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Saturday, 31 October 2020

Back into Lockdown then

 I know that lots of people are not going to be happy about this but I think it is a necessary evil to try and control the virus from what I have heard. Better to try and stem it now than cause so much more loss and unhappiness in the longer term.  English winters are not the best time to be dealing with viruses and potential long term infections.  We are not now going away as planned as a result of this.

What does really pee me off though is the constant criticism by political parties against one another.  This is a fight against an unknown quantity. There is no real right or wrong way and sometimes the waters have to be tested to see if perchance they could work.  The focus should be on trying to do something no matter what and inquests can be held at a later time when everything is under control. The focus needs to be on the fight in hand.

Another practical thing that concern me though is that a lot of people are still going into shops without face  masks, and shops are not confronting said offenders despite the majority of people complying and wearing masks. The Selfish few who have led to this next round of lockdown. A lot of the offenders are young adults who seem to think that they are pretty special.  A shop I know has been doing this and not facing the offenders or refusing to serve them.  I have found this particularly difficult to stomach especially in view of the fact that so many individuals and families have ended up losing loved ones as a result of this awful infection.  I have questioned several people about it.  It would appear that members of staff have had threats to kill them by members of the public and the company approach has been not to be "confrontational".  They are apparently not the only shop that is doing this. This to me is going to lead to further problems in the longer run.  Especially as many older people are staying in and only coming out when they have to.  I am not using names or the name of the shop involved and have also been told by members of staff that the Local Police do not want to get involved either. So that in effect means that there is a law in place, but nobody is doing anything about enforcing it!  Does not send through the right kind of message at the end of the day.

A lot (not all) of the younger people are kicking off about the controls in place and the restrictions involved.  This is not only affecting them.  I think that a lot of this stems from the fact that each generation of parents wants their child to do bigger and better than what they managed to achieve to make life easier for them.  Because of that "molly coddling" a lot of the younger generation are flouting the rules on the basis that they have never come across this kind of situation before and they expect to have their own way no matter what. Only they count! Parents seem to want to please their children all the time and be friends with them.  That, is not always possible. 

We are all in this together and I think many of the general public have an expectation that if they are going along and complying with the rules and regulations restricting them then everyone else should also do the same and that offenders should be "called out" and made to toe the line not allowed to get away with it.  

Would appreciate some feed back on this as I am starting to believe that I am turning into a right "fuddy duddy" by raising this, but what is happening is just not morally right.  We need to get rid of this infection no matter what it takes to ensure that all of us come out the other side.

Your thoughts if you have any please.

Thank you

Pattypan

x

 


Pattypan's Pumpkin Patch/Pantry

Pattypan's Pantry is quickly becoming a pumpkin patch.  Thus far I have six pumpkins, two Butternut Squash, four marrows, another 2kg of beetroot and a host of other veggies queuing up in readiness to be processed for food for the pantry. Think Pumpkin marmalade, canned pumpkin, pumpkin chutney, frozen pumpkin for roasting and pumpkin soup are going to be on the cards.

The marrows are for chutneys and I have a load of other vegetables to hand to do stuff with as well.

The beauty with squashes and pumpkins is that they will keep for sometime in a cool place so there is no rush to use up straight away.  Mine are predominantly for preserving but I still in the meanwhile have the option of using them for meals as well. They are being stored under the stairs as it is cooler in there than in the main pantry.

I did in fairness grow some pumpkin plants this year and they were doing very well.  However they did not survive my first holiday in the caravan.  Next year I hope to have my step-daughter come and look at the garden if we go away and keep things watered.  She likes gardening in any event and we are approaching the seed growing a bit earlier this year.  Will start them off in my greenhouses.

Will see if I can locate any more stragglers in the next few days as well.

Right off to potter willl catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Friday, 30 October 2020

Cold Cold day




Well I have been cold and been trussed up in jumpers and a thick jacket for the best part of the day.  OH is a bit more with it but now starving hungry and could not fancy the lamb chops.  We have therefore made a fleeting visit to the butchers as he fancied a stew.  

We then had a lovely walk out with Missy to Castor Backwaters and the river is well high nearly to the top of the bank.  We knew it had been raining but had not appreciated that we had had quite so much rain.  The scenery was quite picturesque in that there were deep dark clouds one side with the sun coming from the opposite direction and highlighting all the autumn colours of the trees and bushes with them "popping" out with the dark background.  It was a pleasant walk in any event.

We then made our way to see my step-son and his wife and spent a little time with them outside before coming back home and then with me getting on with tea.

I have therefore made a big batch of stew 1.5 kg of meat with parsnip, leek, potato, onion and carrot added.  The house smells wonderful of stew a comforting soul food meal with an aroma which is making me hungry.  I am licking my lips  in anticipation.  I have also added stock and half a bottle of Old Speckled Hen to the mix, some white pepper and a little redcurrant jelly and Worcester Sauce.  Have cooked it again in the Ninja Foodie.  It will be served with thick crusty bread. I start off by sauteing the onions, leeks and the meat.  Then added stock, water and half bottle of beer and flavourings.  Then pressure cook it for 40 minutes.  You have to thicken the gravy up afterwards as otherwise the pressure cooker element does not work very well and you have to release what steam is in there and and try again.


We are rather uncouth here when it comes to serving stew as I use the deep Mason & Cash Pudding bowls to serve up stew as OH usually likes to have plenty.




