Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Jobs to do 2 a Walk on the Wild Side and things for the pantry

Jobs to do for a better weather day; I am hoping that tomorrow is such a day as the blackberries are turning here locally and I want to take advantage of them.  So the plan is:

  • Go foraging the blackberries are starting to turn quite a few of them ready to be picked.  I intend to go tomorrow first thing and collect some of them and I believe where I go there are a load of Rowan berries.  Autumn is starting to slip in and I also need to see what else I can find on the foraging side.  At the weekend when we went to the Butcher's Blade in the Fen the elderberries are already deep purple.  There is a lot to do and I want to get quite a bit under my belt on the preserving side.  Yesterday I found some yellow cherry plums and left them in the van by accident.  I had eaten one and they were lovely.  OH seems to have eaten the rest in the interim.  I am hoping to find some more as it would be lovely to put some of these up on the pantry shelf if I can.  Makes a nice jam and I have also bottled them in the past in syrup.
  • Set too and turn the finds into preserves. I have in mind Bramble and apple jelly, bramble and apple jam, bramble cordial, bramble liqueur, bramble curd, bramble syrup for pancakes and puddings and use with yogurt to make ice cream.  Not all at the same time.  I shall start off with jam and jelly and syrup.  As more blackberries become available I shall add to the repertoire and also freeze some. The ones I tasted today when I walked Missy were really good and nice and firm which is why if the weather is okay tomorrow first thing I intend to go foraging with Missy and my trolley in tow.
  • I obtained the September copy of Country Living Magazine today.  There are recipes for pickled cucumber, Strawberry jam, chilli and tomato jam, sweet apple jelly, piccalilli and apricot and lavender jam.  There is also a recipe for hedgerow jelly.  I am going to freeze some blackberries for the hedgerow jelly which uses crab apples, blackberries, elderberries, rowan berries, sloes, rosehips and haws.
I have plenty of sugar in the pantry for making different preserves.  For the syrup and cordial making I shall sterilise the bottle in the baby steriliser and then process the filled bottles to keep the cordial and syrup on the shelf for far longer.

Whilst out with my friend today (I had a lovely day by the way), I came across an old salt glazed crock with no lid for £3.99 in a Charity shop.  It just needs a wooden lid making for it and it will be ideal for storing my bulk salt in readiness for meat curing.  Unfortunately I seem to have lost my phone somewhere in the house at the moment and so I am unable to take photos.  Will rectify this once said phone is found.  This old salt crock as it is to be will fit in very nicely with some of the Pearsons ware beige stone storage crocks I have for flour etc. and also an old terracotta pot that I use for storing walnuts in salt in the pantry.  Each of these storage jars has a unique place in my pantry as do the large old sweetie jars (like the Roses glass jars) which I am still collecting together with ground glass lid storage jars to store all my bits and bobs in.  Quite an eclectic mix but practical in the longer term.  Old fashioned definitely but it is what I like and the plan is that wherever I end up I am going to have a very large pantry store so all these bits and bobs are going to be very useful in the longer term.

There were also a load of fir cones which had fallen and so I am going to harvest some of them and also some of the larch cones in readiness for Christmas projects.

So it might be a Put Up Day tomorrow weather permitting.

Right had better get a wriggle on to get ready for tomorrow.  As I have said have had a lovely day but I am now very tired.

Catch you all soon.



Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Storing Food and Organising the Fridges

Of late my household organising has totally gone to pot and I am aiming to try and restore  peace, sanity and organisation to the household especially where the fridges are concerned.  Possibly because I have not done as much as I usually do but with having the storage items in the house and lots of other tasks on top of that it has made it difficult to get things sorted and I am now making a concerted effort in order to reclaim said chaos.

I am hoping that when the floorboards go down in the loft that a lot of the angst, and not being able to find things will square up a lot of the issues I currently have by removing stuff out of the dining room where the fridges are stored.  Notably in the first instance all the Christmas decorations (and there are a lot of them) are to have their permanent home in the loft as it is stuff that only comes out once a year. 

The fridges need stripping out and cleaning in any event which is all part and parcel of the kitchen deep clean.

The Pantry will also be stripped out as part of the deep clean and under the stairs will also be stripped out and cleaned.  These are my main storage areas for storing food in this house.  

However in the shed I also have three freezers; two upright freezers and a deep chest freezer.  These are empty at the moment and will need their spring clean and then I can start squirrelling away meat and food to get us through to next year.  

