Monday, 22 February 2010

Left Over Chicken Carcass - chicken stock 2

Well I have the stock pot on the go. Am not going to waste all those subtle flavourings which you can layer up layer by layer to get the maximum of flavour. Its a good way to use up all those veggies that are possibly past their best and starting to dry up. Its something for nothing again and I tend to use what I have around.

Today the carcass, bones, skin and fragments of meat left on the carcass together with some boiling water,(topped up to about an inch below the top of the pan - I use a pressure cooker base, white pepper (I tend to use a lot of pepper rather than salt)a couple of bay leaves, mixed herbs, some leek, carrot, celery (not too much of this as it can be overpowering) onion chopped and some of my Souper Mix (as per the recipe in the River Cottage Preserves book - this is a mixture of raw vegetables pulverised in the food processer and then liberally dosed with salt to preserve it. I use a lot of this as it helps make a very flavoursome stock but obviously if I use this I don't add any salt to whatever I am cooking. I use about 2 teaspoons per time.

I tend not to use much salt as OH has high blood pressure. I then leave this to simmer for about an hour and let cool then strain off the bones and veggies this leaves you with a clear light stock that you can use to make soups. If you are going to use this all up within a day or so ie. you are making batches of soup for the freezer store in stock in the fridge.

Now for long term storage how you store this is up to you. I tend to store mine in the freezer. I sort of custom package my stock as to what I am going to use it for - it saves a lot of messing around in the long run. I use the Lakeland Soup/Sauce bags for large quantities of stock, but for things like Gravy I use individual ice cube trays and then add one or two to the gravy pan when making my gravy. It all helps add flavour to your home cooking. I wish we had aroma sensations via the computer the mix I have on smells very yummy and very fragrant.


Its well worth making this stock as it really is very useful and costs pennies to make yourself but pounds to buy in the supermarkets.

I like something for next to nothing. I shall use some of this stock to make some French Onion Soup for tomorrow night's tea. We all need something warming in weather like this to heat us up from the inside out and I find it is the traditional recipes that our mother's used to make which are the most satisfying.

Left Over Chicken (1)

I had some chicken left over from last night's Sunday dinner. OH didn't know what he wanted to eat - he is starting with a cold and really didn't (so he said fancy very much at all). Well I was determined that I wasn't going to waste the chicken. I had to nip to the shop for some milk anyway and spotted some salad leaves on offer and also some wraps - no more than £1.79 for both, and enough wraps to make pack up during the week (they come in a resealable bag) and enough salad to have with sandwiches or as a side serving with something else during the week

I warmed the wraps in the bottom of a frying pan warming both sides, just flash warming them really I then popped on a plate, put some salad leaves and chopped onion in and then liberally sprinkled the chopped picked chicken on top and dressed with some sweet chilli sauce. (Sweet Chilli sauce was in the cupboard. Delicious and what's more OH enjoyed too, despite initial mumblings he quite relished his supper.

Ideal for a quick supper, or pack up and best of all its using something up that may get wasted due to the fact there may not be enough meat to do a lot with. I got four large wraps out of two legs and two wings and the remnants of the breast (not a lot) plus there is a little bit of meat to give as a treat to the 5 cats and one pup.

Even the carcass is being used to make stock for putting in the freezer and for making soup.



Sunday, 21 February 2010

2010.02.21 My Day

My Day and my weekend has been a very lazy one as I have felt drained of energy again and so I have rested and slept and not done very much at all which has made me feel a tad guilty as I have so much to get on with. But there we are, the more I rest the better I will get on when I do feel energised. To tell the truth I have felt much better today than I did yesterday. We have had the sun out most of the day although we had snow again overnight. The sun although cold and the lightness of the sky has made me feel much more alive today than I have done for a long time I think and hope that Spring is literally just around the corner and that my days of hibernation are limited, thank goodness Its been chilly here, but then its Winter so its supposed to be cold. But it is enoucouraging to see spikes of new growth amongst the snow ridden borders in the garden and a prompt to get a wriggle on and get organised with my seeds etc so that I can get some early sowings in hand to make the most of the season ahead.

