Saturday, 22 October 2011

Sorry haven't been out to play

Sorry haven't been around to play but life has intervened once again and I am here there and everywhere.  When you work full time, time is of the essence to try and get things accomplished within a very short time span and its a case of get things done or be on the computer.  I am also off out on a social shortly and hopefully will be able to tell you more later on about what I have been up to it has been a very interesting week so far.

So promise will play catch up later on

Catch you all later



Monday, 17 October 2011

2011.10 15/16 My Weekend

Well its been a busy one yesterday was spent mainly washing and getting everything dried on the line as much as I could anyway.  I now have a lot of ironing to do, but will do this a bit at a time during the week.  I had a visit to the veg shop but didn't buy much just a few basics, and a couple of bargains.  I managed to get a porcelain mould from the Charity shop which I will either use for a jelly or for a cheese - jury is out at the moment as to what I do with it.

Tomorrow evening I have some clementine water ice and also some clementine curd to prepare - I managed to get some clementines at a good price. Some of the peels will be dried the rest put into the vinegar cleaning jar.  My small ice cream bowl has therefore been put in the freezer in readiness.  I also bought carrots, coriander a large parsnip, shallots, pickling onions and some lemons, mangoes and eggs, cabbage, cauliflower and Yorkshire Celery.

To start with today we have walked Missy a good mile or more. Not where we normally go but a place that we used to go to quite a bit as kiddies.  It has changed quite a bit but we walked a good mile or so and let Missy run freely.  She never stands still and is always on the go.  Today I have been to see my mum for a little while.  She is going to be having some building works done soon, and we have made a start on sorting the garage out and get rid of some of the rubbish. There is a lot to do.  However we have found a few things that were not known about but I will tell more about them after next weekend.  We have come back with loads of bits and bobs including a home made apple pie.  For tea tonight we have had roast chicken, roast potatoes, roast parsnip, bread sauce, home made stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots, peas, cauliflower and cabbage with lashings of home made vegetable gravy.  We were too stuffed to have the apple pie so that will come in handy for tomorrow night with some home made custard.  The cats have each had some chicken for their supper as well as Missy.  They are all flopped around the house fast asleep at the moment.  My hair is all washed and I am jim jammed up ready to go up the wooden stairs to Bedfordshire.  I put a blanket on the bed last night as it was a tad chilly and I like to be cosy.

Catch you all shortly take care wherever you are and be safe, happy and content



Saturday, 15 October 2011

One Thing a Day - Preparing Walnuts

I was given some of these the other day  - the skins are black and I have to strip them off and get rid of as much as the membrane as I can and then leave them, to dry.  Well that is what the book says - and being Walnuts I am afraid I will have to go in armed and wearing the dreaded Marigolds as they have an unfortunate habit of staining everything that they come into contact with.

According to the book you get off as much membrane as possible I think I am going to need a small brush for this, (since originally typing this I have stripped the walnuts of their skins and scrubbed them up individually with a small nail brush especially sacrificed for the situation.  I love wet walnuts in any event and like to dip them in a little salt.  They really are scrummy and a treat.  Traditionally the nuts were stored in the earth or in salt to stop them drying out.  I have decided to store them in some rock salt I have.  Equally they can be stored in hessian or string bags in a cool dark and airy place like a traditional pantry.  I would think in total I have just under a kg.  I hope they store well in the salt as I quite fancy a waldorf salad come Christmas

These Walnuts are destined to be used  and put up for Christmas.  I have recipes to make some Praline and some Candied Walnuts which I have never tried before.  Lovely to go with ice cream and also as a special Christmas nibbles snack.  I just love nuts and its nice to have something to eat that it is good for you.

Catch you soon



Friday, 14 October 2011

Glace Cumquats

I have made these before and they are fruity and delicious.  The whole process takes about 7 days but it is worth the effort as to buy crystallised, or glace fruit costs an arm and a leg whereas you can produce quite a quantity for a reasonable amount of money, but there is quite a bit of time and effort invovled, which are small steps carried out on a daily basis.