There are also two wine coolers one of which is intended to be a charcuterie cave (have not got there yet but something I am going to be looking further into). I hope to do some home made charcuterie sometime in September.

As food is getting expensive and as I am trying to put up what I can across several different ways of preserving, I have been looking more into better methods of actually storing fresh food in the fridge to get the maximum shelf life out of it.   I came across this video on You Tube recently which I think is very helpful and which some of the ideas I intend to use.

I use a lot of celery, carrots and onions as a base for starting off my cooking so it makes sense to get the most out of the ingredients that I am buying.  I also use odds and ends of vegetables for making my own stir fry mixes and I make my own stock both vegetable and chicken stock in my slow cooker.  Means I can get a nice rich stock and not have to nurse the cooker and be able to get on with other stuff.

I have on a separate project sown an awful lot of seeds and am hoping that I get a bit of a winter vegetable garden this year - not parsnips I was too late for the sowing but I have near enough sown everything else and am hoping that I get something even if I have to freeze what I grow.  We like our food in this house.

I intend to go for a walk with Missy sometime later this week as the blackberries are starting to blacken and I want to have some bramble and apple jelly and also bramble jam, and some blackberry liqueur.  I also hope to be able to freeze some as well. Nothing nicer than wild bramble and apples turned into a simple tasty pudding like Tarte Tatin, sponge, pie with lots of custard or cream.

As I have mentioned before I believe that there are some Rowan berries to be had this year as well.  I did not manage to get any Rowan berries last year so I intend to make some this year.

I also have plans to make some piccalilli and bottled pears in syrup,  Lemon marmalade, lemon and ginger marmalade as well as lots of other useful bits and bobs but until the storage is clean there will be no point in doing this as it needs to be able to go into the relevant storage area.  I am also looking forward to Victoria plums as I have bottled plums, chutney, plum jelly, plum jam, plum and apple jam, and some plum membrillo.

I also have some rhubarb that needs cutting and turning into syrup and pudding mix for the freezer. OH is partial to a crumble. I am hoping OH is going to help me get sorted here as we really do need to do a deep clean of the shed as well.  Then I can get some more wine on the go as that can be left in there to work out of the way and we should have some drinkables ready for Christmas.  I am doing what I can in that regard already. I also have in mind to do several batches of orange, lemon and grapefruit wine.  I also intend to bottle some grapefruit.

Fingers crossed and toes plaited.  Lots and lots to do as usual. so potentially cleaning all week as well as doing stuff in the garden as well. Once the kitchen is clean the preserving can take place which is likely to be slotted in where I have  a small run of time and I want to get the Canner on the go.  So lots and lots to do and plenty of plans as well.

Catch you all later.



Monday, 29 July 2019

Jobs to do today Monday 29 July 2019

My memory is not what it was and I am forgetting to do things. I am therefore, for the time being going to post up a few items a day that I need to get done more as an aide memoire than anything else
  • Do washing up. Done
  • Put on washing  Done
  • Get clothes dry.  Done
  • Get clothes ironed and aired.  Ironing and airing completed until next time.
  • Go to town need some more tray inserts. Done
  • Need two clothes props/pins.
  • Prick out seeds into new trays a time consuming task.  I have sprinkled a little too many - next time I will know better.  Did some.  Still more to do.  Did some more today still a load more to go.
  • Sort out kitchen bin and get it functional again in the kitchen.  I have after a long time found the bin liners I needed.  Up to now, local shop had not sourced - now do, and I had previously forgotten to bring them home when I did see them. Done.
  • Pot up some more plants.  A couple of more plants done today just before it started raining.
  • Make Feta with mixed herbs for fridge and use with salads.
  • Make Yogurt.
  • Need new lightbulbs.   Bought new light bulbs today from Dunhelm.
  • Start stripping out kitchen for deep clean.  Started still a long way to go.

I think that should keep me out of mischief for much of the day.  

Tea for today is all ready a repeat of the lovely piece of beef we had yesterday for Sunday dinner.

Catch you later on.  

Pattypan xx

P.S.  Pretty pleased with what have managed to get done today considering as I managed to oversleep and then walked into town and walked back.  Those items that I did not manage to get to today I am hoping to do tomorrow.  I am not popping up a list for tomorrow shall just continue on with this one.  Wednesday I am out for the day but then will do a bit more when I get home.


