Friday, 31 March 2023

Treacle (aka golden syrup) sponge pudding

Using the weight of one egg for all the Victoria sponge ingredients, halving the sugar as usual, it made enough for two ramekin sized puddings:

The golden syrup was way out of date but tasted fine (checked before using). We cooked them in the microwave on 3/4 power for just 2 1/2 minutes and served it with custard:
Haven't had treacle pudding since school and it was delicious.

Thursday, 30 March 2023

Air fryer lunch

Onions were sliced and gently cooked in one fryer drawer whilst chips were started in the other. 

Once the onions were softened, sliced liver was added along with a few diced fresh tomatoes. As that was cooking, I made some gravy and added it to the liver once it was cooked, along with a tin of carrots and peas. It continued to cook on low whilst the chips finished:

It wasn’t as dark as the picture and was very yummy. It took just 18 minutes from start to finish. Unfortunately, I had to kill a duck to make the chips - ha:


Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Greenhouse up!

We began at 08:30 and finished at 16:30, taking a short lunch and two tea breaks. The temperature when we started was barely 1C. Our hands got cold very quickly making the task harder. At one stage, my feet were so painful with the cold, I had to go inside and put on thicker socks and shoes!

Whilst the instructions were good there were a few decisions we could have done with their help, such as whether to centre things or put to one side. We centred them and at the end, realised we should have had them to the sides to get the downpipes and decorative fixings on. Too late by then so there are a few mini air gaps that will need sealant to stop wind forcing its way inside. Other than that, it went okay. 

Herewith the erected greenhouse. We still have downpipes to buy and add and whatever we want the water to go into. We need to put a few extra bolts on the window pane just to be safe and help keep down any rattling. Inside needs digging over at the sides and a path down the middle laying and the roof window will need an extra locks to stop it being ripped open in gales:

I am very happy with it (providing it doesn't keep me awake at night) and looking forward to growing things in it.

Sunday, 26 March 2023

Vegetable sowing lift off!

Vegetables that needed a heated base were sown on Tuesday and started to pop through on Friday:

These are a few of the 9 varieties of tomatoes! More are coming through now as well as peppers. Those sown in a tray are showing no signs of life yet but I am sure will pop through maybe next week.

The metal base of the greenhouse is now down, and weather permitting (a gentle breeze forecast), we hope to erect it tomorrow. It needs a still day and we think will take us quite a few hours to do so:

It is small at 6' x 4' deep but will give me 5 times more space than I had before and that will enable me to grow peppers, chillies and other items that previously needed a summer like last year to get good crops. 

We have adapted an old piece of greenhouse staging we had in the garden to give me both soil and a pot area to grow in one half. A few tomatoes especially beefsteak, in soil in the other half. The following year, the staging will move to the other side to rotate crops in the soil. I also hope to be able to sow winter salads etc.

Once the greenhouse is up, we shall remove any rubbish from the soil, add leaf mould and compost and give it a good dig (except for the mini path which is yet to go in).

The way food prices and the world is going at the moment, I think it very important to be growing as much as possible. Hence two extra raised beds put in last year and the extension of our rainwater collection system.

Watch this space!

Thursday, 23 March 2023

A thoughtful Mother's Day gift

 I never have any idea what I will receive for this special day, but it couldn't have been a better gift:

Loads of seeds. Tomatoes, peppers, chillies, greens, salad items, aubergine, carrots, beetroot, herbs etc. One hessian bag plus a sachet of similar items. Perfect. Some of them are new varieties to me. The greens will all be used as micro seedlings as we don't have room for them. They won't be wasted!

Quite a lot have been sown in micro pots and are in my heated propagator. Most of the rest will be sown into small pots to get them started, others direct sown when the soil temperature is right.

My potatoes are also growing firm green sprout leaves so all is well there. Hopefully, if the weather plays ball, (frosts forecast Sunday and Monday), and we can get the greenhouse erected, the tender plants will transfer out into it eventually.

We have also bought 2 more black dustbins to extend our rainwater butt system, giving us a total of 1500 litres of storage. It won't be enough if we have another hot summer but will help.

Monday, 20 March 2023

Yorkshire Puddings in the air fryer

I made my mixture using my new method discovered on Butlers Empire YouTube. 

