Friday, 30 November 2012

Picture this ...

Welcome to my two new followers, Jan and Sue h.

We've lost two soup spoons out of a set of 6. We remember using them for the accompaniments for the Indian meal on Tuesday, since then, no sight. Our guests helped us wash and dry but we put things away.We have hunted high and low, in every cupboard, drawer, nook and cranny. Can we find them? Can we heck.

As a last desperate attempt, hubby decided to check the bins as they were due to be emptied. He duly got dressed, put some gloves on and out he went into the cold, frosty morning. Said bin was pulled back into our hedge archway (presumably so he couldn't be seen by some of the neighbours/ or to keep out of the wind). Each of the few bags was ripped opened, searched and tipped into a new bag.

Neighbour came out in his pyjama's and dressing gown to put his bin out. A short explanation obviously followed as he wheeled his bin round to our side and indicated we check the rubbish again and put it all loose into his bin.

DB by now had almost crawled into our bin to get the bag at the very bottom, so only his bottom and legs was visible. Our neighbour was stood the other side of the bin so only his top was visible. They looked like two non-matching halves of the game Guess Who, that we used to play with our DS. when he was small.

Our neighbour stood around for a while offering support and moral, it really was something like a scene with Compo and friend from 'Last of the summer wine'. Eventually neighbour got too cold and went in, don't blame him, it was -2 Celsius out there!

Did DB find them? Did he heck.

That just leaves the compost bin to search at a later date. If we don't find them in there, they'll have to be replaced, even if they don't match.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Soup, cookies and other things

Welcome to my new follower Rowena, glad to have you reading.

I spent the whole morning in the kitchen, baking and keeping warm.

First in the oven was the vegetables, roasted to make into soup for 2 days.

The oven was turned down from 200C to 180C and was used to bake a test 1/4 batch of cookies, the recipe for which I believe I got from Rhonda over at the Down to Earth blog but I can't find it now. We didn't have anything to put on tops so I stirred in some dried cranberries and desiccated coconut (mainly because I had melted the butter in the microwave instead of softening it). They are soft when they come out of the oven but soon turn crisp. Anyway, the 1/4 mix made us 30 cookies, so not to bad and they taste lovely.

When the last tray of those came out the oven, it was turned down to 150C to make a 1/2 batch of granola, before being turned off and the residual heat used to dry the tea-towel!

DB whizzed up the vegetables with a can of tomatoes and a couple of stock cubes, some milk and a little soya. We had a bowl each for lunch with a slice of home made bread. Delicious.

Early afternoon saw me knitting and DB getting some new family history information onto the computer. Eventually, we were both too cold so had to light the fire at 3.30pm. The temperature here all day has been 3C so we did well to wait that long.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Indian Meal

Our Indian meal went very well last night. There was one small hiccup which I'll explain in the post. I wish I'd remembered to photograph the table but forgot in the rush of meeting and greeting.

Everyone arrived by 6.50pm and were seated by 7.00pm. Drinks were served (included in the price of £8 p.p.).

First were the potato and pea samosa's

Then the tandoori chicken in a cream sauce (sorry, forgot to photograph that but it was very nice despite the hiccup. Both were accompanied by banana in coconut, cucumber, tomato and onion sambal and home made Indian chutney, plus poppadoms.

Once the samosa's were served from my top oven (having been deep fried and kept warm in there), I had to turn the oven up to its highest setting ready for the chicken.

Unfortunately, the bottom oven was on warming up the main course and that was the one I turned up to 250 Celsius. After 10 minutes I could hear a noise but not smell chicken cooking so went to investigate. Yep, the chicken was in the 100 C oven and the warming up main course was boiling along in the hot bottom oven.

A quick swop ensued and we chatted for another 25 minutes whilst the chicken tandoori cooked.

The main course was chicken and mint

And black eyed peas with mushrooms. 

Both were served with plain boiled rice and home made mini naan breads.

We finished off with a bought tarte au citroen and vanilla ice cream. T. had some of my home made chocolate vodka on her ice cream as due to medication, she's not allowed to drink.

