Thursday 27 October 2011

I'm Back!

This seem to be calming down here thankfully. OH is feeling a bit better in himself and found some mojo again. So yesterday I had some free time for the first time in ages :)
And today I get some more. Whoop Whoop.
Last night DD went to bed early after a long busy day.

So I busted out 3 sheets of the vintage paper I brought in this post. And got to work cutting up into small squares and strips. Once I'd filled a mason jar with the scraps I was ready.

Meet chair makeover number two! I've ripped out the old saggy seat and cleaned off the frame.
I am now, as you can see, trying my hand at some decoupage. I've been watching the new Kirsty Allsop series and just knew I could do it better lol!
I really please with how it looks after its first layer but it definitely needs a second layer in a few spots.

So watch this space :)

Friday 21 October 2011

My second home sweet home.

This is is indeed my second home at the moment. OH is a bit on the poorly side at the moment with a nasty bout of depression. So its Mummy to the rescue. I can feel myself stretching and stretching at the moment but I'm sure it will all settle into a routine soon.
So expect lots of shop based blogging in the future and my butcher book project taking a slow down.
The shop itself is in a bit of a state, I have mountains of paperwork to sort out and who knows what is lurking in the store room!!! It would seem issues have been mounting up against poor OH for a little while.
Prayers and good wishes are very welcome
x x x

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Showing off me shopping

It's been a while since I brought anything worth showing you lovely blog readers. I don't think you'd be very interested in my food shop would you? Probably not.
So above is one of new blue and white cups. Isn't it pretty? I picked up a set of 5 of these for just £2!!!! The charity shop was closing down for the weekend so they could redecorate, everything was 40% off or better.
' I really like the way the pattern continues inside the cup as well. It's a new idea to me.
Close up of the saucers and side plates in the set. The set is called "Coaching scenes". And I am so in love with them it actually hurts lol.
I'm really hoping I can find a blue and white teapot soon and start serving tea to people when they come over. I love being a hostess :) I'm already looking out for pretty teaspoons to add to them.

And last but not lease, to make up for a few days non blogging, here is a whole host of tips!#

Tip 1; Texture Wise

I know that I have already warned you in an earlier leaflet, to use a really sharp knife when you trim the surplus pasty from a pie dish. It also helps if you hold the knife at an angle - the handle under the plate and the blade sticking away from the pastry. This gives a chamfered edge to the pastry and prevents it from shrinking during cooking.

Tip 2; Texture wise;

Many people tend to forget the importance of texture when they are planning a menu. How boring a meal becomes when all - or nearly all - of its textures are the same.
For instance the following menu is far to porridgey in consistency; Cream of chicken soup, rissoles, creamed potatoes, turnip puree, gooseberry fool. There is nothing in that meal that needs chewing. In fact it would be an ideal menu for someone who has just had all his teeth out!
A clear soup, followed by steak, chips and crisp salad followed in turn by a fruit pie, would give you a good selection of textures. But work some out for yourself.

Tip 3; Mexican Chocolate

Blend together a little black coffee and hot chocolate. Sweeten to taste, before topping each serving with a blob of whipped cream.

Sunday 16 October 2011

The next page

After the success of the first recipe yesterday I have decided to storm ahead onto recipe two.
Which as you can see above is Rajah Mutton Curry. Here is the introduction;

I have chosen a curry as today's special dish, but it is a curry with a refreshing flavour of apple and fruit chutney.
One of curry's great attractions, quite apart from its flavour, is the way in which it can be dressed up for serving. Sprinkle with desiccated coconut, or surround it with thin orange and lemon rings. Top is with banana slices, tangerine segments, lychee or pineapple cubes. Serve it with tiny dishes of chutney, pickle, yogurt and chopped onion.
However you choose to serve it, remember that the sweet which follows will have to break through the barrier of a curried palate, so do not serve anything to subtle or delicate.

