Sunday, 22 November 2015

Sorting the Books and my Stuffing Recipe

I'm currently getting my "Snug" aka parrot's room, ready to decorate. I have been ruthless with the books in the  book shelves, which will have to come down so that the carpet can be fitted. Between 90 and a 100 books in bags to go. I told you I had been ruthless!.
I put the books up on the "Free to Homes in Amber Valley" FB page and a lovely young woman has just picked them up. She is having a book stall at their PTA Christmas Fayre. Brilliant! It has been quite cathartic clearing those shelves out. I might attack another bookshelf  or corner of shame and continue the sort out..or not.
  Last of the runners to for tea today. I shall miss them, as I never freeze them -  they become a different animal when frozen. So,  no beans until next year ( I certainly won't buy those out of season tasteless beans from Kenya)
 I have started to think about Christmas (sorry Cro) I bought two short-dates loaves at 20p each and have made "The Christmas sage and onion Stuffing" two large trays worth, in the freezer and one less thing to do nearer the day. This stuffing is simple and suitable for vegetarians as well as the carnivores. it's almost too simple to write about, but I will anyway, just in case there is someone out there who might be interested!
 I usually use my food processor to make this.
In  the willy whizzer I make a large bowl full of breadcrumbs. ( In this case I used the loaves, but I also save crusts in the freezer too)
 Now I roughly chop 4 good sized onions and put them into the Whizzer and blitz until well chopped.
I then empty the onions into a saucepan and wash out the whizzer into said saucepan with a scant pint and half of pints of water.
Bring the onions to the boil and simmer five minutes.
While the onions are cooking I put a couple of teaspoons of salt, and a scant teaspoon of pepper into the breadcrumbs along with a  couple of tablespoons of dried sage and one tablespoon of thyme.
 I now pour the hot boiled onions with their water onto the breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly. Done!
 Place into bags and freeze when cool.
When you cook this, don't use too much fat or oil (veggies) just enough to grease the dish.
  I particularly like this stuffing when wrapped in streaky bacon into rolls.

Welcome to Northsider Dave - proper smallholder!- on the follower bar and someone on Bloglovin  - I can't make out who you are as the names have been re-organised for some reason. Sorry about that.
All for now

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Update and Snowman Tutorial

Hello All
 Welcome to Fast SOS on the follower bar. Love your blog!
Thursday's Remembrance Evening went well and was well attended. It's lovely to see some of our senior residents getting out for a good chinwag. If I had more time I would set up a regular social event just for folk to get together for a natter.
Thursday was the last of the Civic Society events (apart from one committee meeting in December) over with and I can settle down to the mountain of tasks that have grown over the last five weeks.
Yesterday I managed to dig  up a few more potato plants and a couple of buckets of jerusalem artichokes and pick one of spinach. There are only two apple trees left to harvest, both Jonagold, which are good keepers and we should be eating well into February.
The hens have stopped laying completely again so our meals will change for a little time while we are eggless. I had hoped to put some down in waterglass earlier in the year when the hens were laying well, but struggled to get waterglass.

This weekend I will start to clear the room next to the kitchen that I use as an office and snug (and also houses our parrot Percy - so is always kept warm) The carpet has decided to disintegrate at the door opening and has become a trip hazard. Before we can have a new carpet there I will need to empty the room .. aaargh! it is VERY cluttered ..and then decorate as it hasn't had a coat of paint in many years. If I don't get a move on I shall be painting the week before Christmas again.

I thought that those of you with young children might like to have a go at making the no-sew snowmen that I made with YGD a couple of weeks ago. Here is a link to the tutorial that I used. My youngest daughter did this link for me as I didn't know how to do it!
How to make a sock Snowman

All for now.
My thoughts are with those people in Paris. How awful it all is.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Using the Veg and Remembrance Evening

