Monday, 29 October 2012

To Do List week commencing 29 October 2012

Things to try and get done this week although there may be a little lap over from week to week thought it might be easier to commit to paper as my memory is not as good as it was

  • Rosehip syrup
  • Rosehip marmalade
  • Rosehip and apple jelly
  • Apple chutney
  • Cucumber Gherkins (another batch the last one seems to have disappeared) These will be finished off tonight as they are brining
  • Bread n Butter pickles
  • Pickled Eggs
  • Pickled Red Cabbage
  • Mulled Pears in Red Wine
  • Mulled Pears in Cider
  • Mulled Pears in Crabbies
  • Pickled Shallots
  • Rosemary Jelly
  • Christmas Cakes
  • Christmas Puddings
  • Plum Loaves
  • Cinnamon Ice Cream
  • Bottled mandarins/Clementines
  • Souper Paste
  • Bottled Cherry tomatoes
  • Apple Pip
  • Orange Jelly
  • Orange Curd
  • Lemon Curd
  • Grapefruit Curd
  • Grapefruit Champagne

I know I will not get everything done but as I am on holiday at the end of the week for 7 weekdays plus the two weekends I might stand a fighting chance of getting at least some of the bits and bobs done.  Its fairly easy come easy go, but we will see how we get on.

Catch you soon


  • Orange Wine
  • Ginger Wine
  • Cider
  • Bitter
  • Lager
  • Pear Cider

Another Recipe for Ginger Beer

This recipe is a bit more organic and relatively easy to make:


3 lemons
half a pound of fresh ginger root
2lbs of sugar
2ozs cream of tartar
2 1/2 gallons of boiling water
two tablespoonfuls of yeast

Take the rinds of the three lemons by peeling very finely trying to leave as much pith behind as possible.

Smash half a pound of fresh root ginger with a meat hammer or the end of a rolling pin to break it up and then put the rinds and the ginger, 2lbs of sugar and 2ozs of cream of tartar into a big  sterilised bucket and pour on 2 1/2 gallons of boiling water.  Let it cool until the liquid is lukewarm and then add the yeast.  Let it all cool and stand for 12 hours.  Then add the juice of the three lemons, strain the liquid and bottle into sterilised bottles.

It will be very fizzy in a couple of days.



Sunday, 28 October 2012

Batch Baking - Sandwich Cake Mix

Lets face it most of us like a bit of cake at some time or another and when you have children in the house it serves as double duty having a bit of cake in the house in the first instance as something to have as a treat after tea or as a treat in their pack up box.  Even in the OH's.  and some can be used to make a very quick pudding with a touch of ice cream or cream. Today however we seem to have more considerations as to when to actually put the big oven on because of making use of and getting the maximum amount of food cooked as cheaply as possible and to this end it helps if you plan what you are going to cook and make several items before you even switch the oven on.

 The house I live in is rented  - the cooker belongs to the house and is only a basic half sized  gas oven, but nevertheless I have managed to cook quite successfully ever since we have been in here (I am on my second cooker but the landlord chooses the cooker not me).  His choice of cooker and mine are radically different.  Saying that we have to be grateful for small mercies and make the best of what we have available to us.  It all serves a purpose in the greater plan of things. I will do a separate post on maximising the use of your oven probably to run alongside this post.

 Today I want to share a recipe that I have used on and off for about 34 years for making a Sandwich cake or variations on a sandwich cake.  The recipe is taken from the Marks and Spencers' book of Mixer and Blender Cooking by Betty Jakens ISBN 0 906320 22 4.  I apologise for the length of the post, but it will give you a good basis on how to use the mix and then hopefully go on and experiment.  I tend to use the mix and then quite frequently just decorate by adding cocoa, coffee, coconut, mixed  dried fruit, spices,  fresh fruit like blueberries, or jams, curds butter-cream to finish different food colourings, just make a couple of sponge cakes and a tray of butterfly cakes - the rest is up to you and your own inspiration and creativity.

Basic Sandwich Mix:

1lb/450g  butter or margarine
1lb/450g caster sugar
8 eggs
1lb/450g self-raising flour, sifted


Preparation time: about 45 minutes
Cooking time:
Lemon Cherry Sandwich about 25 minutes
Spiced Currant Squares about 30 minutes
Marble Ring: about 25 minutes
Coffee Walnut Castles: about 15 minutes
Oven temperature: 190 degrees C, 375 degrees F, Gas Mark 5

"As most domestic ovens are not large enough to bake all the sandwich cake variations at one time, start with the coffee walnut castles which have the shortest cooking time and bake the longest cooking time variation last.

To prepared the basic cake mix place the butter or margarine and sugar in the mixer bowl or a large mixing bowl .  Using the mixer (I used my Kenwood) beat the butter and the sugar for approximately 3 minutes (sugar and eggs will go from a creamy yellow colour to a very pale colour until light creamy and silky.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the mix in the bowl to make sure that everything gets mixed in properly and evenly distributed.  Add the eggs one at a time with a little flour beating each one until the mix is well incorporated.  If using a Kenwood table mixer put on lowest speed or fold in the rest of the flour with a metal spoon.

Use the mixture to make these:

Variation 1: Lemon Cherry Sandwich

1 1/4 lb/500g prepared basic cake mix
4oz/100g glace cherries rinsed dried and chopped (if you lightly flour the cherries it is supposed to stop them sinking)
1 teaspoon/1 x 5ml spoon grated lemon rind
Lemon Butter Cream

Weight eh specified amount of prepared basic cake mix and place in a mixing bowl.  Reserve 2 to 3 whole cherries for decoration and chop the rest .  Fold the chipped cherries and lemon rind into the cake mix and divide between two greased sandwich tins and bake in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes.  Turn out on a wire tray to cool.

Use half of the lemon butter cream to sandwich the cake layers together then spread the remaining butter cream on the top.  Decorate with the reserved glace cherries cut into pieces

*See right at the bottom for the lemon cream recipe

Variation 2: Spiced Currant Squares

14oz/400g of the prepared basic cake mix
2oz/50g currants
1oz/25g self raising flour
1 teaspoon/1 x 5ml ground mixed spice
1oz/25g butter softened
3 1/2oz/90g soft brown sugar

Bottom line and grease a 7 inch square/18 cm square baking ting.  Weigh the specified amount of the pre-prepared cake mix and then fold in the currants.   Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin. Place the flour mixed spice and butter into a small mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer to rub the butter into the flour or rub it in by hand.  Stir in the sugar sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake mix.  Bake in a pre-heated  oven for about 30 minutes.  Leave to cool slightly in the tin before removing to a wire tray.  Leave to cool completely and then cut into 6 squares.

Variation 3: Marble Ring Cake

1lb 2oz/500g prepared basic cake mix
1 tablespoon/1 x 15ml spoon of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon/ 1 x 5ml spoon of milk
2oz /50g icing sugar sifted
2 teaspoons/ 2 x 5ml spoons of hot water
Chocolate vermicelli to decorate

Weigh the specified amount of prepared cake mix.  Divide the mixture into two bowls and place one half in a medium mixing bowl.  Mix in the cocoa followed by the milk.  You will end up with a bowl of chocolate mix and a bowl of vanilla mix.  Place alternate spoonfuls of chocolate  and vanilla mix into the prepared 2 pint/1.2 litre ring mould and carefully spread evenly.  Bake in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire tray  Leave to cool.  Place the icing sugar into a small basin add the water and mix to a coating consistency.  Spoon the icing over the top of the ring and allow it to run down the sides.  Sprinkle with vermicelli before the icing sets.

Variation 4: Coffee Walnut Castles

12oz/350g prepared basic cake mix
Coffee Butter cream  See below
3oz/75g Walnut pieces chopped
8-10 walnut halves

Weigh the specified amount of prepared basic cake mix and divide into 8 to 10 well greased dariole moulds to fill them by two thirds.  Arrange the moulds on a baking tray. Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes. Turn out of the moulds and leave to cool on a wire tray.

