Thursday, 30 August 2018

No jars

Bit of a catastrophe that is I ran out of bottling jars yesterday end ended up going out to buy some more.  Ball jars again wide mouthed ones which hold a decent portion in.  Looks as though am with this canning lark going to be buying jars in on a regular basis from hereon in!

I also needed some smaller jars for my chilli jam and also my mustards so I ended up buying 2 x 12 = 24 smaller jars for this purpose from Lakeland.  I have not bought any of this size jam jars for at least a couple of years as I always recycle them where I can.

So it looks as though it is jar and bottle fetish time again - the time when I restock on my main stash.  Terribly sad am I not?  Everything has a purpose and a place though.  I also have some more of the Kilner wide mouthed jars on their way as well 24 in total of x 2 different sizes.  I think I will be buying a few more each month from now on in as I intend to do a lot  more canning from now on in.  

One of the reasons is that if I do work from home and have clients then because of working times which I think at the moment will predominantly be afternoon evening especially in the winter months we are going to need quick substantial meals.  Chicken Pot Pie filling that is made up is quickly put into a pie crust and you have a totally home made pie with some simple veggies and some mash for tea.  Equally a spaghetti sauce can be a base for a soup or even home made sweet and sour sauce for home made Chinese.  So there are a lot of possible recipes out there.  Even canning potatoes which I am thinking of doing also especially in view of the fact that veggie prices are going up as a result of the drought this summer.  It all impacts so we need to be able to do what we can do to make sure that we have food in our pantries to make sure our families are fed - especially in the winter months.  Every little helps as the saying goes.

I always keep the freezers well stocked but am mindful that you only have so much space in the freezer that is why I have been bottling fruit up so that we can have puddings as well.

Right had better get a wriggle on.

Catch you soon.



Tuesday, 28 August 2018

I only went in for a look around honest Guvnor

……………..had not been there for some time. I am talking of course of Hobbycraft. I could really seriously hang out here even more if required.  It would never be a chore. I will never go to heaven.

Got a tad expensive.  Was quite taken with the fact that they have organised things better in the store and made more of a feature of the items they are selling. Umpteen pounds later!  Rather a lot of pounds later I have come back with several bits and bobs including a new mini glue gun and sticks, a pyrograph machine for £10, (I have been after one of these for a little while so I jumped at the chance of getting this.  I just need some wooden boxes to practice on.  I also bought some dies for my Big Shot, some Ball preserving jars as they were on offer at least half price £7 for 6 standard mouthed jars advertised at £14.99.  Might go back and get some more tomorrow as they really were a good price and I am starting to get into the swing of canning stuff.  More on that later on.  

I have splurged on some wool.  Found a pattern for a knitted jumper with an Aran style centre panel.  Do not think it is too complicated but I may yell for help as I am not a natural knitter and I get easily confused. Never attempted anything with a cable in before.  The wool is a lilac mauve colour 3 x 200g,  I so need some new jumpers and the only way to get what I want at a reasonable price is to knit them myself.  Well try and knit them myself.  Will see how I get on.  I am a great fan of jumpers to keep me warm especially during the winter months.  The wool was £15, £6 for knitting needles two sizes and I got the longer length, £4 for two stitch holders (£2 each( and £3 for the pattern £30 all told.  However I am pleased with the yarn.  I saw another colourway that I quite liked as well and if this one goes well I may well go and get some more of the other colour which is a deep purple with peacock colours in it.

There was a lot of Christmas stuff in for cardmaking and also general stuff like pumpkins and skeleton head cut outs and spiders for Halloween.  I bought a couple of pieces on the Halloween side and may go back for some other bits and a proper look at the Christmas stuff.  I have come away with a nice wooden Advent calendar piece that lights up in any event and a garland of stockings.

I saw a wooden box which will be ideal for me to try the pyrograph machine on, but came away without it as I had far too much stuff to bring home.  Hobbycraft was my first port of call.  I shall have to look out for some suitable blanks to play with.  If I go back tomorrow I might have to appropriate a box or two.

I have also bought some other little pieces.  A picture with paper butterflies mounted inside.  A couple of metal butterflies which are free hanging.  Butterflies are symbolic of freedom.

