Thursday, 31 December 2020

Last supper for 2020

 What a year it has been overall.  Some good, some not so good and some very frustrating moments.  No doubt not the last.

However, today has been a busy one.  More stuff back in the kitchen still more to go in. Slowly getting there.

Our last "supper" for 2020 was later than intended but nonetheless very tasty and enjoyable.  I cooked the Rib of Beef on a bed of chopped onions with a little water and then popped it under foil and cooked on a low heat for about three hours.  I then turned the heat up a little more to brown the meat off.  At this point I added in the potato, parsnip and shallots for roasting.  I also served crushed carrot and swede, carrot sticks, Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower, mashed potato, Yorkshire pudding and lots of gravy made from the meat juices and veg juices.  It was very tasty and we have a repeat performance lined up for tomorrow. I made loads of gravy so I may also freeze some of the beef with the gravy to create a good quick meal during the week.  When my Nan was alive the family used to do this between us so that she got proper meals and we knew she was eating properly.   Nan had a microwave too.

So that is the last meal over for 2020.

Just want to wish every single one of you a happy, safe and healthy 2021 and to thank you for your support during the last year.

I hope this New Year brings you everything you wish for yourself and more.

Catch you in 2021.



Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Progress slowly being made in various areas of the house.  The Microwave is now in situ the old one has gone out. The dishwasher is working beautifully despite a few initial problems.  I am on top of the backlog of washing and getting it dried.  I start the next stash of washing tomorrow and I am hoping that by the end of the day it will all be sorted including the drying. Then I will start the ironing.  After all the ironing is done, OH and I will be sorting out our respective wardrobes.  I have a lot of clothes for my cousin, and a lot for the charity shop,  Both of us have lost weight and a lot of our clothes are now far too big.  As we need the space time for a good sort out.  Perhaps the best time to do it at the beginning of a New Year. I do  tend to recycle fabrics I like so the clothes will be appraised to see if I can make use of them and if I can I will retain the fabric.

We have the new cooker to be connected that will probably happen next week when the heating is put on, and in the meantime my small electric oven is stood on top of it.  I need OH to put in a shelf for me under the unit so that it is tucked out of he way.  The Ninja has yet to be put in place on the kitchen worktop.  a parking space has been reserved for it.

The computer room/craft room is slowly being cleared as well.  So well pleased with the progress so far.

Unfortunately I had another acid attack at about 3am on Wednesday morning being violently sick; I ended up crashing out as a result.  A bit more with it now.  Just one of those things that happens every so often, but I had hardly eaten yesterday so the cause is really puzzling me somewhat.  Just one of those things normally it is because I have eaten too much.

Tomorrow we shall be having the Rib of Beef for New Year's Eve dinner and we are looking forward to that.

We still have cheese left although the cheddar and the Raclette have taken a hammering from the OH.  Still plenty of Stilton, Baron Bigod and Gorgonzola so still plenty of stuff to pick at.

Once I am a bit more organised in the kitchen, which is getting there will get soup on the go, the bread, the yogurt and the cheese.  I quite fancy my Nan's Yorkshire Curd Tart as have not had one in a long while.  Might get the ingredients tomorrow and make over the weekend.  It is talking to me and it is a long time since we have had it.  I have to go to Waitrose in any event for a few bits and bobs including some petit pois.

Have managed to work a couple of more squares for my blanket.  That is 30 squares completed. will soon be completed and the it will be the joining together.

I keep pottering away doing a bit here and there and very slowly we are getting there. 

Catch you soon.



Tuesday, 29 December 2020

A Happy Bunny

I was woken up this morning by a phone call.  It would appear that despite the best of intentions, I had overslept the alarm and the phone call was from the delivery drivers who said that they would be with me in ten minutes.  Mass panic in getting dressed and sorting myself out.  But everything was calm and controlled when they did arrive.  I had been advised that they would be with me between 12 noon and 3 pm.  The call came at 10:30am.

I fear I am easily pleased and with my new Tumble Dryer arriving I am as happy as Larry!  It is simple to use and efficient and from what I have seen so far at the moment will be ideal for what I want it for and with the budget we had available to us at this time.  It is not all singing all dancing but has been bought for a need and function.  It has driven me up the wall in not having it to hand.  Now maybe I will be able to get the washing and ironing pile back under control.  Fingers crossed and toes plaited.  I fear I am a little sad to say the least.  I have a routine with the washing and the ironing.  In the summer the lack of a dryer would not have mattered so much but in the winter months.  No way.  the thing with drying stuff inside is it makes the house damp and I seize up more with the arthritis.  The tumble dryer is a condenser version but can be plumbed in to an outside drain if available.  It also allows me to get on with other stuff whilst getting clothing/linen dry so for me that is a win win situation.  It is also a lot quicker and the clothes do not need much ironing if any.

I have put through the first item in the tumbler a small fluffy throw and that has come up well and fluffy.  Just waiting to pop the next wash in.  Will probably be at this for a couple of days to get things sorted but that is okay as long as it gets done as it really has been driving me bonkers. I don't really like washing or ironing hanging around (although sometimes it does).  I am starting to work  my way down the pile!

It is very cold at the moment and has been for the past fortnight along with the rain it has been particularly damp and i have been a little stiff to say the least.  As it was too cold in the kitchen to get on this afternoon, I have had the tumbler and washing machine running and then came and sat down.  I have been listening to the TV there have been various programmes on that OH has wanted to watch and so I have set too and done some mending.  A little while back I bought a cheapie jumper which I wore twice before the seams unravelled themselves on both the side and the alternating sleeve on the other side.  So I have been good and "mended" it.  That is another useful jumper to wear with my jeans.  And that is something else off the checklist. Pretty chuffed have got to this as it has been a while.  I have mentioned that I am going to try not to prevaricate or dither like I usually manage to do.  The discipline will do me good  and hopefully lead me into good habits.  I am trying!

I am hoping to get back to the crochet blanket this evening to try and get a few more squares worked. Fingers crossed. I have managed to work two complete squares.  My hands have been particularly stiff today.  They were hurting when I mended my jumper, but hey ho. If I can get to do some crochet tomorrow as well that might free the stiffness off a bit  Another reason for wanting to do some crafting on a daily basis in order to keep my hands moving.

