Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Not been on here for quite a while, just been busy or not got round to doing anything, just been prompted by a friend, so thought I'd restart. Shooting off out to do voluntary work now, but will add more later.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Holiday countdown

Not done much in here lately, so a bit of an update. Been on my speed awareness course, found it quite interesting and well run. Car started making some very troublesome noises on the way there though and I was worried I wasn't going to make it. Took the car in to the garage the next day and I'm now £450 worse off. 
Got a day off gardening today and I'm having a sort out, making up some jam with a few oddments of fruit left in the freezer, and experimenting with the rhubarb left over after I bottled up the rhubarb vodka. By the way, must go back and make a note about it, as it's gorgeous, can't see me giving much of that away for Christmas!
I tried a bit of the rhubarb that had been picking in the sugar and vodka and even 'raw' it was rather tasty, so I froze it awaiting inspiration.
Might just cook it up and freeze for pies and crumbles...not sure yet.
I've got loads of apples to do something with, not sure on them yet, but might have a go at a chilli jelly or something.
Oh, and we've booked a holiday...setting off 4 weeks today for 24 days, back on 19th December. 

Monday, 12 October 2015

Back in Northumberland

This week I have a week off from gardening and am back up at Northumberland dog sitting for a friend for a week. The weather isn't quite up to what it was in August when I was here last time, but there is a beauty to autumn that you really get to experience up in the countryside round here.
I've brought a few things up with me to be getting on with, a load of magazines to sort through and take cuttings from for my decoupage, a bit of knitting, fed up doing hedgehogs at the moment, so going to either start on some wrist warmers or another of the dogs from the book 'best in show'.
I've brought up a big bag of jewellery making bits to be doing too, but how much I actually get done is questionable.
I have Ita coming up tomorrow evening and staying until Thursday tea time, so we'll get some walking done and hopefully a bit of beachcombing - last time I was here I found some beautiful scraps of blue and green sea glass and I'd like to look at making some jewellery with it.
I've been in touch with Trev and Charlie, who have just got back from a trip to America, so it would be lovely to catch up with them, and another friend from Facebook has suggested a catch up...hmm might to get much crafting time done then!😉

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Tomato soup in large quantities

The past few weeks have been. About finding ways to use up the glut of tomatoes and I found a recipe for tomato soup which I actually like, it's a pretty simple recipe, a bit of faffing at the end, but it is a lovely soup and I'm making more today on my day off to put in the freezer for over winter.

Begin by frying gently a chopped onion and chopped potato, just to soften a little, I used some garlic and basil infused olive oil that I make, but any other sort would do, just a tablespoon or so.

While that's happening, chop up a load ( hmm measurements a bit uncertain here, let's say around 750g or so) of ripe tomatoes, I've used the yellow ones and red ones, we decided the yellow ones were a bit mushy for salad type tomatoes...must remember this next year)

Add half a pint of chicken or vegetable stock to the onions and potatoes, then tip in the chopped up tomatoes, add a sprig of thyme and a dash of celery salt and black pepper then stick a lid on and simmer for around an hour.

Then comes the messy bit, push it all through a metal sieve, this takes out the seeds, skins and stalky bits of the tomatoes.

Reheat, and enjoy.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Speeding ticket

cant believe it...opened all my mail today from while I've been on holiday and one was a lovely letter from humberside police telling me I had been captured speeding on the week before I went away...doing 35 in a 30 zone. Now today I've been back to the same ladies I gardened for on that day and have worked out where I was caught, it's just after where it drops from 40 to 30 mph, I obviously didn't slow down quickly enough.
I've filled in the paperwork and sent it off and I'm hoping that they'll offer me the speeding awareness course rather than the fine and points, but come was 35 in a 30 there not bigger criminals than me out there ?

Autumn is here

Well, I'm back from my holidays and back to the usual this morning, got 3 jobs on today and it's looking distinctly autumnal outside, we are blanketed in a thick fog and it's wet and drippy outside. Not really looking forward to my workload as it will be cutting back and digging up and I'll get soaked.
I think I need to look for some more work, not gardening, but something else to keep me going during winter, whether that ends up being housework, ironing, cleaning, I really don't know. I wouldn't mind a bit more dog sitting type work, but then that doesn't really bring in the money, there's only a small daily charge and I still would need other work.
I would t mind a bit of delivery driver type work, and as we're heading up to Christmas, there might be some of that around, but, and I know I'm being a bit picky here...which is definitely limiting the possibilities, I don't want to work late on a night, or weekends. I have a fair booked for one of the days of most weekends now until the end of November and I know they don't make me a lot of money, but I enjoy doing them and I can't just sit on the mountain of stock I have.
Anyway, back on with the day. Wet is only wet, I'll dry and then I'll forget how cold and wet I was.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

No recipe chutney

Yesterday I was trying to work out what to do with a small batch of pears and some rather soft nectarines and a few other bits and pieces. I had in mind a sort of really sticky sweet chutney/relish but couldn't find a recipe that really sounded right. 
So I thought, damn it, I've made enough chutneys before, just stick to the basic principles and if I cook it for long enough it'll be fine. 
I peeled and chopped the 15 small pears, added them to a bottle of cider vinegar, then chopped up the nectarines, not bothering to peel them, added them, cut the peel off half a honeydew melon and cut that up small and then simmered them for a while, while they simmered I sorted through my baking cupboard and chucked in half a packet of chopped apricots, a full packet of dried cranberries and a couple of handfuls of crystallised pineapple that I had in a jar from a previous recipe. 
Once everything looked good and soft, I added a 500g packet of soft brown sugar and then just let it simmer away until I thought it looked about right, which ended up being a couple of hours...I suppose the melon probably added quite a bit of water to the mix, but anyway it looked fine.
I've potted it up and will now let it stand for a few weeks, I've given Julie a small, not quite full, jar of it that I couldn't find a lid for and asked her to let me know what she thinks. If it's rubbish, I've only wasted a couple of pounds and you never know, I might have created something rather lovely.