Friday 30 September 2016


Although I love baking GF items, flapjacks are one of those things (which are GF) that I invariably forget to bake - have no idea why.

With that in mind, I set to baking a batch. There are many recipes around so take your pick but I use a basic version of 8oz jumbo oats, 6oz butter or margerine and 3 tablespoons golden syrup. After that, I add things to it.

On this occasion I added a handful of  sunflower seeds, 2 grated balls of ginger plus a tablespoon of their juice and 1/2 a packet of plain chocolate drops, from the freezer and stirred in just before baking.

I baked them in an oblong at 160C for 35 minutes, cut them into 18 squares and allowed them to go cold in the tin. I usually sit my tin on the draining board which helps them go cold a little quicker.

Another time, I shall add about 10 washed and diced glace cherries and 6 - 8 diced dried apricots.

I often add a handful of linseeds, either whole or ground down, but forgot this time. Herewith said flapjacks:

This is my liast post for this week, so have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Why most of us DO NOT have the attention span of a gnat!

We won't be watching anymore of the 'new' series of Coast. BBC2 - you should be ashamed of yourselves.

It is bad enough on most of the commercial channels that we have to put up with "coming up after the break" ... "before the break you watched" etc., but this 'new' series does just that - constantly:(

On top of that, it is mostly a compilation of bits and pieces, often tiny fragments, of previous shows from the last 10 years.

The Coast music snippets I used to love listening to, when they were snippets. Now they are almost constantly screaming away in the background, often, you can't even hear what the presenter is saying.

Worse still, they are calling it The Great ? Guide. During the first programme, about Cornwall, the link presenter Tessa Dunlop said, The Great Cornish/Cornwall Guide a mere 23 times, that wasn't counting the numbers of times on top of that, that she said The Great Guide or even the Guide!

Did I remember to say, The Great Cornish Guide, oh sorry, I forgot, I meant to say before the break, or was it coming up after the break. I can't quite remember, oh yes, it was before the break and it will be coming up after the break.

What will, you ask? Well, The Great Guide of course:(

Tuesday 27 September 2016


The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness part of the poem by John Keats, probably best defines Autumn to me. There is a definite change in the air, a slight nip to the mornings, evenings drawing in and the need to wrap up just a little bit warmer.

There are still harvests to pick, the garden to tidy and slowly put to sleep for winter:

For those of us with wood burners, logs to be bought, stored and brought inside, kindling to be chopped, newspapers to be begged and also stored. Pine cone stores to be looked at and the decision made whether to go out for a pine cone walk to top them up.

Chutneys, jams and relishes to be made and squirrelled away for the colder months and early warmer months next year.

For me though, one of the difining times is the arrival of rainbows in my dining room:
These just get better and better for a few weeks, then they, like Autumn, are gone for another year.

Monday 26 September 2016

Using up the chilli's

We quite liked the stuffed chilli recipe we tried, using our own home made cream cheese, so thought we would try another recipe using cream cheese, pineapple and bacon.

Not quite so good. When the pineapple was added to the cream cheese, it made it too runny. This in turn made it difficult to wrap them in bacon. That resulted in them boiling rather than roasting in the oven.

If we do this again, we would probably opt for well drained cottage cheese to mix the pineapple into to!

They tasted okay (but we both thought not as good as previously):
They were served with home grown tomatoes but bought in Rosti.

Thursday 22 September 2016

Andy Murray live

We got a one day pass to watch this last night. It is so nice to see the players enjoying themselves, laughing and joking and having a good time. Although the singles match was 2 sets and a tie break, you could see Andy grimacing at times with his thigh injury.

Talking about grimacing, check out my other blog for a tale about a similar problem! This will be my last post for this week so have a grand weekend everyone.

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Winter Food Box

I think I have 10 more weeks to go until this is complete. Herewith what is in it to date. It is a screen shot which is why it is a little blurred:

When those weeks are over, it will be emptied into our spare food cupboard plus anywhere else it needs to go.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Chilli Jam

Goodness me, the 20th of September already, this month is flying by!

I have had my first foray into making chilli jam, using this recipe. . I used half the chilli's deseeded and the other half with seeds in. A bit much for us methinks but I can always adjust it another year if we enjoy it!

