Monday 31 January 2022

Just A Soupçon...

I love the French word soupçon meaning "a touch, a drop, a suspicion of something" [some dictionaries use inkling in their definition- another lovely word] I misunderstood this word the first time I heard someone say it - I thought she said "There's a soupspoon of mustard in this recipe" There's a deal of difference between soupçon and soupspoon, especially when cooking.

January has been National Soup Month. I only found this out recently - apparently it is held in January every year since Campbells started it in 1986. It is probably the most appropriate month to choose when you think about it. It's often very cold, and soup can be a warming, healthy comfort food - easy and nutritious, after the excesses of the Christmas Feasting.

We've had a fair number of soups recently - I am too cold to want salad every lunchtime, as we did previously when dieting [and the raised bed is hibernating under its thick cardboard blanket, nothing to crop there right now] Soup made with left over roast veg, or freshly prepared ingredients, or even a can of Crosse & Blackwells. We have certainly done our bit to mark NSM [even before we realised it was happening]

About 30 years ago my good friend Beryl [also the thrifty wife of a retired Rev] told us that whenever they had leftover coleslaw at church events, she would take it home, rinse off the dressing and make cabbage and carrot soup. I have never, ever done that. But I did process some red and white cabbage, plus carrot, recently to make some coleslaw. I mixed half with mayo, to serve with our meal- and the rest went, undressed, into a lock'n'lock for the next day. Next day it was so cold I decided we needed soup. I sweated the grated veg briefly in a little oil, added stock, and half a can of chickpeas. I brought it to the boil, simmered for about 20 minutes then blitzed it with the stick blender, and seasoned to taste. Here is the resulting crimson creation

It was good and filling. I have yet to make rinsed coleslaw soup' but this version certainly worked well.

I am happy with the saucepan and stick blender -  and my Chef has a big liquidiser attachment. 

I have looked at soupmakers and concluded that I do not need one. This topic is a bit "Marmite". I have many friends who love the gadget, and seem to throw in the veg, go and have fun, then return to find beautiful soup waiting for them. And others who are less convinced "My son's soupmaker is refusing to co-operate, so we are about to revert to the old method using a saucepan"

  • What is your favourite soup flavour?
  • If you make "Fridge Scrape" leftovers soup, how do you liven it up? 
  • Do you add a soupçon of something?
  • Have you got a soupmaker, do you use it a lot?

Sunday 30 January 2022

Needing A Hug

Help! A day spent with Rosie, followed by a long-delayed-by-covid Sleepover With Grandma at Cornerstones, means I just never got my head in gear for a post. So I thought I'd look back and use something from another year. During the first January of this blog [2009] I included a YouTube clip sent to me by my great friend Rachel. 

Watching it again, I wonder how many Mrs Beamish types began by rejoicing that the social-distancing, avoidance of contact, and all the other covid restrictions were actually something they thought they wanted...and now many of them realise they are lonely and just longing for a Proper Hug?
A few days ago, I was saying goodbye to somebody I had only just met . We'd been on the bus together, and discovered we had many common interests. She'd been recently widowed and just moved into our village. So I invited her in for a cup of tea - only to discover it was actually her birthday that day. As she left, I went to the front door with her. She thanked me for the tea and biscuits, and the conversation. Then she suddenly hugged me. "I don't think we are supposed to do that yet" I muttered uncomfortably. "I don't care!" she retorted. After she had gone, I looked again at my response to her spontaneous embrace.

There are still restrictions in place, we must be sensible, we are not free of this yet. 

But let us be aware of those lonely people who need affection, and work out how we can show it to them. It is only doing what Jesus taught us, after all.

Saturday 29 January 2022

If You Go Down To The Woods Today...

In 1932,  Walt Disney decided to make a short children's animated cartoon. He called it 'Babes In The Woods' and introduced the dwarf characters who were precursors of the seven in Snow White. The Babes Story had gained popularity in the Victorian Era, as one of Randolph Caldecott's illustrated picture books. Disney decided to merge the traditional English 'Babes ' story [published 1595] with the German 'Hansel and Gretel' tale [collected by the brothers Grimm around 1809] 

That's right, Mr D added in H&G - because after all, don't all parents want their children to know about a cannibalistic witch, whose dwelling is liable to induce a diabetic coma, if hungry and lost children start eating it? Oh, its OK, these two German tots escape and rush home safely to mother, and never stray from their kindergarten again. Not so for the babes in Britain - they wander, lost and helpless, die of starvation, and the kindly robin redbreast covers their bodies with leaves. Maybe Disney wanted to sanitise the ending so his audience did not have nightmares. The original ballad said...
"No burial these prettye babes of any man receives, till Rpbyn Redbreast painfully did cover them with leaves"

But where did our Babes-in-the-Wood story come from? answer - Norfolk! In 1595, A guy called Thomas Millington published a ballad, telling the gruesome tale of how a wicked uncle hires two thugs to murder his orphaned niece and nephew, so he can inherit his brothers estate. But the men just leave them in the nearby wood - and they cannot find the way out, so they die. 

