Tuesday 31 March 2015

Curry and extra

Using two chicken breasts, 2 tins of tomatoes, 2 tins of chickpeas and a few other bits and pieces, I managed to make a good amount of chicken and vegetable curry.

We had some for tea and the rest was put into 4 foil containers for later use:
Remember the malt loaf I made last week. Well it was wrapped in foil for 3 days and now we have begun to eat it and it is lovely, soft and sticky and very similar to the bought kind but nicer. I have added the link to it in my recipe tab above but here is what it looks like (1/2 the recipe to test it):
I put prunes and sultana's in it.

Monday 30 March 2015


First of all, welcome to Andrea Marley-Lawson via Bloglovin.

On Saturday we went across to Fakenham to pop into the church, see the crafts and visit Lynne from the Textile Treasury.

After that we wandered around the monthly Farmers Market where we saw a mutton stall, fresh that morning, direct from their own ewe's. The company was this one

We love mutton but can rarely find it. She said it wouldn't be around in the summer as no one wants to buy it then. I spent £10 on about 1.2kg of mutton, getting two leg stakes (with just a small bone in the middle) and a thick neck fillet. That will be the last meat I buy for quite a while now.

We still have a reduced in price leg of lamb in the freezer that we bought for Christmas but didn't get around to using. Think that will be used over Easter, as a roast, then pies etc to go back into the freezer.

Sunday 29 March 2015

Gate Marking by Dog Kidnappers and Burglars!

Not being a dog or pet owner in general, I had never heard of this but apparently, it is on the increase. This article here shows the kinds of potential burglary/dog taking marks you might find either on your gate, fence, door, wall or pavement

Other markings might be those written about here

Why are they marking, sometimes it is to mark you for being burgled, or to steal your dogs for breeding but more sickening, is to steal your dogs for dog fighting.

If you are a pet owner, and in particular a dog or cat owner, do you have CCTV, especially if you leave your pets outside all day. If not, have you thought about getting it?

It really worries me that people seem to put so much about who they are, where they live, what they own, where they work, what their names are etc, so freely on social media. It has become the norm to share such things but never under-estimate the power of social media, both good and bad.

On social media sites, it is quite common to use your name, what job you do, where you do it, how long your days are, even the village, town or city where you live. It doesn't take much to then trace where you live. If you live at a, work at b, link to your partner's site and they also say they live at the same a, but work at either b, or c, and your site has your real names, it is child's play to work out when you are not at home!

Sharing adorable pictures of your puppy or kitten, your dog or your cat, especially if they are competing or winning prizes. Lovely for your friends and family but also easy targetting information for unscrupulous people. Please stop and think.

It is quite a frightening thought that these people often identify their targets from a distance, even following you home after walking your dog, before leaving their mark which can be as simple as the letter K in chalk. Some audacious nappers even take the dogs when they are running freely out on their walks.

Have I got you thinking, good. Do something about it and ensure you are not the one targeted next time.

Friday 27 March 2015

Coffee and coffee pod waste...

After the rain, wind, dull light and cold wind, we have awoken to a sunny but cold day. Washing is in the washer and will soon be drying on the line. I shall wrap up later on and dig up some more plants that are in the path part of the front gravel garden.

I checked yesterday on the peas and radish sown a few weeks ago and the radish have now got their seed leaves above the soil. One pot of tomato seedlings are also into daylight.

I love a latte coffee on the odd occasion when we eat out and DB surprised me the other day by ordering a milk frother and two latte glasses plus spoons:
Our first attempt wasn't too shabby:
However, when doing us a normal milky coffee we heat the milk for both cups in the microwave on full for 3.5 minutes and it is usually very hot. After following the instructions which came with the jug, you can only do one at a time and it wasn't very hot.

Blow this I thought, lets heat enough milk for both glasses and push the plunger to froth the milk more gently so it doesn't overflow whilst I'm doing it.

As it happens, you can get away with it and our second attempt was far better and much hotter. It is a bit of a faff and there is an extra pot to wash but it tasted good.

Having read about how many zillions of plastic non-recyclable coffee pods are contaminating the planet, we didn't want to go down that line. Also, we are primarily tea drinkers but did want to drink a nice coffee occasionally so opted for this method.

