Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Story Telling part 2

Story telling takes many different guises, most often it is referred to as a child's past time, but I think stories are for everyone. Once upon a time those stories and histories were passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth,  and by some right characters, just as colourful as the stories they spun and wove magic into for a keen and  anticipatory audience until it was transfered by pen and ink to paper.  I think that is why a lot of us read so much becuase we love a good story and it is a form of escapism.  I still love listening to stories or dramatisations on the radio when I get the time, as listening or reading helps you create your own magic in your mind's eye, and each of us sees things differently.

The most common guise is telling a story to a child, either making one up or reading from a book.  But there are also different genres poetry being another medium.  When I was at school I loved reading poetry; one of  my favourite poems was the Highwayman and another was the Lady of Shallot. I was therefore very surprised and pleased to find both poems have been set to music by Loreena McKennitt. This puts yet another spin on a rich heritage of storytelling, a Celtic one at that and the Celt runs deep in all of us native to this country of mixed and wonderful olde world magic.


I find Loreena's music very different very soothing very vibrant I hope you enjoy her music as much as I do


Monday, 18 October 2010


I have been babysitting for my friend Eve who has been on holiday up in Scotland these last few days.  Not a cat or another animal not even a house, but her Bonsai Tree.  I was under strict instructions to keep it somewhere not too warm as it was happier in cooler temperatures so it has been in the smallest room in the house on the windowsill and it seems to be thriving. and also to keep it moist. There is something very intriguing about a bonsai, shall I say it has grown on me.  I had never really given them a thought before babysitting Eve's little plant, but find myself now considering actually purchasing one at some point in the near future.  I must say I have become quite taken with it.  I think by spending time each day with Bonsai that it has readjusted my focus and making me see what is right under my nose; it also gives me me time and thinking space.  A precious commodity in this day and age.  So helping someone has actuallty given me something that I did not expect and a slightly different perception of what Bonsai are all about.  I have enjoyed my visitor -  he  (yes it is a he strong and wiry) but he will soon return to his mum.

P.S. My friend Eve is now home and I was right the plant is a male as far as she is concerned too. Affectionately known as "Freddie"!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

26000 + Hits Give Away

When I first started out with my foray into the world of blogging it was very nervously I didn't have a clue about how to use the software or what my subject matter, would be ; but this has evolved with time and patience and through the help of very good friends.   I did not expect as many people to pop by and  visit who have done, or the regular support which has grown as a result.  Both of which I am very grateful and thankful for, but most of all for the friendship I have found along the way with people of like minds.The Internet if used properly is a wonderful vehicle and opens up so many opportunities.

As I have  now hit a bit of a milestone with 26,000 plus hits I thought I would offer up a giveaway.  I had a long hard think about this not really knowing what to offer, but being as preserving is something of a passion for me I thought that it ought to be connected to this in some way and hopefully inspire others with a similar passion. I have therefore located a preserving book with very different recipes in to the usual ones contained within many preserve books.  This one is entitled "The Glass Pantry" and is by Georgeanne Brennan ISBN No 0-8118-0393-7.  It has lovely clear photography and recipes, and I myself have had a copy of this book for sometime.  Some of the selection of recipes are as follows:

Green Almond Conserve

Wild Greens and Garlic Relish

Pickled Artichokes

Sweet and Sour radishes

Brined Grape leaves

Folie of Fall Fruits

Zante Grapes in Armagnac

Pomeganate vinegar
Candied Grapefruit peel

Spicy Lemon Oil etc etc etc

And loads more recipes showing different techniques, some of them are long term preserves some of them short term preserves and all are split into the seasons.

If you would like to join in this "Give away" please just drop me a comment on the bottom of this post whereupon I will put your name into a hat and draw the same on All Hallowes Eve (All Saints Night) or more commonly known as Halloween 31 October 2010.

Good luck everyone

Kind regards 


Christmas Chutney

I have been making this chutney for the past couple of years and it is sweet rich and fruity with a spicy flavour.  This Chutney is one if you make it now it will give it time to mature and will be  ideal to give away as a small Christmas present.  Especially if you trim and decorate the jars up in pretty Christmas fabric together with a label giving suggestions on how and when to use it - and oh don't forget to put a use by date on as well.  Chutney usually keeps well so put a use by date of a year of making it on the jar.  You could also add a little recipe card as well.  I first found this recipe in a magazine quite some years ago and it was a couple of years before I tried it.  Unfortunately I cannot remember who provided the recipe for publication, so cannot give the usual commendations but it is a good recipe.