Once the blanket is finished, I I will then look at UFOs to see if can get them out of the way  If I can sit and have a little time at the crafting each day it will help get them out of the way reasonably quickly and also move items on a bit.  I do have new projects for the year. In the interim though, will give me something useful to focus on. 

The washing pile is starting to go down.  Will continue ast it tomorrow and then once it is done can start on the ironing.

Right am off for d  drink.

Hope everyone is well and keeping safe. From all accounts our local hospital is starting to struggle a bit.  We are keeping to the house as much as possible.

Take care wherever you are.

Catch you soon.



Today which is now Yesterday

 Was a very confused day for me.  I had it in my head that yesterday was Tuesday and that my tumble dryer was due to arrive.  I was therefore up early and had cleared quite a bit of stuff in readiness for the delivery of my new tumble dryer not before time.  It was only when I was typing a post earlier on today that I realised my mistake which was a little disappointing from my perspective to say the least!  Oh bother!

The rest of the day I have been able to spend sometime on the computer, drafting some stuff for the New Year and doing research for some of the things I would like to do in this coming year. I am going to make use of the time wisely and do as much as I can during these darker months so that I can get ahead and make the most of the time.  i need a new routine and so this will have to be worked out so that I can maximise time and effort and also produce stuff on the present and home front.

We have had a pic n mix tea yesterday in that we had some duck rolls and some chicken in satay sauce, along with cheese and also trifle for pudding.  It went down very nicely.

I then had a bit of a cave in of items in the back room and ended up having to sort that out which has now been dealt with.

Tomorrow the tumble dryer should be delivered between 12 noon and 3pm.  Prior to that however have some sorting out in the kitchen to do in getting rid of the old tumble dryer so that we can get the dryer in situ.  My small electric cooker is going to have to go into the kitchen as well - no shelf ready as yet but it will have one soon. The old microwave also needs to go and the new one put in its place.

Once the tumble dryer is up and running I will then be able to get stuck in get things dry and clear the ironing; drying the washing in the house has been driving me nuts and has slowed things down a heck of a lot. Then I should be able to get cracking with other jobs in the house.

I want to start with the breadmaking again, and will have to use my home-made proving box to get the bread to rise.  My kitchen is terribly cold at the moment not ideal for raising bread. So I may have to do this in the dining room.  I am keen to get into the he rythm of breadmaking again. I want the house a bit squarer before I start on certain decorating projects within the house.Hopefully will get sorted quickly.  Fingers crossed everything arrives safely.

Catch you soon.

Monday, 28 December 2020

Collecting things Planning and making things for Christmas 2021

Well Christmas 2020 is hardly over and I am already starting planning and plotting for Christmas 2021. Aargh you all say especially when we are only just getting over this very different Christmas that we have all had.

This post is just an aide memoire for me really, some things I have seen and some ideas I have had. On a practical basis we do not necessarily always have the wherewithal to pay for everything in December, and so breaking it down into segments to collect or look out for throughout the year makes more financial sense for me.

However the most precious of these commodities is time.  Time cannot always be replaced and as I am a lot slower than I used to be these days it makes  more sense for me on a practical basis to actually start making things and putting them up from now on-in, in readiness to give as presents later in the year.  Once you have the items in-house and once you have a period of time in which to play you can actually start making stuff and planning things out when you have a few hours to spare.

I do hope some of the ideas below will inspire you. Writing it down will help me keep track of what I am actually planning and how well I am getting on with it.

Covid Year was and has been a bummer for us all.  For me on a practical basis it has been a very messy year in that we tried to get things done in the house but progress was slow for one reason or another despite the best of intentions and so I have decided that Christmas 2021 is going to be prepared for throughout the year. Especially with the caravan trips that will commence again hopefully next year when the Covid situation has calmed down and people are able to move freely again. I want to get the house and the garden sorted before going off on our travels again. 

I am in the pros of creating a time-plan which will not be deviated from for me on a practical basis.  Things that crop up have tended to throw out lots of plans that were already well in hand and which did not get completed.  For the best part not completely wasted but frustrating.  Certain things will be done at specific times and squirrelled away.  Especially when preparing things to give away as presents such as food hampers.  This last Christmas I had planned on doing Gravadlax and home made bacon, but as the fridge and finances did not marry up I had to let these go for this Christmas.  Next year they are non-negotiable.  Making your own Gravadlax and bacon is second to none.

I had planned on doing a couple of projects this last Christmas but did not get round to them. I keep saying that I want to do more than ever at the beginning of the year but this last year has made me realise do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today.  We all tend to dither or drag our heels at times.  Unfortunately I am a great procrastinator and ditherer!  Not a good combination.  Smacked Dannies Pattypan!

I also had an epiphany on the creating side prior to Christmas 2020 and realised that I needed more time to accomplish things as I can be very slow at times.  Really slow and yet it is the creating that I enjoy the most, bringing something out of nothing, being involved bringing some of the Christmas magic to life that for me in many respects is the essence of Christmas.  Being with loved ones and family members is the icing on the cake.

On the food front I was not able to get a new freezer in the Spring as I had hoped (I am forever optimistic) which has impacted on the rest of the year and a lot of the stuff that I normally do.  I am hopeful that will be remedied at the beginning of 2021 to make sure that we have a good stock of most things as has always been my habit.

The kitchen has been cleaned and tidied up as has the pantry; the  Under-stairs cupboard and also the fireside cupboard are yet to be done. I am hoping to get to these pretty quickly. So a clean broom and ready to start with my preserving in January.  I have had a good sort out.  Still a lot more to do but gradually getting there.  My equipment is also easily accessible which it has not been in a long while.  Most of my baking dishes and casseroles are now in the same cupboard so I can see what I have.  This is going to be important when I get the new freezer as I will be baking a lot more than I have been.  A lot of the dishes I have are freezer proof in any event.  I have also recycled a couple of pieces of old equipment to the charity shop, so have a little more space to play with.

Initially in this coming New Year, I need to look out for the following items during this year from a variety of sources in order to get things where I want them, add to part-collections of items already to hand, expand equipment choices and have items ready to make home crafted hampers of different preserves which includes the collection of tins, baskets, jars, bottles. decorations etc.

