Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Ginger Marmalade

Yep I still intend to make more Marmalade.  I obtained more Seville Oranges at the weekend; this time for a batch of Ginger Marmalade.  I am very partial to Ginger in all it's variants so for me finding this recipe kinda kills two birds with one stone

The recipe makes about 10lb in weight


1 1/2 lbs/750g Oranges; sweet or Seville Oranges
1lb/500g lemons
1oz/25g fresh root ginger peeled and chopped
6 pints/3 1/2 litres of water
6lb/2 3/4 kg of Sugar
8oz/225g preserved ginger finely chopped


Was the Oranges and Lemons and cut in half.  Release the juice from the fruits by squeezing on a lemon squeezer or using a reamer.  Squeeze the juice and pour into a large pan.  Tie the pips and root ginger into a muslin bag and add to the pan.  Slice the Orange and Lemon Peel into thin shreds without removing the pith; add to the pan.  Add the water to the pan and then bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat then simmer gently for about 1 1/2 hours or until the fruit is very soft.  Remove the muslin bag squeezing the juice back into the pan.

Add the sugar and the chopped ginger and stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Boil rapidly until setting point is reached. Remove any scum.  Allow to cool slightly before pouring into the prepared jars. Wipe them clean and cover.  Label and store.

Will report back later on



Monday, 30 January 2012

Putting little bits up for the freezer

At present I have no vegetable garden and have been unable to harvest crops from the back yard.  But that doesn't mean it isn't on the agenda or that I cannot do a little bit to help eke out the fresh produce that comes my way.  It means a little bit of work, but then anything worth doing is worth that little bit of extra effort.  So I live in a City; I am lucky in that I buy most of my fresh vegetables from my local greengrocer or from the main market in town.  I do on occasions cherry pick items that I am after from the supermarkets but most of my shopping is for the best part done through the Greengrocer and the Butcher and spotting the best price between the supermarkets for specifics although I tend to use stores like Lidl and Aldi and then if I cannot get what I want there - go store hopping.  I use own store brands where I can and I use a lot of pasta, noodles and rice.

I quite often freeze those vegetables or items that I buy and which we do not get round to using, which helps with meals during the week whilst I am working;  I don'tlike wasting stuff.  Dealing with produce in this way . means I can settle down and do other things like my handicrafts, but still enjoy a hot meal on a work night. This week in the reduced basket at my local shop I have picked up a couple of swedes and have bought them home, and cooked the swede then mashed it and put it into boxes in the freezer.  I have done the same with a combination of swede and carrot.  It will all come in useful along the way; and if I have a little extra money here and there I will put a lot of the root vegetables down as they are a firm favourite in this household; and once the spring and summer veg comes in they will not be as available.  This way on means that I am able to eat out of season vegetables as well as having the choice of the fresh ones.

I bought two haggis last week,one of which we have eaten today but I have frozen the other one up for a meal later on.  I have also put up 3 packets of 4 chipolatas for breakfasts or sarnies.  Plus the fact if I have food put up I know that OH will not starve in the event that I am taken poorly.

I have also bought 3 kgs of Cooking apples which I intend to cook and puree down; again for the freezer.  This will provide a filling for apple pies, or mini apple pies, or apple sauce to serve with roast pork.  There are multiple uses for something so simple. but which if prepared in bulk will save me a lot of time in the long run.  I purchase my freezer pots from the £ shop, and also get my sauce bags/soup bags from there as well.  I aim to get another 3kgs of apples again at the end of this week and put some more apples up. Once I have enough I will move to making some Apple Chutney and then some apple pies and crumbles - well that's the plan anyway.

Apples, Tomatoes and Plums and Pears I use a lot of; I try and purchase at reduced prices and then I will get what I can in the freezers but will also bottle some up for use during the year so that I get the best of both worlds; as even if we do not have the money to go and buy this that and the other; we are still going to eat well whatever the circumstances.  It is only putting little things down but little things soon add up and make a very useful resource.

I am also in the throes of starting to bake on a regular basis again - it probably won't do my waistline an awful lot of good; but hey I love my food.  As a result of that I hope to eventually come up with a baking list for the month of things we like so that we can enjoy the benefits of home baked goods, pies, cakes etc. with me probably having a full baking day once a month or every couple of weeks or so rather than me doing it piecemeal as I am at present. I also thought that making a list of items we like as basics would help me plan for the ingredients required and thus be more cost efficient also.   When time is at a premium you have to make the most of that which is available to you.

Equally I obtained 2 large white tin loaves and a wholemeal loaf reduced to 20pence each which I intend to turn into home made bread sauce.  We are bread sauce officianados in this household as it perks up a simple roast chicken with some home made stuffing a treat.

What do you put up into a freezer or what type of meals do you prepare and freeze.  Would love to hear from you



Sunday, 29 January 2012

2012.01.29 My Day So far

I didn't get up very early this morning and my dream didn not continue from yesterday's rude awakening.  When I did get up I had a sprawl in my jim jams on the settee with a hot mug of tea and I then went blog hopping.  I found a tutorial on patchwork that I got quite into and which has inspired me to have a bash at some of the projects i.e. squares to do a sampler quilt.  It was a video tutorial and what I saw I was very impressed with.  Time flew whilst I was having fun and then real life kicked into play and OH delivered a bacon sarnie with a nice hot cup of tea.  I then got a wriggle on and got baking.