I also bought some wooden letters spelling "Tricia".  Last time I looked they did not have all the letters but I am planning to do something in a frame with these.

This evening I have been recipe searching for ideas for the Canner and the Steam Canner.  I have been writing the recipes down for my own use and to test whether they work for us as a family.  So far I have recipes for soup, stock, sweet and sour sauce, grapefruit, Bruschetta in a jar, Ginger spiced plum sauce, Strawberry pie filling, lots of other pie fillings, French Onion Soup.  I am handwriting them down n a book so that the recipes are all kept together.  I have been doing a couple of an evening.  I am also interested in stew, chicken pot pie filling amongst other things.  So I am going to be playing an awful lot in the next few days amongst everything else I have on the go.

Right am a little tired it has been a very busy day but an extremely enjoyable one.

Catch you soon.



Sunday, 26 August 2018

Sorry I am later than usual

been chugging away in the kitchen with the cleaning the preserving can wait until tomorrow.  I have just sat down for the moment as my back is hurting.  I have been washing the dining room floor and it always pulls on my back.  I am resting for a few moments and then it will be downstairs again to sort the other fridge out and give it a good clean.  We have a trip planned to the tip for tomorrow to get rid of some more junk so I want to get it cleared safely out of the way.  I have some more fruit to put in there in any event.  The veg shop is closed this week so I should be able to pay catch up a little.

The washing machine is also whirring away whilst I have been pottering.  I always tend to multi-task when I am doing something else so that I can get as much work done as possible in the time allotted.

Its a full moon tonight but we will not see it as we have thick cloud here in Peterborough.  That happened last month as well.  Its a pity as I always like to see the moon especially when it is full.  I am a moon watcher.  Something magical about it and probably arises from the stories that we were told as children about the man in the moon!  Imagination is a powerful thing.

Lots more work to do tomorrow as usual but at least I am home apart from the visit to the tip.  I think I am being taken out for my breakfast as well.   

Going to be another busy week on a social and a practical front.  I also hope to squeeze some needlework of some sort in somewhere down the line as I really need to chill a little bit and lose myself.  When I sew I do this.

Right this will not do back to the grind.

Catch you shortly.


It is raining......

Has been for most of the night and the temperature has dropped quite considerably.  Mother Earth is crying much needed tears, we need that water still. My body is tight as a result of the chill and the damp but that is par for the course. Even OH is complaining how chilly it is and has put his sweatshirt on! I have gone cooler, but funnily enough since all the hot weather began I have hardly been covering up as much as I was doing. No doubt once the chillier days get into full swing I will be wrapping up like an Egyptian Mummy again.

It will be a work day today.  More cleaning = still an ongoing and never ending battle, but each bit I do leaves less and less. So for the bulk of the afternoon that is what I will be doing.  We then have roast pork for tea with all the trimmings.  Looking forward to that.

There will be more preserving later on but I will update you about that in a separate post. I do however have a lot of canning/bottling jars to sterilise plus some demijohns for the wine which need to go into the oven to kill off any nasties as well. I am going to have to sort that corner cupboard out shortly though so that I can get all the new stuff stashed away properly and easily accessible.  It has not been done for a while so is sorely needed then hopefully I will be able to find what I am after.  A little bit at a time should soon end up to a whole chunk of work having been achieved.

I do have the canners to get used to as well.  Reading of instruction books and trying different things one at a time.  I also want to get the dehydrator into its new home so that I can just put stuff in and leave it to work.  Currently where it is situated is not quite working as well as it should do more to lack of space than anything else.

I have a lot of social engagements this week more than perhaps I have had thus far so that is going to take me out and about quite a bit.  However it is very good to meet up with good friends and put the world to rights. I told you that I was a lady that lunches.

In reality work wise I am enjoying being at home so if I can work from home then I am going to. do that.  I have a firm idea of what I want to do it is now building up the layers and structure like building up pieces of Meccano to bring something into being and give it life.

Right enjoy your afternoon.  I hope to get back a little later on.

Catch you soon.



Friday, 24 August 2018

Filberts and seasonal markers

Not about preserving per se this evening. I am still a little tired but we are getting there.  However this post is about food.  Seasonal food.

