Friday, 5 February 2016

Who Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mr Hitler?

The film is out today. It wasn't filmed in the forests round Thetford, and apart from Ian Lavender [the stupid boy is now playing an elderly officer], I don't think there are any 'originals' left. I will reserve judgement until I have seen it. But the trailer is fun...

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Try These For Thighs!

As promised, a review of Hugh F-W's Chicken with Lentils and Rosemary. Liz made this for me two weeks ago, and I picked up my own copy of the Waitrose magazine and made some for Bob and myself. We did not eat the whole thing, but portioned some up for the freezer. It was very easy to put together, I had all the ingredients to hand apart from the chicken thighs. I found one thigh was an adequate portion for me [Bob had two] and we had savoy cabbage alongside. I made one evening meal, and put the rest in the freezer [that was 5 portions] for about £3.00. 

The picture top right is Hugh's from the Waitrose magazine - and the one bottom left is mine. [You can also find the recipe here] Lovely warm, filling food for a cold winter's evening - and another meal for the Year of the Pulses!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

One Year On!

This time last year, we had a light dusting of snow. I posted about the crocuses in the garden, and the joys of having an open fire [here] and said I am excited about having a real hearth in the lounge. We’ve been given some firewood, and it was fantastic to sit watching the flames the other evening. I am excited about the prospect of a toasting fork and crumpets! Childhood memories of winter evenings…
Well it has taken us a whole year to get round to it! At the weekend I found some reduced crumpets [only 18p for 6] and so Bob improvised with my long handled carving fork and we slathered the crumpets with butter and honey. They were gorgeous. But my friend C saw the picture on fb and said she thought they looked like pikelets.

Once at Uni, my landlady offered me pikelets for tea, and I thought they were small fish. I was even more confused when she said there was jam or golden syrup to spread on them! Once we had sorted out that we were discussing what I called crumpets, she said 'pikelets' was a Midlands term, and the Civil War soldiers used to stick the yeasty discs on their pikes, to toast them round the campfire.

However, recent research has led me to this explanation of the difference
Crumpets were originally hard, it was not until the Victorian era that they became soft and spongy as we know them today. The characteristic holes are developed by adding extra baking powder to the yeast dough and fermentation can improve the flavour.The pikelet is believed to be of Welsh origin where it was known as ‘bara piglydd’ which means ‘pitchy bread’, later anglicised as pikelet. It is often called the ‘poor man’s crumpet’ as it was made by those who could not afford rings to make crumpets and so would drop the batter freely into the pan. Both are generally round and with small pockets in them, but as crumpets are made in rings, they can be made into any shape by simply changing the shape of the ring, such as squares, hearts, animal shapes etc. With a pikelet this is not possible as there is no ring.

I am not clear what 'pitchy bread' means. Is it 'pitched' [ie thrown] into the pan, or is it black and sticky underneath?  Whatever you call them, I greatly enjoyed this treat - and at 3p a time, they were hardly an extravagance. But I really must find a proper toasting fork with a longer handle!
What do you call these? 
How do you toast yours? 
and what do you spread on them?

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Box Tutorial [Sadly Without Pictures]

I have been wrestling with trying to publish this for ages- and I am sure I am missing something obvious [Bob will tell me the instant he comes home!] but I cannot get the pictures on my instruction sheet to reproduce here. Try it with a square of scrap paper, and if it still makes no sense, please email me and I will send a copy of the sheet

Cut the largest square you can from the front of the card. Cut another from the back—but make the sides 6mm shorter. This makes the bottom of the box smaller so the lid will fit over. Work with wrong side up throughout
Draw diagonals on the wrong side of both squares with pencil and ruler to cross at the centre.
Fold the corners to the centre and crease very firmly.  Use the cross as a guide
Open up [creases marked with dotted line.]  Now fold each corner in turn to the opposite crease point [ The first creases should line up with centre pencil line. Open up.]
Repeat on all four sides
Now fold the corners in to the nearest crease.
Cut out the eight little triangles – two on the middle of each side. Make four more little cuts- all running diagonally bottom left to top right so that the little centre squares in between those triangles you just removed can fold up as flaps.
The shaded centre square is the base.
Fold back the four little corner triangles, crease firmly.
Now fold up the sides in this order.
Top left, and bottom right—fold over so the corner triangle comes to the centre point
There will be flaps sticking out at right angles!
Now fold over top right and bottom left, to enclose those flaps. Again the corners will touch the centre cross. Push down firmly and your box should stay in shape, You can always put a dab of adhesive on the centre cross to hold these points

Now repeat with other part of the box!

Cut, Roll, Fold, Recycle...

Our Coffee and Craft session yesterday ended with two ideas for recycling. Turning old Christmas Cards into little boxes, and using old magazines to make pots.
Alison demonstrated the latter- putting rolls of paper round a peanut butter jar to make an attractive pencil pot/plant holder/ whatever. You simply use Pritt to stick down the paper as you roll it firmly round a pencil - then cut and attach to the jar. Really attractive - especially when cut at interesting angles 

My craft involved making gift boxes from old cards - you use the front for the lid, the back for the base. Cut the largest square you can from the front, and one with slightly shorter sides [reduce by 6mm] from the base. It needs to be smaller so the lid will fit over. Here are some pictures of the ladies making their boxes. They are an ideal size for small gifts - like jewellery - or for table favours, you could pop a chocolate coin or two inside - or you could fold up a banknote or two!

Do email me if you would like the instruction sheet for the boxes

Monday, 1 February 2016

Say Cheese!

I completely forgot I had't posted about this one! I don't really eat cheese, but we often serve a cheeseboard when we have guests

very curvacious!

Bob had brought a lovely piece of wood with him when we moved last year - I can't quite remember its origins. Anyway, he cut and shaped some cheeseboards with his router. It is hard to photograph, but the edges were beautifully rounded. 
He cut a shallow recess to hold the cheese knife, then fixed a super-magnet above it. The whole board was rubbed with food safe oil to preserve its surface.We found some lovely knives in a kitchen shop in Norfolk - and he ended up making five of these as Christmas presents. As you can guess, they were well received!

And I made some chutney to go with them

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Hot Story, Cool Music!

We are going through the book of Daniel on Sunday mornings at church. Last week we watched this video [Bob had to edit it, to make it shorter - this is the full version] Hope you enjoy it as much as our congregation did!
A bit of 'barbershop' singing certainly livens up the service

Saturday, 30 January 2016

If At First You Don't Succeed...

So, two years ago, I took on the 52 Projects Challenge
The idea came from a couple of blogs I was following at the time - one now defunct, the other still going
The idea was that you made a list of 52 projects you hoped to complete during 2014 - then did them!

If you click on the categories list on my sidebar you will see my attempts. The problem was that other things seemed to get in the way, and somewhere in the autumn, I lost the list! I did not manage the things - but I did get other things done. 
I have decided the approach was wrong - instead of berating myself for what I did not achieve, it would be better to stop at the end of each month and make a collage of stuff I had produced, and was pleased with.  And I would not make the list in advance, that way I would be doomed to fail. So here is January's picture 

  1. my latest dress from the 'Market' Pattern
  2. my recovered ottoman
  3. the baby hat and bootees made for a friend's newborn
  4. a striped baby cardigan

The cardi is using up some wool Liz bought and didn't get on with. I added a third colour and used that Sirdar book again to knit this one. It is in a larger size - knitting the newborn sizes may be quicker, but babies do grow so fast it is more sense to do bigger stuff.