Select two identical glasses, the right size to take the amount of eggs you wish to use, I used just one egg. 

Crack the egg/eggs into one. Measure plain flour to the same level in the other glass and tip it into a bowl/jug. Measure milk in the flour glass to the same level as the egg/eggs and tip into the flour. Finally add the eggs into the flour/milk mixture, plus a pinch of salt and beat together.

Leave to thicken and come up to room temperature.

I used 2 x 6" sandwich cake tins and added a dessertspoon of oil to each. These were placed into each drawer of the air fryer. Set to air fry for 25 minutes at 200C and heat the pans for 4 - 5 minutes. 

Carefully open the drawers and pour/divide mixture into both. Close drawers and air fry for another 15 minutes when mine were done. Next time I will set the temperature to 190C to see how that goes and maybe I will get the full 20 minutes on that occasion:

They were a smidge too brown on the top hence reducing the temperature to 190C next time. The outsides were crispy and the middle slightly soft, just how we like them. We had ours as a pudding with maple syrup. Delicious!

Sunday, 19 March 2023

Finally, the greenhouse wooden base is laid!

 It has only taken 2 weeks for the weather to play ball and be dry enough for us to lay down the sleepers that the greenhouse base will sit on:

This is almost the lowest point in our garden. As such, it gets a bit wet and DB just couldn't get the soil remotely level due to excess rain. Eventually, we decided to mark the area that needed firming and tamped in no end of gravel. That seemed to work (we had two weeks to stare at it and check).

Once the wood had been painted (twice by me), he used a giant set square thing to get 90 degree angles, before screwing brackets into each corner. This giant frame was then lifted up and dry post mortar was laid, gently watered and the frame replaced on top of it.

We sat the already assembled greenhouse metal base on top to check everything before it was put once more into the back bedroom. Weather forecast seems to show at least another week will pass before it is dry enough, and far less windy, for us to attempt to construct the greenhouse.

Wish us luck!

Monday, 13 March 2023

No longer willing to shop at Tesco

Sometimes we have to vote with our feet. 

As if they aren’t raking in enough profit, now they plan on penalising farmers and suppliers further by introducing a 'fulfilment fee' for online shopping and Booker wholesale. See this article here.

Needless to say, despite only shopping there occasionally, I won't be shopping with them anymore! 

Hopefully, other supermarkets won't try the same thing.

Sunday, 12 March 2023

This weather

 Is not conducive to planning and erecting our greenhouse! The wooden beams for the base were delivered in heavy rain but being ‘pressure treated’, the surface was dry for its first coat of black paint today. DB cut them to size yesterday.

They will need two coats each side and ends, and a third coat on each base just to be sure as they will be sitting directly on the ground. Once squared up, the base of the greenhouse will need building and fixing into place with bolts. After that who knows. This wet and windy weather seems to be around for the next two weeks and we need a still day to erect it.

We decided to use black wood for the base to fit in with the rest of the garden. Also, it is 8” high, the base itself is another 2”, both of which give me extra head room as the door is only 5’ tall. I decided it would to safer to step into the greenhouse rather than keep bowing and risking hitting my head!

Thursday, 9 March 2023


 I am trying to find an alternative tea to my usual black. One that doesn’t use milk, sugar or sweetener’s. I have just made some green tea, astringent gnats pee springs to mind. Added 1/2 a slice of lemon, astringent lemon gnats pee. Dipped half a teaspoon in honey to barely coat it and stirred it in. Still as bad but slightly sweetener:(

I am not a fan of fruit or herbal teas so was not expecting much. I shall buy some root ginger and try lemon and ginger with a smidge of honey, see how that goes.

Sunday, 5 March 2023

New gardeners

If the news is anything to go by (plus bloggers etc), many new people are going to start gardening this year. I wish them well but they need to realise it isn't as simple as sowing things and hey presto, great vegetables and fruit grow. They need food and water, possibly staking etc. 

It is always best to only grow what you will eat. Start with a few simple things and see how you go. There is tons of help, especially on You Tube, as well as books, tv, friends etc.

Many will unfortunately sow too early, not realising about frost (or plants getting too tall and spindly indoors because they need to go out but can't). They may have a bit more knowledge and sow later but haven't got around to frost protection such as simple greenhouses/fleece. Tender plants, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and certain other vegetables, fruit and flowers, need protection until the last frost dates for their own area. The weather has changed so much in recent decades, that sow by dates, dates of last frosts may well have shifted backwards.

