Friday, 31 December 2010

Having a go

Sometimes its our state of mind that holds us back from doing things or having a go at doing something, basically because we are afraid of failure. This may be having a go at an intricate piece of embroidery or trying a new experience like doing a parachute drop.  We are all different and we all have our own lives to live, so what pleases one may not necessarily please another.  Thank goodness for the little differences as it would be completely boring if we were all the same.

However, in some circumstances methods of teaching employed in the past have had the emphasis on being correct and much fuss made if you got things wrong.  In many cases making you feel inadequate and small with the effect that because you have made yourself look such a pratt by getting things wrong that you just want to curl up in the nearest deepest darkest hole because you are so embarrassed.  Painful and public humiliation.  It doesn't help if you are painfully shy as it makes the experience even more excruciating, or by hearing your peers making unnecessary hurtful comments as a result (because they think they are being clever- never quite remembering that it could easily happen to them).   It is made out to be a bad thing making mistakes - the emphasis is nearly always on winning and being a success.  However logically, we have to make mistakes (usually large ones in my case) to properly learn your way around things, to check out the full parameters and to find your way around things.   Also what has to be taken into account is that each of us learns very differently to another.

So next time you make a right pratt of yourself, put a positive emphasis on things, it will make you feel better about yourself and about trying new experiences.  You need the ying and the yang to balance things out and its the same with learning getting things right boosts your confidence but making mistakes is a strong learning curve, and  you will be all the better for making them.  So don't let mistakes hold you back from having a go - because this only leads you limiting yourself and your experiences.  Each time you have a go you are practicing and as the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Put Down 2011

The Put Down 2011 - Pattypan's "Pantry"

Well here are the headings as and when I get to make an item, like last year I will add the item in as it has been made, although I have put a few things in that I intend to do in the next few weeks or so.

Bottled Fruits/Tomatos etc
  1. Bottled Clementines {2 large jars}
  2. Bottled Forced Rhubarb [6 jars]
  3. Bottled Apples
  4. Bottled Blueberries [5  jars]
  5. Bottled Blackberries (5  jars)
  6. Bottled Pears
  7. Bottled Fruit Salad.
  8. Bottled Red Fruit Salad.
  9. Bottled Hedgepick Fruits Pie Filling
  10. Bottled Black Cherries in Kirsch [1 large jar]
  11. Bottled Pasta Sauce [4 Small and 1 large] we keep eating it
  12. Bottled Pineapple
  13. Bottled Tomatoes
  14. Bottled Cherry Tomatoes
  15. Bottled Blackberry and Apple pie filling [ 2 large jars]
  16. Bottled Strawberries
  17. Bottled Raspberries
  18. Bottled Pears in Red Wine
  19. Bottled Pears in Cider
  20. Bottled Figs
  21. Bottled Quince
  22. Bottled Plums
  23. Bottled Apricots
  24. Bottle Blackberry and Apples in syrup [2 large bottles]

  1. Pickled Shallots .
  2. Pickled Onions .
  3. Pickled Cucumber .
  4. Pickled Red Cabbage
  5. Pickled Mixed Vegetables
  6. Pickled Peppers
  7. Sweet Pickled Orange Rings .
  8. Pickled Beetroot
  9. Pickled Gherkins
  10. Pickled Eggs
  11. Pickled Quails Eggs

    1. Mango Chutney 6 x 1lb jars
    2. Hot Hedgerow Chutney
    3. Roast Beetroot Chutney
    4. Apple and Beetroot Relish
    5. Peach and Ginger Chutney 
    6. Pineapple Coriander and Lime Relish 
    7. Pear and Ginger Chutney [5 jars] very delish too


    1. Strawberry Jam (5 x 1lb jars)
    2. Greengage Jam (so far 8 x 1lb jars)
    3. Apricot Jam.
    4. Blackberry and Apple jam.
    5. Chilli Jam [4 Jars.
    6. Elderberry and Apple Jam [7 jars]


      1. Victoria Plum and Apple Mincemeat [7 3/4 jars]
      2. Apricot and Amaretto Mincemeat
      3. Apple and Whisky Mincemeat
      1. Cranberry and Apple Jelly.
      2. Crab Apple Jelly.
      3. Orange Jelly
      4. Orange and Apple Jelly.
      5. Sea Buckthorn Jelly [12 jars] 
      6. Elderberry and Apple Jelly plain
      7. Elderberry and Apple Jelly spiced

