Thursday, 26 March 2020

Getting something extra from something you use

I am always pleased when I manage to get either an extra preserve or products from the ingredients that I use regularly in the house i.e. when I make plum jelly  as I have the opportunity to make plum cheese from the pulp left over in the straining/jelly net.  That to me is making the most of what you have and reflects my philosophy of "Waste not, Want not"!

I have a couple of projects coming up in the next week or so. I have some wine to make from kits, and I have Apricot wine made from dried Apricots to make as well.  The bonus from making the wine is that I will end up with a dried Apricot chutney as well.  I also have dried Apricot jam and Apricot and Amaretto jam to make as well.  Dried Apricots make a lovely jam.  

I love Apricots and am looking forward to buying in fresh Apricots which I tend to bottle in a very light syrup.  They are delicious served with croissants and cream cheese.  Yummy my mouth is watering at the thought.

I am also partial to the odd Medjool date or two.  They have pips in them and I have grown these before into quite nice little plants and then ended up losing them.  I have done the same with lemon and orange pips.  They eventually produce strong little plants and they are the something extra, which I had not expected.  Even more of an extra if you have somewhere warm where they will thrive.  I hope one day I have the somewhere warm for them to grow as I would quite like an area where I could grow citrus.  That very much appeals.

Basically, you take some tissue paper and dampen this I do this with a Hand spray. I then add the seeds individually laying them on the wet tissue.  I then fold them in a pocket of foil and place them somewhere warm.  Every few days I open this up and if more water is needed then add this gently - don't overload but make sure it is moist.  Then wrap up again.  Do this until they start to sprout.  Then decant into some compost and pop on a warm windowsill.  Keep watering when required.

This works with both lemon and orange seeds too.

I believe that you can grow these plants on to adulthood and indeed if kept in the appropriate surroundings to fruiting stage.  I have no experience yet of this, but you never know.  I have someway to go, but at least I have given some seeds the chance of doing something more.

I am also interested in growing veg from leftovers.  This quite appeals to my "Waste not, Want not" philosophy and is something I am going to have a go at.  For further information on this please go to:


I also have plans to dry the egg shells I use to deter pests in the garden see the link here:

I know that my Nan always used to give the chickens back some grit using crushed egg shells,

I also have plans to use banana skins as a way of providing potassium feed for plants such as tomatoes,  Well it is making something out of nothing.  The link is here: and

Both natural products which can be re-used and kept away from the refuse tip.

It will also help save the pennies a little.

That is how you get something extra out of nothing. These are not the only things you can do, but every time we try something a little different we become more knowledgeable and you learn far more from actually having a go and doing stuff.

I am itching to get going with all sorts of things at the moment but some of it is on the dream list as the garden I have is not very big.  I have seen a swing pergola, some garden arches, a very large oblong pergola which is overplanted with vines, honeysuckle and roses to go over an outside garden table and chairs.  I am still owed my garden swing from OH as well.  I am after a three seater if possible.

It is early yet, temperatures need to warm a little more here as well although some seeds are going on the bathroom windowsill.

Catch you soon.



On the positive side

With OH now working from home, means that I have had to vacate the study/craft room to leave him in peace to work.  I am hoping therefore that I can get into a routine and set about each room in turn, find those items I no longer want or require and hopefully get that decorating done.  Whilst he keeps Missy company as well as working.

I have had to start in the back bedroom because of sliding boxes, plus as I go from room to room there will be other items to store in there and to tidy up the rest of the house.  Once the back bedroom is sorted I intend to go on to the Pantry.

The Pantry did not get done fully, when I hoped to get it done so that is first on the list.  It was partially done, but the decorating needs doing.  With me planning to slowly fill things up again (which was planned prior to all the current difficulties), I need to have a full detailed list of what I have and what I have not got before I go shopping.  So if the Pantry is dealt with, I should be able to get things really organised and stuff easy to find.  That is the plan in any event.  There are also some boxes in the dining room which need their contents decanting into the Pantry.  I also need to find a vegetable rack.  I am rather drawn to the Tala metal vintage ones as they are reasonably sturdy.  This would be kept under the stairs as the Pantry in the kitchen is too dry and fresh veg soon goes off under there.  The cupboard under the stairs though is nice and cool at all times of the year and so is a good environment.  I normally use it as my Jam Pantry.

I also fancy a proper Meat Safe, vintage again but I think that one will have to wait.  It would be very useful - not to keep meat in though.  Anyway as usual I digress!

