Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sunday Catch Up

Its been a busy day I have had the washing machine on as it has been a good drying day and I have had what I laundered out in the garden in the lovely fresh air; I am now busy doing some ironing and getting the clothes hung and aired before packing them back into the wardrobes and drawers. 

All the food I bought yesterday is all nice and frozen in the freezer. Big sigh of relief.  I had doubts but I think that is only natural especially with everything that has happened with the freezer so far.

On Friday morning I woke up with  sore throat.  This morning I have woken up with a streaming cold; I am nursing it; but this is too early in the season to be getting a cold.  I must contact the Doctors and get the flu jab organised as I have been told that I should be having these on a yearly basis.

We have had a very delicious tea, the stuffed pork belly with roast potatoes. roast parsnips, peas, shredded cabbage, carrots, and some of the runner beans I froze the other night.with lashings of gravy and crackling.  That went down very nicely.

Right must get on with the smoothing iron.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan x

Saturday Update

I appreciate that this post should have been posted yesterday but real life got in the way a bit and I ended up being otherwise engaged.

We went shopping first for a new chip fryer.  Our other one had done sterling service but eventually started leaking and making a mess whether it was stood in the cupboard or on the worktop.  Once the decision had been made to replace it we then looked around to see what was currently on the market.  Primary requirements were that it had to be easily cleanable and offer some flexibility i.e whether cooking for two or the whole family. I have therefore opted for the new Cookworks double panned fryer. Mine came from Argos.  I shall let you know how I get on with it in due course.
more details on Cookworks XJ14301 Twin Professional Fryer - St/Steel.

We quite like spicy food and we had thought that it would be good to have one pan for spicy foods and the other for general unspiced cooking.

We then started the monthly shop.  This varies where I go on a month by month basis and upon what we actually need.   I do use a local Cash N Carry  (I use Hyperama).  I use this predominantly for buying items that you are charged through the nose for like soap powder and fabric conditioner.  I buy the largest container of fabric condition going as well as soap powder using what is on offer mostly and not being too precious about the brand.  This time we needed to stock up on oil, vinegar (for my pickling), soap powder and fabric conditioner not the small containers the larger ones and then we hit the meat section buying two trays of chicken thighs, three trays of mince and a pack of two pork bellies which we have subsequently stuffed with home made sage, onion and sausagemeat stuffing.  We also got two rib racks and I have five joints for Sunday dinners to come.  The larger joints work out at about £9 whereas the smaller ones £4.50. It is a little while since we have done this although we used to have this regularly when the childen were at home and indeed it was one of their favourite lunches.  Any left over used to go into sarnies for packup or served as cold cuts with either bubble n squeak or chips for Monday night's tea.  It goes a long way and in the colder months to come you need nice tasty food to keep the internal central boiler ticking along nicely.  The stuffing that was left over has been frozen into individual balls - so nothing need be wasted and it is a little extra to add to tea during the week.  All will have to do is pop them in the same tray as the meat I am cooking from frozen and a little bit more flavour is added to the meal.

We then went on to ABC Butchers and topped up on minted lamb steaks, plain lamb steaks, garlic and butter chicken, kitchen consumables, cat food etc.

I have also prepared lamb, chicken, steak, repackaging everything into portions for two and then stocking the freezer up as well as preparing the pork,

I then nipped round to the Co-op later on and scored five packs of broad beans at £1.85 per bag or two for £3.  They were reduced and I got them for 50pence a bag.  The beans have been prepared to put into the freezer also. I also scored two chickens at 20 pence each!  They have also gone into the freezer,  On Friday night I obtained a 5kg bag of potatoes for 20pence.  Very handy being as I have just got a new chip pan.

So a few bargains lots of hard work, but my pantry, and freezer are very important to me.  I have found over the years if it is stocked up properly it can take you through the toughest of times without having to spend too much extra, just getting the essentials in.  I usually have a three month stock up procedure/cycle for stocking up the freezer in the first place, buying a bit at a time and replacing what has been used but then every so often concentrating on dried goods and tinned goods.  

I freeze what I can even fresh vegetables that I do not think we are going to get through so that if we are in a hurry for a meal it is just literally grab, cook and serve.  Very helpful when working full time during the week as we still end up eating well and having a good meal within 40 minutes to an hour of getting home.

I have also popped in some strawberries, cherry tomatoes (which I freeze whole and then other half eats them with a fry up) and some broccoli.

I have also put some home made lardons into the freezer.  OH bought some bacon that was far too thick (I will not eat thick bacon it is one of my pet hates) so rather than waste it I have put it to an alternative use.

I have some herb butters to prepare later on today.  My herb garden has been particularly productive so I intend to put them to good use.

Catch you all later on.