Trim the bases so that all the castles stand up straight.  Spread the sides of the castles with about three quarters of the butter cream then coat the sides with the chopped walnuts.  Place the remaining cream into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe whirls of butter cream on top.  Place a walnut half on top of each castle.  Makes about 8 to 10.

Blender Lemon Frosting
2 tablespoons/2 x 15ml lemon squash
1 1/2 /40g butter or margarine softened
6oz/175g Icing sugar sifted

Pour the sqush into a blender goblet and add the butter or margarine and then the icing sugar. Blend until well mixed.  Stop and scrape down the sides of the goblet from time to time as necessary.  Use to decorate your chosen cake.


Coffee frosting use 2 tablespoons of coffee essence/2 x 15ml spoons instead of lemon squash

Orange frosting use 2 tablespoons of orange squash/2 x 15ml spoons instead of orange squash

The beauty of this batch recipe is that the cakes can be frozen (without the toppings as they come out of the oven) if there are too many for you to get through easily during the week and you can just take a cake out when you need it.  Batch baking or cooking basic things that you probably would not get time to deal with during the week helps you still get quality food  and variety even when up against time constraints.

I hope this helps 



Lemonade Syrup

I love homemade cordials and syrups they really are very useful, and very refreshing mixed with fizzy water or as a flavouring for mixed fruit salad, as a soaking syrup for a cake or into butter cream and no doubt a myriad of other uses to.  Even as a sauce over ice cream or used as a base for a sorbet, its always handy to have some of this in the pantry.

Because of how much I use this when I make it I tend to make two batches to keep me going for a little while.


5 small lemons, with the outer skins scrubbed well
1 1/2 lb/700g sugar
1 pint/570ml boiling water
1oz/25g tartaric acid


Peel the lemons very thinly with a very sharp knife. Put the peel or sugar in a large bowl.  Add the boiling water and stir well.  Squeeze the lemons and add the juice and the tartaric acid to the syrup.  Leave to cool.  Strain and then bottle.

Use about 2 tablespoons of syrup to each glass when mixing  but can also be used as a base for a sorbet or as a lemon sauce over some ice cream or a cake.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Minestrone Soup

Brggh its freezing the heating has gone on tonight big time even OH mentioned how cold he was so cold weather calls for good home cooking that warms you up as well as being tasty and simple to prepare.  Soup is a meal in itself and a good thing to have on the menu if you haven't got much money for housekeeping.   I buy cannelini beans from Lidl or the Co-Op.  Remember if you haven't got the exact ingredient change it for something similar. This is another one of my recipe cuttings.


200g dried cannellini beans
250g smoked pancetta or bacon cut into cubes
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 large stalks of parsley lightly crushed
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large onion chopped
2 large potatoes cubed and rinsed
2 celery stalks sliced
3 tomatoes halved deseeded and chopped
200g Italian Risotto rice
1 small round cabbage quartered cored and sliced
250g shelled peas, fresh or frozen
3 small courgettes halved lengthwise halved again into quarters then thickly sliced
Sea salt
Ground black pepper


  1. Soak the beans overnight in at least 1 1/4 litres of cold water to cover.
  2. Drain the beans put into a saucepan and cover with fresh cold water and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender.  Do not add the salt at this stage.  Drain the beans and pop them to one side.
  3. Put the bacon or pancetta, garlic and parsley in a stockpot heat gently and fry until the fat runs.  Then add the olive oil heat briefly then add the onion and cook until softened but not brown.
  4. Add the potatoes the carrots the celery tomatoes salt and the pepper.  Add 3 litres of water and heat until simmering.  Cook over a low heat for approximately 20 minutes or so.  Add the rice and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Add the cabbage and reserved beans bring to the boil and cook for about 5 minutes then add the peas and the courgettes and cook for another couple of minutes until the veg is tender.
  6. Remove the parsley stalks and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve sprinkled with torn basil leaves crusty fresh bread and either some Parmesan or some nice strong cheddar.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Quote for the Day




Don't forget to stop

And Smell the Roses

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Bottling Clementines/Mandarins

I have been playing again - its becoming an addictive habit, but so far I am well pleased with this experiment so far, all that needs to be done is for me to report back on the taste.

I have had three baskets worth of Clementines for £3 from the Veg shop and peaches and oranges have always been a bit of a grey area for me as there is a lot of fiddling to do to get them processed.  With peaches it is getting them skinned with the oranges it is getting rid of all the pith and making the oranges look really edible.  This time round I am playing with Clementines.

I decided to process the sugar syrup first - I did this at 8 oz for 2 pints of water - not a heavy syrup but a light one and made up 8 pints worth and left it to cool.  This will be boiled up again before use.  I have done things  this way as I have a lot of fruit to process and wanted to make sure that I had enough syrup for the bulk bottling session.

Anyway here it goes:

I peeled each clementine individually.  {don't throw the peel away as I have another use for this i.e. the Citrus Cleaner

I then set to work with an extremely sharp pointed knife.  I started by defining the ribs of the orange and by using the tip of the knife to remove the membrane that covers the whole of the orange.  Let the knife do the work, but use a gentle scraping motion to work all the way round the orange.  Some of the oranges will fall to pieces others will remain whole still use them.  However if the orange has segments that have dried out do not use these.

This is the time consuming part working the oranges. I sat for a good two hours determined to get as much pith off them as I could.  Not for the faint hearted.   I placed them all into a casserole dish until they were all worked which was several cups of tea later.  I think they have come up pretty well and it has given me some ideas for some other projects as well.

 When this part has been achieved, boil up a kettle and sterilise the bottles and tops with the boiling water but putting the hot water into the jar with a tablespoon in to stop the pot cracking. Do each jar like this - I will cover sterilisation in full under a separate post.  Then drain the jar and start adding the whole oranges and the odd segments if you have them.  I used a pair of chefs tongs to place the whole Clementines in place filling the jar to the top.

I then boiled up some of the syrup until boiling and then added it to each respective jar making sure the fruit is submerged otherwise this will spoil the finish of the fruit (However if you think this is to be the case you can put some clean greaseproof paper which has been folded or crumpled into a pack and place this in the top of the jar between the lid and the fruit and this will help keep the fruit submerged).  Add a squeeze of lemon juice to each jar - helps to keep the acidity level in the jar correct so as to stop any nasties.  You really cannot be too clean when processing fruit like this.

Put on the seals and screw tops straight away tighten and loosen half a turn. Place in a deep stock pot or similar processing vessel. I always make sure there is a towel in the bottom of the pan to stop any of the bottles breaking over high heat - its sacrilege after going to a that trouble to actually lose a jar or jars. Pop in the jars and fill up with hot water to completely immerse the jar if at all possible but otherwise up to the neck.

I thought it would be a nice treat to serve a whole clementine with some home made ice cream at Christmas as a simple pudding that is if I get them out of the jar intact.  I am also going to do some with Grand Marnier in the syrup.  Serve a whole orange with some vanilla and some tangerine ice cream/sorbet.

The Clementines were processed by the Quick Hot Water bath method.  Please see instructions here Always follow the general instructions and then follow the appropriate processing time for the relevant fruit, strength of liquid and pack and also size of jar.  It all plays its part.  These were processed bringing the water to the boil and then processing for 30 minutes standard processing time.  After which they were allowed to cool overnight

They are not difficult to do but they do take some time and patience.  It is a little daunting to start with but if you follow the basic instructions for the quick water bath processing, and then the instructions for the particular fruit (times vary quite a bit between the different fruits it is just not one processing time).  You also have to take into account the processing procedures for the type of bottle you are using.  I have used Kilner jars.