Items I need to accumulate to start with include:

Command Strips

A selection of command strips paid for every so often to make sure that I have the hanging strips/capacity that I need in order to have different decorations up through the house. I am specifically thinking of hanging small wreaths with ribbon off doors to make more of a feature of them rather than just using them as table centres. In the main reception rooms of the house i.e. the dining room, the hallway doors and the Lounge door are all glass doors.  Victorian style etched glass.  I like having fresh and artificial wreaths about not just to use on the tables or to surround candleholders. I also have plans for seasonal garlands to decorate the dressers and these will come in useful for this as well.

I had wanted to decorate the dining room before Christmas but that just did not happen.  However, after speaking with OH this is very much on the cards this coming New Year with all the downstairs rooms being tackled although initially to start with it is the dining room.  I also need a new candleabra style ceiling light for the dining room.  The dressers and also the table and chairs need stripping, doing up and then re-finishing. So there is an awful lot of work to do. As well as decorating the floor also needs new covering.  We have had laminate flooring which has been down about 20 years and which needs replacing. However, it will happen.

Pens, Crayons etc.

Chalk Pens for decorating windows.  Christmas 2020 there seems to have been a great trend for decorating clear glass windows with chalk pens depicting Christmas images and I would like to have a go at this for Christmas 2021.  I loved the simplicity of this.


I would like to buy sheets of Beeswax and make my own traditional honeycomb candles, something I have never done before to really help create the right traditional aesthetic but honey wax also has a lovely scent of its own.

I also want to make scented pot candles for use throughout the year.  I have discovered that I quite like a candle or two burning as I am working away.  Very calming.  I do have Soy wax to play with but need to get the Beeswax sorted out.

Soap, Bath Bombs

I have a couple of soap bases to play with, but would like to go on further and make my own base from scratch.  Something I have wanted to try for a time.  I do have some equipment which I have already invested in although a few more moulds would not come amiss.

Twine and Hessian

Would like to have a play with string and hessian projects.  I have a rag rug in mind, but I have also seen decorative items made from hessian to transform decorations and with the addition of some paint, make some rustic cake bands and streamers. 

Vintage glassware

Particularly green glass, gold glass, lead crystal and vintage glassware table items.  For example I have my mother's Hors d'ouvres' wheel/Party Susan which I have been able to match with one from the Charity shop so I now have a matching pair for family parties and it makes for lovely visual vintage presentation at any meal.

Cloches, Storm Lanterns, Lanterns, Brass Candlesticks, Glass Candlesticks and wooden candlesticks, battery operated lights

Any of these can be so useful in helping to decorate the house seasonally and if you choose your pieces with care they can go from season to season.

Useful Preserving and Cooking equipment

I am always on the look out for preserving and cooking items, especially if they complement something that I am doing in any event.


For small hampers, but I am also thinking that next year would like to have a go at doing some baskets/bowls for gifting thinking Paper whites, Hyacinth, Christmas Cacti that sort of thing.

From Nature

If you have any whole nuts left over from Christmas celebrations if you are not going to eat them do not throw them away either.  Keep them in a dry place.  This way you do not waste the pennies forked out already.  They can be used to decorate home-made garlands and wreaths in readiness for next Christmas.  Small polystyrene or oasis balls can also be decorated with nuts glued on them or indeed cones to create free-standing side decorations for the festive season.  You can also use seeds and herbs to decorate the baubles.  Cloves and Five Spice in particular.

Collect Fir cones of different sizes.  Very useful for decorating presents also garlands, shapes and wreaths.

Collect Larch Cones for use in decorating Christmas parcels with pretty recycled ribbon, using in Christmas decorations and using in firelighters to be gifted to friends.

Collect Teasel  heads for Christmas decorations.

Collect Twigs both for kindling bundles to gift to friends and for turning into Christmas decorations for Christmas yet to come.

Collect sea shells make ornaments, decorate items and jewellery.

Collect sea wood.

Collect sea glass - make home made jewellery for presents

Collect and dry Cow Parsley stems and dry them.  They look wonderful under a glass Cloche of which I have several. They can be highlighted with gold or silver paint or even "snow".

Source Juniper bush. Juniper berries are very useful in cooking and an integral part of Gin.

Source fir or Cyprus fronds for decoration.

Buy some Bay tree standard plants.

Buy two fir/spruce trees in pots.

Buy some Box plants.

Plenty of Ivy in planters and pots not actually in the garden as it is totally invasive.  I have plans to pot up about six hanging baskets with Ivy aside to normal hanging planters.

Make chocolate leaves from Roses and Bay to decorate your home baked goods.  This can be done throughout the year and will help you make distinctive cake decoration items at next to nothing apart from your ingredients and a little time.  Most of the time is taken up with drying.

Crystallise Heartsease and Viola for decorating cakes.

Crystallise Primrose for cake decorating.

Crystallise Violets for cake decorating.

Grow Chinese Lanterns for garlands and wreaths and baskets once dried.

Grow Honesty ditto

Grow Straw Flowers ditto

Collect corn ears and oat ears for use in garlands for the autumn. ditto

Plant a cutting garden so that I have fresh flowers throughout the year.


I need to stock up on wool for future projects.  Notably at the moment I am looking to source wool for two crochet blanket/throws for next Christmas in red and blue and white.

I would also like to source wool to knit myself a Christmas jumper for next Christmas.


I would like to play with this more than I have.  I have some traditional paper chain ornament cutters as well as Christmas cracker cutters and little box templates that I would like to play with.  I need to stock up on card and paper to do this.  I think that this will be a regular thing adding different bits and bobs to the craft box.  I also have lots of Christmas inspired cutters for creating home made cards.  Some really lovely ones.  I am concentrating on simplicity when it comes to projects like this.

There are also a couple of projects that I have seen on Pinterest using and recycling old Christmas cards into ornaments or useful items.

Flower arranging equipment

Oasis block form dry and wet.

Oasis in rings

Flower pins





Dried Flowers

Dried Leaves

Glycerined Leaves

Pot Pourri

Make my own vine wreaths.

Vintage Vases

A variety of these can really help set the scene for your table whether these be pottery or crystal.

Crystal looks particularly attractive on a vintage themed table but so does pretty pottery or china or indeed glass.


Recycling pretty fabrics to use in patchwork and sewing projects through the year, also for lining gift baskets and also making wax wrap.  Also making lap throws out of recycled fabrics.  The fabric can be recovered from upholstery or indeed clothing items like shirts, skirts and dresses.

