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Saturday, 31 December 2011

Love

LoveA very good friend of mine posted this on Facebook.  I subscribe to this sentiment absolutely. This is what I wish for everyone in the New Year 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOJzKMZCdCA&feature=share 

Pattypan  x

2011 Round Up

Another year of my life seems to have passed in a flurry a lot of things have happened, many of them not the way that I wanted them to at all, but they have happened all the same.  They have taken me in a slightly different direction and stretched my wings, made me a very much stronger person.  Although inside at times I have been shouting and kicking out all the way.  This year has made me more aware of my own strengths and weaknesses a year for getting to know myself that bit better.  At the end of the day  though each of us has  to deal with things as they arise, one at a time until sorted to the best of our own ability.  People have come and gone, new people have come in to my orbit and life goes on  - no matter what.  A year where a lot of underground spade work has gone in, making firm foundations for what is yet to come.  Not an easy year, for anyone a very steep learning curve in many respects a challenge, something to work at.  But despite these challenges and difficulties it has made me at least appreciate what I do have all the more and where I can to help other people help themselves.  Like teaching my friend to feed herself on a low budget and still make things like her own Christmas cake and Christmas pudding, both of which were a huge success.

From having too much choice, my choices are now much more straight cut - and have to be based on what is needed first rather than what I would like.  One has to be sensible at the end of the day.  It comes down to practical choices.

There have been sad and funny moments too all are part of this rich tapestry of life, but from mid-night tonight it is time to say good bye to this past year and to say hello to the new.  A crisp clean page, ready to be written. 

Here's wishing you everything you would wish for yourselves and your loved ones.  May this new year bring in more kindness, more tolerance and less waste.  Thank you for all your support during the past year.

May 2012 be a wonderful year

Take care

Pattypan

Friday, 30 December 2011

Richard Corrigan on Hunger

I have just watched this programme on TV on an investigation into food poverty in this country. It has been quite revealing as it is far more widespread than we think  even with people who hold full time jobs but who are on a low wage and it is very much a case of there but for the grace of god go I.  In other words that could be me or you - just the wrong turn of the dice and the card tower comes tumbling down.  Food prices are also going up and this is all part and parcel of the waste cycle or the supermarkets insisting on a specific sized shaped apple s, parsnips etc.  Come on get real, different foods are meant to be different in size etc not meant to conform.  Food is meant to be eaten not sat on the dresser and admired! What struck me most is that the supermarkets and the public in general are wasting so much food. Its like Hugh's fish fight -  chucking back food into the sea because they have their quota and wasting a commodity because it doesn't fit.  The Government took their time to respond to the programme makers and then it really did not take any kind of responsibility  Why is so much being wasted why not use it to feed those on the streets the soup kitchens or families on the breadline.  Why isn't common sense coming into play here if something is being thrown away and is still good and would be of benefit - why destroy it why not use it for the greater good.  Our resources will only last so long its time to stop the rot and stop the waste happening.  During the war years you were fined if you were found to be wasting food.  Like with Hugh's Fish Fight register your complaints to the supermarkets and the government.  There is no excuse for waste of food of any kind and if the public vote with their feet perhaps something might get done.

If you get the opportunity to watch this programme then please do it is a bit of an eye opener .I saw this on Current TV this evening.

Here is the link to the internet where you should be able to access the programme:

http://current.com/groups/videos/93576223_richard-corrigan-on-hunger.htm

Makes you think - could be me

Pattypan

Quote for the Day


WASTE NOT

WANT NOT

Restlessness and what to do next

I have two deep freezers a large 13 cft chest freezer and a large upright, which houses the stuff I use on a regular basis and they are well due an overhaul.  Besides after all the hard work up to Christmas and then the ahh period where I flopped afterwards, I am now starting to feel a tad guilty because of my inactivity!  This afternoon I have been browsing some of my numerous cookery books and its no good I have to get busy busy busy there is so much to do so much to try and different methods of preserving food to explore.