The estate in question was said to be Griston Hall - now a farmhouse just outside Watton, and the woods in question were the Wayland Woods close by, now under the management of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. We went for walk there one afternoon this week. "Feel the apricity!" I announced as the winter sun shone warm on my face. 

The woods are truly beautiful - they are well managed, and have been regularly coppiced for over a thousand years- records go back to the 10th century. Mainly oak, but also ash, hazel and hornbeam. 

Beautiful wide aisles to walk down, with plenty of benches if you needed to stop and sit. These have all been given in memory of others who loved the woods - and have appropriate plaques.

This should be read in the proper local accent! I was intrigued by the ladder, with the sign at the top "No Access"

As we did the circular walk, we saw a team of people sawing trees, and lots of tidy woodstacks. The moss growing on some of the felled wood was a vibrant lime green, stunning against the dry brown leaves, silvery bark, and vivid white lichens.

I remarked to Bob that nowadays the children would not have been lost- they could have followed the sounds of traffic and easily made their way to the busy A1065!

It was muddy in places, but not difficult walking and the circular route takes around 45 minutes. [no dogs allowed though] Afterwards we went into Watton and had a coffee at our favourite Portuguese Café 

The town sign in the High Street shows the babes lounging naked under an oak tree [we have no evidence that they died of hypothermia] Below them is a hare leaping over a barrel representing the towns name. Watt  is a local dialect word for hare, and of course tun is a barrel. 

Locals will tell you that many people call it Wailing Wood, because on dark night's you can hear the ghosts of the distressed children wailing. Historians on the other hand, say that the name comes from Waneland which is a Viking word for a place of worship.

I think I like that explanation - the wide green aisles, beneath the towering trunks reaching up to the heavens, a verdant green cathedral. For me it was a blessed spot, a place where praising God for the beauty of Creation seemed a right and appropriate response to my surroundings.

I will definitely visit again and re-do the circular walk - the wildflowers in the early spring are said to be lovely.

Friday 28 January 2022

And Sew To Bed

 After all our recent discussion of nightwear, I suddenly realised I had not blogged about all the amazing bedspreads and quilts I saw at Norwich Castle a couple of weeks ago. 

I'd been wanting to visit this for months, I finally got there just before it ends.

I was delighted to attend a superb informative webinar the night before, led by Ruth Battersby Tooke, the curator of costume and textiles for Norfolk Museums. It made my visit even better!

Here is a quilt made by an engaged couple in 1891 - under the watchful eye of a chaperone they sat and stitched together - Herbert did the appliqué and Charlotte did the embroidery

The items are the sort of things that mattered to them - domestic items [kettle, chair, mirror] local views- a wherry on the Broads - favourite phrases - and "in jokes". Herbert was butcher, and there is a beautiful little kidney stitched into the quilt beside a teacup. It was made over the Christmas period, so seasonal items- and the centre square looks bizarrely like a 1940s comic illustration

The next quilt was made 70 years later- by patients in a hospital in Shrewsbury, as a gift for their therapist Jenny, who was marrying and moving to Norfolk. Each patient embroidered a square- and many similar domestic items were included - cup, kettle, mirror, houseplants etc

This 1860 quilt was made by a soldier, from scraps of uniform fabric. It is displayed over a mirror, so the viewer can see that the underside is perfectly stitched. Did this piece work bring peace to his soul in battle, and his faith sustain him as he remembered his loved ones back at home?
David Shenton's 1984 piece "Duvet of Love" is made entirely of pin badges on a black cloth, in memory of friends who died of AIDS.