Bottling is not difficult as long as you follow the instructions and keep everything sterile.

Genealogy and Researching Your Family Tree

I have been doing a lot of research in the past week or so into my family tree.  It is something that I have been doing on and off for the last 15 years or so and gradually the information is coming to hand.  I have a lot of family bibles that were passed on to me, which in turn will get passed on to the younger generation in due course.  Last week I have been able to find lots of information about my mum and my Dad's side of the family information which had been lost within the family for one reason or another.  Genes Reunited website has an offer on for about a month of free access to the 1911 Census returns for a period of a month where you can actually view the details on the Census without having to pay.

So even if you are not really researching your family tree as consistently as myself it might well be worth you popping over and having a look because it might just help clarify information that you have but which is a bit blurry round the edges.  It is making my ancestors come alive with little bits of information that we just were not aware of.  My Nan was one of 5 so we understood.  However she was actually one of 9 (4 children lost which I still have to research) and her older sisters were at least 15 16 years older than her so quite a long marriage with her real mother (who died when she was about 4 1/2 years old (within six months her father had remarried) but I did not even know my real great grandmother's name which is Sarah Coxon nee Ashcroft.

We are getting there very very slowly.



Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Welcome Ladies

I would just like to make welcome Lazy Daisy, (Lazy Daisy I am not sure if you have a blog or not  - let me know and I will post details) Mum of all Trades All that I am Eating
I hope you will make them all welcome and comfy and too .  Look forwarrd to hearing more from you ladies in due course.

Take care



Rosehip Marmalade

At the minute it feels a little bit like the Itchy and Scratchy Show here at Pattypans.   I completely forgot to take the usual precautions I take like wearing an apron and some marigolds and got stuck in de-seeding Rosehips. I need a kg to make some Rosehip Marmalade.  To tell you the truth I had forgotten about this little recipe.  I had come across it before but had never made it.  It was purely a chance conversation with our Head Cashier at work that triggered the memory of the recipe.  His wife is Danish and he was saying that the recipe she used for Rosehip Jam was very soft setting and not like we know jam but absolutely lovely as far as flavour goes.  That made my mind up  - I went looking for the recipe and found it.  It is from the Sloe Gin and Beeswax book by Jane Newdick.  So this evening I have been preparing Rosehips and will have to finish off tomorrow.  Those that I have prepared are in the fridge ready for processing tomorrow.  I also intend to make some Rosehip Syrup and some Rosehip Jelly that is if I ever stop itchin and scratching.  I must admit I do like raiding the Hedgerow to put away little gems like this and of course Rosehips are high in Vitamin C.  The recipe is a cross between a jam and a conserve.  However de-seeding Rosehips is the most tedious of jobs and it certainly requires patience for little results, but if you keep cracking on in small batches then you should reap the rewards.  However I am going to be busy again tomorrow evening processing some more armed with the marigolds and coverings so this time I don't scratch as much.

You will need


2lb/1kg Rosehip shells cleaned of all seeds.
6 fl oz/175ml distilled malt vinegar
10 fl oz/275ml water
1/2 a vanilla pod
1lb/500g sugar
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons


  1. Prepare the Rosehips by cutting in half and scooping out the seeds into a separate bowl with a teaspoon.
  2. Put the Rosehips vinegar and water with the vanilla pod into a large pan and simmer gently until almost completely soft.
  3. Add the sugar and then cook until the hips are really soft and the marmalade/jam has thickened a little.  Add the lemon juice to taste and then remove the vanilla pod.  Pot into preferably china jars rather than glass as if glass the preserve may lose its colour.  There is however a way around this by wrapping brown wrapping paper round the glass jars and taping down.
 Will see how I get on. I usually keep some dried Rosehip shells in the house in any event as you can make wine from them, grind them down for a vitamin c powder to sprinkle on your cereal, in a jam, as a jelly  as a syrup/ice cream sauce.  I will let you know how I get on  - if I don't like it maybe I will take it in to my friend at work so then it will be waste not want not.  If you don't try different things you just never know what you are missing.

Catch you soon



Monday, 22 October 2012

Star Anise Cider Cup

I thought that in the run up to Christmas I would start popping up the odd recipe that I have made in the past and intend to use and make either in the run up to Christmas or as part of the Christmas food activities themselves.  The reason being threefold, first I need to be able to locate the recipes quickly i.e. all in one place, secondly I like to have a lprinted off list when I am making the same to help with the shopping aspect and also with the making aspect.  Finally I thought you ladies and gents might to share. {A Separate post will be done later which will contain all the Christmas in the one post).

I love hot toddies and I am particularly partial to this little number which combines my love of anise and cider.  Goes down very well on a winter's weekend all I need is the fire to go with it.


1/4 pint /150ml pressed English Apple juice (Copella)
1/2 pint/300ml medium dry cider
1 tablespoon of rosehip cordial
2 Star Anise
1 tablespoon of Brandy or Rum


Heat the apple juice, cider, cordial and star anise in a pan until almost boiling (I have a small slow cooker that I use for this purpose)
Turn off the heat or switch to low and leave to infuse for 5 minutes.  Stir in the brandy or rum and serve immediately

Makes approximately 4 glasses

Enjoy  However make sure you stay in the house and do not drive anywhere as they can be a bit poleu from person to person and we don't want anyone getting into any bother.



Sunday, 21 October 2012


Started early and I have been busy pottering around ever since. We have not long had tea, all cooked on the hob, minted lamb steaks cooked in a pan on the hob and a three tier steamer on the other, lashings of gray and it has all gone down very nicely. - very tasty.  OH was starving when he got in  and proclaimed he could eat a "scabby donkey" so tea was done early for us. I now have another pile of washing up to do.  I still have to cook my gammon joint for packups this week and to make some buns and get the soup on the go, so I will be disappearing back into the kitchen again very shortly.

Its now miserable and raining again outside but it is not really cold at the moment.

Hopefully  I will get back a little later on.

Hope everyone has had a good day

Take care



Mizzy Morning

The mist is hanging in the air shrouding buildings, making them look as though they are swathed in cobwebs one minute the next as clear as a bell as the mist moves gently silently; it is wet and damp but it is not as cold - OH thinks we had a frost earlier but everything seems to be warming up again - it is not at the present as chilly as it was yesterday.thank goodness.

I have been watching a new cook to me on the BBC Good Food Channel this morning Annabel Langbein.  I was quite impressed by the simplicity of her recipes and the food looks fresh and stunning.  Some of the recipes I was interested in they have not put on the site but then again they may be in her book so it is one I am going to look out for.  Well worth watching her programmes - I caught it by chance.

I now have to get on and sort the kitchen out.

Will be back later on

Catch you soon



Onion Bhajias

 I am rather partial to onion bhajias and have quite frequently in the past bought them from the Co-op for £1.40 a tray of 6.  That is until I found this recipe.


6 level tablespoons of chick pea flour
1 level teaspoon of turmeric, ground cumin and garam masala
3-4 tablespoons of water
Salt and ground black pepper
1 medium large onion peeled

Deep fat fryer


Combine the flour and spices  in a bowl and add enough water to make a stiff batter.  Season cut onion into 4 wedges and then into narrow strips and stir into the batter.

Heat the oil in the fryer to 190 degrees C.  Add a dessertspoonful of the mixture into the pan when it rises to the surface add the next spoonful continue until the pan is full and cook each bhajias for about 6 to 8 minutes turning them over halfway through.  Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Cook any remaining mixture in the same way.  Can be served immediately or reheated in a hot oven for a few minutes.

