Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Wishing all my fellow blogger's a very healthy happy new year, thank you for sharing your day to day stories over the past year, thank you for recipes, letting me into your homes and garden's via photo's.
Thank you to the people that pass by and spending time reading my posts.
The word on my lips this new year eve is Thank you, above all a heartfelt Thank you to my family for the love they show me every day, I am truly humbled by their affection for me.
A  photo from Christmas, we cooked dinner for my mother in law and Louie's brother and partner. These two men are irish twins there is less than twelve months between them, Louie is the youngest of the two, he is on the left.

God Bless x

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Up bright and early...

Louie has worked all weekend, people are anxious to have their plastering finished before Christmas, it happens every year.
I was up bright and early as I wanted to go to the market in town for my organic veggies for Christmas. Our shops do not open until 10.00 am but the market stallholders start to set up at about 8-8.30 am. I was on the market for 8.30 it was lovely no crowds the church bell's were ringing. Driving there the sun was shining and I was listening to my new Elvis Presley c.d.
I bought parsnips, carrots, sprouts, beetroot, swede, garlic and a piece of ginger for when I juice.
I washed the parsnips and then put them in my green fridge bags they will stay fresh in them for up to two weeks :)
I bought a lot more than what's in the photo ha!
Yesterday my dad bought me a brace of pheasants Louie's favourite game bird he loves pigeon too.

I hung them in the garage but I noticed today that there were a couple of flies round them with the weather so mild, I had better set to it and pluck and dress them.

I decided to freeze one and roast one for dinner,
I buttered the bird and then covered  it in smoked bacon and added parsnips and a dry apple, he loved it with crusty bread.
Wishing you all a lovely evening x

Friday, 18 December 2015

Getting Festive, comfort food...

Day by day I add a little more Christmas décor to our home, I put the tree up.

 My book arrived,
This evening I made Leek and Potato soup using one of
the recipes,

I boiled a ham this week and with the last little bit that was left I chopped it up in my mega mix and sprinkled this on top, it was lovely.

The weather is still so mild, I took a drive today going past fields I could not believe it was a week before Christmas!!
Tomorrow I will make more mince pie's and I hope to make homemade ice cream.
Try not to panic about Christmas we still have a week to go :) God Bless x

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Getting prepared...

This Christmas we have opened our home to loved ones and friends, I am normally a very private girl at this time of the year. I am cooking on four different day's, this is my choice and I am looking forward to entertaining in our home, the food will be the best I can afford and cook, I am reading up using my lovely recipe books.
We had our grandson Lou lou man stay over at the weekend, this is a picture of himself eating his pancakes for breakfast sunday morning,
I spent sunday afternoon decorating the hallway,
This evening I made homemade burgers and once cooked I topped it with cranberry sauce, crispy bacon , brie and then grilled it under a hot grill. Louie loved it, he had two!! I struggled to eat half of one we have called it the Christmas burger :)
I am soaking a smoked ham in cold water tonight, I a going to try to make two or three meals from this.
Tomorrow is a busy day, I am going to deep clean the kitchen and put our tree up. I would like to fill a jar of homemade cookies but I will see how my day pans out.
The Homemade Christmas burger for meat lovers!

Have a lovely evening x

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Happy birthday Eliza :)

This is our granddaughter Eliza, she is one year's old today. This darling little girl is so gentle and such a good girl, we love her so much.
This time last year Louie was trying to come to terms with losing his eldest brother to suicide and amongst his pain this lovely little girl was born to our family and made our situation bearable.
I wanted to give her something personnel from me so I decided to crochet her a bunny, I loved making this bunny and would do a bit each night or in my case redo a bit each evening. I did not name her as I think Eliza will in time :)
Her Ga managed a surprise visit in between jobs, she did not like the flash on the camera.

Later Zoe and I took Eliza to the garden centre to see their Christmas decorations, she just loved it!

Such a lovely little girl x

Saturday, 5 December 2015

A quick chat...

Isn't Christmas time busy!! I really have tried to pull all tricks out of the hat to simplify this busy time, I have shopped online bought gifts that I think are meaningful and also what are needed, my ear's are on radar alert listening to the family in conversation trying to get idea's.
I have started to put little ornaments of Christmas here and there, this coming week I will make a special effort to try and complete the décor. This year there is a part of me that wants a real tree but then I get sad when Christmas is over and I watch Louie take the poor tree to the recycling tip.
I keep doing baking thinking that I will freeze my pie's but they seem to keep getting eaten :)
Last week my car died on me, the mechanic advised me not to spend money on it, so for nearly two week's my shopping habits changed, my two big girls helped me so much driving me to the shops but I did have to learn to live off what I had stored in the cupboard and freezer.
I have given my pantry a good clear out and bought a second hand shelving unit to put all my pots and pans on, order makes life so much easier. I am still canning our cooking apples and have run out of canning jars, I am slowly building up a largish collection.
Moving on swiftly to today, my middle daughter Jade found me a little car for sale in her village, it was her friends mum, so we arranged to go and look at it this lunch time. As soon as I saw it we knew it was a little gem of a car, a little smaller than I am use to but still seat's five and a good size boot, we bought it there and then, I am thrilled with it.
Tonight food stocks in our humble abode are running low so I have roasted tomato's, red sweet peppers, courgettes, red onions, celery and garlic in olive oil on a nice and slow oven. Once cooked I added my stock and whizzed it up in my blender then put it through my sieve. I also grated some parmesan cheese and made little biscuits to have with our soup.
I made apple and blackberry pie, I have some frozen berries in the freezer that I picked in October.
I am now in front of the woodburner listening to the wind outside we have a weather warning tonight for strong winds.
Before I go I just want to mention this lovely book I ordered, it arrived on Tuesday, its called " Little House Living" by Merissa A. Alink its beautifully written, please google it on Amazon.
Wishing you all a cosy evening x

