Friday 29 November 2013

A Rubbish Week

Hello Frugal Friends.
Not been posting for a little while as I have had a rubbish week. Firstly I put my back out. Don't know what I did differently, but I managed it. I'm usually quite good at not doing things I shouldn't as I have Ankylosing Spondylitus which over the years has nearly disabled me, but of recent years has been better managed (by me!) Then yesterday I had another "episode" similar to earlier in the year when I lost my balance and was very sick and I ended up in hospital. So went to the quacks today and he has referred me to ENT and given me something to take when I am nauseous . So I am doing plenty of hand sewing and sitting around and feeling okay again now. Tomorrow I shall attack all the stuff that I didn't do this week and write a coherent blog (yes, I know that would make a change!)
So until tomorrow folks

Monday 25 November 2013

More bonfires and getting started on Christmas

Hello Again.
Having lots of problems with the internet and the phone, so I haven't written a blog for the last couple of days or so.
We have had a good weekend in the garden and the field. D. and the guys brought in the last of the branches from some clearing they had done a few weeks ago. D. managed to get quite a large pile of small logs and the rest went for another fire this weekend (Adam is here again!) One of the other guys had munched some in the muncher (!) to put down in the chicken run where it is a bit boggy, but we can't justify doing that to all the branches because of the electricity and the ash from the fire is good for some parts of the garden and greenhouse.
Here is Adam yesterday, his second day of burning twigs - gosh, we know how to treat a guy!!
The straight poles behind him are for next years sweet peas. Though Adam thought they would burn well and we had to keep taking them out of the brazier.
 The family called in for tea yesterday, so I whizzed out to buy two Lidl (not big) chickens and defrosted half of the Christmas stuffing to go with them, I can soon make some more. So today I made a chicken pie with the leftovers for D. and Adam next weekend and then put the rest into the pressure cooker to make a soup for wednesday. Tonight we had cockerel curry with egg fried rice.

On countdown to Christmas now. Yesterday EGD asked me if I had spent the £10 Argos voucher I had. Frankly, I had forgotten about it, so I had a look and it expired today, so I set off hotfoot to Argos, which is 5 miles away. I planned to get a Scrabble set for YGD to go with something I am making her. They had a special offer on with 2 games for £30 (instead of £40) so I bought 2, which with the £10 off meant that I got one game free. Brill!
While I was in town I went into B&M (or is it M&B?) and bought  four boxes of red oxos for D. He has taken to drinking them instead of coffee or tea and at 15 calories a drink (I googled that) are better for him than sweet coffee. I also bought some tinned sardines and pilchards for the stores. oooh yes and some Chivers orange jelly and mandarin pieces for the old fashioned orange trifle I always make because it is YD's favourite.        A message for Cro here -they had Fray Bentos tinned pies too!
 I finished a project for Christmas yesterday and remembered to take a picture of it to show you after Christmas. So that's two presents down and only 26 to go! YD and I are going shopping on friday with our Christmas savings. We save £5 per week with my friend and her daughter and then we have cash to do the markets and the like. I also started a little sort-of sealed pot thingy about four months ago, which, it is hoped, will buy us lunch while we are out shopping. I have no idea how much is in there. We might have enough for a proper sit down meal or just a sandwich, we don't mind.
I think that that is all for now.
Welcome new Bloglovin friends. Please drop a comment in whenever you feel inspired to. Unless I am missing something - and I probably am knowing me- I can't always access any information on followers on Bloglovin, so don't always get a feeling for what may interest you.
Night Night

Friday 22 November 2013

A de-clutter - thimble found!

Cold today, but fine, that will do me.
Had a grand de-clutter in "my" room today. This room is next to the kitchen and is always warm because Percy the parrot lives there. It also has a small TV and my laptop --- what more do I need?! However, because I "work" from here it is covered in documents, maps and books some sewing and trays of seed drying. There are two floor to ceiling bookshelves, which had got into a bit of a state and several piles of papers and files. Much of this mess was the post-research-for-the-exhibition detritus. I had found a couple of perfectly sized boxes and so was able to organise much of the paperwork.
I have taken a picture of part of the organised room to show you what a good job I had done. Looking at it now I realise that the tidy-minded minimalists amongst you may wonder if it is the "before" shot and if I understand the term "de-clutter"!