          1. Blood Orange Conserve

          1. Seville Orange Curd
          2. Lemon Curd
          3. Lime Curd
          4. Grapefruit Curd
          5. Elderflower and Lemon Curd 
          6. Clementine Curd


            1. Red Plum Cheese
            2. Crab Apple Cheese
            3. Apple Cheese
            1. Seville Orange Marmalade.
            2. Lemon Marmalade
            3. Ginger Marmalade
            4. Orange Marmalade
            1. Ginger Cordial
            2. Lemon and Ginger Cordial
            3. Orange Cordial
            4. Elderberry Cordial/Syrup 2 large bottles and 1/4 bottle 
            5. Mint Syrup/Cordial (2 bottles)

              1. Seville Orange Sauce.
              2. Mushroom Duxelle
              3. Barbecue Sauce
              4. Chinese Plum Sauce
              5. Pontack Sauce (2 bottles)
              6. Sweet Chilli Sauce
              7. Apple Sauce
              8. Mint Sauce (keeping version)
              9. Haw Sin Ketchup (2 bottles) 
              10. Honeyed Pecans (1 large jar)
              11. Honeyed Almonds(1 large jar)
              12. Honeyed Hazlenuts(1 large jar)
              1. Ginger Wine 
              2. Vin D'Orange 
              3. Bramble Wine [2 gallons on the go]
              4. Lemon Wine
              5. Orange Wine
              6. Elderberry Wine
              7. Mixed Hedgerow Wine
              8. Apple Wine

              1. Seville Orange Gin
              2. Seville Orange Liqueur
              1. Lager
              2. Bitter
              3. Stout
              1. Cider.
              2. Perry
              1. 1 litre of Basil Oil
              1. Blackberry Vinegar.
              2. Strawberry Vinegar
              3. Elderberry Vinegar
              4. Bramble Vinegar
              5. Mint Vinegar
              6. Elderflower Vinegar
              7. Tarragon Vinegar 
              8. Horseradish Vinegar

              1. Dried Rubbed Sage
              2. Dried Rosemary
              3. Dried Orange Peel
              4. Dried Thyme
              Soup Stock

              Pastes/Soup Stocks/Marinades
              1. Soup Stock Paste.
              2. Basil pesto (in the freezer)
              3. Horseradish (in the freezer)
              Candied and Crystallised Fruit/ando/or in Syrup

              1. Ginger in Syrup
              2. Ginger Slices
              3. Ginger Chunks

              Tuesday, 28 December 2010

              Ideas for the Put Down 2011

              I still have unfinished business from before Christmas in the pickling and preserving sections and as I have the ingredients and don't wish to waste them,  primarily pickling onions and shallots and also crab apples and ordinary apples. and a couple of pumpkins for pumpkin marmalade and also a chutney.  In the circumstances, the Putdown is being started earlier than before.  Needs must and all that.  I make no apology for this .but taking into account the rise to come in VAT in the New Year and also taking into account available funds and any providence that may come my way. I wish to make the most of everything that  happens serendipitiously. 

              There are still many areas of preserving that I want to get my head around - I just wish my pantry was bigger so that I could better organise it so that I can find things without a major hunt.  I am particularly interested in crystallising fruits in pieces (sugar coated) and in syrups in order that I can create an interesting sweetmeat platter in readiness for next year's Christmas.  Equally I am also very interested in different forms of preservation of meat.  I have done pates before, but now feel that I want to go on and experiment with Salamis  and sausages and having a go at my own home cured bacon and smoking foods.  Will have to see what we can do about this.May be they can go down on a long wish list for the New Year.

              I am very conscious that Cranberries have been in season and are likely to be reduced now that the main Christmas event is over and I have a few in any event as I always make my own fresh Cranberry sauce with Grand Marnier to go with the turkey.  I always make a scuttle full and then pop into containers in the fridge, same with home made bread sauce and then it is used in sandwiches or meat platters.