We have since had a scuttle full and it has warmed us both up and there is plenty left for tomorrow.  The meat and the veggies are lovely and tender and the gravy has gone nice and thick, full of meat and veggie goodness which was quickly mopped up with some thick sliced bread.  I am hoping it will do OH some good, bearing in mind he has been off his food and is diabetic to boot.  He has been drinking plenty, but it is still worrying if he is hardly eating anything.

We are planning to go to the Fish Man in Ramsey in the morning  as we quite like our weekly fix of fish.  I might suggest that we go on a bit further to Johnsons to see if we can order Turkey for Christmas Dinner.  Depends how he feels.

Right off to potter.  Catch you all soon.

Pattypan

x

Thursday, 29 October 2020

A Little Catch up

It has been a cold dark day here in Peterborough.  We had intended to go to see the fish man this morning but both of us slept through the alarm and by the time we would have got there 10 ish most of the good fish would have gone so we have stayed in,  Had a breakfast and pottered.  OH has since become unwell and so I have been out to get some Neurofen. I think he has a bit of a chill.  In any event have packed him off to bed .  Missy is snuggled up next to him keeping him both warm and is on guard duty.  

I have had to go into the back bedroom as everything seems to be getting in disarray and some of the stuff I have downstairs is destined to rest in here, so this room needs doing as a matter of necessity.  I have therefore been pottering away this afternoon in an effort to try and sort things out.  Not getting me far but at least I am starting to tackle it.  As the OH is on the day bed in the computer/craft room which runs off the back bedroom I am somewhat restricted in what I can do today.

We were going to have lamb steaks for tea tonight but he wasn't up to it so that will be what we have to eat tomorrow.  Hopefully he will be feeling a bit more with it by then.

Some of the boxes that have collapsed had a lot of my Christmas crafting stuff in it and so am having to go through the boxes as well.  Slow going but some lovely stuff.

Right am off to continue to quietly potter.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

Take care everyone.

Pattypan

x

Dabbling with Instagram

 I am trying to get my head around Instagram and failing dreadfully.  The little grey cells are not what they used to be.  If any of you have any suggestions for a good simple tutorial that I could follow they would be gratefully received.  I just need an idiots guide so that I can write and post stories, add in photos, but there is some information missing I feel which is making what little knowledge I do have not very fluid.

I am no going away from blogging, but Instagram from what I see is a good spur of the moment platform to feed through things quickly.

Help would be gratefully appreciated.

Thank you

Pattypan

x

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Guinea Fowl for Tea




If you have never had Guinea Fowl before and get the opportunity to try it do so.  Guinea Fowl tastes to me like chickens used to taste years ago when they had a lot more flavour.  We tend to buy our Guinea Fowl locally from Willowbrook Farm in any event; it has though been a while since we had one.  They also had Venison in as well as other game so may well go back later in the week and get some of this too.  Thinking Game Pie here.  Yum.

With Guinea Fowl, I tend to cook it exactly the same as I do a chicken.  Now I have the Ninja Foodie, I am going to try cooking it in this.  If the chicken is anything to go by that we had earlier in the week it will be the ideal way to cook this.

Update:

I cooked the Guinea Fowl in the Ninja Foodie and it was delicious.  Meat was nice and tender and did not dry out.  Cooked for an hour on 170 degrees C.






I love Pheasant too; it is a favourite, however not hung under any circumstances.  No way.  My family have always eaten Pheasant unhung.  My Nan always used to cook Pheasant with chicken, roasted, although the Pheasants were always cooked last as they do not need long in the oven.  Nan would then lay a slice of chicken, then a slice of Pheasant and continue layering this until she thought that you had a decent serving, depending on your age, size and appetite.  Not only do the two meats complement each other, but it was a good way of making small portions of unusual meat go a lot further.

I intend to serve with peas, mashed potato (passed through a ricer), some roasties, peas, cauliflower, carrots and broccoli.  I may do a couple of sausages as well and some stuffing to complement.  We then have a cherry pie for pudding with custard.

So very much looking forward to my tea this evening.

Right am off to potter.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

P.S. There are photos to be incorporated into this post unfortunately Google does not seem to be downloading them very quickly.  Will update post once they are available.

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Christmas 2020 Christmas Magazine Number Four - Good Housekeeping Christmas Collection


It is a wet damp day very overcast here in Peterborough and I am in need of some Christmas Spirit.  Well not literally although I may have a tot of dark rum in a coffee a little later on.

Many of you will probably have this magazine already.  However, I thought I would still share as there are some lovely ideas in here and with the current situation throughout the country we all need a chance to try and brighten up our lives a bit and do what we can for ourselves.  After all another big part of  Christmas is the food and the feasting.




This magazine really is about Christmas recipes and celebrating. Now there are some really lush recipes in this magazine, which again I love.

There is a recipe for a simple Christmas pudding which is not complicated, and one I would urge beginners to try.  It  is a relatively easy recipe especially for someone who has never made a Christmas pudding before. It relies on simple ingredients.  The school that I went to was a secondary school and it had very well balanced facilities and our Domestic Science kitchens were second to none.  Previous years before ours had made a Christmas cake one year and then a Christmas pudding the following.  Because the year I was in was last year Secondary Modern, First Year Comprehensive we missed out on doing this and the first cake and pudding I made was my first Christmas that I was married.  I learned how to do this from a book and a little intervention from my mum.  I still remember the sense of accomplishment after my first attempts.  So go on have a go it is not as complicated as what you think it is.