Hello Fellow Frugellers.
On Tuesday a friend gave me two huge bunches of chillis, just a fraction of her mammoth crop this year. Aren't they impressive?.... and HOT!!
I have open froze(n) some on a tray and put some to dry. Any more ideas folks?
In my last post I said that I would share a recipe made from some of the veg picked that day. I had been to Lidl last week for the winter iron-rations and bought some ricotta which was on offer. I used this in the mix.
Firstly I made a pancake mix and made six pancakes.
In a pan I sweated a chopped onion,  then added six grated jerusalem artichokes. When these were soft I added some shredded kale and spinach, when this had wilted down I added the ricotta cheese,  a couple of tbs of grated parmesan, salt, lots of pepper, nutmeg and a couple of tbs of milk. This mixture was rolled in the pancakes, which I then laid out in an oiled dish on a bed of sliced over-ripe  tomatoes. These went into the oven until they were heated all the way through.
 They were very tasty , though EGD said that some grated cheese on top would be good. I agree with her!
 I think I will have a go at some artichoke rosti as they cooked so well grated in the pancakes. I guess I will need to season them well or they may be a bit bland.

It is very warm for the time of year, though wet - good growing weather! Today I picked three buckets of  runner beans, a bowl of brussels, a large bunch of beetroot, the last of the sweet corn (9 cobs), MORE Jerusalem artichokes and MORE spinach. I also found a couple of small cucumbers that I had missed and a mixing bowl of tomatoes. and as for apples!!
 It's ridiculous. it's November for goodness sake! I should be concentrating on my Christmas and winter cooking and I'm harvest processing for England here.

 I need to start baking again tomorrow as it is our Remembrance Evening next Thursday. After a short service we have tea and cake and a good gossip. The older people in the village really enjoy getting together. We started to hold these evenings three years ago when our Civic Society rescued the wooden war memorial plaque from the empty mission in our village. This year we also have THE BELL on show. You may remember that the old mission bell was to be sold by the mother church and that we set up a fund to buy it back for the village. We raised enough money to offer the scrap value price for this Taylors of Loughborough bell (£400) prior to auction. We are now asking residents for ideas ( and probably further fundraising)  as to how to display this for the village, while keeping it safe from the metal thieves. The ideas coming in from people seem to lean towards combining the war memorial with the bell into some sort of memorial plinth. Watch this space!

 When we held our first Remembrance Evening it was declared open by Stan the eldest resident of our village.  He died last Tuesday. He was 99 years and three months and had lived in the village his entire life. His passing will add an extra frisson of thoughfulness to next Thursday, especially as he was a D Day survivor.
Enough for now.
Take Care

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Of this and that since my last post

Hello All
I hope the fog is clearing for you. It seems like years since we had some proper fog!
 You may remember I took my Grandson to the airport on Friday so that he could visit his friend in Glasgow. He was supposed to fly back last night, but the flight was cancelled due to the fog. He should be back today fingers crossed, as he is back at work tomorrow.
What a change the weather has been from the weekend. David took this picture of one of our hives, just coming out, they are clearly collecting pollen from somewhere. I'll guess at ivy for the most part.

David also took this pic of part of the pyracanthus hedge that grows above our drystone wall at our road frontage. Weaver was saying that there were few hawthorn berries this year (same here) so these berries are particularly important for the birds.

I had this great plan to spend more time in the garden this weekend, but failed miserably. Here is another half hours worth of collecting. I'll share a recipe I made up from some of this veg in my next post.

We went to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Discovery Days at Cromford on Saturday. On the way back we called in at our fiends' Tea Rooms at Holmesford Cottage. If you are anywhere near, the Tea Rooms are on the A6 between Whatsdandwell and Matlock Bath and definitely worth a visit. All sorts of teas and coffees to choose from, light lunches and cakes made by the manager or local women. (She also make retro dresses fitted to order for women - you know what they say "If you want something doing ask a busy woman")

Our youngest granddaughter stayed over on Sunday Night. We had a great day yesterday. We spent the morning peeling apples for the freezer, she LOVES peeling apples!. We then went shopping, to the bank to pay in Charlie, the rescued Lab's adoption fee -( Yes! it's official!!) took some books to the charity shops and chose three to bring back.
Back home again she set about making some snowmen from socks. We had seen it as a tutorial on facebook and it looked easy. Indeed it was. She is now thinking of variations on this theme, so we are looking for red and green socks now.
Here are her first efforts.