My fascination with having a go at preparing my own crystallised and glace fruits started with a heavy old glass tray which I obtained from a charity shop quite a few years ago.  My initial reaction was that it would look super on the Christmas table filled with home produced sweetmeats.  That's when I started playing around with home made fruits of this type.  To start with I could not find a recipe for glace ginger, crystallised ginger or stem ginger in syrup.  My first attempt wasn't  bad and my father certainly liked it and it kept for well over a year.  Since then recipes have become available and I sort of use a combination of techniques, plus what I found out from my early attempts.  Please see separate post for glace/stem ginger.

With this recipe you have a choice of choosing to keep the Cumquats in the syrup, serving them glace, and then bottling the syrup separately.  The syrups should never be discarded as they can be used to make a refreshing drink, added to fresh fruit salads to pep them up a bit, or poured over ice cream.  Mmmh!

Anyway I digress  you will need the following:-

1lb of cumquats
1 tablespoon of salt
1lb granulated sugar
1 pint of water
4oz granulated sugar


Day 1: Wash the cumquats well and prick each one about eight times with a needle or a cocktail stick.  Put them in a bowl with the salt and enought water to cover.  Soak overnight.
Day 2: Drain the cumquats and rinse to remove any of the salt.  Fill a pan with fresh water and add the cumquats cover the pan and bring to the boil.  Simmer until the cumquats are tender approximately 30 to 50 minutes.  Drain and put into a bowl.  At the same time make a syrup with 1lb sugar and water.  When it becomes clear it is ready.  Pour the syrup over the cumquats and leave to stand overnight

Day 3: Drain the syrup off the cumquats and put it into a saucepan adding 2oz extra sugar. Bring to the boil and when clear pour over the cumquats leave to stand for 48 hours.

Day 5: Repeat day 3 process.

Day 7: Drain the cumquats, reserving the syrup.  *Roll the cumquats in granulated sugar and place on a wire rack and dry in a very slow oven*.  Store in an air-tight tin or wide necked bottle.

Variation: Instead of drying the cumquats just place the cumquats into the syrup in jars and miss out the instruction between the * and*

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Candied Ginger

I love stem ginger or preserved candied ginger both are preserved with sugar syrup but one is left in the syrup whereas the other one is dried off.  It is easy to make but a little time and effort is required.  This recipe produces the candied dry sugared ginger.  I will provide a stem ginger in syrup recipe in due course as I am particularly partial to this and I always add some to a home made stir fry.  Saying that if you have candied ginger and the recipe calls for stem ginger you can still use the candied in place  - the effect is just as good.  Buy the freshest looking ginger that you can if it looks as though it is drying and hard don't buy it if the skin is relatively smooth its good to go.

This was the ginger I worked with

I have done double the quantity.

You will need

12 oz fresh root ginger
8oz granulated sugar
Caster sugar for coating

What to do

Place the ginger into a saucepan and then cover with water and boil gently for about 15 to 20 minutes until the ginger is tender.  Drain the ginger  and then when it is cold peel it - I use the edge of  a teaspoon to scrape away at the skin. cut into 1/4 inch slices/chunks whichever way takes your fancy chunking it uses all the odd shaped pieces up nicely..

In a heavy based saucepan dissolve the sugar in 4 fl oz of water and cook without stirring over a low heat until the mixture becomes syrupy which should take approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the sliced ginger and continue to cook over a low heat occasionally shaking the pan to prevent the ginger sticking until the ginger has absorbed the syrup.

This is where I have got to  with my current batch of ginger I will show you the finished product in a couple of days.

But in case you want to take it further here are the rest of the instructions.

Remove the cooked slices/chunks then place on a wire rack and leave to cool.  When they are cool enough coat the ginger slices with the caster sugar and spread them out on greaseproof paper for about two or three days until the sugar has crystallised.  Store in an air tight glass jar where they will keep for at least a year (that is if you dont eat them all first).

Hope this helps



It tastes lovely

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

One Thing a Day - Yellow Sultanas in Brandy

I quite regularly from my local Asian store buy these lovely yellow sultanas - I like the colour and the flavour of them - in fact check out your local Asian store as they may have many items that you will use in your baking, like Rosewater, Hunza Apricots, Almonds, Walnuts, Dessicated Coconut etc etc at quite reasonable prices.

Anyway back to the One Thing a Day thing - these Sultanas if soaked in Brandy make a lovely accompaniment to home made vanilla ice cream.  They go lovely and plump.  I also use them in my fruit cake mixtures.