We had hot drinks and retired to the front room, where much conversation and laughter ensued. Everyone left around 10.20pm.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Uploading photographs and deleting some to get more storage space

It seems one or two people have reached, or are close to, the photo limits on their blogs. We all tend to get carried away when adding photographs and some who are new to blogging, don't realise there is a limit.

One way around this is to have another blog that you link your existing blog to. That way, you can discuss different things on different blogs. We are all allowed 100 blogs each – goodness me, that would take a bit of organising!

However, if you have the software to do it, always make sure you upload photographs that have been reduced down to 15 cm x 10 cm at 72 pixels (or 10 cm x 15 cm at 72 pixels). That way, you should be able to get loads on your blog without reaching your limit.

When you have reached your limit, or you don't want to split your blog into various parts, what is the answer? Google blog has a fantastic help section so I have dived into it to give you somewhere to go.

When you upload a photo to your blog, it goes into a Picasa web account (which you can access whilst still logged in, or sign into using your blog details). Didn't know that, no, neither did I in the early days

First of all, find out where you are regarding your limit. Make sure you are logged in, link to the above page, go down to the bottom and press the link to your web album page. You should arrive at your home page and see your blog's web album. At the bottom, is your limit and where you currently are within it - here is mine from this morning.

If you have reached your limit and don't want to upgrade, then you are going to have to do a little hard work to sort it out. You need to delete photographs from your blog, lets face it, we all add too many anyway, so releasing some room by paring them down will help. Do some from the early days of your blog which will probably be very large when you didn't know any better. If you have a post with several in, you can easily delete some.

How to delete a photo you have uploaded to your blog

When you have finished, check back into your album to make sure they have disappeared and given you more storage space.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The best laid plans...

As I was going to have the oven on for roasting some belly pork slices with veg and potatoes, I thought I'd also make some mini sticky toffee puddings for freezing.

As they went in the oven, I prepared and oiled said vegetables and put them in the pan, undid the parcel of meat to find...

they were not the belly pork slices I was expecting but bacon slices!

DB was quite happy to have bacon and roasted vegetables but I covered them with cling film, found the belly pork slices in the freezer and put them both in the fridge for tomorrow.

So, a bit of a waste of oven space but these things happen. Anyway, the puddings are ok. Just need to make and freeze the toffee sauce then they will be ready for later in the year.

A 'saving' I did the other day was for some ingredients for Thai green curry. I was trying to make a light version of it but only had full fat coconut milk. I emptied the can, added a can of water to make it lighter. I lined a freezer container with cling film and froze the milk in 200ml portions. The jar of paste also needs to be used up quite quickly once opened so I divided it into 2 tablespoon portions and froze those. 

These were then united and re-wrapped to give me quick access to the sauce when I need it. Here is one such pack just out the freezer waiting to be used once defrosted.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Shopping and wrapping

DB dropped me off in town this morning to do some Christmas shopping whilst he went elsewhere to check on the prices of some new work shoes/boots.

I managed to get all the presents I needed to physically buy, the remaining few will be via the internet. Not too bad as we only buy for each other plus DS. & FDiL. We swap presents with our 'school' chums but limit it to £1 each. Amazing what useful things you can buy for £1.

A clear blue sky welcomed us after the windy night, it was however, very cold.

After returning home for a light lunch, we decided to do a little gardening. I dug up this years strawberry plants from the 'sump' they were sitting in and have given them a temporary home in one of my raised beds. They are quite free draining so hopefully, will get through the winter better.

I had sown some hardy winter salad and it too went into another raised bed with cloche protection (plus winter fleece directly on top of the plants). A frost is forecast for tonight so hopefully, they will be safe. Not sure they will survive and thrive as I was a little late sowing them.

One of the interesting things we do in our house is Christmas Eve presents (or New Year presents) if DS. & FDiL. are at the other set of parents for Christmas.

Once upon a time, they used to be just one shilling each, now we limit it to £1. Two for each person who will be staying with you over Christmas, and they cannot be anything to eat or drink - and must be useful. They can either be personal or for the house or other such use and price labels have to be removed.

One person (usually me) writes the initials out on sticky labels and sends/gives them to everyone (this is done so you don't recognise anyone's handwriting. Christmas paper from normal presents is saved to wrap these the following year. They are then put in a sealed box once everyone has added theirs and opened on the night, usually after tea.