              I have several recipes that I would like to have a bash at if I can obtain  further supplies of the cranberries at a reasonable price and I have some crab apples to use up in any event. Nice Red ones.  I am principally thinking about making some cranberry and apple jelly - we use a lot of this throughout the year.  I also want to make some more crab apple jelly.  Its lovely spread on crumpets or croissants but equally makes a very good alternative "apple sauce" to serve with roast pork.  I also use it in gravies too.

              Citrus fruits have also been plentiful and I also intend to take advantage of these as well, whether it be bottled, in marmalade, in jellies - I have some from the Christmas celebrations that I do not want to waste at all whether it be turned into curds, marmalades, jellies, or sweetmeats.  It will either get put down for use next Christmas or for use in baking in between.  

              I also discovered a few bags of dried fruit that are getting near their sell by dates so I may well utilise them in some form of dried chutney or soak them in brandy for fruit cake or in tea for a fruit tea loaf.

              Just a few ideas to start with - am back at work tomorrow so will primarily have to try and do of an evening to start with.

              I will post the list of what I manage to accomplish as soon as I get into gear and start producing.  The Pantry was all sorted out before Christmas and I now have to start clearing the freezers down and no doubt I will find a lot of fruit in there which can be turned into something useful in due course, in order to be replenished in the coming year. To this end I want to try and get the garden sorted but I also intend to pay a few visits to the Grow Your Own Farms.


              Hi everyone, I hope everyone has had a very good Christmas, enjoyed their food and with being with family, and friends and generally had a good time.  Above some of my Christmas decorations.  I just wish could do something with the obsolete gas fire - its not connected, but living in rented, our hands are somewhat tied.

              Things were a tad hectic here before the event with me not having done my shopping or got my Chrimbo decorations up (despite having a week off just before).  All I can say is the best laid plans of mice and men etc - probably a post on not how to do things would possibly be more appropriate - but it isn't going to happen next year.  I was trying to avoid the pre-Christmas stress and all the charging around associated with doing things last minute - but circumstances were against me.  To add insult to injury I had told OH to get Pork Pie, Sausagemeat etc from our usual supplier and he dilly dallied.  Then at the last minute decided to go and could not get his Pork Pie he got stressy but  - there was nothing could do about it (It has been a tradition for the past 23 years that he has Pork Pie for his breakfast on Christmas Day - something his parents started).

              However up the tree did go and the front room decorated all on Christmas Eve together with the present shopping etc.  Needless to say I was slightly shattered come Christmas Day - but there was only just me, the OH, Missy, Tyson and Squeak.  We had a late Christmas Lunch - but thoroughly enjoyed it, although the Sausage meat, and bacon were not from our usual supplier.   The Turkey was delicious - and very moist and was served with roast parsnip, roast sweet potato and roast potatoes, cauliflower, peas, carrots and brussels.  I had cooked one of my Christmas puddings but we could not manage it as we were both full.

              Boxing day started early for me as I wanted to get completely sorted as my mum came for lunch.   She had spent Christmas Day and Christmas Day evening at my brother's home.

              We had a lovely time and I served Roast Beef, with Roast Potatoes, Parsnips and Sweet Potato with cauliflower, broccoli, spring cabbage, peas and carrots together with Yorkshire Pud (it grew like topsy and was massive overspilled the pan and rose very high).  I served the home made Elderflower Fizz and mum loved it.  It was very refreshing.  We also had home made Christmas pudding together with Rum sauce and that was really delicious.  I was worried as I had changed my normal recipe, but I think I am going to stick with the changes for next Christmas as well.
              We had a very pleasant time and I think my mum enjoyed herself; I just wish I could do more than I can for her at present; I try and do what I can.

              Today we have had a very quiet day just not doing very much and we have had cold meats home cooked ham and Turkey and cheese served with home made peach and ginger chutney, pickled onions, picalilli, home cured gherkins and it was lovely.  (I must just mention here that I don't eat gherkins or picalilli so don't really know what they should taste like, but OH seemed to think that they were very delish, so I am well chuffed).  We then had a bowl of mandarin jelly with mandarin oranges in, served on individual meringues and fresh cream.  It was very refreshing and also a light meal especially after the two big meals of the past few days.
              The animals seem to have been content, Tyson has stayed in for the best part in the warm and he Missy and Squeak seem to have been getting on extremely well - Tyson has been showing his softer side even going so far as letting out his inner kitten the other night playing tag with everyone.