All you do is take a jar, fill the jar to about the neck (room must be given for the sultanas expanding when the brandy is poured on).  Pour on the brandy, seal and leave for a couple of weeks.  Serve with ice cream of your choice, or fill a bramley apple with a little butter, a little brown sugar and some of these raisins and bake in the oven either in a pastry coat or just as they are.

Now how easy is that!

Its the little things that make all the difference.

Catch you all soon.



P.S.  Dark Rum and Dark Raisins is nice too


One Thing a Day - Sweet Potato for the Freezer

Sweet potatoes when they get older can suddenly without warning go wrotten very quickly therefore it is worth keeping an eye on them and if they start to discolour deal with them quickly by preparing them for the freezer.  That way you won't waste precious ingredients.  All I do is peel them chop them into cubes, blanch in boiling water, for 2 minutes, straight into cold water, drain and dry off and package in either freezer bags or little plastic boxes and pop into your deep freeze.  I usually cooksweet potato in the oven in oil with Rosemary - roasted but you can use it in stews etc, or mash it with a little cream and butter.  Its a good all round vegetable that appears regularly on my repertoire.  We are very fond of roots of any description.  Plus its alwayts handy to have vegetables of any description to hand and it makes sure none of  the fresh vegetables I buy each week go to waste an important crtiteria in this day and age.  You can do the same with carrots and parsnips too.



Monday, 10 October 2011

Bay Salt

I have made the Bay Salt

I weighed out 4oz of Maldon Sea Salt and then added approximately   6 large leaves; placed the ingredients in a food processor and pulsed, The salt goes a pale green colour - taste to make sure you are happy with the flavour; adjust if necessary.   I have left this to dry overnight to ensure that everything dries equally.  Smells very aromatic and goes a very delicate pale green colour.  Decant into a screw topped jar and use a little to add a little more flavour to your cooking.  Use sparingly though. 

I think it looks quite pretty

My main reason for making this is that I have read about it being used in charcuterie and I thought it might be a different way of adding flavour to a piece of pork by rubbing it in the fat.  Apparently I will not need very much of the salt as it retains the full flavour of the bay leaves .  Am looking forward to playing with this next time I have a piece of pork for dinner.

One thing a Day - Today Vanilla Sugar


Sugar of choice

Couple of proper Vanilla pods (Holland and Barrett sell these as do some of the larger food stores)

I am attempting to try and do one item a day for the next few weeks.  Tonight's item is Vanilla Sugar  stocks are low again and I love this incredible sugar in custards and home made Victoria Sponges - I am making it two different ways one the Jamie Oliver method just put a kg of sugar in the food processor and a couple of proper Vanilla pods and blitz it.  The other way which takes a month to mature is to fill a jar suitable to take a kg of sugar and then pop in the whole Vanilla pods and leave to scent for a month.   Doing it this way you can still use the vanilla pod in making home made custard. This is my usual method but I had a yen to try the Jamie Oliver method and then I feel I am getting something done in the run up to Christmas.  You can use different sugars too - whichever takes your fancy.

Here is the previous post I did on this with some other flavours - well they do cost an arm and a leg in the shops and it is nice to ring the changes and adding different layers and depths to your food.
Go on have a go its easy.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Celery Salt


For one part of celery seed used two parts of sea salt i.e. if you use 1oz celery seed use 2 oz sea salt plus additional flakes for added texture

Take celery seeds and salt and place into a pestle and mortar and grind together until well blended.  Then add some whole peppercorns or large flakes of sea salt and mix together to give more texture.

Dip softly boiled eggs into the crushed salt mixture and enjoy



2011.10.09 My Day

I didn't rise very early this morning as I slept like a log.  I went over to check on Tiddles and stayed with him for about half an hour and had him playing, fed and watered him.  We then went for a walk down by the river.  It wasn't cold the breeze although gusty was warm although underfoot was damp and there was that peculiar damp woody smell in the air; but it was pleasant and it was good to get out in the fresh air to blow the cobwebs away.  We are going to get the horseradish this week and I am going to put this up in the freezer.  We are both partial to horseradish sauce but also put this into dips etc.   Autumn is really with us now.  Its a day for hugging the house and hopefully next weekend I will get to my mum's and also be able to go and get my crab apples for another preserving session.