We use it with normal instant coffee and all is well. Might also try it with chocolate...

Have a lovely weekend folks despite the weather forecast.

Thursday 26 March 2015

Eating and freezing

Firstly, welcome to Helen Eggleshaw via Bloglovin. Thank you for joining the Frugal in Norfolk tribe!

We have spent the months since the New Year, creating meals out of the freezer and cupboards, as well as eating some of the home made freezer meals. It has gone well and now is the time to not only carry on using up older meals but to create new ones.

Last week we had tomatillo chicken for tea and enough to freeze 2 foil containers for later use. This week, I made 1.5 batches of low calorie macaroni cheese. We had this one between us for tea with some peas:
It also made enough to give us 4 foil containers for later use, one each for two meals:
Meals like the macaroni, we will have one container to eat as it is an all in meal. Containers like the tomatillo chicken, we will share one then have a pudding of some kind.

Tonight, I shall be making chicken and chickpea curry. Some will be had for tea, the rest frozen into as many containers as possible. Then later this week, it will be vegetable chilli where the same process will happen. From that little amount of batch cooking, we should have enough meals for us both for another week or 10 days.

This can be done with all manner of things, stews, casseroles, chilli, curry, spaghetti bolognaise, cottage pie, fish pie etc.

On a slightly different theme, when our Grand dogs were here last weekend, I picked the few daffodils that were growing outside the back door so they didn't get trampled when they go out to the loo. The daffodils lasted for 5 days in this little glass jar - which the neighbours threw out and I got it for just such an occasion!
Aren't they sweet!

Tuesday 24 March 2015


It has dawned a lovely day here and although the general weather forecast says rain after lunch, the on-line one mentions nothing about rain - very confusing!

After coming home from shopping, washing has gone on the line and hopefully will get dry before any rains comes, if it does.

This morning we visited Lidl where we got food plus spare cupboard top up's which came to £29.47. Off then to Pound-land where I needed a few things like foil containers (12 for £1) plus things we couldn't get in Lidl, so £13 was spent there, mainly on toiletries and sundries. Finally, we headed to Mr. T., somewhere we haven't been for months to finish getting a few food items but mainly sundries, after handing in loads of cash vouchers, the final shop came to £8.21. That is a total so far this month (our months work 24th - 23rd) of £50.68.

Toiletries should do us now for 1 - 2 months, some things longer, spare cupboard is topped up again and other than fresh food when needed, we hope this month will again be economical.

I wanted the foil containers so I can make a double batch of macaroni cheese, use one portion each then freeze 6 portions. Rather than top each dish with fresh tomatoes, I have some in the freezer which will be used on top of those being frozen - still with me? Things like curry, chilli etc usually go in the reusable containers saved over years from Chinese takeaways as they don't need to be oven heated.

DDL starts her new full time job in April, working for the same people as DS. Although their hours will be slightly different, it will be quite an adjustment on being able to prepare meals in advance. They will be getting up very early to exercise the dogs, organise packed lunches etc. before their 2 hours drive to work. Rather than a 2 hours drive home then eating, they hope to get themselves sorted out enough to eat before leaving work - home cooked food mind so they don't increase their shopping bill.

It is such a joy to see the next generation of your family endeavouring to be financially savvy on the shopping/living front:) They are hoping to move this year, closer to their work place to save such a long daily journey. At least now, they can share the driving.

Our menu tab at the top, has been updated, to reflect Week 12.

Monday 23 March 2015


Welcome to Edith and Susan via Bloglovin and Undomestic Diva via here.

We have just had a lovely short but sweet weekend with DS and DDL plus dogs. The house is slowly getting sorted, i.e. washing bedding, borrowed dog cage has gone back, ironing is getting done etc.

We have just worked out how much we have spent on food and toiletries last month and it has totalled £110, which is £50 less than normal. Some of that can be put down to using up stores, freezer etc but also, we have paid greater attention to creating menu and shopping lists and sticking to them. We still have some meals that can be used from the freezer but are once again, beginning to eek out one meal to become two, which puts one into the freezer for later use.