An Italian inspired Christmas cake also looks and sounds promising. It is fed with either sweet Marsala wine or Brandy.




There is also a recipe for Sherry Mincemeat which I am also going to have a go at whether it will beat my usual recipe remains to be seen but it does look juicy.  There is also an accompanying recipe for ultimate mince pies.




There are also recipes for Spiced Plum and Fig jam, Cranberry and Tomato Chutney and Merry Berry Liqueur which is quite quickly made as it uses frozen mixed berries and either white or dark rum.  One for the tipples shelf or trolley.




There are loads of ideas for celebrational drinks including Champagne and Grand Marnier  Fizz/Kir, Mulled Cranberry and Raspberry punch, Prosecco, Passionfruit and ginger, Spiced Blackberry Kir Royale and Clementine Rosemary Gin and Tonic. There are lots of lovely recipes with in many instances make ahead instructions incorporated within the recipe.  There are so many recipes in this magazine and I hope to test drive quite a few before Christmas. At Christmas I always have compote available and there is a lovely recipe for an Almond and Apricot cake which uses compote. There is also a section on how to oomph up bought products including some solutions to issues such as what to do if the Turkey is still pink. A section on how to use up the leftovers.



A very useful get ahead section for the freezer with recipes for Venison pie, Aubergine, Chickpea and sweet potato curry, Spiced chicken stew, Spicy Butternut Squash soup, Cheese and Chive Tart, Spinach and Riccotta stuffed pasta, Banana and white chocolate Blondie tart, Pecan and Cranberry Freezer cookies, Ice Cream Layer cake, French Onion soup, cheese and bacon puffs, smoked Salmon swirls, Rich Beef casserole, Broccoli, Gorgonzola and walnut quiche.  Puddings include Hazlenut and Raspberry Meringue cake, chocolate orange cheesecake.



One of the puddings I have quite taken a fancy to, a Sloe Gin and Plum trifle.  I am definitely going to test drive this one well before Christmas. OH is not a trifle fan (well at least with any spirit in it) so might just have to make a small one for myself.




I am also going to make some Marmalade and Bay gin.  There are no end of lovely recipes and ideas in this magazine.  Well worth the money.

Lots of inspiration for me in any event.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Monday, 26 October 2020

Things to achieve - Trying to get organised week ending 25.10.2020

I need to get back into the habit of making lists and ticking things off again.  This helps me plot and plan things out and then I feel a sense of achievement if I have managed to tick things off the to do list.  It also focuses my attention as to what needs doing next. A modicum of control is required otherwise everything just goes to pot and putting it bluntly my memory is not what it used to be.

+ alongside item means it has been completed

- means that has yet to be done.

This year I am in relation to Christmas decorations trying to use what I have for the best part maybe accentuated with either some fresh foliage or faux foliage.  Will see how that goes.

Traditional Christmas Items
  1. Christmas cakes made. +
  2. Christmas puddings made. +
  3. Homemade Mincemeat. +
  4. Nan's Fruit bread. -
Household Planning
  1. Booked cats in to the cattery for their next stay +
  2. Arranged collection of old appliances so that new ones can be installed 6 week wait though as still only doing reduced collections +
  3. Arranged for Gas man to come and sort out meter which has packed up no gas not good at this time of year.
  4. Ordered new fridge/freezer +
  5. Need to order new Dishwasher. That has died as well.  Been a bit of an expensive exercise at the moment.  New one has been chosen.
  6. Still need to order new deep chest freezer.
All kinds of Preserves Jams, Jellies, Drinks, Canned Goods, Bottled Goods, Dried Goods, Pickles, etc. etc. etc. (and in no particular order)
  1. Found a jar of Sloe Gin which needed straining again and decanting into fresh jars. +
  2. Made Pickled Cucumber. +
  3. Made Souper Mix -
  4. Made Picallili -
  5. Made Pickled Beetroot.+
  6. Made Damson Jam +
  7. Made Damson Gin +
  8. Made Jumbleberry Jam +
  9. Made Jumbleberry Liqueur +
  10. Made Lemoncello -
  11. Made Orangecello -
  12. Made Passionfruit Gin +
  13. Froze Passionfruit juice +
  14. Made Passionfruit Curd -
  15. Pickled Onions (some more to do)
  16. Pickled Shallots (some more to do)
  17. Pickled Orange Slices +
  18. Pickled Clementine Slices +
  19. Dried Orange Slices -
  20. Dried Clementine slices -
  21. Dried Lemon Slices -
  22. Bottled Lemon Slices -
  23. Dried Kale -
  24. Dried Salad Leaves -
  25. Dried Spinach -
  26. Dried Bay Leaves - tree gets its annual haircut soon so will preserve then.
  27. Dried whole chillies +
  28. Made Mincemeat+
  29. Made Dried Apricot Chutney. -
  30. Made Plum jam. -
  31. Pickled Spiced Pears -
  32. Bottled Mulled Pears -
  33. Bottled Pears in syrup -
  34. Bottled Pears in Ginger wine -
  35. Made Ginger Beer -
  36. Made Sweet n Sour Chilli sauce -
  37. Made Nuts in honey  - mixed, almond, pecan -
  38. Made Rum n raisin sauce -
  39. Made Brandy Sultana and honey sauce -
  40. Made Ginger wine and stem ginger sauce -
  41. Made Chilli Jelly -
  42. Made Chilli Jam -
  43. Made Chilli Oil -
  44. Made Fermented Hot Sauce -
  45. Pickled Green Chillies -
  46. Dried Rubbed Sage +
  47. Made Dill Salt for Gravadlax -
  48. Made more Rosemary Salt +
  49. Make flavoured syrups for use in drinks, cakes, cocktails, drinks etc. and process in the baby steriliser. -
Sewing and Crafting
  1. Get desk cleared so that I can start doing some paper crafting with my Sizzix. -
  2. Started making some mini pumpkins for the dressers.  Not sure will get these completed in time but will try. -
  3. Started segregating pegs and springs for Christmas decorations and then decanting into easily accessible bags. Four bags x 32 pegs sorted +
  4. Need to start gluing the pieces together once I have found the glue gun.  It is hiding in fright! -
  5. Made star coasters for Christmas table. -
  6. Made large serving dish mats as well. -
  7. Made star mats for Christmas table. -
  8. Made star decorations for tree. -
  9. Made star gift tags for presents. -
  10. Paint job and final titivation on each piece as to what it is going to be. -
  11. Made Christmas Bunting -
  12. Made Christmas Quilt throws.  I bought the Jelly rolls last year and had not got around to making them up. These are going on holiday with me, with the sewing machine so that I can get these pieced together, cut and then sewn into the order I require them.   I at least want to get the tops pieced.  Batting and backing can take place at home where I perhaps have a little more room to lay things out -