Bugs will have a feast, animals will dig up, pee or poo over them, that's if they don't eat them down to the ground. Only perfect items are usually available in the supermarkets and home grown are all shapes and sizes with various problems. Things take a long time to grow and I feel many will just give up. Please don't!

I have been gardening close on 45 years and still have failures due to pests or adverse weather conditions. The heat wave last year was such an example and if it happens again, I will need to shade my raised beds.

I once made the mistake of saving seeds from supermarket tomatoes not realising they were F1 hybrids and often don't come true from their seeds. They were fine to eat just not the good flavour of the original. Also they were grown in greenhouses and I didn't have one. I used to sow tomatoes in February, now I don't start until the end of March. Our last frost dates have shifted backwards over the years we have been here. I used to be able to put the resulting plants out beginning of May, last year it was the beginning of June!

If you want to seed save, look for non F1 hybrid seeds, or heritage seeds, they usually come true from saved seeds and saving your seeds, where possible, will save money the following year.

Know your garden, where does the sun rise/set. Where does the shade move to and from. How will you water it, can you set up water butts/old dustbins or other large containers to collect rainwater, to save using the hose pipe. We currently have 5 large water butts and one old black dustbin. We ran out of water last year so are adding two more black bins to our water saving area.

Soft fruit is a particularly difficult thing to grow here. They always do well for a couple of years then start to die, despite testing the soil and adjusting the nutrients where possible. The exception is the blackberry, a real trouper!

Read, watch and listen, then read and watch some more. Weed, feed and water. The first year may not save you much money but if you have success, it will taste so good you will realise what you have been missing. After the first year, adjust your mistakes, feed the soil, keep going and you will enjoy the harvest and it will get cheaper.

Be brave, get going but don't give up at the first hurdle. Babies take an age to turn into adults, vegetables and fruit are the same but on a shorter time scale.

Friday, 3 March 2023

Composting directly into the garden

The design of our back garden has changed as we have aged, and no longer allows room for compost bins. We used to have them but as we got older, found them more and more difficult to turn the contents from one into the other, or empty them and distribute the compost.

After trialling large containers inside the raised beds to compost in, these too were dispatched to the great compost bin in the sky. As they sat in the middle of each bed, they were quite a stretch to get to and we would often tweak our backs doing so:(

Two years ago, we began trialling trench composting directly inside the beds. Other than a few volunteers that grew from parsnip and carrot tops and potato peelings, it was successful.

A deep trench (the full depth of a spade) so about 8", is dug and semi composted leaves added to the bottom in a layer about 1" deep:

Our kitchen composting bin is emptied on top of these, to a depth of about 3" or so:

Then the trench is covered over with soil from the next trench and onward it goes. We normally begin this as soon as each bed becomes empty so by the end of March, all raised beds have been done.

Once every few years, we may add bought in farmyard manure to give the soil an extra boost. This new system worked very well last year and our worm population has increased. 

The two new raised beds didn't have time to have it done and the difference was huge. They both struggled to feed the plants in them despite the addition of blood, fish and bonemeal and liquid feeds.

The rest of the garden tends to have bought in compost/blood, fish and bonemeal, sprinkled on the top each year or when needed.

Thursday, 2 March 2023

Expanding our growing area

Our back garden needs to be useful and as pretty as possible. Whilst we don't sit out there all the time in the summer months, we do have meals/snacks and tea/coffee out there.

Something I have always wanted and actually needed, is a greenhouse. Again, it has taken an age to find one we can afford, practical but not so large as to overwhelm the garden.

After saving up, I have chosen it and put the order in. I mistakenly ordered green without thinking, but we got in touch with the company within the hour and explained we actually wanted a grey one - doh!

Seeds are usually started off indoors, often in the small conservatory. However, once the weather starts warming up, it gets way too hot in there. So begins the daily back and forth with seed trays, out, in, out and in again etc.

Where we live, I don't start sowing until towards the end of March otherwise they get too leggy before the weather outside is suitable. Hopefully, the green house (which has a roof vent), will help. 