I know that I have more dried fruit in the Pantry and so I want to get that turned into some chutneys (dried fruit), more mincemeat (I use this all year long - plus I want to try some different recipes).  I have dried apricots, some to be turned into wine and chutney and some into Dried Apricot Jam and Dried Apricot Jam with Amaretto.  I would just add here that I do have a quantity of sugar in house. I also have some older dried ginger to turn into ice cream sauce with the aid of some Green Ginger Wine Even though a little bit it will be good to get some more preserves into the Pantry.  All stuff I have in the Pantry.

I bought some cooking apples last week and so I am hoping to turn these into apple sauce and bottle them.  It can then be used in puddings or as a sauce or even in a cake.  I am hoping to get a few more this week and dry the apples for use in Muesli, puddings and cake.

Once the Pantry is sorted out I will then start on the kitchen.  Quite a bit of stuff needs doing in here, including decorating.  This room will need quite a bit of time investment as well as decorating throughout.  I have some new handles for the kitchen cupboards and I also want OH to add some shelves in there.  I have some sewing to do for the kitchen in any event.

The kitchen gets very cold and it also condenses (as does the bathroom) when I have the cooker on.  We have a big old fashioned air brick which cannot be closed off and which is open at all times and it still condenses.  I even have a small machine taking away the moisture in here.  I may have to invest in a larger machine.  The plaster work in the kitchen and the bathroom is not particularly good, but will try and make the best of it.

I will feel better once the Pantry is sorted as I will be able to plan meals a lot more than what I have been doing.  I tend to buy in specific items because they are good eating in themselves but we don't always eat them on the designated night!  I want to be more disciplined with this.

Once the Pantry is under control, it will be the turn of the freezers. If it is fine on Saturday I may ask OH to help me tackle the freezers, especially as he is hoping to go to the Butcher shop.  It would help if the freezers were sorted.

So we will see what happens.  Sometimes, just sometimes things do not go to plan.  I will feel happier once I can get the freezers sorted and then I can store things as I go along like fresh veggies, main meals and puddings.

Fingers crossed can get this sorted soon.

Take care



Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Topsy Turvy

Whilst the rest of the world is topsy turvy with this dreadful virus I have been working through another segment of my boxes trying to regain control and knowing what I have where.

I have sorted through about 12 boxes today, sorting and re-packing and adding in extra things where I can.  The labels are helping enormously in this respect.  Every time I go to sort something, something else falls over (it was a bag of knitting needles earlier on) and I still have a large tin of ribbons and braids to sort out - that fell over yesterday.  This needs a little patience to say the least.   The boxes I have sorted were starting to collapse and were getting very unsteady so that is a job well done, but there is still plenty to go.  

I have found a box of finished needlepoint that I have decanted into a box marked up to be finished.  A lot of it is vintage, not pieces I have worked but which will either be made into cushion panels or indeed for the wall. This will be easier in the long run as when I am able to sit at the sewing machine, it will be easier to just crack on with the sewing item to item and there is still room to add to this box.

I also found a ring of flowers needlepoint panel, together with the instructions.  It is pretty, but I am not keen on the backing colour which is a deep beige.  It shows the flowers off well, but for my own taste I think it requires a very deep bottle green to make it stand out.  It would make some lovely dining room chair seat covers. Now that would be a project.

Yesterday, I found a large basket full of patchwork cotton, predominantly in pinks, which will go towards my hand sewn Hexie quilt.  That must be put into gear soon otherwise I never will get it off the ground.  I have hand worked about 12 pieces so far.  I will eventually decant the Hexie quilt and fabrics all into one box.  There were also some in blues, which will eventually be put with a load of pretty different blue fabrics which had also been ear-marked for a patchwork.  I will get there eventually, once I am better organised.

I also found a couple of yellow check pieces which are an ideal size for making a couple of Cafetiere covers.  I have two small ones so this may well be a very quick easy project that I could do quickly.

Also located yesterday was my vintage embroidery frame which is made of wood and which screws onto the edge of a table.  Once I get a freestanding craft lamp /magnifier I should be able to get on a bit more with some of the embroidery projects, some of the new ones but especially the vintage ones.  However, as I have said before, I want to practice on some of the newer projects before graduating to the vintage pieces.  The work on some of these is incredibly beautiful and I do not want to ruin them.  I really want to do them justice.