Time goes so quickly.  It does not seem five minutes since last year when I purchased my seasonal fix of filbert nuts.  These are in effect the green hazelnuts before they are dried and when the kernels are at their sweetest.

For me the sign of the first Filberts is a sign that we are slowly slipping into autumn.  One of those seasonal markers like picking the first strawberries, or the first of the eating apples (non-keepers). Its the same with the blackberries and the wild mushrooms like puffballs etc.  All mark time in their own way and yet I personally think are an essential part of life  - well my life anyway.

My dad bought some of these home one year when I was a child and they have been a firm favourite seasonal treat for me since then.  I also like Green Walnuts which my late inlaws introduced me to.  Funnily enough I do not like pickled Walnuts.

There are quite a few Filberts to go at.  I bought a kilo.  OH discovered them for the first time last year so have had to hide the new lot otherwise there will be nothing left when I go to them. I think I got part of the first batch into the store.

I potentially have a very busy day tomorrow so am not sure whether I will get on here or not but if not in the day in the evening to play catch up.

Right had better get on a nice cup of coffee is waiting for me.

Catch you soon.



The Victoria Plums arrived

The Victoria Plums arrived on top of everything else.  So I have lots of goodies to get processed here as well.  I have also ordered another tray of plums as there is not going to be enough for what I have planned - that is due to arrive today.  So this evening I am going to be preparing plums.

On the agenda is:

Plum jam.
Plum jelly.
Plum Chutney
Bottled Plums for Sugar Plums
Bottled Plums for puddings
Plum and Apple jam.
Chinese style plum sauce

Do not think that it will all be accomplished in a day but at least some of it will get done.

I also managed to source a few greengages so they are being bottled/canned too just for a change.

I have had to stock up this week with loads of goodies as the Greengrocers is on holiday next week. There will be pears etc. then.  Going to look for runner beans today on the way back from meeting with friends.

Have quite a few busy days ahead.

Catch you soon.



Thursday, 23 August 2018

Bit of self care - Grey Hair

I am off shortly to the hairdressers which is literally straight over the road out of my front door. to have my hair coloured.  I have found that I need to go every five to six weeks to keep my clump of grey in check. My hair is my weakness.  It does not always look as tidy as it should but the one thing I cannot bear is my grey hairs.  I have the same streaking as my mother.  I am fair my mother was brunette.  She had what we referred to as the "Mallen streak" on the left side of her face just a big clump and the rest of her hair remained dark brown.  Just this one clump.  Mine is more or less the same except it has spread over a little further into the middle.  However it makes me feel old if it is on permanent display.  It is funny how we have our own little peccadillos and this appears to be my Achilles heel which I quite freely own up to!

I don't really do a lot of self-care - I am not a make-up wearer.  If I go out I may occasionally put a light touch on really depends on my mood but when I wear makeup I feel that I am behind a mask and it feels false.  I am what I am and I do not need to hide.  However I am a believer that a little help is required now and then.  Its just that in the greater scheme of things because of all the things I have on the go I tend to put myself last.  However my hair is non-negotiable.

The one colour I don't really like in a house is "grey".  I think it is a what I call a "Miserable" colour.  A good toning colour to be livened up with other colours but on its own  - not really.  Well not for me anyway. I think this is a direct reaction to the fact that when we moved into this house a lot of the wallpaper was what I called "Granny wallpaper" and I do not mean that offensively it was back from the 1960s!  We had to live with it for a while but when I got the opportunity to decorate I went bright vibrant colours.

So in effort to look presentable for the best part I am going to be stuck in the hairdressers for a couple of hours whilst my mop is tamed and sorted out a bit. I have fine thick hair which does not naturally behave itself due to the wave down a central panel.  So one side will go in perfectly and the other will do its own thing. Fortunately my hairdresser knows me quite well and knows that I prefer simple styles.  However I always feel on cloud nine when I come out of the hairdressers. (strange from a girl who hated going to the hairdressers in her youth!).

Tight am off to get ready.  Then we have some more preserving to do.

Catch you soon.



Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Night off tonight

I have been a bit tired today and so have done nothing at all apart from sleep and then read. Needs must and all that jazz. Have more to do tomorrow but that is all part and parcel of this time of year when I am ever trying to put up goodies for the pantry shelf.  One of you ladies asked to see photos of my pantry - will do so but it is in the throes of being sorted out so would prefer to post up the photos of the pantry (and additional storage) once it is finished up if you don't mind.  It is normally something I sort out every three months or so but this time round it is being painted out as well.  A new floor is also being put in the pantry to keep things nice and clean.  So please bear with me and I will be able to oblige.  A few more goodies should be on the shelves by then in any event.  It is a never ending challenge putting new bits and bobs in there.  Not that my pantry or storage is large but I do try and make the very best of what I have.

I also have the three lots of freezer storage in the shed, one chest freezer, one large upright and one medium sized one and the wine cabinets and the charcuterie cabinet.  I also need to sort this out and give it a good wash out with the pressure washer to make sure everything is lovely and clean for the start of the winter months.

In reality I am in my element when I am busy preparing stuff but I also have to be realistic too.  Right had better get on.

Catch you soon.



The other day I managed to get some more shallots and some red cabbage.  So they have also been added to the list to process as well.

I have also made a load of flavoured butters, chive butter, rosemary butter, lemon thyme butter, mint butter, tarragon butter, thyme butter.  I have used one pound block of butter to each flavour.  This to last hopefully through the winter months. (I hope) and if I need to re-adjust my quantities next year I will have a record of what I have prepared and whether I need more of a particular type.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Kitchen Tales - Pantry Preserves Processing the Blackberries

Yesterday when I went foraging I nearly fell down the dyke where one of the blackberry bushes was growing.  I also ended up also having to empty the small tray I was using for collection pretty regularly just in case I fell (I had already managed to spill them over the floor once which was far too much).  Never mind.   Its all very well going foraging but then you have a load of work to do to save and preserve that produce.  All good fun really especially if you manage to end up with something really tasty on the pantry shelf.  I am not too keen on the prickles though, they have caught me everywhere but if I will dive into a prickly blackberry bush to relieve it of its black jewels it really is to be expected.

In the end I processed 8 1/2 pounds of blackberries and have turned them into these preserves with the aid of some additional ingredients.

Apple, plum and blackberry pie mix (Hot water bathed/Canned).

Blackberry and apple jam. blackberry and apple jam

Eleven jars all told.  Basically 3lb blackberries, 1lb+ of bramleys and 2 bags of sugar.

Blackberry and apple jelly.

Blackberry and apple cheese.

I also have plans for doing the following as well:

Blackberry and apple leather.

Blackberry sauce

Blackberry vinegar.

Dried Blackberries for use in buttercream and icings and also in Muesli and/or porridge.

Blackberry Liqueur blackberry liqueur

Blackberry Gin.

Blackberry cordial. blackberry cordial

Blackberry and apple curd. Blackberry and apple curd

Blackberry and apple ice cream.

I now need to obtain some more blackberries to pop into the freezer for puddings and the like.  Yes I have some pie filling but if the blackberries are frozen as they are you have even more choice as to what you can do with them.  The above are just favourites that I make year in year out or at least when I can get the blackberries.

A good source for recipes last year was the Land Love magazine which had a special preserving section in it.  The link is here Land Love.

I managed to source other things too and find crops to use when they are ready including crab apples, quite a lot of them and some sloes quite a lot of them by the looks of things.  But I also came back with some Rowan berries, Elderberries, larch cones, twigs with lichen on to turn into some Christmas decorations, some large fir cones.  I need to go back for some of the teasel heads and some nettles.  Will probably have another foray next week sometime.  Hopefully OH will take me somewhere else all in the course of blackberrying over the weekend when he comes back from his fishing so that I can get some into the freezer.  Then I stand a chance at Christmas of making some blackberry and apple sorbet or ice cream.  Well that is the general idea in any event.

Anyway back to the grind still a lot to do.  Early start again tomorrow.

Catch you soon.



There will be more photos to come but for some unknown reason they are taking forever to load.

Monday, 20 August 2018


Missy first thing at the start of our walk.