It's good for me and a HUGE plus is that I have found my best thimble.. hurrah! my perfect fit, silver thimble that has been missing for about 4 months.

 This morning one of our foster children from years ago turned up for a chat. He stayed for a couple of cups of tea and cake and then lunch. Someone had given me a large jar of coffee so I shared it with him and as I was wiping out the preserve cupboard, gave him a large jar of damson jam too. It's not much, but it helps a bit and his circumstances are somewhat stretched. I didn't want to pry or insult him but I suspect he is feeling the cold and his clothes are more fashionable than warm. I shall get some stuff together for if he calls again, as he will probably accept a Christmas present but not "charity".

 Adam will be with us this weekend and, as it looks as though it will be dry, we can have a bonfire. Adam's favourite job and an opportunity to do some more tidying. He also likes to push a wheel barrow, which is good as we have three tonne bags of horse manure to move!

 Enough for now. Before I settle down for a spot of hand sewing with my lovely thimble I'd like to give a warm Derbyshire welcome to Patricia from Tarragon and Thyme.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Sewing and last night's tele

Little bit of a de-clutter today - the sock drawers! Not mine you understand, but the grandchildren's. They are always leaving clothes here and I do try to keep a change of clothes for each and also for the shared lives guys. What a mis-matched, holey lot there was! There was only ten decent pairs to put back into the drawers. I will explain what I did with the odd socks later.
I then had a look at my working shirts, as I noticed that two were was very frayed around the neck when I was ironing. I knew I would be sewing today, so I thought it would be a good time to turn the collars. On inspection they revealed I had already turned them! So nowhere to go with these, very frayed, thinning shirts. Too far gone for patchwork, I took the buttons off and threaded each set onto a piece of cotton for the button tin and I ripped the rest up.. more later
When EGD hasn't been working, or looking after her own house, she has been here with me making presents. She has attempted some sewing that has been a little more difficult than she is used to, as she only started sewing in the last few months.  She has done really well and we will take a photograph of it before it is wrapped and then put it on the blog after Christmas. I have been sewing at the same time as I am a two-machine household! While we have been cutting out I have save been saving the trimmings.
You know what is coming I expect -
 I sewed an oblong of two pieces of off-cut material approx 36 x 7 inches and stuffed it with the ripped  shirts, holey socks and sewing trimmings to make a draught excluder. Don't you just love it when stuff comes together?! (sorry about the quality of the photos)

 Note the loop on the draught excluder. This is to hang it on a hook I have behind the door, for when I don't need it or it is getting in the way.

Just in from the garden with some fresh parsley as we are having fish tonight with our Pink Fir Apple potatoes, parsley sauce, peas and spinach.

We watched The Tudor Monastery Farm again last night and thought it much better and really interesting. I DO love Ruth!!
Also watched Adam and Nigel's new series on growing and cooking their own food. Some of it was good. I enjoyed watching the growing of the Durum Wheat for making pasta. But, as usual, Nigel, who is a lovely bloke, wound me up over his "simplicity". Every time I watch his programmes, (which are cooking pornography) he says he is being simple and then complicates a perfectly simple dish with more (extremely expensive) ingredients. I doubt you will ever see Nigel at Sainsburys buying cooking bacon. Anyway last night they had asked shoppers in the street if they had ever cooked  roast beef. None of them had for various reasons. So Nigel reckoned that he could show them how to make a roast beef dinner SIMPLY and easily. Well!! the basting juice was a work of art (banana shallots no less!), the brussels had fried bacon and almonds with them (isn't that a meal in itself?) he also made a huge yorkshire pudding on top of mixed roast vegetables. The roast potatoes were "normal" as was the beef. They then invited the people they had interviewed to sit round a huge table to eat the roast beef dinner. They all declared it delicious.. they would wouldn't they, they  never said they didn't like eating it, just cooking it! Then Nigel and Adam smugly declared that the meal was a success and that they could hear people chatting together, suggesting that the meal had caused that NOT the fact that they were eating around a table. They would have chatted just as much if it had been pizza.
 And as for making a perfectly reasonable and tasty Ragu for the lasagne when demonstrating they could make one as cheaply as buying one ready made, I thought this was going well until they threw a huge piece of  pork spare rib into it to improve the flavour etc. That would have made another meal!
   Rant Over.
Getting ready to settle down to some cutting out and then sitting in front of the TV to do some hand sewing.
Good Evening All