I'm hoping to make some curry and chilli this week, both of which will provide meals on the day plus more for the freezer but I need to buy some more freezing containers as we are running out.

A few seeds of tomato, pepper and chilli, have been sown on the heated propagator base and seedlings should be emerging soon although we think the peppers may be too old but shall see:
Two loaves of bread have been baked (brown and spelt this time) and our first malt loaf:
It looks a little short in height as I only made 1/2 the recipe to trial it. Once cold, it has to be wrapped and left for a few days before we can try it!

Yesterday was such a lovely relatively warm day but today the wind is back to its usual biting self. I'm trying to get out into the garden to weed but so far, am not having much luck.

Friday 20 March 2015

Welcome, well done and solar eclipse!

Welcome to Janine Mummery and Lilbitbrit via Bloglovin. You are most welcome. Also, well done Andy Murray on getting into the semi final in Indian Wells. Djokovic got a bye, how annoying is that!

I cancelled an eye test for early this morning (going later on today) in the hope of catching a glimpse of the solar eclipse. Yeah right! Despite being predicted clear skies we were cloudy. However and thankfully, cloud is good as it allows you to see something when it slightly clears, which it did, starting at 09:14 and finishing at 09:19, where the cloud thickened again and that was it, or so we thought:

The sky did get slightly darker, though nowhere near as dark as in these photographs where the camera is trying to compensate for the light! More a very early twilight, then as it began to lighten, I checked again and here is the moon, passing the sun the other side, at 09:45:

Here is a shot I managed to get at 09:56:
Then the final one at 10:10:
In about 500 years we will no longer be able to get a full solar eclipse as the moon is moving away from the earth  around 3.5cm every year!

Thursday 19 March 2015

Good, bad and ...good!

Remember us picking some walnuts last year? Well, we managed to get 3 net bags worth eventually, 2 have been eaten but we are only just starting the 3rd. Some are no good but most are fine:
I don't know about you but a waste of manufacturing resources really gets my goat. Take talc containers for example. This is brand new and not yet open but look how much wastage of plastic container there is:
I weighed it just to make sure and it does weigh 500g but couldn't they make a smaller container. I notice it all the time and it drives me nuts!

We have just started to use our home made sweet chilli and tomato sauce - the chilli seems to have run away as it is not as hot as normal, but it is still good, none the less:

Wednesday 18 March 2015


You fought well Heather Watson but seemed to run out of energy towards the end, well done any way on your first win against a top 10 player.

Sorry to see you out of the doubles Andy but hopefully, it will allow you to do well today. Good luck!
Certainly looks hot though, wouldn't want to be running around at midday in that heat even if it is dry heat.

Tuesday 17 March 2015


Several months ago, we were given a load of rocks by E., when she cleared her rockery. They have been sitting down near the garage all winter long, waiting to be shifted into place. DB rolled them into a large rubber container with handles (trug?) and one by one we carried them into the front garden.

The plants in the inner circle have slowly been migrating outwards and we have lost the definition of the path area. Nearly all the plants have some growth, enabling us to see where to place them without squashing them. We only had 12 large rocks to play with but have enough smaller ones to bridge the gaps.

It is not a perfectly shaped circle but once a few plants have been shifted, more gravel has been added, it should all look alot better:

Still a bit of tidying up to do around the pond area plus moving a few pheasant grasses in front of it so it doesn't show so much!

Other things this week in the garden - DB was busy again painting some short canes white and yellow:
The yellow ones have been pushed in beside daffodils:
The white ones besides the snowdrops:
Sorry about the size, I cropped it too small without realising. Anyway you get the idea. Such a method ensures that when I am digging up, moving or taking out plants later in the year, I know where my spring bulbs are. You could also paint some blue and pink (or any colour), to let you know where other things are such as hyacinths etc.

Monday 16 March 2015


Sunday is our weigh day on the Wii, and we usually treat ourselves to a pudding of some kind. Being Mother's Day and not having planned to go out anywhere, I thawed some cooking apples and damsons and made us a fruit and ginger sponge:

We shall eat it over three nights. First night was with yoghurt, second and third with custard. Yum!
On the subject of baking, cooking from scratch, Rhonda has linked to a rather long article on how our food, even simple things we might eat, has been treated in a way that doesn't always have an understandable label of its treatment or ingredient!