Have a good evening



Sunday, 28 July 2019

Torrential Rain

Well on a positive note that is the watering up all done.  We have had lots of heavy rain overnight and it has not let up.  At one point we thought we would not be able to get out of the back gate but it seems to have sorted itself out.

So the rain although welcome on the gardening front has kind of put everything else I wanted to do on hold so I think it is going to have to be something household orientated that I have to do today.  I have a lot to do just am not quite sure what I am going to tackle.

Got OHs work clothing all sorted out yesterday as he needed clean for overtime today.  He starts early at 6am and so I was up and got everything sorted out for him first thing.  After he left for work I slipped back to bed for a delayed lay in.  Glad I did as I feel a bit brighter than I did then.

I have some more washing to do in any event so that will be on doing its thing whilst I do something else.

I do need to go to the shop to get some lightbulbs though we seem to have an episode of the bulbs giving out.  If I remember correctly the bulbs that have popped were all put in at a similar time before.  Unfortunately I did not get out today to get some so I am hoping OH will take me tomorrow probably to Dunhelm when he gets back from work.  I need the bulbs so that I can see what I am doing in the house.

I had hoped that OH would have been able to have put my washing line up but the weather has put paid to that for the time being maybe he will get round to it during the week if the weather clears up.  I have a load of washing to do and the stuff that needs sorting very much needs to be out on the line to dry.

As it has poured with rain all day long and after OH came home we have had a very low key afternoon just pottering occupied with our own interests so it has been quite cathartic just to chill.  As he has worked overtime both Saturday and Sunday that means he has not had a day off this week.  He may go fishing next week in which case he should get a bit of a break.

I cooked the piece of aged roast topside and it was lush.   I cooked it slowly on a bed of onions with a little water and some garlic and roasted at gas mark 3.  It was moist and tender and I served it with calabrese, cauliflower, peas, carrots, chopped kale, roast potatoes and individual Yorkshire puddings with lashings of gravy. It has gone down very nicely and we have both thoroughly enjoyed our tea.

I am not meeting anyone tomorrow so I have a day at home.  I need to do some pricking out on the seeds that I sowed the other day but I also need to make a start on the kitchen.  It is going to take a while to do but will be a job well done when it is finished.  It is deep clean time again. Seems to come round far too quickly.

Catch you soon.



Saturday, 27 July 2019

Today has been varied to say the least

Today started a little later than usual - OH is normally out of bed for 6am and out the house for 7am. This morning he had a bit of a lay in before actually going in to work to do some overtime.  He chose not to walk Missy and asked me to deal with her routine.  Dog in a massive sulk and I had intended having another half an hour lay in but that was not to be.  In the end I got up and let her out and then started pottering in the garden and have potted some more plants up including tomatoes and cucumber both grown from seed.  So pretty pleased about that.

OH had asked that I be ready to go out at 12:30pm as he wanted to try out a new Butchers in Sawtry called the Butchers Blade as he could get Fruit Pig black pudding from there.  There is a story here in that my step son and his wife and sister and children went to Hunstanton for a week and whilst there came across produce from a local Butcher which he said was absolutely delicious.  He bought OH some white pudding back which he said was very tasty, but Black Pudding is his favourite.  As he kept raving about this we looked on the Fruit Pig website which is  The nearest Butcher to us selling their produce was The Butcher's Blade at Sawtry.

I was therefore taken aback a little when OH arrived home for 11am - apparently because the Butcher closes at 1pm.  So he had finished early to come and pick me up so that we could get over there in good time.

Their website is:

The Butcher's Blade 

I must say that it is the tiniest butcher's shop I have been into.  However the place was absolutely spotless and they had all sorts of proper goodies available in the shop itself.  We had initially gone for the black pudding and we were able to buy the last of his stock today but we also came away with his home made smoked sausages Mediterranean smoked sausage, and his take on Cumberland sausage, a ham and leek pie, half a haslet, pate, pork pie, smoked bacon, a dry aged topside joint and some cheeses Rutland Red, smoked Brie and Stilton.  The quality of the meat is superb we have already had the smoked sausage and also the Mediterranean sausage cooked on the barbecue together with the black pudding.  The black pudding is made from proper blood not powdered blood, is nicely seasoned and although I am not a black pudding fan OH is I would quite happily have a little of this as it was so tasty. Everything very well seasoned as well.  I have also signed a petition on line to get cooking back into the schools so perhaps you might also like to add your name to the link given.  Cooking is a life skill and should be available to all not for just six weeks here and there but every week for a minimum of four hours. (three hour practical cooking period and one hour preparation).  What is even more impressive is that they use wrapping paper and paper bags to wrap the produce in.  Very green.