It comes with a base but we plan to put its base on another heavier one to help prevent it getting blown over. It’s not got glass panels, too expensive, this makes it a bit light. Time will tell.

I'll show it when we get it and its up:) I hope it will be finished for the end of March.

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

A quick 500 piece jigsaw this time

This took us two days:

Now we have temporarily moved the dining table into the back room, we have natural daylight to work with, so much better than an overhead light blinding us!

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

Lentil and chickpea curry

 Scottish Urban Prepper on YouTube posted this the other day and we thought we'd have a go.

1 teaspoon root ginger peeled and grated (or ready made in a tube) I used 1/2 tsp dried.
150g split red lentils.
250 ml stock of your choosing. (We made 375 ml as I was using less coconut milk).
1 teaspoon ground turmeric.
1 tablespoon curry powder or paste (mild or hot) I used 1 teaspoon but it needed more.
1 can drained chickpeas.
1 can diced tomatoes.
1 can coconut milk (we used 1/6th as I am watching my fats).

Put everything into a pressure cooker or instant pot. Stir together. Bring up to pressure and cook for 8 minutes. Leave to naturally release its pressure.

Ours was a bit thick so we added a bit more liquid plus a tablespoon tomato puree. 

Served on a bed of rice for our main meal. I also made some tomato and cucumber to top it, steeped in lemon juice and a little sugar. Once topped, we pour the remaining juice over the top. We both enjoyed it and shall try it again, using what he did but still with less coconut milk.

It does indeed make enough for 4 people and the rest of it plus rice has gone into the freezer.

Sunday, 26 February 2023

What a difference a day makes!

 Yesterday, we had brisk cold winds, sleet, rain and hail. Today, although only going to be 7C, the sun is out and warming us nicely. We will have tea on the patio!

We have walked Ruby, gathered more leaves for my raised beds and dug up two small rows of  carrots killed by the frosts. All before 9am.

Bed 3 is almost complete with trenches of leaf mould and kitchen compost. Just bed 2 then all 5 have been done. It does seem to be making a difference, more worms are in there.

I was asked for my recipe by Kathy, for the loaf cake yesterday. Nothing special. Just weigh 1, 2 or 3 eggs and use their weight to measure your fats, S. R. Flour and sugar (although we only use 1/3rd the weight of sugar as we don't like our cakes too sweet. You can add any flavouring you like, such as coffee or cocoa, 1/2 - 1 whole lemon or orange zest etc.

2 eggs works best in a 1lb loaf tin, lined with greaseproof paper. Bake in an oven about 30 - 40 minutes at 160C or so, until cooked in the middle. My air fryer has cooked them at either 30 minutes at 160C or 22 - 25 minutes at 190C, covered for at least half the cooking time. You don't need to cover in an oven. Hope that helps.

Saturday, 25 February 2023

Smallest loaf cake ever?

Deciding to make a lemon sponge cake, I had a mental block. I should have used 2 eggs and that weight for everything else, except sugar. Nope!

I used 1 egg and the result is a lovely lemon sponge, but tiny:

We cut it into 6 slices and shall eat one slice each over the next 3 days. It is still nice despite being only 1" tall at both ends!

As I am still trying my low fat diet to slightly reduce cholesterol, that will be it for another couple of weeks. I also didn't top it with lemon and sugar to reduce calories.

Friday, 24 February 2023

Car service, MOT, a mini shop etc

Car was in for its service yesterday, free thank goodness, although this is its last year under warranty. MOT all well although we will need to change both front tyres in the next few months. Not so much a lack of tread but both inside tyres have a lot of wear. Once changed, we shall make sure they blaance the wheels.

Once we had a courtesy car, we went to the shops to check out the old tomato situation at Sainsburys. All was fine there and the cashier stated that at the moment, they were not restricting what you could buy. Methinks that will change soon. They had everything but peppers.

Bought a few needed things and came home. We both felt like a protein based meal so I hard boiled some eggs and was surprised to find they were all double yoked!

I air fried some chicken drumsticks and thighs. Some flour, celery salt, pepper and paprika went into a bag and the meat tossed in it. A light brush of oil on the browning plate and in they went. 190C for 22 minutes, turned after 15 minutes. Didn't need any longer as their internal temperature was in the high 80'sF (need to be over 75 for safety):

Crispy on the outside, moist inside, lovely. Doesn't look much but we were both full.