We have done this ever since we married and eventually had DS. He learnt to do his own shopping once he was old enough to be out on his own. Before that, one of us would take it in turns to go with him, that way, the other parent still had a surprise!

Thursday, 22 November 2012


The wind is picking up and blowing at a fair old pace at the moment and it is definitely feeling colder if you are outside getting blown around.

DB and I have begun baking the Indian dishes for next Tuesday. We decided to treat the ladies from our closed school to a home made Indian meal. We like to prepare, cook and freeze as much as possible ahead of time, otherwise we will be too busy in the kitchen to chat to them properly.

The starters will be samosa's (yet to be made). They will be followed by Tandoori chicken legs served with a butter cream sauce. The legs have marinated and are currently in the freezer, sauce can't be made until the afternoon of the day itself otherwise it splits.

A home made spicy Indian chutney plus banana's tossed in coconut and chopped indian, onion and cucumber salad, poppadom's and home made naan bread will also be available.

The main course will be chicken with mint and black eye beans with mushrooms, served with plain boiled rice.

We shall have a non Indian pudding of tart au citroen, vanilla ice cream with a dash of home made chocolate vodka for those who want it.

All in all, I reckon for each person it will be around the £9 including drinks, tea and coffee so not bad at all.

If I get the time to photograph anything, I will do so and post it here after the event.

Today I also found time to make 12 linseed and poppy seed rolls plus a loaf of bread.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Looks like it has reached Norfolk... BEWARE!

I consider myself pretty au faix regarding postal and telephone scams and can usually detect them a mile away. However, luckily for me on this occasion, DB answered and put the phone down.

He them came to tell me, where I got a little confused, and went to find out about it on-line. The following links to someone quite savvy who was alerted straight away.

This link is from Staffordshire Trading Standards and is worded a little differently but also has some numbers of use (not always we have found), such as the Telephone Preference Service and Silent Call Guard (not heard of that one).

Basically they telephone and start speaking straight away about your pension and a bonus in the next few weeks of £1000.

WARNING: They don't ask for anyone so anyone who answers will think it is for them.

They then ask you to press 5 or is you have been contacted before, to press 9 to unscribe.

WARNING: This links you to a premium phone line and can quite quickly add up to £100's of pounds on your bill.

If they call again, we thought we might just listen and not push any numbers to see what happens (hopefully it is not a reverse charge call of any kind).  

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Puff pastry morning

Welcome to my new follower taliah drayak.

Saturday dawned, dull, damp and miserable and quite cool. DB went of to a flea market in town and to begin his Christmas shopping. I stayed at home to get on with some baking.

Last night, I had thawed 4 of my home made sausage rounds, 2 of Sage and 2 of Italian. I had also defrosted one half of a pack of puff pastry. This was divided into two as I wasn't planning to make too many sausage rolls to freeze for Christmas. Over the years and certainly since coming off war ration eating, our regard to economy hasn't changed much.

The pastry was cut into one half and two quarters. Each of the quarters was rolled out and turned into sausage rolls. I managed to get 11 of pork and sage and 12 of pork and Italian seasoning (with some newly added, diced sun dried tomatoes for extra flavour (some got eaten before the photograph was taken!!).

The sausage meat patties originally cost £2.84 for 4 rounds, the pastry 60p, so 23 cocktail sausage rolls cost 15p each. Not the cheapest I know but like I said on 19th September 2012, the patties were almost 100% meat as I didn't have breadcrumbs at the time. Besides, I know I can eat them without worrying about gristle, or other chewy bits, which I do occasionally find in bought sausages.

8 of each have now been frozen for Christmas. The remainder we shall eat over the weekend.

I still had 1/2 the pastry left over and wasn't sure what to make so opted for a trial of potato, onion and cheese pasties.

It was rolled out, cut into 4 squares and had the outsides trimmed away to allow even rising. 

I grated 1 medium potato and squeezed it dry and put it into a bowl. One medium grated onion followed, plus around 1 oz of grated cheese, lots of black pepper and a dessert-spoon of left over and drying out philly cheese.

