Tuesday, 29 December 2009

After Christmas Pudding

This recipe uses up those bits of ingredients that you often don't know what to do with.

After Christmas Pudding

200g plain flour
100g margarine
1/2 jar mincemeat
150g marziapn - grated
2-3 eating apples - cored and diced

1. Pre-heat the oven to Gas 6/200C
2. Sieve the flour into the mixing bowl and rub the margarine in until like
fine breadcrumbs
3. Take out 100g of the rubbed in mixture and set aside
4. Add enough cold water to the remaining crumbs and make your pastry.
5. Line a flan ring with the pastry
6. Place the mincement and diced apples into a small bowl and mix well.
7. Plce this mixture into the flan ring.
8. Add the grated marzipan to the crumb mixture and mix well with a teaspoon of
mixed spice.
9. Cover the mincemeat with this mixture and bake for 15-20 mins until golden brown

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Wirksworth Derbyshire

Using our new mini guide to the Peak District we set off to Wirksworth. Check out this

Wirksworth is located in the Southern Dales. The market place and car park is a good place to start exploring the town. Up Dale Lane there are wickedly sloping lanes with cobbled gutters, leading past the old smithy, opposite Green Hill, a 17th-century gabled house built of limestone with sandstone mullioned windows. Hidden away behind the fronts of tall houses is St Mary's Church. It is accessible along Church Street or through the old alley of the lychgate, of which only the tall stone pillars remain. The grasses churchyard is encircled by iron railings, which seperate it from a narrow lane called Church Walk and a jumble of back yards and sloping roofs.
I took several photographs on my tour of Wirksworth. The ginger cat was extremely friendly and was on guard beside the church railings. Another one of my photographs shows the preserved remains of a medival home. Take a trip and see this place for yourself, it really is a beautiful place. I will be going back again on a Tuesday when it is market day.

Friday, 25 December 2009



Thursday, 24 December 2009

Berry Trifle

A simple dessert that can be made in a flash and will be nice and light to eat after all that rich main course on Christmas Day.

Berry Trifle

1 maderia cake - cut into slices
250g raspberries
250g blueberries
150ml fresh orange juice
250ml mascarpone
500ml tub custard
2 tsp vanilla essence
300ml whipping cream

1. Slice the maderia cake and arrange in a glass bowl
2. Sprinkle over the mixed berries and cover with the fresh orange juice
3. Place the mascrpone into a mixing bowl and add the custard gradually unitl well
blended. Add the vanilla essence and mix in.
4. Spoon this mixture over the fruit.
5. Cover with whipped cream and sprinkle on any extra berries.

Note: Any mixture of berries can be used, use frozen ones mixed with some sugar and
Instead of orange juice use a liquer

However you make it - ENJOY!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

A New Find

Just blogging around and catching up on old friends and came across this blog
What a find, just check it out for yourself.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Who could resist these reindeer cakes?

Came across a recipe the other day and have adapted it to make these little reindeer cakes to take to my great nephew and neice. Who could resist eating these?

Reindeer Cup-cakes

150g margarine
150g caster sugar
150g SR flouor
1 tabsp. cocoa powder
3 eggs
To decorate
100g margarine
200g icing sugar
1tabsp. cocoa
glace cherries
marzipan - for eyes
pretzels - for antlers

1. Pre-heat oven to Gas 5/190C
2. Place 12 large cupcake cases into tray
3. Place all cake ingredients into a large mixing bowl and use an
electric mixer to cream all ingredients together until soft
and fluffy
4. Divide the mixture between the paper cases
5. Bake for 15 - 20 mins until soft and springy to touch
6. Cool on a wire rack whilst you make the butter-cream
7. Place margarine, icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl and use electric mixer to
cream together until well mixed
8. Place a heaped teaspoon of mixture onto the top of each cup-cake, spread around
and shape a face.
9. Add a glace cherry for the nose, 2 marzipan balls for the eyes and cut a pretzel
in half for the antlers.

So cute, can you possibly eat them.

