Sunday, 15 December 2013

Sloe Gin A Spirit to warm the Cockles of the Heart

Well it is the season to be merry!  This evening I cracked open a bottle of Sloe Gin that I had made a few years ago and boy has it warmed me up.  I was not able to locate any sloes this year but will definitely try and source some for next as my limited stock will not last for ever.  Sloe Gin is one of the spirits I first played with and has remained a constant to be made every year that is if I can get hold of the sloes.  Next year though I will start buying the odd bottle of Gin and Vodka where I can funds allowing so I have a stock ready for later in the year ready to utilise - Toffee Vodka, home made Lemoncello, Blackberry Whisky, Rhubarb, and Gooseberry voddies are other recipes that can be made  also utilising a gin or vodka base, even pear drops or bubble gum can be used.

Tomorrow night now I may well have to make some mulled wine.  Another favourite.  I have a lot to do today so it will be nice to sit down in the warm and relax and let the wine do its work.  OH is not keen but I love it.

Right I think its about time I actually got to bed.

Nighty Night, Sleep tight.



Thursday, 12 December 2013

Evening everyone it has been a busy old week and is going to be even busier next week midnight oil and all that jazz and I have to get the Christmas decorations up and the .  I have next week off on holiday am back at work for one day and then we are off for the Christmas holidays.  Despite getting off to an early start Christmas has crept up on me and I really have to get a wriggle on next week.  Mind you I do like a challenge.

I missed delivery of a parcel today which I sorely need. ( I had a clothes rail collapse and as a result I have clothes hanging where they should not be and they are in the way) so I have bought a new sturdier one on which to store my clothes.  I have rearranged delivery and it should be with me shortly so that I can bring organisation to my bedroom again and find what I am looking for.  

Today we have had a bit of fun in the office.  Four of our brave chaps volunteered to have their legs waxed to raise funds for Charity (Just the lower legs and in some cases toes as well) ouch ouch and double ouch.  It was very game of them but there were a few  moments but they all survived.  I could only stay for part of the event as I had quite a bit of work to do and with having next week off as well I did not want to leave the girls in the lurch.

Its my grandson number one's birthday tomorrow so we nipped round tonight to see him as he is being taken to the cinema to see The Hobbit for his birthday treat so would not be around tomorrow evening.  They grow up so quickly these days.

This evening OH has come home with a gift from work.  The firm is Italian owned and they give all staff members a home made Pannetone and we also received Biscotti and two types of Torrone.  They come in a lovely big carboard box.  I have the one from last year which I have turned into a Hat Box and as that box is nearly full this year's box may be going the same way.

I have been writing Christmas cards this evening and doing my yearly note to the relatives I do not get to see very often.

I have a Christmas meal to go to tomorrow night so I have also been getting my clothes ready as it will be a quick in and quick out tomorrow evening.

It is cold out again this evening however it is warm in the house; the cats are all comatose sprawled in different places and Missy is under her quilt/beddy.  She has a very thin coat and does not like the cold at all.

Right upwards and onwards I still have loads to do.

Catch you all shortly



Saturday, 7 December 2013

How does one lose a loaf of bread

Yesterday I bought  loaf of bread in readiness for making sarnies for OHs packup this morning.  I got up early and came down to make them.  Could not find the loaf.  I knew I had bought one looked everywhere in desperation still unable to locate.

I therefore got dressed (I had anticipated going back to bed for a little while longer) and toddled off to the shop.  Could not get a loaf so bought him some nice crusty buns.  OH was out for the count whilst all this was going on.  Came back to the house was in the process of preparing said buns when I happened to look up and noticed a bag on one the kitchen cupboard's door handles.  Guess what was inside  - one loaf of bread.  At least I found it but he still got buns for his pack up.

Well I suppose its a whole lot better than putting the kettle in the fridge!

Do not ask  - I think it is going to be one of those days.

Catch you later



Friday, 6 December 2013

Christmas Hoarding Part 10

    A few more goodies added this week some made some bought still loads to do.
    • Bottled dark plums in syrup for the Christmas Plum Sweetmeats 6 jars
    • More Pickled Onions
    • More Pickled Shallots
    • 5 pint jars and one small jar of Cherries in syrup 
    • 8 jars Peach and Ginger Chutney
    • 2 bottles apple slices in syrup
    • 2 Packets Boudoir Biscuits
    • 2 packets Cadbury Honeycomb Fingers
    • 5 jars Pear and Fig Preserves in Spiced Port Syrup
    • 2 cases bought meringue nests
    • 2 boxes Choco Liebniz biscuits 
    I have also sourced two decorative wreaths for the Christmas Dinner Table.  The plan is at the moment to have a white table cloth and in the centre to have a long thin mirror onto which the two wreaths with two pillar candles will  be placed with some other candles and the mirror will reflect  the candle light.  The wreaths have been sourced from my Greengrocer and she is keeping them for me as she has a nice cold room into which to store then in whereas at the moment I have no where to store them.

    So matters are moving on afoot.

    Still have loads to do.

    Catch you soon



    Thursday, 5 December 2013

    Plans for tomorrow

    Tomorrow I have a day off  and the plan is to bottom the lounge out and get it tickety booh in ready for Christmas well so I can get the decorations and the tree up.