I have made two loaves of the Brack  they are cooling on the freezer at the moment but they look and smell very nice.  I then made two loaves of the malt loaf that I have made before, and it smells delicious too.  Both these recipes were cooked in the oven together with two x 2lb loafs on each shelf and took about 2 hours or thereabouts at Gas Mark 3.  I am well chuffed with both of them, but before I can sample them they have to be wrapped for a couple of days in order to mellow.  Photos to follow in a couple of days but both these recipes are going on the baking agenda on a regular basis.  At this present time I don't know if the spares of each loaf will make it to the freezer!

I have also made another Pannetone Bread and Butter pudding this time with some of my home made Seville Orange marmalade spread all over and then home made egg custard with nutmeg poured all over. There is still a load of Pannetone left so will be having that in a week or so too. It is all safely wrapped up in foil in the pantry.

The haggis is in the oven roasting and the swede and potato are in the steamer busy cooking. I have decided that I am going to add a little Curly Kale to the meal as well, which hopefully will be ready soon.

Since writing the above we have eaten tea and delicious it was too.  Now all I have to do is do the washing up!

Take care




Last night before I trod up the wooden stairs to Bedfordshire I prepared some mixed dried fruit by soaking it in some hot extremely sweet tea (me thinks this is a good way of using up some dried fruit that is perhaps getting a little bit by its best).

Today I am going to finish it off when I put the cooker on later on and hopefully produce a couple loaves of "Tea bread" for eating as a snack with some cheese and an apple or spread with some butter. In effect a cut and come again cake.    I am also going to make some of the Sticky Marmalade Tea loaf as well, and I will freeze any extra loaves for future use.

My family have always made this type of loaf, primarily round Christmas when my Nan used to make them and give them to family members; a role which my mum has taken on in recent years.  Ever mindful that I have someone at home who will not always get himself something to eat or snack on when he is hungry for fear he takes something that I could make a meal out of (daft bat), I thought that this might remedy this position as I know he loves fruit cake of any description.  I also thought that it would be a good addition to keep in the "Tins" (i.e. the Cake Tin) in case of any unexpected guests.; as this ideal to serve with a cup of tea.

This particular recipe comes from the Be Ro booklet that came home with me the other day and is not one I have made before but the cheapness and simplicity appealed to the frugal part of me especially as it is a cake that does not use fat.  Each loaf is supposed to produce 12 slices.

The ingredients for Brack are:

8oz sultanas
4oz raisins
4oz currants
6oz Demerara Sugar
1/4 pint hot tea
1 medium egg
8oz S R Flour

(I also did not have enough currants so I used some vine fruits that I had to make up the quantity so I think that this loaf would be very forgiving in that you could put in what you have to hand as long as you keep to the measurements I also doubled up on the ingredients)

Mix together the dried fruits the sugar and the hot tea; (make sure the tea is hot so that the sugar dissolves and the fruit swells up more evenly)

Cover and leave overnight to stand;

Heat the oven to 106 degrees C; 325 degrees F; Gas Mark 3.  Grease and line the  base of a 2lb loaf tin

Add the egg to the fruit, beating and mixing it in well and then add in the flour by stirring it until well combined.

Place the mixture into the tin and bake for about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours until firm

I will let you know how I get on later on

Other recipes of a similar nature are  at:

Malt Bread:
Sticky Marmalade Tea Loaf:

Right I am off to play - today is play day



Saturday, 28 January 2012

2012.01.38 My Day

This morning did not start with an auspicious start -someone thumping on the door downstairs and by the time you get something on to cover your modesty, and get downstairs of course the culprit has scarpered.  However he had poked through a delivery card for collection from the main sorting office counter!  To make matters worse it wasn't even for us!

I really had not wanted to get out of bed - I was in the middle of a delicious dream and now for the life of me can't remember what it was all about.  You know when you have a feeling that things were good and you can't shift it.  That's the feeling I have been left with all day.  I wonder if my dream will continue tonight!  Needless to say once roused I could not go back to sleep so I got up.  This all happened at 8 a.m.

It has been a beautiful sunny day here in Peterborough.  Cold but at least the sun was out.  It says something when you go outside and it is perishing and then you come back into the house which has had no heat for 24 hours and it still feels warmer in the house than outside

OH disappeared to our Pork Butchers and got 2 fillet steaks, 2 large gammon slices, 4 faggotts, 1kg chipolatas, 1kg smoked back bacon, a pork pie.  The Chipolatas that we didn't use have been bagged into portions and popped into the freezer for another day

The Plumber came  about 10.00 a.m and did not go until 3.00 p.m.  He was getting near his wits end with trying to work out what had happened but in the end problem solved.  Result one happy plumber and restored heat!  .I sent him away with a jar of my homemade Seville Marmalade as a small thank you.  There was all sorts of colourful language emanating from my jam store under the stairs.  He was getting very cross with himself.  He is Irish and he reminded me very much of the actor who plays "Mrs Brown" in Mrs Browns boys.  Which always makes me roar with laughter.  We are all now toasty and warm and I am chilling and just enjoying being in the moment.

Once he had gone the heating was put on pretty pronto and OH did a cooked breakfast  albeit in the middle of the afternoo which was absolutely delicious.