Recycling vintage fabrics into pretty decorative but useful items to give away as gifts.

Making useful bags.

Old jumpers can be recycled into cushions and new clothing items.

Woollen items the fabric can be recovered and then turned into a patchwork style blanket/throw to keep you warm of a winter's evening.

Also pretty hand embroidered items that are damaged and which can be fussy-cut to suit your project.  A lovely way of upcycling something old into something new and which will be used.

Padded Coat-hangers

These can be made out of scraps of fabric and decorated with embroidery and/or lace.  Makes a lovely item to give away as a gift especially if accompanied by some scented sachets.

Pre-Bought items already made

Look out for reduced tablecloths and napkins to embroider and give away as pressies.

Either make aprons/pinnies and embroider or make carry bags and decorate.

Making or buying vintage Christmas decorations.

The above list is just for initial thoughts and things that I want to have a go at and gather round me in readiness to play and create.

There is lots to do and I am very much looking forward to the playing.  

Catch you soon.  

Pattypan x

Sunday, 27 December 2020

St Stephen's Day/Boxing Day and Monday Catch-up and a little Nostalgia

St Stephen's Day/Boxing Day

We had another lovely quiet day yesterday just chilling not really doing very much but enjoying the food and bits and bobs that have had to hand.  There have been a lot of vintage programmes on the TV this year which was ok with me but not OH. Oliver was on and a filming of Jason Bourne's adaptation of The Red Shoes by the Sadlers Wells Ballet.  However, I was fortunate to attend one of the shows earlier on this year as a present from my dearest and oldest friend who takes me as I am "Warts and All".  I had never been to a ballet before and this was my first.  It was absolutely enchanting and very memorable.  I was entranced.  I did not see either programme on the TV though as OH wanted to watch something else.

We continued to eat Turkey and trimmings left over from the main meal and then in the evening had a cheese and biscuit supper which went down very well  I had the Gorgonzola and it was divine.  OH had some of the Westcombe Cheddar.  There were sausage rolls, and bacon and cheese puffs as well as some trifle.


Today has been equally lazy although this was not planned.  We had cheese again mid-day me as a cheese and onion sarnie OH fried cheese.  We had been bitting about with the TV and then OH went to walk the dog.  Whilst he was out the Sound of Music came on and I just had to watch it.  Cheesy but it bought back so many memories of people who are no longer with us but who are not forgotten.  I had just turned six years of age when The Sound of Music was released.  We were on holiday at Ingoldmells and it had been a very hot summer.  I ended up with a touch of the sun and as it was so hot and bright out to keep me in the shade Mum and Dad took me to the pictures to watch the Sound of Music..  I will never ever forget that trip as it was so rare for us to go to the Cinema or indeed the Theatre both of which I love. My brother at the time would have been two and a half three years of age.  In the Christmas of that year I remember getting a proper desk and chair for my present; I still have these to this day.  My step-children used it well too.

So watching this lovely story come to life this afternoon again some 55 years after I had first seen it was lovely and pretty nostalgic.  A trip down memory lane.

OH not too impressed and a lot of harummping going on until he fell asleep.

We have since had curry for tea and very tasty it was too.  I have had a glass of Gin and Lemonade, but more about that another day.

Hope you have enjoyed your holiday break too.

Tomorrow will be a busy one.  My tumble dryer should arrive tomorrow.

Catch you soon.



Saturday, 26 December 2020

Christmas Day Catch up

Christmas Day 

A quiet relaxed day for the pair of us with the emphasis on the meal evolving and no time constraints.  We on a normal Christmas usually eat about 1:00pm an ideal time for sitting down to our meal and then getting washed up in readiness for the Queen's Speech.  This is the way that my grandparents used to deal with things and travelled down into our own family celebrations.  This year though we ate at 6:00pm.  It would have been a little earlier but I got to speak to my mum's older brother (My uncle and Godfather) for a little while which was lovely. He is edging on nearer 90.  I also know that it was thanks to my uncle a lot of the time that my Gran, my Mum and their siblings managed to survive on next to nothing.  A very giving man and one I am extremely fond of.

We had the roasted Turkey which was very delicious with lots of flavour and very moist.  We had cooked it on a bed of celery, carrots and onions and I used that to help create a very rich gravy to serve with our meal.  It was very tasty.  I did change the vegetables up though to what I had originally intended.  We had shredded buttered cabbage, roast parsnip, roast potato, carrots, runner beans, Brussel sprouts and cauliflower together with pigs in blankets and home made sausage stuffing. I also made home made bread sauce which also went down very well and Cranberry sauce with Coitreau.  It went down a treat.  Closely followed by my home made Christmas pudding which was really delicious.

We picked a little later on as well especially at the pigs in blankets and the stuffing.  I always make plenty as it soon goes.

Boxing Day will be a lazier day time to just be and potter and do what we want to, after all there are only the two of us to please.

It seems to have been a very strange Christmas, but at least we have for the best part been able to celebrate even though in a subdued matter to what we would normally be able to and that I am grateful fo.  It would however have been perfect to "break bread" with those nearest and dearest to us.  However we do have to be sensible even though it may go against the grain.  Sensible at the end of the days is not being boring but being pro-active just in a very different way.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday.

Catch you soon.



Friday, 25 December 2020

Merry Christmas Everyone


I hope everyone has a super day.

Catch you soon.



Thursday, 24 December 2020

Christmas Eve

Things have been a little hectic here as I suggest they have been in most households throughout the country as everybody prepares to celebrate Christmas in their own unique way.  There is no right and wrong way. 

I still have plenty to do in readiness for tomorrow, but we have sampled the Colston Bassett Stilton and it is delightful.  We gave the kids a third of the 2kg Stilton so it has been equally shared between us.  It is well worth the buy.  I am not the greatest lover of Stilton and have found what is sold as Stilton in the supermarkets is far too strong we believe that is because it is wrapped in cling film or plastic.  All our cheese is wrapped in waxed paper.  It keeps much better this way and if you store it in the salad server of your fridge (if it has one) it keeps exceptionally well.

Santa's sack arrived full of red ones this afternoon.  I am talking a sack of potatoes here.  Am very happy that I have the prospect of lots of meals including potatoes for the foreseeable. My tray of eggs is also here as well.  Even though I am planning on growing veg next year I do not have room to grow potatoes so I may well plant some tubs up to provide a few.

