Sunday 29 June 2014

No churn ice-cream

Welcome to Greg Matthews and Cottage Retreatist via Bloglovin.

The other day, DB fancied making some more ice cream. We have already made and eaten two small batches but he wanted to try Mary Berry's No Churn Ice Cream, the recipe for which can be found here

We decided to make the basic version and stir in 3 tablespoons of lemon curd into the egg yolk part. Here it is, 1 1/2 tubs worth:
A few weeks ago, I made some Vanilla and Elderflower jelly but wasn't happy with the end result. Today I emptied all the jars, added in the zest and juice of one lemon and boiled for 5 minutes. It is a lot thicker this time (4 jars instead of the original 5 jars). It has more of a lemony twang, so guess it should be called Lemon, Vanilla and Elderflower Jelly!:
It doesn't seem to come as clear as a normal jelly, probably due to the use of powdered pectin! Tastes lovely though.

We have also tasted the ice cream. It has a wonderful texture, tastes very good and we will definitely make ice cream this way more often (saves getting the ice cream maker out!).

Friday 27 June 2014

Under siege!

First of all, welcome to Julia Douglas via Bloglovin.

There we were, quietly watching tennis when the screen went black, a massive bolt of lightening lit up the room, a loud crack of thunder followed and so began the first part of the storm.

A myriad of hailstones (not the thing you want when you have small fruit ripening) fell out of the sky, swiftly followed by very heavy rain, which went on and on for about 1/2 an hour. Our gutters were soon unable to cope and the garden, in places, started to disappear under water again (similar to last year). Several pots were quickly inundated to when the rain briefly stopped, DB shot outside to put them all in safer places. This was the view from the back bedroom patio door after just a few minutes:

Outside the dining room doors:
Down the driveway:
Thankfully, that storm has passed, the sun is trying to come out, tennis watching has been resumed!
More storms later but hopefully we will be alright. That is more than I can say for some poor folks who no doubt, will be flooded out somewhere.

Thursday 26 June 2014


I have just finished watching "MyLast Summer" on Channel 4. What a sad but at the same time, uplifting series. My thoughts go out to those families whose loved ones have died, as well as to those whose loved ones are still around.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

The cooling effect....

I detest flies, there is simply no other way to put it. If they manage to get into the house, someone shouts 'fly', then we find it, capture it if possible (same with spiders) and put it out or kill it (we don't kill spiders, they are always released outdoors). DS learnt this from an early age and it didn't take him long to realise he didn't need to shout 'fly' when outdoors!

When the days get a little too hot, I would prefer to open windows and doors but that lets the little blighter's in. I'm afraid it is one of my foibles and FDiL on her first few visits, wondered what on earth was happening.

Our lounge faces North so stays the coolest for longest but by evening, the sun is around to the window warming it up. For several years now, we have had a window net on its tilt and turn window. If it is slightly hot, on the tilt lets in a breeze. If it is very hot, the window can be fully opened without flies getting in (mind you, that involves pulling the settee forward, open the window, push settee back), so it is not fully open except on stifling evenings. The breeze it lets in then is wonderful!

The window net is held in place on all 4 sides by Velcro and the net itself, is taken down when autumn arrives, washed and put away until late Spring the next year. The Velcro stays in situ. Both back patio doors are also tilt and turn but they have normal nets on them which keeps most things out.

Up until now, we haven't been able to have the dining room door open. That is a big problem when making chutney/pickles as the fumes from the vinegar cooking can make your eyes water. It also takes an age to clear the smell from the house.

Now we have the answer. On our last visit to DS and FDiL, we noticed they had got a magnetic fly screen on their door. As their dogs go in and out when both doors are open, flies were becoming a problem. Once the magnetic fly screen was up, they can come and go at will and the door closes behind them. Very few flies get in now.

We have just spent a few hours adapting/sewing one to fit our UPVC door in the dining room. We had to put up a white painted piece of wood to attach it to at the top, rather than just tacking it up which you can do if you have a wooden door frame. It came with small Velcro strips for down the sides to hold it in place, but we bought sew and stick Velcro, sewing the sew bit all along the outer strips of the net bit, then stuck the sticky part down both sides of the door.