I have been over to the veg shop.  We needed a sack of potatoes so I have had a new one delivered.  This time they are Cara potatoes with a note on "Trish - paid for please deliver after 4.00 p.m.".  I also bought another tray of eggs, some leeks, butternut squash, swede, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, a Savoy cabbage, 2kg Seville Oranges (to make Ginger Marmalade), 3kg Cooking apples. I picked up some Curly Kale from Waitrose on Friday and also some prepared runner beans from M & S.

Most of my washing has been done  now all I have to do is iron it as soon as I can.

I  do now at some point have to re-arrange and tidy out my jam store - which is where the gas piping and the meter were.  It needed sorting anyway so I might well do that tomorrow morning when I have a bit more time to hand and when I feel more in the mood to do it, but it will be a job well done when completed.

Last night I went to my friend's house and taught her how to make a Swiss Roll, which cake mixture literally just consists of eggs, sugar and flour - no fat at all.. They are pretty easy to make.  We made two Swiss Rolls and filled both and she was quite chuffed to have learnt another method of baking.  The fatless sponge method is a good way of providing a quickly made cake for tea or for making a sweet flan to fill with fruit and jelly  Whilst there she handed to me a little gift she had bought a while back for me, which had come about after I had told her that I learned to cook with the aid of my Mum's Be Ro booklet.  My friend had given me the book and I had forgotten to bring it home with me.  I have been reading it in between waiting for the gas leak to be repaired  and some of the recipes are old favourites which I am looking forward to re-introducing myself to.  The Be-Ro booklet is still available if you want to purchase one the link is here

I am going to do the Marmalade cake tomorrow and probably will also make some Malt Loaf and Brack.  We like tea loaves in this house as they are handy to eat with butter as quick snack with some cheese and apple.

Tomorrow we are not having a joint.  It was Burns night during the week and I was out that evening and I had managed to get some Haggis earlier on in the week.  So we are having that for tomorrow nights tea, with Neeps and Tatties.  Its not everyone's cup of tea but we quite like it.

Right I am off to potter

Catch up later on



Phew we have heat

Well what a song and dance.  They knew there was a leak and could not locate it.  The plumber has just gone.   It has been a little bit of a devil, but all is sorted and we now have the heating on Arrgh. Phew is more like it he has had all sorts of pipe work apart in the process.  However it would stem from a problem at the gas meter.  A couple of years ago it was replaced and one of the British Gas engineers replaced the meter.  However it would appear that instead of changing and replacing the joint that was in there he has bodged it and it has only just come to light because that is where it was leaking.  The poor old plumber (he is 72) has had a heck of a game with it.  But we now have the heating on and OH is cooking some egg, sausage and bacon, to be swiftly followed by a mug of tea.  The best part is we have not smelt any gas in the house at all and this has only cropped up during a routine yearly maintenance review.  Well alls well that ends well.  I am off to get my grub.

Catch up with you all later


60,000 Hits

My Index Counter tells me that 60,000 hits have been recorded since my early days of writing this little blog.  I want to thank each and every one of you for continuing to support and read my humble mumblings  It truly is appreciated.  Please if you are a "lurker" you are more than welcome to leave a message as I love to receive them.

Thank you once again - it means a lot



Fun and Games

Sorry haven't been around much this week I have been in and out quite a bit and I am now very tired.Why is it that whenever anything is scheduled to be done work wise - something always goes wrong.

The Landlords Plumber/Gas Fitter was due to come and do the yearly check on the gas appliances in the property. We got everything ready for him and he duly came and did his bit.  He tested the pressure on the gas mains and it was extremely low.  He subsequently reported it to the Gas Board who came and checked the supply. They have indicated that it is something to do with the pipework in the property and so tomorrow morning instead of having my usual Saturday lie in - I am going to have to be up and ready for him to come and do the necessary repairs.  This evening the gas supply has been cut off - I am not allowed to cook anything and we have no heating.  It has been blooming freezing.  Deep sigh.

I just hope everything is resolved tomorrow

Have just had a bit of a late supper hot crumpets with a mug of nice steaming tea. .

I am off to snuggle with my hot water bottle

Catch you soon

Frozen of Peterborough
aka Pattypan


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Sticky Marmalade Tea Loaf

Now that I have made my marmalade what do I use it for apart from on my toast. There are several things you can do, and I am always looking for different ways of using something that I make up and for different recipes etc.  This weekend I intend to make the recipe below as it will be using something up that I have to hand and also trying a new recipe that I haven't made befor;  and as we are rather fond of fruit tea loaves of any kind this kind of covers several issues..The recipe is taken from a magazine scrap that I had cut out unfortunately I am not sure which one.


6oz butter at room temperature plus extra for greasing tins etc
4 1/2 oz marmalade of your choice
6oz light muscovado sugar
3 eggs beaten
8oz self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp of mixed spice
packet of pecan halves

The recipe says to use a chunky marmalade to give extra texture (but I personally do not like chunky marmalade).  It also suggests that if you use a ginger marmalade to only use 1 tsp of ground ginger to the mix.

Before starting Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F/ Gas Mark 4

Grease a 2lb loaf tin and line with greased greaseproof paper.

Pop into a small saucepan 1 tablespoon of the marmalade.