    However today I managed to get 4 bags of fresh cranberries.  Marks & Sparks did not have any and I obtained mine at £2 for 300g from Waitrose so tomorrow I am going to start the first batch of Cranberry and apple jelly.  Well at least start it off  as I have plenty of apples at the moment and you have to leave it overnight to drip through a jelly bag so it will get finished off on Saturday evening.  I hope to get some more cranberries probably next week and also make some chutney and I also have a recipe for Cranbrillo from one of the Christmas magazines the Good Housekeeping Christmas Collection 2013. This will be ideal with the cheeseboard. However to serve with the Turkey each year I make fresh Cranberry sauce with Grand Marnier liqueur and we use the jelly during the rest of the holiday and then use throughout the year.  

    I also want to make some spiced winter jelly.

    So I have quite a bit to do and knowing me I will find something else to add to the list.

    Catch you sometime tomorrow.



    Monday, 2 December 2013

    December slips in quietly

    December has slipped in quietly here although I have been busy as I had managed to acquire fruit at very cheap prices and so I have been busy popping stuff up in bottles  - some will be used at Christmas and some for the New Year - my Glass Pantry services us all year long and I make stuff when I come across bargains and I have the spare cash to take advantage.

    Today I have prepared some pears and figs in port which is a recipe from Ghillie James' Cookbook called Jam Jelly and Relish -  and I made the Mulled Spiced Pears and Figs which rather took my fancy especially when she said that she served it with cold meats and a wedge of Manchego Cheese or in the alternative a bowl of good vanilla ice cream. I think cinnamon ice cream might go just as well too.  I made double the quantity and have five jars and used a whole bottle of port (fortunately I had it in the cupboard) and it made the most delicious syrup I love mulled wine anyway but I snaffled the left over syrup and it was delicious.  In fact I might make some up separately as I think it would be delicious in its own right just over plain vanilla ice cream as a sauce.  It was delish.

    If you ever get chance to obtain this book do get it as it has some lovely recipes in.

    I have also bottled 6 large Kilner Jars of Black Plums and two Kilner Jars of apple slices in syrup and eight jars of peach and ginger chutney.

    The peels and some old lemons, lime and grapefruit are being processed for compost jelly in the spirit of waste not want not so it has been an extremely busy  day.

    I did not see the news until later tonight and so was unaware of the tragedy in Scotland and in America. So much sadness and loss my heart goes out to those that have lost loved ones such tragedy.

    I am back to work today so will catch up where I can

    Take care



    Sunday, 1 December 2013

    Patchwork cooking and a social conscience

    I am still stockpiling shirts in order to have a go at my first patchwork quilt and this morning I have managed to acquire two more to go with the several other shirts I already have in my stash.  I still need a few more but they will come in time.
    I am hoping to start cutting what fabric I do have during the Christmas break when I have some  time to myself and can concentrate once all the humdrum has calmed down. I need to ground myself and produce something practical at the same time.  I love the charm of quilts and how much love has been placed in each stitch or each creation producing something cosy and warm to snuggle up into such bliss such individuality.  To me the warmth a home made quilt brings is magical especially as so many are pieced out of the smallest scraps of fabric.

    I also like home knitted or crocheted blankets as they add so much comfort and cheer.  I aim for next year to learn how to knit aran style and make some aran style throws for the home in neutral colours they seem to be very in at the moment in the shops and the prices and the quality of some of the cheaper ones is not very good or is that me just being plain fussy.

     With the best will in the world I do try and support my local charity shops but pay through the nose I will not and to some extent charity begins at home  it has to. I am very aware that there are lots of families who are feeling the pain especially where food and heating are concerned.  I just wish some of the bigger charities would concentrate on a little home help now and again instead of focusing all their efforts abroad. Supporting courses that will teach people to cook and teach them how to shop properly and feed their families instead of relying on ready meals which in our household are not a hearty sized meal.  A lot of our pensioners could help here as a lot of them have immense knowledge gained through real experience - my mother for one was a child in the second world war and has always been a practical sensible cook as she knew real hunger during the war years as there were ten children in the family in a two up two down and they made the most of whatever came their way. Granddad was in the Royal Artillery and prior to the war had had an allotment which had fed the family but on his departure they had no one of an age to tend the allotment so that cut off an important fresh food source for them.

    I managed to get 3 baskets of plums the other day £1 a basket = 3kg of plums which I am bottling in sugar syrup for the pantry shelf.  This will provide at least four puddings whether turned into a pie or crumble served with custard - two of  the jars are destined for sugar plums for the Christmas festivities. 

    I have also been given a load of apples and I prepared apple sauce earlier in the week which can equally be used for puddings. I have also prepared two jars of sliced apples in sugar syrup which yet again drained can go for a pie or a crumble and the juice can be added to some lemonade for a drink - there is no need to waste a bit of anything.

    So I have at least 8 puddings provided for in effect.  Puddings are just as good a filler as a main meal especially when you cannot afford a lot of meat, although a main meal can be padded out with stuffings and Yorkshire puddings (we use them with all meats).  And a soup can easily be made from leftovers as a starter.  A meal for a family of four can be prepared quickly and cheaply in a pressure cooker especially with the cost of fuel these days.  There are ways and means its just accessing the information and acquiring the skills.  It comes down to choices as well you either want to feed your family properly but that requires a bit of an effort and extra work but good food also keeps your family healthy and to me its worth it.



    We should be mixing the generations up and breaking down the barriers and helping each other as each  of us has something to bring to the table no matter what our age or our differences.

    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)