I have found that most people appreciate a couple of jars of something in this way as it is usually different i.e. you cannot buy it in the shops and they are usually much tastier.  I have in the past when I haven't been able to obtain fresh ginger used stem or crystallised ginger and this works just as well.

Ingredients :

1lb  plums - stoned
1lb pears peeled and cored
8oz cooking apples peeled and cored
8oz celery
1lb onions
1lb tomatoes skinned
4 oz raisins
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoon of pickling spice
1 1/2 pints cider vinegar
1lb sugar


Chop up the plums pears and apples celery and onions; cut the tomatoes into quarters and then place all these ingredients together in a pan with the raisins and ginger. (I use a maslin pan/preserving pan)
Measure out the pickling spice and then pop this into a square of muslin, secure with string.  Add to the pan with half of the vinegar and bring to the boil.  Cook gently for about 2 hours giving the mixture the occasional stir so it doesn't stick.

Whilst this is cooking sterilise some jars and lids in usual fashion.  When all the ingredients are tender stir in the remaining vinegar and the sugar .  Boil until thick.  Remove the bag of spices and fill each hot sterilised jar with chutney.  Cover with lid. Label when cold.
Makes approximately 4 to 4 1/2 lb.

Serve with cheese, pate, and cold meats.  Nice with caemembert and also with goats cheese.  Its also a lovely colour especially if you use the dark red blood plums  - very christmassey. We eat with our eyes first so something that looks really attractive appeals even more.

2010.10.16 My Day

Its been a cold un here in Peterborough today although we did have the sun out for a while and it looks as though its going to be a real cold one tonight with possibly the first night's frost.  Brggh don't do the cold. 

I have been trying to tidy the house up today and seem to be failing miserably I have done lots it just doesn't look like it.  Will all come together in the end I suppose.  Although I have done a load of tomatoes passata style to bottle for the larder cupboard. Over 6lb in weight for £3 and it makes a good base for a pasta sauce or for a tomato soup.   Its cooling at the moment and the dishwasher is on with the bottles being sterilised .  All will have to do is then warm the passata up and add some lemon juice to each bottle and then should be able to water bath the jars before going up later on.  I am hoping I will get 6 or so jars (7 in total). The resulting passata is not strongly flavoured but it is tasty and good and I know that it has no nasties in plus it hasn't cost me very much to produce and it gives me at least a couple of uses which gives you more flexibility in planning and preparing meals from your store.

I have been to the veg shop bought 6lb plus of tomatoes, some pears, stew veg, turnips leeks more peaches dates persimmons, cauliflower, shallots, red onions so am now well stocked up again.  With this cold weather need plenty of good food to keep you warm. I also have plenty of apples to use up too. I intend to bottle quite a few of these as they are good for puddings but also apple sauce to accompany

I have never used persimmons before so I am going to have a go at making some persimmon jam and see how it turns out.  Sounds exotic I hope am not going to be disappointed.

Have had baked caemembert cooked in the oven with french bread, onion chutney, and celery for tea. very scrummy. It goes all gooey and yummy.  I like that sort of dunk and dip food.

Because it has been cold have had the heating on for a little while and ended up with a water leak in the large radiator in the  little back bedroom. Only reason found out was in the kitchen and water was coming down the wall cupboards and there is no evident pipework, so there was a rather rapid reaction, but have managed to slow the leak for now.  Will get drained tomorrow when we can see what we are doing

After all that excitement had a lazy sit down evening for a change watching  The Pillars of the Earth which is the new historical series that started at 9.00 p.m. on Channel 4.  Extremely good and a very good cast.  Shall certainly be watching that again.

Intend to have an early start tomorrow as have loads to do.

Catch you all later on.



Thursday, 14 October 2010

Evening All

Hi everyone, sorry haven't been around and about but have had the dreaded lurgy.  The hospital have diagnosed me with Sorgen's Syndrome and suspect I have a soft connective tissue disorder which are both auto immune diseases, where basically the antibodies in my system are not working properly and so basically the antibodies in my system attack my system.  it would seem that the Raynaud Syndrome has been the trigger for this.  That's the simplistic version.  The steroids that I was put on by my GP in good faith, it would seem could cause more harm than good so I have instructions to be off them by the time I go back to the hospital in November, so I am busy trying to reduce these, but it has to be a gradual process, and the pain from my joints etc and the arthritis is something I am going to have to put up with for the time being.  I have also been prescribed plaquenil tablets (which contain quinine or otherwise known as hydroxychloreouqine sulphate).  I have also had follow up testing with lung function testing and also an echogram of the heart.  But the realistic practical day to day side effects mean that potentially I have to steer clear of people with colds, as a simple sniffle or cold (for which there is still no cure)  means it knocks me for six each time I get an infection.  Its not easy when you work in an air conditioned office.