In a separate bowl mix the remaining marmalade, buter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and the spices with an electric whisk .for approximately one minute or beaet with a wooden spoon by hand for about 2 minutes.  When the mixture slips off a spoon when gently shaken.  Stir in three quarters of the pecan nuts.

Place the mixture into the baking tin and smooth out the top with the back of a spoon.  Sporinkle with the rest of the pecans.  Bake for about one hour until a skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean.  If the top starts to get too brown cover with greaseproof or foil, but only once it has risen and is set.  Do not open the oven door for the first 30 minutes or so.  Once cooked alllow to cool and remove the greaseproof and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Heat the pan of reserved marmalade stirring until it is smooth and no longer jelly like or set.  Brush the glaze over the loaf you can add extra nuts for decoration if you wish.

Serve in slices with some butter.

Sounds scrummy and I am looking forward to trying this.  Will post photos after have made at the weekend.

Nan's Stool

When my Nan passed I asked if I could have her kitchen stool and my request was granted.  It is not a particularly prepossessing piece of furniture but it is old and it does hold a lot of memories for me. Apparently originally it had a seagrass top but when the top disintegrated the eyelet holes were chopped off and a solid board seat was added with some vellum to cover it.  This is now well battered and it is overdue refurbishment.  The stool has barley twist legs.  The wooden stain was almost none existent and it had gone white and I have started to stain it again with an eye to re-varnishing it and also putting on a soft furnishing seat.  I have some rust coloured furnishing fabric, a patchwork remnant that I picked up which I think will suit the stool well.  I too use this battered old stool for sitting on when I am processing fruit and vegetables for the freezer or processing my onions for pickling.  I have never recovered anything like this  before so it will be a strong learning curve. I have a sheet of sponge, which I intend to put some wadding and then a calico cover over and then finally the velour top and studs to finish it off.  Smarten it up and make it comfy for me when I sit for prolonged periods of time processing fruit and veg.

Will have to see how we get on

Catch you soon



Monday, 23 January 2012

Surprise Pressie

Just a little something from my friend to say thank you for teaching her how to make marmalade

Cute isn't he

Tis a Flying Visit

Its been a very busy day again at work; I was late leaving which has subsequently put me out of my stride for the rest of the evening.  Never mind I sort of got there in the end!

OH had managed to resist the left overs from yesterday night's tea  (although he had polished off the remnants of the stew) so we had a quick filling meal which was ready in minutes and thoroughly enjoyed the second time around, just as much as the first time.  So I have made the most of what we have had and not wasted anything to boot.  I am off to have a rootle in a few minutes in the freezer to see what I can liberate.  There is all sorts in there, and I have plans with which to put quite a few more items in there as well.  I shall invest in three chickens at least when I get paid and pop them into the freezer (I buy them fresh and then pop them into the depths of the chest freezer).  They are so useful as I can bung one on the rotisserie, deep fry a chicken cut into portions use for curry, make chicken stew , make a stri fry and quite a few other meals to boot; although sometimes we do get a bit fed up of chicken.  I have a rather nice rib of beef in the freezer as well which I am trying to keep in there probably until my mum comes to dinner.  But I also have my eye on some more minced beef, (Chilli, Cottage Pie, lasagne, ragu, stewing steak (beef pie), beef skirt (home made Cornish style pasties),  pigs liver (liver and onion casserole), sausages (for toad in the hole) chipolatas for breakfasts and also for Saturday night tea with tomatoes, chicken pieces so as to make some chicken pies and also for stir fries.  Will have to see how the pennies pan out.  I could also do with some more fish.  I also need to make some more soup.  I would like to get hold of a few pigs bellies and make my own stuffing and roll into joints for Sunday lunch. It is a particular favourite in this household.

I went out to a friends in the early part of the evening and did not get back until gone 9.00 p.m.  Since then I have been updating the Marmalade recipe post that I did the other day with annotations and some photographs that I promised.   I made two lots of marmalade yesterday 20lb in all.  I still have the lemons to go and the Clementines and some Oranges but I will see to them later on in the week.  

I desperately want to do some craft work at the present, but  I just don't seem to be able to settle.  Its as though something is in the wind - change I can sense and feel it yet tantalisingly it has not manifested yet and as a result I am somewhat distracted away from my main focus of wanting to do and get completed quite a lot of projects already commenced.  I will get there one day!

Its gone really cold here again in Peterborough.  It will not be long before I go up, just have to wash my hair it is driving me nuts at the minute.   I wear it long at present and am debating with myself whether to have it chopped off or not.  Trouble is I have done that before and then regretted it.  Jury is out at present.  I will never hang myself.

Looks like it is going to be a busy week on all fronts.

Catch up with you all soon.

Take care



Sunday, 22 January 2012

2012.01.22 My Day Conclusion

Well tea was a success and very tasty.  Went down very well indeed despite it being late.   There is a scuttle full for tomorrow night as well (that is if OH doesn't pick at it during the day tomorrow - I have my suspicions that he may well tuck in and that I will have to find something else for tea).  Have missed the Midwifes programme so will have to watch it on Catch up TV.  Got the second batch of marmalade done and now I am shattered.  Just need to wash my hair and it is time for bed.