It was all in all, a little fiddly, and of course you might just want to put it up how it comes, but it would, width wise, have covered half of the other door which doesn't open. It just didn't look right. Here it is in situ with the door open - this particular make only seems to come in black:
Here is a close up of the 6 magnetic strips down the middle, which close behind you as you walk through:
There are little gaps in-between but as long as it keeps out most things, it should be fine. It was also a little long so was taken up and fine net weights put into the hem to help stop it flapping open in the breeze.

Once it was up, the inner conservatory door was opened (we have normal net in their as well for privacy). You can now feel a gentle movement of air from front to back and side to side. Sheer bliss:)

Oh, and the name of curtain we bought (although others are available) was Magic Mesh Magnetic Fly Screen Door

Monday 23 June 2014

Multi-tasking, not...

First of all, welcome to Penny Wise via here and Susan Bell via Bloglovin.

I have always been able to multi-task quite easily, but have noticed recently, that I am not as good as I used to be. For example, I was making yoghurt and marmalade, plus dancing to the radio (like you do). All was going swimmingly until a particular stage of the yoghurt making.

The milk was at the correct temperature for adding the yoghurt starter (a little of the last batch was in a small bowl). I picked up the bowl and very nearly scraped it into the sink instead of the warm milk. First problem avoided.

Got it right but then, almost poured it into the outer container that has the heating element in it, rather than the inner container. Sorted myself out and did it all fine in the end:

Back to the marmalade which by now was ready for putting into the jam jars. Although I was cooking basic marmalade, I like to vary the flavour, so 2 jars were for adding diced ginger and syrup to, 2 more for adding whisky to and the last 2 to be left plain.

I use a jam funnel and all again went well, until for some odd reason, I picked up one of the hot jars without realising it had too thin a neck. I stood the funnel on top (rather than in it) and started to pour in a ladle full of hot marmalade. Yes, you guessed, it ran out between the funnel and top of the jar.

Luckily I noticed quickly and was able to save most of that ladle full. Wiping up hot marmalade is no joke but I stopped to do it whilst fishing out another jar from the oven. Anyway, halfway through each flavour, I stopped to add either ginger or whisky and finished off. It has set well, even if the ginger has (unusually) sunk to the bottom. I shall look forward to that bit enormously!
We also managed to get 3/4 of a mug full which will be scraped out into our marmalade jar. We haven't had marmalade on our Sunday toast for nearly a month and have missed it.

Friday 20 June 2014

Fruit and Vegetables

It seems a while since I posted what is growing in our back vegetable and fruit garden this year. We don't have a lot of space and only grow for the summer and a little for winter.

Bed 1 contains broad beans, various lettuce and 2 tomatillo:
Bed 2 currently has newly planted leeks for winter inter-planted with new beetroot and a few lettuce:

Bed 3 contains strawberries - we have probably had about 3-4lb at the moment with more still to come:
Bed 4 has 2 different types of carrot (purple and orange), inter-planted with radish whilst the carrots grow:

The front fruit arch has some red pears:
and russet apples:
The back fruit arch has just a few plums which are infested with bugs so no point in photographing them. In-between beds 2 and 3 are three tomato plants:

In front of the fruit cage are 3 more (hiding in the shade for the moment are 2 small pots of inter-nodal cuttings) of tomatoes. They will eventually end up indoors for later in the year:
The fruit cage has gooseberries, autumn raspberries, blackcurrant, blackberry and blueberries, not all of which are in fruit yet. Those that are, vary between a good and reasonable crop, down to a poor crop:
In front of the gooseberries is the pot of Alderman peas, the left half are now growing well, the recently sown right half just beginning to show:
Finally, down the drive near the garage, the newly dug garden from last year, is again growing tomatoes and runner/French beans (swapped positions from last year). There are just 4 beans this year due to the fact I will always want to grow 5 tomatoes there. Alternate plantings and reducing the beans to four plants, means the middle pole has a rest from the tomatoes::
Although you can't really see it yet, on the far left is a climbing 'cup and saucer' plant:
There you have it, an early view of fruit and vegetables. Let's hope, they continue to do well!
Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday 19 June 2014


Welcome to Sue K. and Donna Perry. Glad you are on board the old Norfolk Express.  I've just picked our 3rd cereal bowlful of strawberries. We finished off the 2nd lot with some home made Pistachio ice cream.