Saturday, 30 August 2014

Sandie of Sandie's patch

Sandie welcome to my blog I am ever so sorry about this I read your comment and was about to respond to you but the gremlins have got into the works and accidentally deleted your message. For the sake of completeness would you mind re-posting it?   However I did see the bit about the recipe for Beetroot and Apple Chutney

Here is the recipe.


4lb beetroot cooked skinned and diced
2lb cooking apples peeled cored and diced
1lb onions peeled and chopped
Grated rind and juice of 2 large lemons
2 tablespoons grated root ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon of ground pepper
1 3/4 pints of vinegar
1lb sugar

Put all the ingredients into a large maslin pan or large stock pot stirring the contents over a low heat until the sugar dissolves.  Bring up to a rolling boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until the chutney is thick and leaves a trail when you draw a spoon through the mixture.  Spoon into hot sterilised jars and seal with airtight vinegar proof covers.



Something for the Freezer

I have had problems with my upright freezer for a little while only part of it freezing properly.  A while back it was defrosted for a couple of days and a it seemed better but still not right so I have not been able to freeze very much stuff in it.  However the other day it would appear that I accidentally pulled the plug out of the socket and defrosted the freezer - accidental yes but sometimes things happen for a reason, because when we plugged it back in again every compartment has frozen; so it would seem I have my upright freezer back again.  

So it needs feeding I need to stock it up.  

My big freezer has also packed up and my mum has kindly indicated that she would be happy to help out with a new one - which has yet to be purchased yet I think that will happen shortly

I am very lucky in that one of my friends has a couple of neighbours who sell home grown produce at realistic prices at this time of year and she brings in veggies for me that I pay for which is extremely good of her.  I have had a veg delivery from her today, namely two large pumpkins £1 each, 10 x 1lb bags of Victoria plums 50 pence per bag, 10 x 1lb bags of Shallots 50 pence per bag, and two bags of fresh runner beans 50 pence per bag.

The pumpkins are designated for Pumpkin Marmalade, frozen Pumpkin for Roasting, Pumpkin soup, pumpkin and pine nut pasta to be served with crispy sage leaves and sage butter.  My herb garden such as it is has been very bountiful this year. so I have Tarragon vinegar to make, sage and Basil oils, mixed herb oils and herb butters to freeze.  So it looks as though I am going to be a bit busy over the next few weeks or so but its how I like it - preserving is my passion and I get a lot of pleasure over preparing stuff such as chutneys, stirring and dreaming as I get caught in the moment of preparing something different for the pantry.

The Victoria plums are designated for plum jam, plum jelly, Chinese Style plum sauce (brilliant for sweet and sour ribs), plum Chutney, bottled plums and frozen plums and plum sorbet and plum ice cream and may be some plum cordial.

The Shallots are to be  pickled, some will be prepared and frozen to serve as roast onions with a full blown roast meal.  They give a lot of flavour to a simple meal and as the onion caramelises and goes brown if you cook roast potatoes in the same tray it helps brown the roasties and give them more flavour.

However this evening I have started to stock the freezer. I have set too and prepared six two portion bags of runner beans for the winter months.  The vegetables were prepared and then blanched in boiling water and then drained and repackaged.  I intend to get hold of some more if I can as runner beans are a favourite veg as are kidney beans.  It feels good to be stocking up again.

Catch you soon



Monday, 25 August 2014

Making something out of odds and ends

Its still chucking it down with rain its depressing I know we need it but! I have been a bit fed up forever the eternal child who used to stare out of the leaded light windows nose squashed up to the cold glass that steamed up as soon as you breathed on it and watching it pelting down with rain resenting the fact that it combines you to barracks!

And to boot its that time of the month again not quite pay day but the stocks are depleted somewhat to what they normally are and a hot warm meal is required to warm us up. Especially after the constant rain we have had today- which has made the house cold and I have ended up putting the heating on for a short while as my back has stiffened up again and moving about is not so easy - a case of mind willing body not cooperating!

Where do I start - I checked  the upright freezer first and discovered some chicken portions that I had squirrelled away and forgotten about. I prepare a lot of things myself for the freezer mostly for economy reasons I make sure that we have the basics plus a few fol de rols for special occasions or nice things to eat out of season such as English strawberries, peaches, gooseberries, blackberries etc.Whatever comes my way.  I tend to pack small chicken portions in fours and larger breast portions in twos.  So a pack of each came out.{ the breast portions are for a curry tomorrow evening with some rice or a stir fry haven't quite decided} anyway I digress.

After fishing out the chicken portions I then liberated some peas (to be accurate some petit pois) from the freezer and then checked what fresh veggies I had available. I have pumpkin, squash, marrow, potatoes to hand together with broccoli, carrots, leeks and runner beans.  I love fresh veggies and have fresh where I can but if I do not think I am going to get everything used up pretty quickly I prepare it and deposit it in the freezer - I hate wasting anything and being frugal now pays dividends usually at the poorer end of the month but its the veggies that make the meat go further so make sure you freeze those veggies down before they are past their best.   At worst case scenario remnants can go to the compost bin but its better to eat if you can.  The pumpkin,and squash are destined for chutney and for marmalade Pumpkin marmalade is lovely especially on a warmed croissant.