Each square was dampened around its edges, the filling added and then the pastry joined together. They were baked at 220 Celsius for between 20 and 25 minutes until golden and cooked through. Not sure of the cost each but probably around 25p each.

So what happened to the scraps of pastry leftover. I rolled them together (something you are not supposed to do with puff pastry), rolled it out into a rough circle around 6”. I sprinkled cinnamon on it followed by sugar. It should have been baked but I forgot and had already switched off the oven.

I heated a small omelette pan and dry fried it on medium until it puffed up, lifted it up, added a small knob of butter then flipped it over to the sugar side to finish. It was lovely. Sorry, forgot to photograph it!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Things you don't expect to hear ...

Have you ever made raspberry couli?” are not the words you often hear being shouted at you from across the road, by a gardener, whilst out on a walk!

I should mention that this particular gardener is a friend, who was doing a garden in the next village to us where we were walking to vote for our so called 'local' police authority person.

I always vote whatever the occasion, regardless of whether I believe in the reason. Women died to give me the vote and I exercise my right every time.

Anyway back to the gardener. He has an allotment and grows huge amounts of fruit and vegetables on it. His raspberries this year were not great but he managed to give us some. The rest he fancied turning into couli.

He told me he had sterilised his bottle well and stored it in his fridge but after a month, the top had blown clean off and it smelt vinegary.

I haven't made couli before but told him I was under the impression that it is to be eating fresh.

As we prepared to walk away he yelled “Do you know how to get gloss paint of a carpet, only I recently painted the storage heaters and must have stepped in the paint and now there is a footprint on the new carpet”

How old is it?”

What, the carpet?”

No, the footprint”

A couple of weeks, I tried wiping it of with a cloth, then I used a furniture polish cloth and it looks a little better but my daughter can still see it. Don't want to use white spirit as it stink, don't it?”

I said I would check it out and get back to him. Eventually we finished our conversation and walked away.

A few steps later came “Have you see the price of a sackful of taters?”

Back we walked, “I saw £7.50 on a sack driving back from somewhere”

Turned out it was a rhetorical question as he wanted to tell me that he had recently seen a sack in a shop for £9.50.

We discussed the rising price of food for a few more minutes then he went back to work and we carried on to vote.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

A surprise in the garden...

When we got home, I went out into the garden to bring in the washing and was stopped dead in my tracks. After many years of growing, my mistletoe has a grand total of 7 berries on it! I nipped inside quick to get a photograph before the birds discover them.


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Family history part 2...

We eventually found their marriage certificate. Her father had a common name but his father had a name exactly the same as him, same forename and surname. Blimey, here we go again.

The only place to begin was the census to look for her father, or them together on an early one. Not easy as children were farmed out as servants at quite young ages. We found 2 possible matches on the 1841, when she was 10 (both with exactly the same name in the same village, one though was a servant).

We decided to follow the other family that had two parents. Following them through we only found one sibling at home (ours wasn't found at home again). Not sure if we were correct, we followed this sibling through. The father had died before the 1871 census, and this sibling was at home with her mother BUT had an illegitimate child with one of those unusual forenames.

Trying to not get too excited, we searched the probate for her mother (none) but did find her as the beneficiary of her father. This of course does not mean she belongs to us and are currently waiting for it to see if we are correct.

However, what is striking is that one known ancestor lived and died in a very small village and never moved. The probate we are waiting for states this same small village, and when the sibling dies (now married), her husband is living in the same dwelling, so we are most hopeful.

If we are correct, it means we have now found our maternal 3 x great grandfather, his wife is a little more difficult and will have to wait for now.

Next, we turned to our paternal 3 x great grandfather, the one with the same forename and surname. Looking for his potential parents, we find at least 12 but for now, have narrowed them down to one area.

We followed 5 potential families through the census (remember, we don't know the wife's name). As we went through, we started to notice one of the unusual female forenames appearing but only in one family, so concentrated on that one.

There were many people with the same surname that could match but we searched now, only for the surname and the unusual forename. Luckily for us although we still haven't confirmed it, other people in the same family from that census, use that name so we think we are correct.

Even more luckily (providing we are correct), a girl with the unusual forename is born after 1837, which means we can get her birth certificate. That will confirm her mother's maiden name, enabling us to move further backwards.