The Costume And Textiles Association launched the Coronaquilt Project in the first lockdown. I saw this on display in the Forum last year. This time, I actually met one of the women who worked on it!
There were loads of other items from the museum collections, I cannot show them all here - but I learned a lot about how and why people made these bedspreads, and how the changing world  them inspired their stitching.
During the pandemic, two friends in North Norfolk sent a printed cloth panel back and forth by post, each adding stitching. It was an apron, with ties and pocket - but their embroidery made it much more than that. "To stitch together" represents a visual conversation, the apron representing domesticity, it is a map, a textile landscape, a record of shared creative decisions 
Finally, an embroidered facemask. Round the edge, delicate representations of the coronavirus. In the centre three words "Dum Spiro Spero" - meaning "While I breathe, I hope"  A very positive attitude to the pandemic imho

All in all, a superb exhibition with much to see, many things to consider and think about. Afterwards I went off to the Forum Library to borrow some books on embroidery. I can feel an itch to stitch coming on...

Thursday 27 January 2022

Another Porridge Pattern


This time last year I knitted a jumper for Grandson George in Manchester. I called it his 'porridge jumper' as I'd used some oatmeal coloured wool from my stash, and also the texture had a sort of porridge-like appearance. In the summer I knitted a jacket for my great niece Polly, using wool and a pattern from SIL Denise. It was a challenging pattern to say the least.

At the same time, Denise kindly gave me some other wool - lilac Sirdar Snuggly. I used a Sirdar Snuggly Pattern [not sure if Denise gave me this, or if I had it already - I know I'd not knitted it before]

I  realised that the yoke involved the same 4-row 'porridge' pattern. 
  1. *K1, P1* repeat to end
  2. *P1, K1below* repeat to end
  3. K to end
  4. P to end
This knitted up quickly and easily - but I left one shoulder seam open and knitted a row of buttonholes. Fran [baby's Mum] says Polly likes jumpers that go easily over her head [don't we all?]

The pattern is Snuggly DK #1310, and this one really is an easy knit. It has an optional V-neck. Polly was 1 in November. I did the third size [1-2 years] which used 150g. I hope Polly is comfy and warm in it, and I know her Mum will find this yarn washes and wears well. 
Do you have a favourite "go-to" pattern or stitch ?

Wednesday 26 January 2022

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Brrr!  What words do you use to describe the wintry weather? There are some great words around the world ...

In Iceland, they talk about gluggaveður which literally means 'window weather' - weather that looks lovely through the window, but is really quite unpleasant once you get outside.

In Japan they refer to fuguyare - a combination of fugu [winter] with kareru [to wither] - this is that specific bleak bareness of the surroundings that comes with the winter season.

In Scotland, in 2015, linguists at the University of Glasgow logged 421 Scots words relating to snow - including unbrak meaning the beginning of a thaw. [tell that to Toni Braxton]

Maybe you are prone to feeling the cold- I know I am. My ears especially react to the icy weather. We bought hats in a CS in Salisbury one surprisingly cold September day, and I now call mine 'My Greta Thunberg Hat because its earflaps and pompoms are just like her Scandi Hat.' 

People who feel the cold in Italy are described as freddoloso, and in Spain they are friolero.  Perhaps they also suffer from brumation - a word coined by an American zoologist in 1965, to describe the sluggish behaviour of reptiles in cold weather.

And we do have a word in English to describe the warmth of sunlight on a winter's day. Now considered obsolete, the word is apricity [maybe people got confused, thinking it was about apricots or April]

However you describe it, just remember to wrap up well. There's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing' 

I tried to find the source for this quote - it is attributed to explorer Ranulph Fiennes, walker Alfred Wainwright, comedian Billy Connolly, and 'ancient Norwegian proverb'

Rosie quotes the Dutch cycling mantra to me if I complain about cold, damp weather “Jij bent niet van suiker gemaakt” - that is You are not made of sugar [and you won't melt in the rain]

Do you have 'family' words for cold, wet, or wintry, weather?

Tuesday 25 January 2022

The Rev Did Not Faint


Aubergines were cheap at CCWells last week, so I bought some for my first attempt at the Turkish dish, Imam Bayildi. Lots of recipes online - here is Yotam's.

I added a heaped tsp of pinenuts, and another of currants. It looks a bit messy on the plate, but tasted fabulous. Because we are still lo-carb/lo-sugar I didn't serve it with a bowl of soft warm pita bread. Which I will definitely do next time, as it would have made it easier to mop up every last unctuous smear of flavour.

The name Imam Bayildi means "the priest fainted". There are various tales surrounding the origin of such a title.

The main one is that the priest's wife served him such a delicious meal that he swooned from sheer pleasure. An alternative tale is that he fainted because she told him how much olive oil she had used in it.