Friday, 27 November 2015

My daughter gives me a wake up call...

I have always loved Christmas time, when the children were young I would surprise them and decorate the house while they were at school, when they came home and walk through the front door they were full of oohs and ahs, I loved their faces :)
Slowly one by one they left the nest, and I lost a small part of me in the process, then we have had heartache in the family, two members of Louie's family taking their own lives, health issue's the last four years have not always been easy but we all have a story.
I guess over the last few years I kind of lost a little bit of that Christmas magic.
Last week I went shopping with our youngest daughter Milly, who still lives at home with us, we were looking at Christmas decorations when our Milly told me how sad she felt about how Christmas had
changed in our home since she was a small girl, she also told me about this Robin decoration we had on our tree every year that had real feather's, where did it go? 
This gave me so much to think about, I needed to wake up and smell the roses!!
First things first is to replace the Robin,
 I found this little fellow.
I bought these stocking fillers for our Eva & Lou lou man, I love them, they are little iron skillets in two different shapes with a cookie mix.
I have picked more of our Bramley apples and canned them, I am getting more confident each time I do this.
Tomorrow there will be more planning for the preparation of Christmas, baking to be done leaves to be raked and cleared away in the garden, home is really cosy tonight.
Wishing those who call by a lovely weekend full of peace and contentment. God Bless x

Friday, 20 November 2015

Part 2 The museum

When planning Louie's birthday treat to London I researched what was in the area we were going to, a four minute walk from the market was a museum called "The Clink". Its the site of a prison built in the 1100, the doorway way in which you enter is the original entrance to the prison, its not my thing but I knew Louie would be interested as he loves History. The prison gives great detail in how the prisoner's were treated men, women and children, it was a little to gruesome for me and I could not bring myself to take to many photo's as the models were so life like.
When you enter the music playing is eerie and as you walk through each torture chamber you can hear how the prisoners suffered.
Louie about to enter,
I knew he would find it interesting it must be a man thing!
We later went for a walk by the Thames, the rain was starting to fall heavy so we decided to make our way back to the station. Another photo of St Paul's in the distance.
I had saved up my money from the room I rent out, I paid extra to travel first class on the train so we were guaranteed seat's and comfort. I took this photo of Louie on the train on our way home, our bellies full, a lovely day together. x

Thursday, 19 November 2015

A trip to London...

It was Louie's birthday last week he was 55yrs old, we met when he was 18!
He is not a man who needs much, so when I asked him what would he like he just gave me a blank look, that helps then.
We did not have a holiday this year not as much as a day at the seaside, so I thought perhaps a day out together, I asked him if he would like to go to London for the day, I have to give him plenty of notice as his work load is very busy, I got the ok and started to plan our trip. Now this was agreed before the awful events happened in Paris, my heart sunk for these innocent young people.
Over the weekend we made the decision to carry on with our planned day out, this is our day in pictures...
We arrive at Kings Cross Station, the weather was a little damp and misty,
We did not use the underground tubes, we travelled by taxi as I wanted Louie to see the sights, we went past St. Pauls cathedral which always reminds me of the iconic photo of London burning in the blitz all around the Cathedral which surprisingly came out undamaged.
We arrive at Borough Market and my plan is to take Louie to a restaurant for lunch and visit a museum,
There was this Muriel on the wall of the market traders back in the day, he blends in well don't you think! :)
The food stalls were amazing, I found the oyster bar, the guy told me they were from the coast of Ireland, my mouth is watering thinking about them,
Then we came across the paella, Louie fell to pieces as this is his favourite dish when we go on holiday.
You can guess what we had for lunch
So much for the posh restaurant I had in mind, but it was his day!
We bought some lovely cheese, ham, bread and French smoked sausages for us and our son in laws.
We then took a short walk to the museum but I am going to leave this for another post as I am running out of space.
I will leave you with a picture of the Shard, London's tallest building.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Its been a long week...