We are going to try the other produce we have bought as well and will come back and report on the same but what we have had so far is absolutely superb.  We are already eying up one of the Rib of Beef for part of our Christmas celebrations this year.

On the way back home we stopped at Harvest Barn where I picked up some different bread flours and some herbs i.e. sweet cicely and also aniseed which I did not have.  I was also treated to a couple of large flavoured meringues Raspberry and then Mango and Passion Fruit.

I also had to nip into Wilkinsons on the way home to get some stain remover and also fabric conditioner.  I came back with two reduced tomato plants as well which are now on the hanging brackets outside the kitchen window.

It has been raining on and off all day and in between the showers we managed to barbecue our sausages and black pudding.  It has gone a little chilly and as I was getting cold I have popped a jumper on as my arms had gone cold.  We very much need the rain but I have a lot of stuff to do in the coming weeks.

Right had better get a wriggle on lots to do.

Catch you soon.



Update:  Pork pie absolutely delicious.  It is second in line with the Franks Pork pie being numero uno with The Butcher's Knife pork pie in second position.  Very tasty and the pastry was nice.

The smoked back bacon was lush and the Dry aged beef was to die for.  It is not cheap but lovely to have a treat every so often.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Too hot to handle

No doubt it has been too hot for you too but when it is this hot it makes me feel physically ill and I retreat into the house.

There has been a lot of sowing going on in this heat and two days ago I set the next tranche of seeds and nearly all of them are through already.  I am possibly too late for some of the veggies but nothing ventured nothing gained.  So we will see how we go on.

My first tranche of seeds look like young adults compared to the tiny sprouting seedlings that are coming through.  I am going to have a lot of pricking out to do over the next few days or so.

My potting up is also going well and all the plants I retrieved from the undergrowth of the jungle are now starting to thrive and are looking a lot healthier.  I have been hand watering up until now with jugs and buckets but OH has sorted out the hosepipe for me so I am hoping to put that into action tomorrow.

We have also unleashed the barbecue and have had our first barbecue of the year which we both thoroughly enjoyed.  We cooked Chinese chicken, Lincolnshire sausages and fresh sweetcorn which was served with Coleslaw, Spicy Couscous, mixed lettuce leaves and honey mustard dressing and it went down very nicely thank you very much.  We had bought a selection of meats and so have another Barbie planned for tomorrow night.  We are trying not to go too OT with what we are cooking in an effort to save waste.  Unusually for me I finished off everything that I was given to eat and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed my tea.  We finished off with some slices of fresh pineapple which was lovely.

Fortunately it has cooled off a lot to what it has been with us having several rain showers today which was more than welcome.

I have some shopping to do tomorrow and I also need to buy some more seed  as I have some more seed sowing to carry out.  If it is cool enough I also have some more clearing to do in the garden.

Weather permitting it will be barbecue tea again tomorrow.

Right must dash.

Catch you soon.



Monday, 22 July 2019

Black Foot Tribe

This gardening lark is taking its toll on me.  I have been outside for the past fortnight in a pair of crocks and bare footed.  Trouble is at night I end up belonging to the Black Foot Tribe.  Bearing in mind that I had to be strapped up the other day after the issue with the piece of glass I have been aiming to keep my feet as clean as I can but I seem to be doing rather badly at it.  So liberal bowls of boiling water cooled down to bearable temperature and a good shot of Dettol has been the order of the day armed of course with my nail brush.  One cannot be too careful with cuts and what not especially where thorns are involved.

I was up early at 6:00am this morning.  We had a good breeze then and it was not so warm but up I got and out into the fresh air to continue on with trying to sort the garden.

We had a garden inspection this afternoon by the Landlord's Agent.  That is why I have been concentrating on the garden this past fortnight.  I am not totally happy but she was when she saw the photos of what my garden had looked like originally.  I am very ashamed about the state of the garden caused mostly last year by a bad spate of fatigue and jobs did not get done.  The same earlier this year as well when I had a lot of pain again.

The garden looked like this - like a jungle.  I will post up some after photos shortly once I am a little happier with what have achieved thus far.