Christmas Decorations
  1. Need to source flowers, wreaths, sprays and picks for table centre decoration as well as some silver candle pedestals. Silver because I have quite a few Mercury Glass table pieces and mirror ware for decorating the table -
  2. Need to source some Candle Lanterns for decoration. -
Miscellaneous
  1. Buy a bottle of rum for Mazawatti coffee now the weather is colder. +
  2. Found some dried Lavender that had been given by neighbour which I had forgotten about.  Have stripped this and bottled as I have some candles and soap to make which it will come in useful for. +
Gardening for next year
  1. Bought 6 Mum (Chrysanthemum) plants two yellow and two purple, two burgundy for garden tubs and hopefully for next year's Autumn/Fall decoration. +
  2. Six Rosemary plants bought for planters for next year harvesting and Autumn/Fall and Christmas decorating.  May get some more of these as the Rosemary sprigs are ideal for decorating the Christmas table and they smell so nice+
  3. Bought two Christmas Cacti, one bright pink the other palest white pink. +
  4. Need to sort out a planting flower garden list of plants would like for next year. -
  5. Need to research and sort out a list of flowers that can be dried for basket decorations and gifts for next year. -

So that is the start of the list.  There  are still lots of items to do and lots of items still to go on the list.  Some of it is pre-planning in preparation for next year already and then hopefully will be able to build on this from each year thereon-in.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Monday Potterings

OH disappeared off to to the caravan to do some work on it this morning complete with Missy in tow.  When we purchased the van it only had lino down what we had not appreciated was that there was carpet under the bed which we subsequently found.  As we are going off for a late jaunt soon back to Woodhall Spa OH has been muttering about putting the carpet down. When he looked again it was brand new carpeting. Thus far we have used the van just with the lino which with two humans and a Jack Russell and many footprints has worked out well.  We had been talking about making the van cosier in any event, but I still want to keep the van as pristine as we can married against the pleasure of using it and living in it when we go off and about.

Today he has put the carpet down and it looks fab.  The van also feels much warmer underfoot.  With the central heating this should keep us cosier in the van when we do tootle off.

He also sorted out the TV and managed to find loads more channels and to get the radio working again.  He has also put the proper pipe plumbing in under the van which should make things a lot easier when we are on proper pitches with drainage.  For those that do not we do have the containers in any event.  It will just make the setting up easier at the end of the day.

Whilst he was out and about I was pottering in the kitchen with normal Monday chores like washing and getting things dried, tidying stuff up, putting stuff away in the pantry etc.   OH then rang me on the way home as he fancied Gammon for tea so I was collected en-route and taken to the Butchers at Willowbrook Farm.

I came away with three Gammon Steaks (for tea tonight), a Guinea Fowl (for tea Tuesday night), three Barnsley Lamb Chops, (Wednesday night) 1lb Gloucester Old Spot Sausages (for toad in the hole - Thursday night).  I also have a steak pie for mid-day dinners with either a few chips or some veggies for a couple of days).  I also have some mince that I bought the other day so I shall turn that into a Cottage pie with loads of strong cheese on top which will make use of some cheese that needs using up. That should keep us going for this week.

On the way back OH diverted back to the caravan to show me how the van looked.  It is looking good, feels cosier and should do us fine.  It will be shoes off going into the van though to keep it as clean as we can.  We stayed for about an hour just finishing off a few things and having a cup of coffee before coming back to the house.



We have since had tea Gammon steaks with tinned pineapple and it has gone down well.  The Gammon has just been simply fried in a pan and traditionally you fry the pineapple.  However we prefer it unfried and straight from the tin.  It seems juicier that way and seems to compliment the Gammon much better.  The meat was certainly very tender and not salty and has gone down very well indeed.

One of the drawbacks to the clocks going back is that the nights are darker quicker or that is how it appears to me. However the bonus is that we do start eating more substantive meals which feed the soul as much as the body at this time of year.  Today started off bright here in Peterborough we had some sunshine first thing; however it has been a much chillier day and we have had more rain on top of that as well.  These longer evenings for me will be ideal for crafting, if I can get into a better routine with everything else and can plan it so that I can get to these projects.  Put it this way I am going to give it my best shot to make use of what I perceive to be valuable pockets of time.

