Sunday, 28 February 2021

Things are underway

It has been a glorious Spring day here in Peterborough, nice and mild and the best part the sun has been out and it makes me feel very blessed and very glad to be alive and breathing!  Slowly mother earth is coming alive again and I want to get out in the garden, and sow seeds to my heart's content.  I love growing stuff from scratch. However I have stuff to do in the garden before that happens, hopefully we will get some more of this wonderful weather so that we can proceed with this.

I also received my Kitchen Garden Magazine and Grow Your Own Magazine with loads and loads of seeds yesterday.  Still only managed a flick through, some serious reading will go on tonight.  There were between the two magazines 22 packets of seeds.  Shall do an update on what maybe tomorrow.

I was a bit poorly again last night but am okay now.  So things on the to do list are not as far along as they should be.  

Beetroot is cooking in the pan on the stove ready for slicing and pickling in spiced vinegar.

Eggs have been boiled in readiness for pickling.

Plums are soaking in sugar in readiness for making Plum jam tomorrow.  You cut the plums in half and then the cut side you dip in sugar.  This should create a syrup as you leave it overnight.  I have added the rest of the sugar on top and shall add it all to the pan for cooking in the morning.  I have 2kg of prepared plums in this bowl with the same amount of sugar.

I also have prepared another 2kg+ of plums in readiness for plum jelly.  They will spend the time in the fridge overnight and I shall then boil them up tomorrow and then pop them through a jelly net and then make the actual jelly on Tuesday. Plum jelly can be used as a sweet sauce in home made stir fries as well as using it as a glaze, or on toast, as a filling in cakes.

Spinach is in the Dehydrator all five trays of it.  This is going to the green powder selection I am slowly building this up for adding to soups, casseroles, stews and gravies.

So at least I have done a little bit.

We had a lovely tea tonight. We had fillet steak served with boiled and buttered new potatoes, a mixed side salad consisting of mixed salad leaves, sweet different coloured strips of pepper, cherry tomatoes, some of the cooked beetroot, sliced red onion, green pepper sauce and I had some fried onions. In fact it was lip-smacking gorgeous even if I do say so myself.  The steak was lovely and buttery and tender and you could cut it with an ordinary knife.  We shall certainly be using Stilton Butchers again.

The steak as it arrived:

Taken out of the packet - can you see the marbling, this melts away as you cook it and there is no hard fat left in it.  Best to buy steak like this if you can.

See how nice and thick the steaks are.  Fillet steak is never much bigger than this as the fillet is only a small diameter cut.  It can be quite thick in depth though.  This was about 2 inches.

In the pan with thick cut onion starting to fry.

The meat went nicely caramelised on the outside.

A thoroughly enjoyable meal.

Right am off to have a look at my gardening magazines.  I will post up during the week a post relating to the finished preserves so that you can see what I have been up to.

Another busy day tomorrow.

Catch you soon.



Saturday, 27 February 2021

All systems Go

 For the kitchen tomorrow.  No stoppages allowed.

Seville Oranges retrieved from the shop - marmalade needs preparing.

Eggs need boiling, cooling then pickling.

Beetroot needs boiling, slicing and then pickling..

Chutney needs making.  Plum chutney here.  I usually store my chutney from 6 to 8 weeks after making to allow it to mature.

Plum jam needs making.

Will do an update report in the next few days of what I have actually made and hopefully some photos too.  

Will stop there but probably will add in further items as I go along.

We had our mussels for tea as planned served with French bread stick and butter was lovely.  Followed this off with Creme caramel..  Very filling but a lovely tea.  Now I am completely stuffed.

Will not be long before I am in bed, tired and fatigued again.  

I have also bought my gardening magazines with loads of free seeds.  Not had a chance to look at yet hopefully will get to this tomorrow.

Right am off to rest up.

Catch you soon.



Meat Order

This morning here in Peterborough started very cold it was only 1 degree when we got up at 8:00am and there had been a very sharp frost. I had to throw a jumper on as I was so chilly. Fortunately since then things have warmed up a bit and the Sun (yes the Sun) has been out in all its glory so I am hopeful of warm days ahead even though we will still probably have cold nights. As indicated earlier in the week I am trialling out a new to us Butcher's; Stilton Butchers.  We arranged to collect this morning, and so were up with the lark for us at least to go and collect.  Must say very impressed with the set up.  

From the Butchers we then went to the Fish Man and ended up buying a complete fillet of smoked haddock, some cockles, some crayfish, Mussels for tea tonight, and some crevettes.  Not gone too barmy this week as we have the meat order as well.  We do pretty well on the food front and it is nice to have a variety of items, but there is no need to go completely OTT.

I also bought another tray of eggs from the stall next to the Fish Man.  They are there every Saturday as well and every so often they have the nice tiny eggs which are the first eggs from the new hens.  They are lovely if you can get hold of them.  I know I bought a tray of eggs yesterday, however I do have some baking to do, and I also am going to do a few jars of pickled eggs for OH.  Initially they will be hidden on the pantry shelf.  I have lots of other stuff to do as well but I also need to go down to Waitrose to get some bits and also call at the veg shop for some veggies.