Tuesday 19 November 2013

The Radio Interview

Hi Guys
Well, this morning didn't go too badly. Both my daughters tell me I didn't sound a total t**t or too posh! So praise indeed!
I got up at gnat's fart and fed the animals and then got changed and had a bit of a splash -The smell of chicken poo tends to increase with the reduction of space and I thought a recording studio might be a bit smallish. I set off to the great metropolis (Derby) in the rush hour traffic, counting my blessings that I am now retired and don't need to do his madness anymore. I managed to get bullied into the wrong lane and missed my turn so travelled around Derby a bit until I found my way again. It was obvious I was going to be late by now and I could feel a bit of a panic rising. So I asked myself what was the worst that could happen and decided there was nothing bad could happen... I wasn't going to lose money, or a job and I could always pull over, phone the studio and tell them I was unable to make it.  And then there I was, 10 minutes late but safe and sound. As I pulled in to the car park a technician phoned me to see if I was okay. I apologised for being late and he came out and led me into the studio, saying  No probs as they were running a little late because of a particular caller. I sat down in front of a mic with my cosy head phones on and we were off.
 Strangely the basket of produce I took was quite useful in the interview. But colourful? Not too sure about that. here is a pic of the basket and contents
We did talk about the preserves and the makings of stuffing and of gifts for friends and family. we talked about living within our means and saving a little each week towards Christmas, about buying too much and thinking about what you really need. All in all not too bad.
The caller who was making the show run late was an older guy whose son-in-law was on £50k+, they had 5 children and he and his wife were losing the child benefit and were struggling to cope and may have to get a loan for Christmas. I was fascinated!
 I have nearly cleared the greenhouse today, just half a dozen tomato plants left to cut into pieces, bag and take to the tip. I never compost potato or tomato plants because of spreading disease. The very last kilo of 2013 green tomatoes is now sitting in the kitchen, wondering if it will bother to ripen or go squishy.

 EGD has just called for advice on mending trousers. She had a go and broke the only needle on her mum's sewing machine and felt discouraged. I have shown her how to sew seams and the wonders of wonder webbing for frayed hems. Hopefully she will feel confident to have a go herself next time.
 I'm feeling a bit tired tonight and I have still to fetch D. from the pub. Hey Ho, not long to go. It's tiring being a super star!
Anybody got any good recipes/ideas for sweet chestnuts?
 Goodnight dear frugal friends.

Monday 18 November 2013

On the radio again

Evening All!
Firstly, Hello and welcome Blondie.
Thanks also to those who commented on my last post (toot, toot).
Had a call from the local radio station this afternoon. Can I come to the studio and talk about ... I'm actually not too sure really. Something to do with Frugality in winter/ at Christmas. Also as a smallholder how did I prepare for winter/ Christmas? So I'm not too sure is they want to talk about being a Frugal Smallholder or just frugality generally. I believe there is another guest in the discussion too.. but who? The guy asked if I could take in some produce I had grown too, just to add a touch of colour, which I am sure you will agree is pretty difficult on the radio!
So tomorrow morning I shall be setting off to Radio Derby (with my harvest festival box) I have agreed to be there for 8.30. So wish me luck!!

Below is a basket of sweet chestnuts. EGD collected them whilst walking her dog in some local woods. They are not huge, but certainly worth having. I have placed three Jonogold apples next to the basket so that Frugal in Suffolk can have a look and see if they look like hers.

 Just back from a talk on cycling across Alaska. It was presented at our canal society meeting tonight. While the link with canals isn't even tenuous, the talk was surprisingly enjoyable. D. and I made final plans re. his stints as Santa on the canal boat at Cromford. So if you have a young person who would enjoy meeting Santa on a canal boat and go for a little sail the 11th of December is fully booked, but there are still places on the 8th at 11.00 or 1.00.
Off to make a cup of tea now and a chill out for a bit. I bet I don't  sleep too well tonight thinking about tomorrow.
Until tomorrow dear Frugal Friends

Saturday 16 November 2013

Hello, my name is Gill and I am... slim!