2lbs Diced Lean Mutton
1 Large cooking apple
1 Large onion
4oz Butter
2 Tablespoons Curry powder
Salt, Pepper

Heat the butter in a pan. Add the peeled and sliced onion and fry gently until tender and lightly browned. Add the diced mutton, seasoned with salt and pepper. Toss for a few moments then add the peeled and chopped apple, curry powder and a dessertspoonful of mango or tomato chutney. Blend well. Cover the pan with a close fitting lid and allow to simmer gently for an hour, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking. Serve with plainly boiled rice, banana slices, quartered hard boiled eggs and lemon quarters.

I am planning to buy my ingredients tomorrow. I need to get the meat, another apple and the curry powder. The rest I have in the cupboards. They seem to be very fond of adding fruit to dinners in the 60's. Hopefully things get a little less fruity as the recipes go on.
And here is our second page of delicious tips :) Just because its Sunday you can have three today. Aren't you all lucky devils?

Tip 1;
Austrian Orange Cake

Cream together 4oz butter and 8oz caster sugar. Blend in 4 beaten egg yolks alternately with 4oz of sifted self-raising flour. Flavour with the juice and finely grated rind of one orange. Beat 4 egg whites stiffly. Fold them into the cake mixture. Butter and lightly flour a cake tin, shaking out any excess. Pour in the cake mixture and bake in a moderate oven for 50-60 minutes. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a warm skewer. If this is withdrawn dry, the cake is quite cooked. Allow the cake to cool before filling or icing it.

Tip 2;
Beans in the nose.

You will have heard of course, of the child who pushed a haricot bean up his nose. The thought of doing such a thing had not occurred to him until his mother warned him rashly against it. Children certainly do have a dangerous tendency to put found objects in their ears, nose and mouth. What should you do if this happens?
Perhaps the most vital thing is to realise that you may do more harm than good by trying to remove it inexpertly. This quite often happens if the object is a hard, shiny one like a bead, marble or dried pea. The child may squirm suddenly and you might accidentally push the object still further. But if the foreign body is soft, like a piece of cotton wool or felt, get someone to hold the child still, and try to pick out the offending item with a pair of small tweezers. Objects in the nose can sometimes be dislodged by sneezing or blowing the nose. So, try these possibilities first, and if they fail, take the child to the doctor, the out patients department at a local hospital, or an ear nose and throat specialist.

Tip 3;
One for the pot.

Put a blackcurrant leaf in your teapot the next time you make a pot of tea. It gives it the fragrance and perfume of an expensive green tea. Incidentally, we may complain about the price of groceries today, but did you know that tea cost as much as £10 per 1lb in London in the early 17th century? It was, as you can imagine, the beverage of the rich and was used very sparingly.

That's all from me for now folks. But if you decide to use any of these tips and recipes please pop me a comment, I would love to hear how they worked out for you. Or see them if you have the time to blog :)
x xx

Saturday 15 October 2011

Ta dah!!!!

Well everything came out really well. In the end I cooked it for 90 minutes, but there was still plenty of liquid so it could have been happily sitting there much longer.
The taste is amazing! It's actually surprisingly sweet, a little to sweet for me so I would add less orange is I make it again. The creme caramel followed it perfectly. Even OH cleared his plate which is a high accolade in this household.
I'm really really proud of myself.

And last but not least the last two tips.

Tip 1;
Ivy cutting

Ivy is an obliging plant. It seems to survive rather haphazard watering and care, grows well even under rather dreary conditions, and one can take cuttings from it any time of year, except midwinter. Keep ivy cuttings in a glass of water until it begins to root, then plant it in soil. If you want it to cover an inside wall, you can persuade ivy to climb and ramble in any direction. Guide it by attaching it to the wall at intervals with transparent sticking tape.

Tip 2;
Luncheon meat sandwiches

A very tasty sandwich filling can be made from tinned luncheon meat. Mince or finely chop the luncheon meat, blending in a little softened butter. Flavour it with some freshly prepared English mustard and a little tomato ketchup. Use it as a spread for either open or closed sandwiches.

Dinner is prepared.