I now have 4 egg whites to turn into something before another 4 arrive when he makes some more ice cream! I suggested he make plain vanilla, that way we can add strawberries and meringues to it and make a version of Eton Mess. Yum.

Not a lot else to report at the moment, short and sweet.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Home made Laundry Detergent versus Bought

I have to admit, straight out, that I am no home economics teacher. I read a lot, then I make up my own mind. People often comment they can't be bothered to make their own, or it doesn't work as well etc.

For us cost did partly come into it and yes, on occasions it doesn't clean as well. Have you any idea just what is inside those expensive (or sometimes) cheap wash powders and fabric conditions? No, well let me show you. Looking on-line, the contents of what is inside most wash powders/liquids, can be found here 

Most fabric conditions contain this little lot: 5% cationic surfactants, perfume, butylphenyl methylpropional, hexyl cinnamal, alpha-isomethyl ionone, benzisothiazolinone, sorbic acid, benzoic acis, benzyl alcohol.  If you can find the time, you could look up all these and see what they are!

I don't know about you, but we like to treat the environment we live in, as gentle as possible. We don't want the residue of all those chemicals, on our skin, down our drains into the rivers, sea etc.

For us, as each problem arises, we find a way through it, not giving in at the first hurdle. I suppose that is what living our particular simple life means, you may be living a different simple/frugal/other kind of life. Each to their own and I have no problems with whatever life you are living:)

The same goes for gardening organically. It can be hell to begin with, but does get better, see (This Norfolk Life under the Flower Garden tab). Not just because you learn how to garden but you learn (and eventually nature helps out more) how to tackle problems.

Here then, is a break down of costings (at least the best I can find looking on-line). We use Wilko own brand where possible and also now use pure soap flakes rather than grating a bar of soap (but do have bars of soap in cases of emergency!).

Home made works out at 5.1p per wash and rinse (using Tesco own brand vinegar as a rinse aid) or 3.8p per wash, (using Summer Naturals 5l container of white vinegar, including postage!). It took me a total of 15 minutes from measuring out, 'cooking' to bottling. 

White/clear vinegar (not malt vinegar) is a fantastic conditioner. There is no residual smell and clothes are fluffy. I do tumble dry my towels and cannot tell any difference except they don't stink of conditioner.

Aldi is next cheapest at 10.5 per wash and rinse. Bigger brands anywhere from 45p – 65p per wash and rinse.

What are the drawbacks, there must be some I hear you cry. Yes there are. 

We find that over time, whites do not stay as white, colours don't seem to alter much. That is because we are used to using washing powders/liquids that have optical brighteners in them. We don't have much white/pale washing but if it goes a little dingy, we add a scoop of Oxi Plus to the wash, an extra 5.5p - 9.5p per wash, depending on brand, (not Vanish or other products because of what they contain). 

We use the home made laundry liquid neat on stains, most come off. Under arm sweat smells can remain but if they do, we rub under each garment arm with neat laundry liquid or spray under each one with home made all purpose cleaner and disinfectant, (see frugal tutorials tab above on how to make both things).

Monday 16 June 2014

More drying....

I know I know, I'm sure you'll be fed up soon, just a little more then I'll shut up!

At the weekend, we got hold of a half price pineapple (£1) and dehydrated it along with another apple and cereal bowl of our strawberries to fill up the machine. It took between 7 - 8 hours to finish. I'm still never sure when they say crinkly and slightly sticky, if it is really done so tend to go for a little longer.

The pineapple is wonderful, has a real punch to it. Here is the whole thing dried, on the right:
The apple (on its own without cinnamon as recommended by many) is also good, strawberries so so. You can see them both nestled together in the jar on the left:

As I wasn't sure about storing the watermelon due to the above quandary, in the end I put it in the freezer which apparently some do. I thought slightly reconstituted in muffins might be quite nice.