Will upload the photos tomorrow night too tired to do it now

Take care



2012.01.22 My Day Thus Far

Its been a busy old day -  the sun has been out for the best part but the wind has been rough and a little chilly again.  I was up early for me on a Sunday before 9.00 a.m. and I finished cleaning the kitchen out and started making my marmalade.  I have prepped two lots of Seville Oranges 4kg in all, all by hand and have enjoyed the peaceful pottering and being free to run with my own thoughts whilst I was processing my oranges.  One batch of the Seville Orange Marmalade is completely done.  I have 10 x 1lb jars for my efforts and it tastes wonderful.  I am well chuffed with this.  I have taken some photographs and wouldn't you know it the battery died half way through and we couldnt find the battery charger so I have kidnapped OH's to complete the process and will post the photographs to the Seville Orange Marmalade recipe I posted earlier on.  The second batch of marmalade will have to be cooked later on.  I have my roast pork on the go - yes it will be a late tea but I am hungry tonight perhaps its all the work I have been doing given me an appetite.  The roast is going to be accompanied by roast potato, roast sweet potato roast parsnip, purple sprouting broccoli, cabbage, peas and carrots with mashed potato.  No stuffing today think we will have more than enough to eat.  Pudding if he wants it is the rest of the treacle sponge from last night with more custard.

What was left of the stew last night was supposed to have been for OH tomorrow whilst I was at work but I think he has been dipping his bread in it and I am not sure if there is any left for tomorrow.

Right I am off to finish cooking my roast.

Will try and pop by later on



Be Back Soon

Be Back Soon

Am Busy in the Kitchen
Making Marmalade


Saturday, 21 January 2012

Syrup Sponge Pudding

Well I made this from scratch - this is what I call real comfort food.

Plain Sponge Pudding

4oz butter or margarine
4oz sugar
2 eggs beaten
A few drops of vanilla essence
6 oz self raising flour
a little milk to mix

Half fill a steamer or a large saucepan with water and put it on to boil.

Meanwhile, grease a 1 1/2 pint pudding basin.

Then cream together the butter and sugar until very pale and very light.  Add in the beaten eggs with the essence and about a tablespoon of the flour beating well after each addition.  Then fold in the rest of the flour  with a little milk once the eggs are incorporated until a dropping consistency is achieved.

Put 2 tablespoons of golden syrup in the bottom of the greased pudding bowl before adding the mixture.

Cover with greased greaseproof paper or foil incorporating a pleat into the greaseproof or the foil as this will allow the pudding to expand.  Put in steamer and put on lid.  Cook for about 1 1/2 hours.

Serve with Syrup Sauce:

4-5 tablespoons golden syrup
3 tablespoons of water
juice of half a lemon

Warm the syrup  and the water in a saucepan and stir well.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes then add the lemon juice.

Serve with the Syrup Pudding


Home made custard

Heres how in pictures:

The made up mixture

Putting the syrup into the greased pudding bowl

Then the made up sponge mixture

 Putting a pleat in the greaseproof

The strung pudding with its lid
Placed ready for cooking in the steamer

The cooked pudding after removal of the greaseproof

The cooked Syrup Sponge after being released from the bowl

And after dribbling some of the extra syrup sauce over it

And served up ready to eat

It was absolutely delicious.

Confort food fix served for while

Catch you soon



Tea for Tonight and for tomorrow

We are having home made stew done in the slow cooker.  Its bubbling away as I am writing this post.  I had a small tray of  stewing beef (located from the depths of the freezer), really not enough for a stew, but once padded out with  dried thyme, marigold bouillon powder, parsnip, swede, carrots, parsnip, red onion, leek, white onion, dried orange peel, a tomato, white pepper, bay leaves and some pearl barley should mean that we have a filling tasty warming meal.   No doubt OH will want his dumplings, but I am not that fussed with them think will give them a miss today.  I am going to serve this with creamy mashed potato.  This should mean that we get our five a day today.

However the naughty side has to come out - its always lurking beneath the surface and I have an inkling for a home made steamed treacle pudding served with home made custard too.  I have been very cold this week and to me this means I need more substantial fuel to keep the old proverbial boiler ticking over.  

Because we need the heat (I seize up if I do not keep warm as I feel the cold very badly) and because I cook (my big cooker is gas) quite a lot of money each week goes on these commodities.  But then at the end of the day we feed well even when there is little money about as I am careful to put up stuff when I do have the funds available.  This week I had £20 for food after paying out for the heating and because I needed milk, oil, something for dinner tomorrow, fabric conditioner, butter, and cheese (2 packs of)  [£11 went on the meat and cheese alone)  I haven't had money available to go to the veg shop this week, and as you all know I love my fresh veg.  But this week nothing doing.  Not all is lost though as I do have some fresh veg left over from the other week (I kept it in the fridge) and so that is what has been used to make the stew.  I also have plenty of veg both fresh and in the freezer to take us through the week, but next week I will have to go to the veg shop and stock up.  I need another sack of potatoes and two trays of eggs; and some fresh onions as the others are starting to go over (but these can be turned into onion marmalade so nothing wasted here) these there latter items might have to wait until pay day when I can do a general stock up and also get meat and other bits and bobs put up in the freezers and also supplies for the pantry and fridges

For dinner tomorrow I have bought a piece of pork for roasting, I acquired this from my local Co-op for £6 something  which not only will give us a good Sunday dinner it will also keep other half going with roast pork sandwiches for the week; will also be nice cold served with bubble and squeak on Monday night for tea and if there is anything left over after that probably in a stir fry.   But no doubt OH will fancy cold pork served with home made chips and pickled beetroot and chutney.