Well here it is readers. I can't say it looks to fantastic before cooking, but it does smell beautifully mouthwatering. I've wrapped it up in tinfoil and popped it in the oven, so I just need to turn it on an hour before hubby comes home from work. I think 3 hours cooking is a bit excessive and I'm wondering if it shows the efficiency of cookers in the 60's. So I have pretty much cooked the meat and am planning on giving it an hour to cook.
And here a peek at my winter knitting project. This one long strip is almost the length of a double bed. It was intended for DD's bed but when I measured it I was already way over length. And I do have a huuuuuggggeeeee stash of wool that needs using up. Hopefully I will soon be able to get onto strip two.

I'm hoping to post again later and show you a photo of have my dinner experiment went. Catch you laters.
x x x

Friday 14 October 2011

Lightning post

Just a quick post tonight as I'm to my eyeballs in things to do.

Today's tip is;

Economical potato soup.

This is a filling, economical dish. Just peel and halve 6-8 medium sized potatoes. Peel and slice three large onions. Heat some butter or oil in a thick pan. Toss the onions in the fat under tender and brown. Add the halved potatoes. Stir them well until coated with the fat, and then sprinkle in 1 1/2 oz of flour. Turn the potatoes and onions in this flour and fat for 2-3 minutes, the gradually add sufficient boiling stock or water to cover level. Cover the pan and allow to simmer gently for 30 minutes. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, 1 tablespoonful of paprika and a pinch of caraway seeds. Serve very hot. This potato stew could easily form the base of a more elaborate dish. Just add cubes of bacon or pork, sliced sausages or pieces of liver.

Thursday 13 October 2011

Gather your ingredients

Here they are! All of my precious ingredients for Saturdays dinner. All together it has set me back about £8, so I'm hoping it will be really tasty.

Today's tip;
Pineapple Liqueur.
Make your own pineapple liqueur. For this you need a fairly large pineapple, sugar and brandy. Peel the pineapple, removing all the coarse hairs. Grate the pineapple quite finely and sprinkle it thinly with sugar. Allow it to stand for 24 hours - preferably where greedy young fingers can get to it, because its smell does have an effect rather like a candle to a moth. Press out all the juice, using a wooden spoon and a conical sieve. To this liquid add an equal volume of brandy and sugar - 2oz of sugar per 1/2 pint of brandy*. Pour this liquid into a jar. Add one or two slices of fresh pineapple. Cover the jar and allow to stand, unsampled, for 3 weeks. Strain and bottle the liqueur.
* Don't use your best brandy for this job. Use the cheapest you can lay hands on.

I don't know about you but I think I will be trying this recipe very soon. Doesn't it sound yummy?
x x x

Wednesday 12 October 2011

The Butcher's Better food Book

This file of carefully stashed recipe sheets belonged to my late grandma. Since her recent passing I keep finding myself sitting down and flicking through the pages, in some way it just makes me feel close to her.
Each week your friendly local butcher would give you a page with your meat order. My nana faithfully kept every sheet in a little blue file and collected from 1961 to 1964 with barely an issue missed (I assume these are due to her being on holiday)
Always up for a challenge I am planning to work my way through file page by page testing tips where I can, and attempting the recipe.
I am planning to buy the ingredients, and added accompaniments for the below recipe while I'm in town tomorrow. I will also be whipping up some candlelight for our meal following tip 2.
So get yourselves a nice cup of tea and lets read and learn together.

The Butcher's better food cook book.
The complete guide to meat cooking,
and good housekeeping, sparkling
with valuable hints and suggestions.

Recipe 1; Pork with Orange

Introduction; A few weeks ago I gave you a recipe for pork with Pineapple. Today I am suggesting another fruit to cook and eat with this rather splendid rich meat. Orange. I think you will find that it makes a refreshing change.
Serve new potatoes with the pork, and spriglets of cooked cauliflower, tossed in butter and breadcrumbs.
Creme Caramel would follow the pork very happily, or cheese and biscuits. Try to avoid serving a fruit sweet though, since the main course contains both apples and oranges.