These can be frozen.   Pack the cooled bhajias in a plastic container and freeze for up to one month.  Defrost then heat in a hot oven before serving. How about freezing some down for Christmas to save a little time and a few pennies.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Wedding Anniversaries

I have been sorting through some paperwork this evening and have come across a chart which very usefully lists wedding anniversary milestones and what used to be the relevant material out of which the present should be made out of.  Most of us know 25 years silver, and 50 years golden but did you know the names for the others.  Here they are

1st Anniversary - Paper

2nd Anniversary - Cotton

3rd Anniversary - Leather

4th Anniversary Linen/Silk

5th Anniversary - Wood

6th Anniversary - Iron

7th Anniversary  - Wool (copper)

8th Anniversary - bronze

9th Anniversary - Pottery/china

10th Anniversary Tin/Aluminium

15th Anniversary - Crystal

20th Anniversary  - China

25th Anniversary  - Silver

30th Anniversary - Pearl

35th Anniversary - Coral (Jade)

40th Anniversary - Ruby

45th Anniversary - Sapphire

50th Anniversary -  Gold

55th Anniversary  - Emerald

60th Anniversary  - Diamond

Hope it helps

Saturday catch up

Its been a quiet day here today. OH has been working as he is tomorrow.  I have done lots of pottering around, and started bottoming out the lounge will have to finish that tomorrow it always takes a while to sort out but always looks good for the time and effort spent on it.  However I have had quite a bit of washing to do so the washer has been on quite a bit.We have also had a nice hot tea, a home made cottage pie with lots of grated cheese on top. Its cold out tonight so that has warmed us from the inside out Normally will serve us two meals but OH was hungry and has polished off what was left.  When it comes to food I don't mind whether its gone in one sitting, or whether its turned into another meal on the following day just as long as it not wasted.

 I also have a joint of gammon out which I am going to cook tomorrow for the pack ups during the week. We are to have minted lamb chops for tea with veggies tomorrow and I may do some onion soup as well as I have a few onions that need using up.  I am due for a new net and in the interests of waste note want not.

I have bread to make tomorrow as well.  

Anyway  I have to get on 

Catch you all soon



Picallili Fiend

I guess Someone found the Picallili then!  I think I am going to have to hide the rest at this rate!

Ah well it would appear he enjoyed it!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Quote for the Day

Just because its Grey 
Doesn't mean that the Sun isn't shining

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Beefburgers Chips and Beans

Its not been a good day today weather wise, and that in turn has impacted one me  and I hurt after an extremely busy day at work.  I wasn't really in the mood to do a lot of cooking  but last evening had got a couple of packs of beefburgers out for this evening's tea.  I have been determined so far this month to make the use of what I actually have available in the house without having to go and buy anything specifically.  So we have had a nice simple supper.  When you talk of beefburgers most people envisage the archetypal MacDonalds or Burger king.  When I say Burgers I am talking about whole meat burgers prepared by our Butcher with lots of flavour and no cereal.  But you can do more than just have them in a bun.  Tonight I went back to my childhood and a meal that my mum used to do us for a quick scratch meal.  Grilled Burgers, (we had two types of Burgers Steak Burgers and Pork and Apple Burgers and home made chips and baked beans and a couple of slices of bread and butter each.  It went down a treat.  Mum also used to serve them with mashed potatoe, peas and gravy.  So you don't have to have a lot to create a meal, but it helps that it is full of flavour and that you enjoy it.

As I am tired I haven't done very much this evening but have sat crotcheting as I have started a new rug off  worked in stripes in red, white, dark blue, medium blue and pale blue so far. I have started it off with some wool I already had to hand.  I will have to add to it, but that's by the by.  I still have my other blankets to finish but sometimes I don't have the money to go out and add to the wool stash and so rather than not do anything I hit what I already have, and then one by one I end up completing them as and when the money becomes available.  I just cannot sit and do nothing.  I am working it in stripes I am on my sixth colour band so far each band consisting of four rows of double crotchet.  I also have my eye on some patchwork Union Jack style cushions and they should tone well with this blanket in the long run will have to see how it goes.

Right am going to get on a few more rows to crotchet yet before I go up.

Catch you soon



Stormy Weather

Its a bit rough out there this morning, peeing down with rain with lots of gusty wind  I have to walk to work through it this morning and I am not looking forwrard to it at all. Not my kind of weather not even puddle jumping weather.  Ah well it is autumn but I am not looking forward to the trawl to work.  It really is a duvet day.

This morning has not been a good start I awoke when the alarm went off rather rudely turned over and went back to sleep again - fatal and then when OH called up iits a startled rude awakening which will leave me catching up with myself all day long.  I am meeting friends  dinner time, all ladies who used to work with each other as part of a tight team and who have remained friends although iit is about 17 years since we all last worked together; one of us was seconded to the States for three years and has come back and because of health issues no longer works, and one of us is retired and has been for about 10 yaers; the two youngsters are still working full time but it is a treat to spend some time with each other and "catch up" These are friends that I trust through thick and thin.

The cats have been wailing at me for the rain to stop.   They hate it when they get buffeted about and the certainly don't do wet!.

Right I am off to do my Mary Poppins impersonation.

Catch you all later on



Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Getting back to Basics

Sometimes you have to go back to basics to actually move forward.  My grandparents always maintained that if you had a roof over your head, food in the stomach and warmth that anything else was a bonus.  In the past three years I have had to go back to basics and some of the lessons that I have learned will stay with me  for the reset of my life and be put into practice in the future as well.  My partner lost his job three years ago and mine was the only wage that was coming in and in some cases it was spread too thin and some months we did not have the money to go food shopping and had to rely what I had in house.  I learned what basics I needed during that time.  Fortunately for us I had been in the habit of when I had money previously available to me in keeping a good stock of basic items like, flour, rice, pudding rice, dried milk, dried peas, soup mix, etc etc.  preferring to buy basic ingredients and then doing something with them myself.  In the interim I developed some medical problems and I was advised by the Doctors to cook as much as I could myself and to steer away from any processed food as it caused sluggishness within the system and would hinder my conditions in the long run and cause unnecessary pain. I therefore had a second reason for preparing our own meals, and the third reason I just love cooking anyway. 

A lot of people use the supermarkets religiously to buy everything.  They fill the trolley up with things they fancy not what they actually need. Not that they do not have their place its like everything at the end of the day it all plays its part.  But what happens if the supermarkets are not able to supply do people keep enough in their homes today so that they can get through such crisis periods, would they starve or would they rely on the generosity of others?  There is no need to starve if you change your shopping habits and keep a stockpile.

 Not to say that I don't use supermarkets as I do predominantly for basics like flour, rice, sugar, vinegar oil but  I do not buy a lot of aleady made  processed stuff - I would rather buy the basic ingredients and do something myself with them as if the goods have been prepared they attract a higher price on the supermarket shelf with very little return for your money apart from the fact that the meal is prepared. But remember you have still only one meal.  The way I buy we can have several meals.  You still have to cook it, yes, but if you put the oven on make sure it is not just for one thing and get the most out of your oven as well.  

Planning and organisation is everything here and if you just get a bit more organised and use what you already have at your disposal and you will be well fed. Being well fed doesn't necessarily mean complicated or consist of lots of veggies.  A good simple meal is toad in the hole served with mashed potatoes and onion gravy and is about flavour in by book at the end of the day.  The simpler the meal the more memorable it often is.

Keeping tabs on the pantry and the food stores can be done easily by just stocking up on items when you have the extra wherewithal available of by saving and saving and saving and then going and starting your stockpile from which to feed your family in one fair swoop.  You don't have to shop at Marks and Spencers or Waitrose you can more than adequately get what you need quite cheaply from stores such as Lidl or Aldi.  When it comes to feeding the family sensibly there is no room for being a food snob!  I know a lot of families cannot always do a decent shop in one fair swoop, but one month you could put money up for tinned stuff, the following month some meat, the following after that is probably a mixed bag a bit of each and then back to the meat etc etc.  Filled out with things like eggs, cheese milk and veggies means that you should eat simply and well.  The veg shop where I go most have frequently said that they have poor families shop there who haven't got much and they will splash out on the most expensive piece of fruit and not top up on root vegetables like carrots, parsnip, sweet potato, squash, pumpkin swede etc.  Root vegetables are a staple in this household as they are slow release energy foods.