I have been out today since before 9:00am walking Missy and foraging and I have literally just got in (3:00pm) i.e. 6 hours. My hands are bright purple from the blackberry and elderberries I have picked, I have had a lovely peaceful day just out watching the wildlife, collecting treasures and picking fruit i.e. blackberries, some rowan berries, elderberries and there were a couple of other things I was on the look out for as well which I may have to go back for.  It has been peaceful just me and Missy for the best part - she is completely cream crackered.  

I am covered in bramble thorns have been pricked several times but that is all par for the course when you go blackberry picking.

I went armed with one of my wicker baskets, with provisions a bottle of water for Missy ( I provided a little tray for her) and a soft drink for me.  I bought her some little tiny sausages but she turned her nose up at them.  It has been muggy but just lovely spending time in the peace and quiet carrying out one of my favourite pastimes.  I also took with me scissors, marigolds, zipper bags, carrier bags.  Needless to say I forgot my foraging stick which helps me hook higher branches down!

I will give quantities later on but I got quite a few blackberries and elderberries.   I also came back with a few sticks with lichen on which I have an idea for some Christmas decorations, some very tiny cones which I think are larch cones, and some big fir cones.  So a very productive day.

Some of the blackberries.

The bramble patches.

A while back the City Council commissioned some artwork for the area where we walk Missy which has largely been turned over to providing eco systems for some of the wildlife around Peterborough.  The first one that we came across consisted of three wooden seats with bees carved into them and some poetry. Unfortunately some sad soul decided to destroy them.  Of the three there is only one left now which is a great pity.  I came across this one today which I had not seen before.  I like this piece too.

Right I am off to get a cuppa my friend is oblivious but I will bring her a cup up for later on.  I think I have really worn her out this time which is an out and out novelty.

Right catch up soon.



Sunday, 19 August 2018

Being careful and taking precautions

I do apologise for the length of this post, I sort of got the bit between my teeth again with what I am and I am not going to do in practical terms with regard to my food storage systems and making sure that there is food for the winter months.

I was speaking to my veg shop people yesterday and as a direct impact of the hot weather we have had it is very likely that basic food items may be more expensive this year than before.  Normally when we have problems in this country the rest of the world is pretty unaffected.  This time no.  They have also been having very hot periods and drout.  I am not meaning to scaremonger here, it is just the practical side of me that mentions this.  I am erring on the side of caution more than anything else.

I am in the pros of sorting the freezers out in any event so I shall freeze an awful lot of basic veggies like carrots, swede, parsnip, carrot crush, broccoli, buy a few bags of frozen peas in and also prepare roast potatoes, mashed potatoes and Yorkshire puddings.  I shall freeze some ready for use but I will keep my usual sack of potatoes in as well.  I will also freeze sweet potato, pumpkin, squash and whatever I can get my hands on.

I always keep a sack of potatoes in.  I asked for a sack yesterday and they informed me if they can get the potatoes they will do but there are no guarantees.  The price may be too high and in this community there is not a lot of money around.  Apparently there has been talk amongst the growing community that they may be £10 a bag onwards.  A bag normally lasts me a good six weeks or more and I am talking the big bag not the little ones that you can get.

I also keep onions in as we use a lot.  At the moment I have two nets of large onions in and they are going to be processed into chutneys and relishes as they can also be used to pep up meals.

Part of the reason the prices are going up is that the growers have had to pay for water for the crops to be kept alive as water stocks have been severely affected to.  Even more reason for me to grow my own next year and grow whatever I can.

As I have said before if I have food in the pantry then I feel more secure.  My father always used to maintain that if there were another war the first thing he would do was head to mine as he knew we would never "starve" (and I know the majority of us do not know the true meaning of that word) and that there would always be a meal of some sort.

I have plans this week to get the canner on the go at long last.  In intend to make some chicken stock first off to get used to the process of canning and then go onto different soups, stews, chicken pot pie filling, different fruits, salsas, tomatoes, tomato sauces, plums, pie fillings.  Canning your own in glass bottles is recyclable.  Tin cans that we buy from the stores, are processed in the same way in real terms but the glass jars are reusable time and time again.  So less impact on our environments from my perspective.  That is another reason for doing it.

