Saturday, 17 March 2018

Cold Days bring back Happy Memories

It was snow on and off for most of the day and this evening we have had a slight settling and next doors lower roof is covered in white powdery snow as is the dustbin and it has been bitterly cold.  I ventured round to the shop and did most of my shopping in one fair swoop.  It has been the only time I have been out today I chose to hibernate in the warmth of the house.

These sorts of days remind me of my Nan or to be more precise going to my Nan's and following her around  to talk to her always whilst she was busy and buzzing around like a bee.  Was a fact of life if we wanted to talk or just even be near her you needed to be on your toes as she was never still for more than 5 minutes apart from a cup of tea in an afternoon.

In cold and bright weather like it is today we used to turn up (prearranged of course) and usually on a Sunday.  It gets cold here but where I am from in Lincolnshire gets a good couple of more degrees colder the further North you go. The snow also hits far harder when it does snow.  Its like us going down to Cornwall from Peterborough it is always at least two to three degrees warmer down there. Anyway I digress.  It would be cold when we arrived and we would be bundled into the house whereon in Nan would get a cup of Mazawatti coffee on the go for the adults (the children were not allowed) but as we got older and legal we were.  We would be bundled into the dining room in front of the log burner or into the front room where in Winter there would always be a roaring fire too.  We were allowed to defrost and then it would be all hands to the pump with Nan cooking a roast usually and getting everything sorted and the rest of us being given jobs like laying the table, asking her which cutlery or crockery or glasses she wanted.... and so on.  It was always a cozy hive of industry and none of us were ever allowed to be idle we were always kept occupied.  The lovely smells that used to emanate from the kitchen and the camaraderie - those are the things I remember as we were all close without being overly demonstrative about things.  These were the things that mattered the most. My Nan could take the smallest piece of meat and share it out equally between us and then padded out with lots of fresh veggies.  Its the food I remember the most good nourishing food.  All the ladies in our family have been very good cooks.  So we have always been brought up to have good food - doesn't matter what else you have as long as you are fed and healthy.  Her Roast Pork  - well all her Roast dinners were to die for as was her stuffing, her Christmas cakes, her puddings, her wine.  Its funny how sight, and smell play a big part in our memories and our hearts.  However the house was always warm and inviting and home.

Nan when she made sage and onion stuffing used to take an onion, stud it with a couple of cloves, a sprinkling of white pepper and a little water and the onion would be boiled up until it was soft together with a bay leaf.  The onion used to be drained from the liquid with the liquid being retained separately and the onion being finely chopped up.  The liquid from the onion would then be mixed in with dried breadcrumbs, sage and some butter adding extra water so that the crumb was not dry and sometimes you need a bit more liquid in any event as you do not want crunch stuffing.  It was then all mixed together and spread on a butter paper in a small baking tray and cooked.  Making stuffing this way always adds that bit more flavour and the stuffing always complements roast pork well.  It always stayed moist in the middle and was crunchy o the top.

We have chicken for dinner tomorrow and I will make some stuffing and some bread sauce as well as do the usual veggies but I think both roasties and mash are on the cards as well and maybe some Yorkshire puddings as well.  I might even serve up some chipolatas.  All helps to bring the flavour out of the meal.

I have had some more lovely bits arrive in the form of some freestyle embroidery kits and also some unfinished  needlepoint pieces.  I have therefore had to put an order in for some Tapisserie wool (cream) to complete a couple of pieces so hopefully they should arrive during the week and then I will be able to do a few stitches here and there and get the pieces in particular out of the way.  They are tiny little needlepoint panels, two of them in Berlin Work style which have had the background on one of them worked in a knitting wool a ruby wine colour not a proper Tapisserie wool.  The second panel has not had the background worked yet so I will also look to see if I can match the wool up to finish the other one and then I can get them sorted and made into cushions.

I will pop up a separate post about the kits which sort of lead into my collection of vintage embroidery a little bit - I have been having a little bit of a stockpile. I do this periodically. More on that later.

Right I had better get a wriggle on still things to do.

Catch you soon.




  1. What a lovely description of winter visits to your gran. Such wonderful memories for you. Her way of making stuffing sounds tasty - I have that recipe studded with cloves and sprinkled with pepper in some of my old cookery books. I think one of them is for roasting it though, rather than boiling. You brought back a memory of the white pepper (pre-finely ground and in a little canister) which was the only form of pepper on offer when I was growing up. Freshly ground black pepper came MUCH later!!

    All your half-finished tapestries and embroideries must be piling up now. Time to make a start on one or two before you disappear under the pile!!

  2. Hi BB

    Winter was always broken up by the visits to my Nan and Pop. She was a very good cook having made her sister's fortune as a cook in a bakery when she was single and then working at the Naafi during the war, then was the cook at the local village school. This way of making the stuffing is the best and has so much more flavour. I still use white pepper an awful lot we prefer it to black pepper although I do use black. It adds that something extra to gravies and sauces. I don't use much salt but I do use pepper. I get mine from the Co-Op. Would not be without it. I have utilised my Ugg boot box for works in progress which do not need much doing to them and should be easily and quickly worked and off the list. I am waiting for some cream Anchor Tapisserie wool to arrive so that I can get stuck in during the weekend. When OH goes back fishing I shall attack the patchwork and the embroidery machine. Working full time and not getting in until sixish most nights and keeping house don't always marry well together. However plans are afoot. I am easily diverted but intend to deal with that as well. Hope you are okay. Catch you soon. Pattypan xx

  3. I think it is wonderful that you are rescuing and giving a home to all these beautiful finished and unfinished pieces of embroidery. We who enjoy doing this sort of work understand the hundreds of hours and skilful fingers each piece represents. We stayed a night in a shabby chic hotel recently (the Pig in the New Forest whose unique selling point is as a kitchen garden with rooms as all the food served in the restaurant is either home grown - including the pigs! - or sourced within a 25 mile radius). Anyway covering one whole wall in the reception hall of this beautiful Georgian country house hotel is a collection of the most beautifully worked embroideries. Some are Berlin work, some are silk on linen, all are different sizes and with different frames but what united them was that they all featured flowers. As a decorative feature they were superbly effective. As I write I can smell our crackling leg of pork roasting. We’re having it with homemade herb stuffing (rosemary, thyme and sage from the garden) roast potatoes and parsnips, carrots and apple sauce. No greens tonight as it is too cold and snowy to visit the allotment. You have some very special memories of food and cooking and it is really lovely and comforting to read them so thank you for sharing.


Thank you for popping by. I love to receive comments and to make new friends so please say Hi. Pattypan

Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
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  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)