Needless to say the washing machine has been in overdrive - due to my absence yesterday the soft rythmic swishing of the water in the machine greeting you each time you go into the kitchen.

The cats are hugging the house too today Demetri certainly doesn't seem to want to go anywhere, and Squeak where else is sprawled on the bed curled up fast asleep.

I am still tired but not as shattered so today I am not really doing much it is a day of pottering and attending to tasks that I have been meaning to do and get out of the way for ages.

One of these tasks involved me spending some time preparing the teasels that I have already dried and I have now stripped all the prickles off the stems with a very sharp knife just running it up and down the dried stems (the last big batch just got put to dry first but I normally take them off before drying - you can do it either way), so no injury can be caused to anyone's hands.  I have quite a few more of these to do for the decorations that I have in mind for later on.  Once I have obtained them and got them dried then the Teasels will get a gold paint job but all that will happen in a few weeks time.  Nearer Christmas I am going to have an afternoon playing and may well invite my friend over to join in the fun to get part of the decorations out of the way with whilst I can and before more pressing matters take precedence.

I have also made some celery salt (see separate post) for dipping hard boiled eggs or miniature quails eggs into - during the next week or so I will be doing my pickled eggs both hens and quails eggs.

We have had rib eye steak, done on the griddle, tomatoes, home made chips, and fried onions served with bread and butter for tea, followed with meringues and mixed fruit and cream (tinned cream) for pudding.  All out of The Pantry and the Freezers  - not a penny spent this weekend on any shopping, using up some of what we have  - it will be replenished again shortly.

Hope you have all had a lovely day

Catch up with you soon



Saturday, 8 October 2011

2011.10.08 My Day

Its been a very busy day today. It did not start too auspiciously as OH had indicated that he would get me up.  The alarm went off he went back to sleep so I sort of got up in a hurry.  I attended my course which was very intense, thought provoking and by did it get the little grey cells working overtime.  A very successful and enjoyable course.  Thank you Jackie.  I walked home choosing to do so in order that I could put my rambling random thoughts into some perspective.  I always think deep and long when I walk  a habit that my Pop cultivated in me as a youngster as he and my father used to walk me everywhere.

As a result I am completely shattered and intend to have an early night tonight however at the moment I am still not ready for up. I have been sat in the silence and the dark with only my small TV lamp on, thinking, enjoying the peace and quiet and not even having the television on.  It has been nice to sit in the quiet and let my rambling mind quieten itself from frenzied to calm.  From time to time I have been writing posts, with a wool shawl wrapped round my shoulders but I have been enjoying sitting in the silence and letting my mind wander - I have been content. Its cosy and the heating has been put on for the first time as it is a cold evening out.  It has been raining since I left my course, but that moisture is well needed as everywhere is so dry. I would dearly love a proper fire to relax in front - there is something dreamy and soothing about a crackling fire as well as the heat it gives out.

Because I have played hookey and not got home until about 6.25pm there have been none of my usual routines  -  this weekend I have not been shopping and so we are making do with what I have to hand and making the most that is available.  I have been over to see Tiddles he is fed and warm and I have played with him for  a short while as his owner has gone out for the evening.  Squeak is cuddled up as close as she can get and Demetri is camped out in the bathroom on his rug.  Missy is with OH flat out chasing rabbits.  Every so often she comes down to check I am okay and for a bit of a fuss.

I have a lot to do tomorrow around the house including the washing and other bits and bobs which I must attend to.

I have a feeling I am not going to take much rocking tonight.

Take care and catch you soon



A bag of Crisps and a Potato

Crisps are a moreish snack that we quite frequently buy a lot of and sometimes at over 60 pence a bag it makes me wonder whether we have our priorities right in this respect or not.  Don't misunderstand me I like Crisps as much as the next man but I only buy them these days if there is a really good offer on.

When I tell people that I buy a sack of potatoes for two of us and they say to me  oh we buy a small bag there are just the two of us we wouldn't use a sack of potatoes its too much for us.  You would be very surprised at how quickly a sack of potatoes goes down.  I have been paying about £6 for a big sack of potatoes that bag lasts us approximately 7 weeks and we don't have potatoes every day.  People quite readily moan that they do not have the funds to buy this or that but quite readily go out and buy crisps and pay over 60 pence a bag and yet there is less than one medium sized potato in that bag.  Something is not quite adding up somwhere especially when it is the pennies that make the pounds.