DB made a small batch of pistachio ice cream as well so now I have 4 egg whites to use up. I'll probably make a cloud cake and some meringue's. I'll decide on the day.

I also made 2 loaves of bread and some granola, so all in all, a busy day.

Sunday 15 June 2014


One of the things I have been wanting to try for ages, is dehydrated watermelon. Even in season over here, they are not necessarily cheap but I bought one to try. I wasn't at all sure how thick/thin to cut my slices, as the depth in on-line recipes, seems to range anywhere from 1/8" to 1" - very confusing for a novice.

Anyway, mine are probably around 1/4cm thick so we shall see:
Aren't they a beautiful colour? I am using all 6 trays this time and will rotate them, just to be on the safe side. Drying times vary as well, anywhere from 4 - 18 hours, hopefully for this thickness, the earlier times will be about right - wrong, they took 10 hours.

After filling all the trays I was left with 1 1/2 cereal bowls of melon which we shall eat today. Then I looked at all the rind and thought "what a waste", so went on-line to look at various recipes to use it.

There are both sweet and pickled recipes out there, but I finally settled on this one as she mentions it is delicious with plain yoghurt, which we make at least once a week. You need to move down to find it!

The green part and any remains of the pink flesh were duly cut off and here is is, sitting in half the quantity of sugar to draw out the juices:
Well here it is, all one jar of it:

It isn't a jam as it doesn't set, more like fruit in a very sweet sauce.  A complete waste of time and more importantly electricity. It took 2 hours to cook. I shan't be making that again but I like to experiment just in case.

As to the watermelon, here is half of it dehydrated:

It is still pretty and not too bad a taste. We could scoff that in a couple of handfuls making it too expensive to contemplate making again. One thing about experimenting though, is we find out what things we really think work and those we don't. That is what life is all about I guess. Ah well, onwards and upwards!

Friday 13 June 2014

Buying our winter oil and the water meter.

This is the best time of year, if you use an oil fired boiler for hot water and central heating, to order your fuel ready for winter. Always shop around!

We used to stay with the same company, which entitled us to our delivery, then up to 3 weeks to pay plus a small discount for doing so. In those days, we never thought of shopping around, now we do.

We have used this website here

Once we obtained the cheapest price on-line, we began phoning and got a price 2p per litre cheaper, not a lot, but better than nothing.Should be delivered early next week. We would normally wait until July/August and may have jumped in too soon but on the news this morning, they said oil and petrol prices will shortly start increasing, due to the situation in Iraq. Fingers crossed, we have done the right thing for this year at least. Anyway, this time last year, it was 58p per litre so is certainly cheaper at the moment.

Remember 2 years ago, we changed onto a 2 year trial of a water meter. We have decided to stay with it, as in this last year, our total water/sewage bill was just over £240. Non-metered water would have been £570, quite a difference. That also includes using the hose pipe occasionally when the weather was hot and the water butts empty.

Next we shall need to order logs and get them stacked. We have begun to pick and store pine cones and hope to do some more of that whilst the weather is dry. We have oodles of kindling so should be okay.

It is a bit of a pain having to think about winter during this hot weather but in this country, our late Autumn, Winter and early Spring can be as long as 6-7 months. We are further north than most people think!

Now the soft fruit is beginning to ripen, it will soon be jam making, pickles etc. Each season has its own flavours for us to store and I look forward to it every year.

Thursday 12 June 2014

Oh dear me Andy

Goodness me Andy, you are out of sorts. I could see it in your game yesterday and today was worse. It was as though you had no energy. Some brilliant shots when needed but your va-va-voom seems to have gone.

Your first serve has also disappeared which didn't help as with that, you would have won I am sure. Never mind though, you did your best and are no doubt very annoyed with yourself. Take stock and try and get ready for Wimbledon. Love the haircut and clean shave though and it was so nice to see you in white, so much easier on the eyes than all the coloured clothing!