Right had better get on the washing machine and the tumbler both respectively need feeding.  Then I will get to use my ironing board.

Hope everyone is keeping well and safe.

Catch you all soon.

Take care.

Pattypan

x


Sunday, 25 October 2020

Today

Has been a lazy day for a change and I have been able to spend time researching projects and writing the beginnings of posts or notes to fill out later on.  I find that sometimes I cannot find the words to express what is going on and at other times there is no stopping the words flying onto the paper.  This is what has been happening today.

In any event I am grateful of the respite of a day to myself no matter that I had planned to do a load of stuff but that will have to wait for once until tomorrow.

It has been a tad chilly today and so I have kept to the house.  Tea was simple enough as we had Italian Sausages with roasted mixed veg (including, potato, courgette, carrot, red pepper, onion, shallot, leek, butternut squash, sweet potato and it was very tasty.  I cooked it in the Ninja Foodie and it was all done and dusted inside an hour. Normally when I do it in the oven it takes a good couple of hours.  Thinking bills here.

In any event it was very much enjoyed and has gone down very well indeed.  No masses and masses of washing up to do.

The Foodie is not something that I had looked at buying.  I was hanging my nose over an old fashioned pressure cooker and also an Instant Pot.  OH when he decided we were having the caravan had already thought about the cooking side of things and came up with the idea of having one.  It was only seeing what it could do and potentially do that I came to the conclusion that it is a useful piece of equipment.  Certainly in my household.


Here are some photos of our tea.  This time I remembered to take some which I do not always manage to achieve.

The raw mixed veg hand prepared by mois.



After adding in the Fennel Sausages which I layered on top of the veggies after they had started to caramelise.  I then added a third layer of sausage on one of the metal racks as I had also bought coiled Italian Sausage which I love.  This is just full of sausage-meat with no Fennel seed in



The coiled sausage after cooking being split between us.




All ready to eat and it really was yummy.



There is another portion for tomorrow (with the chick sausages each), however we could not manage anymore today.  It will keep though.

I am off to do some more pottering and some research.  I have loads to do over the next few days including some experimentation on a project I have long wanted to have a go at.

Hope everyone has had a good day and keep safe wherever you are.

Pattypan

x


Pattypan's Pantry Projects Passionfruit Gin and Passionfruit Juice

Many years ago I made this on and off for a couple of years and I put up this original post in February 2012 Passionfruit Gin Recipe.  However as time goes on tastes change, you try new things and as I have a memory like a sieve at times I tend to forget things and recipes that work.  One thing that I do do though with most recipes is I adjust them as I go along with a bit of this and a bit of that but I cannot necessarily tell you how much of this or that I have used.  It was the way I was taught to cook and it also depends on your personal palate.  When it comes to sweetness of liqueur type drinks I tend to only put in a little sugar make sure it is dissolved and if it is still not sweet enough add a little more until I get it how I want it.  You can put too much sugar in and end up spoiling the liqueur, and once it is in it is sometimes nigh on impossible to get it out.  So always err on the side of caution when it comes to sugar.  Best a little at a time.  It is more messing around this way, however this is the way I prefer to do things.

In any event I scored a massive deal at the Veg shop this week in that they had quite a few bowls of passionfruit on sale and reduced.  I managed on average to get about 10 to 12 passionfruit for £1 and I bought four bowls.  I think the shop when they do reductions tend to go by weight per bowl rather than quantity.  If you go to the supermarket you will often pay more than 50p each which makes passionfruit one of the more expensive fruits to buy.  I only make the Gin or Vodka when they are on a really good offer.  I do love them though.  When I travelled to Australia in my youth, it was a revelation on the food front, I grew to love passionfruit, pumpkin, sweet potatoe, and lots of other foods that I had not come across. However what struck me most then was that the food was a lot fresher than it was in the UK.  Thankfully things have moved on a bit since then.

The original recipe tends to use a sugar syrup, I tend to add my sugar in granular (white granulated or caster sugar) form and then dissolve it in the bottle with shaking it every day.  I will leave that to your personal choice.

Passionfruit go bubbly or wrinkly on the skin when they are ripe.  There does not look as though there is much juice or fruit in but there is.  It is highly aromatic.  I used 40 passionfruit with one litre of Gin. You may have to add a few more or a few less depends on your own palate again but it does make a very agreeable drink.





Designer Gins and Vodkas are all the rage and very in vogue at the moment, but in reality these little creations have been one of the home preserver's little secrets like Rhubarb Gin.  They need minimal input and just a modicum of time and patience.



I have some more Gin to pop into the jar as I had a one litre bottle of Gin and I started off both Passionfruit Gin and Damson Gin.  I need to add that today.

I then leave the Gin for about a month to six weeks.  I strain this through a normal kitchen sieve (white nylon not metal)  and get all the seeds out.  I then pass through some muslin.  If it needs further sieving to finish it off pass it through a coffee paper filter which will help get rid of any latent sediment.  Then decant into fresh sterilised bottles.  Please note that if you manage to keep any home made liqueur type drinks for any period of time that sometimes a fine sediment does build up - not always, but sometimes.  This is quite natural and if you do not like the look of it strain it off and re-bottle again.  It does not harm the drink.