But you say, I work full time, I don't have the time to do.  We have choices in our lives and when it comes to feeding the family well and as cheaply as you can.  The children are our future and they deserve the best we can do for them.  I worked full time all the time that I had the step children at home (as I do today) and we lived very well and there was always something for them to eat.   I would rather get back to old fashioned basics and have the ingredients not just for one dish but several vegetables being a main weapon in my armoury.

For example, we can buy rice pudding in tins, in the chillers, but  I bought a bag of pudding rice  the other week  costing X amount and so far we have had four rice puddings out of that basic grain already and there is still plenty to go at.  A pudding always pads a meal out; especially if there had not been loads of meat

I also use the market, the health food store, the Butchers, the Bakers (I bake a lot myself) the Veg shop.  I also have access to my Pantry where various items are stored, my preserve/Jam Store

Do you keep a pantry store,  a jam/bottle/preserves store, a stockpile cupboard, a freezer or freezers or simply if you grow your own do you have a store for your veggies or a vegetable clamp.  They are very useful for you to make sure that you and yours are going to be fed through the winter and also when money is tight a good way of stockpiling to help you save money in the long run.

I must confess to date I have felt a bit of an oddity when it comes to my shopping habits and the way I make sure that there is food in the house and on the table even at the most trying of times. The area I live in is predominantly multi cultural and we have a lot of Asian, Italian and Latvians and Polish living in the area.  The Polish locally have locked on to the fact that we have a very decent fruit and veg shop that doesn't charge supermarket prices but which provides good and varied produce and they are starting to use it more and more as do the older members of the English community because at the end of the day everyone has to feed themselves.  The Polish are doing as I do when seasonal food like strawberries are in they are buying a load, to either freeze down or make jam or bottle etc. if there are any offers they are making the most of the same, carrying on the traditions that they learnt to survive in their own countries as sometimes they are  miles away from the shops and have to stockpile to get themselves through.  A tradition that used to be very prevalent in this country at one stage too. The country way. My Nan always did this as the village in which they lived had a paper shop and a post office and that was it.  The nearest markets and supermarkets were at least 10 to 15 miles away.  They would only get to the nearest town once a month if they were lucky more likely to be six weeks in practice.  My Nan used to bottle everything and salt the meat etc (they kept their own pigs and chickens) and with the advent of the freezer she used to put everything in there meat wise and the excess of fruit that she had not been able to process, like plums and pears but she still carried on the bottling and also had the apple store as well and of course she made her own country wines, ciders and beers..  A good pantry or stockpile can see you through the leanest of times.  Even though you may not have money you will still be able to feed yourself which takes away part of the stress of a period of hardship.  I buy basic ingredients/commodities every month. I don't feel safe without them.  If there is food in the pantry there is always a meal.  Maybe not what you fancy maybe not exotic but it is good simple food that sees you through the good times and the bad.  Some times I buy seasonal veg and fruit as it is good to rejuvenate the palate. But I am tight I look for the bargains first and I always check them out because what price it says may be dearer i.e. it purports to be a larger pack at a cheaper price.  I always work out the single price  for a couple of packs as well.  It pays to do the maths, because quite often the supermarkets are crafty in this regard.

If you have a sack of potatoes, a net of onions, a string of garlic, a tray of eggs, some bacon, butter, spread, lard  milk, cheese, flour,  sugar, yeast and bread you can make a multitude of simple dishes that are tasty, cheap, filling and warming.  Half the fun is trawling for recipes to make the most of what you have to hand.



Touching Base

I have been out this evening to a friend's home and her home is heated by an Aga.  I grew up with a Rayburn - well that's what my Nan had and that stove was in service from new for over 60 years before it had to be given away.  An Aga is on the wish list as are a couple of open fires/log burners.  They are so much a way of life and of comfort.

It has been an enjoyable evening with very good company as usual; I had gone out without having any tea and so have just had a favourite sandwich i.e. Goats cheese cut into slices in buns with salad leaves and fried onions.  Hits the spot for me every time as I am a tad partial to the old Goats cheese.

I hope I have a better nights sleep tonight as I could not get comfy in bed, my hips were playing up and I could not lay for very long in the one position and I just got myself comfy and wouldn't you know it the cat who had been distinguished by her absence decided that indeed she was coming to bed and decided to pad.  Aargh!  Hopefully she will behave herself tonight.

I have also booked some holiday today from work.  I am not going anywhere but I have a lot to do and a lot I want to catch up with. Having the cold the other week made me realise that I was tired and I needed a break to be able to concentrate on my home and crafts and as you know I just love cooking.

Right upwards and onwards up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire.

Hope everyone is okay just take care wherever you may be

Catch up soon



Monday, 15 October 2012

Rice Pudding Or Other Large Grain Puddings

This is a favourite in our household and what's more its relatively cheap and simple to make.


4oz grain
2 pints of milk
2-3 oz of sugar
1/2 oz finely shredded butter
Grated nutmeg


  1. Pre-heat the oven to Gas mark 2 (310 degrees F).
  2. Grease a pie dish with some of the butter.
  3. Wash your chosen grain in cold water if necessary (I find I get a better result when I do this) then place into the greased pie dish with the milk.  Leave to stand for approximately 1/2 an hour.
  4. Add the sugar and then flake the remaining butter onto the top together with your nutmeg.
  5. Bake slowly until the pudding is brown on top and of a thick creamy consistency.
To ring the changes I use a pot of cream and just reduce the amount of milk by the amount of cream in the pot.

This recipe can also be used for making a Large Sago, whole rice (Carolina type or short grain), flaked Tapioca or Flaked Rice.

Gives approximately 6 helpings

Cooking time about 2 1/2 hours

Enjoy pure comfort food.

I was telling the girls who I work with last week about home maid rice pudding so much so, one of the girls was going to see her mum and requested a home made rice pudding - sadly it did not materialise as mum not well, but its amazing how something so simple that is shared between your nearest and dearest evokes very special memories or just gives you a penchant for some home made rice pudding.



Good Morning

Its a bit grey and chilly here in Peterborough and I have had a bit of a rough night sleep wise - I wanted to sleep but I was up and down all night and then once I got myself comfortable Squeak who had opted to sleep in the front room with Demetri decided she was coming to bed and started treading all over me.  Never mind.

I have three more new ladies to welcome to the blog they are  Linda (I am not sure if you have a blog let me know if you do and I will post a link) Mum, and Emma Kate  Make yourself comfortable ladies and I hope you find something of interest among my mutterings.

I am afraid its a quick pop in pop out as I have to get myself off to work.  I have some Christmas tree decorations that I want to make in the next few weeks or so just need to get the pattern copied so that I can make some card templates (have cereal packets kept upstairs in the craft room for this specific purpose).  I recycle usable things where I possibly can, like buttons go into a button tin to be dug out again for a craft project or a creation for myself, old shirts are currently getting re-purposed as I am collecting to make a  patchwork quilt, I have a striped lilac, purple, pink, black, turquoise mans shirt that I have decimated down into usable pieces the odd ball of wool is always kept as it will come in useful to a crotchet blanket. A each item needs is the old creative juices to flow and then you end up with something practical, useful or pretty out of next to nothing apart from an influx of time.  Last evening whilst I was waiting for the washing machine to finish I have started another crotchet blanket/throw (haven't finished the other one yet but this is smaller and perhaps will be finished a little quicker) but I eventually get round and get everything finished.  Have lots of ideas buzzing at the moment most of them to do with patchwork.  Will see how it goes - might take this blanket to work and leave it there to do of a dinner time  yet again might not.