Sorry about all the typos yesterday, clearly a case of brain fade.
Well, "Life of Pi" was worth a watch, though did mean that I went bed later than I would like.
Had a sort out in the dry foods cupboard this morning and had several odds and ends to use up, including the odd date or two, the last of last years cobnuts, one piece of crystallised ginger... you get the idea. I decided to make a fruit cake and add  a packet of Lidl mixed fruit to bulk it up. I then realised that I had no eggs - Yes I know I have a flock of chickens, but this week from up to 50 birds I have had 6 eggs !!! it is verging on catastrophic.
So off I went to Googleland to find an eggless fruit cake recipe. 3 cakes now in the oven and I have no idea what they will be like, will let you know how they come out and give the recipe if it is worth it.
Some more sage and onion stuffing made today from crust from the last couple of days and a home made loaf that had gone dry (and we have no meals with toast planned)

I have been reading lots of posts, some of which I guess might be inspired by Frugal Queens latest blogs about loosing weight and exercise and also quite a lot about meals for those who are wheat intolerant. So here is where I have to make an announcement, somewhat along the lines of that made at the beginning of an AA meeting, which is ....... I don't have a weight problem, unless wanting to put weight on is a problem! I don't need to exercise or go to the gym, because I don't keep still long enough and even when "resting" my feet are twitching and I have absolutely no allergies or intolerances -of the food variety at least- I have plenty of the other! Now clearly I am no expert on diets, but for what it is worth, I have made an observation which I think might explain a teensy part of weight gain in SOME....
Before I retired I worked for many years in teams made up entirely of women. Many of these women were on diets -all the time! I know all about cabbage diets, banana diets, that disgusting Atkins diet, you name it I have heard about it. ( not too much about eat less and get off your arse more diet it has to be said) I would occasionally go out for a meal as a team building sort of thing, those who know me know I don't like going out for meals, but in the interests of the team - no problem. Sooooo to my point! (at last you say) Without exception those who struggled with their weight  hardly spoke during their meal as they were too busy eating. Head down, forkful into mouth before the last forkful had been chewed and swallowed. The cutlery never left their hand even if they stopped eating to have a sip of a drink. The skinny minnies amongst the group, talked and talked (too much?) and, gesticulating, waved a loaded fork in the air for minutes before finally eating something. The skinny minnies often left a little bit of food on their plate too.
I suppose I will get an awful lot of flack for this. You will say it is alright for me to be smug and judge, but believe me, I am neither smug nor judgemental.I am relating observations I have made. (and yes I know many people have a medical reason for weight problems, I'm not discussing them)
 I am SO going to regret this post! oooh er! What have I done?
All for now off to squeeze some chickens as i'm desperate for eggs (joke)

Friday 15 November 2013

My New Picture and more preserves

 This will be my new picture as soon as I can find out how to load it so that it appears on the side bar and as a follower (only managed to put it on my profile in the side bar so far) Angelsy Allsorts suggests I be a chicken so here is a  picture of a Derbyshire Redcap, so appropriate for Frugal in Derbyshire don't you think?
This morning EGD called again and finished off the shredless marmalade. The fruit had been straining all night and produced 4 pints of juice.. the picture on the left shows what she made from this. The picture on the right shows what we made yesterday. To the rear is the marrow and ginger jam I made from Frugal in Suffolks recipe and the jars in front are RGD's red onion chutney. She took these pictures and I wasn't going to show them as hers are for presents. She said it didn't matter as only her mum was likely to see this blog and she had actually asked for shredless marmalade in her hamper.
 The colour of the marrow and ginger really is very good. I shall be making a teamed ginger pud with spoonfuls of this jam in the bottom of the basin this weekend mmmmmm
After we cleared away my friend came to cut my hair, she had her daughter with her as she and EGD were off with their dogs for a walk. So the two girls and my friend stayed for lunch and after my hair was cut and some more friends arrived to borrow a map they wished to photocopy, D. and I set off for a cup of tea with a friend of ours, who we have neglected badly of recent weeks. we finally got home 5 hours later!. So after a meal of left overs we have finally settled down  and are going to watch "The Life of Pi" while i do a little hand sewing. and then bed!
Welcome to my new followers on Bloglovin
In haste...Good night dear friends