I am looking forward to opening my Passionfruit Gin for Christmas.  I am not a big drinker, I have favourite drinks but I am partial to a small glass of a liqueur type drink every so often.  Often more than not I tend to drink flavoured Gins with lemonade and ice and not very often neat.

I think that this one will go down very nicely on Christmas morning either with some fizzy white wine or Champagne.

I do however freeze Passionfruit juice in ice cube trays, either with the seeds or without and then just add to some ice cream as a sauce or yet again use in drinks.  Often it is the simplest things that bring the most pleasure.  I have some juice to do later on this afternoon as I managed to get a few more Passionfruit yesterday.

Cheers.

Pattypan

x

Pattypan's Kitchen

Over the past few days, there has been an awful lot going on in the kitchen with me trying to squirrel away last minute goodies, or process goodies that I have frozen away in the freezer because of lack of time when they were in season.  Some of the projects include Marmalade and Plum Chutney which will taken out of the freezer on Monday night when I have a bit more time to myself.  However, I have been slotting in other projects as and when I have a few minutes.

I found a big bottle/jar of Sloe Gin which I had forgotten about and that needed straining and decanting into clean sterilised bottles which has now been done.  Ideal for your own use or to give away as part of a Christmas hamper.

I have also made Jumbleberry Liqueur, Jumbleberry jam, Damson Jam, Damson Gin, Pickled Cucumber, Pickled Shallots, Pickled Onions (with more to do of both), Pickled Beetroot and Pickled Eggs, Pickled Orange Slices, Pickled Clementine Slices and Pickled Pears.  There is still a lot to do and very gradually the Pantry is being filled.  I use the Orange and Clementine slices by overlapping them on a cooked gammon or ham to make it look more decorative and appealing before covering it with honey or brown sugar and roasting it with perhaps some ground ginger or ground ginger and marmalade to give a lovely glaze after being popped back into the oven. 

I have managed to find some bargain buys this week including 6 nets of Clementines reduced to 25p per net = £1.50 - the Clementine Slices have been made from these.  I also found two bags of Cox's apples for 35p per bag = 70p.  I am tempted to dry these in the dehydrator.  So I am not spending massive amounts of money to achieve these pantry shelf projects but taking advantage of reductions.

I also had some picked Rosemary left over from another project and rather than waste it I have taken off the leaves and layered them between salt to preserve the herb, but also create Rosemary salt for use on Roasties and homemade chips. A little something out of nothing which I always like.

I had more mint so more mint sauce has been made.

I have also strung a load of Red Holland chillies to dry on one of my dressers.  I use the dried chilli in my home-made Pickled Shallots and Pickled Onions. I am hoping to get another net of pickling onions during the week.

I have also gathered together a selection of veggies to sort out a couple of batches of the Souper mix.  That might get sorted tomorrow.  I have plenty of salt in, and it will be good to have another batch to hand to use in soups and stews during the winter months.

I have also bought more apples to make more apple sauce, and more beetroot to make more pickled beetroot. I intend to put these in the Ninja Foodie as I do not think they will take very long at all. Pickles tend to get used up quickly here.  I have also bought the first of the red cabbages to make pickled red cabbage as well.  There will be a couple of more batches yet to make. 

Some more passionfruit have found their way here again reduced to £1 a bowl again.  I have two bowls. There are approximately 10 fruits in each bowl so this lot of juice is going to be frozen in ice cube trays in the freezer.  Very useful to put into lemonade or a fizzy light wine at Christmas or to sauce a simple dish of ice cream.  Freezing them in the cubes gives me some options as to how i use them.  I wish you could have smelt the passionfruit as I was preparing them last night for the passionfruit gin, they smelt wonderful.

For our tea tonight we decided on something nice and simple.  It is now blowing a hooley outside and we wanted a hot comfort food meal with the minimum of fuss.  We are looking forward to having a couple of chicken Kiev's each to munch on.

We are not having a roast tomorrow evening, but are going to have Italian Sausage with fennel.   I bought both types the coiled sausage and the thick dumpy sausages.  We are going to have this served with mixed roasted veggies including celery, carrots, potato, courgette, onion red and white, leeks, sweet potato and red peppers and garlic with a side-serving of purple broccoli.  I am salivating at the thought.  It very much is a favourite tasty meal here.  I would one day like to have a go at making my own Italian sausage. There are various recipes on Pinterest.  I also want to do my own Porchetta and Braesola both of which we love. If I can find a suitable joint I may have a go at this for this coming Christmas. I am quite interested in having a go at doing my own charcuterie items in the longer term as well.  I will get there one day, so much am interested in and so much I want to do.  I am particularly fond of ham which has been cooked, roasted and then the fat scored with diamond shapes and then a clove studded in the centre of each diamond.  It is an old fashioned way of presenting ham but it imparts a wonderful flavour to the meat.  Well I think so but not everyone agrees.  OH does not like it prepared this way so I always do a small piece just for myself.

On the appliances front we have managed to sort out which fridge/freezer we are going to buy and which dishwasher.  I still need to source a very large chest freezer though. I am in desperate need of this as my upright freezer has no more room at the inn and I haven't got half the stuff I wanted in there yet.  I may have mentioned before but the shed roof leaked and blew the electrics. My deep freezers are predominantly stored i the shed.  I lost my chest freezer and an upright freezer as a result and then i have lost the fridges.  In the past month the dishwasher has also gone caput so not healthy for the purse.  Fingers crossed nothing else plays up.  