I suggest you have a drink snd hold the biscuit whilst you read about it here

Sunday 15 March 2015

Menu update

Our meals for last week have been updated to the menu tab above. Well done Andy Murray and Heather Watson for progressing into the next round of tennis at Indian Wells.

Friday 13 March 2015


Today is sunny and finally we have a warm breeze, even though it is due to change to a cold one tomorrow. The bedding has been stripped a day early and is now hanging out in the sunshine. The temperature in the house is currently 20C even though the heating (set at 14C) switched off about 8.00am.

Just pruned my autumn raspberries back as they too are starting to come into leaf, just tiny ones at the moment. Won't be long now before the fruit cage roof will need to go on otherwise the sparrows will be in there stripping the gooseberry buds.

We enjoyed our Chinese 'school' meal and watched a Peter Kay DVD and had a good laugh. Sorry, I forgot to take a photograph of the cloud cake and its lovely bramble and apple sauce but we finished it off before I remembered! Can't even find a picture of anything similar on the internet to show you either.

Anyway it was very nice, light and sweet 'cake', slightly tart sauce and just right to finish off a meal.

The boiler man has just come to service our boiler. We must have had it now around 25 years or so and it is still doing well. After a thorough clean, he usually changes the nozzle and it is done.

Have a lovely weekend folks and enjoy yourselves:)

Thursday 12 March 2015

Baking and making...

First of all, welcome to Rosie Goodenough via Bloglovin.

We fancied some cake so I decided to make another Bara Brith. I had of course forgotten not to put all the mixture in the tin as it is slightly too much, I really must adjust the recipe a little to take this into consideration. It rose up and boiled all over the oven. Realising it might be a disaster, I gritted my teeth, pulled it out, cleaned up the oven, put the tin back in on a tray and hoped for the best:
You can see what has happened to its top but it sliced well, looked fine and tasted good:
Not having dried fruit such as sultanas or raisins to spare, I chopped up some of our home dehydrated fruit and soaked it in the tea. This particular cake has pear, pineapple and mango in it. Yum!

Tonight, we shall be getting together with E. and T., from walking and our old school, for our once a term Chinese meal and film. For pudding, I decided to cook 1lb of frozen apple slices plus a few damsons as a fruit base for a Cloud Cake. Once cooked, they were whizzed up into a purée, before 125g of it was made into the cake. Here it is ready to go into the freezer, bar being wrapped in cling film:
Once frozen and ready to serve, it will be unpacked, taken out the tin and served within about 10 minutes from the freezer when its texture will be at its best. Although it is made with an egg white, the texture is that of marshmallow. The flavour of the fruit is very subtle. Overall, it is a very nice dessert. It should really have a biscuit base but we find that it stays too hard so now make it without.

Of course, that lowers the calories even more although I do think it might lend itself to being piped onto individual digestive biscuits or Jaffa Cakes.

Herewith the recipe:

1 large egg white - not whisked yet
1/2 cup castor sugar
125g frozen fruit
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

(If using fresh instead of frozen fruit, chavel it up into a purée first and sieve before using, if you don't want the seeds in the final cake).

Put everything into a deep bowled food mixer and use the whisk part to beat everything together. Leave the machine going for at least 10 - 15 minutes until the mixture is light and frothy, and probably halfway up the sides of the pan. If using a hand whisk, it is best to thaw the frozen fruit and process it according to the italic instructions above.

Lightly oil a Victoria cake pan and line with cling film. Put the mixture into it, it will seem too much but will go in with a gentle bit of prodding. Cover with more cling film and freeze. Remove from cling film and pan just before serving. Do not refreeze.

If I remember I'll add the serving picture tonight or tomorrow!