The Turkey we have is superb I just hope it tastes as good.  It has been put on a base of celery, carrot and onion and buttered well before wrapping in foil.  It is now oven ready. 

I always use the neck and liver to help make the gravy and soak this in water with some mixed herbs, white pepper and an onion studded with cloves (.  It is left to simmer on the cooker and then I use the "stock" to the main gravy pan.  The neck is given to the cats and a little of the liver is mashed into the gravy.  The cats have any remains.

Still have the rest to sort out.  I do have to start the sausage meat stuffing tonight and will then finish it off in the morning. Pigs in blankets are done.  I have Bread sauce and the Cranberry and Grand Marnier sauce to make. The ham is soaking - I always soak my ham before roasting as I find the flavour is finer especially when cooked in either honey or marmalade with ginger.  Yummy.

The veggies will be prepared first thing.

I am cooking the parsnips and the carrots in honey.  The parsnips have plain honey and the carrots have lemon thyme honey.  We are having roast potatoes and mashed potatoes, peas, broccoli and Brussel Sprouts, followed by home made Christmas pudding.

Well I am off to get on.

May I wish you all a Happy Christmas, be happy but most of all keep safe.

Catch you soon.



Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Wednesday Round up

We managed to get a new kettle.  I have bought a glass one which lights up when it is working as something a little different.  The Reviews on it were good as well. So we shall see how we get on with it.  It is a Russell Hobbs and should fit in well with the rest of the kitchen.  

We have had a lot of replacement equipment recently.  The tumble dryer is due to arrive on 29 December. Not a day too soon as far as I am concerned. There is one more thing that I would like for cake baking and that is a Kenwood Chef.  Might have to look for that in the sales. For 40 odd years I have had a Kenwood until it failed on me the other week; so am a bit bereft without it.

It is very wet, cold and dismal here in Peterborough today.  We have had that much rain that some of the roads have flooded quite badly.  Does not seem as though it it is about one and a half days to Christmas.  Still quite a bit to do.

I have been to the veg shop.  I have a tray of eggs coming tomorrow (baking day tomorrow  - it is traditional in our family as well as prepping the Turkey and all the accoutrements.  It was peeing down with rain so I said would collect in the morning.   I am also having a sack of red potatoes delivered.  Bit happier now that have the eggs and the potatoes.  The lad from the veg shop carries them over to my house - very helpful like that.

I have fruit, melon, apples, bananas, grapes, pears, a couple of fresh pineapple, eating apples some Egremont Russets which are nice with cheese and some Gala (they were reduced), and Tangerines.  So can do a fresh fruit salad which will please OH.  I also bought some Newton Wonder cooking apples maybe will make a home made apple pie or crumble. There is also red cabbage, white cabbage (so can make own coleslaw if necessary, lettuce a whole one, celery, carrots, Brussel Sprouts on a stem with a cabbage on the top. Then there is cauliflower, swede, Sweet Potatoes, onions.  Cucumber, Squash, Spring onions,  The veg people are on holiday for a week from tomorrow evening and so I have loaded up with plenty of veg to keep us going.  Only simple cooking but I have the options of doing home made chips, home made quiche and various other options including Bubble and Squeak.  I have not paid out for more exotic fruit as I have some Strawberries in the freezer

Tomorrow is my main baking day. This is a family tradition on both sides that goes back quite a few generations. I have pastry to make, some cake to make, maybe a Pavlova.  I watched Mary Berry giving tuition to three non-cooks on TV tonight and one of them made Mango and Passionfruit Pavlova.  It looked stunning so that may well be on the cards.  Now that the kitchen is tidy.  I also got pears so I am definitely going to have a go at the Pear Souffle ala Rick Stein.  Will not be able to make the Cider Perry ice cream this year, but next year may well be a different case.  I am thinking of having a go at making my own Perry too.  I love Cider and mum used to make Perry when I was younger so grew up with it.  It seemed popular for a while and then disappeared until recently when it has become popular again.  I have also bought some bought puff pastry and am going to make some cheese savouries for OH and also some home made Mieulles Feuille with icing and butter cream.  If you have fresh cream you can whip this and then pipe in.   I also have mince pies (with my mincemeat) and some sausage rolls to make.

We have to visit the children at some point tomorrow.  I have to stay in the car but can wave at them. I have a couple of little dresses for the granddaughter as she likes dressing up.  I just hope she likes them.

Tomorrow I also have the ham to cook and roast.  It is going to be done in the Ninja this year

I think it is going to be a very quiet New Year with all sorts of restrictions; but I for one although I like to see the New Year in prefer to celebrate Christmas so no big deal for me.  Perhaps the New Year that comes in quietly will work out best for everyone at the end of the day.  We want everyone safe with their loved ones and away from this dreaded infection and its mutation.  The whole of Cambridgeshire is now under Level 4 restrictions in the matter of a few days.  Just keep safe wherever you are.

Take care 



What was that I mentioned about Gremlins in the works

I seem to have worn the kettle out.  It went pop last night whilst I was working.  Near disaster nearly averted as I had not realised that it had blown the downstairs sockets by tripping the switch on the main fuse box!  It was only when I went to get something out of the fridge that I realised and was able to put it right.  Fortunately as we had picked up the meat order yesterday.  Phew.  I just hope nothing else decides to cause an issue.

So I have been scrabbling around trying to find a replacement.  It is on order and should have that shortly as have arranged click and collect.  Then it will be back to the grind again.  Veg shop next on the list I think after that and then a few other bits and bobs.

However, as an aside and directly connected to the kettle issue, for the best part of the evening we had an Internet problem; both OH and I could not get connected.  It was only after I found the fridge off that we put two and two together.  The socket that connects the Internet is downstairs!  Doh!  However it was late on.  No wonder we could not get connected.

It is going to be another busy day again so better get my skates on.

Catch you later.



Christmas Getting Things Done

 It has been another busy day here again in Peterborough.  

We went and collected the Turkeys and Rib of Beef and Gammon, sausage meat, bacon, chipolatas and I picked up some other bits and bobs as well.  Meat was expensive but it looks really top quality.  We treated both the son and daughter to their meal of choice for Christmas Day. We also have a beautiful rib of beef and a very small gammon which I am going to do in Marmalade and ginger.

