Monday 30 November 2020

Trying the German food

 For lunch yesterday we had this:

Some mini nurnberger bratwurst, Kartoffeln mit speck (potatoe slices with bacon), British baked beans and their Gewurz Curry Ketchup (curry sauce). Brunch maybe?

Anyway, it was jolly nice and a good flavour from our years in Germany. As Sunday afternoon is generally spent chatting to family, we had stewed apples and custard for tea. We were both full after that and didn't need any mini snacks.

Saturday 28 November 2020

Getting sorted, slowly.

 I generally love Christmas but I just can’t get into the mood this year. Depending on everyone’s health, whether dogs will be on heat or not (intact male in pack), will depend on whether we see family or not.

The thought of months more of this doesn’t depress me that much, it has become the norm, I just feel sad about it. Months more of not seeing DGD and her family. My nearest sister is in tier 3 rather than the tier 1 we were all previously in. Us, like a lot of the country are tier 2 so no meeting indoors:( That means not visiting her, indoors or outdoors.

Walking will resume next week but we have to travel separately, eat and drink separately, all outdoors. Summer was great, winter not so but we do get some nice winter days which may help.

We have filled our advent calendar this morning, with 3 lots different lots of sweets, 1 per day, alternative boxes each. 

Most presents are ordered and in the process of being delivered. I have almost finished making Christmas cards. Still have one to do for DGD, DS and DDiL, and DB. I have finished a Birthday card for DGD but still have one to make for DS and a sister.

Friday 27 November 2020

German Treats...

We lived in Germany for a few years, twice. German food is quite different to ours but we both enjoyed eating quite a lot (but not all) of it. Our all time favourite was Kassler, smoked pork. It could be bought as a joint for cooking and eating hot - gorgeous - or as cold slices. Imagine our delight when I came across a new to us internet site The Sausage Man, that sells such goodies:

We got a 10 pack of mini special bratwurst (pork spicy sausages), a pack of two frikadellen (sort of a pork burger). Both are already cooked ready to reheat. Two packs of German bacon, a small joint of Kassler,  two packs of sliced potatoes, bacon and onions, cooked ready to reheat. Finally, two bottles of sauce, curry and schaschlik (pikant sauce) and a bottle of Senf, a medium heat mustard.

We ordered Thursday afternoon, they came late morning today. Fully insulated and with ice packs on board. Some have gone into the fridge, others the freezers.

We know of another company which if we order items from, will be mentioned on here. Sometimes, you just have to treat yourself, especially this year!

Monday 23 November 2020

Pudding as a meal?

Sunday afternoons are usually spent chatting to family, usually DGD and her family. She is getting very mobile now, chatting, clapping and laughing. She gave us a lovely smile as well. We are keeping our fingers crossed for a visit at Christmas but if it is only to be a total of 5 days, will have to share that time with DDiL's family as well. 

The usual timing is such that I don't have time to cook tea when we finish. Being cooler whether we have taken to having a decent sized pudding for the meal:

These are gooseberry and blueberry crumbles. We had half of one each, with custard for our tea - delicious. Normally we would have a meat based meal for lunch but this time I had a smoothie (to counter the pudding), and DB a sandwich. The other one will go in the freezer.

It is also our excuse for wading through the stack of frozen fruit in the freezer, going back a couple of years!

Sunday 22 November 2020

Whole Orange Almond Cake

 This beautiful recipe come from Kate here.

Having not had any cake for months, decided to do this recipe. I made half the quantity to try it out, using 1 1/2 clementines instead of an orange. This meant I didn't have to boil the orange beforehand. Instead they were chopped and chavelled up in my food processor before being finished off in my Nutribullet to make a puree. Yep, more washing up but no boiling! 

Doing these alterations meant the mix was more liquid than originally intended, but it didn't matter in the end. I also changed them into muffin cases and baked them for 22 minutes at 190C:

No raspberry coulis but moist and gorgeous as they are!

Saturday 21 November 2020

Sesame Orange Beef

 This is a new recipe we tried from here.