I also want to make some soups, but we will have to wait and see how we get on.

I also have some bread on the go to also accompany the stew and mop up all those juices.


At the time of posting I still haven't started the marmalade going as I am having to have a bit of a sort around in the kitchen before I start, namely the cooker has been cleaned as it had got into a bit of a state and I have cleaned the work top down so that I can put my jars on there after sterilising to decant the marmalade into.  When I start which will probably be after tea now I should be able to get at least a couple of batches done.

Catch you all soon



Good morning

Good morning from wet and windy Peterborough.  The sun is out the wind is blowing (not a hooley at the moment but it is rough) there is blue sky up there and Demetri doesn't like it.  He had asked to go out earlier on  (all my cats have been very vocal his call sounds very prehistoric) so I obliged and when I popped my head out to see where Squeak was as well the pair of them came charging in.  Demetri had been parked under the patio table his normal des res during the day if he doesn't want to come in and hasn't been elsewhere.  I don't think that they are particularly keen on the wind.  Demetri is now nearly asleep on his favourite cushion and Squeak is parked on the top of the settee looking out the window.  Well the radiator is there so she is keeping warm.  That cat is not foolish.   She sleeps with me on the bed and always manages to park heself where my hot water bottle is. She has also managed to nearly scoff all Missy's breakfast as well despite already having had her own!  Worse than children sometimes, but generally speaking they all muddle along well.  Even Missy and Demetri seem to be coming to some sort of understanding.

Plans for the day/weekend.  Well I have a lot of marmalade to make so I will be starting that at some point.  I have some Clementine and a couple of batches of Seville Oranges to do as well as some lemon.  So if I am up to it I am going to get stuck in and squirrel away a lot of preserves.  I should have enough sugar in the pantry to get this done. But I also have my sights set in the next few weeks or more of making some  Ginger Marmalade  (this has Seville Oranges in so will have to make this soon) and Grapefruit marmalade and some Dried Apricot Marmalade  and a Mixed Jelly Marmalade.  I am going to pace myself and the funds to do this, so I get what I need in my store.  I always have breakfast in the morning and in the winter months it is nice to have home made porridge  or muesli followed by a couple of  slices of hot buttery toast with marmalade on.  I also use marmalade extensively in Bread and Butter pudding, baking as a base for a sauce and in stir fries etc.  So I do get a lot of mileage out of what I put up and put away in the Put Down and the more I use the more I need to put down.  Its a vicious circle.

Right upwards and onwards let the battle commence.  Will report back later on.  Have a good day



We are having a stew for tea tonight so I have that to make as well

Making Marmalade

Well this evening I have been teaching my friend how to make marmalade.  We made two batches which equated to 10 jars of Seville Orange Marmalade.  She spent just under £6 on ingredients and each jar of marmalade worked out to approximately 60 pence a jar and it tastes fab.  She quickly got to grips with it and more or less did the second batch herself  This is the recipe I posted earlier for Seville Orange Marmalade.  And I have mine to do today when I get up that is - I have to locate jars first.

Catch up with you later today



Thursday, 19 January 2012

Earlier this evening

After I eventually managed to get them round up fed, and ready for bed this is how they show their contentment.    Peaceful just how I like it!

Well it is nice and warm inside and it is wet and cold outside.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

2012.01.18 My Day

It is my nephew's 18th Birthday today - Happy Birthday Christopher hope you have had a lovely day! Its a big year for you young man.

I understand that he has had some friends over today for a Pizza Party but it has had to be limited to some extent as poor lad has Exams starting tomorrow (He is currently in the 6th Form studying for his A levels (in his second year).  .

This afternoon:

I have been to see the Arthritis Consultant today who is very pleased with me and is quite impressed at all my efforts at retaining some kind of improvement in my health.  So I am well chuffed that I am on the right path.  Some of you may know that I have a disc out of alignment that had in the past couple of years more or less crippled me up.  I had to have an MRSI scan to find out what was going on and they identified this last summer.  As a result of that I have had to go to see the physio and from there to a Pilates back class to build up my inner core muscles, which class has now concluded but I have to keep on with the exercises I have learned  as to how to keep the pain at bay by doing specific exercises and also to keep myself going.  I also have to go back to the Orthotics Department for some new insoles for my shoes.

One of the conditions I have Scleroderma is very rare and not often seen.  They believe mine has been triggered by the Raynaud's Syndrome and I also have Sjorgens Syndrome (where the antibodies in your system attack your own body).  At the moment the Scleroderma is behaving itself and is not getting any worse which he is very pleased about (In its worst format it can cause major organ failure particularly in the lungs but also to other organs in the body; but thankfully at the moment I only have it in its minor form which is concerning, but a great relief. On a lighter note, I have been informed that I will never need Botox (not that I have ever considered it) as my skin is tightning not wrinkling!  You have to laugh if not smile!