What do you think

Pantry Supplies - The Basics

There are some items I just have to keep in the Pantry at all costs as with these few items when the budget is stretched you can always get a meal from this little lot and a good meal at that.  It need not be exotic but they can be simple meals that get you used to cooking again without being extortionate, but which have a multitude of uses and can cross over into other dishes.

Sack of Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes



Frozen peas

Tray of Eggs


Plain Yogurt


Bicarbonate of Soda

Baking Powder



Stork or similar


SR Flour

Plain Flour

Bread Flour








Soup Mix

Pearl Barley


Home made Passata Sauce



Chicken portions of one description or another



Porridge Oats

Not many ingredients in the larger plan of things but with these few items if you keep a good stock of them in at all times you should be able to rustle up a meal quite quickly.  If I do not have a stock of these items in - I have been known to get quite twitchy.  The list of what to do is not comperehensive and I am sure you could add your own way of using these items to the list.

Potatoes:  Chips, mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, colcannon, bubble and squeak, roast potatoes, Potatoes Dauphonoise, potato pancakes, potato farl, Potato and Leek Soup, Jacket Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes: Cut into chunks and roasted with fresh rosemary in the oven, cooked like a jacket potatoe, sweet potato soup, roasted mixed veg (combination of sweet potatoe, potato, leeks, onions, garlic, parsnip, courgettes and red peppers is delicious.

Squash: can be roasted in the oven, as a filling in home made pasta, roasted in its own right, soup made from it.

Parsnips, roasted, made into soup, chopped with other vegetables and roasted in the oven, used in a chutney

Frozen peas:  You can make your own pea soup from these, add them to casseroles and stews, serve as a side vegetable boiled with you rmain meal, add to quiches or if any left over add to bubble n squeak,

Tray of Eggs: Boiled, poached,  omlette, fried, coddled scrambled, in quiches, meringues, swiss rolls, victoria sponge cake, custards, ice cream, scones, mousse, souffles

Milk to drink milk shakes, boil for coffee, make custard, trifles, egg custard,scones, home made cottage cheese, yogurt, curd cheese etc

Plain Yogurt to use in soda bread instead of buttermilk, to eat on its own or with some fruit, to freeze and make ice lollies, to make ice cream

Cream to use on fresh fruit, whipped up and served with scones and jam, in trifles, in cakes, in rice pudding with apple pie and rumtopf

Bicarbonate of Soda to use as a raising agent in Soda Bread

Baking Powder to make plain flour into SR flour

Butter on toast and in baking to make a butter sauce for fish on scones crumpets and teacakes

Sugar on cereal, in tea, in baking

Stork or similar in baking

Lard in pastry and lardy bread

SR Flour in baking in sponge cakes, scones, swiss rolls roulades

Plain Flour in baking yorkshire pudding large and individual in pastry

Bread Flour for bread and yorkshire pudding and home made pasta and pizza

Yeast for a yeasted fruit bread or home made bread or wine making

Onions in French Onion Soup, in quiches, with steak in sandwiches with beefburgers and hot dogs

Carrots as a side vegetable to a main meal in coleslaw in soup in jam

Leeks roasted as a relish and served with sandwiches, roasted with other vegetables, boiled in soup in casseroles, in a stew pack

Apples Stewed as a dessert with sugar served hot and served with vanilla ice cream as a sauce in a pie, stuffed apples, wine making apple amber Tarte Tatin apple betty apple dumplings apple crumble

Cabbage shredded in coleslaw cooked and serveds as a side in bubble n squeak saurkraut

Cheese toasted, welsh rarebit mashed in potatotes, into a cheese and potato pie, cheese quiche  with baked potatoes in burgers in a sauce in mash in scones fried cheese cheese omlette adding to lasagne, and pasta dishes, souffles

Soup Mix mixed grains to add more body to a soup or a stew

Pearl Barley for adding to a stew or a soup

Pasta home made made from the OO flour or bought ready made and adding  sauce all sorts of different shapes and sizes