We did not call at the Farm shop as they were not open before 10:00am and because of other commitments, we did not have time to wait.

We then went onto the Bakers but there was quite a queue and so yet again we did not wait.  They do nice old fashioned crispy buns, so we have foregone them this week.

We gave Missy a good walk and then came back to the house where I sorted the fridge out and then got the new Butcher's order ready to go in, as well as the fish.

I must say that I have been terribly impressed with the look and quality of the meat as it stands.    Nicely sized portions on the fillet steak, which are only small steaks at the best of time but they are nice and deep.  Same as the Lamb chops, these are from a joint and yet again a very nice size and thickness. The joint looks fantastic. Will let you know the full verdict once we have tasted it. We have decided to have Roast Beef with all the trimmings for dinner tomorrow.

Afterwards we then had some cray fish for me and OH had his crevettes.  

Watched the Raymond Blanc cooking programme.  Must say that I do like him as a Chef and there were quite a few of his mother's recipes on the show this morning, including a vegetable soup served three different ways which included using what the French call Pistou, which is basically a Pesto.  Looked very refreshing and very tasty.  Might just have to make some of that.

There was also a chicken and mustard braised dish, and surprisingly OH piped up that he would actually eat that so that may be on the cards later in the week.

There was also a beautifully dressed fresh mixed salad with a French Dressing on.  It looked super so that may well be on the cards at some point as well.  Nathan Outlaw was the guest this week and he did his version of fish and chips with mushy peas and home made Tartare sauce.  This was a gluten free recipe.  Looked lovely, however for me I have to have a smooth Tartare sauce as I do not like the lumps.  This was part 5 of the series of 10 I think.  Must say that I have very much enjoyed this.  This is really what cooking is about straight from plot to plate how my grandparents used to do it.  Hopefully I will be able to produce some veggies this year.

Right am off to do my thing.

Hopefully catch up later on.



Not really hungry at the moment but will be later on, but the Mussels will be more than filling for us both which we are having for tea tonight with some garlic bread.  Well that should keep away the vampires!

The afternoon to go yet, and still lots of things to do

Friday, 26 February 2021

Bit of a Catch up

Today has been a busy day.  The weather has been gorgeous lovely and mild.  It was an early start for me and I am now starting to feel a little fatigued and tired.  Lots of washing done, and a pair of Marigolds also worn at one stage.  Further tidying done, not completed yet but slowly starting to make a serious dint.

I nipped to the veg shop earlier on and came back with four bowls (4kg) of purple plums, two bowls of Lemons, and I was given an offer of a crate of Seville Oranges for the princely sum of £3 as they wanted shot of them.  They indicated that a lot of people just have not made any preserves this year. I hasten to add there is nothing at all wrong with the Seville Oranges. I have also agreed to supply them with a couple of jars of marmalade as part of the price, which I am quite happy to supply.  I was as pleased as punch.  I have also a large tray of eggs as well.  Pickled Eggs here we come.  They will probably get done tomorrow night as I need some fresh herbs to flavour them with. I have the vinegar in-house. However if I do not get to them tomorrow, I will on Sunday.

I am intent to squirrel away as much as I can this year especially after last year's fiasco.  I want to err on the side of caution.  When I get the freezer, which he has promised me but is pending on the shed being sorted, and the old freezers being removed, I can then concentrate on sourcing veggies and meat to stock it with.  This is something my family have done literally for years always making sure that there has been food to hand and especially for the winter months.

I shall look again tomorrow  at the veggie shop to see what else they have reduced. I need fresh veggies anyway as we will be picking up the  meat order tomorrow and hopefully will be having a T bone steak for tea tomorrow night and then a Sirloin roast beef for Sunday dinner. I have in the past picked up some very serious discounts here.  It is the discounted fruit that I always turn into preserves of one sort or another.  They also if they can look out for items I am after and more often or not they appear.  I have a bit of a reputation when it comes to preserving at the Veg shop.  What me!

I also need a net of onions to turn into dried onions and onion powder.  Both useful additions to the pantry.  I also want to have a go at making home made Onion Bhaji's and some Onion Marmalade and Onion Relish.  I need to source my spices first though and there is an Indian shop around the corner that sells really big nets of onions (for next to nothing) so I may get a net from them.  I known not everyone favours onions, but we love them and I usually have quite a few to hand.

For a short while this evening I have been watching a couple of tutorials on making some preserves that I have not made before.  Hopefully they will get made tomorrow evening as I now have everything to hand.

Tomorrow morning is going to be a tad busy.  We  need to collect the Meat Order from the new Butcher we are trialling. Then go to the Bakery, then on to the Fish Man and then to the Farm shop. So it will be afternoon before I get into the kitchen despite an early start.