I have been off work until today; as had a dry chest cold with splitting headache and fluctuations in temperature going from very warm to extremely shivery and cold and so I have been in bed for the last couple of days - hence the lack of posting as I have been resting. I have also had a Sore throat and loads of dry coughing; only that hurts as well.   Resting often does more good overall and keeping warm.  But needless to say I think I am on the mend now.  Put it this way I hope so as I don't make a good patient at the best of times.  OH made me some French Onion soup but he made it too hot (he added chilli which nearly burnt the back of my throat off) but it did soothe my throat and make me sweat it out a bit.   So, hopefully normal service will be resumed shortly.

Hope everything is okay in your part of the world and you are all fighting fit.
Take care


Sunday, 10 October 2010

2010.10.10 My Day and Pattypan Mutterings

Was up early this morning, and today has been a different day all together, sunny, mild, just a slight breeze and best of all I haven't been cold.  However I think the temperature will drop again tonight - last night the wind was bitter round here.  We are slowly sinking deeper into the Fall or Autumn and slowly into winter.

We went to collect some more apples, to pass on to my mum for puddings etc, but I also bought some sloes back as well; these I am going to use in an apple and sloe jelly to ring the changes.  I shall get more rosehips and also some haws in a couple of weeks time when I go back. I have plenty of apples now to be getting on with things.  Had a nice time out and Missy had a really good run.  Have some plums to use up so I think that will be making apple and plum jelly and also apple and plum jam.  Have plenty of ordinary plum so this again will make a change and the jam pan is handy as it frees me up to do other things whilst I am making the jam.

Whilst out I had a good look around for greenery to use in Christmas decorations and I think I have located a handy source not too far from home so will be able to collect and do my own decorations in the run up to Christmas.  There are also some teasel heads which I am going to collect dry and spray with gold paint and then utilise in Christmas Decorations also with the use of some doilies, card, cord and ribbon.  Christmas is going to be on  have a go basis this year, I have the last week in November off and also a week of before Christmas week so I am hoping to get quite a lot done then as well as much preparatory work as possible completed in the coming weeks.  As I make things to put up will post the recipes that I am using in case any of you would like to have a go too.

During the week I popped into Lakeland as I had seen some ice cream moulds in the shape of snowflakes for £6.99 each.  These are silicone moulds but not for the oven. I have bought one of them, but they have some more bits and pieces which I would like to obtain i.e. the chocolate pan in the shape of Santa Claus etc.  I went on to the website as they have a snowflake cake pan which I am quite interested in.  They have a Christmas catalogue on line which is not in our local shop yet. I suggest that everyone has a look as they have some shortbread clay moulds in the shape of Santa Claus' head, Christmas bauble cooking cutters, Ginger bread men, sweetie moulds for sugar or chocolate mice, shortbread moulds, brownie pans, popover pans, shortbread dishes, etc. etc. Sweetie moulds.  There are quite a lot of nice items to come.  Can't wait go on like you won't be sorry

I also have picked up some sweet moulds from the local pound shop two different designs oval and heart shaped at £1 each so have 4 of these to play with sweetmaking in the run up to Christmas as well. It might be worth you checking out your local pound store to see whether they offer these or something similar (photos to follow).

I have had a splitting headache most of the afternoon so haven't done much as a result, ah well will just have to start tomorrow if am up to it. I keep going shivery and cold too.