I'm expecting  a houseful today so need to go and clear some space.
Back Soon
PS The Canadian visitors were really nice folk. It was interesting to get their view on world events and the like.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Cheaper Travel and Calico Cats

Today I drove my grandson to East Midlands Airport. He's off to stay with friends for a weekend -look out Glasgow!
He was going to go by train from Derby, but it would have cost him £122 return. To fly from East Midlands which is only another 20 miles from our house it will cost him £66 return NO BRAINER!! I cannot understand why it cost so much more to go by train. perhaps someone out there in Blogland can explain it to me.
Tomorrow he is going to a Fancy Dress Halloween party. Here he is in his fancy dress.

Last Sunday there  was an article in The Independant about calico cats. It said they were the meanest cats.

 I beg to differ. Here is my sweet Dixie...butter wouldn't melt!
I haven't been in the garden for  a few days as we have hosted exhibitions, talks and walks all this week as part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Discovery Days (phew what a mouthful!) this morning, in just half an hour I gathered this small haul, apart from the nuts which came from a friend.

Tomorrow I hope to have much longer in the gardens as there is so much still to harvest. I've never known a year like it for a late crops, second flushes and the like.
Yesterday David and I were on our own for the day ..most unusual!... so we went "Winter Food Shopping" We bought a goodly amount of dried foodstuffs ... flour, sugar, rice, pasta etc. I will do a winter food post soon and elaborate on how and what we lay down for winter.
Off to pour myself a small scotch before some friends of friends arrive from Canada. They are staying at our house for the weekend as we have the room and our friend's house is full. I hope they are okay with "casual"!
Take care all
Oh yes, Welcome to Bloglover and Patricia Sylvia.on Bloglovin and Vicky Peel, an old bloggy friend on the Follower bar (do I have to follow you on Bloglovin Vicky ?)

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Happy (Labrador) Ending

Yes I know it's been a while and I'm sure you don't want a blow by blow account of why I have been away. Suffice to say here I am, just in time to give you  a story with a happy ending.

 In my last post I told you about a guy who was looking for a dog after he had lost his beloved Labrador. You may remember that my youngest daughter volunteers with a Labrador rescue charity. The day after that post YD was informed of an 8 year old Lab called Charlie who was looking for a forever home after the breakup of his owners relationship.
Here he is

 Today, after a couple more assessment visits and discussions Charlie met with his new daddy.
Love at first sight!

Back soon

Monday, 28 September 2015

Autumn arrives and Labrador Rescue

Hello All
It's starting to look and feel Autumnal here in Derbyshire. It has been warm and sunny today while this morning there was a decided nip in the air and an early fog covered the valley
Here is the view from our paddock up the valley.
 Somewhat different from my colorful photo yesterday!

There is still much to gather in the garden meaning that autumn has rather crept up on me! My kitchen is littered with buckets and bowls of apples, tomatoes, beans and damsons. The spinach, kale and Romanesco caulis need picking and processing. I guess that as the weather is cooling now the maize and the butter beans are unlikely to ripen properly. I suppose I will use the maize as animal fodder and the beans as a large flagolet.
 I shall be jam and jelly making in earnest this week, having also put many pounds of fruit into the freezer to make into wine when I have more time later in the year.

 A couple of years ago I wrote a few posts on getting ready for winter. I intend to do something similar this year. I hope you will join in and add your own spin on "Getting Ready for Winter"

A few weeks ago we were at the Ashover  Agricultural show. This is a great old-fashioned show which we visit most years. The weather was scorching and we were sat outside the beer tent (really? surely not!) with our friend, our daughter and her son and their rescue lab, Sammie. A gentleman was fussing Sammie and saying how he missed his old lab that had had to be put down a couple of weeks before. My grandson told him that his mother worked for a Labrador Rescue society and the guy showed some interest. Our daughter, realising how raw this guy was, gave him her phone number and told him that if he ever felt like having another Lab give her a ring.
 This weekend he rang her to say that he was missing having a dog- the daily walks and the company, and could she help him to find an older dog that needed adopting?
She arranged an assessment visit and was pleased with the home that this man could offer. He had a good size secure garden and  he wasn't bothered if he took on a dog or a bitch, but felt he couldn't take on a young dog.
This sounds like a really positive chance for one old dog. I'll keep you posted.

A Warm welcome to Pioneer Prepper (much to learn from him I'm sure) on the follower bar and Elaine Baron on Bloglovin.
Back Soon