Right I need some shut eye.

Catch you soon.



Things to do Pattypan's Kitchen end of February 2021 to March 2021

Just a resume of some of the things I hope to get made between the end of February and the end of March.  More an aide memoire really for this dizzy duck.  Some of this has already been done but will update later on.

I have some bottoming out in the bathroom and the kitchen to do before I make anything else.

OH is diabetic and as a result he eats pickles like sweeties.  That is why we have been going through so many this year - not that I made big batches this past year.

I just wish I had a really big farmhouse pantry - that would nicely accommodate quite a lot of what I intend on preserving.  I am losing one storage cupboard to kitchen equipment.  Kitchen cabinetry is being replaced - but I have an awful lot of expensive equipment.  So what is now the Jam Pantry (the cupboard under the stairs) is going to be turned into a kitchen equipment storage area.  I am then hopeful to turn the fireside cupboards into a giant store for my bottled goods.  My small pantry off the kitchen (more a dry larder) is full of everything else.

Anyway here is the rough list:

Make more Pickled Cucumber (Bread and Butter Pickle)

Make Beer Mustard wholegrain and smooth.

Make Souper Mix

Make Pickled Eggs

Make Lemon Curd - done

Make more Pickled Red Cabbage

Make Lemon Cordial

Make Orange Curd

Make Dried Orange Slices

Make Orange Jelly

Make Chilli Jelly

Make Chilli Jam

Dry Kale - done

Dry Spinach -done

Dry Frozen Mixed Vegetables - done

Dry Leek

Dry Carrots

Dry Peppers

Dry Fennel

Make mixed summer fruit jam - done

Make more Pickled Beetroot

Make some more Pickled Shallots.  I kept some back and they are still in good condition so as not to waste them am pickling them.

Make some more Pickled Onions.   Ditto

Make Pickled Red Onion for the fridge (short term preserve)

Buy some cooking apples to make new stock of Apple Sauce (water bathing).  5kg purchased to peel and process.

I managed to obtain 7lb of black cherries reduced from the veggie shop yesterday.  I intend to make a small quantity of cherry pie filling

Buy some grapefruit both yellow and red, for bottled grapefruit slices (water bathing)

Make Seville Orange Curd

Make Vin d'Orange

Make Orange marmalade

Make Grapefruit cordial

Make Grapefruit Gin

Make Grapefruit Curd

Make home made mixed peel

Make Bottled Pears

Make Bottled Blueberries - Blueberries in fridge - for Blueberry Muffins and Blueberry Pancakes. I managed to get these cheaply as well.

Make Bottled Pineapple

Make more mincemeat

Some wine kits to use up

Ginger Wine

Rhubarb Wine

Make House Orange Wine

Make House Lemon Wine

Make House Grapefruit Wine

That is quite a bit of stuff.  All of it extremely helpful in providing a good supply of staple items for use through the year.  There is still lots and lots to do.  However, if you get a bargain on something then it would be silly not to take advantage.

Catch you soon.




Since preparing the above post, I have been to the veg shop on this bright and sunny morning.  I have come home with some absolute bargains.  Four kg of dark black plums destined for jam and chutney, a bag of lemons.  These were £1 a bowl i.e. £5.  I was then offered a large crate of Seville Oranges.  I was asked if I could use them up for £3 the crate and a bottle/jar of Seville Marmalade.  So I snapped their hand off.

My veggie shop offers a bowl (usually about 1kg) of produce that has been on the shelf for sometime.  All are usually in good condition and £1 a bowl  (They are on a large trolley displayed in large bowls).  So if there is anything on offer this is where I tend to buy in bulk.

I also bought a loaf of reduced bread for making plain croutons in the dehydrator.  So things are moving ahead very nicely.

So it looks as though I have more to do than I had planned.

Off to get busy.


Thursday, 25 February 2021

Online Shopping

Today we have placed another order for the family for Cornish Pasties.  This time five regular traditional pasties and five cheese and onion pasties.  Yet again the order has been placed with

We are also trying out a new Butcher.  No shop everything online. Stilton Butchers. Their website is Stilton Butchers.  They are also on Facebook at Stilton Butchers Facebook Photos look good as do the prices.  The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. The Reviews are very good. Apparently the Butcher's has an impeccable record locally due to supplying many restaurants and caterers.  If the food supplied is as good as it looks I may be using them again.  They seem to have quite a lot of good value packs and offers and a lot of the animals seem to be grass fed.  So will see.  They had a very good offer on when we ordered today in that if you spend over £60 you can receive a 2kg Sirloin joint for just £20.  A promotion code has to be added to receive the reduction so be careful to check your shopping basket if you order from them carefully before you finalise your order.