Thursday 14 November 2013

A new picture? and a few tasks

Another bloggy question - Why is my picture not showing when I follow? Mind you some might think it a blessing !
I think I might change my picture, as the one I have been using is several years old. I still use it on Facebook too. So maybe time for a change. I guess it would be kinder all round if it wasn't a picture of me this time.  mmmmm what to choose  A Goat maybe? or a Chicken? or perhaps some kind of vegetable ?? perhaps I should ask you dear frugellers. But which vegetable springs (onion, cabbage) to mind when you read my blog? Heck I don't know, I'll give it some this space.
 Today, I have had to throw away one of my slow cookers. I realised that it was not cooking stuff yesterday, after a few days of stuff not being quite right. So towards the door it went. You need to understand that, as yet, D. hadn't given it the once over and declared it officially un-saveable. So while I'm waiting for the king of make do and mend, otherwise known as makedo and bodgit to give his verdict I prepared a leek and potato soup to go in the other one. As I stirred the stock into the veg, there was a familiar sound. So I emptied out the contents, had a good look at the pot and confirmed that the sound was of a cracked pot! You know what I am going to say next don't you ? I put the pot from the electrically suspect cooker into the electrically sound cooker. At least I have One decent cooker now.
 I finally managed to get my garlic in today. I usually plant it on bonfire night, but what with all that has been going on I slipped behind with this. So job done - 50 cloves in.
 It looks as though there will be another, harder, frost tonight. I managed to take in the last of the dahlias and put them into the greenhouse, along with the spray chrysanthemums. There  is also one pumpkin and two marrows in the shed, which might be affected by frost, so they came into the kitchen. The marrows looked as though they might be going soft so I looked up Frugal in Suffolk's recipe for marrow and Ginger Jam.
YGD turned up to make the preserves we shopped for the other day and we added the marrow jam to our repertoire. And very nice it looks too, a lovely colour. (Can't tell you what else we made as it is a Christmas surprise )
 I have recently started following the Iowa Housewife. Yesterday she commented on my meringue post, with a method of making pastry cases that I haven't thought of before. Have a look at her comment two posts before this one on my blog (hope that makes sense)
 It might be cold outside, but I'm BOILING here! with (one) slow cooker on, three preserving pans bubbling, the oven on cooking a sausage pie and a quiche, while heating jars. it's pretty hot in here.
As soon as it is cleared away I shall go to the considerably cooler, sewing room and do a few lines of a present I'm making.
 Not too sure about last night's TV viewing. Hercule Poirot had a  couple of weak points I thought and I'm not too sure about the Tudor Monastery Farm yet. I've really been looking forward to it, but did find that D. and I shouted at the screen a couple of times!
 Lots of blogs to read tonight. Shall I read them before I retire to the sewing room ? yes of course I will!
Welcome Julie and Helen, I am so pleased to see you here.
See you soon
take care

Monday 11 November 2013

Tomato and Bean sorting

Hello All
Back to my computer.
It's been a busy couple of days., mucking out the hens and rabbits, taking in the delicate plants ( not many of those as I don't really do delicate) burning twigs, bean plants, spent blackberry canes and all the other detritus of late autumn. The family have been for tea and Adam has been this weekend. Today EGD and myself went shopping for the ingredients for the rest of the presents she and I are making for family at Christmas.
 Below is a picture of Adam sorting the last of the tomatoes. he really enjoyed this task as he likes things to be organised and in their place. He was a little sad when he finished this big bowl full. However I had another bowl in the fridge, so he was extremely happy. The green ones are now to the side of the kitchen fire, with half the red ones back in the bridge and a the rest of the red ones processed for passata and paste.
  I then sorted through the beans, giving Adam the dry ones to pod and put on a tray to finish drying for next year's seed or into jars for cooking in the winter.   I picked some more beans  and ED and YGD shelled them on sunday  and when Adam comes next there should be several trays of beans to sort into colours/ types and place into jars. he will love that!
I'll take a picture when all the beans are ready and  give a bit of a run down an their uses.