I have to have more bloods done in the next few days or so and if anything shows in the bloods and needs sorting they will call me back in to Clinic. The Consultant has told me that they can track a condition from the bloods and determine whether or not the condition will get any worse in the long term. However I do not have to go back to see him for a year and I will receive an appointment in the post about a month before the actual appointment. He has however made it clear that I will need to undergo the lung function test, heart testing and all the other testing I went through initially next year, bearing in mind I have not had any done this year; but that is a small price to pay for keeping my health stabilised.  I am a great avocate of self-help wherever possible, but sometimes you do need guidance and help to help you manage conditions as it means you are controlling the condition rather than it controlling you.  The frustrating thing for me was I knew I had to do something, but did not know what to do for the best.

Equally if I have any concerns with my hands i.e. if they get worse (I have Raynauds Syndrome  since I was 25)where my hands specifically go blue purple and white and I lose the circulation) then equally I am at liberty to get back in touch with them.  

I have had to have another injection in my leg this time as I have bursitis which is causing some tenderness in my left leg which is where the disc is out in the base of my back., but otherwise once I get the bloods out of the way it looks as though this New Year is going to be one without too much medical intervention (I hope) Phew its took some doing but at least I am getting there.

That is what I call a result.

Catch you all soon



Macrea Kipper Fillets!

Tonight I got home from work and was ravenous and couldn't settle on anything to eat so rather belatedly I hit the freezer to see what I had and which took my fancy.  I ended up with a bag of boil in the bag kippers and some bread and butter followed by some melon and ginger for pudding;.

That simple meal bought back many memories for me; memories that had not been ressurected for some time.  This meal is one that I used to have regularly when I was growing up but which I first tried at the home of my Aunty Rene and when I went to visit it was a regular Saturday night tea, with Marks & Spencers Orange and Mint chocolate covered wafer biscuits as a treat for afters.

My Aunt lived in Wellingore Hall nr Lincoln in what were originally the kitchens and which had been converted to a flat for my Aunt and her family.  My Great Aunty Kit actually bought the Hall and turned it into posh residential flats for professional people.  A Beautiful building that had its own ballroom and library and had many decorated beautiful plasterwork ornate ceilings and which was filled with antiques and was a wondeful place for a 3 1/2 year old child to roam safely.  The added attraction for me wasthat there were horses.  Symphony & Refuge and Mella and Kitty.  The Hall had its own Stables attached formed in a big square with a massive white stone mounting block in the Courtyard and hay lofts that were just holes in the floor.  I remember being up in those lofts and helping to put the hay away in the summer months although for obvious reasons I was never left unattended.

The kippers we had then were . Macrae Kipper fillets.  (Do you remember them?) and it quickly became one of my favourite meals.  I was lucky in that my Aunty Rene used to have me to stay for a week in the summer holidays every year until I reached the age of 17; this had all started on the birth of my brother who was born at home; and I was then packed off to my Aunty's home for the first time so that my mum could get over having him and get into a routine with him without me being in the way.  

Smoked kippers and melon with ginger quite sophisticated tastes for a 3 1/2 year old at the time.  However, this Aunty is very responsible for introducing me to nice restaurants and good quality nice things.  Her home was filled with beautiful things she had a good eye and good taste and was very generous with her time and money and I was spoiled "nicely".  I loved going to stay with them.

My Aunt is no longer with us but that simple meal tonight sparked off some happy memories for me.  Its funny how something so simple can be the match that lit the candle and triggered a whole host of buried memories that are so much a part of me, but tinged with a little sadness as those much loved relatives are no longer here.

Do you have any particular memories associated with food?

Catch you soon



Tuesday, 17 January 2012

2012.01.17 My Day

Didn't get round to the marmalade tonight - too tired have spent the evening doing battle with the computer.  It was dreadful earlier on kept getting timed out on everything I tried to do. 

Was minus 4 when we went to work this morning and it has been blooming cold all day.  Its especially cold out there at the moment.  I still do not have a lot of energy and am still very tired so haven't done very much as a result. Trouble is I am itching to get on with things and am getting very impatient as I have a lot to do and I want to get on with things

Marmalade will not get done tomorrow so it looks as though it will be Thursday. 

Tomorrow is my eldest nephew's 18th birthday - where has the time gone when I wasn' looking.

Didn't have much trouble getting the cats in tonight.  In fact things are nice and quiet and they can be found curled up asleep in companionable silence.  How long it will last for I do not know.  Don't they look sweet.

Butter wouldn't melt and all that

Catch you all tomorrow take care and keep warm



Monday, 16 January 2012

Seville Orange Marmalade 1

Traditionally in this country the preservers amongst us during the months of January to February put down Seville Orange Marmalade for the year as this is the time when the Seville Oranges are available to us.  There are however different types of marmalades and they can be made throughout the year not just now.  There are also different methods of making marmalades, so far I have come across  at least four methods, but no doubt there are more out there.  I thought it might be useful to have a go at these methods and then compare what I have made and how I have made it to see which way I prefer best.

The recipe below utilises Method 1 of making marmalade which is probably one of the easiest methods and a good place to start.  This provides for a thick chunky marmalade if the peel is cut thick, but I chose to cut mine quite fine as I don't like it thick.  This  method consists of washing the fruit, cutting the fruit in half, squeezing out the juice, reserving the pips, slicing the peel without removing the pith into shreds - if the skins are a little too large to handle cut them down further and then shred to the required thickness but make sure your knife is extremely sharp.  You then place the fruit juice the shredded peel into a large pan with the pips tied in a  muslin bag.  Why do you do this, the pips are a good source of pectin which helps your marmalade set.  You then pour the required amount of water into your pan, bring to the boil and simmer for one to two hours until the peel is soft and disintegrates between the fingers. ( If your skin does not do this it is not ready and if you put the sugar in before the peel is ready it will lead to tough chewy shreds of marmalade).  You then remove the muslin bag with your pips in squeezing any liquid retained in the bag back into the pan.  Discard the bag.  You can then add your sugar and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves, then boil rapidly until setting point is reached.