I shall pop up photos of how it is now  another day.  I have hand cut all these brambles and weeds down myself over the past two weeks and it has been hard work.  This is phase one as there is another quarter of the garden to clear on top of this.  

The bonus to doing all this work is that it has reconnected me to the earth energy again.  It has been very hard work but I want to get as much done as I can to at least see the realisation of what I am after for the garden overall.  It may take a couple of further posts to reveal it all.  Where that big tree is at the bottom of the last picture used to be my cherry tree.  It was a Stella dwarf cherry which seems not to be so small.  There are two Ballerina apples either side and we have a crop of apples to come which is the bonus.  There appear to be a lot of apples.  The sad story is that the next door neighbour complained about it overhanging his garden but never said anything to me about it and that to his mind was causing a problem.  I came home to what you see and the Landlord never even contacted me to discuss.  Just went on the word of him next door.  The tree was producing over 40lb of cherries in a season and it is much missed. I may well buy another one.  

As I have said I found quite a few trees which I had thought I had lost in the undergrowth and these are to be repotted into bigger pots.  I aim to do a couple of plants a day.  I am also going to give them some feed.

It has been extremely warm here in Peterborough this afternoon.  After the inspection I went and just sat in the garden.  The sun was vicious and it was extremely hot.  I sat for a while though as it soothed my aching bones.  Then I set too and started riddling some compost I had used previously to mix in with some soil so I did a good couple of batches this afternoon in readiness to do some potting up in the cool of the evening.  I hope its cool.  I need to cool down a little bit.

So another busy day all told.  Still many more to come.  However I am having a day off on Wednesday to meet up with a friend and have a catch up with her.  I think I have earned that at the very least.  And maybe, a big maybe I might actually be able to do a little sewing too.  Fingers crossed.  I hope so.

Tomorrow will be another busy day in the garden.  Got to keep at it.  Might go and sow a few more seeds now.

Catch you soon.  Hope you are all bearing up in this very hot weather.

Catch you soon.



Glass and Blood

Lots of it.  I don't know what it is but I seem to have a fatalistic attraction to not only water but glass as well.  Such it was today.  I was busy still tidying the garden when my foot suddenly felt uncomfortable and something was stuck in my foot.  When I checked a shard of glass had gone straight through the sole of my Crocs and straight into my foot.  There was for a small cut blood everywhere and I had to shout for assistance from Nurse M (my OH).  I knew he had a First Aid kit in the car as the other day he had cut himself and I had to play nurse!

For such a small cut there was a lot of blood, but very worryingly it seemed to have clotted in the bottom of my Croc quite quickly.  I have to go to the Doctors for a check up on my Arthritis in any event so I shall ask a couple of questions then.

Anyway Nurse M did his bit although he kept me on one leg for far too long and I had trouble with my hip.  He eventually put two plasters on but they did not want to adhere and then to make sure it stayed in place strapped me up with a bandage.  Within a couple of hours the bandage had made its way South - I never have been able to keep dressings or plasters on for very long.  

That bit out of the way we ended up going to the tip for a couple of trips although we still have a van full to get rid of and there is still a load in the garden.  The garden is not finished yet by a long chalk, the jungle has gone but it is still very untidy and I am going to have a lot of digging to do in the next few weeks or so.

I have however got my growing houses in their new position all four of them down where the greenhouse is together with the seeds that I have already grown.  I have also popped in the growing houses lots of pots that I have - there are still more to go in.

I have weeded the edge of the shed and OH has moved the paving slabs further up the garden.  I am hopeful that these will get laid soon so that we can go out and sit of an evening or I can when he goes fishing and spend some time in the fresh air.

I have also found two large long planters which I think will be ideal for the Wild Strawberries and so have dragged them out.  I intend putting them down the side of the shed where I have just weeded.  Yet again I may put the Basil there.

There are a lot of bramble roots that need digging up as well a job for another day where I might need the assistance of OH.

As I have so many plants to repot I am aiming to do a couple a day.  Today I managed to re-pot one of the Blackcurrant bushes (It is to go further down the garden when it is cleared) so needs to be in a pot for the time being.  The other is a pink honeysuckle.  Now quite a bit of rubbish has gone I can see what I still need to clear and to where I can place plants that I already have.  However there is still quite a quantity of rubbish to get rid of.

My plants have all been watered up though which is a good thing.