Its damp and misty outside tonight, I am curled up on the sofa in front of the wood burner with the glow that only lamp lights can give. I am vaporizing chamomile oil, I use a small old enamel saucepan that has seen better days I fill it halfway with water and add about five drops of oil and put it on the lowest gas until its all nearly evaporated, it smells lovely and is so calming.
Every morning after my first cup of tea which I sip in peace and quite at the kitchen table I think of my days daily chores, I think of my grandchildren going to school I then call my middle daughter Jadey, after our early morning chat I choose my oil to vaporize depending on how I am feeling, its normally peppermint oil then I set about washing the breakfast dishes while I wait for my Eldest daughter Zoe to call her mama after she gets back from doing the school run.
This past week has been busy, having two students staying with us has kept me on my toes they are pleasant and and seem to enjoy my cooking, I cook all my meals from scratch.
This morning after breakfast I started home baking, I made apple pie, I used our wind fall apples and also prepared some apples and put them in the freezer.
Louie told me tonight that it was the best apple pie he had ever eaten!!
Changing the subject here I have been meaning to tell you ladies that are going through the menopause about my answer for the hot flushes, this WAS the symptom I was really struggling with, the disturbed sleeping and waking every night then you become tired and your energy levels start to dwindle. This has all completely stopped for me now, I eat 2 or 3 small squares of an evening of dark chocolate it has to be 70 per cent or over of cocoa, I either buy fair trade or organic, the flushes stopped instantly and I now sleep through the night.
I am quietly starting to think of Christmas, not about the present buying or the pressure you can sometimes find yourself under but about Christmas baking, the wonderful smells of spices used at this time of the year, some beautiful original Christmas carols etc etc.
This year will be my first Christmas not suffering anxiety and medication free for fifteen years, my heart sings.:)
Well I have no photos tonight, light your lamps, burn the oil of your choice and eat the chocolate lol x To my darling Zoe I love you, good night sweet dreams. God Bless x

Saturday, 17 October 2015

What a day!!

It was something my daughter said to me the other day, " he is going to love your cooking mum", this was what Zoe said to me when I told her I had a young lad coming to stay for two weeks. He is a 25 yr old student.
Louie my other half is not a big fellow, I would describe his frame as lean but his trade is very physical, plastering.
We eat well but we do not tend to snack a lot , meals are at certain times and we kind of keep to this.
I am going off track a little, So early morning our young visitor arrives as soon I opened the door I thought yep you are going to eat me out of house and home.  Tired and hungry I show him his room, bathroom and bring him into the kitchen I set about making him breakfast crusty bread doorsteps and I fry louies favourite smoked bacon, I make him a cuppa tea and a fresh juice beetroot, oranges,and carrots I thought that should set him up for the day!
After all his travelling he takes a nap, I clean the kitchen and then start to make a BIG winter's beef stew with cheese and herb dumplings, I make homemade apple crumble.
I will keep this quick and simple, when he woke he munched his way through the fruit on the dresser, devoured the stew, the apple crumble took minutes to disappear and I turned round to see him putting an empty ice cream tub back in the freezer!!!
Finally dinner dishes cleared away, I turned to see Louie in our pantry " what are you doing?" I asked, " hiding the left over stew" I can see the next couple of weeks are going to be interesting and I am in no doubt I will be working for my money :)

Thursday, 15 October 2015

A simple day...

I have had a much more relaxed week, I have still been very busy baking, cleaning, paper work for Louie the difference is I just took my time.
I made an apple pie which has lasted two days so far with one more portion left for Louie tomorrow, in fact it seems to taste better with each passing day!
We have an Italian student staying with us at the moment, he is with us until November, Saturday morning we also have a German student arriving he is staying for two weeks.
They pay me £135.00 each a week  for bed breakfast, evening meal, clean bedding each week, clean towels, use of their own bathroom and I have to wash one load of clothes for them each week, oh yes free wi fi.
This keeps me on my toes!
Home baking becomes a very important factor when I have students as I have to make good ingredients stretch further and not eat to much into my budget. Tonight I wrapped smoked bacon around chipolata sausages otherwise known as "pigs in blankets". I oiled some potatoes and sprinkled some sea salt on them, once cooked I cut them in half and scooped the potato out of its skin, once mashed I added some cheese, salt, pepper and two of our leeks( the leeks sautéed in butter) then put this mixture back into the skins and baked in the oven until golden brown. I served this with mushrooms and sweet little tomatoes baked in the oven.

my own leeks


I forgot to take a picture of them finished.
Tomorrow a busy day, a deep clean in the students bathroom ready for our new arrival, a trip to my butchers to stock up the freezer.
I have been reading about the flu jab and decided I will NOT be taking the NHS up on their offer when I become of age. More on this in another post, before I go for the night have you noticed how chilly the mornings are? The dew on the grass? Best Wishes x

Monday, 12 October 2015

Cosy Evenings...

I woke early this morning as our chimney sweep man was due to come and sweep our chimney at 9.00 am. I made louie and I a fresh juice for breakfast and got to thinking of cosy winter nights snuggled up on the sofa in front of our wood burner. I think of our grandchildren when they curl up on the sofa and the heat makes them sleepy eyed, my toes curl with pure bliss as tonight is the night...the first fire of autumn!!
This is Lawson he has been sweeping our chimneys for many years,

This is our stove this evening,
I took this picture of our Milly last night, she had to work yesterday and did not arrive home until evening, as she finished her dinner ( which looks like a bowl of cereal and a cuppa tea) I took this snap, a little blurred but she looks so beautiful :)