Christmas warning

I have noticed today that the Co-Op have their usual offer on for dried fruit at £3 for two bags.  Thought I would let everyone know as this is the time of year I start accumulating extra supplies for the pantry and also the freezers.  It very much starts with the dried fruit for the Christmas cakes and puddings which will be made in September then I can forget about them.  I make for myself and my brother and his family.  I also want to get the mincemeat under way as well.  I use up the remnants of last year's dried fruit for this as it gives the fruit extra legs and of course you can always turn them into dried fruit chutney.

I will of course also be stocking up with sausage meat and chipolatas and pork pies so that I have a healthy supply in stock.  I also want to make a load of Cornish pasties, Danish pastries, cookies, sausage rolls, fruit pies  etc and pastry cases for pies so that I can just drag them out and make up a pie as we need it.  It would make sense to make them in bulk  - say a baking day once a month for pastry, cakes etc. and using up whatever comes to hand.  I want to get back to the making myself more than anything else.  Time consuming yes but I really do enjoy cooking and having a big bake up.

Whilst at the Co-Op I managed to take advantage of the bargains, reduced butter, cream, blueberries, some oranges for spiced orange slices, So all useful goodies.  Being able to take advantage of the bargains is another plus in me not being at work.

I am starting to wade through my list of jobs, very slowly but I am getting there which is the main thing.  I have also made some mixed fruit (Jumbleberry) jam as well.

It will be an early start tomorrow as I have plans if the weather is fine to go foraging and take Missy for a long walk in the process. I shall take one of my many wicker baskets as well as several carrier bags. It is time to get some Blackberries and Elderberries and anything else I can put to good use.  If I leave the Elderberries for much longer they will not be fit for use and I intend to make Elderberry jelly, Elderberry wine, Elderberry Rob (a good cough cordial in the winter months), hedgepick pie filling * a mixture of apples, wild plums , damsons, a few elderberries, apple and elderberry jelly, Pontack sauce, Elderberry vinegar to name but a few things.

Right dinner awaits.  We have roast chicken and all the trimmings.

Catch you later on.



Planning and plotting - a New Tablecloth

I bought some tea cloths recently from a local shop  which are nicely patterned and plain with the idea of turning them into a new tablecloth for the dining room table.  They cost £6 for a set of three.  I  bought six sets and have just ordered some additional linen material to add to them. I have a very large eight seater table six down the side and two carvers. Hopefully the linen will arrive this week.  This is all in beige and cream.  I also plan to make some knapkins.  The cloths are all uneven sizes so I will need to standardise them but that is no big shakes and easily achieved with the aid of a pair of very sharp scissors.

Here are the tea towels

Here is the fabric I have ordered

The plain cream

The Rose patterned linen both of these two go well together.

The plain linen for use on the tablecloth.  I have bought two metres of each of the linens.

OH is planning on going fishing on the Bank Holiday weekend and I wanted something simple to do as a first project on my new main sewing machine which I have not tackled either.  Some of the tea towels have butterflies on so that I thought to tie everything in and as a first project on the embroidery machine that I would make some knapkins with a butterfly or butterflies' motif on them. Just something to tie them in with the cloth itself and maybe a few embroidered butterflies as accents on the cloths as well.  With him potentially being away this will be an ideal opportunity for me to sit and have a little play and have the needed time to do it.  This is what I am planning in any event.  I need to be able to produce some presents for Christmas and also for birthday presents etc. as well. The best bit about this is that I am creating something for my home which is unique to me and my home.

I have also ordered some rose patterned linen as well for another project and may order some more yet.

This is the best bit about creating things at home as you are able to play and produce something original.

Monday the computer/sewing/craft room is going to be sorted out so that I can actually get to play at the end of the week and possibly get all my sewing paraphernalia together in readiness for that purpose.

Right had better get a wriggle on.

Catch you soon.



Saturday, 18 August 2018

Dismal Failure and accepting Defeat

Set myself up to do too much as usual.  Ended up staying up late last night to get certain jobs out of the way and did  not get to bed until the early hours.  OH let me sleep until 11:00am when I was supposed to be in full swing.  We then had to go to the tip and have another visit scheduled for tomorrow.  However I did get the pickled onions done and the cherries. So not total failure.  Plus I picked cheap strawberries up again and have made more Strawberry jam.  So hopefully will get back to the other stuff early tomorrow.  

