stamp on things.

Its good to read and to re-create.

Happy playing

This evening

Well its been cold here today very cold just when I thought Spring was on her way in again, winter comes swirling round again to bite us all on the bum and to keep us on our toes.

Have had a busy evening tonight; on Sunday evening we had stew, we were meant to have some roast beef but it was solidly frozen so I popped it out to defrost and cooked it tonight for tea. The bottom of my fridge gets very cold and sometimes we get solid frozen veg in the bottom of it. Wouldn't normally do a roast during mid week but it was very tasty and warming and I did not want to waste the meat. We have had roast beef done on a bed of mixed vegetables which absorbs the meat juices and in turn is mashed down and put through a sieve to create the basic stock for a gravy which is very tasty. It was then served with sweet roast potato, roast potato, mashed potato, brussel sprouts, peas broccoli and carrots and was extremly scrummy. Although I haven't achieved much by way of doing things this evening at least we have had a lovely hot meal. There is just enough cold beef which should do a few sarnies or wraps for the other half to have for tomorrow. Either that or will serve up cold with some of my stored pickles/chutney and home made chips for tomorrow evening's tea. The jury is still out as I am out for a few hours tomorrow night.

Catch you all soon

pattypan

xx

Monday, 8 March 2010

Home Made Rice Pudding/Milk Puddings

Home made rice pudding always brings back happy memories of when I was a child. The ladies in my family have always cooked and we have always been well fed. Now home rice pudding is to me much better than that out of a tin - out of the tin you don't get any brown bits and it is nothing like proper rice pudding.

I enjoyed my pudding yesterday and thought I would share the recipe I used with you.

The basic recipe is a Mrs Beeton's recipe and can be utilised for making Sago/Tapioca/Pudding Rice/flaked tapioca and flaked rice pudding.

Ingredients

4oz of grain of your choice
2 pint of milk
2-3 oz of sugar
1/2 oz butter
Grated nutmeg

Grease a deep pie dish with butter. Yesterday I used a pyrex 2 pint pudding basin Wash your chosen grain in cold water if necessary (i.e. rice) and put into your dish with the milk. Leave to stand for about half an hour for the grain to absorb some of the milk. (I then add 1/4 pint of double cream) Add the sugar and flake the butter on top then grate your nutmeg. Bake in a slow oven 310 degrees F Gas Mark 2 until the pudding browns on top and has a thick creamy consistency. Cooking time approximately 2 1/2 hours

Enjoy

Sunday, 7 March 2010

2010.03.07 My Day

I have had a very lazy weekend again this weekend have been very tired again, but that is by the by.

I have managed to locate my errant hairdryer so will be able to curl my hair in the morning and keep it rolled under so it looks nice and tidy and smart for work. It doesn't behave very well at the best of times and I do try and look neat if not completely smart.

I have also found the camera and taken photos of the fabric I mentioned in an earlier article from the market for next to nothing £12.50 the lot and there is a lot of fabric. Approximately 3 to 4 yards of fabric per piece. So not at all bad. Will come in very handy.

The first fabric is a very shiny gold fabric with vased/ginger jars patterned into the weave.


The second is another gold emblem fabric which appears to be made up for flower heads and leaves.


The third is Dorma fabric in primula design from the Country Diary collection moygashel design by Richard Webb. Cotton.


The fourth and final fabric Moygashel/Vumura cotton fabric yet again from the Country Diary collection by Richard Webb called Cottage Rose.


I am very chuffed with the fabrics.

This afternoon I have been rootling for some needlepoint kits to pick up and put down whilst I watch the T.V. at night (that being after I get to sit down. I was specifically looking for my Country Diary kits but could not lay my hands on them so have pulled out a couple of kits.

The first is a trammed rose panel from The Stitchery Design reference TC257 Rose - Pink I have already completed 1 of 3. This is number 2. (I have two in pink and one in red).


The other is a DMC Kit Summer Ring. Design reference KC5109.


I have spent part of the afternoon stringing them onto frames as I find that it holds the tension on the canvas far better than working freehand.
I thought even if I only did an hour a day it would help get me motivated and back into the swing of doing things again and I need to relax and chill.

Its been lovely to see the sun again but by gum it has been very cold again today. In my book that calls for rib sticking food that warms you from the inside out. Good old fashioned british food. We have therefore had two day old stew (and dumplings first time I have made not too bad for the first effort) - a day to cook it and then let it go cold; warm it through again and then served up today with creamy mashed potato and curly kale.
In the pot cooking

Dished up ready to eat


Finished off by home made Rice Pudding


Nicely browned on top



It went down very well trouble is I am now severely stuffed and can hardly move.

Take care

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)