You are the main reason I watch tennis so now you are out, I can get on with some jobs in the garden and house, so thanks for that anyway:)

Bought some watermelon and pineapple today so hope to get some in the dehydrator tomorrow. Mind you, I have bread, yoghurt and granola to make tomorrow ...

Wednesday 11 June 2014

More Dehydrating

Welcome to Lavender Cottage from here and Colleen Nurse via Bloglovin.

Following on from my first trial, I set the machine up again, this time with sliced mushrooms and some Braeburn apple and Conference pear to fill up the spare trays:

Some of the apple and pear dried before the other slices. Even though I don't need to rotate the trays I do, that way I can check if individual slices are ready, rather than over-processing.

Here they are finished and packed into bags for the overnight check for dryness, all ok:
I chewed one of the mushroom slices, the flavour was intense. They were then put into a mini blender and turned into mushroom powder. Here are the finished products, plus an egg cup for size comparison. I think I have 4 or 5 tablespoons of mushroom powder:
Not much of the pear made it into the jar as we ate it. The apples were lovely with good flavour.

Now then, onto the great reveal. I have saved and thought about this product for years and didn't want to mess up buying one, that would be suitable for our needs. There are much cheaper products to buy, you pays the money and takes your choice.

I read this article before choosing (along with some others). I found it helpful. We bought, from them, the L'Equip Filter Pro as it was on special offer and reading from other sites, suggested it was the best for what we needed. We also decided the extra £30 from the base model to this one was also worth it. If I want to dry overnight, I like the idea of the timer and the fact it will then switch itself off!

Also regarding how much they cost to run, well, how long is a piece of string. Mine is a 530w, some are half that. We will all be on different charges (including the daily charge) of electricity so you need to use your own supplier's rate.

Here is the sum I did, dropping the wattage down to 500 for ease of calculation:

500w = 1 unit of electricity every 2 hours therefore a 250w dehydrator, would use 1 unit of electricity every 4 hours but you would probably need to dry for longer.

1 daytime unit of electricity = x pence. 1 night time unit = x pence (if you use it), daily standing charge = x pence

So far I am dehydrating for 8 - 9 hours, per batch, during the day. I will be changing onto the cheaper overnight rate when I am more used to it. We pay more than most on the day rate as we are on Economy 7.

Taking the 8 hours as an average use per batch, means I am using 4 units of electricity to process it.
Using the sum above means I know how much each batch is costing me during the day (or usually half that price during the night).

That means that my mushrooms, apples, pears and mango have not cost me an arm and a leg. I am not adding in the cost of the machine either, as for us, that is besides the point, if you see what I mean!

I can hear you nay-doers shouting, it is cheaper to buy them, but that is not why we are doing it. We want dehydrated food that is untreated (save for lemon juice/honey/water etc.). Also, we want to dehydrate surplus food and also the more unusual foods that are hard if not impossible to buy.

I have never found mushroom powder on sale, yet a pinch of that, adds intense flavour to things. The dried mushrooms left as they are, added to a mushroom risotto brings a different flavour to normal. We can eat the berries as they come out or powder them etc.

Have you found dehydrated Greengages, Gooseberries, Blackcurrants, Loganberries? No, neither have I. As for powder versions, never.

Hope this helps those of you that were asking. Oh Julee, by the way, it is very easy to clean. I dry it with a tea towel (not the motor part) then leave it to get bone dry in our red hot conservatory.

Monday 9 June 2014

Beginning dehydrating

Welcome to Sue Hosking via Bloglovin.

Yesterday morning found me in the kitchen early, preparing fruit to dehydrate. Apricots were halved, stoned, halved again into quarters, dipped into a mixture of equal parts lemon juice and water, excess flicked off and laid, skin side down. We nabbed a bargain 2 mangoes, they were also peeled and thinly sliced.

After the lemon treatment, they went in. 3 1/2 trays were used at the beginning and we ended up with 1.5 trays. The garden yielded just one strawberry so that went in for a trial dry.  I also wanted to do mushrooms but have no idea if the scent of each thing transfers during drying, they'll be done tomorrow instead.