For me there was a taste I wasn't sure of, then realised it was dried ginger as I didn't have fresh. I think using fresh ginger next time would make it really nice. Other than that, we both enjoyed it. We served ours with mixed grains:

Might have to find another vegetable though, as I really don't like using green beans in winter, which come all the way from Africa. 

Thursday 19 November 2020

A bit red

I finally managed to obtain my flu jab yesterday, some 2 months after DB! Normally I don't feel much going in, this time a slight prickle. Then a few hours later, I normally feel a slight soreness which goes away after a few hours.

This time the sore feeling progressed all through the night. I couldn't lay on my arm comfortably so gave up. This morning, it is quite red, the kind of soreness and redness you get if you have a tetanus vaccination:

Other than that, I feel fine and it certainly wouldn't stop me having one in future even if as we age, these vaccinations are not quite so effective according to the news.

Tuesday 17 November 2020


Anyone who knows me well, knows I really am not keen on Christmas pudding. I generally prefer a nice flavoured sponge. We bought one of these packets from Lidl the other week:

and tried them last night, just in case DB wasn't too  keen. I had one as well and guess what, they were blooming lovely. They were a bit sweet but well flavoured. You could detect good sized chunks of fruit and nuts. They also have a decent amount of sloe gin, brandy and rum in them. Better still, they took just 40 seconds each in the microwave.

I bought 3 more this week to squirrel away as their expiry date is 2022!

Sunday 15 November 2020

A while back...

We invested in an electric pressure/slow/rice cooker. So far, I have only used the pressure cooker side of it. It is so quiet, not a single hiss until you vent the steam at the end.

DS told us yesterday they had bought a rice cooker, so thought it time to try out that side of it. It doesn't come with a recipe book but there are loads of recipes online for it. The rice cooker button cooks for 12 minutes but from what I read online, that seems too long.

Yesterday, we took the plunge and tried out one recommended recipe. It required 1 cup of thoroughly rinsed white long grain rice, 1 1/4 cups of boiling water, 1/2 tsp of salt (I forgot this). Put it all in, set the rice function, reduce cooking time to 3 minutes and leave it alone. Once it beeps to say it has finished, give it 10 minutes then release any remaining steam and fluff up the rice.

The water had all gone and the rice on first inspection looked solid but using a wooden spatula, it fluffed up fine:

It was a smidge hard but continued to cook for a little longer so maybe either a couple of tablespoons more water and 4 minutes cooking time or try a different rice?

Another recipe says 1 cup of rice, 2 cups of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, we shall try that one another time.

Anyhow, the whole process took far less time and energy than the conventional way so we shall do it this way in future. We gave it 9/10.

Saturday 14 November 2020


 We have been eating more healthy meals, with less calories, for a few months now. DB is ready for more, me not so. 

The other evening, we had sausage, mash and vegetables with gravy, normally a meal we enjoy very much, but not this time. We both decided halfway through we weren’t enjoying it. Yesterday we had roast chicken, the same thing.

Today I have spent time online looking for some new healthy meals to expand our range and have found a few more to trial. Most but not all, are stir fry based or quick cook meals.

We shall see how they go. It can be expensive to begin with as new ingredients will need to be bought. They will however, last a long while so that will help.

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Failed attempts!

 So far, three styles of card are in the bin. I am trying different shapes, mixing card stock colours as well as trying various stamps and dies.

I think I have now settled on my next style so shall produce a few of those to add to my stash. I am getting to grips with my Derwent coloursoft pencils. They don’t have a huge range of the right greens but will do for now. They certainly need sharpening quite often. 

I prefer the muted colour they produce on kraft card rather than white card so that will be the mainstay of this years cards.

Over-stamping once coloured produces a crisp finish which I like.

Monday 9 November 2020

Spreading out!

Even though I have a nice new table in my craft room, it is too narrow (designed to fit the space) for all my card making needs.

This is where I have to take over the dining room table, especially when putting cards together:

Off to the left is another paper cutting machine as well:) 11 cards almost finished so far. I won't show you those as a few family members and friends read this. However, I think I can get away with showing you the original version before it was heavily adapted - another day.