I ordered today some Sirloin steaks, two Two T Bone steaks, some sausagemeat (either for sausage rolls or sausagemeat plait), some diced chicken (for kebabs or curry), two Lamb steaks, two half chicken portions, two Gammon steaks, and of course the offer with the 2kg Sirloin joint.  So we will see how we get on.  Even though they are called Stilton Butchers they are based in Peterborough but there is no shop.  Apparently the original butcher's shop was opened in Stilton hence the name.

Stilton is a small village just outside of Peterborough from which the Stilton cheese takes its name although it was not produced here.  There is a pub in the village called the Stilton Cheese and I have attended the Cheese Rolling competition in year's past.  My sister-in-law used to take part when younger and I used to go along to support her.

I am a person that normally likes to see what they are getting especially with food and so thus far I have been a little suspicious with the pasties - (my fears were calmed on this one though by the previous delivery)  I am hoping that ordering the meat this way will also prove successful.  I never go back to a place where I am not satisfied with the quality so we shall see what happens.

Everything I had planned to do went awry today and I ended up giving in somewhat disgracefully to re-convening everything I had planned for tomorrow. OH had to go for a Diabetes check up today as well and then we had something blow up that we had to deal with which took longer than anticipated.  Needless to say I was not impressed.  These things are sent to try us.

It has been a milder day again here in Peterborough and the weather forecast looks as though we are going to have a spate of more mellow weather.  Fingers crossed it stays that way.  The sun has been out and that always makes me feel better.

I managed to do a little more crochet last night as well and I am glad that I added the yellow in.  It is right for this blanket.  Especially as an odd ball of wool I had which I thought was navy has a purple hue to it as well so it seems to be ideal for it.  It reminds me of primroses and violets. Two of my absolute favourite Spring flowers.

OH has just come in from walkies with Missy and handed me three blocks of cheese.  It is a mature cheddar cheese which has been on an offer at the local Co-Op.  We decided to give it a try and it is quite tangy and not too bad at all for the price.  Known as Worthy Farm (Glastonbury) Reserve Cheddar.  It is about £3 for a 320g block. I have since found this round the corner at £2.50 per block.

I might go and get some more as I quite fancy some cheese scones for a change and maybe a cheese and onion pie.

I also paid a visit to the veg shop as I wanted some cooking apples to bottle up for the pantry shelf. I have 5kgs x £2 per kg to peel.  Whilst there I came across a bargain in the reduced section, Seven x one pound punnets of cherries.  They will either make jam or pie filling.  Not sure yet what I am going to do.  Might be the bottling of pie filling.  Might be cherry jam.

No matter what I do it will be useful preserves for the pantry shelf.

I have also bought two more bags of frozen veggies to dehydrate.

I am going to try and do the mixed fruit jam tonight with the fruit out of the freezer.  I have 2kg to use up.  In the fridge but am intent on not wasting it.  I am going to add a few cooking apples to the mixture as well.  Will be lovely with croissants for brekkie.  This is one of the bonuses of keeping quantities of fruit in the freezer as when you have more time you can easily rustle up (under normal circumstances) preserves when you need them or have more time to make them.

I was a bit b***** about not being able to do my baking.  Maybe will get there tomorrow. Had written out all my quantities as well.  Strangely when I bake it is the measurements I have the problem with.  The actual process of making the item in question I always remember it is just the quantities.  I had planned on doing bread as well.

I have a notepad which travels between upstairs and the kitchen.  I scrawl my quantities or ideas on that pad upstairs and then to execute take it down to the kitchen with me.  Sometimes though I lose it literally.

Right am off to get that jam done.

So lots to do over the next few days.  All created by mois!

Catch you soon.




Wednesday, 24 February 2021

What is going on in Pattypan's Kitchen at the moment

Not a lot really.  A lot of plans and a lot of bits and bobs bought in to do stuff with.  Let us start at the beginning.

I have the dehydrator on again.  I have bought three bags of Kale to make more dried Kale either in leaf form or powder form. This is to add to the leaves I have already dried. I have also bought two bags of Spinach to do the same with.  I have no Spinach stock so this is a new addition. So the dehydrator is on and running and will be overnight.  If I can get some reduced mixed salad leaves will also do these the same way as well.

Later in the week I intend to go to Waitrose and find some fancy mushrooms to dry for the pantry.  OH is rather partial to mushrooms and I am considering buying a grow your own mushroom kit for Oyster mushrooms.  Details here:

On instagram: 

Marvellous Mushrooms Instagram

On website/shop: 

Marvellous Mushrooms website/shop

I will have to sweet talk him first though.

We are a family that uses mushrooms a lot from fresh, but I also see a use for them in either powdered or dried format from the pantry shelf.  I love Oyster mushrooms and OH loves Shitake mushrooms in particular.  But even what I call everyday mushrooms are good for storing either whole or powdered.

In the greater scheme of things, I am also considering making some mushroom ketchup (not today though).  I have never made this at all but OH's mum used to make copious amounts of it apparently and used it liberally in cooking.  Not sure on this will make some more investigations before having a go I think.