The one that amused me most is that the Imam was newly wed, and his father in law was an olive oil merchant. So the bride came with a valuable dowry, a dozen bottles of the finest virgin oil. The first evening when the Imam came home, she served him this dish for dinner. He loved it. "I could eat this every night" he told her. So the next night she repeated this...and so on for twelve nights. But on the thirteenth night, his supper was something else [egg&chips? macaroni cheese? we do not know] When the priest questioned her about the change in menu, she explained that she had run out of oil - and the dowry had all been used up. The priest fainted in distress because of her profligacy with their resources.

I didn't use an excessive amount of oil - and Bob did not faint. But we really did enjoy this dish, a true Turkish Delight.

Monday 24 January 2022

Prue Leith Doesn't Wear Pyjamas

She said so, on Radio 4, the other Sunday morning. The discussion was about the trend at Christmas for families to get photographed in matching pjs - and she said she didn't have any 'proper' nightwear - she just wore whatever was around, any old teeshirt or summer dress. The rest of the panel all agreed their families did not have pjs either, let alone matching ones. "I mean, who does, these days?" said one contributor. 
I found myself wondering - were they all being strictly honest? Most women I know have some 'nightwear' tucked away - either bought for a hospital stay, an overnight visit somewhere, or maybe a special holiday buy - and there are those who have a "onesie" which goes under a coat for a late school run, or emergency Tesco dash. I did feel these radio persons were being a little judgmental. But Prue is 81, and if she wants to sleep in her old frocks that's up to her.
For some years, I have kept nightwear in two places Dorset & Norfolk. I have my cool cotton 'hospital nightie' [20 years old but still pretty] my warm red Cath Kidston pjs [thank you Steph] and a random assortment of tops, trousers and shorts - some 'bottoms' are homemade, and some tops are much loved tee-shirts which are too old and worn for 'public' wear.[like this set] I decided I needed to prune my collection. Then I was given a nightshirt. This cute M&S one, with cat&dog print
Trouble is, this model is 5'10" - almost a foot taller than me. I look stupid in this, it flaps round my calves and I feel like Ebenezer Scrooge, or Dopey the Dwarf. The fabric is a cotton jersey, and now I have mastered the Differential Feed on my overlocker [thanks to that useful book] I figured I should alter the garment to make it more useful.
I cut the shirt to jacket length, and overlocked the edge, then hemmed with a 3-step zigzag stitch [a tip picked up ages ago from Claire, thank you]  

I treated myself to some plain black pj trousers from Peacock's sale, and now I have a second smart, warm winter set. 
While on the subject of nightwear, one last thing...
I was doing research online about an inexpensive pair of plain black pj bottoms, when I came across something on the M&S website
"High Rise Sleep Knicker Shorts"
What are these? I asked
It appears that these are part of the new Flexifit range of nightwear. They are shorts to wear in bed. "Sleep comfortably without distraction" says the blurb. I'm not normally distracted by my pjs. It goes on "modern shapes with unique and playful details" But I might be distracted by the 'playful details' Or does this refer to one's sleeping partner? Are they able to sleep without distraction? The mind boggles.
The reviews were not altogether good. "They are so thin, like tights" "They ride up my thighs" [well that is certainly a distraction] I will stick with my Peacock's bargain. Anyway if that is the same model, they'd probably end up like Capri pants on my legs!
I wonder what Prue Leith would say about them?!

Sunday 23 January 2022

This Little Light Of Mine #2

After Christmas, this bowl of candle stubs was on the side in the kitchen. Bob mistook them for 'nibbles' and nearly popped one in his mouth! "Please do something with them" he said. I pointed out that Mr Fortnum [or was it Mr Mason?] began his business by collecting discarded candle stubs from Buckingham Palace, and melting them to make new ones. 

Here they are, remade into a new candle**. It looks very pretty on the table when we have supper [and also dispels odours when I'm cooking]

One or two blogging friends lately have been posting about their advancing years - and some have seemed quite sad that they are 'near the end'. Obviously, as a Christian, my faith gives me the hope of heaven, and I believe death is not the The End. 

But whatever one believes, I do feel that everyone's life has worth, and use - even when we cannot do the things we did at 20, 40 or 60. Other bloggers - reaching the age of retirement, as I have - are taking the opportunity to look again at their lifestyle, and re-order their priorities

We can still love and be loved, we can still smile and say a kind word, we can encourage others, and pray for them. We can still let our light shine. And if we work together on this, then together we can be a stronger, brighter light. 