Now I need to sit down and work out a different style to these.

Friday 6 November 2020

Quite a bit done today so far

Welcome to a new follower. We have both been quite busy. 

Washed our hair.

DB has weeded the fruit cage and I planted 6 home grown foxgloves into my neighbours garden, as requested earlier in the summer.

He's about to start the ironing. Has also fixed a slightly wobbling kitchen cupboard door and the brackets for one kitchen blind which was loose. He has also been busy going through finances.

I made soup, enough for two days. He'll be cooking the tea.

Vegetables for the picalilli are prepared and salting.

Done two Christmas card fronts, rest of each card still to be done. That will be three made. I am trying a new technique, having the occasional blip but that's to be expected.

I have made two large bottles of washing machine liquid. Topped up the vinegar conditioner bottles and filled the soap dispensers.

Once he finishes the ironing, it will be time for a cup of tea and a biscuit!


Wednesday 4 November 2020

Not too busy

We did our food shopping today plus a few other things. Lidl and Morrisons were not too busy. Town was less busy than last Friday and the Pet Shop even less busy - all of which were a bonus.

We bought ourselves a cheese scone each for lunch, from our favourite cafe cum takeaway. I do hope he manages to hold on.

US Election fever has gripped again so I am trying to avoid the news on tv for as long as possible. I would like to think that people would have had enough of the self centered, aren't I great Trump, but obviously not. Biden seems okay if a bit old but he doesn't want to trade with us because we had the audacity to leave the EU.

All in all then, not much to chose between them, as far as I can see. Biden seems to be the more presidential of the two, which would be more useful to the rest of the world but who the heck knows. Should Trump lose, I wonder how much chaos would ensue and how much damage he could chose to do in his last few weeks.

Watch, wait and hold onto your hats!

Monday 2 November 2020

Craft room development

Another bug bear has been my craft room, or the area of the spare bedroom where I craft. I just have not got any storage. Everything is in boxes on the floor and I just get so annoyed with it all. Also, this room, being a spare bedroom, is used when we have DS and family to stay.

Up until now, I have been reluctant to take it over but no more. I think the lockdown has encouraged me to get going. When we visit them, we sleep in rooms that also house other things so from now on, they will need to do the same. Mind you, that thinking didn't allow for a travel cot and granddaughter. 

So, spending head on, I have also bought a tall storage unit and a desk with two draws from Ikea, which were delivered on Sunday and put up Monday. I also have 4 Ikea peg boards on the wall directly in front of me. On these, hang numerous boxes and shelves.

Before the changes, loads of things scattered on the floor and table top:

Afterwards - so much better. The desk is 150cm long by 50cm deep:
I am still sorting out what to put in the tiny cupboard (30cm x 30cm x 180cm tall). I think it will work well. Things have already changed from this photo regarding the peg boards. 
My dies and stamps are in CD floppy plastic sleeves, in a box, too big to fit the tall cupboard. We have just sent off for solid clear plastic CD cases that don't have the middle bit in. They fit perfectly in those, without being squashed. Once all have been transferred, they could go on a CD shelf to the right or above the peg boards.

Onwards and upwards!

Sunday 1 November 2020

I had a feeling

 We would go into another lockdown soon. So last Friday we braved the shops with our list of sewing and crafting materials, clothes and a couple of other things. We got 3/4’s of the list. We returned home with cheese scones for lunch. We were shattered both mentally and physically.

The next day, Boris made his announcement. I had a hairdressing appointment on the Thursday, so would miss that.

However, early this morning my hairdresser rang up to say she would come and cut it this morning if I was willing. Yes I was! It is now considerably shorter than normal just in case.

Today, we also had a lovely video chat with DS and family. DGD rolled forwards and backwards several times. She can transition from sitting to a belly flop at will although occasionally she hits her face:( Once on her belly she is getting adept at pushing herself backwards. She was also babbling at us so coming along nicely.