We then went to M & S.  M & S had the store well and truly sorted out with a funnel system with lots of Christmas stuff flanking the funnelled walkway.  Was only allowed into the food store bit, but quite a lot of choice but some of the prices far too high for what they were.  In the end I have kept things simple, buying ingredients that I know I will use and choosing to make the stuff myself.  There is only so much I can get into one fridge and this Christmas is different to others we have experienced.  Shops will be open again in a couple of days so no need to go totally barmy.  On the meat and cheese front we are more than catered for. 

I then went on to Waitrose and yet again stocked up on basic stuff that I use all the time. I just have the veggies to sort out tomorrow and a quick dash to the Co-Op for some other bits and that will be it for this Christmas.

I will make a trifle myself and then I might make Profiteroles for OH as a treat.  They are easy enough to make.  I have sausage rolls, shortbread, some Butterfly cakes/Fairy cakes and the Terry's Chocolate Orange cake to make plus one or two other bits and bobs like Coconut Cheesecakes, jam tarts and Chocolate Coconut.  Will see how I get on.

Right, must get on have another busy day ahead of me tomorrow.

Keep safe, take care and catch you soon.



Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Oh what a busy day its been

Did not sleep well again last night and as usual nodded off when I should not have done. Woke up to the shortest day the Winter Solstice and Yule.  Thank goodness the days will slowly start to get longer again.

We started off by going to the caravan as there were some bits we needed to retrieve.  We got there and as expected the shop was not working.  However when we got to the compound we could not get in due to locked gates with spikes up to preclude entry.  We had not been aware of this otherwise we would have gone earlier.   Oh well these things are sent to try us. Nothing is ever straightforward here there is always a gremlin in the works lurking somewhere!

Marigolds and bleach have been in full swing today.  I washed and sorted out the condiments cupboard and the shelf collapsed on me.  OH will do a repair job to it but unfortunately his drill and kit are at the caravan where he left them after doing some work.  Needless to say was stripped out and I got everything on one shelf, but I really need the second. A hinge has also broken on one of the base units and so the door is hanging off piste at the moment.  Both will be tackled when he gets his drill.  Unfortunately do not know when that will be as it depends whether the Tier 4 restrictions will or when they are lifted.

The bleach has got a little much for me today and so I have beat a hasty retreat.  Will start again in the morning.  The top run of the kitchen cabinets have all been washed out.  Just to finish the second half of the worktop and the two larder units.  Then scrub the floor.  Nearly there, but I have been washing out literally everything that has been in the cupboards as well as inside and outside the units.  Hoping to get the new cooker in situ tomorrow. It is currently stood in the dining room with the new microwave.

We had our cheese delivery earlier and we are well pleased with that.  We have the Turkey collection tomorrow.  I also need a piece of gammon as well.  I also need to go to the veg shop to get in fresh veg for the next few days as well as some fresh fruit.  We are particularly fond of the small oranges at this time of year and I have a new pudding recipe to try as well using them. 

I also want to try this recipe by Rick Stein which was shown in his show a Cornish Christmas.  I found the recipe Pear Souffle with Pear (Perry) Cider Ice Cream which I found on a link to the Staycationer a blog by Rosalyn Gambhir on Pinterest.  I like pears in puddings, I also like it with blue cheese, honey and walnuts as a savoury version.  I also like spiced mulled pears.  These could also be used in the chocolate swiss roll trifle I mention below.  Served with cinnamon ice cream that would be lush.

I make a trifle out of chocolate swiss roll, two tins of pears or fresh pears, and some of the juice and some chocolate blancmange and some whipped cream.  The swiss roll is cut into slices, and then the slices are used to cover the whole of a large fruit bowl and then some of the syrup from the tinned pears is dribbled over the swiss roll.  The pears are then cut into strips and place over the cut swiss roll.  You then make up homemade chocolate blancmange/custard and add this to the bowl you want a good two inches clear at the top of the bowl from the level of the blancmange.  You then whip some cream until stiff and add this to the top of the blancmange.  Decorate with some glace cherries, pear slices and angelica or you can pipe more cream in swirls on top.  Put in the fridge and serve cold.  A nice non-alcoholic trifle. I love a proper sherry trifle but OH does not but he quite likes this one.

Later on I have also to go to M & S and Waitrose to pick up a few more bits and that will be it for this year.  Very strange year all round but you can only do what you can do.

Catch you soon.



Monday, 21 December 2020

The Second Cheese delivery

The second cheese delivery has arrived in a bigger box this time but still with the same care and attention to detail.  We are very pleased and shall use this company again.  I suspect quite frequently.

The 2kg Colston Bassett Stilton, the Bishop Bigod Brie and the Gorgonzola should provide some good eating over Christmas together with some bread, crackers and chutney.

OH goes tomorrow to collect the Bronze Turkeys, the Rib of Beef. the chipolatas, streaky bacon and sausage-meat. Very much looking forward to the main meal itself.

Tomorrow will be a trip to the veg shop to stock up on veggies for the week as I suspect that they will have the rest of the week off and really I cannot blame them.

We are having a very simple Christmas this year due to circumstances more than anything else but we will have a Christmas.

Next year will be very different though.  One thing this year has taught me is never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.  So I will be steaming in from the beginning of the New Year as there are lots of things you can prepare on the preserves front, in readiness for Christmas or special celebrations next year.

Right am off to get on.

Catch you later on,



Sunday, 20 December 2020

Robbie Williams - Can't Stop Christmas (Official Video)

Just a light-hearted view very pertinent at the moment for many of us.  

However, Christmas is what you make of it. So we are in for a different kind of Christmas this year. So not what was envisaged, but at least we will have a Christmas of sorts.  Thank goodness for the TV, Internet and all the various services available to us today compared to what there was when I was a child. We are so lucky in many respects.  Especially as many of us are tucked up in our homes with others like Nursing staff and Doctors, food store operatives etc who really are bearing the brunt of the situation. As well as those that have lost loved ones and the sacrifice their families have made and on top of that not able to grieve properly.  I am grateful to them as they are making the real difference. They are at the coal face making sure that the rest of us are not impeded and are able still to carry on with our lives. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Alternatively, this situation could be an opportunity to try some of those things that you have been promising to try for ages.  There are lots of things I want to try - a never ending list if you like.  I have lots of stuff in-house I can turn my hand to.  I never get chance to be bored; bored is not in my vocabulary I do not have to be entertained I can do that for myself.