Over the coming weeks, I have made my mind up that the  the large chest freezer is going to be investigated and some goodies made.  I have lost track of what is quite in there, I know that there are lots of cherries, apples, gooseberries, strawberries etc and I have some smoked salmon in there so that will make some nice Sunday breakfasts with scrambled egg.  A new year is fast approaching and there will be new produce to come and I want to have room in there to store some extras for making a batch of this and that later on in the year.  I am primarily thinking here Seville Oranges.  I intend to make a good scuttle full of this marmalade to last the year, but I also want some extras just in case I run out.  I am shall we say erring on the side of caution and in any event  I tend to make a little bit more each year no matter what.   I quite frequently pop prepared fruit into the freezer if I haven't got much time to process stuff and then drag it out when I have.  That way you don't waste anything and if perchance you leave some fruit in there for longer than you should have there is always the option of having a go at making your own home-made wine!  There is usually a solution somewhere along the line, its just that sometimes its not always apparent on first lookings.

The beauty of having a deep freeze/freezers is that you can have to hand most things you need to hand and if you keep it pretty well stocked it can save you money if you buy when there are offers on and store things down so that in times when things are not so plentiful you can in effect live out of the freezer,  together with a well stocked pantry.   I must say that I do tend to freeze most of the items myself from fresh rather than necessarily buying frozen although they do have their place.  I don't go shopping very often.  Most weeks although not every week I get fresh veg and about once a month we go to the butcher to stock up on special offers.  The first time that we went shopping was on the Thursday before Christmas, and then I wasn't just stocking up for Christmas but buying things that would last for the month as well.  We only spent about £100 and that included some cider and ginger beer.  I don't use just one supermarket either I shop around and choose what I buy very carefully especially since the price of things has hiked up so much.  I would rather buy basic ingredients such as bread flour, yeast, eggs, potatoes, bacon, onions, milk, cheese, plain flour, sr flour, fruit, coconut, rice, pasta etc and then make things from the basics as I have found that buying things already made runs away with what money is available.  Making it yourself often does give you a lot extra for the money, but if there is too much rather than waste it  - either freeze it down if you can or do swapsies with another member of the family - take it in turns make the money go further - share the love of cooking.

For instance we do not like margarine spreads but prefer  proper butter on our bread.  Butter really has hiked up in price recently but I have found that buying my butter from Waitrose recently has worked out cheaper.  A 500g block for £2.19  (which works out at £1.09 per 250g) where for a 250g block we have recently been paying about £1.70 just recently, although there have been offers on buy two x 250g blocks for £3.  The butter does at this time of year  does go solid  as my kitchen gets so cold, but 20 secs in the microwave soon softens it up ready for use.

Right am off to do some more browsing and there are some recipes I want to commit to my recipe book which involves handwriting.  Hope you are all keeping well.

Take care and catch up soon

Pattypan

x

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Things to do

I hope you all had a merry Christmas with your loved ones.  We have had a quiet Christmas here at Pattypans pad, but I still have an awful lot to do.  OH and I decided not to buy each other a present; but to spend the money available to us on food - that was our Christmas present to each other.  

I am due back to work tomorrow after a very few extremely busy but enjoyable days over Christmas. I have billing to do tomorrow.  I am back for two days and then off on Friday and Monday going back to work on the 3 January.  Today has been the first time available to me to do as I pleased and I have had a very lazy day where sometimes I have found myself dribbling on the setee having "nodded off" and then woken up with a crick in the neck. I have also been planning and plotting, watching River Cottage repeats and nosing through my recipe books as well as my diary making an aide memoire and check list as well as plotting pertinent items to make at specific times such as the Christmas cake and Christmas puddings and home made Mincemeat, cider, beer, stout and lager.

I had had all sorts of plans to do this and that in readiness for Christmas, but unfortunately time  and the lack of funds at a pertinent time got the better of me and I had to ditch the plans and go with the flow.  But then by making mistakes is how we learn.  However this coming year will be different I am very determined about that.  I intend to set up if and when I have a few pounds spare an account purely for taking advantage of preserving foods when they are in season whether that entails a walk through the hedgerows or a trip to a fruit farm and also for buying kilner jars, jam jars and cordial/sauce bottles.  At the minute I intend to do a lot more bottling than I have in previous years.  Unusually, this year I also did not prepare a few things which have become household staples which also do double duty as a small Christmas present to  a friend.  I do not intend to repeat the mistake of not making these in the future I am particularly speaking about making crab apple jelly and apple chutney which everyone seems to love. One thing I would say is that when the fruit is in season if you do not have time to process it into jam or chutneys freeze it down and then make it when you have more time rather than miss out completely.