I can often pick mushrooms up from the reduced counter that is why I am adding it to my pantry list.  Its a shame to waste a very useful commodity.

I have plans also to get some more frozen vegetables to dehydrate as well. I want to build up a nice little stock of these.

I have taken some mixed fruit out of the freezer and intend to make some more mixed fruit jam.  It is lovely in a cake or on a morning Croissant.

The first batch of Lemon curd was made yesterday.  I have another batch to do at some point, but I do have cordial and maybe some Lemon jelly marmalade to make (will have to buy in new Lemons for this though - bit of an afterthought on my part the marmalade not the cordial).

Tomorrow I have at least two lots of shortcrust pastry to make and some scones.  I managed to nab two pots of Cornish Cream that had been reduced today and so along with the mixed fruit jam that should make a lovely topping for some home made scones.  Long time since have done this.

I am also going to be making a meat pie of some description.  I have stewing steak/casserole steak for this purpose, onions and carrots.

I am also going to have a go at some milk bread all being well tomorrow.  So it is going to be an early start on my part.  Lots of jars will have to be washed and sterilised as well so I am going to have my work cut out.

My priorities are the jam, the pastry, the meatpie and the scones.  The rest will fit in either during the day or if I need to overlap the day after so all will not be lost.

I think I had better have that alarm at the ready for tomorrow.

Catch you soon.



Stormy Weather and Crafting

 It has been blowing a hooley for the best part of the night and it has not really let up since.  Confusingly here in Peterborough the sun is out and it feels warmer in the sun than it has done really for many a day but the wind has not calmed down.

I did not sleep well again hearing the birds starting to sing around 5am and having to deal with a grumpy Jack Russell who was intent on pushing me off the bed and growling at my every move.  We soon sorted her out and I made her move.  She tends to lay on the bottom of the bed its just whether she is horizontal or vertical that changes.

I had a look at the lap quilt I showed a few weeks ago last night to see what was involved with it.  I have decided that I am going to sort out the threads and the codes and get them all sorted out, then find a hoop ring and start working the pre-printed design.  It will take some time but will be a good project to get out the way as soon as I can and then I can concentrate on other things.  

I appreciate I am "bitting" around on the crafting front at the moment this is how I tend to roll and then every so often I have a splurge and get several things finished.  It very much depends on what time I have as to what project I work on. This for me helps with the boredom threshold. The scrap wool blanket that I have started I envisage to take most of the year working it as I finish up other projects or adding in other bought odd balls of wool.  I do have a very large UFO(King Size Bed) blanket that can be worked alongside of this a very large stripey bedcover which is in similar colours to the scrap blanket.  Some of the smaller scraps have been used on the scrap blanket.

The new scrap blanket squares which are not the finished squares as all the ends need tidying in and more rows might be added yet.  Will see how it works out.  I tend to play with what I have.

So in effect what may happen here is I will end up buying more wool for this and then the scraps will be turned into squares for the scrap throw.  So there is a method in my madness.  The stripey blanket/bed throw is being worked in double crochet and is quite a project.

I have found some pale yellow wool which I think I am going to add to the scrap blanket as well.  In the tweedy blue centres of the squares there are various other colours including an autumny orangey gold but I am not sure I want to go on the autumny colours per se.  I think the yellow will work well especially with the blues and lilac colours. 

I have just worked round four of the squares.  I quite like it.  I think it makes the colours pop a little bit, gives them a bit more life. This is also giving me ideas for other projects and to do something that will go with a couple of projects I already have finished.  That will have to go on the list though as I already have other projects well before that.

I also fancy a pale green as well to lighten things up a bit.   I have not decided on the size of the blanket either so like "Topsy" it may grow and grow and grow.  I think the final colour for joining all the squares up is going to be navy, but that may change also as I work along.

Right am off to potter.

Catch you soon.



Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Pattypan's Kitchen What's in the fridge that needs using up - Lemons Part One Lemon Curd

I have some lemons that need using up that are in the fridge and I initially thought that I would make some Lemon Curd but then I thought Cordial as well.  

I do not like wasting stuff, and if the Lemons are too dry I always have the option of turning them into Lemon vinegar for cleaning with.  I love Lemon curd and I love Lemon cordial and I need both.

However, before I do anything else I will wash the lemons in warm water to get rid of any wax.  Before juicing the lemons I will roll each one for a few minutes as this helps release more juice from the lemon.  I tend to do them one at a time and then juice, then roll then juice.  Some zest is sometimes put into some recipes, if however it is not used in your particular recipe, zest the lemons before use, and mix them with some sugar.  You can then either dry in the dehydrator or on a baking sheet in the oven.  Once dried you can then decant to an airtight jar and use for decorating cakes or for making lemon drizzle for a lemon drizzle cake.  Do not waste it. Lemons are expensive to what they used to be and I suspect will get more expensive as time goes on.  So if you get an offer on Lemons make use of it, there is always something you can turn it into.