I have bottomed out my bedroom today and put away some ironing (which is now aired). I tend to store my clothes in colour blocks, so it is easier to find what I am looking for. Colour is important to me and it depends what mood I am in as to what colours I wear. If I am really down in the dumps I try and wear a really bright colour like red to try and cheer me up a bit.

I have also cooked tea. OH was happy just to have chicken and chips,but to me Sunday dinner is the main meal of the week - it doesn't matter what we have the rest of the week but Sunday Dinner now that is something different. We have had roast chicken, roast sweet potato with rosemary roast parsnip rost potato, french beans, cabbage, leeks, mashed potato and cauliflower with gravy. Very tasty it was too. This evening I have worked another square for the crotchet blanket I am having a go at and a new stitch which produces a lovely textural design and is a combination of double crotchet and treble crotchet. Will post some pictures when can find the camera.

Monday and Tuesday

I have some ironing to do tomorrow night and also some more washing, so no doubt will be ironing again on Tuesday night too

Wednesday Sort the kitchen


Sort the fridge out and the dining room


Lounge and bathroom

Well thats the plan anyway will have to see how we get on.

Take care everyone



Thursday, 18 February 2010


We started off with freezing fog first thing this morning and no we have had snow on and off again most of the morning; but this afternoon we have really had it and it is settling. The fence posts and the dustbins have their snow hats on and there has been that pinky hue to the light that we tend to get round here when it snows. In the open plan office where I work I am lucky enough to sit next to a window and so can see out onto one of the main roads through Peterborough, when it started letting rip this afternoon it was as though everyone in heaven had cut open their feather pillows and decided to deposit the contents on the unsuspecting humans below. Very pretty but not easy to travel in. And it is perishingly cold so I think it will be more than a tad slippy in the morning. Don't think it will be too long before I go and get wrapped up under the quilts.

Take care and please be careful especially if you are experiencing weather like we are at the moment.

Catch up with everyone sooon



Monday, 15 February 2010

Random Photographs

Just a few photographs of Missy. She is getting a bit cute with the camera. Everytime I get her in the frame to take a photo does she move and we end up with bits of her or not at all - case of now you see her now you don't. Everyone falls in love with her. Even Tyson my Ginger Tom is getting better with her and they stay in the same room now without any fighting. Still work in progress, but with kindness we seem to be getting there.

New Books

I am very pleased with the two books that I acquired from the Charity Shop on Saturday.

The first book Edible Presents to Make by Norma Miller ISBN 0-600-56470-3 covers quite a lot of occasions including Christmas, Special Days, Special Occasions, Presents for Keeps, Surprise Presents, Bazaars and Fetes and Packaging. Recipes cover Orange Brandy Butter, Tropical Relish, Blackberry Vinegar, Sloe or Raspberry Gin, Candied Pumpkin, Whisky Mincemeat, Spiced Oranges, Orange Turkish Delight,Easter egg monsters, Pumpkin Pie, Jigsaw Fudge, Tipsy Marmalade, Garlic Cheese, Pineapple Butter, Sugar Mice and Toffee Apples and is quite a nice little book. Think this one will be very useful in the coming months.

I am very fond of Pamela Westland Craft and Cookery books and I have quite a few. Saturday I gained another one of hers called Taste of the Country, making the best of home produce. It was printed in 1974 SBN No 241 02466 8. It has some lovely seasonal recipes in as well as a good selection of preserving recipes including Rhubarb and Gooseberry jam, Gooseberry Jelly,Apple and Date Preserve, Goosebery Curd and chutney Grape Jelly, Pear Marmalade, Pear and Apple Jam, Pumpkin Prserve, Bramble Jelly and Blackberry Curd to name but a few of the Recipes. Think this one is also going to prove very useful later in the year.