However we need to get rid of some of the appliances which have already broken.  We have made a booking for five of them to be removed in about six weeks time which is the earliest we can make a booking. The Covid 19 restrictions have played havoc with collections locally and indeed the service was suspended from March and has only just opened up again.  However that leaves another three appliances to be taken.  Collection fee of £23.50 for all five items. I am going to suggest to OH that we make a booking for the freezers in the shed to be removed a couple of weeks later so that we can get delivery of replacement chest freezer sorted.  We have a new Iceland Food Warehouse opening at the beginning of December so that could be very good timing.  Our Local Council only make bulk waste collections on your black bin (main bin) collection day (fortnightly).  So at least that has been partially addressed.

As I say lots has been going on and a lot more yet to sort out but on a positive note things are starting to move and things are starting to get done - just not as quick as I would like them to.

Anyways upwards and onwards.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Christmas Cacti


 

Some of my earliest memories of Christmas include beautiful Christmas Cacti.  When I was little they used to be a very vibrant red, then pink and then on to white.  Mum always had them and kept them all year long and then got them to flower again in time for the following Christmas.  Up until a few years ago I used to have them too but I always ended up losing them.  I think it is something to do with the amount of light this house has and the central heating (when it is working) probably being too warm and not enough light.  As I kept losing them I gave up.  However it has not stopped me looking at them.

Even though this Christmas may not be as many of our other Christmas's I am still making an effort to do as much as what I normally do.  Whilst in Waitrose on Saturday, I spotted a couple of Christmas Cacti, one bright pink the other very palest pink nearly white.  I have decided to give them another try and I may be able to take cuttings and get other plants out of these two for my initial outlay of £7 per plant.  The one I looked at last year was £15 and twice the size of the ones I have now bought. I am hopeful that I will be ale to do this and then pass on cuttings to friends and family in due course.



I am taking baby steps really; testing the water to see if I can sustain these plants year in and year out as they are fundamentally very much part of my Christmas memories and my mum and her green-fingers having success after success with the blossoms.  They are so pretty in their own right and a natural way of accentuating the home. I have two M & S cream table planters that I have had for a few years and never used.  I think that these will be ideal containers in which to place them one for the Lounge and one for the Dining room.



But first I have got to keep them.  Fingers crossed that I will be successful.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Friday, 23 October 2020

Covid 19 Rules and Regulations for Shops

I think I must have missed something somewhere but could any of you please advise me what the current regulations are for wearing a mask in shops?  

I have a couple of queries.  Are the shops supposed not to serve customers without masks and if certain shops are serving customers without masks are they breaching current laws or is there a get out clause for them.  

I had understood that everyone was to wear a mask unless they had a medical condition/exemption preventing them from so doing.  If they have an exemption do they have anything proving this. Do they carry a card for example? 

I had understood that shops were not supposed to serve customers without masks especially when all their staff are wearing them.

Or do the stores have their own guidelines which staff have to follow irrespective of whether or not they are morally right like not being confrontational with customers and still serving them. 

It would be a mockery of the situation if the shops are still allowed to serve the customers without masks.  Does not encourage safe socialisation at all.  If this was the case,  it is putting so many people at risk.  It is particularly insensitive to those who are following the rules and regulations and to those who have loved ones during this horrible time.  

I think that there are a great many cases of "headless chicken syndrome" at the moment in that people think it will not happen to them.  I think we are under a great many restrictions in any event without making situations far more difficult in the long run.

Clarification would be gratefully received before I start firing on all cylinders.

Thanks.


Pattypan

 

Ninja Foodie Roast Beef

I fell lucky the other day when I nipped to the Co-Op as I found two joints of beef which had been reduced to £8 each.  They were the long medium sized roasting joints.  Last night I set too and cooked the Beef in the Ninja, on the same settings that I used for the Chicken the other night.  I baked/roasted it on 170 degrees C this time round and timed it for an hour.  The meat came up well and then I set too and cooked petit-pois, potato, carrots, cauliflower in the electric steamer as by then I had made the gravy from the meat juices and veg juices.  I switched over to saute-mode at this point.  The meal was delicious and made a very hearty and warming tea for the pair of us and there is lots left - might repeat the performance tomorrow evening or alternatively I may well turn it into a stew.  The beauty of one pot machines is that you can always find a way to use up left-overs and therefore get your maximum return on your outlay and good food to boot. OH decided he fancied a burger for tonight's tea so the rest of the beef will be turned into a stew and we will have that for tomorrow night's tea.

To say that I am delighted with the Ninja Foodie is an understatement.  So much so I would say that for a young couple starting out and where pennies are short if they can buy one of these machines so that they can at least cook themselves lovely, healthy and heart warming food until they can afford a cooker.  I not only am using this at home it goes with us when we go caravanning (we usually where we can have an electrical point to connect into and so can use it with that facility).  Cannot use if just using the battery electric or solar electric of the caravan.

Please note these are my own personal observations on a very good product.  I have not been in touch with Ninja about this in any capacity nor received gift or inducement to do so. Completely my own views.  However I feel that I am only scratching the surface with what I can and cannot do with this machine.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Tales of Ironing Boards, Passionfruit, Plums, Beetroot and Mums

Just before we went on holiday and just as I had finished the bulk of the ironing, the ironing board collapsed on me and I hurt my back.  It collapsed downwards unexpectedly and ended up jolting my back with me holding the iron in mid-air.  How I caught that I am not sure.  