Take care wherever you are tomorrow is another day




 Well  here's the recipe if you want to have a go as well

1kg of washed peeled vegetables - select 5 or 6 choices from the following list:-

cauliflower or romanesco
cauliflower or green beans
cucumbers courgettes or green or yellow tomatoes
tomatillos carrots small silver skinned onions or shallots
peppers nasturtium seed pods
(I have chosen cauliflower, romanesco, green beans, marrow, carrrots, onions tomatoes)

50g fine salt
30g cornflour
10g ground turmeric
10g English mustard powder
15g yellow mustard seeds
1tsp crushed cumin seeds
1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
600ml cider vinegar
150g granulated sugar
50g honey

Cut the vegetables into small even bite sized pieces then place into a large bowl or bucket and sprinkle with salt.  Combine and mix up everyting well.  Cover the container used with a tea towel and leave in a cold place for 24 hours then rinse the veg well with ice cold water and drain thoroughly.
Blend the cornflour turmeric and mustard powder mustard seeds cumin and coriander to a smooth paste with a little of the vinegar.  Put the rest of the vinegar into a saucepan with the sugar and the honey and bring to the boil. Pour a little of the hot vinegar over the blended spice paste and stir well and return to the pan. Bring gently to the boil.  Boil for 3 to 4 minutes only to allow the spices to release their flavours into the thickening sauce.

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully fold in the well drained vegetables into the hot spicy sauce. Pack into warm sterilised jars and seal immedietly with vinegar proof lids. Leave if you can for 4 to 6 weeks before opening.

Use within a year.

(You will probably find that the next time you make it you will at least make a double batch)


P.S. I had 8llbs of vegetables prepared in the end, but I did not use the full quota on spicing as we don't like things too spicy and I accordingly adjusted the seasoning to taste.  In all I made 17 jars of which there was one half jar which have allowed the OH to sample.  It has since gone  The rest is under lock and key although I have promised a jar to OH's sister.  Even I liked the taste and it does look very colourful

2010.10.09 My Day Part 2

Well needless to say tea was rather lovely and yes he left all the washing up.

But the meal warmed me up as I was cold yesterday and it was indeed comfort food.

Today was like any normal Saturday and I paid a visit to the veg shop as per normal.  Today though most of my money went on obtaining ingredients for doing the yearly batch of picallili.  Ever since OH and I have been together (well over 20 years) I have always made a batch or two of picallili as he is rather partial to this.  But last year I bought the River Cottage Preserves book by Pam Corbin and for a change tried her recipe.  It is by far the best recipe I have come across so far.  Everyone who tries this likes it.  If you haven't got this recipe book I suggest it is the one preserves book you should really invest in.  ISBN details are: 978-7475 9532 8.  

The ingredients I bought were a couple of marrows, carrots, swede, onions, runner beans, cauliflower, romanesco, tomatoes. ISo tomorrow I will start the brining process with the vegetables and conclude the operation on Monday evening after I have been to my maths class.

I didn't buy much fruit this week bought some raspberries, peaches and some nectarines. I have lots of crab apples and eating and cooking apples as well so am going to be busy with the hubble bubble pot creating some seasonal magic over the next few days or so. I have chutney, jellies, herb jellies, chilli jelly in mind. I would also like to get hold of some hips and haws for jellies as well but lets get the basics done first. 

I have a trip planned to get some more eating and cooking apples tomorrow, as mum needs some as well  and if we don't take advantage now in a couple of weeks there won't be that many around.  

So its a busy and productive period over the next few days with lots to do on all fronts.  Oh and I have some plums to use up so will make some more plum jam.  Might put some cinnamon in this batch as this perks it up a bit.

Catch you all later on.



Saturday, 9 October 2010

2010.10.09 My Day Part 1

Where is this year going to October here already season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, harvest festival, pumpkins damp weather grey skies and rain.  Ah well time to muster up a little bit of magic in the kitchen I have loads to do, but before I can start playing I have to get tidy and organised - which doing it properly is time hungry, but it needs to be done properly to save time in the the future. Kinda contradictory but I know what I mean.  I have let other half loose in the kitchen (not too sure as that's a good thing, as he always leaves the washing up)-  but hey a meal cooked by someone else is always a blessing so I thank my lucky stars.  We are having home made Cottage pie with a cheese crust - good home cooking comfort food at its best, warm up food and I am hungry.

Its a quiet evening here, OH pottering in the kitchen, Missy gnawing her favourite bone, me grabbing a few minutes on here to start this post whilst listening to Strictly Come Dancing on the TV.  Its dark out, a proper autumn evening, the wind is very chilly and you don't really want to be out and about if you can help it.  I just have one straggler to get in i.e, Tyson, I don't think he is going to take much calling.  Who on earth in their right mind goes calling the cat !  Me of course pleased to meet you.  Be warned I am slightly wappy in the cat department, especially now I am only reduced to two of the little darlings. 