I have also found a deep box with curtains, bedding and quilts and cushions in, as well as some new embroidery projects for cushions and pillowcases I found sometime back.  I am trying to make the most of the time I have and am plugging along and slowly getting rid of the rubbish and getting things sorted so that is an advance in itself.  There will in due course be another box for the charity shop.  I am trying to make sense of the back bedroom which is the main storage room and where the boxes keep sliding.

I also found my two Easter boxes.  There are Goose egg cups and also Duck Egg cups, together with some Hare and Rabbit ornaments.  I have also found two wreaths for the table, a tablecloth that will be ideal to use at Easter and also a tray cloth which could be used as a table centre.  I do have some Easter china somewhere.  I have also found a knitting pattern for a tea cosy with matching egg cosies.  It is nothing fancy, and is something that will probably not get made this year, but if I can get it ready for next Easter I will do. I fancy cream and lemon or green a lemon for the set.

Fortunately I found everything for my main sewing machine last weekend.  Once I am totally clear I should then be able to set too.  I also found loads of patchwork fabrics and jelly rolls.  I am very lucky in that I have lots to keep me occupied i.e. main projects.  In many respects it will be the little things that I will have to buy to finish them off, but I will get there eventually.  I have too many nice things not too.

Right had better get back to what I was doing.  Just taking advantage of being able to get on the computer.

Keep safe

Catch you soon.



Keep Safe and keep Plodding On

Just to let everyone know that we are at the moment okay here.  It has been very strange for the last few days as OH is now working from home and has taken over the computer room, as his job entails a lot of computer and keyboard skills, but also telephone calls and live chats!  It also means I cannot get to the computer when I want to!

Technically we have both been at home for the past three days although will have to go out for supplies on Friday.  Need animal food etc. so it will be essential shopping then.  Am trying to take advantage of this period in time to do things in the house although it is slow going.  A lot as been done though and very slowly I am starting to restore some kind of order.  I am trying to be organised.  Labels are going on boxes with a rough idea of what is in them and whether they are fragile etc. and in some cases the boxes are being re-packed.  I have also accumulated another box full of UFO items.  I will never go to heaven, but at least I am putting things together so that I will be able to find them in future.

The weather has been lovely here for the past couple of days, although the breeze a little chilly.  It has however been wonderful to see the sun.  It has soaked into my bones, and made a significant different to my aches and it makes you feel so much more cheerful in yourself.

Please be aware that I have been having some issues with the computer.  I have not been able to email out.  I have also left comments on other blogs, sometimes it works another time it will not.  I can receive emails in.  To boot my phone has not been charging - think need a new cable for it!   Aargh that is all I need.

On the food front, there be chickens at my local shop.  Things like, eggs, bread and milk are still being restricted though. When I popped for bread this morning, there was a lot more food in the shop than there has been.  It has been over a week since  I last saw a chicken, so hopefully it will be chicken on Friday (when I will be going shopping).  I will however try to stay to the house as much as I can.

Just a note, and a thank you to all those who are in the line of fire in dealing with this awful Pandemic, our hospitals, our Doctors, Nurses and carers.  Also to those manning the food shops and distribution for all their hard work.  Also to others not mentioned for all your efforts.  I hope I will not need your assistance at all, but one never quite knows what will happen in this mortal coil of ours.  I am however keeping positive and hoping that this dreadful infection soon goes away.

Take care and keep safe everyone.



P.S.  Will get back as soon as I can.


Saturday, 21 March 2020

Feeling Grateful for Today

I went out with a friend to an event, and when we got there it had been cancelled.  Bearing in mind no coffee shops were open we decided to go for a walk in the open parkland and gardens of Thorpe Hall in Peterborough.  It was a lovely way to spend some quality time with a good friend.  Something we shall be doing again.  It was lovely to be in the fresh air, blew the cobwebs away a bit.  Although the sun has been shining, it has been a very cold day.

I did not sleep well as our Jack Russell Missy would not settle last night and was very restless. Every time I was just starting to fall asleep she moaned (usually this is because she is cold and wants covering again), but we could not get to the bottom of things with her last night.

I was up at 6:00am as I needed to find the lead for my sewing machine, and also all my sewing stuff.  This meant going into the front room and tackling some of the boxes and bags in there.  I was extremely pleased to find this, together with my sewing box.

I then had to find my walking foot for my sewing machine which was upstairs in the craft room.  I found that as well.  So a couple of achievements which I was very pleased to have realised.  Something went right for a change. Yippee!  Now to keep it all together so that I can set too with the patchwork and the rest of the sewing I have planned in due course.