This is the recipe I am using for two batches of my Seville Orange Marmalade.  The recipe comes from a St Michael Cookery Library book called Home Preserves by Jackie Burrow.  This is also the recipe I taught my friend how to make the other evening.


3lb/1 1/2kg  Seville Oranges
6 pints/3 1/2 litres of water
Juice of 2 lemons; or
1 teaspooon/ 1 x 5ml citric acid or tartaric acid
6lb /2 3/4kg sugar


Wash the Oranges and remove the stalks if necessary.  Pop them in the microwave for about 40 seconds to help release the juice. Cut the oranges in half, squeeze out the juice. I used three  bowls for this, one for the zapped oranges, one for the juice and the third for the orange shells.  This time round I used my citrus reamer but I have been known to usemy freestanding manual juicer.

 Strain off the oranges through a sieve.  I work the juice and fibres through the sieve using the end of a rolling pin.  Scrape off any juice from the underside of the sieve also.

 I have my large freestanding citrus press (acquired second hand) for this purpose as it helps flatten out the fruit shells which makes them easier to shred if hand cutting  and pour into a large pan.  This time round though I chose hand cutting, although a little fiddly and you do need an extremely strong sharp knife.

Tie any pips into a piece of muslin and add to the juice in the pan.  Slice the orange peel and pith into thick or fine shreds then add to the pan. I also have a marmalade shredder which I haven't tried yet; will try it with one of the batches of marmalade that I intend to make.

Pour the water into the pan with the lemon or acid and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or so until the peel is very soft.  It should disintegrate when squeezed between the fingers if it does not it is not ready and will need a little more simmering. Do not add the sugar until this point is achieved as it will harden the peel and if not cooked enough will be well chewy. Once this point is achieved remove the muslin bag squeezing the juice back into the pan. Please Make sure that the bag of pips is secure as mine escaped and I ended up fishing them out of the cooking pan with a slotted spoon which was time consuming.

Peel when soft enough 
Add the sugar and stir over a low heat until it is dissolved.  Boil rapidly until setting point is achieved.  I always pop a knob of butter in whilst boiling as it helps keep the scum to a minimum  - if there is still scum forming add another knob of butter as the scum can spoil the effect of the preserve, alternatively you can remove this but you will possibly not get all of it and I have found that the butter method works best for me. You don't need much.

Test periodically to see if Jam has achieved its set.  I use a thermometer to check that the preserve has reached temperature there is a jam marking on the side.  Once this temperature is achieved I start testing.  It may not always be easy to spot that the jam is set.  The traditional method is to put two saucers in a fridge until they are well cold and then spoon a spot of jam on it and pop it back into the fridge. Take the jam off the boil whilst you are waiting for a test to be achieved as you can end up overboiling the preserve. After a couple of minutes take the saucer out of the fridge and push the surface of the splodge of jam with your index finger.  If the preserve starts to wrinkle the preserve has achieved set. If set is not achieved keep persevering until it is. It will happen but quite frequently can take a little longer or sometimes a little less than a recipe states. There are other signs to look for when waiting for a set. I use a wooden spoon to stir the preserve but if you check the wooden spoon  periodically . there will be little blobs of jelly on the back of the spoon.  This is also known as the flake test.  The top of the preserve in the pan can also appear "thick" when set is nearly achieved and the viscosity of the bubbles change as you get near to a set.  The become more furious and frothier.  If you are not sure that set has been achieved bottle the preserve and let it go cold.  Check the next day and if still runny you can always return it back to a saucepan and re-boil.  I usually add some extra lemon juice if this is the case or pectin extract.  Some fruits have a higher pectin content than others, but oranges and lemons should be relatively straightforward.

Allow to cool slightly before pouring into home prepared jars which should be warm not boiling.  Wipe them clean cover leave them to cool.  When cold add lids or cellophane covers label and store.

Makes approximately 10lb/4 1/2 kg

I made two lots of this marmalade and now have 20 jars of marmalade for my store.  It has achieved a lovely set and tastes yummy.

Do not panic at the yield -remember this is to last the year and there are 52 weeks in a year. On average we get through a jar of marmalade per week just with toast at breakfast without using it for anything else. It is also a good item to make as a present to give away as part of a Christmas hamper and remember marmalade is not just for spreading on toasts or croissants or scones it can make a very nice sauce to put with duck ie. home made duck a l'orange with some fress squeezed orange juice just sieve the peel out if you want a smooth sauce  and can also be popped into casseroles and stir fries and you will soon go through a jar and I even have a recipe somewhere for a marmalade tea bread which is quite delicious will sort it out and post at some point for those of you looking for ideas how to use something.  Quite often people cannot see the use for making jam or marmalade but once you start making your own and experimenting it has for me led to rather more jam and preserve making.  It is very addictive because it is a little bit of alchemy in your own kitchen as the saying goes hubble bubble toil n trouble!



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)