Anyway have a good day I will hopefully pop by later on today.

Love and Light



Sunday, 14 October 2012


(I just don't know where the time has gone to this weekend I am just waiting for the Yorkshire Puds and then tea will be served.  I just haven't been on this planet this weekend head in the clouds not really being aware of time or place just simply being.) Since updated as we have now eaten tea which was delicious.  Have updated the Yorkshire Pudding Supper with the photographs.

I have been busy as usual.  OH thinks I am  a bit of an embarrassment because I take the time to try and re-use whatever glass bottles, jars come my way when it comes to preserving etc.  The only thing I don't scrimp on is new lids for each and every separate bottle or jar.  Perhaps recycling should be my middle name  - well I try and do what I can.

I found a load of beer bottles playing hide and seek with me earlier on which I must have put aside for recycling at some point and promptly forgetting about them, in readiness for  me going to do some home brew and all that., but the dratted manufacturers are putting on those plastic nasty labels that are neither blooming use or argument. C........ ginger beer. do you hear no more plastic labels.  Your beer is gorgeous your environmental issues need addressing (unless I have missed something).  Now G........ cider bottles the labels come off nicely thank you very much.    I have just spent the past hour and a half persuading the labels that they are going to part company with their counterpart the bottle.  Several boiling kettles of water later after leaving the bottles to soak and eventually gaining purchase with my cast iron finger nails (should have put the marigolds on but couldna find them) I eventually won the battle and got said labels off the bottles leaving a distinctive gluey residue which is going to be removed with the help of a green scouring pad and some washing up liquid, then I can rinse and dry them off and put them in their storage boxes in the Jam Pantry in readiness for when I do said homebrew which is likely to be in the next few weeks or so.  Why do you bother do you ask - because I am tight and I am not prepared to pay out more money to get new bottles until I absolutely have to.  Besides we  have paid for and have either had the contents of the bottles or friends and relatives have and then recycled them.  My grandmother always practiced this form or recyling well before it became popular her wines used to be served up in old whisky bottles purloined from here and there.  So it kinds of runs in the family!

My Mum used to make wine and beer too and I always used to help her out.

You can recycle many bottles or jars and you can find new replacement lids for nearly all of them from one source or another.  Lakeland have replacement lids which fit most standard jam jars, the lids also fit Sarson pickling jars (the newer ones not the older ones).  Larger lids can be obtained from John Lewis at £1 for a pack of 6 - these fit the larger jars that you normally get your gherkins in from the cheaper stores, and you can get mixed packs of jar lids from Ascotts, and also the Jam Jar Shop. 

Bottles can be recycled as well.  The ones that cannot be recycled I put to the recycling bank.

On a separate issue why do we have to have so much packaging with everything what happened to the good old paper bag or brown paper.  Surely there should be an onus on manufacturers to recycle as many of the jars and bottles as possible.  What about a bottle return scheme like we used to have with bottles years ago.  Its mad that we are raping and pillaging the earth even further for raw materials when we have a whole stash of prospective bottles to recycle. The bottles could be collected at a central point and then re-distributed to the original manufacturer. The bottles/jars just need sterilising or is that just being plain sensible.

Rant over soapbox moment gone.

Have to get ready for work tomorrow and get my hair washed, if its anything like last week it is going to be a very busy week.

Catch you soon - promise

Love and light


We have bright sunshine but it is chilly out.  I have therefore kept indoors wrapped up just pottering about planning and plotting getting things that are chaotic into some kind of order.  We are not having a roast today but we are having the Yorkshire Pudding Supper but with chicken and veggies (the chicken breasts are defrosting as we speak).  Hopefully will have some photos later but am having problems with my phone at the moment but will see if can take some piccies later if not I will appropriate OH's mobile phone.

When sorting out The Jam Store the other week I have found all sorts of bottles I knew I had and could not locate.  So now I have found them am going to have to get the thinking cap on, but I have in mind some Orange Wine, some Apple Pop, some Ginger Beer and a lager and bitter kit that I have in house.  I love the plotting and planning stage and then I do everything in one fair swoop - have to with working full time otherwise if I did not create time to do the things I loved I would be forever banging my head against a brick wall.  Sometimes you just have to do rather than think; but you do need thinking time too.  Will see how we go anyways.  

I managed to get my magazine clippings sorted out quite a bit, still have a way to go as there was a lot of them.  Now need some folders to organise things a little better..

To tell the truth though haven't been too industrious this weekend, it has just been nice to be at home and simply "be".  

Right I am off to potter some more  will be back later on



Yorkshire Pudding Supper

I make a lot of this and used to when the kiddies were home as well.  When you haven't got a lot of money it is a good filler outer and helps make you feel full.  And you don't have to stick to the rules you can put Yorkshire Pudding with anything you like.

Another good stuffer or filler outer is "stuffing" but I will talk about that another time.

Today I am talking about a quick simple meal for a weekday night one that will warm the cockles of your heart and soul during these cold winter nights.   I have a proper recipe for you to follow along with notes on the way that I do it.  Until you find your own way round recipes sometimes things can seem daunting but they are only as complicated as you want to make them.  I am a plain simple cook who was lucky enough to receive a thorough cooking education at home (I used to have to earn my pocket money by helping my mum in the kitchen on a Sunday morning when she would do not only the Sunday roast but also the bake for the week whilst she had the oven on). My best friend was not so lucky so when she moved in to live with her boyfriend - now husband (as she had hardly done any cooking at all)  the cavalry was sent for and I went and stayed at the weekends for about 6 weeks until I had taught her a few tricks with the cooking and she is a lovely little cook these days and is not daunted by any recipe.  I equally had very good teachers that taught us domestic science at school - something that should never have been got rid of because we now have youngsters wanting to learn these skills and we have a generation in between who have lost them completely.   Anyway I digress. Back to the matter in hand.

This in effect is a large Yorkshire Pudding that is used  one per person as a case for putting your sausages (which are grilled) and then mashed potatoes and veggies into (so the pudding is the case which you put on a plate but you eat it as well if you see what I mean).


110g of Plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 large egg
200ml of milk
A little oil, dripping or lard
6 large sausages (make sure they are decent ones not cheap and nasties)
1 small onion sliced
Home made gravy to serve


  1.  Preheat the oven to gas mark 7 /220 degrees C/425 Degrees F. 
  2. Sieve the flour and the salt into a bowl and using a hand whisk (I use a metal balloon whisk) and blend in the egg and sufficient milk to give a smooth paste initially and then add further milk blending it well to create a nice smooth batter.  Whisking it well and leave to stand for about 20 minutes or so.
  3.  Grease three shallow sponge tins with a little oil (I tend to use lard or dripping for this sort of thing) and pop them into the oven on a high heat i.e Gas mark 7 (as per above).  When the fat is melted or crackling remove from the oven and immediately put the batter into the hot tins and cook for 35 to 40 minutes until the puddings have risen and are golden brown.
  4. Whilst the puddings are cooking grill the sausages evenly.  Fry the onion until golden brown then start adding a little water at a time so that you retain the flavour but also end up with enough liquid for gravy.  Do this like you would a risotto to start with and then you should be able to add more and more liquid as you go along.  Add flavourings etc so that you have a lovely home made onion gravy.
  5. When sausages and onions are cooked arrange in the individual Yorkshire Pudding cases return to the oven for a few more minutes and then serve with mashed potato, shredded cabbage and the onion gravy.  
You can also use this method of serving a meal with stewing steak and with the remnants of a chicken just makes things go that little bit further.

However a quick tip for Yorkshire Pudding is that I tend to make my Yorkshire pudding this way whatever I am cooking.;postID=8098257435923540009

I just down grade to a tea cup, half size mug, or full mug to vary the difference between pans, for instance if I want a tray of Yorkshire Pudding I use a full mug, if I want individual Yorkshire pudding I use 3/4 size mug, and so on. Quite freuquently I make individual Yorkshire Puddings in either a large Pattypan (butterfly cake tin) or large Muffin pan if I want a larger Yorkshire pudding.  It really is a case of playing around with the ingredients and pans.