100g/Approx 4 oz (just under) Unsalted Butter by recipe instructions but I have used salted butter and it has not made much of a difference.

4 Eggs Beaten

Grated zest and juice of 4 Lemons 

450g/approx 16oz (just under)


Either use a Double Boiler if you have one or a Bain Marie (a basin over a pan of boiling water)

Put all your ingredients into the bowl and bring to a gentle simmer. I was always taught that you did not need the water to boil as the hot water if it laps the base of the bowl may curdle the eggs.

Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. I use a balloon whisk to keep the mixture moving.  Continue heating, stirring until the curd thickens. I have found in practice this varies mixture to mixture so do not panic if it is not thickening as quickly as you think it should.  You need to stir as when the mixture takes it takes quickly and if you are not stirring it could scramble the eggs. If the mixture covers the back of a spoon, reasonably thickly it is ready.  Pour the curd into previously washed and warmed small pots.  Cover straight away.

I have water bathed mine for 10 minutes in a pan of water which is then bought up to the boil where the jars are covered  in water (hot water bathing) to help keep the Lemon Curd that bit longer. Lemon curd without doing this will have a very short shelf life.

Homemade Lemon curd is an absolute delight.  Lovely in pudding, sponge cakes, in jam tarts on toast with pancakes, in Lemon Meringue pudding a favourite of mine.  Basically the lemon curd is the bottom bit.  If you have this on the shelf, all you need is a pastry case which can also be made at home, and then some home made meringue for topping.  Better home made than out of a packet (although that does have its place).  It is also lovely in Butterfly cakes, in a Victoria Sandwich, on bread and butter, on toast, made into an ice cream or to flavour home made yogurt.  There are a myriad of ways of using up this lovely home made preserve.  We are coming into Spring, and a lovely addition to the pantry shelf.  You can also make other flavoured versions as well, such as Orange, mixed fruit etc, Seville Oranges.

I am just delighted that I have been able to use them up without wasting anything (not that they would have been wasted in any event) but they could have been.

Catch you soon.



Monday, 22 February 2021

Lazy Day

 Due to a little Jack Russell not settling last night I had a very disrupted sleep.  On Friday she had to go to the Vets for a general check up bearing in mind she is on antihistamines to stop her itching and a pain killer for the arthritis that she has.  As it was a three month check up and they are keeping an eye on her they shaved her neck to take blood.  Trouble is they did it too close to her skin and she has ended up with razor burn.  When she first came back she was okay however yesterday her neck was inflamed and she was very much off colour.  So I bathed it with sterlilised water with a little salt in and then popped some nappy cream on her.  It seems to have worked a treat.  From flame red skin this has now gone pink again.  However she could not get comfy yesterday and was attempting to itch which was the last thing we wanted her to do.  She was off colour yesterday as well not interested in anything.  Trying to stop her from scratching has been the big thing and I had just gone off to sleep last night when she started ripping.  So on went some more cream and she settled down after that.  As my sleep was fitful I ended being late up as I just crashed out.

Today she has been more her old self and far "perkier" which I am pleased about.  When she is well she just does not want Dad at all and gravitates towards me.  I do spoil her but then again she is an old lady of 14+ years.  So today has been far better and her sore spot is not as sore but I am still popping the cream on and putting it on thickly so it soaks into her skin.  Fortunately she cannot bite it as otherwise it would have been a homemade cone of shame!

I have also done a little more crochet with some of my scrap wool, which will eventually be turned into a scrap throw.  I am quite pleased with the colourway so far although I may have to add the odd ball of wool here and there as we go along.  The colours are quite pretty, so far being lilac, purpley pink, pale lilac, navy blue, marled blue.  I am trying to blend the colours so that they match in somewhere along the line.  I have worked four squares of each colourway thus far as I ended up running out of the wool I was using and cannot get anymore so I thought this scrappy haphazard design might work better this way.  The squares are still in their scruffy state as they will need pressing and also the ends sewing in.  I tend to do this in one fair go as for me it is an integral part of the finishing of my blankets.  I don't mind doing it.

Tonight for tea with have had a simple Spaghetti Bolognese for tea.  Now to tell you the truth I have never really been taken with Spaghetti Bolognese as a meal.  OH however is another matter.  I had fancied having a chilli.  In the end I gave in but told him that we might well be having chilli later in the week.

When I cook I tend to play around a bit and strictly speaking it probably is not a traditional Spaghetti Bolognese recipe.

I started off by chopping an onion and gently frying it in a pan.  I then added a couple of carrots finely chopped and cooked for a few minutes before adding in a generous pinch of mixed herbs, and some pepper.

I then added in my mince, this particular mince was a very lean one, but was nice and fresh as it broke easily into pieces so that I could distribute it around the pan.  Once browned I then added in some gravy powder, some stock, some crushed garlic and about a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly together with some hot water. I do continually taste what I am cooking as I go along so that I can adjust the seasoning and the flavouring as I go.