And Today the Book Club Man at work paid a visit. From the Book People and I have another one of the River Cottage Handbooks, Handbook number 4 The Veg Patch by Mark Diacono for £4 so I am extremely chuffed On first browsings it looks really good so I think I am going to enjoy dipping in and out of this little book quite a lot. It should have been £15.00. The ISBN No is 978-0-7475-9534-2.

I have been on and they have a delicous selection of books at greatly reduced prices, including Hugh Fearnely Whittingstalls latest book at £9.99 for those of you wishing to save money.

Long Term Health Problems and Auto Immune Disease

I consider myself very lucky in many respects. First of all I am lucky to be here in the first place as my mum had to have her appendixs out when she was 6 monhs pregnant with me; she was warned she might lose me, and they operated and managed to save her and me. So yes I feel very lucky. I apologise in advance if this article bores the pants off you my aim is only to try and help others in a similar situation; some things I do may help you too.

I have since the age of 7 had to deal with health issues, initially epilepsy, and latterly Auto Immune Disease. I try and keep myself as healthy as I can - sometimes I achieve it and at other times I don't quite do so well. But I firmly believe that you can help yourself a great deal in the long run. In my experience I have had to find my own way around different conditions and find things that work for me at the end of the day. The Doctor's know a lot but they dont know everything and cannot always advise how best for you to manage your condition that comes down to trial and error and pushing parameters your own learning curve and experience. I tend to push parameters see what I can do and if it makes you poorly you don't do it again.

I hope that if you also suffer from similar conditions specifically Auto Immune conditions that my take on things and what I do to try and keep myself going will give you some ideas of how you may help yourself and not feel helpless and frustrated and a victim of your condition. I hope it helps you take control and make informed decisions about what you will try and what you won't try. If something works for you then use it - but if it doesn't it is not necessarily not any good, it just does not work for you or is not suitable for your system. There are some drugs I am terribly allergic to, which have been prescribed for me by Doctors and which have made me very ill. Its a pity they cannot come up with a test which could give indicators as to any kind of reaction, would save an awful lot of pain and heartache.

As a two year old I had been crippled with arthritis from the waist down and could not walk first thing in the morning, but it was found that if I was put before a fire my legs used to "thaw out". Mum took me to the Doctors and she was advised by the Doctor that after examining me that I had sustained a bad attack of arthritis and if it happened again mum was to give me half an aspirin! Needless to say I did not have another attack of this level.

As a child of 7 I was diagnosed with mild epilepsy. I and my family were encouraged to report back to the Consultant on how I was doing what we had tried what was happening etc etc. And we fed back appropriate information as requested like I needed to do everything in moderation i.e. early regular nights, regular eating habits - etc etc and that excitement seemed to make the attacks worse as did stress. That I was always worse at a certain time of the month etc etc. The Doctors pooh poohed me saying this couldn't happen that couldn't happen but it did. Then some three years later they were telling me not to do this try doing that - all of which I had addressed some three years before! I also was resentful of having to take long term medication, although I appreciated that I actually needed it. I therefore don't as a result believe that all answers lie in a pill bottle but there are alternative ways of helping yourself. I am quite happy to use certain foods to help me in my fight against long term conditions and in order that the condition is just that and that I still live my life as fully as I am able.

I therefore came to the conclusion that there was only one person that could really help me and that was me. Perhaps I am a little radical in my perspective, but I always with due diligence try and work with what resources I have available to me including prescribed medication.

About six years ago I had extreme tiredness and yet I was hardly doing anything apart from going to work so I went to the Doctors and it turned out that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis antibodies,(although not the condition - I will now always have these in my blood and could go on to develop the condition I also have lupus antibodies), Osteo arthritis, CREST (which is a title for list of things that are symptoms but which don't apply to any specific one condition) all of which are immune system diseases and something wrong with my blood. I also have Raynaud's Syndrome where I lose the circulation in my hands because the nerve endings are too close to the surface of the skin and they feel the change in temperature earlier than other people do.