Ooh must go dinners being dished up catch you all again later 



Friday, 8 October 2010

Honey Spice Cake


2oz butter
5oz clear honey
5oz demerara sugar
10oz plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4oz chopped mixed candied peel
1 egg
1/4 pint of milk


  1. Grease and base line a 1lb loaf tin.
  2. Melt the butter in a large thick pan over a low heat.  Take off the heat and stir in the honey and the sugar.  Mix well and leave the mixture to cool.
  3. Sieve the flour with the soda and spices, and stir in the peel.
  4. Beat the egg and milk into the honey mixture.  Pour into the flour and beat until very smooth.
  5. Pour into the tin and bake in a moderate overn (350degrees F/180 degrees C/Gas mark 4 for 1/4 hours.
  6. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn on to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Serve sliced with butter.

Toffee Apples

I love toffee apples always have done since I was knee high to a nipper - children and big children love them and they are not difficult to make.  Ideal for a family party or for a bonfire night special, or just make a batch and see how quickly they get munched this recipe serves 12.


12 lollipop sticks
12 small apples
500g/1lb 2oz caster sugar
150ml/5 fl oz golden syrup


Thoroughly wash and dry the apples then insert a lollipop stick into each one.  Set aside.

Combine the sugar, golden syrup and 175ml/6 floz water in a deep heavy based saucepan. Place over a low heat and stir all the sugar until it has dissolved.  Use a wet pastry brush to brush down any sugar crystals that may have formed on the inside of the pan.

Turn up the heat to high and cook the syrup without stirring until it starts to turn amber approx 4 to 6 minutes

Line a baking tin with foil and lighty brush with oil to stop any potential sticking. When syrup goes amber remove pot from the heat. Carefully dip each apple into the hot toffee to coat letting any excess drip back into the pot.  Transfer to baking sheet and leave to set.


Sunday, 3 October 2010

Tinky (Official name Clover)

Double tragedy today, Tinky who we thought would well go before ther others as she hasn't been too clever for a while due to old age has also passed to the summerlands.  She too has passed in her sleep, I sat with her as she passed and prior to that she was calling to me, she  knew I was there, jusst didn't stir.  I think the final straw for her was seeing her adversary Poppy go this morning.  Poppy used to get bad tempered with Tinky, but really they were family despite the occasional spats.

The above photo is one of my favourites of this most loving of cats who was ferrel when she came home to live with us - that was some 23 years ago when she was a kitten.  We thought she was black when she came as she had been living in some tyres, and gradually she cleaned up to black and white.

I shall miss both my girls dreadfully as over the years they have been very good company, very affectionate and always a comfort when I was sad.  But at least both of them are now at peace and together in the summerland playlands.

RIP Poppy and Tinky

Apricot and Amaretto Conserve

This recipe is taken from Sensational Preserves by Hilaire Walden ISBN 1-85029-7008-8.   And is one of the recipe books I use over and over as it has such a range of different recipes and techniques.

I love Apricot but I am also partial to Amaretto liqueur. The combination sounded delightful to me so I have had a go.


675g/1 1/2lb fresh apricots
675g/ 1 1/2lb of vanilla sugar (I had plenty in the pantry that I had made as I use this in custard)
3 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur.


*Halve the Apricots and remove the stones. Crack the stones with a pair of nutcrackers or a rolling pin or a hammer.  Remove the kernels and blanch them in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes.  Drain and slip off the skins.

Layer the Apricots and sugar in a non-metallic bowl and cover and leave overnight in a cool place, by which time most of the sugar will hjave dissolved.

Tip the contents of the bowl into your jam pan (I used my jam machine) add 150ml/5 fl oz water and the kernels and heat gently, stirring, until any remaining sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat and boil hard for 15 - 20 minutes stirring occasionally until slightly thickened (it can take a little longer and does vary from batch to batch).

Remove from the heat.  Skim off any scum (I always put a knob of butter into the preserve to stop any scum forming on the surface).  Then stir in the Amaretto and leave for 10 to 15 minutes.  Stir and ladly into the warm clean dry jars.  Cover and seal. Leave overnight to set.  Store in a cool dark dry place.

This made 3 jars for me and from what was left over in the pan it is very lovely.

I have recycled some coffee jars here.

I think this will be particularly nice in a sponge cake with either fresh cream or butter cream.  A sponge pudding or a home-made bread and butter pudding.  Scrummy.