These things are sent to try us.  I tend to forget and do not take into account that real life gets in the way.  Anyway I hope you have all had a good day.  Back to the grind for me.  Catch you hopefully later on.  



Friday, 17 August 2018

Friday evening catch up

Its been a very busy and active day and I met up with my friend and had a lovely lunch with her.  

On the way down into town to meet her (I nearly always walk into town) I passed through Waitrose and nabbed some lettuce and also some rhubarb as in the past if I have not got it when I have seen it when I have gone back there has been none left so I bought what I needed en-route.  I had intended going back into town to Waitrose but never got back.  Will either nip in over the weekend or sometime next week.

I ended up going into M & S and bought some bits in there and then came back home.  

After I had put things away I went over to the veg shop and came back with six fresh sweetcorn ( three for £1) a spring type cabbage, and a stone of Bramley apples.  It looks like I have quite a bit of work to do over the next few days!  The sweetcorn is a treat when it is fresh as both of us love it.  I cook from fresh and then serve it with lashings of butter.  That might be handy for something light at mid-day.  We have a breakfast appointment at our local cafĂ© first thing.

I had anticipated and planned on preserving this evening but have not got there.  We went out for a meal instead which was lovely and then flopped when we came in as too comfortable and full which kind of made us very sleepy (indeed OH has crashed out whilst I am typing).  So tomorrow I am going to have double the fun amongst some other stuff I need to do as well.  

I did not get to go Blackberrying and Elderberrying either so that will either be tomorrow or on Sunday as well.  Fortunately the plums are due on Tuesday and I have another stone of Bramleys to come then as well.  As mentioned in a previous post I also intend to get the piccalilli veggies too

  • Bottled Cherries
  • Cherry pie filling
  • Cherry Brandy
  • Black Cherry wine
  • Apple sauce/Apple pie filling
  • Apple slices
  • Lemon marmalade
  • Lemon slices
  • Strawberry pie filling
  • Rhubarb wine - needs starting
  • Peach wine - needs starting
  • Lemon curd
  • Long lasting mint sauce
  • Pickled shallots.
  • Strawberry wine next stage
That is quite a bit to be getting on with and I am not sure I will have enough time but I am going to go for it.  Fortunately I keep a good stock in of vinegars, oils, sugar, dried fruits etc. so I normally have what I need in house and I just replace what I use out of the pantry stock so that it is nearly always topped up always using the older stock first.  It is how I have always managed the pantry and it seems to work saving us pennies when there are too few around.

We have a roast chicken dinner for tomorrow night's tea as well with all the trimmings.  We were supposed to have had that tonight.  So am juggling again with all balls in the air.  What's new!  It is just the depth that varies but I am very lucky.

I need that pantry filling from top to bottom as a security measure more than anything else as no matter what happens if the pantry is full you have the knowledge that there is good food to keep you going even when there is less money around.  I also have the freezers to sort out as well but that should be fairly manageable as I freeze a lot of veg myself in any event.  It is the meat I am going to have to be "canny" about but with careful and sensible management this should be achievable.  I would like to add duck, game, venison to the freezer stores as well as our usual range of beef, gammon, pork, chicken.  We like venison, we also like Guinea Fowl, I like Rabbit OH is not keen and pheasant.  The pheasant however we do not have hung.

This world of ours is very volatile and there are veiled threats about the Brexit issue impacting on everyone and everything and what will happen etc. etc.  all of which may well not happen in any event.  I am filling my pantry because it needs filling and re-stocking and next year I hope to grow far more than I have been able to achieve this year, which includes investing in fruit bushes and trees and new plants. I also intend to have potatoes next year.  What happens in our household is up to us at the end of the day and the bulk of this planning is something I do on a year in year out basis.  The new thing however is the canning which hopefully should expand my repertoire somewhat.

I am hoping to get the canner in use sometime during the week as well initially starting with some chicken stock (I have some carcasses in the freezer) then to making soup, stews, pasta sauce, pot pie filling etc.  Anything I can do to achieve good eating all helps keep the Wolf from the door.  It will also if he wants it provide OH with a decent meal mid-day if he wants it during the winter months as they have access to a microwave at work or indeed an evening meal here.