Tuesday, 21 February 2023

Sunset and pantry corned beef hash

Captured this lovely sunset the other night:

Looks like a painting doesn't it?

I used up the last of the corned beef - cubed, plus a can of new potatoes - smashed, a can of beans, and a small diced onion, to make corned beef hash in the air fryer:

 It took 12 minutes from start to finish. Would have been even better with some diced tomatoes but there wasn't any, hey ho!


Monday, 20 February 2023

Quick sunday lunch

Bought puff pastry, divided into 4 pieces. 4 tablespoons of leftover mashed potato, mashed into just under 1/2 tin corned beef (smaller end), pinch black pepper and 2 good teaspoons brown sauce. It made 4 pasties, 2 for yesterday, 2 for today:

Pasties cooked in the air fryer for 10 minutes on air fry, flipped carefully, 2 more minutes to cook the base, done. A big saving on using the oven. Again, the vegetables on the stove top, took longer to cook.

Leftover corned beef will be turned into hash for tea tonight. Cooked cubed potatoes, cubed beef, cooked together then a can of beans thrown in. Yum!

Thursday, 16 February 2023

Another Wasgij puzzle this time a mystery version

 Mystery versions are 'what happens next' puzzles. Herewith the picture on the box:


The boy in the middle bounces a super bounce ball and chaos ensues:

We dropped off some jigsaw puzzles at the charity shop today then picked up two more!

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

Pizza using ready made pizza dough

 I would normally make my own dough but wanted to try the ready made Pizza Express one. It was okay but I could have made it cheaper and probably with more taste. It was cooked in my air fryer and that was fine except for some juice that ran out from the cheese:

We had mushrooms on toast the other day, just 6 minutes in the air fryer:

Later that night for tea, I cooked strips of liver, onions and baby tomatoes in the air fryer, followed by gravy to warm through, it was lovely, just 10 minutes all in. Unfortunately, cooking the potatoes on the stove top took 35 minutes:( Could have done chips or roasties in less time in the fryer. Forgot to take a picture.

Finally, lunch yesterday was pizza bagels - yummy:

Just 5 minutes although the salami did blow around as there were 2 slices per half bagel!

Tuesday, 14 February 2023

An annoying crochet mistake

It was three rows in around the edge of the blanket before I realised my mistake. At the corners I had been doing 1 treble 2 chains 1 treble stitch to turn the corner:

I should have been doing 2 treble 2 (or even 3 but am sticking with 2) chain 2 treble stitches:

Better late than never!

Saturday, 11 February 2023

Busy doing nothing

 Crocheting the outer edge of my blanket is taking an age. I reckon it will take at least 2 weeks. I just keep getting cramp in my hand after about 3' of work so have to stop.

Herewith my progress, 2 rows of cream and just starting 2 rows of purple:

Once they are done, I am hoping there is enough of the peach to do at least one row, then I will repeat both the cream and purple. Mind you, I think I will only have enough cream for 1 more row.

We are busy doing another Wasgij puzzle!

Monday, 6 February 2023

Back to cold nights then...

 Almost 10 days of cold nights to come. Sunny days but chilly nonetheless. 

Sunny or windy days means drying washing on the line, a bonus. Not much else to do outside though, just so uninviting.

A pot of carrot, lentil and tomato soup is on the go for lunch. I made our first cake in the air fryer on Friday, turned out lovely but definitely need to keep it covered for longer to stop it getting too brown. Going to try quiche tonight. Bought two 6” sandwich cake tins so shall try it in those.

After quite a few years break, I have decided to start again with crochet. I can only do basic stuff and have decided to add several rows onto my home made lap blanket. It isn’t quite large enough and my legs are chilly in the evenings.

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Little changes .....

We are beginning to notice snowdrops popping up on our weekly walks. Catkins had emerged earlier but are now starting to grow in length and will shortly release their pollen. This morning at just after 7am, I heard the birds singing so that too is happening.

Winter has clearly not finished with us yet. Lots of cold and probably frosty days to come. Might still get some snow. Hail will wait until flowers are blooming before it decides to shatter them:(

We have decided now to switch our cooker off at the wall. It was mainly being used for its clock but we have bought a cheap replacement. It will only be switched on when we need to use the hob top. The air fryer, microwave, slow/pressure cooker have replaced it for the most part. The microwave is departing slowly, it will be replaced by an inverter microwave. The main difference being how it delivers power. 