** top tips for making a jar candle
  • find a suitable glass jar about 4" high
  • trim a candle to 3" long, and melt its base over a flame
  • fix that candle in the centre of the jar
  • put all other candle stubs in pyrex jug
  • stand in a saucepan ½ filled with boiling water
  • heat till wax melts
  • pour gently into the jar [straining out bits of wicks]
  • leave to cool completely

Saturday 22 January 2022

Shelf Life

In Kirby Muxloe, and Ferndown, we had a mantelpiece and a Tapley display shelf. My various Willow tree figurines were displayed there- and some were also on the bookshelf in the lounge at Cornerstones. The nativity set only comes out during Advent. 

But now - the bookshelves are full of books, the Tapley shelf was sold along with the matching wall cupboards - and my pieces have been packed in a box for 9 months. After much debate, we decided that there was room for a set of shelves over my bedside cupboard. A place where I could enjoy them, and they would be safe from little fingers!

I am so pleased with this [thank you Bob] Bob repurposed some wood he had in his stash, and used clever chrome brackets [designed for glass bathroom shelves] to fit these three shelves neatly to the wall. You will see that the bottom shelf is wider - that is because one piece has a much wider 'footprint' than the others. Also, having declared in 2013 that I had enough, and wanted no more, there are two new pieces in the range [this and this] which I might like to possess one day. They're a bit more expensive, and will have to wait for a special moment.

My first piece was bought on our original trip to the USA in 2002 - "angel of courage". That was followed by two 'family' pieces, and the year we got Cornerstones, Liz gave me "mi casa" for Christmas.

That was followed by three more angels [loving, caring and winter] and then Bob gave me 'blessings' [that was Christmas 2012]

Finally, in March 2013, Steph gave Bob "quest" - he had just written off his motorbike in a nasty accident. She said she wanted him to know she was sad about the bike, but truly grateful she still had her Dad. I love the way the guy is sitting on a pile of books, reading, with another open at his feet, in an ongoing quest for knowledge. Very Bob!

Do you have any Willow Tree Figures? 

Were they bought to mark significant events?

How do you display them?

Friday 21 January 2022

A Taste-full Rainbow


I just think this produce is so beautiful - a rainbow of colours from my trip to buy fruit and veg this morning.

peppers, apples, tomatoes,
grapefruit, onions, oranges, squash, 
melon, pepper,  
fennel, celery, celeriac, 
pine nuts, cauliflower, 
basil, savoy cabbage, cucumber, 
courgettes, cress, salad leaves, 
beetroot, red onions, 
aubergines, blueberries, currants

We are back on the Blood Sugar Diet again - we both want to lose a bit more weight. Bob will call it the Nazi Diet [it is a bit strict I admit] even though I was sure Michael Mosley was no relation to Oswald [Blackshirt Fascist] Mosley. I have checked MM, and in fact his grandfather was a bishop, and he refers to his grandmother as a loving woman with a strong faith. 

If we are dieting, and eating more veg, less meat, and minimal carbs and sugar, I want to make sure that we have variety and flavour. 

I have one question, which somebody out there may be able to help me with - before Christmas, I read a recipe involving chestnuts. So I bought a bag of them. but I can't find the recipe or remember the other ingredients. I know it was a 'meat free' savoury dish, and I think I read it in a free supermarket Christmas magazine [Co-op, Tesco, Waitrose...] But they all got recycled. Does anybody recognise this? or can you suggest a good savoury recipe requiring chestnuts please?  Thankyou!

Thursday 20 January 2022

Thought For The Day

I was in Norwich yesterday. This charity shop had not opened- but I saw the sign in the window.

This shop is raising money for Refugease, you can find out more on their website.

In 2015, a 3 year old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, drowned in the Mediterranean as his family were fleeing to safety in Europe. Overnight this hit the global headline- Refugease was set up in response to this tragedy


At first I walked past the shop - then I felt challenged to stop and look again, and note the name of the charity. Later on in the day, I was meeting Bob for lunch. My grandchildren are healthy and well fed - and we live in comfort and safety. How could I build a longer table? When I got home, I looked on the website, and found I could send food to hungry babies who are in refugee families. It isn't much, but it will make a difference to at least one precious child.

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Tin Can Tally

I love it when somebody else writes a post which gives me inspiration [thanks Sue]. or when I am reading another blog, and they say that my blog gave them an idea [thanks Alison] Sue's post on Monday mentioned Iona and Peter Opie - a married couple who were 'folklorists' - and collected children's rhymes and researched their history. 