Home made Passata Sauce: as a base for a soup, lasagne with pasta or meatballs

Rice (Pudding Rice) sweet rice pudding done in the oven or on top,

Basmati Rice/Jasmin Rice with curry and chinese

Arborio Rice in risottos

Chicken whole chicken to roast and get at least two meals out of and boil the bones for stock

Chicken portions of one description or another to use in curries or in chinese or in chinese soup or stir fries

Bacon in quiches for breakfast in sandwiches with cabbage with potatoes in bubble and squeak

Sausages toad in the hole, fried, sausage casserole sausage sarnies

Porridge oats for porridge in the morning, in flapjacks, in treacle tart, in flummery in oat biscuits

Dried fruit  for scones and a light fruit cake and also in a curry

So with a few basic ingredients that you try to keep to hand no matter what you can always make a meal of one description or another.  No doubt as soon as I have sent this one to post I will think of something else to add I nearly always do.

Friday, 7 October 2011

2011.10.07 My Day

This week has been a busy week from one day to another hence my reason for not posting very much.  Well the temperatures dropped the nights are drawing in and I am in the process of cooking tea. We are having toad in the hole together with shredded cabbage, mashed potato and lashings of onion gravy.  It is nearly ready just waiting to the yorkshire to brown off and then it will be all systems go. 

I had an appointment with the physio yesterday  - my last one although I have to go to a back clinic exercise class for the next six weeks to build up my core muscles even more. Wednesday I got my shoe inserts and at the moment it feels like I am moonwalking - they are holding my feet correctly and I am walking properly for the first time in two years.  The pain is for the best part under control although we have odd days where I am not so good but at the moment I am a lot better than I have been for a long while which is good news as far as I am concerned and all down to a little bit of sellf help and exercise.  I am very grateful to Nicky my physio who has helped me so much and who has also been extremely supportive.

This evening I am over the road to my friends - goodness knows whats in store this week - we shall have to wait and see.

Tomorrow I am doing a course so will be out for the day or the best part of it and I have a lot to do as always over the weekend.

Must away I can hear spitting think its something to do with the onions and I don't want burnt offerings!

Catch up with you all soon.

Wherever you are keep safe and take care of yourselves



Wednesday, 5 October 2011

2011.10.05 My Day

 Evening everyone sorry am later on parade.

Its been a busy day which started off with me  going to the hospital to have the shoe inserts fitted.  Must say that they are making me walk properly but I feel as though I am moonwalking at the moment as they are making me walk properly and am at a different angle to what I have been.  Will take some getting used to but I intend to persevere.    No sooner had I got in this evening than I had to leave out for an evening at the Spiratualist and Psychic Fellowship, where I help on the Committee and also in the kitchen etc.  Its been a very enjoyable evening and we had a very good visiting medium come to pay a visit.  Have only just really managed to touch base, grab a bacon sarnie (did not manage tea before I went out). I intend to do a few rows of cross stitch and then up away to bed, so it is just a touch base job this evening.  It hasn't been too bad a day although the wind has got up and been a tad rough and it has been raining - we sorely need the rain as everywhere is so dry.

Yesterday OH rang me at work as he had had a funny experience with Demetri.  He had been in the kitchen cooking himself something to eat when he heard an awful racket outside.  It turned out to be Demetri who was calling to come in - he did chuckle as all my other cats have done this in the past but he had never heard Demetri.  His comment was something along the lines that he is "home".  Since then he has taken to going to the back door to go out and is not necessarily going out through the bathroom window; so I think he is settling although he is not eating cat food at all.  He is eating cat biscuits though and chicken!  I don't think he has been given cat food in the past as it just doesnt' seem to register that it is for eating.  Oh well swings and roundabouts.

I have a course to do this Saturday which I am quite looking forward to so I don't think I will be around much on Saturday although I will try and peek in later on.  I will try and do a post before then - I have lots on the go and items prepared or nearly there but am lacking one very important commodity at the moment which is time.