A standard one, with a turntable usually, set at 70% will deliver full power for 70% of the time. This usually creates hot and cold areas to your food requiring you to stir it. An inverter (usually without a turntable) delivers a consistent 70% of power for the full cooking time, warming all the food at the same time.

When our washing machine gives up the ghost, we will get one with a bigger drum, that allows for a cold or very cool wash, also a short cycle. My machine will wash at 30C but its idea of an express wash is still 1 hour, way too long.

Little changes...

Monday, 30 January 2023

Frying and baking

Firstly fish fingers and chips. At 20 minutes for the chips and 14 minutes for the fingers, it proved two minutes too long on each so the timings have been adapted. They were very good nonetheless:

Next, chicken and ham mini pies (4" across):
Air fried for 10 minutes at 190C, turned out and over, put back in for another 5 minutes, lovely and crispy. The parsnips were roasted on air fry for 15 minutes:
Finally, browning meat for a stew, just 10 minutes air fried, stirring after 5 minutes:
I normally have a hard time getting meat to brown in a frying pan, so was mightily impressed with this.

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Another M & S price increase:(

We buy their tins of stewing steak and chicken. At the start of last year, they were £2.75 a can, then just before Christmas, they rose to £4 after several small increments throughout the year.

This week, the steak had risen to £4.50, no doubt, the chicken will follow. My question to myself is how much will be too much before I consider whether to carry on buying them.

I cannot state enough just how lovely and tender the meat is and the flavour excellent. At the moment, they are on a par with buying fresh meat but without the faff or expense of cooking it.

The cost of manufacturing the cans is obviously at play here but even if that eventually came down, I doubt they would do the same.

It is such a shame as canned goods (and packets) are what most of us put in the food pantry containers in the shops. Let's hope it doesn't get to the point where it just gets too expensive, who will help feed the people then? Certainly not any governments. They have made it clear we are on our own.

Friday, 27 January 2023

Second lot of air fryer cooking...

The next two things were fruit crumble and roast potatoes. 

I used a tin of gooseberries mixed with a thinly sliced pear. The crumble was added and the container covered in foil. After 15 minutes baking at 190C, the foil was removed and it was cooked for a further 10 minutes:

We had it with custard. It was lovely. Next roast potatoes!

The potatoes were par boiled for 8 minutes, drained and tossed gently in 1 tablespoon oil. They were tipped into the fryer draw and air fried for 10 minutes, turned and air fried for another 10. Final stir and another 5 minutes. They were very crispy and extremely hot. We had them with a lovely tin of M & S steak and kidney and marrowfat peas:

A few too many but we managed!

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Frozen ground

 The two spells of freezing weather have frozen my raised beds! That’s a first. I went to fill a trench with veg peelings, easy enough. Trying to cover them with soil was extremely difficult. Just about managed but digging a new trench proved impossible. I shall try again in a few days.

Stocking up a few extra tins for the pantry this week, I noticed tinned potatoes had risen from 36p a few months ago, to 69p, ouch. Apparently this is going to be happening for most of this year. Is it always necessary or are the supermarkets making even more profit? I bet the farmers and producers are seeing very little extra cash from them.

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Bought me an air fryer - I will try and not bore you too much!

Only -6.8 C Sunday night, just -0.7 last night, hoorah!

I have never been one to jump on the latest band wagon for anything. However, after months of watching people use them, I got really interested. We ordered a Ninja Dual Air Fryer on Tuesday and picked it up on Thursday. During the week, we used it to cook a previously prepared pasta dish:

First lesson to learn, cover the top with foil for the first half of cooking to prevent it slightly drying out and browning too quickly.

Second lesson, don't put the cheese on top for the first part of cooking. Add it once the foil is removed.

It took 20 minutes with no warming up of an oven. Nuff said!