There are many helpful blog's and video's around but in the end, I settled on one blog that suggested beginning drying at 145F for the first hour, then turning the dehydrator down to its normal setting.

The timer was set for the first hour. It was put back on for 5 hours for testing the strawberry, then was reset for the mango, and finally the apricots.

I cannot begin to describe how lovely the whole house smells, a heavy base scent of mango with a nice top note of apricot!

Here was the first tray after being prepared and soaked in lemon/water juice:
Here they are after drying. The mango slices were cooled, then stored in the zipper plastic bags overnight. If there is condensation in the bag in the morning, they are not dry enough, these were fine:
The apricots were cooled, one cut in half and squeezed like mad. No juice so they were also find.
Here are the mangoes stored in their jar:
I'm not planning on doing apricots as they are relatively cheap to buy. These were slightly sour after drying but I did them so they can be added to apricot jam when I make it. I'm hoping to experiment between plain drying and those that have a honey/syrup base to sweeten them - which unfortunately adds calories! I'm really looking forward to trying frozen and tinned fruit (both in juice and light syrup) to see the differences. Also fancy melon and water melon.

More vegetables might be done although at the moment, my main interest is mushrooms and tomatoes, which intensifies their taste. Elaine Collier has dried some chard leaves the other day and whizzed them into powder. I'm hoping to do the same with some of the above. Very little powder will result but apparently, you use it as a seasoning and it adds a huge amount of zing to dishes.

Then there are the herbs, Rosemary, Sage, Oregano are the main ones in my garden to try. I've also looked up recipes for raw energy bars that are partially dried.

The main aim for us in dehydrating food, is to try and store things that are not readily available commercially, such as greengages, gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries, as well as fruit and vegetable powders which I have never seen. We don't want to keep buying everything so will be looking to grow and dry some of what we need. Watch this space!

Saturday 7 June 2014

In the garden...

Well done Andy Murray. As Jim Courier said, "with Rafa playing like this, there is no-one in the world to touch him". Looking forward to watching you at Queen's and then Wimbledon.

Welcome to Toni Kennedy via Bloglovin.

As it was such a lovely morning yesterday (after the cold start), I stood just inside the bedroom patio door to take a photograph of the back garden (as usual, forgot to take down the clothes line and props!).

Looking to the left and showing all 4 raised vegetable beds and the front fruit arch:
Then to the right, stopping just short of the garage door and the back fruit arch:
You can't see the patio from this angle but it runs the full length of the back of our house to about 6' deep. It has old greenhouse staging on it which usually houses some form of plants, plus new to me this year, a Cucamelon growing up the wall.

We have a fence very close to our kitchen windows, but one of our two alpine beds, sits just outside the window to on the left and is currently in full bloom:
It really lifts us when we do the washing up:)

War Diary Year IV has been updated. Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday 6 June 2014

Blooming weather and an investment

I very nearly couldn't be bothered to protect my tomatoes last night, boy, am I glad I did. The ones down the garage wall were covered in fleece. The ones in tubs, were put into the garage. The overnight forecast was was 8C, it got down to 7.1C!

We seem to be okay for the next few nights, then the forecast for next week says 2 nights may be down to 6C. Say what!!! I know things can change by then, but last night was forecast 7 days ago and it didn't change.

I'll be watching Andy Murray play against Nadal this afternoon. That might be a bit of a struggle for him as Nadal is on fire at the moment. Mind you, he did drop a set in the quarter finals. Come on Andy!!!

If I am not sure whether I need or want something, I will take an absolute age to make up my mind. I have been saving my pennies for two things, working on the premise that if I decide against them, the money can be left for something else further along the line.

I have been hankering after a dehydrator for several years and finally given in and bought one. There are so many to chose from (which took another age to decide just that), price for a change didn't come into too much because of my savings. I am though, very worried that it might just prove to be an expensive toy and eventually get put to one side. That is up to me to make sure that doesn't happen.

I'm not revealing it at the moment until I've had a chance to play and learn.

Thursday 5 June 2014

Ta dah by DB

Well done to Andy Murray. Blimey Andy, thought you were going to lose, that is what is so exciting watching you play, you never know what you are going to do!

