Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Friends ........................

I understand that Google Friend Connect is shortly to come to an end - if you would like to continue to read my meagre posts please follow by email.  Thank you.

Monday, 20 February 2012

More Birthday Presents ................

I know it seems odd to talk about my birthday presents, particularly as it was almost a month ago, however, said presents took a definite theme this year - kitchen and garden - I've already mentioned the kitchen items, but now for the garden themed presents.  First item is the book above - Rural Australian Gardens - a really beautiful book with some inspiring gardens - I seem to sigh a lot as I look through again and again.

Second gift (both of which are from my sister in Australia) are the new gardening gloves.  Partly as a gift to encourage me with my allotment.  Rather nice gloves, not too bulky either, there's nothing worse than gloves that are bulky and unbending in the garden.

Finally, a good friend has bought me a ticket (well two, one for her and one for me) for this year's Chelsea Flower Show - a lovely day to look forward to.

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Bloggers Voluntary Code of Fair Practice

I made rather a big mistake in my post yesterday for Rhubarb and Ginger Jam.  I mistakenly thought that as long as I made it clear a recipe was not my own and clearly named the author of the recipe that it was okay.  How wrong could I be.  Well, here is my hopefully very public apology to Vanessa Kimbell author of  Prepped for using her jam recipe in my post. 

You will note that there is now a Bloggers Voluntary Code of Fair Practice that I am most definitely signing up to and if you would like to know what this encompasses then I will direct you to Vanessa Kimbell's blog at

For my other apologies please refer to my other blog L'heure Du The.

I hope this apology is acceptable, believe me I never intended to infringe copyright or to do the wrong thing.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

One of the blogs that I regularly follow is Spitalfields Life, it's always very interesting with some beautiful photographs and wonderful life stories.  Last week one of the featured stories was of The London Borough of Jam and the making of some Rhubarb and Ginger Jam following a visit to the market for the rhubarb in question.  Now, I have NEVER EVER been a fan of rhubarb,  although I did once make rhubarb and muscat jelly and loved it, but the fruit itself has always rather left me unmoved, particularly the atrocious offerings at school of rhubarb crumble which was always tart enough to strip paint.   Anyway, this jam looked so beautiful with its dusky rose pink colour that I just had to make some.

First I had to find a recipe for some rhubarb jam and I didn't need to look too far - Prepped by Vanessa Kimbell has a very easy recipe - so all I had to do was buy some rhubarb.

Because I wasn't sure how this would taste, I thought I would only make a small amount of jam and so bought just one packet of rhubarb - 400g.  

This was chopped and put into the saucepan on a gentle heat with the lid on.  After about 10 or 15 minutes and some careful occasional stirring, this had more or less become liquid, just as Vanessa said it would.

Before starting I had put some glass jars in the oven at 160C.

Once the rhubarb was liquid I then added 400g of caster sugar and stirred it until it had dissolved.  Then I brought the jam to a boil for about 5-6 minutes and took the jars out of the oven.

Instructions were also to place a saucer in the fridge before starting the process.  Vanessa also instructed, whilst the jam was boiling, to use a metal spoon and to GENTLY skim off any froth that appeared on the top - hmmm - I didn't follow this unfortunately and have some white frothy bits in the jam to prove it!  The jam was ready when it coated the back of the metal spoon and to test for setting point I took the saucer out of the fridge and dropped a teaspoon of jam onto the cold saucer.

Unfortunately not a very clear picture!

Test passed and so I took the saucepan off the heat and added the juice of half a lemon - gave it a good stir and then proceeded to chop a piece of stem ginger.

I wasn't sure how strong the ginger flavour would be so only added one piece of ginger that had been chopped - I guess I'll find out whether that was too little or too much when I put some on my toast tomorrow morning!

The jam was then ladled into the waiting jars and after about one minute I put the lids on.

Just three small jars, but enough, one for my parents, one for my next door neighbour and one for us.  I've just tasted a teaspoonful of this jam and can tell you that it is so good I'll be making some more before the week is out - not sure I'll be giving any of the next batch away it's that good.

And as rhubarb is currently in season, I'm entering this in Ren Behan's Simple and in Season/Fabulicious
Food monthly blog event.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Looking for something to read?

If you like crime novels - then this is for you.  I was so engrossed in this book that I even sat up until 3 a.m. to finish it - and this was a weeknight not a weekend.

It tells the story of a woman whose husband is questioned by the Police for the murder of a work colleague and how her world is turned upside down.  If I say too much, I'll give away the ending so that's all I am saying.  It's a real "page-turner" and keeps you guessing until the end - well almost the end.

The Allotment

This is the site for the new allotment - I have opted for a small plot of 30 sq metres.  Because we are one of the first to view the site we had our pick of the plots! So ours is 30 metres back from the blue pipe towards the top of the photograph - there will be a water butt of some description where the blue pipe now is and the path will run through the centre (hope that makes sense).  Anyway, we have paid our money and we have a key to the gate, although we can't start planting yet, we have to wait for the path to be laid, water connected, the toilet block (saw that they had dug the foundations last Saturday before the snow came down), a common room and disabled parking.  I'm starting to get excited and am making a "wish list" which is far too long and needs to be whittled down considerably.