Here are the chavelled up chilli's, sugar, vinegar and crab apples in the pan:
And the finished product:
Not as clear as I thought it would be but when I removed the crab apples, soom had lost their apple insides and were just shells. Despite setting on the plate indicating the jam was ready, the next morning, it was clear it hadn't set properly.

All the jars were emptied back into the pan (the jars and lids were washed and sterilized again) and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice stirred in. The jam was again boiled for between 5 and 10 minutes, with a plate test after 5 minutes. It was set on the plate but to be sure, I gave it another 5 minutes then potted them.

We got just the 4 big jars plus a little half jar this time, so hopefully, it is ready. A taste trial showed it to be quite potent.

Monday 19 September 2016

Well done lads and under the fruit trees

Well done the Davis Cup team. You may not have won but you fought hard to try. In a way, I am glad and now they can rest, Andy in particular who got an injury in his final game.

Down the left hand side of the back garden, are some trained fruit trees. Underplanting has been added and removed over the years but each time, they have grown too big and flopped over onto the path.

As part of sorting out the garden, everything was removed, spring flowering heathers put in and spring/early summer bulbs planted inbetween them:
Although ultimately these iris may prove too tall and need to be moved then replaced, our chosen bulbs are 18" tall Dutch Iris Black Beauty see here
Quamash Camassia 14" tall see here
Allium Graceful Beauty 12" tall see here
and Yellow Crocus removed from the rest of the garden 6" tall, similar to these

Hopefully come spring, it will look lovely and once the bulbs are finished, the new growth on the heathers, should take over.

Friday 16 September 2016

Saving up for big items

Davis Cup this weekend. Condolences to Andy and Jamie on the passing of their grand dad.

We have just changed our car for another ex-demo, a year younger and less mileage. In the past, when funds were far more less available for such things, our cars would have been kept for a long while. This inevitably resulted in high mileage and a low exchange rate.

Last time around, we also got an ex demo car, a few months old but our part exchange was a little low and we delved into savings just a tad. Once we had the 'new to us' car, we began saving into a car fund, to exchange it sometime in the future.

This car has used those special savings and not a penny more. Again, we have decided as from our October pension pay day, to up the previous car saving amount and begin again. We already have an emergency fund, dudicious spending results in us not only putting a set amount by each month into regular savings, but often we still have money left at the end of the month, which also goes into savings.

Although the insurance is slighter more for this car, it doesn't have road tax so a slight saving.

Do you put money away for the bigger things in life, whether it be the next car, holidays, paying off the mortgage early, retirement etc?

Thursday 15 September 2016

Retirement work ethic

We have both worked relatively hard throughout our working lives. I also count staying at home to bring up our son in that statement. Now we are both no longer working, our ethic appears to have not changed much!

Everyone is different. Indeed people tell us how nice our house and garden are, how we are always busy and keep ourselves occupied. More so in summer than winter I might add and sometimes, I can 'get bored' if I find too many hours to fill, especially in winter.

Yesterday and the day before, as part of reducing and getting on top of the garden, I emptied our shut down compost bin onto tarpulin to allow it to dry enough to sieve out the big debris. DB came and helped me tip the full compost bin into the now empty one. Every few inches, we put in a layer of scrunched up newspaper to help keep it aerated.

It was hard work on such a hot day (30C) but we did it in phases. By the end of those two days, the job is finished, compost has been put where needed on the garden, the tarpulin put away and the garden tidied up further.

We know people in retirement whose partners have gone back to work as they just can't abide sitting around. Other who seem to pootle but get nothing much done, others who appear to do nothing at all but lament the state of their affairs..

We are all different and you have to be true to yourself and your core values. I think if you haven't changed how you operate before retirement, you probably won't alter in retirement. However, never say never!

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Granola and buns...

We make our own granola which is very easy to do:
Using my normal GF bread recipe, I decided on some buns - some sweet, other savoury:
They look very rustic but the texture is good as is the taste:

Tuesday 13 September 2016


We bought a chicken for lunch the other day. I removed its legs and froze them for later use. The rest was roasted and we used the breasts to create 2 roast lunches each. The carcass was picked clean - see bowl on the left:
Mayonnaise and seasoning was added to those scraps and we had a lovely sandwich for lunch. The carcass was put into a bag and frozen for soup making a little later in the season.