Wednesday 11 March 2015

What to do with yoghurt whey

A brand new batch of yoghurt was made, i.e., using freshly bought in starter as the previous few batches were way too softly set and needed straining a little before use. Although I have an electric yoghurt maker which can do it all in one go, we generally find we get a better set yoghurt (using semi-skimmed milk) if we heat the milk first. It goes in the microwave for 8 minutes on full. Once finished, it then sits in a bowl of cold water for around 13 minutes to bring it down to 40C when we add the starter:

As you start to use it, you will notice whey forming in little puddles:
Yoghurt whey is sour and acidic unlike cheese whey which is sweet but it can still be used rather than thrown down the sink causing an environmental impact, that I have only just found out. Every time you need to have some yoghurt, pour off the whey and store it in a jar in the fridge:
It will keep in there, safe and sound for at least one week if not longer. If you don't think you will use it straight away once your yoghurt is finished, freeze it in a suitable container. If you strain your yoghurt to make it Greek or into cream cheese, you will have even more to use.

Now why am I suggesting doing this? Well, it is due to a programme I watched last night. It was discussing the environmental damage done to local wildlife, rivers, streams, fauna and flora with the dumping of millions of tons of acidic whey from making Greek yoghurt.

Most sensible countries have now banned this practice but it got me thinking about those of us at home who may be doing a similar thing without realising the danger.

Yes, it is only a little bit we might be throwing away but collectively, as a nation, I bet it adds up to a huge amount and I for one, do not want to be responsible for damaging the environment, even a tiny bit, if I can help it!

If you search on the internet there are loads of ideas on what to do with yoghurt and cheese whey, varying due to their different natures. For example, yoghurt way can be used in baking, replacing all or some of the liquid you would normally use (this is what I do). It can be used as a fungicide, face and body treatment, given to acidic loving plants (might try this on my blueberries in small amounts).

Whey is full of useful things like Vitamin B12, B5, B1, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium,Selenium and Zinc amongst other good and beneficial things.

Here are some links to just a few ideas, but be careful, some talk about whey and don't say what type!

first web address 
second web address
third web address which includes some personal and garden uses

Hope you find this useful!

Tuesday 10 March 2015

It is about this time of year...

That we notice we are gradually using less logs on the wood-burner. We still have the heating on low which shuts off just before 7am when our cheap electricity finishes. Only occasionally now will it go on for a short burst during the day. We have oil central heating but it uses an electric pump.

Although we often light the burner around 4pm, when the evenings are still around 4C, we usually let it go out sometime between 7-8pm. The residual heat keeps us warm until bed time. Our log basket usually contains reasonably sized logs which last us 2 nights. Now however, we start to chop those in half and the basket lasts 3 to 4 nights - a great saving:
The weekly two loaves of bread have been made:
This time they were rye, wholemeal and white. The one on the right had some ears on it, so we cut off and ate them separately otherwise the slicer has difficulties with them.

Our snow drops are now fully up and open:
You can only see a few on the above photograph but there are around 25 bunches in the front and another 5 or so in the back. The miniature daffodils are now 3" tall and their little flower buds are beginning to show.

The menu page for last week has now been added. We are still managing to keep the meat price for us both below our total allowance of £4.40. Meat is added as a treat to a vegetable based dish, or sometimes as the main part of a dish. If we do that however, the rest of the meals will all be vegetarian!

Finally,  welcome to Vintage Maison via here and Joanne via Bloglovin.

Monday 9 March 2015

Our back productive garden - late winter early spring

First of all, a warm welcome to Sue Scott from The Quince Tree.