I am particularly keen to have a go at curing bacon and making my own sausages for which I will require meat and sausage casings - hence the idea of the preserving fund so that I can eventually have a play, but I want to do some more research on this first before dipping in the proverbial toe.

I intend also to have the sewing machine out on Friday.  I bought the first batch of fleece material to make an inner curtain for the front door to keep draughts out and to make the house more cozy.  It has taken me a while to save up as I needed 2 1/2 metres of fabric per door - it cost me £13 for just one door.  I also intend to buy more fabric in the next few weeks or so to do the same for the back door.  It should not take me long to do but now the dining room table is clear (yes you heard right)  I am going to make the most of it.  

I also need to make some ironing board covers, and some throws for the front room sofas - I have been collecting furnishing fabrics in set colours, like golds and reds and intend to do some patchwork style throws out of them.  I have a lot of fabric upstairs begging to be used so I need to get a wriggle on and get cracking. The only thing I will need to buy is the backing fabric and the wadding/batting.  I may have to pay a visit to Dunhelm to see if they have anything suitable like an appropriately coloured cotton sheet.  I also need to get back to the rest of the UFO's and the blankets and throws and get the items completed.  I have been very unsettled of late and not able to settle.

I had also hoped for a crafting day with my friend during the period I was off work - which for one reason or another did not happen.  So we are going to start early and have crafting days through the year to make bits and bobs in readiness for next Christmas

I have mentioned that I have taught my friend how to cook in recent months.  She made her first ever Christmas cake and Christmas pudding under my guidance.  I am pleased to say that the cake turned out very well indeed.  It was a recipe I had never made before, but which has turned out to be delicious and is a cake I will make myself in the future, not necessarily as a Christmas cake but it was delicious. Unusually you put chunks of marzipan into the mix. I also helped her make a "round" Christmas pudding which smells absolutely gorgeous although she has not road tested this yet.  I am used to making Christmas puddings but this was the first time that I had made a "round one".

Will catch up later

Hope everyone is keeping well and that you have enjoyed the holidays

Take care 

Pattypan


x

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas everybody

Is it only a few hours ago I actually stuffed the Turkey.  Since then we have gone on to have a delicious lunch and now I am feeling slightly overstuffed myself .  Eyes bigger than belly syndrome.

Just to wish you all a merry christmas wherever you may be family, (those no longer with us)  friends, long standing friends  and those friends who we have lost touch with for one reason or another (but who are not forgotten) and to everyone who reads my blog.  I hope your celebration is a good one.

Catch you all later

Pattypan

x

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Home Made Eclairs

As part of my cooking repertoire I have a very deep based Eclair Pan which makes 8 Eclairs, which I sourced from Lakeland.  I have had it a while and as OH is very partial to these little delicacies I have decided I am going to make him some for part of the Christmas baking.  This is the recipe on the back of the cardboard sleeve which I am going to have a go at.  I

Ingredients for the Choux Pastry

125ml of water
50g of butter
60g of plain flour
2 eggs beaten

For the icing

50g of dark chocolate or chocolate of your choice
1 tsp of butter
2 tablespoons of water
85g of icing sugar

For the filling

300ml double cream
3 drops vanilla extract
2 tso caster sugar
Optional fruit like oranges, strawberries, raspberries

To make

Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the butter.  Place the pan over a medium heat and once the butter has melted turn up the heat abd bring to the boilt.  Add the flour and take the pan off the heat.

Stir briskly until the flour has blended with the liquid and the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and makes a soft ball.  Do not over beat as this will result in a heavy pastry.  Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 200 degrees C

Leave the mixture to cool slightly and when it is warm to the touch start to beat in the eggs a tablespoon at a time. Beat well between each addition.  For the best results use an electric mixer.  When you have added both the eggs the pastry should take on a glossy sheen and have a soft dropping consistency.

Spoon the paste into the eclair pan cups or place in a piping bag with a plain nozzle and then pipe into the tin.  Just before baking sprinkle the pan with a few drops of cold water as this will help the mixture rise well.

Bake the eclairs for about 20  minutes before turning down the gheat to 190 degrees C/Gas mark 5 for another 10 minutes.  The eclairs should be golden brown and well risen. Remove from the oven and pierce each eclair with a trussing needle or a knife to ensure that the steam escapes and does not make the eclair go soggy.  Leave to cool on a wire rack.