I then chose a small baking pan popped my chicken portions in and some mild olive oil with some dried thyme ( I buy fresh faggots of thyme from the market and let them dry and then sprinkle the dried thyme over whateever  it is I am cooking and then cover with foil.  Half way through cooking I take the foil lid off and then let the meat brown  (so in essence the foil keeps the chicken moist but it looks insipid and not very appetitising so it does need browning off.

I decided to use my three tier steamer placing prepared peeled potatoes in quarters in the base so that they boil (I served them whole and boiled and we then mash the potatoes with our forks ourselves), in the upper racks I placed broccoli, and runner beans.  I cooked carrots and peas together in a separate pan and after the chicken was cooked I plated it and popped it under the grill (not switched on but above my oven for it to rest).  I then drained off the excess fat and used the tray with meat juices to make the gravy.  I served with home made stuffing and home made bread sauce which always helps bring out the flavour of chicken and helps pad the meal out a little more. Sometimes I add chipolata sausages as well.  The meal went down well and warmed us up from the inside out but best of all made use of what I already had to hand.  We cannot always run to a whole chicken but if you can do then buy it as you can potentially end up with at least two to three meals out of a whole chicken plus you can get stock from the bones for making home made gravies and soups. I quite frequently cook chicken like this but also pork chops/steaks, lamb chops, beef olives in this way just amending the flavourings to the meat being used.  Simple unadulterated food and plus I have had my five a day.  Not bad for odds and ends being gathered together from the Pantry, fridge, and freezer not forgetting the fresh veg drawer.

Catch you soon.



Monday, 11 August 2014

Christmas Hoarding 2014

Well I have started earlier than usual on starting to acquire items for the Christmas Food stock partly due to items being on offer and partly due to the long stop dates on the items in question in any event.  This list is just for the bought items - The Put Down 2014 covers the items I have made myself like home made liqueurs and  Chutneys I have not produced anything so far this year (mostly due to the hiccup earlier in the year) but that is about to change.  I shall update as and when I add further items to the list.

Items thus far
  1. 1 x Bottle of Chocolate Sauce
  2. 1 x Bottle of Butterscotch Sauce
  3. 3 x Bottles of Raspberry Coulis
  4. 3 x Bottles of Passionfruit Coulis
  5. 3 x Bottles of Crabbies
  6. 3 x Lemon Mousse Mix
  7. 3 x Strawberry Mousse Mix

10 August 2014

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Sunday Night Tea

Its been a busy afternoon  - for the best part engaged in operation oven clean - I am lucky to still have any nails left and that;s with Marigolds on!

After Operation Oven Clean was completed I set too to do Sunday lunch - not a roast this week but Beef Wellingtons - I did not make them they were pre-bought   - and individual Wellingtons - more as an experiment really we liked them.  However when I get the new freezer I shall set too and make some individual ones myselfSometimes you have to try things to establish that you actually like them

I also made swede and carrot crush, cooked fresh peas after podding them and  also broad beans (also fresh and podded), boiled potatoes, and mixed shredded greens served with gravy.  Very tasty it was too.

Here are the photos:

Its been wet and wild today with periods of bright sunshine in between and there have been thunder storms and lightning which I oh so do not like.

Despite all of this one particular resident (Demetri) of the household has been fast asleep most of the day despite the weather cushy number or not.

Catch you soon



Broad Beans

Horror stories of horror stories when I was a child Broad Beans were a no no for me I absolutely hated them.  Unfortunately for me because both my mother and  my grandmother used to pop Broad Beans as a side with every meal when they were in season and also into stews whereupon I would painstakingly remove every one and leave on the side of my plate.  Well they were grey looking in a grey coloured sack and were tough and as we got older we refused to eat them.

Fast forward quite a few years  - I was watching a cookery programme and they were preparing Broad Beans and the preparation was completely different to what I remembered. 

This is what I remembered:

The Beans were podded and then blanched in boiling water then popped into cold water and the skins removed to reveal brightly coloured beans in two halves - a lovely green bean which just heated slightly before serving is a taste explosion - I just absolutely love them this way so far removed from the horror of my childhood.  

This is the way we do them today so much more appetising;

Today's beans were from the supermarket they were reduced; ideally I would have several rotations growing in the garden the freshest way ever to get the benefit of proper fresh veggies but in the practical reality of life we have to make the best of what comes our way.  Its lovely just to have something that bit different to help perk the palate up.

What were your horrors on the veggie front and can you eat them today or do they remain on the horror list?

Catch you soon

Pattypan x

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)