OH had arranged to go to my step-son's for 8:45am this morning in order to pick up his shopping list.  Precautions were taken and OH came home with the shopping list in readiness for me to go over to the shop for 9:00am when the shop normally opens.  This morning they were late.  I told them I was out for 9:45am and they asked me to come back for 9:30am, which I subsequently did and managed to cover all the items that they were after, not that they were after much.  OH then went to walk Missy, and then drop off the veggies to my step-son and his wife.  My friend was slightly delayed by traffic, but it all worked out in the end.  We nipped to Waitrose as she needed a couple of things and there were less people in there as well and more on the shelves.  Still no flour and hardly any eggs, but there was more on the shelves compared to the past two days.

I have not done much shopping today; there was no need to.  The only things I needed were some bread flour, and some eggs.  I managed to acquire both and am now set up for the rest of the week.  One bag of flour, which I managed to get will potentially make three loaves, so I am highly chuffed about this.  I am happy to have a go at making stuff myself especially if I cannot source what I have been after.  Something simple, but a staple that we rely on. I must admit to a sigh of relief on this, as I had been looking for this for the week.  Am now content about this.  The only thing I might need to go looking for is some milk.  Otherwise I am very grateful for what I have and that we have meals in place for the next week.

I wold also like to report that the shops had a little more in them today; still depleted, but there were things available.  There were not the crowds out like there have been either.  Hopefully people will start to be sensible now, and let the shops get back to a semblance of normality.

Things are serious, I know that, but amplifying problems further than they needed to be has been a mass reaction and made things more difficult than they need to have been. As a result of that panic buying, it has made me think more seriously about the items I will re-stock my pantry with in the next few weeks.  I need to keep in-house some of the smaller bits and bobs which are very useful in baking etc. which I don't always keep in-house.  Food for thought as the saying goes.

Unfortunately, because of the restless night with Missy, when I came home this afternoon, I sat down to have something to eat (some fresh bread and chocolate spread), had a drink.  I put my feet up for a few minutes as they were hurting me the next I knew it was 5:00pm. I crashed out. OH had left me to sleep.  So tomorrow, without fail the Study/Computer/Craft room will need to be sorted and organised so that OH can commence work on Monday.  I can then start to tackle the Pantry.

I am content with very small things today, but the realisation of what I have and which gives a sense of security has been driven home even more than it had been before.  Difficult times, but need to put the long legged wellies on and wade through whatever issues there are.  I am one of the lucky ones for now and I am very grateful for that also.

Keep safe, and take care.



Sorting out the Study/Craft Room

Now that OH is going to be working from home for the foreseeable future, I need to decamp from my desk and organise it so that he can work from this comfortably.  

And as I have to go out for a little while tomorrow  - shopping again, this time for my step-son and his wife.  Both have self-isolated as his wife has been really poorly (not the virus it has been established but better to err on the side of caution). As they have not had the opportunity of getting any fresh supplies and will not leave the house or let anyone in, I hve offered to see what I can find for them. They had a delivery from Tesco's last week but every item had been changed to something else, and apparently it was not a good alternative.  I have therefore asked him to make a list of some of the items that they require, and I will do what I can for them locally tomorrow.  It is as much as I can do for them.

However when I get home it has been planned that we are going to start work on the Study/Craft room.  It is a little out of hand so we are going to chuck everything out, get it nice and tidy again, get his computer set up so he can work properly.  There is a lot to chuck out of this room.  I think doing it this way will help an awful lot, will also give it a good wash out as well including the curtains and the nets.  It will be a job well done.  I think I am going to be at this Saturday and Sunday.  At least am going to have some help in moving stuff which will be a big help.

I am hopeful that cleaning out the rooms one by one, will help me clear my cluttered mind and more able to deal with things that phase me.  Decluttering is a big part of this I know.  I need to have a good sort out.

This is my plan for Saturday and Sunday.

Then I can start on the next room, which I think will be the Pantry.

Catch you soon.



Friday, 20 March 2020

Difficult Days

Despite the odds, I have managed to get a few supplies together to give us meals for the week. This  is despite the fact that I had a limited supply of cash.  However, I have been sensible and have tried to make sure that we have a hot meal for each day. It has taken some doing but I am relatively content with what I have managed to locate, despite the shop shelves being continuously empty.  Mind you as a consequence of that, I have been out shopping a lot longer than I normally am in an effort to locate meat for the main meal of the day. I certainly have not seen chicken in any of the shops for about three days or so. I have been shopping for a week only, and hope I have not been greedy (I don't think I have), but I have tried to get a few bits of everything, especially in relation to the veg as so much can be done with this.