To decorate

Whip the cream with the vanilla and the sugar.

Slice pastries in half with a serrated knife and scoop out the doughy innards of both halves of the eclair with fingers or a small teaspoon.

Put 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling in the bottom half of each pastry and loosely replace the top half or lid.

Tip the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and add the butter and water,  Place over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted.  Only a low heat as if the water boils it could splash into the chocoloate and make it go very hard.  Add the sieved icing sugar a little at a time.  Then with a palette knife smooth the icing over the top of each eclair and leave on one side until set.

Enjoy

Peppermint Creams

This recipe is from the Mrs Beeton's Christmas book and I have used it time and time again.

Ingredients

400g/14oz of sieved icing sugar
2 egg whites
2 x 5ml/2 teaspoons of good quality peppermint essence (I use the one Lakeland sell)
Icing sugar for dusting

To make sift the icing sugar into a bowl and work in the egg whites and the peppermint essence.  Mix well to a moderately firm paste.  Knead the "dough" until nice and smooth and then roll out on a board dusted with icing sugar to help stop the "dough" from sticking.  Roll out to about 5mm/1/4 of an inch thick.  Cut into small rounds or fancy shapes and put onto greaseproof paper. I have been known to use a lid which has been washed thoroughly for a small disk shape, but before cutting out have dusted with icing sugar.  Leave to dry for about 12 hours making sure that each sweet is turned during that period.  Pack into an air tight container lined with waxed paper.  You can decorate the sweets further by adding green colouring to the initial mix or by dipping either the whole sweet or part of the sweet in chocolate.

Makes approximately 48 sweets if you can leave the "dough" alone otherwise far less!

Enjoy

Pattypan

x

German Spice Squares

I am very partial to spices and to me that is what Christmas is about on a culinary front the mix of heady aromatic spices all blended together in all sorts of different foods, whether it be the Christmas Cake, the Christmas pudding or home made mincemeat to me there is always room for more, including this recipe and also my home made Rock Buns where I use both nutmeg and Mace.

Ingredients:

12 oz flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
3 large eggs
4 oz soft brown sugar
6 fl oz clear honey

Method

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, spices and cocoa powder into a mixing bowl.
Beat together the eggs and sugar.  Warm the honey and add with the eggs and sugar.  Warm the honey and add with the eggs abd sugar to the flour mixture.  Mix well together until the bastter is smooth.  Pour into a greased 12 inch square baking tray.  Smooth the top.

Bake in a moderate oven 180 degrees C/350 degrees F or Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.


Allow to cool in the tin before cutting into squares.

Makes  approximately 36 squares

Chilli and Garlic Tortilla Chips

I like Tortilla chips but I find the price of them in the shop a little exorbitant, so me being me went searching for a recipe and I have come up with this one, made of ingredients that in most households are to hand.

Make some home made Guacamole and cream cheese, and use the chips to tuck in or liberally sprinkle chopped chilli, cheese and grated cheese warm in the oven until the cheese has melted and devour.

Ingredients

125g/4oz medium or coarse yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup/90g all purpose plain flower
Pinch of salt
1 green chilli pepper finely chopped
1 clove garlic peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon of olive oil
6 tablespoons of milk

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F/Gas Mark 4.

Mix the cornmeal with the flour, salt, chilli and garlic.  Then add the oil and then the milk stirring together until you have a fairly soft dough.  Knead the dough on a floured wooden board for a few minutes.

Break off into small pieces about the size of a walnut in its shell.  Roll each of these out into a thin circle (you can cut each circle into quarters if liked)  Arrange the chips on a greased baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes.  As they come out of the oven brush each with a little more oil.  Store in an air-tight tin/container.

Yummy

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Silence

I am sat for a few minutes just sitting in the silence, and resting my weary bones.  I still have lots to do and at the moment am chasing my tail so these few minutes of peace are reward enough.  I have a red candle burning and am sat in the dark, sending good wishes and absent healing to those in need during my quiet time, watching and focusing on the flickering flame of the candle.  Its at times like these that I really could do with an open fire to warm my bones and to enter dreamland via a flickering fire as I was want to do as a child.