Today D. has been attacking all the niggly little jobs that have cropped up over the last few weeks while we have been busy with the exhibition and the the re-siti ng of the memorial. The programmer for the central heating, which we rarely use, stopped working, the bathroom and study strip lights were not working and my sewing machine was playing up. So while YGD and I we shopping. D. set to and solved all the probs. What a star!!
I usually plan my weeks meals on monday, but for some reason I haven't done that today. I shall have to do that tomorrow or I will waste stuff .... and that would never do!!
 I also need to sort out D's " Santa diary" He has a Santa costume that I made for him some years ago  and he is in some demand as Santa  (  he has white hair and actually doesn't need a cushion up his shirt!) As he is CRB checked because of our shared lives work and provides his own costume he is extremely popular. However he doesn't accept many offers as it is really quite tiring and stressful.
 Enough for tonight
I'm thankful for the roof over our heads, while others in the world have lost what little they had to the forces of nature.
Sleep well dear frugal friends

Saturday 9 November 2013


Just posted two pictures with no explanation!
In Brief then (as I am cooking tea at the mo) The first picture is the first, and only, picture of the mini-meringues I made on thursday. This picture demonstrates how I blind bake the cases. I cut out the pastrey and line the tins. After pricking the base with a fork a couple of times I then place a paper bun case inside the pastry and fill it with dried beans and peas. ( I keep a large jar of mixed dried legumes for blind baking ) the trays go into the oven for 10 minutes and, after emptying the beans and paper out, for a further 5 mins. At his stage you can freeze the cases for another day if you want to.
next I put a good spoonful of cooked bramley apple in each pastry case before piping meringue on the top, ensuring that it buts up to the side, with no gaps for the apple to get out of. These then go into the oven for 4 mins on 200o and are turned out straight away onto a cooling rack.
Hope that all made sense, if not, it serves me right for rushing!

The next photo was taken by YD today after I took in as much as I could from the garden, before tonight's expected frost wipes out the toms, celery, squash, baby spinach and beans. I also took in the last of the bramleys and some beetroot and parsnips for tomorrows tea. The beans are the last of the drying borlotti and drying butter bean.
Back to making the chicken pie that we always have when Adam comes to stop.
 Will make a more coherent post soon!

Friday 8 November 2013

On the radio and the TV

Phew ! What a day!
 Up at 6.30 so that I could meet with a reporter  from the local radio station for the early morning show. Talked aboutt he meeting tonight
Home to let the chicks out and feed them and the rabbits.
Started making my individual apple meringues. half in and the phone rings. it's the local TV reporter,  "Could he come and get a picture of the memorial ?
Yes, no prob says I. When I get back in the kitchen I smell burnt meringues. Oh B****r !
 So I take those out and put the rest in, fogetting to take a picture of the second satge before the meringue.
Fly upstairs to change my shirt which was a bit ditched now from cooking etc. The phone rings again "Can I spare a couple of minutes to complete a survey?" I very politely told her no, but maybe too politely as it took quite some time to tell her I had no time , and guess what ?! I burnt the second half of the meringues! Grrr. Now a few burnt meringues is not the end of the world, but I had already taken pictures of the first steps to show you guys and now I shall have to show a picture of burnt meringues with the middle stage missing.
 Round to the caretakers to get the keys and back to the hall. Where I meet an elderly lady who doesn't mix too much since her husband died a couple of years ago. I'm looking forward to tonight she says. I was SO pleased !
 The guy with the camera  arrives, we talk about the memorial and he says  " can I get a shot of you polishing the memorial?" Okay, I grab a tea towel and try to look as though I'm the sort of person that dusts stuff (I'm not)  I'm blabbing on about how nice it was to speak to aforementioned woman and he asks me to wait until I face the camera before talking, when he will ask me a question. I then realise ,doh, that he has a video camera. For the next ten minutes or so he has me polishing stuff, walking in and out the door to the hall and speaking directly to camera about how we came to get it etc. Thank goodness I changed my shirt!