Welcome to my new follower Deborah Miller.

As I have mentioned on previous posts, my DB loves to do counted cross stitch and for the past 2 or so years, has been working away on an A4 sized picture of our first Grand-dog Miss S.

Here it is, finished and mounted and up on the wall - apologies for the reflection. The photograph he worked from was taken by FDiL.
He has no end of patience (except when he has to listen to me whilst I play a video game) and his imagination knows no bounds when it comes to fixing up or creating something I need.

Having had two failed germinations of brand new pea seeds, I have resorted to my very old variety
'Alderman', which can grow to 5' tall. I've decided to put them in a pot, use a trellis for them to climb up but the trellis and its supporting stake, kept falling over. That is before the peas even get going!

He made a support to go across the pot which has been screwed through the pot into both its ends. The middle of that support is screwed onto the black stake and the trellis attached to the stake:

I have no idea if the peas will germinate as they are not new seeds. If not, maybe I can grow some flowers up it. It is in the fruit cage as sparrows have a very bad habit of eating the pea flowers.

Tuesday 3 June 2014

A right nasty ...

Computer virus is about to hit and we only have a 2 week window to deal with it!

That is the stark news circulating since last night and the BBC and papers have also warned about it this morning. See here

I really would recommend you read it and take their advice on what to do, such as check your computer software is up to date, several times over the next few days as it often takes them a while to get a remedy sorted. Same applies to your anti-virus, keeping checking for and install updates. Don't forget to also do one or more scans of your computer with the anti-virus software.

You should be doing this as a matter of course but we can all be too busy to think about it and for some of us, it may already be too late. You can still do all the above though in the hope that they will detect the virus and quarantine it - never be complacent, your identity, money and everything personal to you can be stolen!

Nuff said:)

Congratulations to Andy Murray on getting through to the quarter finals. I really didn't think you were going to make it on your previous 5 set game, where you were showing signs of muscle strain in your legs. Yesterday though, you were a different person.

For those of you without Sky Sport, the French Open is being shown on ITV 4 (occasionally swapping to ITV 3.

A different subject again...

I no longer use hair conditioner, except when absolutely necessary, as it makes my scalp itch and seems to set off a snow storm! I use E45 shampoo to keep my scalp healthy and usually snow free but if the irritation gets too bad, I make myself a final rinse of Rosemary water. A good sized piece goes into a jug and has 1 litre of boiling water poured over it:
Then it is left to cool (but not go cold) and it looks like this:
When ready, it is strained and used as the final rinse on my hair. I keep meaning to try lavender to see if that has the same effect but forget!

It leaves my hair shiny and my scalp feels great. I usually do this after I have had my hair coloured as the shampoo and conditioner applied afterwards, usually sets me off.

Monday 2 June 2014

Cheese Scones

Welcome to Lynda Welsh via Bloglovin.

Whilst cooking lunch the other day and needing to use the oven, I made some cheese scones, adding some drained yoghurt juice instead of milk. This recipe has been in the back of one of my hand-written recipe books so I have no idea where it comes from:


8oz Plain Flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda, 1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar,
1 1/2oz margarine, 1/4 pint milk or yoghurt juice. Here the recipe varies depending on what type of scones you want to bake. For fruit scones, add 2oz dried fruit or fruit and finely chopped nuts. For cheese scones, add 2oz grated cheese (I used half Parmigiana-Reggiano and half Red Leicester on this occasion).


Sieve together the flour, salt, soda and tartar. Rub in the margarine. Add sugar and fruit OR cheese. Bring together with as much of the liquid as you need (you might not need to use all of it so be careful).

Gently roll out (or hand pat) to 3/4" or 1" (inch) depth and use a small to medium circular cutter. Place on a lined baking tray. You can add a little grated cheese to the top if you wish but do not glaze them. These are meant to be pale and interesting!

Bake at 220C for 12 minutes (I find my baking trays burn my baking at this temperature so I do them at 200C for 17 - 20 minutes). Remove and cool:

They freeze very well once cold, otherwise, store in an airtight container.