My mother suffers from immune system disease as have other members of her family - all however entirely different problems, that is why I mention the genes factor. I am on medication that attempts to control the production of antibodies in my system. It is the antibodies that do the damage to the joints and my system, therefore trying to keep them under control is a must and I take an NSAID medication called Arcoxia. However, I have regular break throughs or periods of extreme tiredness and pain due to the antibody levels rising.

At times of increased activity from the antibodies I end up with more pain and I have been told to use paracetamol for the pain, but I also use fresh pineapple for preference but tinned if not for the pain. There is a natural ingredient called bromelian in pineapple. Yet again this does not work for everyone but it helps me. The following day following an attack if I have taken medication I am not firing on all pistons but if I use the pineapple I am more than comfortable and firing on all pistons and don't have that doped up feeling. I told my Consultant about what I was doing as he had seen a marked improvement in me and so I told him. His response was well I can hardly prescribe pineapple can I and I am afraid my retort was - why not! My thinking is that it would be cheaper than some of the medication. (addendum to this I notice that some well known joint care capsules now contain bromelian - so I must be on the right track somewhere down the line).[If you cannot eat pineapple (some people are allergic I believe you can obtain bromelian pils from the Health Food shops)

I also use exercise by walking everywhere to help dull the pain, as exercise releases endorphins into the system and hels to control the pain levels in your system naturally. I also use ginger in whatever form I can as it helps warm my system up. I also wrap up well and use layers of clothing to keep me warm as if I go cold it makes me poorly.

At the end of the day these are only conditions they can be coped with - you will have good days and bad days and it does your head in and is extremely frustrating. Arghh! Its okay to throw a wobbly when it gets too much - releases the tension. Long term illness can affect your self esteem, your moral and can depress you even if you have not been depressed before. Please don't worry if you experience any depression, you are not going mad it is all part and parcel of the cycle of long term illness and yet another symptom of your body struggling to cope with what is happening to it.

If depression does strike you are usually not producing enough seratonin in the brain but this can also be controlled. The latest thinking is that bananas are very good for depression. I absolultey adore bananas but they don't like me within about 10 minutes of eating them I am crippled up with stomach pain and having to rush to the loo. They give me colic and I end up poorly and out of sorts for a good 24 hours not pleasant. But if you can eat them give them a try. I have the midnight gremlins (panic attacks where I don't feel I can cope or that I want to go to sleep) every so often but I have found that if I get up and have some milk and a biscuit this settles me down and it calms me down. (There is a natural sedative in milk that helps you sleep - therefore it is quite good for you to have a hot mug of milk before you go to bed)

What I do know is that your system is peculiar and exclusive to you - you are unique a one-off and what happens to you may well not happen to another, and to some extent it is all to do with your genes (in my case we have both arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, stomach arthritis and Temporal Arthritis in the family). Therefore the treatment/treatments should be tailored to you. Doctors and medicine manufacturers tend to tailor for the masses rather than the individual. This is why there is a problem with vaccines for youngsters and youngsters being damaged because their system doesn't cope with what is being introduced into it. Now if they could work on a test that would identify those children that are susceptible then maybe all children could be safe in the long run. Anyway I digress.

In my case because the Doctors could not tell me what to do to improve my condition I was willing to try anything - I received the blessing of my GP to try alternative therapies (holistic) and the only thing I was told not to use Chinese medicine as a lot of this medicine contains steroids which could mask or aggravate the symptoms already experienced by the sufferer/patient and suppress my system even further. I was also told that any alternative practitioner was banned from touching my head - so I have not been able to try Indian Head Massage, but I have tried other holistic therapies such as Reiki, Aromatherapy, etc. You have to feel positive to act positive and these therapies do play their part in giving you time to relax - me time. Something tha women generally do not do. These therapies are not introducing anything unnatural into your system and help relax you which is all part of the healing process as well. As I am a Reiki Practitioner too, I also use Reiki to help control and ease my condition.