Monday 12 September 2016


Having received a cheesemaking kit quite a while ago, I finally got around to using it with 2 months to go to its expiry date. That isn't as drastic as it sounds as only the rennet tablets might be out of date by then.

It is a kit for making Scottish Crowdie cheese. Herewith the photographs for a half batch using 4 pints of whole milk. It has had its initial heating to 90F and the citric acid has been added before leaving it to sit for 30 minutes:
Then the rennet was added and the temperature raised to 105F - very fiddly - for 3 minutes. The recipe didn't say whether to keep stirring or not so after I felt the rennet was stirred through, I stopped:
Straining through a 4 fold cheese cloth:
Whey left after straining:
2 dessertspoons of double cream and some black pepper added to one half:
2 dessertspoons of double cream and diced chilli to the other half:
Verdict - yummy!The whey has been frozen in 4 batches for use later on.

Saturday 10 September 2016


Well done Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, who have just won the final of the men's doubles in the US Open. That gives Bruno his 5th Grand Slam and Jamie his 3rd!

Friday 9 September 2016


I don't know about you, but I find being irritable very, very, irritating! I have no idea why I should be like this on occasions, no rhyme or reason, it is what it is.

When I was younger, it could be put down to that time of month, so it does make me wonder, if despite my advancing years, that being irritable occasionally conicides with what would have been PMT? Who knows.

DB is busy using the powerhose, giving the conservatory its end of summer wash. Should look far better once all the grease, grime and green mould has gone.

I am about to go outside and prune the last apple tree, once my less than spectacular bread is out the oven - another thing that irritated me today:(

Ah well, have a good weekend everyone.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

They're here ...

DB found the first, big house spider last night, in the bedroom, near the ceiling - heavens! As far as those creatures goes, that is the only thing about this time of year, that I loathe. We have a glass and a piece of card in each room, to catch them and throw them outside, where no doubt, they just find their way right back in.

Time to move the glasses close to us, so we can be ready to catch them asap!

Monday 5 September 2016

Winter Ticks!

No, I don't mean the kind of ticks that bite and might give you Lyme's disease.

There is no denying it, autumn is definately on its way. The garden is shutting down slowly, leaves are beginning to change and drop from certain plants. The evenings are drawing in, some evenings require cardigans and socks and it is a bit chilly getting into bed.

With this in mind, this is the time of year (and for us we are already in this mode), of sorting out for winter. Yes, I know that autumn hasn't happened yet but in villages that have oil instead of on demand gas, often use woodburners or open fires, we have to begin earlier than those of you who can just flick a switch!

Last Friday, after assessing we needed just one cubic metre of logs to top up our stores, we ordered some, they were delivered 08:40 on Saturday and by 09:20, they had been put away. Tick.

The old flannelette sheets have been turned into rags so new ones were ordered yesterday. Tick.

A new seal for the woodburner has arrived although it has yet to be fitted as we need to light the burner to set the glue - almost a tick!

The rag rug in front of the burner has been washed, dried in the sun and put back down. Tick.

We still need to order oil before the price begins to go up, which it usually, does at the end of summer:(

There are still have quite a lot of pine cones for emergency fire lighting and DB has precut into the correct lengths, loads of the wood designated for kindling. He has also cut some into kindling, two bags worth I think. Tick.

There you have it, ticks coming along nicely:)

Friday 2 September 2016

Chilli peppers...

Although a lot of our vegetables this year, have not been brilliant, the same cannot be said for the chilli plants. This year, they have been good, despite getting attacked by things:
These are Hungarian Wax, and are mild when green, medium hot when orange and at their hottest when red. Overall though, they are classed as a medium hot chilli, which suits us.

I am going to try this recipe when I harvest them, see here. I might also give this recipe a whirl. Maybe exchange the cajun for something else as we don't want it too hot. This recipe looks even better!

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday 1 September 2016

Did you know?

That tennis balls are the worst balls for your dog, especially if they like to pick it up off the beach or garden soil or something similar. The combination of wet and sand/soil attachment, turns the ball into sandpaper in effect.

Our friend found this out when she had to take her dog to a dog dentist. She was told about the wearing away of her dogs teeth and when asked, confirmed that her dog does use a tennis ball, pointing out that that is the type of ball that comes with a chukker.

He recommends a floating rubber ball, designed to fit the device. Having looked around, here is something similar to what he is referring to here.