Hope this helps but it does produce a lovely warming filling meal on a weekday or even a weekend.  I  DO NOT  buy Yorkshire puddings I make my own as I always have flour, eggs, milk and vinegar in.  Just think how much money you would be saving if you made your own for the family and they will taste much nicer.

 Remember the more practice you get and the more time you get to play with a recipe enables you to find your own way round things.

I was given a good piece of advice when I first had a household of my own was that take one dish at a time practice it until you are happy with it - play with it and then once you think you have it right pop that into your regular recipes list and then try something new.

Have fun



PS if you have any individual Yorkshire Puddings left over  - put some butter and some jam on them they are quite yummy.


Of course you don't have to pack it as full as I did as the Yorkshire is extremely filling.  It was another good warm meal though.



Apple Cake

I have come across this recipe which is a cut out from an old magazine and I have made my mind up I am going to make this this weekend.  It was part of a gardening Article and I think it may be a Sarah Raven recipe.


350g/12 oz self raising flour sifted
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
225g/8oz butter
100g/4 oz sultanas or raisins
175g/6oz caster sugar
75g/3oz toasted hazlenuts chopped
500g/1lb cooking apples
zest of 1 lemon
3 large eggs


Grease or line an 8 inch/20cm loose bottomed cake pan. Using a food processor put in the sifted flour, cinnamon, salt and butter and pulse the ingredients until like fine breadcrumbs.  Put this mixture into a separate bowl and then stir in the sultanas raisins sugar and toasted nuts.

Peel core and chop the apples roughly and add to the other ingredients with the lemon zest.  Lightly whisk the eggs and stir into the mixture but do not beat.

Spoon into prepared cake pan and bake in a moderate oven  at 180 degrees C/350 degrees F/Gas Mark 4 (or baking oven of an Aga) for about 1 - 1 1/4 hours or until firm to the touch.  If necessary cover lightly with foil (or slide onto the cold shelf of an Aga to prevent it becoming too brown on top)  Dredge with demerara sugar whilst still hot.

Cool in the tin on a wire rack.  Serve in slices.

Something for the lunch boxes.  Looking forward to trying this.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

My Day Saturday 13 October 2012

It has been a lazy day in my household today as I felt absolutely cream crackered after being back at work and still not fully clear of this cold which has been getting me down somewhat so I had somewhat of a bit of a lie in not getting up very early and just keeping snug and warm. OH also has the weekend off and he also had a lie in  and we both feel better for it.  It has been a long very busy week.
 I have a habit of chopping recipes I am interested in out of magazines that I have had and they have been gradually getting into an ever increasing heap and so the best part of this afternoon has been spent sorting  some (not all of) them out and keeping the ones I am really interested in and disposing of the others.  As I have said before if you have a recipe or recipes you have a starting point for playing and creating something that suits your palate and life style.  But I have found some lovely recipes that I intend to try - like this evenings meal which we have tried and both like, but neither of us are keen on the new potatoes in this particular dish hence next time round I will use potatoes prepared as though for roasts but the flavour's themselves within the meal were fab and it was quickly done within the hour.  I have also found a few recipes which might find their way on here as I test them.  A good recipe is worth its weight in gold.

I also made an Apple Sponge for pudding with lashings of custard and it went down very well indeed.  Photos will have to follow as my phone is on charge at the moment..

I am just intent on feeding us both properly and as cheaply as we can  through these winter months with whatever comes my way or from what I already have in hand in the pantry, the herb border, the jam and preserve store, the freezer, fridge etc.  Hopefully next year that will include the garden also.

Needless to say I have things I want to make for the pantry.  I have also come across some Christmas tree decorations made of felt that I want to have a go at.  I have 17 days holiday to take before the end of the year so I will probably get a lot of the things I want to get done during the time I am away from work.  I have apple pop, ginger beer, more orange and lemon marmalade, some more jam, more pickled onions, Christmas Cake (fruit has been put to soak this weekend as I soak my fruit for  week before making the cake) and Christmas pudding to make.  I have some mincemeat in hand but I might also make some more as it keeps well and is a good way of using up dried fruit that is coming to the end of its shelf life.  I also want to make some lemon, clementine and orange curd and also get some more clementines and maybe a white fruit salad and some pears bottled as well as pickled red cabbage, pickled eggs and some beetroot done.   Will have to see how things go what gets done gets done and what doesn't doesn't.  I also want to get my Christmas recipes into some kind of order so that when I do get into the kitchen I can whizz through them.  We are going to order the Christmas Turkey and a Christmas pack from the butchers at the end of the month as well.

Right I have some magazine cuttings to get into some kind of order with the assistance of two resident pussies - not an easy task.

Catch you soon


P.S.  I only started this blog on 6 January 2009 very nervously at that  (therefore my blog will be four years old on 6 January 2013) and since that time I have had over 78,000 visitors on my meter.  Thank you for your support and visits it really is appreciated as this blog is a useful release for me to get things off my chest and to explore my creativity as well as being a record of my footprints through the past years the highs the lows and the joy and the tears.  Thank you from the heart.



Apple Sponge/Apple Pudding/Eve's Pudding

Linda as requested please find the recipe that I use.  I hope you enjoy it.

The Recipe I use is an old Mrs Beeton's recipe from the Everyday cookery book and it has been known by several names including Eve's Pudding (the Apple being known as the forbidden fruit as eaten by Eve).  Anyway it makes a lovely filling pudding to a meal.


5oz of butter/margarine
3oz demerara sugar
1 level teaspoon of cinnamon (I have to leave this out as OH does not like cinnamon - I do)
1lb cooking apples (I have Bramleys but any decent cooking apple or a mixture of sweet and cooking apples can be used)
4oz sugar
1 egg
Vanilla essence
8oz self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
Milk to mix


  1. Grease a 2 pint pie dish.  Melt 1 oz of the butter, demerara sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan and add the peeled, cored, slice apples and cook for about 5 minutes.
  2. Cream together the remainder of the butter and 4 oz of sugar and beat in the egg.  Add a few drops of vanilla essence. Stir in the sifted flour and salt and mix to a dropping consistency with the milk.
  3. Put the apple mixture into the bottom of the pie dish and spread the pudding mixture on top. 
  4. Bake until firm and set about 45-50 minutes first in a moderate oven at 350 degrees F /Gas Mark 4 and then reduce the heat after 1/2 an hour to warm 335 degrees F/Gas Mark 3.
  5. Serve with fresh cream or home made custard.




Pork and Bramley Bake

I have been sorting out through some old magazine cuttings that I have kept deciding on what recipes I want to keep and those that are of no real interest to me, but also looking for insipiration for something warm for tonight's tea making use of what I have available to me without having to go and buy something.  At this time of year you need something warm and filling and tasty and by chance I have found this recipe which I am going to trial this evening.  The only thing I haven't got is some red onions but I will use white instead.  The rest of the ingredients are in the fridge, pantry or freezer. The fresh sage is in the herb border.  I am then going to serve this with either some shredded buttered cabbage or some Kale both go extremely well with pork.  I have four pork steaks which I have liberated from the freezer but you could equally use pork chops.  Cooking for me is about making use of what I have and if I haven't quite got the right ingredients ascertaining if I do have something similar and then using that.