I decided to add in some of my dried kale leaves, which I had left as leaves, to add a bit more interest and flavour to this dish, making sure that there was enough water to soak into the kale.  You need it to absorb some of the juice as you do not want it crispy when eating.

I then added in a jar of bought pasta sauce, however you could use a couple of tins of tomatoes blitzed in the food processor.  The only other thing I wanted to add was a dash of red wine.  OH is not a fan.  He is not a fan of herbs either, but I added them and did not tell him.  As it is I got asked what the green stuff was in the pasta sauce.  He seemed okay with the addition of this, but honestly sometimes he is worse than children!

For serving I added some grated matured cheddar to the bottom of the dish (I used a soup bowl for this as it gives quite a good serving).

I then added a generous dollop of the sauce.

Then the Spaghetti.

Then I finished off with another good dollop of the sauce, more grated cheese and then added some grated Comte on top.

It was delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I shall certainly make it this way again and I will probably add some red wine next time. However, I will definitely be using the  dried Kale a lot in my home cooking from now on in.  Dried Spinach would be good in this also.

It has been a warmer day here in Peterborough but dull.  The temperatures seem to be on the up.

Right am off to get back to my seed scheduling.

Catch you soon.



Sunday, 21 February 2021

Planning, Plotting and Scheduling

 Never one to take the easy way me.  Today has been a laid back one; neither of us have done much.

However, I have been continuing with my scheduling of seeds, when to grow, when to plant, when to harvest and in the process come up with month by month lists.  This year, I hope to build on last year a little.  I got a lot right last year but it fell apart towards the end because of our caravan jaunts.  This year I hope to have my step-daughter on hand to come and give the plants a watering if and when we go away.  So all this needs to be figured into the equation as well.  Plus our garden is not overly big.

This scheduling is taking longer than anticipated but will be a list to check back on, over future years and also give me month by month lists of what I should be sowing, what I should be planting out and what I should be harvesting when.  To start with I am creating what I call muddled up lists.  These are based on a month by month basis and all relevant information is going in.  Like a quick check list as it were.  This will be turned into typed up sheets for sowing, planting and harvesting in anyone particular month.  As I work through each seed packet I am putting a tick on the outside of the packet to indicate that this particular packet has been dealt with and that I do not in the long run end up missing any. Just a couple of photos of the lists earlier on today.  They have been added to considerably since then.

As I am going through the seeds I am coming across one or two surprises, freebies from the magazine which I had forgotten I had.  I am also finding duplicates of certain packets and I am putting these together and then I am going to alphabetically section my seed box(es) so that I can find things quickly and easily.  Think this might be easier in the long run rather than segmenting them up month by month.  Well that is the plan anyway.  I also with time and experience hope to build up my own favourite seeds which I will end up using year in and year out as well as seeds that can be sown and planted all year long.  I have a lot of containers which I use which will also be put into full production.  I still have a lot of cataloguing to do but we are getting there very gradually.  I will in due course also be making sowing entries into the calendar for successional sowing on some crops such as salad leaves and radishes etc. so that I can keep a supply of fresh leaves up through the year.  Salad leaves cost an arm and a leg in the shops so it makes sense to grow these myself as well as my pea shoots.

I am particularly excited about dehydrating leaves of any kind that can be turned into powders to add to cook meals.  I have had excellent results with my small dehydrator and as a result I am looking at making the most of whatever leaves I can to add more goodness to meals at the end of the day. I have been buying reduced lettuce leaves, kale, and spinach leaves to dry down to make green powders. When we were little very rarely did beetroot or carrot tops be used in everyday eating.  Now we have a culture that is using up these goodies I am now looking to extend my choice of seeds and have been looking at seeds I would not normally have looked at.  For me that is waste not want not and will mean I will be harvesting goodness from the garden no matter what.  So much has been learned  but I have oh so much more to learn on this preserving journey of mine (never mind that thus far it has been 40+ years along).  I am hoping predominantly to be able to use the foods if I manage to produce any for everyday eating but also for making lots of goodies to eat during the winter by being stored in the freezer or by making chutneys, relishes, pickles, jams, jellies etc etc. for the pantry shelves.  For me it is always the pantry shelves that I am conscious of filling with goodies to make our lives more comfortable especially during the winter months.

Weatherwise it has been mild and dull here in Peterborough today.  Not quite warm enough for me to get out and about but we are slowly getting there.  As soon as I can get out I will.  I have seeds to plant in the greenhouses which need sorting out as well.  The dawning of spring is giving me lots of hope for a more successful year on the plot.

I also need to get the shed all sorted out so that I can get that new chest freezer.  I need that for all the new produce that will be coming in.  I also want to add more structure to the household with the making of things at certain times from scratch.

Oh well as I keep saying, it is just the depth that varies.

Catch you soon.