My Squeak is keeping me company.  Demetri is not far away sprawled in the floor not far from the candle. Both cats are never far from my side as I sit and contemplate and allow my mind  the luxury to wander where it will. I love the peacefulness of candlelight and the softness and gentleness the light throws on everything creating strange dramatic shapes out of otherwise ordinary objects.  A time to let the imagination escape


All is not totally quiet  though as the wind sounds as though it is getting up a tad.  The fence is down in the garden from earlier on in the week.

After my few moments respite I will start again on the chores I still have to do. Its going to be another late morning by the looks of things, but jobs need doing as I am well behind.

I am so glad I stopped to cook earlier on fish and mushy peas and chips with home made rice pud.  Very filling and very warming as it is bitterly cold here at the moment,.  When I do eventually make it upstairs to Bedfordshire I shall go armed with my hottie bottie. I have found that keeping myself warm means that I am not  so stiff in the mornings.

Catch you all soon

Pattypan

x

Toffee Vodka

This is made very quickly and easily.

1 standard bottle of vodka I use a cheaper vodka for this)
1 bag of toffees (I used a bag of Werthers)

1 litre or litre plus preserving jar sterilised

This is quick to make and very simple to do and very moorish to drink it doesn't last long either.

Sterlise your preserving jar and then to the sterilised jar add the toffee then add the Vodka, seal and leave on the kitchen windowsill or in a dark cupboard.  You must shake this twice a day until the toffee has melted and it goes a coffee colour it will have a froth on top this is all quite natural.  Once the toffee has melted decant into a sterlised bottle and then serve in small glasses like a liqueur or add a little lemonade as a mixer.  Whichever way you serve it it will not last long.

Happy Christmas

You can do this with other sweets as well like bubble gum or aniseed balls or cinder toffee

Pattypan

x

Sweet making for Christmas

Part of the fun for Christmas for me is to actually get to play after all the hard cleaning work has been done.  I don't like things being untidy or messy and so I do the big clean to make sure that everything is tickety boo and then I can enjoy everything. My dream is to have the home I really want my forever home.  Somewhere I can get everything sorted and have the kitchen and pantry I dream of or if it doesn't quite fulfil the criteria make it so.  A place where everything is organised  and I can just get on with things rather than the organised chaos of my current home but until that day comes we have to deal with what we have and live in the present and make the best of what we have.  After all what has happened in our past shapes us as a person, we have to live in the present but that helps shape our future as without these experiences we do not become what we need to be.

On and off for the past 10 years or so I have always made some kind of home made sweets.  Sweet making can be daunting if you have never done it before but is a matter of playing until you get things right.  Somewhere to play quietly and concentrate and be on your own.  I have a sugar thermometer which makes things easier, but we can all make sweets of one kind or another with the most basic of equipment and they make a nice little gift to give to a friend especially when pennies are tight.

Also Christmas is about children - we should let them do simple things like making peppermint creams or rum balls - letting them help increases their confidence but also makes them feel part of the bigger picture.  They too are helping in their own small way.  You can create your own customs and good times with the littlies, the bigger littlies, the biggies and the bigger biggies and even the child within.  ITS GOOD TO PLAY JUST GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION down tools if necessary to incorporate these simple pleasures or you end up missing out and there just is no place for regrets after the event.  The housework can wait the littlies time is precious time that can never be replaced.

Home made sweets also produce more in quantity and if you maike a couple of different types of sweets you can mix them up a bit in a gift box or bag.  Little presents like this also teach your child to share and give.

Lets start with peppermint creams - very simple and easy to make - ideal for the littlies as there is no cooking involved and even better for the big littlies as they are quick and simple to make.  It's just the drying time you have to take into account.  Remember when you are under pressure it is nice to have several quick things to do as they all help pad out the bits and bobs you do have for a relatively small investment of time.   Sometimes its nice to take pleasure in simple things, which often get overlooked.

Going to join me make peppermint creams - the recipe will follow in a separate post.