Tomorrow evening I intend to set some more seeds in tubs and in the mini greenhouses and also pot up a few more of the plants I found yesterday.

OH has said that he will see about getting me the garden swing he promised me a few years ago.  We have the Barbecue and the Pizza oven.  It will be good once the garden is tidied as that means we will be able to have friends over.

The project itself has been absolutely awful with no end of rubbish in the garden because things got left and not dealt with and then me not being very well sort of exacerbated it more than a little.  For the past fortnight I have tackled the jungle and OH gave some assistance yesterday and today.  We still have a lot to do.  I shall pop up photos of before and after when I get the garden in a little more order then you will see what I have been up against.

Tomorrow is going to be another busy day.

Catch you soon.


Saturday, 20 July 2019

I have just got in

As have been back out in the garden again.  I have found several plants which I thought I had lost whilst clearing the jungle.

I have found two pear trees, two quince trees, two crab apple trees, my two fig trees, five blackcurrants, a passion fruit vine, some nepeta, ivy, lavender, mint and a hanging strawberry plant.  All of them will need repotting, a good feed and a little TLC. I also have to pot up my tomatoes into hanging baskets and also my nasturtiums.

I have also started two cone baskets that I had off with four sprays of trailing ivy in them.  I hope that they take  and that I can add some pansies to the top of the basket to give a bit of colour later on.

Some more seeds have also been sown.

I have four Tayberry plants to pot up, and a load of herbs.  So I think it is going to be an early start in the morning to get a lot of these plants into the soil whilst it is quiet.

There is still a lot of rubbish and weeds to remove.  There are also stacks of pots and I need to have a good sort out of them as well and a bit of a cull.

So another full on day tomorrow.

I would like to get hold of a couple of peach trees, and apricots, as well as a couple of apples, Victoria plums, Greengages and Stella Cherry trees.  I also need to get another four large pots.

Right am going to have an early night in view of the fact that I have an early start planned for tomorrow.

Catch you soon.



Round and Round and Round we go

We that is OH and myself since he came home from work and I got home from my patchwork class have been in the garden working away trying to get rid of more rubbish and loading up the front garden again ready to go to the tip tomorrow.  It has been hard work and we have had to nip in a couple of times because of torrential rain.  This last time round we had decided to take Missy for her constitutional. WE had just pulled up to start the walk when the heavens opened up (that was about an hour ago) and since then the rain and thunderclaps have been continuing to circle.  It is starting to brighten up again so I am hoping that is the last of the rain for the time being and we will go out again in the garden to do more shortly.  However we are both hungry and are about to have meat onions and potatoes for tea.  Low key so that I can get on with the garden.  I do not like thunder at the best of times and am just hoping that it clears off pretty soon.

Meanwhile I am going to tuck into my tea.

I did however have a lovely morning with my friends and did a little more patchwork.  Cut the bits myself today and am learning from my mistakes.  I am hoping to have a play session during the week as I need to get to grips with my machine.  Found the quarter inch foot today for it and that has made things a lot easier.  Need to get a foot for quilting though.

Right my tea calls.

Catch you soon.



Friday, 19 July 2019


Has absolutely stopped play work today and absolutely no work in the garden has happened today.

I had to go into town to the Job Centre for an appointment at 11:40pm and then met a friend for lunch at 1pm.  We put the world to rights and then I came home.  I got drenched on the walk in and on the way back with a damp squib reporting home at just after 3:30pm.  

Since coming home we have had one or two breaks in the weather during which I have emptied some of the boxes in the garden which are full of Christmas decorations and bought them into the house.  They are ultimately going into the loft once floor boards are down and I am hoping that can happen next weekend as the quicker I can get things like this in the loft out the way the easier it will be for me to get the rest of the house sorted out and back into some sort of order.  I also have some decorating to do in the kitchen and the bathroom so the quicker I can get on the better all round.  That decorating should not take too long once I can get to it.  It is the drying time inbetween that holds things up.

Fortunately rain held off whilst we walked Missy but it was a little overcast then to say the least.  It is currently having another little shower.  So today has been a "wash out" as far as the garden is concerned.  My seeds have really galloped along though.

Clearing the boxes this evening has opened up the pathway a bit more in order to get the rubbish from the garden out of the garden and into the front for taking to the rubbish tip.  Then I can get the growing houses in situ down there and out the way and I can get some more seeds planted up.  I have four of them.