This particular family, all live, work and die in the same area of Radnorshire and would you believe it, those records are on which we don't have access to.

We think that next year, we will take a short break there and sort out these interesting and complex conundrum’s!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Solving family history problems...

Welcome to my new follower Jo.

As it is such a lovely day today I have begun to wash some windows (a job I was unable to do in summer because of the wet weather). Managed lounge, kitchen x 2 and dining room doors. Hope to get back bedrooms done later on. The rest will have to wait.

I am currently researching and trying to solve some conundrum’s on my family tree. When you have Welsh ancestors, with very common surnames such as Jones, Evans, James and Smith etc, it can be very difficult. Whilst some ancestors accurately state their place of birth, some seem to get confused or their employer's put something else down.

One such case is my paternal great grandfather. His later census information (which he is filling in) states he was born in Leominster. Using his and his fathers forenames (marriage certificate), I was unable to trace him in earlier census. There were 3 people in Herefordshire who could fit but didn't feel correct as my grandfather had always maintained his father was part Welsh.

If you struggle to find direct ancestors, it often helps to try one of their parents siblings - if you know them. Unfortunately for me, his father has the same forename and surname. Have you any idea how many Welshmen have that combination, quite literally hundreds.

This search has taken many years of research but at last, we recently made a breakthrough. Deciding to ignore what my great grandfather had stated, we began to look for males with his name and that of his father, who were in the same household at some time.

We had previously found there were two unusual female names in their family and used that as a starting point.

There were many, many families to initially choose from but risking taking those forenames as ours, there was only one family that fitted. We still were not 100% sure but a few weeks ago, made another potential breakthrough.

Having some free time on Ancestry, we began to search probate records. My great grandfather doesn't appear to have one but there was one that fitted our newly found great great grandparents. It confirmed they left their money to someone with our great grandfather's name. We sent for the probate and luckily, it stated where the man was living at the time of his inheritance and it fitted 100% with my great grandfather. Hooray, another link made.

So now we had his parents and were able to start again. There were however, too many people with my 3 x great grandfather's name to pick out his birth but on the last census before they died, his parents were at home with two children, both with this unusual forename.

Tracing backwards, we were able to obtain the birth certificate of one of them and that gave us the mother's maiden name. Yeah, we were on track again.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Blackberry and apple cake

Lovely hubby fancied making another cake so we used a recipe from my all time favourite book Country Harvest by Rosamond Richardson (previously mentioned on 21st September 2012). The one we chose for him to make was Apple and Blackberry Cake. It is basically just a cake where you rub in the fat, add the fruit and gently stir in the eggs.

It should go into the tin looking lumpy. It is lovely eaten fresh and slightly cooled straight from the oven. It gets softer and softer with each passing day (we usually eat the last bit with custard as it is more like a pudding towards the end). The quantities of flour and fat are similar to a crumble mix. Anyway, the fat is rubbed into the flour although DB, not having made one before, didn't know when to stop so it shouldn't be rubbed in quite this much! 

Then the dried fruit is added

followed by the apples and brambles.

The eggs are added and it is gently stirred together. Fresh from the oven and cooled (it doesn't rise much at all). 

A slice served with home made yoghurt and ginger syrup.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Adjusting my felted slippers

Remember my knitted felt slippers – originally, they looked like this and very nice and warm they were too.

However, I recently developed tenderness on my exterior hallucis longes tendon and associated muscle (if you pull your big toe towards you, it is the hard thing that stands up on the top of your foot!). 

Although it is now calming down, it had the effect for a few weeks of not only being quite uncomfortable but any pressure on it made my foot appear dead at the end!

These knitted slippers are like bootees and I wondered if them being so snugly fitting on the top might be aggravating it. So, I cut down the left one and it was a lot more comfortable. 

I eventually cut down the right one as well so they still matched.

This had the effect of both slippers not staying on properly, so I decided to root around in my hand made felt bag and found this.

After felting it again to tighten it up, it was cut into an oblong triangle shape and stitched onto the slippers.

Now they fit and don't cause pressure in this tender area. I put the flap on each slipper with two buttons so it can be removed when I need to wash them, just in case the pink felt shrinks differently to the knitted felt. 