              I hope you have all had a brilliant time.  Just take care wherever you are and be safe.


              Sunday, 19 December 2010

              And the Winner Is

               Sorry for being late with the draw - life sort of got in the way.

              Here are all the entrants name into the draw and I have got the OH to make the actual draw.

              AND THE WINNER IS:-

              Congratulations hope this little gem which is coming your way soon gives you lots of ideas and pleasure

              Please email me with your address

              Many thanks and well done



              2010.12.19 My Day

              Sorry its been a while since I last posted  - life in general has sort of got in the way.

              We had some snow the other day but one sniff and you would have missed it.  Its been dreadful  from what I have seen every where else.  Please take care and keep safe  and warm wherever you are.

              The other day we were given a two hen pheasants a lovely surprise and very welcome .  Have had them outside the back door on one of the plant hangers in this cold weather which has kep them safe from predators and also kept them nice and chilled.  Reminds me very much of my childhood when my uncle had been shooting for pheasant.  Oh I do miss the countryside and the way of life.  We have had these for lunch today, freshly plucked and drawn and then straight into the cooker.  I roasted them after barding them with bacon.  I then served them with mashed creamed potato and green beans, and broccoli, cauliflower carrot and peas, together with a home made sloe gin gravy. (I bottled my sloe gin the other day and I am quite chuffed with it.  Needless to say I shall be making a lot more of this berries permitting in the future .  I have the macerated berries to put into chocolate so that we can eat them as a sweatmeat after lunch.) 

              Dinner was extremly scrummy and delicious and very warming in this oh so cold weather.  I also opened a bottle of elderflower champagne that I had made earlier on in the year.  This was my first batch.  It looked flat in the bottle, but it most certainly wasn't.  I am extremely chuffed with this and am going to have this on Christmas day with my roast turkey. (Its very muscat/lemony and very refreshing - I chilled it by standing it outside the back door as it is most certainly cold enough)  Needless to say I shall be making a lot more elderflower champagne next year blossom permitting.  It was very pleasurable enjoying something I had actually made from earlier in the year that actually works.  But even if it goes wrong you learn by the experience and learn not how to do something.  The trick is not to get despondent but to persevere.

              This week has been one for new things as I also opened a bottle of my home made passata sauce.  I had this served simply with plain pasta and loads of grated cheese and it was extremely filling and tasty.   Would also be very good used in casseroles and as a base for a tomato soup.

              Other delights from the put down are still to be awaited and enjoyed hopefully in due course.   I stacked the majority of this the other evening on my corner dresser and there are lots of things to use in baking and for puddings. Lots of jams and bottled fruits But it is firing me up to set too and do a lot more than I have achieved this year.  I have all sorts of ideas for Seville Oranges and Forced Rhubarb  as well as for a stock pile of home made house wines and other goodies, including sauces and cordials.  I love preparing the seasonal ingredients for use throughout the year and especially round Christmas when as a result you end up having a choice of all these lovingly prepared ingredients for use in your home cooking which gives you far more choice.  Only problem is I need a much bigger pantry!

              I am not in the Christmas mood this year It seems to have come too quick  and I seem to have run out of time a precious commodity at the best of times and despite all my previous planning (in retrospect its been a good thing that I did this) things have slightly gone pear shaped in the last few weeks or so, but we have to make the most of what we have rather than that which we haven't got.  Sometimes no matter what our dreams we are dragged screaming and shouting into the present and have to deal with what is rather than what we aspire too.  

              A lot of my Christmas decorating plans have gone awry.  Its more that I cannot get at the bulk of my decorations, not because I don't have them or that I can get much in the house as it is.  Hopefully in the coming years things will change and I will then be able to have everything how I really would like it.  Hence I have been concentrating on the food side more than anything and at least we will eat well and it will be more of an old fashioned Christmas without too much hype or glitz and we won't be paying through the nose well into next year for it. 

              I have made three Christmas puddings, a Christmas cake and lots of other goodies.  I have only bought the ingredients but have made a lot of things myself or am in the process of doing so in an effort to keep costs down but still enjoy good quality food with no nasties in it.