Catch up soon  - I promise

Take care



Monday, 3 October 2011

The Slow Cooker

I have always used a slow cooker, (even my Nan had one of the first electric crockpots available) especially in the autumn/winter months with me being at work full time it means that we can have a nice hot meal within half an hour of me being home (half an hour to steam the potatoes) as I invariably serve mash as an accompaniment and to soak all the juicey gravy up with a side helping of bread.  However, I have had my eyes open a tad by doing a little research.  The aim of which is to use the cheapest form of power to still get a nice hot meal and a little more besides.  To tell the truth I had not before now thought of using the slow cooker to make my stock  [I just hadn't twigged]  This will be far cheaper running the stock through the slow cooker on the low setting for a little while rather than on the gas hob.(I have three different sized cookers).  You can also use it to keep food warm whilst I was waiting for something to cook.  You can apparently also make soap, fruit butters, lemon curd, play dough.  I think I am going to investigate more.

I have the "slow cooker stockpot on the bubble" as we speak so should have some nice stock to make some carrot and coriander soup for the freezer.  I also saw Valentine Warner on The Good Food Channel this evening who made a beetroot soup that had apple and parsnip in which I would very much like to try as home made soups have so much more flavour and I am very fond of soup as it is a meal in itself.

How do you use your slow cooker - or do you have a favourite recipe that you would like to share?  Would love to hear as I like to get the most out of any gadget I have.

I look forward to your comments

Nighty night until tomorrow


And with thanks to Rose H for the link to this website:

Evening Everyone

Evening ladies and gents

Hope your day has been a happy and busy one.  I have had a very busy day at work which is par for the course.

I am cat sitting again with my feline friend Tiddles.  His Mum/Owner has gone to the seaside for the day and I have been left in charge.  She went out over the weekend to, so every few hours I was going over to play and keep him amused.  Tonight though he has taken the net curtains down in both windows and I cannot get up to put them back.  He had been dragging some string around it was between three rooms and I found this up near the window so I can only assume that he has got it taffled round the nets pulled and bought the lot down.  Yesterday it was a sponge ball that he had torn to pieces and I had to get the vaccum out to clean up.  I was fretting a bit yesterday as Gizmo (a cockatiel) has free range in the flat and I found feathers in a couple of places as though the cat had got hold of him.  My concern was not necessary though as Gizmo is malting and removing his own feathers.  Tiddles was not to blame on this occasion, but I was dreading have to report an incident when she came back.

I thought I would report in early this evening as I have a lot of things to do.  We have the meter man coming at the end of the week and I have to do a little tidying up.  I also have an ironing pile to do.  Tis a big pity when real life gets in the way - like HOUSEWORK especially when I am really in the mood to play.  Well the playing will have to wait for another day at the moment.

Must get some tea first.

Hopefully will be able to pop back later



Apple Pie Mould/Press

I bought one of these during the week after saving for a few weeks £1 her 50 pence there.  Ok so it did not cost a great amount, but having little treats like this is for me a bonus when most of the money is allocated  for other purposes.  Plus the fact it has been truly earned, with the saving a little here and a little there it makes you appreciate things more as the hard work in attaining them makes them more "valuable".

I thought it might be different to be able to present apple pies in a different format for a change. - well it would certainly be a topic of concersation,  I obtained this from Lakeland.  They do a small round pie cutter with a lattice top too.

 You cut the pastry out thisway on

then place the pastry  in the mould and add your filling bring the two plates together and crimp.

Then take your pasty out of the mould and put on a baking tray to cook or put in the freezer until a later day,

Something else to play with.

Catch you all later



Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sunday Walk - Different route

There are about three ways we can go with the dog; all variants on the same route.  The walk we went on yesterday is the higher walk - today's walk was the middle route and there is also a walk down by the river.  Parts of the routes are communal and somewhere or another they run alongside as well, but each has different scenery and different routes. Whilst out I picked some more rosehips and also started to pick up some twigs to make some Christmas ornaments and also some wild rose bush leaves {I will do a separate post on these later on).  All will be revealed in due course.  Today's walk led us through the boardwalks a secret place down by the river - which is now very peaceful.  At one point there were a lot of youngsters having parties down there at the weekends.  Nobody minded them enjoying themselves unfortunately they caused a lot of damage down there.  It is after all a wildlife area and they were leaving all their rubbish down there, building fires and ripping out pieces of wood off the boardwalks itself and the handrails thus making it very dangerous for other walkers.  But today there wasn't a sign of them and the damage has been repaired and peace and quite has been restored.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves but just because I live in a City doesn't mean that there are no nice areas there are but they are in little pockets of sanity.

