our hero

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Land of Hope and Gravy

So the first Sunday of Advent and I am Prepared. Yesterday was our 4th Preparing for Advent and as ever it has given me what I need to face the coming month with a renewed vigour and excitement.

Scented Pear Pin Cushions, Painted Glass Tea Light Jars, Herman Cakes, Soups, Breads, Cheeses and Chutneys in the company of some lovely ladies and the inspirational words of Mags - and now I have HOPE.

Last Sunday was Stir-up Sunday, traditionally the day to make your Christmas Pudding. I like to think of today as Gravy Sunday - the day I make my Jamie Oliver 'Get Ahead Gravy' ready for Christmas Day. Just over a litre of tasty golden goodness is now tucked away in the freezer - one more thing ticked off the List.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Heh, heh, heh.....

Like many others I wouldn't normally do the tagging thing, but just picked this up from Angela's blog and fancied doing it...

Eleven things about me....
  1. What was your favourite sweet as a child?
    • The Green Triangle
  2. Historical novel, romantic fiction, or detective story?
    • Detective Story
  3. Where in the world is your heart ‘at home’?
    • Florence
  4. Nigella, Delia, Jamie, or HFW [or another?]
    • Love them all
  5. What is your favourite season of the year? Why?
    • Winter - Snow and the festivities
  6. What was your first car?
    • Austin Maestro
  7. Which aspect of housework do you find most difficult?
    • It never ends! 
  8. At this very minute, where are your house keys?
    • Hanging on their hook
  9. What is your favourite ‘Christmas’ food?
    • Jamie's Gravy
  10. Who is your favourite cartoon character?
    • Mutley
  11. What colour is the chair you are sitting on right now?
    • Natural

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Snuggle pup

Blanco is a very snuggly pup. He loves his creature comforts, and now that the cooler weather is here I have dug out the little 'Parker' jacket that I bought for him in the sale. He still isn't happy to go out when it is raining though.

So I took a chance with the laundry today 
and hung it out as the wind was blustering beautifully.

Then the rain came, and then it blew 
some more then it rained again, and again. 
So the Laundry is still hanging out!

I was a little distracted as I was converting 
some cheap vine ripened tomatoes into...

...Tomato & Roasted Pepper Chutney.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Meet the family...

...Herman's family that is!  A fantastic aroma in the kitchen heralded the arrival of Herman's offspring - meet Armand, Sherman and Hermione (she's in the middle).

Lucky for me none of my friends were interested in receiving the gift of Herman, and as I don't need to start accumulating extra Hermans yet, I decided to bake all 3 of the extra portions. Have gone for a fairly basic recipe for Armand & Sherman of Apple & Sultana and Hermione is the classic Date & Walnut. At least one of these will be given away and I may have to freeze another - but we will definitely sit down with a 'cup of tea & a slice of cake' later this evening.

Not all my baking this week has been quite so successful - tried to bake a birthday cake for Charles last Saturday. Not sure why, but a tried and tested, often used recipe just didn't want to bake. So I whipped out and bought one for his celebration, but this left a most unappetising looking flop sitting in my kitchen.

The addition of Mrs Finnegan's home-made Rhubarb Jam and some lemon butter-cream has worked wonders and then the magic of 'Barbie sprinkles' added the finishing touch. It all went and tasted so much better than it looked.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Two Ronnies to the rescue

Thank you to the Two Ronnies for providing a solution to an annual problem.

Yesterday was Charles' birthday which we celebrated this evening at his brother's house with pizza and Chinese takeaway, and a birthday cake. The nephews and nieces don't understand why Uncle Charles won't have candles on his cake - he has an inhilation phobia - and each year they want to put candles on it and I have to upset them.