Another one for the Put Down


Its a cold wet miserable day here today in Peterborough the sort of long endless autumn day that I detest.  Its even greyer as I have got up to find that Poppy has passed to the summerlands in her sleep. That's a blessing for her but I am mourning her, but celebrating her at the same time. 

Poppy came to me with her brother as a stray.  Their owner had moved and left them behind a brother and a sister.  I had too many cats at the time but they camped out in my greenhouse and I had bedding in there for them and they used to get fed every day.  They were so trusting the pair of them.  Her brother definitely formed an attachment to me and unfortunately followed me round to the shop one day, crossed the road and got knocked over.  He was still alive but had been left for dead.  We took him to the vet who indicated that he had sustained brain damage and it was kinder to have him euthanised.  As Poppy had always been with her brother we took her in that night and she had been with us ever since.  We think she was about 20 years of age so had quite a good life

Quite a character a gentle female on the face of things but quite ferocious if her temper got up.  We used to refer to her as a poodle on legs because her coat was quite thick and fluffy. Tyson and her were quite close as was Squeak with her in later days.

RIP Poppy.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

2010.10.02 My Day Part 2

Its been a good day and I have enjoyed myself.   Half way through cleaning the fridge out mum called to catch up.   It turns out that I was not the only one who had been out for the day either.  Friends had taken my mum out to Melton Mowbray and they had had a nice day out there. Bless her she has bought me a proper Melton Mowbray pork pie back.  So it really has been a foodie kind of day. Mum also said that the family friends had taken her back home past the cottage that we used to live in when I was a nipper and where my brother was born.  She said it hadn't changed hardly at all.  It was one of the lodge cottages to Gunthorpe Hall. It sounds as though she has had a lovely day out as well. So we are popping over to see her and play catch up tomorrow during the day; and collect the pork pie.

OH was hungry as was I  after our day out so he had his whelks with some bread and butter and I had some cockles and very tasty they were too.  As we had had a late "dive in" meal subsequently I didn't start cooking our main tea until gone 7.00 p.m.  We have had the "T" Bone steak with fried onions, field mushrooms cooked in butter and garlic, home made chips and a Duck egg each.  Neither of us had tried Duck eggs before and we quite enjoyed them. The steak was very tasty as we everything else.  I am now stuffed.

I have the jam pan on at the moment with some Apricot and Amaretto conserve on the go.  I was thinking it should be nice in a home made bread and butter pudding.

Got to go for now the buzzer on the pan is beeping.



2010.10.02 My Day Part 1

Well today has been a good day. Its been a foody day and very pleasurable from my persepective.  We had run out of proper kippers and I am quite partial to these for a Saturday night tea or sometimes for breakfast. I mentioned it in passing to OH and he indicated that the last lot came from the fish shop in King's Lynn and that if the weather was okay he would take me on Saturday.  So today have been to Norfolk.  Its been a lovely day weather wise and I enjoyed the drive too.  Its nice to get out and about now and then.

When we got to King's Lynn we hit the fish shop and brought back 8 kippers (whole  natural ones not dyed), 1 pint of whelks, 1 pint brown shrimp, 1 pint of cockles, 2 fresh crab, (from Cromer for a crab salad) 2 pieces of soft goats cheese (for toasting under the grill on french bread, sprinkled with oil and served with mixed leaves), a hard goats cheese in a blue wax Ribble Valley Blue (very good) and 2 kgs of fresh Brancaster Mussels. Am going to do these in white wine garlic and herbs.  Very lovely.

Whilst out in Norfolk I asked the OH whether it was far to a farm shop we used to go regularly too and which does the most wonderful food and preserves.  We were about half an hour away so OH took me there. The shop is in Fransham on the main road. We were principally going to see what pate they have because we have had a pigeon pate and boar pate from there that was really scrummy.  Today they only had two varieties in the wild boar and garlic which is majorly scrummy (we were given tasters of each pate to try before buying) and a chicken and wine one which is also rather lovely.  It is about £2.80 100g but it is seriously moorish pate and well worth the price.  

The Farm shop also has a chiller cabinet with all sorts of fancy and I mean fancy puddings in - it was very lovely to look at all that was on offer but then the hardest part was picking one to try. I came a away with a passionfruit heart shaped cheesecake, which unusually was on a very slim sponge base and it was wonderful.  It was a visual delight to look at before tucking in, but by was it lovely.