I also found a pear tree and I think it is a Quince tree in the jungle.  There are a couple of fig trees and another Quince to find I believe which all need repotting into larger tubs so that is on the to do list as well.

Next week I only have a couple of outings and on Monday and Tuesday I will be at home.  I need to be here as there is so much to do and so little time to do it.

After the past fortnight non-stop on the garden I am playing hookey tomorrow.  I am going to be with my friend at Plush Addicts doing some more patchwork.  At the moment is planned that we will be there the third Saturday in every month. At the moment I am not sure whether we are just there from 10:00am until 2:0pm or longer.  Will establish that this time round and then post up further information if any of you would wish to join us.  My friend is the lady who creates beautiful quilts for Project Linus and who indeed is Area Coordinator.  So if you are free and want to come along have a chat, bring some work please feel free to do so.  Plush Addicts in Peterborough is now at Brassey Close off the Old Lincoln Road.

Right am off to get some tea.  Simple tea this evening  baked beans on toast.

Catch you soon.



Thursday, 18 July 2019

Just a quickie

A drop in that is.  Have been busy with the garden. Ever so slowly we are recovering it from the bramble patch it was.  Still a long way to go though but getting there at a snail's pace.

This afternoon we have been to the tip four times to get rid of the rubbish that we had put in the front garden.  I have an equal amount lined up still to go and before I go back out into the garden again for the next round I thought I would pop in just to let you know that all is well with my world at the present apart from being up to my eyes in work with restoring the garden to a garden instead of a wild life patch.  Part of me feels very guilty about this.  I shall show photos of before and after when I get the grot out of the way.

Whilst I have been working in the garden I have been accompanied by Mr and Mrs Blackbird.  I believe that they have a nest in what was once my old cherry tree as whilst I have been working I have heard the calls of the babies in the nest and the parents have been doing their best to distract me and lead me away from where their babies actually are.  The cherry tree is covered with Ivy.  Indeed there is an Ivy bed below it which needs sorting out.  I intend to pot up some hanging baskets with some of this and also some juveniles for next year's hanging baskets.

We have loads of this to extricate and also the garden is going to need digging.  Bet the birds come out in force for the worms then.

There has also been the very shy rare wild cat known as Demetri hiding underneath the bramble patch that I have been slogging away at.  I am not sure whether he was there to keep me company or just keep his beady eye on me.  He really is a Mummy's boy big softie that he is.  He is about 14 years of age.

My plants are still coming on wonderfully and I am hopeful tomorrow to be able to sort out the herb border and actually get my plants in situ where I need them to be.  The plants I am talking here are my herb plants and pre-boughten plants and not my self-set seeds which are also coming on a storm.

I have some long tubs which I intend to put some of my wild strawberries into and to pop them down the side of the shed.  Prior to me starting the seeds off ten days ago they were all tiny plantlets in the herb bed self-set so I have been watering and feeding them and they have grown quite a bit and as I want the herb bed as a herb bed that is why I am going to transplant them into tubs.

I have also sifted out some old compost of all the grot and mixed some chicken manure and also some new compost in to pots to grow some carrots, spinach etc.  I also have four Tayberry plants to pot up as well.  I will not get any fruit this year but next year might be a different matter.  I am also looking to take some cuttings off my grape vine to pop some plants further up the garden as well.

On top of all this the garden shed needs painting the fences need painting and the water barrels need setting up and sorting out.

I am also slowly getting rid of the boxes that were left in the garden into the house out of the way.

So a lot to do as usual. I am hoping OH will put up my washing line for me at the weekend as well which would be an absolute boon.

Right am off to do some more.  His lordship is snoring as is his partner in crime.

Catch you soon.



How to make soy milk (Duyu: 두유)

I am ever keen to cut down on unnecessary packaging or indeed make my own versions of items that I use on a regular basis.  And what I tend to do is make stuff initially test drive it and if  we like it and I think that there is a use for it in Pattypan's Pantry then that item is added to my pantry shelf core ingredients.  I am at the state with this tutorial below where I am going to test drive the recipe to see whether it is one he likes and will be happy with.