I went to the veg shop first thing for a tray of eggs.  Unfortunately they are unable to get replacement supplies at the present, and so had limited what they had to 6 eggs per person. Therefore please if you have any eggs in-house that are getting near their best date, please for your own benefit freeze them three or four at a time in a small pot (or freeze in the quantity you will require them say to make a cake) rather than waste them.  You will then have a supply of eggs for at the very least to do a bit of baking in any event.  This is preferable rather than having nothing at all and it does save needless waste because they have not been used up.  That doesn't happen in our household.

Apparently, the owners of the veg shop they were ringing round their normal suppliers until 11:00pm last night in an effort to find stock.  They tend to deal with a lot of little suppliers as well as some of the larger ones.  They do not know how much longer they are going to be open for, especially if they cannot find the replacement stock.  They also have a shop at their home.  They bought in 1 tonne of potatoes yesterday and people were calling at the home shop and have snaffled them up  I will need some potatoes soon. 

I did manage to pick up some Bramley apples though which had been reduced.  Even if we cannot have the quantity and choice of foods as we normally have, there is something to be had somewhere.  I therefore intend to make an apple pie with these, it will pad a meal out and as I already have the lard for making shortcrust pasty in-house.  I also have a couple of tins of custard so will not be using copious amounts of milk for making custard.  That I consider fortunate as milk has been scarce too.

I also bought a bunch of bananas.  They are predominantly for OH to eat, however I am going to snaffle a couple of them to make banana bread when they have gone over a bit.  This is the recipe I intend to follow. Banana Bread Recipe. Yes it is using a couple of eggs, but it gives you something extra to pad out a meal or a lunch/pack up.  If I can find any reduced though I will let OH have the fresh ones and use any reduced ones to make the Banana bread.  Unfortunately Bananas in their raw state give me colic for 24 hours.  I have a food sensitivity with them.

I then bought some courgettes, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, parsnips, swede, and a cabbage.  I also bought some pears, some oranges and some eating apples as there are recipes I can use these for as well, despite eating them fresh.

I then went to the Co-Op and bought some stewing steak primarily for a stew with the addition of some of the veg from the Veg shop this should make a very good and filling meal.  I also managed to find a boiling bacon joint which after soaking to get rid of some of the salt should make another hot meal in itself i.e. sliced meat with hot veg, served in a sandwich and will also produce some useful stock with which to make some homemade soup with.  Any scraps can be used up with some pasta (I have plenty of this in the pantry) and I have a few bottles of tomato pasta sauce, and a couple of tins of tomatoes.  I also have some cheese.  I also bought a sweetheart cabbage,  celery, some button mushrooms, a small bag of frozen peas and a bag of kale.  No chicken though.  I had primarily gone there to get some bread flour, they were still out and there was no bread.  There was hardly any tinned stuff but I did manage to buy two small tins of sardines in tomato sauce.  OH does not like them, but I do and that will make a quick meal x 2.

From the Co-Op I went on to walk into town to Waitrose.  Their shelves were worse than last night, full of sweet things, and pre-prepared food, stuff that was not practical for a main meal.   I only bought three things in there, a bunch of thyme, (thyme together with honey is a good antibiotic for use when you have a cold.  I was looking for some fresh sage as that is also very good but they did not have any).  I also bought some Heck sausages in order to prepare a toad in the hole, and some Stork margarine.  They had no bread, no eggs, hardly any bread in their own bake section (just a few buns). I was also looking for some mince as I can get about three meals out of 1lb of mince, Ragu to use with pasta, a lasagna and a spaghetti Bolognese.  Could not locate any. I then decided to go into town to M & S.

M & S had a better supply of items than Waitrose.  I bought a steak pie, some onions, a bread loaf from their bakery which was still warm when I got it and then came home.  At least I have meals for the week until OH gets his wages and I am very grateful for that.