Enjoy

Pattypan

x

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Kitchen

The kitchen  really needs a bit of a tidy up especially in view of he fact that we are having family over during the Christmas period.  It really needs painting out again.  Will probably have to happen after  Christmas now as otherwise I could be setting myself up to fail.   I haven't had a lot of money to play with just to tidy up things, but I have bought a pair of curtains from the Charity shop to cover the window and to keep out any draughts.  I have some curtain track that I want OH to put up, for him to lower the  existing blind so that we can keep the kitchen warm. I have also made a sink skirt out of some gingham I had to tidy up the fact that the sink unit  doors do not match the pine units we had put in a few years ago.  At the end of the day  Its about making the best of what I  already have with an odd few affordable second hand or new items just to tidy things up and make it look clean.  I hae already washed all the waills and skirting down.  I also want OH to put up a curtain track over the door so that I can put a thick door curtain that I have up to keep out any draughts and that should tidy things up for now.  The bathroom had a make over and was painted out white a few months ago.  The plaster in this house is not terribly good at the best of times.  I also intend to make a door cushion to keep out draughts too.  It would seem that I am going to have a hot date with the sewing machine which I am really looking forward too.

And then there is the brass I have to clean.  Iam nearly out of brass cleaner so if any of you have any alternative recipes I wouild be very happy to receive them.

Have to get on as although the lounge is getting tidy the carpet is to be cleaned later on when we have no traffic through it.  Once the lounge is finished its up the stairs and into my bedroom to finish tidying up there.I also intend to get in the kitchen at some point.

Catch up later

Pattypan

x

Friday, 9 December 2011

Just a Quickie

Sorry I haven't been around a lot this week things have been a tad hectic with me being out most evenings this week so far.  I have been out this evening also and am out to the works Departmental Christmas dinner tomorrow evening at a local hostelry with the ladies I work with so I think it will be sometime Saturday before I am able to post.  I am on holiday for the week from tomorrow night in any event but I have serious amounts of things to do.

I have had my physio class today and I only have one more session to go to before I am referred back to the Physiotherapist for a review in January.  It has really helped me lots with Pilates based exercises which are strengthening my core muscles.  I am also back to see the Consultant in the Rheumatology Clinic for a review in January. But so far so good - you have to be positive and I am very grateful for the assistance I have been given so far.

I also have a couple of invites for next week  on the Tuesday- a Yule Celebration/party at the home of one of the members of our Group.  Am quite looking forward to that.  All I know is that there will be a bonfire and we can dress up if we want to!  Later on in the week I have been invited to attend as a guest at a friend's circle and on the Friday next week we have the Psychic & Spiratual Fellowship's Christmas party.  I also have a lot of other things to do at home as per usual including some craft work and sewing.  I am going to be busy, busy, busy.  Well it keeps me out of trouble - or gets me into it one of the two.  Just the depth that varies.

I also think I am going to have my knitting needles out  to knit a little something as a very good friend is about to have her first baby and from seeing her yesterday I don't think she is going to be very long.  Its lovely to welcome a new little one into the fold as they bring so much joy and laughter.

Have had a very nice if late tea tonight, steak pie, mushy peas, broccoli, carrots, onion gravy and mashed potatoes.  OH who has had a bit of a downer today soon cheered up after I had fed him and has cheered up quite substantially.

Would also like to warmly welcome some more new followers.  Get yourself comfy, with that mug of tea or coffee sit down and have a good mosey around.  Look forward to your comments - I love to receive feedback as it makes my mere ramblings seem worthwhile.

Well am off to Bedfordshire with my hotty bottie all filled up and ready to tuck under the covers.

Nighty night everyone and catch you all soon.

Pattypan

x

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Attention For Ceridwen

Ceridwen would you please email me on fluffupyourfairy@hotmail.co.uk re your earlier message to me.  I might be able to assist you.

Many thanks

Pattypan

Liebster Award

 I have been given a surprise award by Anne of Silver Sewer http://silversewer.blogspot.com/


Thank you very much

Liebster" is a German word meaning dear, sweet, kind, nice, good, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. What a gift to be awarded with such kindness!

Now on to the details. The Liebster is a way to show a little Blog Love to bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers.


The rules:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have fun!

I have now to choose 5 blogs to nominate for this award.  They are after deep consideration

Number 1

Rowan at Circle of the Year Blogspot http://circleoftheyear.blogspot.com/
I love the accounts of Rowan's travels in this country and abroad.  Each time I read an article it makes me feel as though I am there in person with her; plus I have learned a lot about places in this country that I have and haven't been to.  Rowan writes with sincerity and from the heart and I thoroughly enjoy my travels from my armchair with her.