On a sad note, I had to go to the shop today as I had used my stockpile of cleaning materials.  Guess what I have been doing!  Attacking the kitchen with some vigour.  The old cooker is out it has been cleaned within an inch of its life.  OH will be taking it to the tip along with the old microwave and some other rubbish that has accumulated.  I am now on kitchen wall duty and that is where I ran out of my bleach; I thought that I had enough in house.  I did not hang around at the shop.  

The kitchen will soon be there apart from the decorating which will happen after Christmas but at least it will be lovely and clean. I have stripped all the cupboards out and washed everything as well so it has been a total deep clean. 

The new cooker can then go in situ, as can the microwave and my small electric Rotisserie oven (need to have a shelf installed for that).  I have some curtains to make to cover the exposed shelving and a skirt for the sink and that may happen over the days we are off for Christmas and yet again it may not but at some point they will be done.  All the fabric is here in the house. I just need to get into gear to accomplish it.

I consider myself very lucky.

Keep safe, be sensible and enjoy the moment.  That way you may enjoy your Christmas, despite on the face of it you will not.  Things happen for a reason.

Hope you enjoy Robbie's tongue in cheek performance.

Catch you soon.



When I went round to the shop there were no shopping baskets; it appears that there have been a few incidents during the day where customers have not been behaving themselves at all and being totally selfish resulting in them being aggressive to the staff.  It only takes a few individuals to cause further unnecessary stress.  It beggars belief really.  There was plenty of stuff on the shelves just people being totally selfish wanting what they wanted when they wanted without consideration of others. There is no need at the end of the day to be like this and they really are showing themselves up as complete arses a quick way to lose respect of their peers!  At the end of the day what will be will be and there is nowt anyone can do about it.  We are all in this situation together.  It is what you make of it and that you get through it - that is what matters.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Tiers at Bedtime

 Have just heard that Peterborough which was due to go into Tier 3 has received a revision and we are now Tier 4.  Tiers before bedtime because people cannot follow the rules are running around with "It cannot possibly happen to me syndrome" so others who follow the rules become affected through no fault of their own.

The shops will not confront offenders, much more the Police don't want to know so major loop hole in a system that could work properly if everyone got onboard.  Shops have been experiencing aggressive offensive behaviour where they their lives have been threatened. Stricter penalties are needed for offenders in the longer term and need to be pursued.

OH and I had chosen to spend this Christmas quietly in any event, but I know of many families who will be badly affected. Christmas is a time for families but Pandemics and infections happen.  We need to be concentrating on LIFE here rather than on selfish actions.  So many people have been infected and affected by this horrible condition through no fault of their own.  We seem to fall into two camps here, those that are selfish and don't give a damn and those that care and do whatever they can to make things work.

OH and I are high risk OH more so than myself.  My brother is the same.  He only lives 15 miles up the road but we will not be seeing him this Christmas due to the impact that this could have on each other's health. Not being selfish just purely practical.  Hopefully this period a short term sacrifice will be enough to limit the spread of this condition.  Fingers crossed it does. Hopefully next Christmas will see a return to families very much being able to spend time together.

This year I have not been Christmas shopping at all.  We have elected to give our nearest and dearest money so that they can buy what they want when lockdown restrictions cease.  There are other ways around the situation, not necessarily ones we should choose by choice but nevertheless workable.

One thing I do know, is that in a lot of respects  values have been re-evaluated and I am much  more grateful for what I have.  I have been grateful for the lesser amount of pollution and that in many respects I have the skills to get by and help others if necessary.  I have a roof over my head, food in my belly and some warmth. I have plans to grow a lot more food this year myself, and hopefully I will be able to source a new freezer shortly so that I can carry out my plans for keeping my pantry much more in line with how I have always kept it rather than the position where I have been without a freezer and able to keep stocked up and squirrel away fresh ingredients myself.  I am not being smug here, just grateful and speaking it as it is for me.

Talking from my own perspective if everyone got onboard and did as asked for the benefit of each other  we might just get somewhere instead of pinging backwards and forwards into lockdown.  Pleasing people is one thing, being sensible is another.

We should not have come out of Lockdown in November far too soon.  At that time they did not know the creature they were dealing with.  Now it has mutated and infecting people a lot faster than the original virus.  Viruses have to run their course.  There are no shortcuts and the virus naturally work s through different levels and the more levels you work through makes the difference between being deceased and surviving.  Unfortunately it is people with weakened immune systems and pre-existing conditions that are really bearing the brunt of this pandemic.  People whose systems do not have the strength to tackle the infection.  We are all responsible at the end of the day for limiting this disease.

I hear people moaning because they cannot get out and about and get to their favourite shop.  Consumerism in its worst format.  There are lots of things you could do at home to keep yourself occupied.  How you tackle things imprints on your children.  It gives them guidelines on how to be strong and how to deal with things.  If you do not tackle it you are leaving them unskilled for the future.  Not something I am sure a parent would really want to do.

Right here we go again.

Keep safe, be kind and help each other where you can as well as not spreading this infection any further.

Catch you soon.



Cookers, Microwaves Kitchens and a Cheese Delivery

This morning thus far has been one of deliveries.

My microwave has arrived.  It is a Panasonic one with buttons, a large family sized one with all sorts of idiot functions on it.  Well I am an idiot, but OH is not familiar with the microwave and so it may encourage him when he is on his own to be able to use it.  My mum had a lovely all functioning all singing and dancing microwave.  A Panasonic but it was one of these touch button ones with like a plastic film over it and that part of it went caput so there was no way of using it.  I have not unwrapped the new one yet. Have bought this online from John Lewis.  We did have a look in the Hotpoint shop the other day to see if they had anything but nothing that I was seriously interested in.  I had seen this microwave previously when in town, so had a good look around on the Internet and decided to go with this.  It is stood on top of the new cooker. Both are boxed up and thoroughly wrapped. Both of them should be going into the kitchen later on today once the old one goes out.

Quite a lot of progress has been made in the kitchen, but am going to be back in there later today reorganising the cupboard that is at the side of the cooker to items I do not use as much as it is not always easy to drag the cooker out or has not been with the older one.