But this year the Two Ronnies have come to the rescue - and he had 'Fork Handles' on his cake!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Mary, St Mungo and Midge

Been a while, I know. Various things seem to have conspired to put a halt to my blogging; sadly fil didn't make it out of hospital but passed away there back in July 2010, so Ann needed me for company in the afternoons and  our camera became unreliable. Nothing insurmountable (this is self-evident) but as pretty much anything of note which was happening in my life made its way onto fraise lachrymose the world really wasn't missing out.

In the intervening time I have got into crochet in quite a big way and can be found hooking pretty much anywhere, but especially with Hookery at the Bookery currently on weds evenings. Mum got me a great crochet book for my birthday back in April (now the set text for Hookery) and I have managed to complete some of the projects and been inspired by others.

The book with hook roll and wee purse

Rosy Posy Tea Cosy........which inspired a Cafetiere Cover

Shell Scarf - which has been put to one side as a birthday present 

not 1, not 2 but 3 Beanies

and the very practical Patchwork Bag

A few weeks ago at Hookery Mags brought in a knitting pattern for bobble hats - to be knit in the brightest orange yarn you could find. St Mungo's are looking for more than 5,500 to be knit to raise awareness and funds for the homeless. We've managed to get a few knitted by the group, but my favourite won't be sent off to the charity as it is a bit smaller than what they need!

Sweet success ?


Squeeze or pack (someone or something) tightly into a specified space.
  1. An instance of a machine or thing seizing or becoming stuck.
  2. A sweet spread or preserve made from fruit and sugar boiled to a thick consistency.
verb.  squeeze - press - cram - crowd
noun.  squeeze - congestion - marmalade - preserve

At the start of the week I saw details about a Jams & Jellies Workshop being held at Mossley Mill yesterday; hurrah they still had places available. 

Dermot & Mary ( ) were running the workshop and would be making both a jelly - Blackberry & Apple and a jam - Mixed Plum. They are a fantastic couple full of the joys of foraging and what it can lead to....jellies, jams, chutneys and most importantly Sloe Gin. A morning of tasting, useful information and amazing aromas, jam packed with interesting anecdotes.

And the best bit is that we got to bring some home.

Suitably inspired,I foraged in a supermarket and a small batch of Strawberry Jam has already emerged from my kitchen and I am wondering where my nearest brambles can be found.

Looking forward to their Chunky Chutney Workshop on 7th Nov.

A lovely week

We loaded the van and headed over to England, staying in a lodge at Pine Lake Resort with my parents for a week.

The resort is at Carnforth, Lancashire which I hadn't appreciated was quite so close to the border with Cumbria.

A laid back and relaxed holiday was needed by all 5 of us and that is exactly what we achieved - surprisingly we didn't even finish a whole bottle of Pimms.

I had researched wool and craft shops before going so Mum, Ann and I headed out to find the yarn for me to crochet her Christmas present with. Bombing around the country lanes we found ourselves in Arnside, home of White Rabbit - a tiny but amazing shop crammed with exotic yarns. Mum settled on a beautiful 100% Merino lace weight in soft grey and lilac for her shawl.

On Weds we had our busiest day when we headed to Oswaldtwistle Mills for a 3 course lunch and show.

The food was good and local - Hotpot (albeit with a pastry crust rather than spuds on top), raw onion and red cabbage in vinegar and black peas.

The entertainment was based on the Pendle Witch trials which happened there 400 years ago and was educational and fun. As the mills now house a shopping village we had a bit of a shoe shopping spree - coming away with 5 pairs between us, which doesn't sound quite so bad as Mum and I bought 2 pairs each and Charles found some good walking boots.

Apart from a little swimming,Indian head massages and a bit more yarn shopping it was a very quiet holiday.

My reading list

  • One Shot by Lee Childs
  • The Girl who kicked the Hornet's Nest by Steig Larsson
  • The Children's Book by AS Byatt
  • The Girl who played with Fire by Steig Larsson
  • Nation by Terry Pratchett
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
  • No!I Don't want to join a Book Club by Victoria Ironside
  • The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad
  • Brooklyn by Colm Toibin