The next meal was cooked from scratch in it. Onion browned, followed by browning the pork mince (something we have never been able to achieve in a frying pan), 15 minutes in total with no warming up of the pan! It was nice to see the crispy brown bits (drawer contents not covered for this part) and the semi roasted tomatoes:

Gravy was made from the strained juice and some added to the meat before being topped with potato. Foil covered and cooked at 200C for 10 minutes (needed 15 mins). Uncovered for another 10 mins or until its internal temp was 75C.

It was delicious but I forgot to do a final picture - doh!

It will take a bit of time to get used to, especially what to select to cook it on and what temperature and for how long etc.  


Monday, 23 January 2023

Another Wasgij puzzle finished

 Coldest night so far -7.7C.

This is the picture on the box:

and herewith the completed puzzle:

You have to imagine the view the tourists have looking towards the castle - this one was quite tricky!

Sunday, 22 January 2023

Frosty snail trails

Opened the lounge curtains to this:

 Foggy and -6.8C, pretty darn chilly!

Monday, 16 January 2023

At long last!

 I had a 3 day ECG early November. Although no results received, finally I have an appointment in 2 weeks time, for a repeat scan, on a Sunday!

Watch this space.

Thursday, 12 January 2023

Raised bed protection

This is the second year of doing my autumn/winter composting directly into the soil. Last year, other than a few carrots and parsnips trying to regrow, plus many potatoes, it composted very well.

Both new beds created last year, have had deep trenches dug into them. A two inch layer of leaves deposited in the bottom, before being topped with kitchen waste about three inches deep. It was then covered over with soil.

Once the final trench was filled in, it was raked and covered with bubble wrap, a new thing for me as I usually just use weed membrane fabric. This will be lifted and the soil inspected for any problems before being lifted off early spring. A tarp or some such cover would work well on larger areas. Seeds are then sown directly into the top layer of soil and if there are any compost remains, their roots will find and feed off them.

I don't have many earth worms in my two new beds but they will come as the base of each, is sitting on earth.

Once I need to sow seeds, the soil should be a bit warmer under it. Once the seedlings emerge, the top nets will go on and the bubble wrap laid on top of that to give them room to grow plus extra warmth.

Wednesday, 11 January 2023

Thought I had a bread fail!

 Even though instant dried yeast is supposed to be fine to freeze, thaw, then use; obviously it isn't necessarily so!

The last few batches of bread have been behaving erractically, this one more so:

No dome but once sliced open it was fine:

Crispy outside, soft inside and very nice - how weird!

Monday, 9 January 2023

Testing testing!

 I had read on the internet somewhere ages ago, about saving your toilet and kitchen roll inner tubes for making mini fire 'logs'.

Each tube is thickly packed with shredded paper until no more can fit into it, then used as mini logs on the fire:

They burned fine. Not as long as a small log but longer than kindling. Not all councils allow shredded paper in the bins so if you are in one of those areas, and have a fire, give it a try.

Saturday, 7 January 2023

Walking with the little one!

 We spent the New Year long weekend up with DS and family. It was quite wet to say the least, but we did all get out for at least one good walk:

We had a lovely if tiring time. She is a lively and very bright lady and in the few days we were there, celebrated New Years Eve, New Years Day (our Christmas with them) and her 3rd birthday, all of which involved presents! 

DDiL cooked some lovely meals (one of the recipes we pinched off her), despite feeling very under the weather still. Poor lass, she has been off her feet for weeks and just can't get to see her doctor, absolutely shameful.

Once back home all the washing was done as quickly as possible and dried indoors (not using the dryer). Our radiators generally get quite warm in the 1 1/2 hours they are on in the early hours, so any moisture from the washing on them, evaporates quickly. For the most part, we are still managing to keep warm with them on for that time, plus three or four 10 minute firings during the day. This relatively mild weather is helping.

We also managed to finish our Christmas jigsaw started mid December. It was quite tricky for a 'normal' one:

We each got a 1000 jigsaw for Christmas plus we still have two more Wasjig ones from DS and family - should keep us going!

Monday, 2 January 2023

Happy New Year

 Hope you all got some sleep and not too many loud bangs from fireworks disturbed you. We had some idiot letting off one rocket every 30 seconds until 12:30 when finally, they let everything off and we could all relax.

Didn’t hear Ruby so think she was ok with it all.

We shall take stock of what needs doing this month, write yet another list and make a start in a few days. Decorations were taken down before New Year as I don’t tend to keep them going unless we have visitors.