 I wrote that yesterday, prior to icing a couple of slab cakes and setting up the hall for the re.dedication.
 I shan't bore you with the usual stuff I do wether I am organising an event, suffice to say that both D. and I and the animals managed to grab some food and we and our clothes were clean when we set off to the hall.
And I managed to forget to take a pic of the meringues !!
What a great turnout ! many local people turned up, as did a quartet of councillors and the mayor (and we didn't even ask him!). As folk came through the door several said that they had just seen me on the tele.
The raffle and sales of preserves raised over £50 for the British Legion - a representative of which attended and laid a wreath. The vicar held a (very) short service and then nearly everybody stayed for tea, cakes and a chat.
 A great night but gosh I was tired. I was in bed by eleven, which is early for me, and I even slept most of the night.
 Up earlyish to accompany D. to the hospital for some routine stuff. Home in time for lunch with one of our shared lives guys and YGD, who had come to look over some recipes and patterns with me.
 Since then I have answered the phone and emails and facebook messages which have been coming in thick and fast, just when I thought that I would be settling down to some sewing and taking a break from Civic Society stuff.
I have promised myself that I will deffo do some cake recipes and a couple of patterns for the blog tomorrow and get back to blogging about the stuff my frugal Friends  follow for!
Welcome Julie on Bloglovin !
But for now I'm off to make tea and then do NOTHING tonight
until tomorrow Dear frugellers
 Oh yes and well spotted Sandie !!! I have seen it now, all half a minute of it, with quite a lot of my left nostril.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Doggie Dishwasher and a new shop in town

Today has been a little busy.
I have been getting a couple of display boards ready for our social evening on thursday. I have also returned some equipment that we borrowed at the weekend and made some phone calls to firm up the itinerary and allocation of tasks.
 After popping to the shops, I then started some baking. here is my new dishwasher!
 This is Sammie-was-foster-dog-now forever-YD's dog! She thought he had developed some sort of ecema (how DO you spell it?) and then realised it was dried cake mix!
While in town I popped into Sainsburys for some cooking margarine and noticed this pack of "cooking" bacon for £1.10p. It is four thick bacon chops and a couple of bits. I cooked them all once I had opened the packet. The two larger chops we had with potato rosti from a couple of large potatoes from the garden, some scrummy, ripe, homegrown tomatoes and a couple of our eggs.

The extra bacon, which I have now frozen, will go into a quiche at the weekend.
I called into a new shop in town (Ripley) called Boyse. I am very pleased to see a new shop opening as so many have closed. This shop sells all sorts of hardware and soft furnishings  and...fabric!!!! Not a lot to choose from at the moment, but the assistants tell me that there has been a surprising amount of interest in this, so who knows?. There is also a pretty good haberdashery section, so I'm well pleased. I bought some material to complete a certain Christmas task and a few squares of felt for another.
 A warm Derbyshire welcome to new follower, Mickle in New  Zealand, who is also a cat lover. I'm also  pleased to welcome Pam from a Good Life in Tydd as a follower. She and I have been reading each other's blogs while believing we were following each other! I guess I need to sort out this sort of thing so that I don't miss those blogs that I have been reaching by "blog-jumping" from other favourite blogs. Crikey, another thing to sort for the new year.
Off to join D. and some friends at the pub -I'd rather stay in the warm really, as it has dropped cold this week. All the extra curtains are now up and extra blankets on beds.
keep warm dear Frugal friends

Monday 4 November 2013

My Carrot Cake recipe

Great weekend, but gosh I'm tired! The maps and pictures from the the exhibition would normally be covered in polythene and packed away. However we are hosting a re-dedication evening for the village war memorial on Thursday and as many older people will be attending we have decided to put some of the smaller exhibits that contain old photographs around the room to be enjoyed.
Today I caught up on the washing and put as much as I could on the line as rain is forecast and then it will be a touch of of the widow twankeys all over the house.
I managed to strip about twenty of the bean plants, yet again before the rain. Picking beans in (or indeed after) the rain is THE wettest experience, from all angles. Today all the french beans came down and most of the Borlottis with help from EGD. There were few worth eating green but plenty for drying, so there are even more trays around the house.
 Tomorrow I start to bake for Thursday evening. So it will be carrot cake day.
I know everybody has a recipe, but hey ho here is mine and I shall reduce it to one cake's worth ,I usually bake in industrial quantities. So for a 9 or 10 inch diameter tin....
mix together
9 ounces SR flour  - half and half wholemeal and white is good but not essential
9 ounces sugar  - white will do
2 tablespoons cinnamon
pinch of salt
 then add
200 ml oil - rapeseed, corn or vegetable - whichever is cheapest
4 loosely beaten eggs
  stir and then add
 9 ounces grated carrots

If you wish you could add walnuts or sultanas at this stage. I don't do this as I am usually baking for others and adding too many ingredients reduces the numbers of people who can, or want to, eat this cake.