However, the prices have been hiked up and I have been hearing stories about some of the smaller outlets charging through the nose or certain items.  A friend went to her local corner shop last night to get some toilet rolls.  The shopkeeper wanted to charge her £10 for a pack of nine toilet rolls.  His view that they were in short supply and because of that people would pay anything.  She turned him down point blank and refused to buy them.  He also wanted £4 for a 2 pint bottle of milk.  Many of the shops are taking advantage of this including my own veg shop on some of the items.  They wanted £1.40 for a very small cauliflower.  I was not prepared to pay that.  M & S wanted £2 for the same sized cauliflower.  I am used to paying £1 for a cauliflower and that being twice the size of the one that was on offer today.  So we went without.  I will not be held to ransom.

Equally my local Co-Op are keeping a small supply of stock for the older members of the community, the ones that cannot get easily to the shop, which I think is very sensible and also very considerate.

It must also be causing problems for people on a lower income all the way round.  I know that the food banks are being affected quite badly, and in the Co-Op there is a message on the internal tannoy system, saying don't forget them and giving a list of suitable items to buy to donate.  However, they did not have those items in the store when I was in there.

I am sure that this siege mentality is going to have repercussions further down the line for all of us.  However for us, like so many others in the same boat you can only do what you can do. At least for the next week we will achieve one hot meal a day, which is more than enough for us in the greater scheme of things. We consider ourselves fortunate in all the circumstances.

I just need to get hold of some bread flour and a net of onions if I can and we should be reasonably set up.

One thing I do know for sure is that if and when things settle down again when running down my pantry in future, I will not do it all in one go, it will be done segment by segment and freezer by freezer.

OH did not appreciate that quite so many foodstuffs were just not available and that I can only buy if it is there; that also being dependent on how much money I have to hand.  Think he does now though.

He is also going to be working from home for the foreseeable future, so the timing of my blogs may be a little all over the shop and when I can get on.  I know a certain little dog that will be pleased about OH being at home.

I hope that wherever you are, you are able to source what you need to get by and help those elder members of our community where you can.  We are going for smaller quantities on our plate and not as much veg which will probably do us both good so that I can inch the best out of the stock I have.  If it looks as though I am not going to get the veg all used up (very unlikely) it will get put in the freezer.  No waste being allowed here.  No way Jose.  I hate waste of any kind.

Hopefully seed sowing this weekend, if not early part of next week.  Think we need to do this long-term now to help provide for ourselves.

Chin up let's all let the British Bulldog out.  As the Queen has said in her speech, the people of this country are never stronger than when they all pull together and help each other out.

Catch you soon.



Siege Mentality

I went to my local Waitrose last evening and I have never been more astounded at the lack of stuff on the shelves.  They were bare.  No veg; limited amount of fruit; no frozen stuff; no meat at all.  Some fish but not necessarily what you would buy. I went for some bread flour - no flour at all - hardly anything.  Tinned stocks had also been depleted.  No milk; no bread.  Even at Christmas when the stores are usually hit mega hard

From there I went to M & S.  Same situation there.

Needless to say I am very fed up and disappointed. No doubt I am not the only one.

When I got home I nipped to the Co-Op round the corner from where I live.  There were people queuing up for the reductions counter here.  As I went by I heard a conversation between some of the people in the queue, bragging about what they had got, that they had had to buy an extra fridge and that was now full and that they were sending other members of their family out after things.  Not everyone can afford to do this and there are people much worse off than me.

I did manage to get a bottle of milk which was a result so I am pleased with that.

Unfortunately this time round I have been caught out with my knickers round my ankles.  With me being out of work, we have been having to plan things to ensure that we have the funds available to do a shop.  We are due to go shopping in about 4 weeks, and it was planned to be a big shop to stock the freezers and the pantry up as it has been run down considerably in the last 18 months.  There is still some stuff there, but not what I normally have.  There are some jams and preserves to be made with some existing stuff which is still in the pantry but that will come and is on the to do list.  I already have everything in for doing these. I am thinking more dried fruits in respect of these which need using up.

Fortunately I have the cat food and the dog food for a week which is something less to worry about.

So it will be an early start tomorrow.  I shall try and get some bread flour again tomorrow.  I will also be paying a visit to the veg shop to get fruit and veg and also some eggs.

I really don't need that much in the greater scheme of things, but one thing I do know.  I am never ever letting OH talk me into running everything down like this again.  I will do it a freezer at a time, or a particular area at a time.  Never full throttle again.  It just does not work for me.

In respect of the Coronavirus,  a fellow blogger has put up a very interesting post on how to deal with this for those of you who are interested.

The blog belongs to Sarah Head and makes good sensible reading.

Catch you soon.