I washed the slippers again at 40 Celsius before adding this flap and they washed very well, with very little shrinkage. I only had to slightly stretch them back into the correct length.

I have been asked if they are safe to wear on laminate/wood/lino floors. My kitchen and bathroom are the only places not to have any carpets and I certainly don't slip at all on either of those floors.

I think what I really like about them, is the fact they can be altered. So if you suffer from sore toe ends or bunions, you can adjust where needed. 

Here is another picture of our new Grand-dog M. We did try to take photographs of them both running around at high speed play-fighting, but they were all blurred. This one isn't much better but she is growing well.

The nice thing we brought home with us was this: a lovely pile of wood from the frames removed from her parents house!


Thursday, 8 November 2012

How far can you stretch ... finito!

Welcome to my new follower Kerry, glad to have you reading. We have just returned from spending a couple of days with DS. & FDiL. plus dogs. They were having some new double glazing fitted to their front windows and door (a lot warmer and safer now). We also sorted out some other little problems, had to put blinds etc back up (where they would go as didn't want to screw into the new windows), and also helped DS. dig out some more mature shrubs in the back garden. FDiL. was at work so I made roast vegetable and chick pea lasagne for tea, followed by bread and butter pudding.

On the chicken wing front, the end draws nigh my friends, the end draws nigh!

The final 3 oz of the chicken, was used with curry mayonnaise, a few red grapes and a couple of radishes, to make a filling of coronation chicken in sandwiches for our lunch. 

We also had home grown apple, pear and tomato with them. The cost of the filling was £1.15 and filled 3 sandwiches of our home made bread.

That is all the chicken used up. The final half of the pie we had for tea with some peas and gravy.

Whilst the oven was on for the bread - sorry forgot to photograph them, I made a batch of apple and cranberry muffins - oops! there seems to be one missing!

So there you have it. 16 chicken wings made one pie (2 meals), 1 risotto, 1 sandwich filling for 2, and a large pan of soup, enough for 6 portions. Any extra I used was costed and shown on each post.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

How far can you stretch ... Part 4

Welcome to my new follower tinker 899.

Here we go again, nearly there I promise! 

Our main meal for Sunday was chicken and vegetable risotto. We used 1/2 an onion, 1/2 a courgette, 2 oz frozen peas, another 1/3rd of the chicken, 1 oz Grana Padano cheese, 1 oz Philadelphia Garlic and Herb cream cheese, 5 oz risotto rice and 1 pint of vegetable stock using 1 stock cube.

Gently fry the onion until soft in 2 tablespoons oil. Add the rice and all the stock. Stir gently until the rice absorbs most of the liquid. Add the peas and chicken, stir for a couple of minutes, add both cheeses - (sometimes I find I have to add a little extra liquid so don't worry if you have to do so). Serve. 

This very tasty meal is not huge but is filling and came in at £2.65 for our two portions. If you were to do it with just vegetables, it would be even cheaper as the chicken part came to 90p! You can of course finish it off with some kind of pudding if you are still hungry.

Monday, 5 November 2012

How far can you stretch ... Part 3

Welcome to my new follower Janey Johnson. You are most welcome.

Yesterday, I made soup from the chicken stock (which was thick and gelatinous). One of my all time favourite recipes is Leek and potato soup, with added bacon, or ham, pearl barley and anything else you might have that you can substitute which won't alter the flavour too much.

For example, it works well with no bacon and butter beans added at the end. If you don't have leeks, double the onion then add some chopped light tasting greens such as green lettuce or spinach.

"In a large pan, warm 2 tablespoons oil and gently fry 1 large diced onion. When beginning to soften add 3 - 4 rashers of diced streaky bacon and fry until just beginning to turn golden (but not brown). Add 1.4 litres of stock (use 2 -3 stock cubes of your choice) and 3 oz pearly barley. Bring to the boil, then simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes.

Add 3/4 lb diced potatoes and 1/4 pint milk. Boil then simmer for 15 minutes.

Add 3 diced leeks and simmer for 15 minutes or until everything is cooked. I only had 2 small leeks but had a bag of lettuce going brown at its cut ends, so put that in as well. Add salt and pepper to taste plus fresh or dried tarragon (1/2 tsp dried). Thicken with cornflour to desired thickness. If using ham, add it now and warm through."