I am now at the point where I have another batch of ironing to do and needed the ironing board.  OH agreed to take me to Dunhelm and I had a good look around.  There are a lot of nice things in store and I shall pay another visit again soon.  Lots of nice decorations in and lots of lovely household items such as fluffy cosy blankets, curtains etc.  Now I have a colour in my mind as to what I want in the dining room, I am also looking for some potential curtains.  Just looking at the moment, trying to draw the threads together in another direction.  Weaving dreams.  However despite all the distractions I did manage to stay focused and obtained my ironing board which is primarily what I went for.

I have also seen a very small ironing board which will be ideal for my crafting and using upstairs and for taking on holiday with me in the van.  I already have a little iron in the van.  Lakeland sell this so might get that later on in the week.  Anyway I digress.

I have also treated myself to a set of digital scales for the house primarily for baking.  I have a set in the caravan and I like them.  I also purchased a couple of condensation boxes (we get a lot of condensation in the kitchen and the bathroom).  I also spotted a couple of storage jars which I think will come in very handy on the preserving front and for the pantry; they also joined the shopping trolley.  I then found  a brush for cleaning the gas jets/nozzles on the cooker.   It gets tarred up and is difficult to clean so I am hoping this will work. I also bought a few more tea towels as the dishwasher has packed up.  

I also bought a couple of ceramic egg trays (I already have a couple and was looking for a couple more to join them) to store the eggs on the pantry shelf.  I do not keep my eggs in the fridge (which I do not have at the moment but that will happen soon - we have already picked out the make and model) so that will be ordered shortly.  As long as they are in a cool place they will keep well, but make sure that they are not stored near things such as garlic or onions as the egg shell breathes and you could end up with a peculiar flavoured egg if you do do this.  I have had a couple of run ins recently with eggs and the cats so this will be better for everyone involved.

Once we got home I paid a visit to the Co-Op for some petit pois, and some milk as I had a fancy for a hot milky coffee which went down very nicely. Despite being bright out it has been a little chilly.

I then nipped over to the veg shop and came away with four bowls of passionfruit with about 10 passionfruit in each bowl to make some passionfruit goodies with.  I have in mind passionfruit gin, passionfruit curd and some passionfruit juice frozen in ice cubes to either use as a sauce on a pudding such as ice cream this is lush and very simple.  Cost £4.

I also came away with 2kgs of purple plums to make some plum jam Cost £2.

Next up was 2kgs of fresh beetroot to make pickled beetroot with. £1.50 a kg = £3.  I am going to cook this in the slow cooker so that I can get on with other goodies whilst this is cooking.  I may get some more of this as OH is also a Beetroot fan.

They also had some Mums (Chrysanthemums) and so I came home with four of those.  If they have any left tomorrow I may end up getting a couple more.  They are only small but should with a bit of care grow up to be adults and hopefully will have them next year to put on a proper show for autumn/fall.  Fingers crossed and toes plaited.  This is what I am planning for. I bought two yellow ones and two purple ones.  These are something I have been meaning to buy for a while.  My Nan always had these in her cutting garden. These were £1 a pot = £4.

Total £13 all in.

I may go back tomorrow for some pears and other bits and bobs.  Friday is normally their top up day for the weekend.

I should also have a bag of potatoes delivered next week as well so I am slowing drawing different things together.

That reminds me I need to go to Waitrose or some bits and bobs.

So lots of goodies to get on the go as well as all the other bits and bobs I have in line.  Well it will keep me out of mischief.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Pattypan's Pantry Projects Jumbleberry Liqueur


Another last minute drink for the Christmas drinks trolley which does not take long to make at all. I have used a 450g bag of frozen mixed fruits for this quick home-made liqueur.  I already had a bottle of vodka in the cupboard.  I tend to call any mixed red fruit combination "Jumbleberry" and have done for many years.

You will need a large preserving jar with a rubber seal.  This will need sterilising in a hot water bath, in the oven or with baby sterilising solution or the dishwasher if you have one. Once the jar is sterile you can then proceed to make the liqueur.

Decant the frozen fruit into the jar and then add in the vodka or gin.  You can use rum as well.  This one involves a little patience but it is worth the wait.

Add a little sugar stir it up and then seal the jar.  Leave for about a month shaking the jar everyday to make sure that the sugar has dissolved.  I have initially used only about 100g of fruit, and will taste after the month if not sweet enough will add a little more but I do not like the drinks to be spoiled with over-sweetening them.  So I err on the side of caution and add a little at a time.  You can easily add in small increments where if there is too much it is not always possible to decrease the sweetness.

Here is my jar already steeping now just have to wait about three to four weeks to finish it off.



After your period of patience you then do the following:-

Strain off the fruit initially through a sieve retaining the alcohol in a separate bowl.  Then make a trifle with the strained fruit or add it to melted chocolate stirring until well mixed to make an alcoholic chocolate bark.  Line a tray and then cover the lined tray with the chocolate mixture and allow to cool and set. This is to use the pulp up straight away.  Alternatively put it in the freezer and use for trifle or chocolate bark for Christmas celebrations.  I have thought of using the pulp up in a jam but need to test this out to see if it works first.

Strain the "liqueur" liquid again this time through some fine muslin to take out any sediment.  Sometimes this is worth doing two or three times.  The sediment does not make the drink look very clear so I try and get it as clear as I can.

Decant into fresh sterilised bottles and add to the pantry shelf for a little tipple through the colder months.  Equally a small bottle of this can be added to a home created Christmas hamper.

Enjoy on a cold winter's day.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)