Long term illness is very limiting you and extremely frustrating especially as you are not necessarily able to do things when you feel like doing them because you don't have the energy. Please listen to what your body is telling you and please be kind to yourself, please don't whip yourself or beat yourself up this will make you worse. Its not your fault you have these conditions and you have to learn to think and act with a whole different mind set. And deal with what you have rather than what you haven't.

I can trace most of my problems in later life back to a bad gastroenteritus attack (which left me with a leaky gut and the wrong flora in my gut) I have read somewhere that Doctors believe that most disease emanates from the gut although they will not publicly admit this). This kind of made sense to me. If you think about things logically the gut is our waste disposal system and how quickly we get rid of things varies from person to person. So if you do have a leaky gut you are losing good bacteria because it is either being killed off by something or you are not producing enough of the right bacteria; or that the exposure to chemicals in your system are seeping into your infrastructure so to speak. Also if your system does not absorb the vitamins and minerals provided by your food source it doesn't matter how much of these minerals and vitamins you take if you cannot absorb them it doesn't matter how much of them you eat they still will not do you any good. Armed with that information I started to research what I could actually do for myself. In those days they never used to prescribe yogurt to help calm the system down after a bad attack of gastroenteritis or indeed with attacks of cystitis. Nowadays they do.

I also discovered I had a food senstitivity to coffee. I am a legal secretary by trade and was dealing with Social Services Children Act matters at the time as the speciaility and anything connected with this work had to be dealt with straight away because a child was involved and possibly at risk. I was therefore using coffee as an adrenalin rush to help me achieve very tight deadlines and as a stimulant to my system. However I believe I somehow over egged the cookie and it ended up working the other way round, and producing too much natural insulin in my system, making me retain weight and also sleepy which in turn was aggravating my symptoms and giving me very bad IBS. I was lucky I did an elimination diet and quickly found Coffee to be the culprit. I now very rarely drink any coffee but I do have an Actimel or similar every morning which helps put the right flora in my gut so food etc can be processed properly. In effect it puts a lining on your stomach and gut and because it is a live yogurt you are putting in the right flora to process the food and allow your system access the vitamins and minerals contained within the food you eat. People with the conditions mentioned above often don't make the right flora or not enough of it, so it has to be put in each day. It doesn't matter how much food you eat with minerals and vitamins in etc if your body is unable to assimilate and process it properly it won't do you any good and the lack of such vitamins and minerals will make you ill in the long run.

Having an Actimel or similar every morning also helps support your immune system, which is the hidden system in the body which controls and helps everything else work properly.

I was also told not to eat pre-processed food and to concentrate on a more wholefood diet that has no nasties or preservatives in. Apparently processed food takes longer to go through our systems and leaves a residue behind.

Sorry if I have gone on a bit I have tried to be brief, but some of this may help you manage your condition and take control of similar conditions

Hope this helps



Sunday, 14 February 2010

2010.02.14 My Day

Have had a very quiet day here in Peterborough. The day started off not too well as I read of a fellow blogger(Nita) losing her husband to cancer. [[major hugs to her and her family] Please take care. I feel very much for them at this time. It is all very sad and no matter how prepared you are it is always a shock when anything like this happens.

Last weekend we had a new garden centre open on the Eye bypass called Peterborough Garden Park Retail Outlet, which is dominated by a Van Hage Garden Centre which I didn't get into but it has lots of little shops like Le Creuset shop, a cheapie book shop, pet food shop and various other little shops outside - but the reason I went there was to have a look at the New Hobbeycraft store. It was well worth the visit and I think I will be popping backwards and forwards on a regular basis there plenty of everything including items I haven't been able to get readily in Peterborough - I like beading and they have an excellent choice on beads, wool, patchwork material needlecraft wools, threads and lots of things I didn't expect in the floristy department and the cake making and decorating section. Was quite taken with the wool as well quite reasonable on the prices. We took Missy with us althoug she wasn't allowed in most of the shops, but there was a nice walking area outside. Everybody came over to her to make a fuss she is a real little cutie.