I remembered that I had met their son Robert, some years ago, when we went with Liz and Steph to the Museum of Brands in London [it has moved to a new site since] He is an avid collector of all packaging, ancient and modern, and it is wonderful to see how styles have changed over the years.

The museum has fabulous displays of tins, used to hold all sorts of household goods - cleaning materials, foodstuffs...I have a particular fondness for tin cans, where the design is printed onto the tin, not on a paper label which is stuck on later.

I have a large MaMade can, and a squat Fried Aubergine can acting as plant holders in the kitchen.

Chalk for the blackboard in the Futility Room lives in a little Colmans Mustard tin.

Decaf teabags are in a screwtop Illy Coffee Can. 

My birthday cake candles and holders are in a Tate And Lyle Golden Syrup tin.

The pens on my desk live in a Canadian Maple Syrup tin

I just think they are so attractive. These printed tins seem more popular abroad - I've seen gorgeous tins of coconut milk in the West Indian shops along the Walworth Road, and the Comptoir Libanese chain of Lebanese restaurants keep cutlery etc in colourful tomato paste cans. 

I mentioned the Tinned Fish Company in November. Sadly their tins are gorgeous before use- but once opened, most of the artwork is on the lid which is then discarded. [My SIL considered flattening them and nailing them up as decoration on a garden wall]

My washing powder is in a large "Dorset Knobs"tin- I didn't really like the biscuits, but it is a reminder of six happy years in Ferndown,

I remember when Christmas always meant the gift of a tin of talcum powder from one of my aunties. They were usually beautifully decorated, even if I wasn't keen on the scent 

Yardleys Lavender or English Rose were most commonly given, with pictures of the old London street criers.  But talc isn't on my wish list these days- and anyway I never liked the rust which accumulated on the bottom, as the tin stood in a steamy bathroom.

I suppose it is easier and cheaper for a factory to stick on a paper label - but I do love a pretty printed can.

Don't you?


Tuesday 18 January 2022

Christmas Leftovers

I think that all the Christmas Stuff is finally out of the way now! 

There was a stack of linens waiting to be ironed - tablecloths, hand towels, two aprons and a few other bits. These have gone into a carrier bag to go up into the loft. Rosie had taken the little reindeer over to their cottage before covid struck, but he is back now. In 1989, I bought a length of fabric printed with two Christmas aprons, ties and pockets, to cut out and sew up. 

One red with a green pattern, the other green with red. I had the green one, and gave Gillian the red one. Now I have them both, and wore them alternately for preparing festive food. Happy memories of working together in the kitchen...

I spent a couple of afternoons sorting out my cards. Top tip - I do this with my phone beside me. If there is a card with important information inside like "from March, we expect our address to be...." then I take a photo of it. 

I used some card and envelopes already in my Stash, and cut up the 2021 cards with my vintage deckle guillotine. My rule is that pictures must be related to the nativity Story [no santas, snowmen or robins] I had some beautiful pictures. Thank you Eleanor for the one which was printed inside with a dotted line and "cut here to use this as a postcard" I shall do that!

I wanted to make 60 cards but had less than 50 suitable pictures - so I used an angel diecut for the remaining dozen or so. They are in the labelled "cracker" box, along with some gift tags made from "non-Nativity" cards. 

The fridge and freezer were sorted, and leftover turkey meat went into a splendid curry, Bob produced a sag aloo with potatoes and frozen spinach, and I found a recipe for dhal on the BBC Good Food site. This used up some red cabbage, and cauliflower. This made a splendid feast. I usually buy 'basics' mango chupney [Rosie is very fond of this] but as it was Christmas, I splashed out on the M&S one, which was very nice. Top tip - the dhal recipes calls for coconut flakes as a garnish, I did not have any. But I tipped my jar of 'tropical granola' onto a large platter, and picked out lots of the coconut pieces with my teabag tongs. They worked well.

Another Christmas success which is worth a mention- Bob is very fond of Stilton, and said the Lidl one was particularly fine, It is made at the Long Clawson dairy in Leicestershire, and he thought it was excellent value for money.
We loved the Fortnum and Mason Dill & Mustard Sauce too [a gift from Steph and Gaz] - but that was a little more expensive!

So the food is all eaten up, the decorations and linens are put away, and the cards have been recycled. And we sit in our smart green lounge, with much improved lighting all round. The festive season is over, the New Year begun...