 Pour into a greased and lined cake tin and bake at 180 for 35mins. (or until it springs back when pressed gently)

This cake is good just like this, but is traditionally iced with cream cheese.  Which I don't do!  No surprise there then! As you will have noticed I use oil for this cake and so I continue the no-milk product and make a simple icing made with icing sugar and the grated rind and juice of a large orange. Spread this fairly thinly over the top only, which is sufficient and makes it easier to eat.
This is not an expensive cake to make especially if it is kept simple.

I have started on a couple of Christmas presents today, just to relax. I can't say what they are because we always keep our gifts a surprise. As I finish them I will try to remember to take a photograph to show you after Christmas. Also did the final planning with EGD for the presents she is making. I have just realised that I have used the "C" word twice now. oooh er! Must be getting closer.
 If anyone is interested I will put up the recipes for the rest of the cakes as I make them.
A huge welcome to my new Blog lovin followers, I hope you are enjoying following my somewhat rambling blog.
Until next time,  night, night dear Frugellers

Saturday 2 November 2013

Back from the exhibition

Hello Again
Back from the exhibition and having rested by sore feet I'm sat back at the laptop.
Well, today was a great success. Not so much for the numbers through the door, though they were pretty good, but because of the atmosphere and what was achieved.
 People came to look at the maps, models and old pictures , then sat down for a cup of tea and some cake and then they talked   and talked   and talked. They talked to us and each other and to people they had never met before and they met old friends that they had gone to Sunday school with 70 years ago. Some looked at the exhibits with a learned eye and others with a moist one. It was wonderful. We recorded stories  -  "while I'm still breathin me duck !" corrected facts that we were unsure of and filled in gaps in our knowledge.
A couple of our members took a group on a heritage walk around our district, which has a rich industrial heritage. We are not always pretty, but we are interesting. When the walkers came back they were all ready for a cup of tea and a sit down in the warm (oh yes, and the loo!)
Tomorrow we do it again. I hope I enjoy it as much as I have today.
Oh yes! and the cake went down well too.
When I got home tonight I prepped tomorrows dinner (tea) I have made a huge lamb casserole and have the cobbler ready to put on top. Potatoes and carrots peeled, cabbage shredded. I have also weighed out the makings of a chocolate pud and some drops scones. YD will be helping out tomorrow (bless her!), so one of us will nip back to put the dinner on. When ED and family arrive they will help us to dismantle and get everything back to ours, wrap it up in plastic and put into the hay loft for safe keeping.
 Then we can sit down to a family meal.
 The fireworks are banging away outside tonight (bonfire night, dear non-UK friends) I was worried that Dixie our cat might be upset by them. (Unfortunately we don't have Annie our goat to worry about this year - she used to hate them so we would leave a radio in the goat house for her) I finally found Dixie asleep in a tray of beans I was drying. I stroked her gently, She looked up at me... and signalled "sod off!" so I guess she is okay with the fireworks this year!.
I think a cup of hot milk and an early night with a book is called for. I have a great book I am reading which is lengthy and very carefully researched . It is called "The Fatal Shore" by Robert Hughes and tells of the penal transportation system which was the precursor to origin of Australia. It is not an easy read, but truly Epic.
Goodnight dear Frugal Friends.

Off to the Exhibition

Morning All !
--   and a special welcome to Kate from Pennsylvania, nice to see you here.
Just back from hanging balloons outside the village hall. This weekend  we hold an exhibition and some walks as part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Discovery Days ( what a mouthful)
 The weather isn't looking too kind, but we have done our best, so we shall wait to see who turns up. I cooked slab cakes - lemon drizzle, ginger, carrot cake and apple cake for the refreshments. My colleague reckons I should put a sign outside saying "come and get your five a day here". If they don't have the saying in your country, it means you should eat five vegetables or fruits each day.
The animals.who are now knee deep in mud, are fed and watered(!) and tonight's veg are prepped, so I will have a shower and then wend my way round to finish setting up.
  See you later and let you know how we got on.