Anyway that's enough of my burbling  this is what I am going to cook for tea tonight:


450g new potatoes (you could equally use ordinary spuds just lightly boiled for about 10 minutes)
2 small red onions sliced into wedges (I have ordinary white onions or shallots that I am going to use)
4-8 whole garlic cloves unpeeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
450g approximately 3 Bramley Apples cored and cut into wedges
4 lean pork steaks
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves or 1 tsp of dried sage


  1. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 6/Fan oven 180 degrees C/Ordinary oven 200 degrees C.  Place the potatoes, onion, garlic and oil in a large roasting tray or suitable dish.  Toss together and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Bake for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from the oven and then stir in the apple wedges and lay the pork steaks on top season and sprinkle over with sage and then return to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes or until the pork is golden and the apples and vegetables are tender.
  3. Serve with green vegetables .

A one pan meal that saves on the washing up and ideal for a Saturday night supper.  It will not look as colourful though without the red onions.  Never mind as long as it tastes good and fills us up.

Here are some photos of what we have had to eat.  I just served with some steamed curly Kale which cut through the richness of the meal.  Next time I might serve with some mashed potato and some gravy as well.

Might do an apple sponge with custard to go with it.

Catch up soon




I enjoyed this, it was tasty but in future I will not use new potatoes - I had them in this time and hence the reason for using them,  In future I will use potatoes trimmed as though for a roast (with the little oil and the fat from the meat they should go nice and brown).  The apples were lovely too and I may in future when doing a roast joint and requiring apple sauce roast apple slices in the oven at the same time and then put through a sieve.  It was really tasty all round meal.

You have to try something different once in a while and if you don't try you don't know.

Catch you soon



Re-arranging the furniture

I have a big job ahead of me in the evenings to come as I have decided to re-arrange the furniture on my blog a tad which means me going back through previous posts and re-adjusting everything as I want to make it a bit easier for you to find things.  Things might appear and disappear whilst I make my mind up  but please do not worry it will all come out in the wash and hopefully be a lot easier for everyone to find things. But then again equally something may not happen for some time.  Will have to see how it goes.  Its a learn a long a thingy  - I will be learning as I am doing.

Hope you are having a good day wherever you may be its a bit grey here in Peterborough



Friday, 12 October 2012

Rhubarb Recipes

Rhubarb when I was growing up I wasn't keen on it cooked.  My preferred method of sampling rhubarb was the way my nan taught me a fresh stick out of the rhubarb patch dipped in some sugar when we got back into the kitchen.  Ugh you say - well there was a method in her madness it was one way of making sure that we were regular!  Anyway enough of that.  Little Clanger asked for some recipes for Rhubarb and I thought you ladies and gents might also like these recipes also.

Rhubarb and Ginger Chutney

2 medium onions
300ml cider vinegar
2 allspice berries
2 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick 1 tsp ground ginger
1 heaped tablespoon grated fresh ginger
300g soft light brown sugar
200g dried apricots
1kg rhubarb trimmed weight

Put the onions into a preserving pan or heavy based saucepan if you don't have a maslin/preserving pan together with the vinegar, spices and the fresh ginger and sugar.  Slowly bring the contents to the boil stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Chop up the apricots into small pieces and then add to the pan.  Wash the rhubarb and cut into 2 cm lengths.   Add the rhubarb to the pan and then bring up to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer until thickened (40 minutes or so but important that the chutney is thick) and the rhubarb has gone tender.

Remove the whole spices and pour the chutney into sterilised jars.  Cover and leave to cool.  Store for 4 weeks before serving to allow the flavours to develop.

Makes approximately 4 x 450g jars

Will update if I find any more recipes I think will be of interest



If you want to bottle rhubarb ( I bottled a load of forced rhubarb at the beginning of the year in a sugar syrup please have a look at these two tutorials to enable you to have a go.  You can always drain the storing syrup off and use it as a cordial with either some lemonade or spring water to make a refreshing drink and then use the rhubarb itself in a crumble or a pie.

This is the tutorial I used

and I have also located this one as well

Raspberry and Rhubarb Jam

Oh and I have found this recipe for Rhubarb Champagne

Think I might have a go at this in the next few weeks or so would be nice for Christmas

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Quick Pop In

Evening everyone today has been a grey day literally it has been peeing it down with rain this afternoon and this evening it hasn't let up at all.  We have had home made Lasagne for tea today with fresh spinach in between the meat and sauce layers and it was scrummy.  Warm hot and filling, just served with some bread and butter it is very filling.   Quite simply a tin of Italian tomatoes a jar of my home made passata sauce, some garlic, pepper, fried onions, white pepper and spinach together with white cheese sauce served in layers.  No nasties at all in just simple hone cooking.  Now the nights are getting colder you need the warm food to stoke up the proverbial boiler.   I still have this cold hanging around which is also getting me down.  Grey should be banned I simply do not do Grey.  Its a good toning colour but we had grey wallpaper in this house when we moved in and it quickly got changed to really bright colours.

I watched War Time Farm again this evening.  I do enjoy this programme and it brings back memories of things my grandparents used to do as a matter of course.

I am watching a programnme about Jack the Ripper which is on Channel 5 at the moment which is also quite interesting.

Catch your soon



Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Veggies and Potterings

Whilst cooking tea last night I nipped to the shop last night as I wanted some veggies available for use during the rest of the week.  In our household we eat a lot of veggies, in fact there is invariably more veggies than meat on the plate.  I very luckily managed to get three trays of new potatoes off the reduced counter for 20 pence a tray, (should have been £1 a tray)  so three trays for 60 pence saving £2.40.  two cauliflowers reduced from 80 pence each to 64 pence each (I am thinking Cauliflower Cheese here), some Spinach £1 a big bag, and some parsnips  I have petit pois in the freezer and a bag of broccoli and carrots.  I already have some loose carrots, sweet potato leeks and squash and a cabbage and onions in and some cannelini beans and a soup mix so I am looking to make a veggie soup in the next few days or so using a chicken carcass that I have for stock.  You don't need meat to make a meal, but you do need reasonable quality vegetables to start with.  Perhaps I am a tad old fashioned but generally I go either to the veg shop (they were closed when I got home tonight or to the market)  It is only on rare occasions that I buy veg from the supermarket.  The only exception really is Kale.  I love this as does my OH and I generally find this in Waitrose.  I haven't seen it on the market or at my local veg shop.

Another meal for the week that I might do this week is leeks wrapped in slices of ham and then coated with a cheese sauce and baked in the oven.  A quick simple tasty meal which is not heavy.  Will have to see what the weather is like as If its cold we will want something comforting and hot.  I tend to have an idea of what I would like to cook or what ingredients I need or need to use up but the day by day mechanics change depending on weather.

Tonight we will be having home made lasagne as I have a tray of mince that needs using up and it is a while since we had one.  I shall pop some of the spinach in and use one of my home made bottled passata sauces currently in storage in the jam store.  Sorting things out the other week has really made it easier to locate items  In fact I have a lot of goodies to use up and baking is going to be a regular feature during the winter.  I don't think that will be much of a problem.  I will show some photos in due course of my reackifubated Jam Store where I keep the majority of my home made preserves, all my spare bottles, my sack of potatoes and usually a net of shallots, pickling onions and ordinary onions which I tend to have in there all year apart from when the new seasons potatoes come in as they are very handy especially when it comes to making Onion Soup. I also prepare a couple of bags of onions or shallots and pop them in the freezer so that when I fancy some roast onion with roast potato and parsnip I just pop out four or five straight into the hot fat from frozen.  An added bonus of this is that when the onion cooks it caramelises and therefore encourages your other roast material to colour and it also adds a lot of flavour. They also go into stews and casseroles.

 OH snaffled some of the buns I made for his pack up and just had to road test them before doing his pack up they got the thumbs up.  It is satisfying that when you have gone to the trouble of making things that people show their appreciation by eating it all up.  I have a couple of buns with some ham and some salad in to take with me to work too.

Right upwards and onwards have to wend my way to work.

Hopefully I will catch up with everyone later on.  Hope you have a lovely day wherever you may be

Love and light



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)