It is lovely on the day it is made but even better the next day. We usually serve out our bowls then measure and get one or two bags for freezing.

The total cost for this (using none of the chicken meat and 2 home grown leeks) was £1.30 for the entire saucepan. This gave us a total of 15 ladles which equates to 6 bowls.

We had a bowl each for lunch. Another 2 bowls worth were frozen, and the other two will be eaten for tea on Tuesday after our walk.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

How far can you stretch ... Part 2

First of all, welcome to my new followers, Angela, Sooze and Frugal Queen, glad to have you on board!

It seems my current postings have raised quite a response - dialogue on issues is always important so on that vein, here is my next part.

The title from the previous post needs an ending and it is 'chicken wings'. This is something I would not have been able to do on war rations when we had to live on them for more than 6 years! During war time, factories were not churning out bits of chicken (or even chicken at all), so to stay true to our cause at that time, it was a whole chicken or nothing! That chicken had to last us a whole week on rations, as it took up the entire meat ration, for 3 people for a week. 

From a monetary point of view though, a whole chicken would also work well and give even more meals.

Anyway, I digress. How many meals/snacks can you get from chicken wings? I had a good think about this and began. I reckon there can be two possible starts to this trial. Roast them before use, or after. I chose the later because the meat would be softer to remove from the bone. 

Even though roasted wings would make a lovely meal, you would then have to boil the chewed on bones to progress...

I used 16 wings and put them into a saucepan, along with 1 carrot, 1/2 an onion, a couple of bay leaves and some peppercorns. They were just covered with water and simmered until cooked (around 40 minutes). 

The liquid was strained - I stand my colander in the grill pan so as not to lose any. 

When the wings were cool enough to handle, I stripped the meat from them and kept the discard pile. I managed to get 10 oz chicken, not bad. 

More importantly I got 1 litre of primary stock.

The bones, skin etc were put into a greased paper lined tin 

and roasted in the oven to get them brown. They were then tipped back into the stock and brought to the boil, then left to go cold. The liquid was strained again and the rubbish thrown out.

I left this to go cold overnight, enabling me to lift off the fat and rinse to remove any gelatine or debris. This can be kept in the fridge, for roasting potatoes if you wish (a war time tip!). You can also do this with any meat juice gravy, if left in the fridge to go cold.

Now, on with the chicken.

Taking inspiration from Nigel Slater on Friday night, I decided to make a suet crust pastry pie filled with 1/3 of the chicken (only added at end when pie crust was ready), 2 sliced leeks, 2 rashers chopped bacon and a handful of frozen mushrooms. 

These were fried to soften and slightly brown, then 1/2 pint chicken stock (made from 1/2 a cube as I'm saving my stock for something else..) plus 1/4 pint milk and a good 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon and wholegrain mustard. It was thickened very well, then strained. I wanted to put the filling in the pastry case reasonably dry, with the chicken mixed in, then spoon over enough stock to moisten it without making it soggy during baking. No soggy bottoms here hopefully.

I used 8 oz of self raising flour plus 4 oz light suet, black pepper but no salt as the stock is quite salty from the cube and bacon. Enough cold water was added to bind it together. Some of this was saved for a lid but the rest was rolled out to line a shallow dish. The filling was added (plus a little thickened stock) and the pastry top


It was baked at 200 Celsius for 45 minutes until golden.

There was a little pastry left over so I made 4 jam and oat tarts.

Now we could be pigs and eat half the pie each but chose to use 1/4 each with home grown carrots, runner beans and the left over stock as gravy.  The remainder will be eaten Monday.

I am not very good at working out the cost as far as cooking goes but the ingredient price for this pie using the cheapest ingredients (to serve 4) and the 4 jam tarts, was £1.80 - the leeks were home grown and the jam home made. I still have 2/3rds of the chicken left to use. Later in the evening, we had the jam tarts with 1/2 a pint of custard - 20p.

I plan on using 1/2 the remaining chicken for tea tonight and the other 1/2 for a snack on Monday lunch. As for the stock...

Part 3 will follow tomorrow, have a lovely day.