We then popped over to see OH's sister and his niece and spent some time chatting with them and introducing Missy. Fluff the Cat introduced himself and flew at Missy and bopped her one and then flew out again. We then came back and started tea. We have had roast pork (Gloucester Old Spot) my home made crab apple jelly which was delicious served up with sweet potato and rosemary roasties, roast potatoes, roast parsnip mashed potato, carrots broccoli and cabbage with home made roasted vegetable and garlic gravy. Very tasty it was too.

This evening I have watched Lark Rise to Candleford and then the Seven Ages of Britain. Now that really is an excellent programme. I have also spent sometime catching up on reading blogs etc and playing catch up with my friends and am just about to disappear to bed.

Take care everyone



Hello I am back

Rowan and Elizabeth - I am well thank you and I am I think just about back. Sorry for being missing, but have had quite a lot of things on my plate the last few weeks or so and I haven't been firing on all pistons - its the cold it looks pretty especially if it has been snowing but it gets deep into my bones and slows me up. So I tend to hibernate when its cold.

Today has been an enjoyable day we went to our Butchers at Willowbrook Farm Helpston and have a joint of Gloucester Old Spot pork for tomorrow's dinner. That means oh goody pork dripping for the roasts over the next few weeks. [I might also make a Yorkshire Pud and either a Chocolate Mousse or a Treacle Pudding for afters. Might be naughty and make both] I also bought some back bacon and got some bones for Missy to gnaw on some smoked Garlic and a Game Pie. I thought we would try it as I wasn't sure whether I liked it or not but it went down extremely nicely with some cabbage and mashed potatoes and gravy. So I think I may well be in the next few weeks getting bits together and having a go at making my own. Was very tasty.

When we got back I went to the veg shop and topped up on some more vegetables for the week, sweet potato, celery, 2 bunches of spring onions, parsnips, carrots, broccoli, cabbage and a further 2kg Seville Oranges all for the princely sum of £10 so I don't think I did too badly.

I have also had an Opticians appointment today as I realised my eyesight for close work was starting to deteriorate again. The verdict is that my eyes are healthy and there are no hidden nasties but my eyes are different levels the right eye is 0.50 and the left eye is 0.25. I also have astigmatism in the left eye and dry eyes so I have been prescribed artificial tear drops. Went to Specsavers and have managed to get two basic pairs of glasses for close work - as per their special offer at the moment. I should be able to pick these up on Friday next week. Hopefully then I will stop getting headaches and be able to see to do some of the things like my cross stitch etc.

After that I nipped into the Charity Shop in town and managed to buy two new books. One called Edible Presents to Make by Norma Miller ISBN 0-600-56470-3 and A Taste of the Country by Pamela Westland the two for £5. Its been a long time since I bought anything like this so it was a delightful treat. I also got part 6 in the Art of Crotchet and am slowly making my blanket throw. Will share some more pictures shortly.

I am so very very lucky

Take care



Potatoes and Cauliflowers

I have been to the vegetable shop today and bought another sack of potatoes and my supplier indicated to me that they believed that pototoes were going to be a little scarcer this coming year as not so many farmers out their way are going to be planting them (Spalding area). Therefore if you have the land it might be worth growing a few of your own if you can. I am afraid I always buy a very big bag of spuds as you can always get a good meal out of them. The last lot that I got were Cara and were £5 - far cheaper than the supermarket and far more meals out of a bag. During all the snow recently the farmers had closed the potato sheds, and were having difficulty lifting other veg as well.

Cauliflowers have also been £1.50 each - in fact they wouldn't buy them - the area in which I live is not very wealthy with a lot of people on benefits so at that price they didn't think they would get rid of any and so it would be false economy in stocking them, so Cauliflower has been missing off the menu for the past few weeks or so. Other half adores Cauliflower cheese.

So if you have the room grow some potatoes yourself. Wilkinsons have seed potatoes in stock at the moment and you never know having a go may well spur a life long interest in gardening and feeding the family.

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)