Saturday, 20 February 2021

Not much going on here the moment.  I am hoping not to tempt providence by voicing my thoughts here.

I have had a mild reaction to the Covid injection in that where they injected me went red and slightly swollen and my arm does hurt. I am so glad I chose my left arm to have the injection into rather than my predominant right hand. No big shakes just a mild reaction and within limits.  This is about par for the course with me.  I have a history of reactions to medications, anaesthetics etc.  Guess it is just the way I am built.  I am not complaining here, just stating as it is a fact for me.  We are all treated the same and yet in reality every single one of us is unique and has different reactions to different things.  Does not mean that things do not work, just perhaps that your system does not tolerate it as well as the next person.

I have done a lot of sleeping and I am getting more and more like a door mouse.  I am hoping that the lighter nights and longer days will put paid to this as there is an awful lot of stuff that I need to be getting on with. predominantly in the garden.  I am itching to get going.  Longer days when they get a bit warmer mean more pottering time for me to do things in the garden without constraints to do this or that.  We also have a shed and a garden to sort out.  Hopefully according to the forecast we are due some warmer days in this coming week.  I am hoping we will be able to take advantage of this.

Whilst I have been being kind to myself and "resting".  I have worked a square or two on the new scrap blanket.  Not full squares just working several in rounds and building up layer by layer.  It has been easy to pick this up and put it down again.  I need to be in a more focused state of mind for working on the other blanket, plus I need more wool to finish it off. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get into town this week to bring more home so it may well be sometime this coming week.

I am however finding recipes to try in this coming preserving year, new ones in old books that I have flicked through time and time again but which have never tried.  All of a sudden I take a fancy to the recipe and then I just have to try it.  I am also locating some new preserving books which I have added to my Amazon list which look promising.  Going to have to save the pennies up first though but at least I have the details so should be able to locate when I am ready.

Hopefully things will start to pick up again in the next day or two.  Meanwhile I am taking advantage of the down time.

Catch you soon.



Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Wednesday Catch up

 Today I have been to my GP Practice for the Covid 19 jab. All very professional and well policed. Before you are even let through the doors they take your temperature and you are given relevant paperwork covering the injection you are to have and then they take you through to a funneling system;

There was only I and another there waiting. You go through they check they have the right person with the right details give you the injection which I did not feel and then you are given a card and an egg timer. Yes - I am not joking an egg-timer. It is set as you leave the room from the injection. At our GP Practice they have added in the extra precaution of a 15 minute waiting time just after the jab to make sure that there are no imminent side effects and if there are then there is someone professional to deal with things pronto. I was then escorted into a separate waiting room until my egg timer pinged (which meant I was cooked) and I could leave the premises. I had the Pfizer jab. Must say extremely well organised and sorted. Did not hurt, and only stung a little on withdrawal. I opted to have my injection in my left arm as I am right hand dominant and still wanted to be able to get on with things in case of any reaction.

Arm is a little stiff surrounding the injection site but otherwise everything is more than okay. I am lucky in that I have been able to have the injection probably because it is not a live virus being injected into our systems with the auto immune issues I have.

After coming back from the surgery I had a late lunch only some soup and some bread and butter but I was very cold by the time we got in as it was chilly outside and that soon warmed me up.

Last night I managed to finish the last of the coloured green and white squares for my blanket/throw worked in green and white. I just had enough wool (of the green) to work the 60 squares. I now need to neaten off each individual square and then work another row of white around each one. Once that is all done I will be able to work out how many white squares I will need to work to finish it off. Once they are worked, I can then crochet them together and then do a further border probably in double crochet (a nice thick border) to finish it off. So am chuffed with progress so far on this front.

I managed to drop a new ball of the white wool in the dogs drinking bowl the other night and ended up putting it in the washing machine (as you do) to get it nice and clean again (which it did). Only trouble was the wool was a bit like spaghetti junction, a spider's web and in a right taffle. It took me a good couple of hours and quite a bit of patience but I eventually managed to retrieve it all.

To this, so I did not do too badly with it.

OH did comment that he thought I was a little mad and that I should just of chucked it but to me that was admitting defeat and besides I had paid out good money for that there wool I was not wasting any of it. If I am starting to work a scrap blanket with little bits and bobs of wool left over from all sorts of other sources why would I scrap a tiny bit that is needed for this particular blanket.

The white squares I am going to work in the new wool and the wool that I have rescued will go towards crocheting the squares together once all the new white ones are worked.

The nights are getting a bit lighter than they were and at 5:00pm now the sky is still light, so I am looking forward more and more to the light. This winter I seem to have done an awful lot of sleeping and I have been more like a doormouse than anything else. I am hoping that as we move into spring that my energy levels will increase again as I have so much that I want to do both in the garden, in the house and once we are allowed to travel a bit more again. Early days must pace myself more and start to get more focused than I have been.

Right upwards and onwards.

Take care, keep safe and remember one day at a time.

Catch you soon.



Meet the Moggies

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