Number 2

Kay and Sime Smith known as "The Smiths" http://thesmithsontour.blogspot.com/
I love catching up with these two honest hardworking couple and their efforts to simplify their lives without leaving an imprint on this world of ours. I love the fact that they are not scared to be themselves or that they conform to what other people think they should be doing.  They are delightfully "alternative" and passionate about everything they are involved with.  They have home educated their children as well as running their own business and have been good role models in daring to be different and meeting their own ethical requirements rather than follow like sheep along a well trodden path.  There are always other choices and I like their honesty, sincerity  and most definitely their love for each other and their humour.

Number 3

Kitty (also known as The Chicken Lady) http://kittyssuperallotment.blogspot.com/

Has recently started her own blog  about her allotment and I am very interested in her adventures in growing things and what to do with the produce.  Mainly because I am very interested in growing veg etc myself - I have grown the odd thing but am by no means an expert. I love the charming way in which she is experimenting and learning as she is going along but sharing it with us too.

Number 4

Kim at Oakmoon http://oakmoonstudio.blogspot.com/

I love Kim's blog primarily to see her latest creations as she is an extremely talented artist, who keeps stretching herself with different subjects and different mediums.   Kim does have an Etsy shop that is well worth a peek.  But overall it is a gentle blog full of love and experimentation  fantasy and imagination often through difficult circumstances but she is honest and loyal and it has been lovely to see her work evolve and become an extension of her inner self; as well as her portrayal of her animals and the little peek she allows us of her personal life.

Number 5

Rose of Secondhand Rose  http://secondhrose.blogspot.com/

I love reading Rose's blog.  I love reading about her finds in the local charity shops or antique centres. Rose is extremely knowledgeable about lots of items and finds a use in her own home or in her daughter's home for many an object or trinket.  Rose gives and shares from the heart  and is extremly fair, loving and compassionate. I have loved  reading this year about her work with the Tiggywinkles (hedgehogs) and about rescuing under weight ones taking them for the relevant help and then when up to weight taking them back into her garden or locality.

All these blogs give something special, and well worth a visit,  but most of all they are full of love and pure intent.

Please collect your award, you all deserve it but most of all enjoy it.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Pantry''s Done

The Pantry is finished at long last and re-stocked so I can find what I am looking for and I still have to go Christmas shopping to stock up on a few things yet.





I am still locating the occasional item and managing to squeeze them in where I can.  I have two other cupboards that I also use for food storage under the stairs - which was sorted out the other day this is my main bottle store as well and also the fireplace cupboard stores some items too.

Well at least its clean and tidy for now.

It's bitterly cold here tonight and I am still suffering with my cold.  I am back to work tomorrow for the week and then off for a further week.

Take care

Pattypan

x

Morning

It's cold here in Peterborough today  - very cold.  I will put the heating on in a bit but at the moment I am moving about so I have a  thick jumper on and the tumble drier is also doing double duty getting the quilt I have just washed dry and then it will be aired.  I am currently nursing a hot mug of tea.  I did get up earlier but didn't feel too clever and got myself a mug of hot ribena and a couple of paracetamol and went back under the covers for a little while.  I am now up and ready to get on with things everything is slowly going back into the Pantry nearly finished.  Phew.  But when that is finished it's on to a few more things in the kitchen cooking wise.  We are having  later on a roast chicken with all the trimmings i.e. bread sauce, stuffing and probably some Yorkshire Puds as well with Mash, Roasts and veg.  I also want to get my last batch of ginger beer on and also some apple pop.    Must remember to get the fresh yeast out of the Freezer.  Will see how we go.  Then its finish the bedroom off by making the bed with fresh linen and quilts I like to be able to snuggle. I still have loads to do but at least I have made a big start.

Catch up later on - at least I am nearly out of the Pantry.

Pattypan

xx

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Trouble with tidying the Pantry

....is that in order to sort it all out you have to unpack it first in order to re-pack everything tidily and so that you can find what you are actually looking for.  My current pantry is nothing more than a walk in cupboard - more a dry goods pantry than a nice cold old fashioned pantry like my Nan had and here's me wanting a much larger pantry than I already have!  I would like a nice older larger style pantry as there are still a few more areas of preserving (including meat preservation) that I want to try out and I am mindful of right temperatures being maintained etc. for the safe preservation of the same.  I am particularly interested in having a go at copa, salamis and ham and bacon preservation.  But you have to work with what you have in the near and now and hopefully in the not too distant future I will be able to start experimenting.