P.S.  I shall definitely be looking to sow some seeds this weekend.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Corona virus - search for treatment upate

We heard via an associate this evening that some progress has been made in USA with a possible treatment for the Coronavirus pandemic that is currently with us.

The link is here if you would like to read it.

Coronavirus possible treatment

That made interesting reading to me as from what I understand the medication I am on for all my associated immune disease is a form of quinine, which is often used for the treatment of malaria i.e. Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate 1 x 200mg tablets twice a day.

I hope that this will be a viable treatment for all those concerned.

Keep safe and take care



Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Perhaps I am being a little anal but....

How many toilet rolls can you use at a time!  

I had to nip to the shop last night (they only let me out at night when the bats come out to play)!  I needed a couple of tins of cat food for the moggies for their supper.

I was surprised just how clear the shelves were and was talking to one of the assistants.  I asked her how she was as I know her and the others in there relatively well.  The young assistant indicated that it had been extremely stressful.   As fast as stock was coming in it was being cleared and then other customers had been going in and playing hell and blaming the assistants.  She indicated that apparently it has not helped either because they have put a limit of three items of one particular thing and the customers are even more disgruntled because they cannot have what they want.  Now how selfish is that.  This is an effort to make sure that everyone gets a fair share.  The shop has even offered to the regular OAPs who cannot get around so easily to deliver the items to them.  I mentioned people who did not have the money until their benefit day or indeed their pay day, people on lower incomes and she said yes precisely, they need a fair share too.

I made a remark about toilet rolls indicating that if they ran out that there were other options available - like newspaper, or washing themselves! They managed in the First and Second World Wars, so I am pretty sure that our pampered generations can make do too.  Just because something is not there does not mean that there are no options available.  There are and plenty of them sometimes you just have to look for them.

I think I cheered her up as she laughed her head off by the time I had finished with her.  Maybe they should bring the crinkly crunch stuff back that they used to use in public toilets when I was a little girl rather than the softest this or that.  Being clean is the important part here not histrionics over the lack of loo paper.

Situations like this bring out the best and worst in people.  We are all in the same boat whether we like it or not.  Pulling together and being practical is the important part and helping those in need.  That was what everyone did during the First and Second World Wars, and I don't see why anyone else is anymore special than the person beside us.   We all count.

I and my partner because of our medical conditions are high risk in any event. It is what it is. I don't go out much these days and am of the view that if I am unlucky enough to be affected, we will deal with that there and then, by natural methods if need be.  We will deal with it if and when it happens, and will be sensible in the meantime.  One day at a time.

Be kind and considerate of each other, especially those older members of our communities.  They still have much to teach us.  Hard times bring harsh lessons, we have to draw in the belt and deal with what is.  Situations  like this bring lots of  experience and teach us lessons, techniques and ways of dealing with things.  Many of which we don't wish on people or don't want to learn and go through by choice.  in going through it though, it makes you a stronger person.

Be safe, be sensible and kind and help where you can.



Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Recycling the Baby Steriliser 1

A lot of us have equipment in the kitchen which we do not really use to its full potential.  Many pieces of kitchen equipment can be used in other ways too.  In this particular instance I am dealing with baby sterilisers.  People just think that they are for "sterilising baby bottles".  Yes that is what they are marketed at, but take out the word "baby" and you have "sterilising bottles".  When you put things into perspective that is exactly what we need to store preserves long-term on the pantry shelf.  This process is in effect hot water bathing or in England is also known as bottling which is a process which preserves fruit in syrup or tomatoes in the form of pasta sauce.  It works by removing all of the oxygen out of the bottle to make the bottle air-tight.  In the states when jam has been processed and bottled it is then subjected to water bathing to ensure that the longest shelf life is achieved for that particular product.  It works, I have used this in the past and is a step further than we normally do in this country. 

However, when it comes to meat, or vegetables which are classed as foods most likely to succumb to botulism,you really need to "Can" these to make sure that the contents are safe to eat. Basically the food goes into a specialist canner and is processed under high pressure to make sure that the food is safe. Under no circumstances would I hot water bathe these foodstuffs as the temperatures in processing are not high enough to kill off any susceptible food.

Anyway, I digress again.  I use the baby steriliser as a hot water bath for bottling sauces and cordials.  I have mentioned before that I have made cordials and then popped into some of the large bottles available such as Kilner which although well and good are a little tricky to process.  Through use and practicality, I now use HEX bottles, which are an ideal size for a baby sterilizer and quick to process.  It is ideal for the two of us and makes sure that we do not waste anything.  If you are a larger family, I would suggest still using these bottles, but making more in quantity.