Right upwards and onwards.  I had a slight moment of panic as I was typing this as the electric went out. It would appear that we have had a main power cut lasting a good ten minutes  Everything is now back on though.

Catch you soon.



More Preserving and Playing

I am hoping other half will take me blackberrying this evening if not tonight sometime over the weekend.  I also need elderberries for jelly and wine as well as Pontack sauce.  

Preserving is planned for this evening.  I have some more shallots to process and I have a batch more expected next week.  My friend lives in the Fens and there are a couple of gardeners near to her that sell their garden produce at very good rates.  Cannot get much fresher than that.  I have about a stone to come for the first batch and will probably reorder more as well.

I also have some Lemon Marmalade to make this may not get made today but it is on the list and I want to get it sorted reasonably early on and then it is out of the way and I can forget about it and it is there for morning toast.  

I must say though that in the winter months I very much enjoy proper honey on toast - not the clear the solid especially if from a local apiary.  It is very good for you.  We used to have this growing up both at my mum and dad's but also at my grandparents.  It was always home made bread and home produced honey then as my Nan made the bread and my grandfather managed the hives that produced the honey.  Nothing better.  One day that dream house will come and then I will be able to have my bees.

I am lunching with a good friend at dinner and will no doubt come back via Waitrose.  It is becoming a Friday ritual.  I don't buy a lot in there I suppose it is more the herbs and speciality items and I look out for ideas and if I can get stuff cheaper I will do and make it myself.

I must say that I am very much enjoying my time at home as it has meant that I have been able to take advantage of some of the bargains at the veg shop and put some different stuff on the pantry shelf which is always pleasing. 

I would love to continue doing this full time but one has to be realistic and I will have to really start getting serious very soon.  It is nice to potentially have the time to do stuff but enjoy doing it rather than just producing it.  It makes a heck of a difference and amongst the rest of the chaos of the household at the moment it is a welcome respite.  It cannot always be hard work there has to be some play time.  However I am now wondering how the heck I managed to go to work as well.

Next week I will focus on the piccalilli and getting that made and the first of the plum chutney, plum sauce, bottled plums, plum jam and plum jelly.  All standards of my pantry.  

I also need to get the peach chutney done as well and maybe some peach wine.  Will see what I can find cheaply enough to achieve this.

I have a kit that someone bought me a Kirstie Allsopp kit for making bath bombs which I am hoping to have a go at and then maybe make some others.  I have the rest of the ingredients in bulk.  So that will be playtime next week and will be something else that I have crafted for the bathroom.  They might make nice Christmas presents too.  I also have some of the melt and mould soap as well for having a go at making soap although would love to have a go at making soap from scratch and then there are the candles.  Will have to get to these in the next few weeks or so if I don't manage next week as some will be for pressies and if I can get them made and out the way with it will give me time to do other stuff but be well forward with the Christmas pressie stuff as well.

As usual there is a lot to do but that's what makes my world go round. I am in my element when I am doing this sort of thing as I really enjoy it and the creativity.

Right must get a wriggle on catch you later on.



Thursday, 16 August 2018

The First Victoria Plums for 2018

Were purchased yesterday just 1kg for eating.  OH is fond of plums anyway and I am a big fan of Victoria Plums.  I wish I could find a couple of the Black Diamond plum trees that my Granddad used to have they were really delicious a dark purple black plum with divine yellow flesh.  My grandparents grew Victorias as well.

They are not cheap this year £3.50 a kg at the moment so if you can get them any cheaper then you really are doing well.

I have a tray of 5kgs ordered for next Tuesday for bottling and for chutney and I will also order another tray for later in the week for jams and jellies and sauce and look out for reductions to make some Victoria plum wine which is one of my favourites.  My Nan always used to make it.  It always used to develop a second fermentation and was more like a sparkling pale pink champagne when she used to make it a very tasty wine.

So next Tuesday when I take delivery it looks as though I am going to be very busy.

That reminds me I will have to ask whether there is any chance of some Greengages this year.  We like those as well.  It would also be good to get some frozen down of both varieties if I can as well for puddings.

I think I may have found a source for the Black Diamond plum very excited.  Need to check something out though with the company first.  I am keeping my fingers crossed as I really would love a couple of these trees.

Catch you soon.



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)