The view from outside - well, not exactly a view - but you probably know what I mean!

The park outside the gates of the allotment - good place for a walk - or to walk a dog (soon)!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Reduced to Childhood ....................

It's surprising what can reduce me to feelings of frustration - just as I felt as a child when things didn't go to plan or my way!  Monday evening after quite a loud bang (think balloon being burst), the lights went out whilst I was trying to iron school blouses for tuesday morning - after a quick trip to the fuse box in the garage the lights came back on but I was left with the tedious job of trying to get the sky box to re-engage (such a bore) - after several failed attempts we also discovered (when elder daughter came stomping down the stairs to ask if I had turned off the internet) that we no longer had an internet connection.  I duly rang sky to ask what I could do (I had already poked around the reset hole on the back of the router to no avail) and after much discussion and several "pardon" "could you repeat that" "sorry" - we discovered that there was no power coming into the router - yes a fuse had blown in the "supposedly computer safe extension sockets" which had in turn blown the fuse in the power cable.  "We can send you a new power cable unless you can borrow someone's to test your router" said the patient man on the end of the phone - I couldn't possibly print what I was thinking about this but along the lines of "who has a router similar to ours who lives close enough to borrow" - anyway, he agreed to send out a new power cable which would take 3 - 5 working days to arrive!  THREE TO FIVE WORKING DAYS - I thought this was 2012 not 1912.  Could I pay for it to be sent special delivery I asked politely - "no, I'm afraid not - I would send it special delivery if I could" said the patient man.  AAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH - I thought.  I slammed about a bit after I hung up - threw a few things down - pressed the tv button which came on as though it was too afraid not to and elder daughter finished the ironing for me.  How could we live for three to five days without the internet?  Well, I did feel like a child - not particularly proud of this either. The husband spent most of Tuesday morning trying to locate a replacement cable for me to no avail - but surprisingly although I missed the contact the internet gives me, I have noticed how much more time I have!  The girls were decidedly moody about this on Tuesday afternoon but we have spent more time with each other rather than being locked in our own little worlds on the computers.  One final thing I discovered too - I need to teach my elder daughter how to iron shirts - she was completely lost when contemplating one of her father's shirts so decided to leave it for me!

But surprise surprise - an hour ago there was a knock at the door and a lovely man handed me an envelope with a new power cable - I'm connected with the world again - what a relief.

The snow is still hanging around - the road outside our house is like an ice rink - I hate it.

Monday afternoon putting out some water for the birds

Some bird seeds too

My own snow angel

Snow Angel!

The snow is melting - Tuesday morning

Tuesday morning

Thursday morning - still hanging around!

Thursday morning - going ................... but not yet gone!

More snow is predicted - let's hope this goes before we get more.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Snow snow snow .............

The view of our back garden today.  I braved the elements last night at about ten o'clock to collect my daughter from the station .................... but I'm not going out driving in this today ................. time to send out the husband ............ he loves it!

Do you think this will be gone by tomorrow morning ...................... ?

Friday, 3 February 2012

Fruit Crumble

Have you noticed lately that when you reach the end of a cereal packet, the crumbs left at the bottom have increased in volume?  I have noticed this particularly with packets of Special K - in fact so much is left that instead of throwing it away I've now taken to saving it and using it in a fruit crumble.

This was the latest amount of cereal remaining in the packet - which weighed 3 ounces!

Yesterday, I discovered three pears in the drawer in the fridge which were past their best for eating, but were perfect, once peeled, for cooking, so together with a small packet of blueberries and some frozen raspberries a couple of tablespoons of golden caster sugar they went into a dish.

I whizzed up the Special K crumbs and added some rolled oats - scattered this over the fruit, another tablespoon of the sugar and baked it in the oven at 160c for approximately thirty minutes.

Oops - forgot to photograph before dishing up ......... again!

It's a particularly quick and easy dessert - and tastes wonderful.  I've made this with all kinds of different fruits that happen to be sitting around and particularly love it made with a mixture of soft fruits that I buy frozen from the local farm shop.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

My Birthday Presents ...............

I really get a great deal of pleasure buying birthday presents - taking the time to find something that I think the recipient will really love and want, so I was delighted with some of the presents that I received for my birthday last week.  Elder daughter went all out and bought me a Le Creuset casserole that I was thrilled with.

Younger daughter bought me a rubber mat for hot pots and a measuring cup that I have had my eye on for a while - I love the retro feel of it and it reminds me of the measuring cups we used at school for Domestic Science (now that's ageing me isn't it - how long ago was the name of this lesson changed?)

And finally, the husband bought me the larger pink kettle that I wanted - plus I bought myself a new mug from a lovely Cook Shop in Brentwood.

Some may turn their nose up at gifts like these (a friend told me that if she had received a kettle for her birthday from her husband he would be wearing it) but I couldn't have been happier if I'd been given diamonds ...................... well ....... maybe ............. diamonds?