These are just a selection of the photographs that I took there are still many more.



A little Gift

I received another little gift from my friend Eve who I have been mentoring in the cooking and sometimes the craft department.   She knows I love fir cones, and that I collect them to put in the brass log bucket by the side of the fire place. [ We have a gas fire unfortunately that does not work but I have the companion set and I normally have brass and copper ornaments scattered around the fire hearth, but it all helps create an illusion a set if you like.  One day I will have my real fire but in the meantime I have been building up the basics so that I have them to hand when I do eventually get the said fire.]  

Everytime Eve goes for a walk if she sees some decent cones then she brings them back to me.  I am very grateful for these cones and they are going to be turned into Christmas garlands for both Eve and myself.  A way of acquiring nice things to decorate your home with for very little money just a bit of time and effort.  The bonus is that we will  have a companionable time when we are making the garlands.I have plenty of ribbon all I need to get is the eye hooks enough to do the garlands for both of us. I have some other ideas too.

There are plenty of things you can do with a fir cone or fir cones the most traditional one being to burn them on an open fire so that they scent the room with their aromatic resin.  Smells wonderful but then I love a log fire!

Something simple given with love from the heart can open up a whole new load of possibilities.  Those gifts are infinitely more valuable to me because they were given with love - the purest intent and anything done with the purest intent is unconditional.



Charity Shop Finds - Green Glass

When I went to collect my crotchet tablecloth yesterday morning, I had a roam around the charity shop to see if anything else took my fancy and I found these glasses on the shelf for £1.80. They are pale green cut glass.  I particularly collect this pale green glass in the hope of making it a larger collection eventually, the idea being that I will be able to have it all out at Christmas to complement my Colclough Ivy China pieces (I am still collecting this as well).  That's the overall plan, anyway. I love pretty things - I suppose I collect anything and everything that takes my fancy, but I do love Green glass.

My interest in green glass was sparked after inheriting a set of six cut glass, liqueur glasses from my grandmother.  Therefore whenever I see any green glass if I can afford it I always try and snaffle it.  It always looks so elegant.

It was also an unexpected bonus to be able to bring two lovely items home.

Now I just need to find somewhere to display it all! 

Is there anything in particular that you are collecting piece by piece or little by little  - go on share I would love to know

One day - Roses round the door Cottage or barn conversion and the simpler way of life which is currently work in progress.  Little by little I am getting there.



Dirty Stop Out

Last night for the first night in a fortnight Demetri did not come home!  Dirty stop out. I was a tad concerned, but left the window open for him to get in to bed.if he still wanted to.  I came down this morning to find the wanderer snuggled in his blanket bleary eyed and with the expression do not disturb written all over him - very sleep.  He is now snuffled down on his blanket catching uop with some shut eye as if butter wouldn't melt.  I don't like my cats being out overnight and I am hoping this does not become recurrent especially with the colder weather yet to come as the window will not be open then.  Will have to see how it goes.  Needless to say he has had his cuddle and some food. - lets hope he doesn't repeat the performance.

Some hope  - lets be realistic he is a cat

Cupcake Baker

I was browsing in John Lewis the other day when I came across a gadget that I quite liked the look of for £14.99.  Yes I know I am supposed to be not spending at the moment but on further investigation this little machine would save me putting the cooker (which is gas)  which is a lot more expensive to fund.  Sometimes I just fancy a little bit of sweet something or the other and this would complete that objective.  So today I went up town to collect the said gadget and got another £5 off it.  It only cost me £10.  Its a Breville Cupcake Baker that cooks 8 cupcakes in 8 minutes.  The recipe for said cupcakes makes 24 cupcakes (24 cupcakes with 24 minutes cooking time) so this could be quite economical - especially if you have kiddies at home and after all wherever we save the pennies with getting more for our money the more money we have to put towards some treats.

So I am going to have a little play and will let you know how I get on.  £10.00 - bargain.  I am looking to have a good serious play. My Mum always used to make cup cakes when I was at home; its a family tradition that she still makes for us cupcakes as a treat every now and then especially for  my nephews.

(I didn't make the above they are frpm photobucket) but just some ideas for decorating purposes)  I used to get the job when I was at home of doing the decorating.


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)