Standing in the middle of our garden, herewith the left hand side as we enter our garden, near the terracotta square planter back left. Bed 1 with perspex on it to warm the soil a little. Also DB is in the middle of paint some canes with a white tip to indicate where the snowdrops are in the gardens. The trees on the fence are apple. The trees just in front of bed 1 with the yellow crocus are 2 pears:
The bed at the back is bed 2 and nearest the camera bed 3. The trees at the front are plum, the left back tree an apple and the right back tree a greengage. Bottom right is a small dustbin pond:
Following round to the back of the garden, the pond again, a double seat, two chimney planters that have hosta's in them plus the compost bin currently in use.
The last half of the back has compost bin 2 which will be emptied and sieved shortly. Then bin 1 will be moved into it. A cooking apple stands in the flower bed. Branches are kept down by pop socks containing gravel otherwise it grows too tall. Where the dustbin is on the back right, is water butt 4. The other 3 are around the back of the garage. The tree near the sculpture is a trained quince:
A little bit further around to the right hand side of the garden and you see the start of the fruit cage:
Back onto the patio where we sit under a very large awning, also a raised bed that used to be herbs but is now an alpine bed. In the background, our first and mainly unproductive apple tree down the left. Just around the left side of that tree is a small pear tree and also where we enter the garden:
Below under the blue wrapper is our smaller bed 4, raised on legs. Under it are two containers left from last year. One has nettle food, the other comfrey food - no doubt, they will stink when I take their lids off to see if they are still viable for this year!
There you have it. In the raised beds we grow summer salads, beetroot, spare beans and peas, spinach, leeks, potatoes, carrots, cucamelons (last year and climbing courgettes (hopefully this year) and whatever else we can squeeze in. The tomatoes and rest of the beans are grown down the driveway in front of a west facing wall just in front of the garage.

Some of the fruit trees are new and as yet, unproductive. Others give what they feel like, sometimes a lot, other years not so much. We are not too worried as they are primarily grown to hide the fences a little. Any fruit is a bonus.

So, in fruit total we have 3 pear trees, 5 eating apples and 1 cooking apple, 2 plum, 1 quince, a loganberry, a blackberry, a blackcurrant, 6 Autumn fruiting raspberries, 2 gooseberries and 2 blueberries. We gave up the strawberries last year as we found them too much of a faff in such a small garden and as I am the only one who really likes them, saw no point in keeping them going.
We gave them to our gardening neighbour R., who no doubt over the summer, will give us some of his fruit anyway.

Sunday 8 March 2015

Congratulations Team GB

On winning The Davis Cup first round against the U.S.A.

Superb tennis all round and a special mention to James Ward for his fantastic 5 game match, well done.

Andy Murray closed it down with a singles win today after also winning on Friday. Also well done to Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot for getting to 5 sets before losing.

Finally a congratulations to all the trainers, coaches and medical staff behind the scenes for motivation and keeping everyone fit and well.

Friday 6 March 2015

This and that

Yesterday I went to make some faggots believing I had everything I needed. I had decided to change the liver for black pudding but when I opened up the pudding, it didn't look very nice at all. White fat is one thing, but lumps of gristle, no thank you. It went in the food bin I am afraid, to be collected by the council for their hot compost bins. I hate throwing food away, but as neither of us liked the look of it, despite loving black pudding, it had to go.

Now I needed a replacement so walked to the nearest butcher to pick up some liver, which he had, but frozen! That went into a bowl of cold water to thaw for a few hours whilst I got the rest of the things minced and ground. Then I realised I was 1/2lb of bacon short and quite frankly, couldn't be bothered to go back to the butchers.

Eventually, 1lb of minced pork shoulder, 1/2 lb minced bacon, 1/2 lb minced liver, 1 minced onion and 1/2 a packet of dry sage and onion stuffing mix got brought together. They were left for a few minutes for the stuffing to drink up all the excess fluid from the onion and liver then formed into 12 balls:
I forgot to photograph them once done but we had 3 between us with a few strips of the liver for tea:
They were still nice and tasty but thought it would have been better with the whole 1lb of bacon. Way too much for us to finish it all (another waste!). It just goes to show that once you adapt to smaller main meals, it is very hard to finish what was once a normal meal.

Anyhow, at least they got made, some eaten and the rest were frozen in 3's for 3 meals later on. The full recipe for  different faggots can be found on my recipe tab above.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Thursday 5 March 2015


Having brought back two or three bunches of dried flowers from DDiL's mother house, thought it about time I got on and arranged them. It all made a huge mess but eventually, 3 arrangements were done and all the rubbish put out in the gardening bin. We had been into a new French style old and new craft shop in town and found 2 zinc jugs.  They will sit either side of the wood burner until we need to warm our pyjama's or dry our bath towels,
then they will be lifted up to sit either side of the mirror above the mantle-piece: 

There were just enough Nigella and a few dried grasses to create another posy for the dining room: