Friday, 29 December 2017

Coldest nght of the year and future plans

I am sat here drinking a glass of mulled wine - the first I have managed to have this Christmas also hoping that it will soothe this troublesome infection.  I am off the antibacs now.

Last night was supposed to have been the coldest night so far of the year.  I know it was very cold and I left the heating on overnight to keep the house warm as this house does get so cold.  Its not just me and OH it is the animals as well that need to be kept snug. Although they all have fluffy fleece lined beds they do not always manage to make use of them.  Depends what mood they are in.  The coldness and degree of coldness in the house also depends which way the wind is blowing and which direction the weather is coming from as to which part of the house is coldest! crazy but that is the reality. It was thick frost before 10:00pm last night.

Demetri decided to play silly devils and would not come in due to another cat in the vicinity.  I am not sure whether they are friends or foe as at sometimes they sit together and another time it is all huffy puffy spit and spat.  I managed to get him in around midnight with a bit of manhandling.  He does it on purpose he wants in but he plays hard to get.  Men! However there was no way I was leaving him out.

OH went off to work this morning and the dog got back in with me to snuggle.  Next thing I know OH is back.  I did receive a message from him to say that the roads were treacherous with black ice and he had nearly lost the car a couple of times.  He also mentioned that my step son had fallen outside of his home  on some black ice (OH goes and collects him of a morning as they work together at the same place).  It would appear he has broken his ankle!  Bless his heart.  Apparently he has not been plastered as they do not do that anymore but has a boot thingy on to keep it in place.  We will just have to see how he gets on.  However hopefully it will not keep him off work.

In these last few final days of the old year it is good to reflect on all the positive things in the year and perhaps some of the not so positive as these situations always make you grow as a person.  I do not think that this year has been the worst year in living memory as we have had my step-son getting married and a lovely weekend to boot, getting to know her family who are super.  It has been hard on several other fronts but such is life you have to deal with the hand of cards as it is spread before you.  I think perhaps I drive a lot of people up the wall because I believe in being positive even when on the surface nothing positive can be seen.  If you scrape the surface a little bit though there is always something good to be found it just depends upon your point of view.  Instead of your glass being half empty all the time I have changed this for myself to being half-full.  It is a different mindset but a much more positive one.  I have found that if you think on a negative basis then you invite negativity into your life and to some extent you create it yourself.  I believe in being more positive.  I hate negative people who only ever see things in black and white and nothing else exists for them.  For me life is about black, white and grey areas.  Negative people drain me.  I do not think they mean to be so but they become fixed when there are always alternative ways of doing things.  Its just sometimes they cannot see the wood for the trees and sea the wealth and breadth of the possibilities before them.  They can change though. Let a chink of light in that is all it takes.

I have not long put the gammon on. Its a big piece and I am cooking it in one of my smaller (standard sized) Maslin pans it is that big. I did not cook it the other day as there was so much other meat that still needed eating up and I did not want to overload everything or waste anything.  The Turkey and the pork pies have all now gone.  I am boiling it for a couple of hours and then will strip the skin and coat in brown sugar, ginger and then clementine slices and honey on top.  Should be lush.  There is a bonus there is lots of lovely stock for soup so home made onion soup could be very much on the cards for tomorrow (Saturday).  Might even make some home made buns for dunking.

I actually like the Elizabethan way of processing a ham or gammon and that is by using whole cloves studded into the fat with brown sugar.  My mum did it one year like this.  She liked it and I loved it but my Dad and brother were not so keen so she never did it again like that.  Every so often I still do a small piece for  myself. Funnily enough most people say that they do not like cloves and yet they are used in the background a lot for flavouring.  I always pop some into a bread sauce into an onion and then cook in milk with, pepper, ground clove, ground nutmeg, butter, bay leaf and thyme.  It really is a fabulous and different way of preparing a ham.  Highly scented - like Pastrami.

Talking of Pastrami I am going to have a go at making my own.  I have been talking about it for ages.  I have sent for some more skins for making salami and whilst at it I am going to have a go at biltong. I absolutely love Pastrami OH is not keen but I like to partner it with home made bagels rather than lox or salmon although we do have them this way as well.   I don't really go on a bundle on the supermarket version of bagels as they always seem so tough but they are a lot nicer made fresh.

We make fresh bagels every so often usually at a weekend when we have more time and as I have said I quite frequently partner pastrami with bagels.  I know it is usually lox of smoked salmon which is used.  However from time to time we make bagels utilising the Hairy Bikers Recipe for bagels  - they come up really well so it will be good to be able to put my own pastrami in:

That will hopefully be another item off the to do list dealt with and to incorporate into my household preparations on a month by month and yearly basis.

I had wanted to make my own Gravadlax again this year but events kind of overtook themselves with sickness etc.  so hopefully this is and will be on the list for Christmas 2018.  It really is lovely home made.  I shall start collecting the sea salt and rock salt for fish and meat curing through the year so that I have a go to supply when I am ready to do something.

So as per usual there are a lot of things to be done during the year.  Hence the need for me to timetable everything and plot the spending so that I have the funds when I need them for certain items i.e. strawberry season, raspberry season, cherry, plum, pear etc. as well as the experiments with meat and fish.  So I have a lot to sort out as I hope to come up with a complete list for me for use year in year out so that the basics are all organised.  I also intend to  make myself some recipe cards up.  Those items I make on a regular basis  I intend to type the recipes off then laminate them so that they do not get messy when I use them and they can just be wiped down and it will also save a bit of messing around with trying to locate the relevant cookery book which so often happens when I decide to do things on the spur of the moment and wastes far too much time.  So I am aiming to get a little more organised all round as well.

Catch you soon.




  1. Have you had chance to play with your new sewing and embroidery machines yet Tricia - hope you have as you've had to wait so long to have some 'me' time - wishing your step son a speedy recovery and A Very Happy New Year to you xx

  2. Not yet Trudie; not in the right frame of mind as this cold has left me stuffed up and not fully compass mentis to concentrate on what I need to do I am hoping to during the weekend/Monday as I need to get to grips with this. Its been a long wait I agree. I hope you and yours have a fantastic New Year and thank you for the wishes for my step-son. Take care Tricia xx


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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)