              I read several blogs and enjoy reading about other people what they are doing what they are making or whether they are making renovations to their home or having a fire place put in, like my friend Leanne at Somerset Seasons Dorset Days  .  Leanne has just lit her first fire in her new hearth just in time for Yule and I am so happy for her as she has achieved what she wanted to do with help and assistance and plenty of trial and effort.  Its lovely from my perspective to see people achieving what they want to and seeing it through to fruition.  We only see a peep slot of each other's lives, and yet in some instances its as if we have been connected for ever.  And a proper fire in winter, something to keep you warm, soothe your soul and to dream by - I am so happy for Leanne but ooh so envious! - One day!

              I am a great beleiver that people come into each others lives for a reason and a season, some stay and some go but all leave an indelible mark on who we are and on our hearts.  The Internet is just another way of doing this and gives a different meaning to community.

              So wherever you are in the next few days be kind to yourself - despite all the hard work hope you enjoy the season and the celebrations.  Hopefully I will get in another post by the end of the week.

              With a glass of Elderflower Fizz./Champagne in my hand - bottoms up till I catch you all again.



              Wednesday, 15 December 2010

              A little Adult Christmas humour!

               I received this from a friend and just had to laugh - reminded me of cooking in the kitchen for Christmas but with a glass or two of wine in hand. Hic - I have slightly censored it though.

              Subject: How to make a Christmas cake
              Brilliant innovation in seasonal  baking!!!
              Please read / follow destructions closely.

              A Christmas Cake

              * 2 cups flour                   * 1 stick butter         * 1 cup of water
              * 1 tsp baking soda          * 1 cup of sugar       * 1 tsp salt
              * 1 cup of brown sugar     * Lemon juice           * 4 large eggs
              * Nuts                              * 1 bottle Brandy      * 2 cups of dried fruit

              Sample the brandy to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the brandy again. To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat. 

              Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it's best to make sure the brandy is still OK. Try another cup... Just in case.  Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 eggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

              Pick the flipping fruit up off floor. Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the brandy to check for tonsisticity.  Next, sift two cups of salt or something. Check the brandy. 
              Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or some fink. Whatever you can find. Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.  Don't forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the window.  Finish the brandy and wipe counter with the cat.

              Bingle Jells!


              Monday, 6 December 2010

              Hello Everyone

              Hello everyone and sorry I have been absent for so  long but have been away for a week staying with OH's sister in Birmingham.  We travelled up in our ever faithful van on Saturday week and had problems with the van on the way up.  In fact it was quite an eventful journey.  OH used the Sat Nav and it took us well out of our way and we were later arriving than we anticipated.  The van nearly shuddered to a halt on the motorway section and we struggled to get to his sister's in one piece.  We had gone up to the German Market, which we went to on the Sunday afternoon/evening and had a brilliant time.  Anything that revolves around good food and good company nearly always gets my vote.  Needless to say if sis invites us up will be going again.  We have had a lovely time and a good rest, eaten lots of different foods, paid visits to different food establishments and generally had a good time.  Needless to say the cats were pleased to have us back last night although they have been well cared for whilst I have been away they get into a routine with feeding and with fuss.  Squeak has not moved far from me since we came home.  At the moment she is pretending to snooze as she is sat next to me on the settee.

              The weather has been bitter and very cold and there has been plenty of the white stuff.  This in part delayed our return home until yesterday on safety issues rather than anything else.  Also we had to get the van looked at and repaired, but hopefully now that has been settled.  To make matters worse when we got home yesterday the key to the van broke and we have had to fork out about £80 to get a replacement key today.

              Anyway, where was I - oh yes I have the book draw to do, but please forgive me if I do that tomorrow night.  So tune in then to find out who has been the lucky recipient. I am a bit at sixes and sevens at the moment and  I am tired as have been doing housework and the washing from our holidays and was the first day back at work today.  Bit of a shock to the system.  I am on holiday again from the end of the week this time at home to primarily get ready for Christmas, get the house bottomed out the decorations up and anything else that needs doing.

              I have just popped outside to pop some bits into the recycling and it is bitter there is a very white frost on the dustbin lids and neighbouring roofs and the roads look very slippery.  So please take care wherever you are.

              Catch you all tomorrow.

              Take care wherever you are



              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)