They also make their own steak and kidney pies, chicken pies game pies etc. These are a little pricy but they look very good and are a decent size. It has a major selection of jams and pickles, as well as home made pasta, grissini, cheese biscuits, they have a deli, and freezers, and you can buy rapeseed oil by the bottle from a pour your own dispenser.  They also have a cabinet of fresh meats although did not have a lot when we went in, but there is another room that has freezers in which has local reared meat that they have frozen themselves. We have bought a small joint of pork back for dinner tomorrow and a couple of rib eye steaks to have for tea this evening with garlic field mushrooms  and h ome made chips. They also sell the frozen croissants, pain au chocolat, danish pastries, fruit salad, red fruit salad, garlic mushrooms etc etc.  If you are ever near this Farm shop it is one of the best I have been to.  They also have fresh fruit and vegetables as well.  A real gourmands paradise.  They also had gingerbread festive cookies in quite large sizes and lots of other goodies.  They had fruit coulis in bottles for pouring over ice creams etc.  I have some of these to do in any event and will post a recipe shortly.

I also found casserole sauces which I had not been to before - I was  tempted to bring one home to try but OH said to leave it until next time we go.  I  hope we can  go back just before Christmas as I have  some more holiday due to me then to take time to get some  of the Christmas  preparations  under  way.

On the way back in  Wisbech we saw signs  for a Farm  Shop called Smiths advertising Strawberries.  Most of our Strawberries on Peterborough market and sometimes from the veg shop come from Wisbech, so I asked if we could call in .  We duly stopped and there was quite a choice of produce available.  I came back with loads of cooking apples at £1 a 5lb bag, (10lb of apples in all as I got 2 bags) same for Conference Pears (only 5lb of these) , a large pumpkin, a Romanesco, Strawberries.

Filbert nuts (these will be nice with the cheese- I was first introduced to these by my father as a nipper and developed a taste for them then) 

carrots, and 10lb of plums at £1 for 5lb weight.  Not only did they have all the fresh produce but quite an extensive range of chutneys pickled onions sauces relished all marketed under their own name.  Worth a look.

Together with the fennel I got from the market yesterday, celeriac, mint, mushrooms and pomegranates (for pomegranate jelly) I think I have quite a lot to play with.  But then again I am a foodie.  I love trying new things and then thinking about what I have had and then trying to reproduce that meal myself; thats half the fun of cooking tasting, experimenting and playing.

We got back at 3.00 p.m. and I have had to re-arrange the fridge to get the items in, so I took the opportunity of stripping out the fridge and cleaning it before storing todays "foraged" goodies.  Well it is "foraging" but of a different kind.

Catch you all later


Friday, 1 October 2010


I have made a new found friend in a lady called Eve and have been helping her out on a regular basis teaching her how to use her computer showing her quick ways and sorting different loading bits and bobs on and generally teaching her and sorting her.  Bless her heart she has been so chuffed with my help she gave me this surprise card as a thank you.  I think it is lovely it is done in decoupage and apparently Eve used to do a lot of this kind of work at one time.

Its little things like this that cheer you up and really make your day so thank you Eve.  I am going to frame this.


I love stories I have done since I was very little.  The menfolk of the family being extremely gifted in spinning a good yarn and me growing up with the ritual of the nightly fairy story or tales of local legend and King Arthur and the Knights of the round table.  Or even  made up stories like flying a magic carpet over Egypt.  There being one thing that these stories always inspired your own imagination and place to escape.  I still get very involved when I read however I do like medieval mysteries and modern day good story telling of days gone by whether by the written word or in song format.  This particular piece I am very partial to as it is a story in its self but also a well known musical piece that I remember from my childhood.  Its very haunting and gentle and speaks of a gentler age and lets the imagination wander.  Imagination is a great thing as it feeds our creativity and feeds our soul.  This version is the older version performed by Libera. I hope you enoy it too. 

When a knight won his spurs in the stories of old
He was gentle and brave he was gallant and bold
With a shield on his arm and a lance in his hand
For God and for valour he rode through the land

No charger have I, and no sword by my side
Yet still to adventure and battle I ride
Though back into storyland giants have fled
And the knights are no more and the dragons are dead

Let faith be my shield and let joy be my steed
Against the dragons of anger the ogres of greed
And let me set free with the sword of my youth
From the castles of darkness the power of truth

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)