The new cooker is a Hotpoint Gas cooker.  It has a double full sized main oven and small top oven with a grill but at least it is new and I am looking forward to cooking on it.  It also has a glass drop down cover so that means I may be able to use the top as a worktop with my big kitchen tray when doing other things apart from making pastry when I shall use the tray over the sink.  So slowly things are pulling together.

We have also had our first delivery of cheese from the Fine Cheese Company Fine Cheese Company.

We are very impressed. The cheese has arrived in a sturdy and well packed box with green packing.  The cheese itself is in a waxed wrap.  There is a lovely little instruction book on how to keep your cheese.  On reading this little booklet it seems thus far I have been doing everything right.  That is a result.  This particular parcel held the 1kg of Westcombe Cheddar.  A traditional and one of the original Somerset Cheddars which is made by traditional methods and can have a natural blue vein running through it.  Neither of us had tried this cheese before and so the naughty Elves had to have a pre-Christmas nibble.  It is delicious, lovely and creamy with a beautiful tang that does not blow your mouth away.  Very impressed.  I think we may be using this company throughout the year and not just for Christmas.

Please note that this is not a sponsored post. Just my own take and personal opinion on products we have tried. We are, still waiting for a second delivery which I think is due on Monday, which should consist of The Baron Bigod Brie, the Stilton and the Gorgonzola. I am a Gorgonzola freak. We are very much looking forward to this delivery also.

We have since I started typing this post unwrapped both the Microwave and the new cooker. Very pleased with both of them and once the kitchen is fully done up should fit in very nicely and look good. Still a lot of work ahead but getting there.

Right upwards and onwards.

Hopefully catch up later on.



Friday, 18 December 2020

Good morning

Up with the lark again on what is a grey December day, damp and horrible.  Waiting for the oven to be delivered but will not be fitted until the New Year.  Same with the Tumble Dryer will not be delivered before 29 December. At least my microwave is due tomorrow (something else that went wrong) Ooohps well these things are sent to try us but as long as we get there then that is all that matters.

Work currently going on in the kitchen and plans to decorate and sort it out are underway including new tiles.  Once that room is square the dining room will be attacked and decorated.  Replacement flooring will probably take place in the new year probably laminate again.  The current flooring has been down for about 20 years and is past its best, but it has served a purpose.  I also intend to get the pantry sorted and the under-stairs.  I suspect therefore a great deal of the Christmas holiday period I will be engaged in decorating although I will have a couple of days to myself I have promised myself that as I want to do some crafting.  This is just indicative of how this past year has been one step forward two steps back.  Just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes things just do not go right no matter what you do and you end up being in the lap of the Gods.

My hands have been in and out of water most of the morning and I have just stopped to have a coffee break before setting too and starting again.

Have ordered meds from the Surgery so we should both be covered on that.

Right better get on another load of washing to do.  I keep looking at that ironing pile.

Catch you later.



Thursday, 17 December 2020

Busy day

Wonderful news!  It is not raining and the sun is out.  Happy to see the sun as it warms the cockles of your soul.

Again I have been in the kitchen.  Gradually getting there.  Work continues.

OH has been to the tip a couple of times and no doubt will have to go again in the next few days but at least getting rid of the rubbish, room by room.  Still a long way to go, but will get there eventually.

We had a slight jaunt out to the Hotpoint Shop to have a look around. Been and bought a new cooker that arrives tomorrow so we are slowly making progress.  Was looking for a microwave as well but at the moment cannot see anything that I would like. I have one in mind I have seen elsewhere. I have my mum's old one but it is one of these computerised ones and has failed.  All I want on the microwave front is a push button machine preferably in Stainless steel.  Just plain and simple so as little as possible can go wrong with it.  I am not one for new kitchen style units, preferring a more traditional look, but whilst in the Hotpoint shop I noticed their fitted kitchens and was quite taken with a cream one that they have on display, which has lovely big cupboards pantry style and plenty of storage space.  No good for here, but the design was nice and simple, and in keeping with what I would like eventually, one day.  always one day. Would look stunning in a big kitchen. I don't normally do painted kitchens!  Tiz pipe dreams at the moment though.

OH went to the fish man earlier on and bought me some smoked haddock (a tail piece) back for my tea.  He has some Plaice.    That will be lovely served with a poached egg. He also bought some cockles, Crevettes and Crayfish.  So it looks as though we are in for a decent supper this evening.  Fish is really good for you and these days we eat more than we used to but it is just as viable for the tea table as buying meat in the greater scheme of things.  We are lucky that we have access to such a decent fish man.

Tea was lovely and just what the Doctor ordered.  Nice and light and tasty.  Back in the kitchen again and the washing machine is going through the pile of washing and I am now forming a substantial ironing pile.  Cannot win tiz just the depth that varies. Still no news on the delivery of the tumble dryer.  Oh well tiz how the cookie crumbles.

It looks as though it is going to be a late night, but as I am still having the occasional cramps (not as bad as the other day) perhaps the less time in bed the better at the moment for me.  I did not sleep too well last night so if I am dead tired when I go to bed I might stand a chance of getting a good night's sleep.  A little bit of daft logic there if you follow!

Right had better get a wriggle on and get stuck in again.

Hope you are all keeping well and nearly ready for Christmas.

Catch you soon.



Mum's Home-made Baileys Liqueur

Baileys was mum's little treat to herself every so often until she was given this recipe. I believe that this is a recipe that came out within a couple of years of Baileys being launched on the market, so I think it has some age to it. I am not sure where it came from.  I suspect it came from one of the WI ladies as m y mum was a WI Lady as I was both of us for the branch in Deeping St Nicholas.  It is handwritten on a scrap of paper which I found in her cooking folder.  I post this up in case any of you want to try it before I do.  If you do dabble let me know what you think of it.


6 Eggs

One Large Tin of Condensed Milk 

One Large Tin Evaporated Milk (More commonly these days you do not see the larger tins, but it is the larger tin that you need for this recipe)

One Level Dessertspoon dark grated chocolate

One teaspoon of vanilla essence (mine is home made) and a bit pokey. (I used dark Rum as a base and I just top it up every so often).

1/4 pint of Whisky


Basically tip everything into a bowl and whisk by hand until all combined, thick and fluffy.  Alternatively pop into a blender and whizz everything together. Keep in the fridge.

Serve chilled.

I have everything to hand apart from the large tin of Evaporated milk shall go on the hunt over the weekend for that.



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)