Well the Fridge Pantry has been completely emptied; I switched it off and have completey cleaned it and have started to add a few more items back in there. Not many things as the fridge still has to be dragged out for me to wash the walls and the floor and the shelving etc.  So still a way off but we are getting there very slowly but it will be a good job done when I get to the end of it not least because I will be able to find what I am looking for.

Because of the pantry tidying I have done a very quick tea this evening - which is one of my mum's thrifty specials and ideal for a Saturday evening tea in the winter although saying that we do eat it throughout the year.  The best part about this is that is a one pan meal.  Quite simply it is about 1lb of nice sausages  - must have plenty of flavour (we are partial to lincolnshire sausages with plenty of flavouring); these are fried/grilled until golden brown and then once evenly coloured tip a tin of plum tomatoes in with the sausages, add plenty of white pepper and cook through until warmed all the way through.  You can serve this on toast or accompanied by a couple of slices of bread and butter with which to mop up the juices. Very tasty, and warming.

I have also had to have a couple of glasses of home made cassis  that was really warming and full of flavour - and an orange.   A bit of a vitamin C hit.  I have a sore throat coming on and my nose keeps running so I am trying to head this off at the pass.  I suspect I will have to make a scuttle full of French Onion Soup tomorrow and I may well have a hot toddy before going up to bed, which is sometime off yet due to the state of play in the Pantry.

I did not go to the Veg shop today, will stock up next week  as I will be able to play more - I am back at work this week coming and at the end of the week I am then off for another week when hopefully I will get all the Christmas decorations sorted, and some home made sweets and last minute sorting out in readiness for the Christmas celebrations.

Well I am off to finish off the Pantry

Catch you all later

Pattypan


x

Well I am in the Pantry

... and it is not a pretty sight.

Me on my knees, bum up in the air armed with the steam cleaner setting about cleaning the innards of the pantry fridge making it spotless in readiness for the celebrations to come so that I can store all my fresh stuff safely.  Once that is done - the fridge will be dragged out so that I can set about the pantry shelves and the tin store behind as we seem to have had a bit of a tumble on the stacking but that will not take much sorting out.  Once that is done its into the lounge - so I am very slowly getting there.

Will catch up soon - that is if the pantry lets me escape -  talk about the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe  - my alter world starts with the pantry door!

Catch up soon


Pattypan

x

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Operation Tidy Up

Operation tidy up is on couse - I have nearly recovered the dining room and am looking forward to eating my Christmas lunch in there this year. I have a wooden German Nativity Candle centrepiece that I want as the centrepiece on there.  The jam store has been sorted out and  all the Christmas goodies so far stashed (trhis is where I keep them out of the way).  I have been doing  a lot of sorting out as I have been going along as well getting rid of tat or those bits I no longer need.  My friend has been a beneficiary of some saucepans I no longer had a need for. I also have a couple of jobs for OH to put up a curtain track in the dining room (it has just had a blind) think it will make it warmer and also a curtain track above the back door so that I can hang a very heavy curtain I have,.

Yesterday I managed to pickle a load of beetroot and I have quite a bit of stuff to do later on - I have some figs in vanilla syrup to do..  Friday I am giving my friend another cooking lesson, this time home made soups, Quiche, quick walnut toffees, some more pickled eggs (she has eaten the last lot).

I have the physio at lunch today and then back for some tidying up for a couple of hours.  I am then out to meet a friend who celebrates her 50th birthday tomorrow so we are going out for a meal and a good chat.  Tomorrow we are taking my mum to Downtown at Grantham, to return some curtains and we are also going for a good wander round Stamford - its market day and when I was at college there the market always used to be a good one.  They also have a farmers market there.  We have been told about a chees shop that sells stinking bishop cheese so we are going to investigate.  Will probably go back on the Friday prior to Christmas week as well.  I love the hustle and bustle aat this time of year especially in a smaller town.  So later today and tomorrow I am definitely playing.  It is then back to the grind for the rest of the weekend before going back to work for a week and then I really get to play.

Catch up soon

Pattypan

x

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)