 OH is not keen on milk but he does not mind soy milk or almond milk.  However I do not like the prices charged in the supermarket.  I also believe that if I can source the soya beans fairly cheaply this might be a good way to make soya milk for the OH.  I am going to check out our very good Chinese shop in town tomorrow to see whether or not this is feasible.  In any event I always like to see how things are made.  I am also keen to cut down on packaging and to some degree reliance on the shops.  If I use a base ingredient I do keep it in stock in my pantry so I would make sure that I had the beans inhouse in bulk for ready access.  It will also enable me to keep a good lookout for any bargains to be had on prices.

I found this tutorial purely by chance but it is very thorough and I think the presenter is totally charming - she is also very hands on.

Keeping core items in bulk in my pantry enables me to live quite happily when times are tough as there is always a good stock of useful ingredients to be had especially when pennies are tight.  In those sorts of situations you can still have those items considered a luxury on your table.  It also enable me to stock up on base items when there is a good offer on.

As both OH and I have both long term medical conditions as well I am also primarily looking at food to heal or at least help these conditions long-term as I think where you can help yourself with food it is better for you in the longer term than always popping pills for this and pills for that.  It is just getting used to a different way of doing things and  a different mindset in the way we cook.

Right am off to carry on in the garden still an awful lot to do.

Catch you soon.



Update: Have checked out the local Chinese supply shop.  500g of Soy beans £1.35 - so it will work out cheaper in the long run to make our own on paper.  Now to the practicalities.  Going to have a go at this next week and see what we think.



Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Bay Leaf Salt

Whilst cooking up a joint of pork the other day and managing to get a good lovely crackling on the joint I mused to myself that it was about time that I made a batch of bay leaf salt and kept it just for the pork dishes. I am intending to do more meat preserves this year if I can and pennies allowing. I made a very small amount of this a few years ago and as I have a few bay leaves to hand and no doubt will have some more later in the year, I thought it was about time some more was on the shelf.

In the quieter months of the year before all the new fruits and vegetables and abundance of herbs arrives what a better opportunity to do something useful for the pantry shelf that can be used on a regular basis the base ingredient which is already standing dried on my pantry shelf.

Bay salt was traditionally used by Butchers (so I understand) for curing pork joints.  It will give a little more flavour to a lovely cut of meat in any event. Although predominantly I cook without salt every so often I add a little in -I do not use much in any event but sometimes you just want or need a bit more flavour.  I am forever messing around as I cook in any event adding a bit of this and a bit of that.  My cooker resembles a witches cauldron when I get going.

In America however bay salt is a mixture of herbs and salt which comes from the Chesapeake Bay area.  I found this out by chance and have come across a recipe so this will be on the to do list in the next few weeks as well.  I use home dried bay leaves to flavour my gravies, stews, stocks etc. together with lots of white pepper and other flavourings like carrot, celery and onion.  Gives a lot more flavour.  However I digress here is the link to the Bay Salt recipe which sounds interesting. I found this on Pinterest and it gave a link but instead of a direct link to an individual it came up with link not available and there was some sort of weblink instead.  So apologies for not being able to give credit to the necessary individual.

So each time I research something, it leads me on to something different but I guess that is how we all learn at the end of the day and extend our repertoire.

Talking of salt, I have been experimenting a little with the Pink Himalayan finely ground salt.  For the past couple of times I have cooked roast pork I have used this.  You do not need much salt to give a lovely crisp skin it also seasons the pan well and as I used the meat juices to make the gravy gives a lovely seasoned flavour.  Have been very impressed.  I am going to try a Pink Bay Leaf Salt as a result of this and will come back and let you know how I get on.

Back to the garden.

Catch you soon.



Monday, 15 July 2019

What a difference a day and a half has made to my seeds


Pumpkins X 2

Cucumber and Sunflowers

Red Scarlet Runner Bean



Purple Podded Beans


Despite sorting my seeds out I did not manage to set any.  Maybe that will happen tomorrow.  However I have done loads more cutting down brambles and sorting rubbish found underneath the vegetation.  Had OH outside looking over stuff to see if he wanted to keep anything, but he says not.  Bagged no end of other rubbish which will need putting out tomorrow.  Still no end more to deal with.  Back to the grindstone tomorrow. It is going to be another long day tomorrow.  Hopefully will be able to get more cleared and more brambles etc. cut down and hopefully once that is tidied I can get the growing houses in situ. 

Also in the garden I have a Fuschia that belonged to my mum.  It has a fantastic display of flowers on at the moment.  I am going to try and take some cuttings in the next few days or so.

They are a beautiful colour.

Right must get ready for tomorrow.

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)