2 - 3lb boned loin of pork
2 Oranges
3 Large cooking apples
3 Onions
salt, pepper
1oz Flour
2oz Butter
stock or water


Peel and chop the apples and onions. Heat butter in a frying pan and fry the chopped apple and onion in this for a few minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bottom of an ovenware casserole. Season the pork with salt, pepper and dried sage. Dust it liberally with flour and brown it all over in the frying pan. Place it on top of the fried onion and apple. Peel the oranges. Finely chop the peel of one orange and sprinkle this over the pork. Devide the oranges into segments, discarding any pith or pips. Add these orange segments to the pork. Cover level with boiling stock or water. Cover the casserole with a lid and allow to cook in a low oven for around 3 hours.

I will pop a tip or two from the back of this recipe each day until I am ready to attempt the next recipe.

Tip One; Wined Onions
Select some small onions. Take of the thin outer skins, but try not to damage the under layers. Parboil the onions for 10 minutes. Drain them well. Heat some oil in a frying pan. Add the onions. Toss them in the hot oil until almost cooked, then sprinkle in a little sugar and a little red wine. Stir well, reheat and serve with grilled meat, gammon or fish.

Tip Two; Candlelight
Nothing is more romantic, flattering or appetite-tickling than candlelight. If you do not have elegant candlesticks for your dining table, yet still want to provide the magic of candlelight, improvise with glass tumblers. Cut cardboard rings the same size as the base of the tumbler. Place one inside each tumbler. Stick a candle onto each cardboard base, using molten wax as an adhesive. Decorate the outside of each tumbler with streamers of ribbon or cut crepe paper, and gold foil stars or circles.

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Big Birthday outing

Sunday was my birthday and we celebrated with a trip to the zoo. DD had a wonderful time peering and pointing. She hasn't been to the zoo since she started walking and it was lovely to watch her toddling around.
She particularly taken with the lemurs as you can see in the photo above.
Me and DD watching some huge birds. I think they were nesting because they were being quite aggressive towards anyone walking past. I think DD was very glad of the fence between us and them.
I just love this shot OH snapped of DD running along the path with her builder's bum hanging out.
OH and DD were both equally fascinated with the penguins swimming past the little viewing windows. I could have left them watching for the day and gone off on my own and they'd never have noticed.
All in all it was a fantastic day out, and when we visited my parents afterwards we were treated to a lovely meal out in a local Pub. DD slept through the whole thing after her adventures so we had a really nice grown up family meal.
The whole day was utterly perfect.
x x x x

Friday 7 October 2011

A HUGE project for winter

I spotted this knitted rug on a random crafty blog a little while ago and has it stashed in my bookmarks for ages. I have lots and lots of wool in all sorts of colors that needs using up. Most of it I don't have enough of to make jumpers and larger projects from, but this idea could be perfect! I don't need a rug though so I might make a slightly bigger one for DD's toddler bed.
I think it would keep her super warm and cozy at night, and it would be really easy to replace a damaged "strand" and replace it.
Wish me luck :)

Thursday 6 October 2011

The big reveal

Shortly before my wedding I posted about the chair above. I discovered her unloved and abandoned in the cold, dark misery of the communal bins. What with one thing and another she has been waiting patiently to be completed. And this afternoon during DD's nap she was finished.
Ta Dah!!!! I am really pleased with how she has turned out. Up close you can see a few little mistakes and things but I really don't care because this is 100% me. And in my eyes she is a masterpiece!!! Tomorrow work begins on chair two.

Getting back into it

Hello readers,
Today has been the first day in a long time with any sense of normalcy. It felt so wonderful to be able to make something from scratch and spend a little time sat down with some sewing. Above is a little project I whipped up this afternoon. I have embroidered 2 pillowcases with MR and MRS. On the open ends I have also crocheted a shell edge in a matching purple color. I've had the idea to make these for a little while, and now they are done I've popped them straight on the bed for hubby to find. I hope they make him smile.

I also picked up 2 pints of milk for 25p in the reduced section of our local Asda. So this afternoon I have some homemade cottage cheese dripping away in my kitchen. Tomorrows pudding will be pancakes to use up all that lovely butter milk.

What wonderful creations have you made today?