Basically, I sterilise my Hex bottles and add the contents to the bottles, put on the lids, and then straight into the baby sterilizer, fill with water and then bring up to boiling.  Start timing from when comes to a boil and process for about 15 to 20 minutes.  You can do syrups, sauces, such as Ketchups, sweet chilli sauce, brown sauce, fruit coulis etc. using this method. Once the bottles are cold, the lids, will be tight like a drum just how a lid goes when you have bottled or canned a jar of fruit.  If it is not either re-process or if you want to be on the safe side use it there and then.

I would also mention that I have two baby sterilizers and both came from a charity shop for next to nothing in price.  This means I can pop them on the worktops and leave them to do their stuff without having the extra paraphernalia of a deep pan on top of the cooker and other cumbersome equipment.  One thing I do is I don't put cold bottles into existing hot water in the steriliser as this can break the bottles and you will end up losing precious preserves.  I take out the bottles and let the hot water cool a little before tipping it out, putting in a fresh amount of cold water and starting the process again.  Better to be safe than sorry.

Bottled Strawberry syrup

Bottled Elderflower cordial

Sterilising bottles

Processing filled bottles

Simplifies the whole process by using the baby steriliser.

Catch you soon.



Christmas Drink Containers and Accessories

Over the years, I have managed to accumulate some lovely individual items for my home including lots of drinkware and entertaining pieces of different styles and patterns but which can all be loosely used together.  For me that premium time of the year to use these is Christmas.  Although most of the items have been gathered together, every so often there is an extra piece that takes my fancy and joins the collection.  I look for items throughout the year, and keep an eye out for pieces I think will be useful.

Somewhere in the stash I have a proper cocktail making set including the shaker and the cocktail glasses but at the time of typing this I do not have a scoobie where they might be located.  I know it has all the gadgets with it.  What many of you may not be aware of though is that I have over the years collected many different lead crystal decanters in all shapes and sizes as well as different glasses for different types of drink, both lead crystal, cut glass, coloured glass anything that has taken my fancy. Primarily these days I collect gold and green glass both of which go with the different china I have.  I have also recently received a lovely present from a friend which consists of six small Murano glass drinking glasses which will also blend in with many of the items I already have.  These are red glass though.

One of the things that I do is to actually match glassware where I can.  However if I cannot match it and make the numbers up (I currently collect 12 of everything) then as long as it is the same colour or same type of glassware i.e. cut glass and it blends then I will use both sets together on the table alternating the place settings.

I have a full set of not expensive but still good looking lead crystal as well, so apart from the gold and the green colourway I am currently collecting I am pretty set up on the glass front.

When I was first married my first husband and I  purchased three lead crystal glass Ship's Captain decanters and because they were plain we used them for holding the cordials. I still have those decanters in the stash as well.

Since then all the lead crystal decanters I have found have been found in the charity shops and I have paid no more than £10 for any one decanter and on a couple of occasions have picked up two for that price.  Recently when in the Antiques shop I did find a couple of more really decent lead crystal decanters, both the same pattern one larger than the other. I haven't bought these yet.  So far I have managed to resist.

A couple of things that I would quite like to acquire are a couple of lead crystal ice buckets, a couple of large metal beer/wine holders that can be filled with ice and a couple of champagne buckets. 

I already have a couple of punch sets with all their cups intact one of which I was bought from new and the other which arrived courtesy of the charity shop.  They do not match but are embossed clear glass so fit in very well together.

I did have a drink's cabinet when I was married in a free standing unit we had  Since I have been here though I use one of the shelves on the Fireside cupboard in which to store the alcohol.  I do have a trolley though especially for when entertaining onto which to place said items including glasses.  This is for home entertaining only and the alcohol is not kept out all the time. I remember at Christmas as a child (well in our house) the Port Decanter or Sherry Decanter was out with the relevant glasses on.

So if you keep a sharp look out at the Charity shops, Antique Centres, and auctions, every so often you will come across something that does not cost the earth but which fits in with your plan of what you hope to achieve.  As long as it has a purpose, and as long as it fits in with what you envisage that is all that matters.

I have found, that my tastes have not changed much over the years, but I am being more specific in what I collect.  The above items are only a partial reflection of the bits I have accumulated so far, but one day I hope that I will have the formal dining room for them to go into.  You have to have a dream.

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)