Gingerbread Hearts - Just for Christmas

Another little baking session so I can take extra gifts with me on my Christmas travels to see friends.
Gingerbread Hearts

140g margarine
100g dark muscovado sugar
3tabsp golden syrup
350g plain flour
1ts bicarbonate of soda
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp cinnamon
pinch cayenne pepper
2 balls stem ginger from a jar - chopped
To Decorate
100g icing sugar
glace cherries - sliced

1. Pre-heat oven to Gas 6/200C
2. Place margarine, sugar and syrup in a saucepan and melt over a low heat
3. Place flour, bicarb, spices into a large mixing bowl.
4. Pour melted mixture into flour and add chopped ginger
5. Mix well to a stiff dough - leave to cool before handling
6. Roll out the mixture on a floured table
7. Use a heart shape to cut out as many as you can
8. Place on a greased baking tray - place small hole at the top of each one
9. Bake for 10-12 mins
10. Cool on a wire rack
11. Make glace icing by adding a drop of water to the icing sugar until you have a
failry stiff paste - not too runny
12 Thread ribbons through the hoel before decorating
13 Spread the icing over the biscuit and decorate with slices of cherries.
14. Leave to harden before either hanging on the tree or placing into decorated bags
to give as gifts.

A Magical Interlude

Whilst having my morning coffee I thought I would just check my emails.
a friend had sent me this:

Click on it, sit back and enjoy. I had a few minutes of bliss whilst I drank my coffee.
Some thoughtful people around.
Merry Christmas

Monday, 21 December 2009

Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup

What a cold day. Hard frost on the ground with a sprinkle of snow calls for a warming soup.

Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup

2tsp curry powder
3 tabsp olive oil
1 onion - finely chopoped
1 eating apple - cored and chopped
thumb size piece of fresh ginger - finely chopped
2 large sweet potatoes - peeled and cubed
1 litre vegetable stock
50g red lentils
150ml milk

1. Fry the onions lightly in the oil until soft.
2. Add the curry powder and stir for 1m minute
3. Add the apple and ginger and stir for another minute
4. Add the sweet potatoes, lentils and stock
5. Simmer for 15 - 20 mins until the potato is soft.
6. Blend and add the milk
7. Continue to simmer for a couple of minutes
8. Serve with Naan Breads

This is a real warming soup. Enjoy!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Christmas Market

We set off early by train from Derby to Birmingham to visit the German Christmas Market. The weather was -5 with a crisp frost underfoot and snow in the air. The train was freezing and we learnt from the ticket collector that our carriage had a faulty heating system - thank goodness we were only going a short journey. Other passengers were travelling from Leeds to Plymouth (Devon).
As we stepped out of the station in Birmingham we were there, right amongst the German Market. The lights, the colours, the smells, all there for us to delight in. As it was so cold our first stop was the mulled wine stall. We cuped it our hands and drank slowly to warm our bodies - such a flavour - I love it.
We were not disappointed and spend several hours just wandering about, as you can see from the photographs it was a wonderful event.
WE arrived home to the warm smell of cooking. I had in my wisdom prepared our evening meal of Chicken and Red wine Casserole.
All I have to do now is make some herby dumplings.
This should warm us u before we go the Carol Service in Little Eaton.
I hope your Sunday was as enjoyable as mine.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The end of the Tulips

Ten days ago I was given a bunch of tulips. They were red a wrapped in gold paper all tied up with a red ribbon. I put them in water and left in them in my kitchen so I could keep looking them whilst I worked. I took a photograph of them today - not quite done yet, perhaps another couple of days before I say goodbye beautiful flowers.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Boxing Day Chutney

Wow! Kirstie Allsop's Home made Christmas. I was left with my jaw on the floor with so many beautiful ideas. I have watched trhe programme several times now and I hope she brings out a book. Anyway I am going to make the Boxing Day Chutney this weekend to give as last minute gifts.


Boxing Day Chutney
Fresh ingredients

2lbs onions, sliced
2lb cooking aples peeled and chopped
1 pkt fresh cranberries (12oz)
2 pints cider vinegar
Zest of 2 oranges
1oz fresh ginger chopped finely
1 tabsp coarse sea salt
1/2tsp mixed spice
Dried Ingredients
2lb dried apricots choped
1pkt dates choped
1lb raisins
Juice of 8 oranges or 1pt orange juice
2lb sugar
Put dried fruit into a bowl and pour over the orange juice - leave to soak
Place all fresh ingredients into a large pan and cook until the onion is ale and the cranberries have turned everything pink
Add the dried fruit with the sugar
Bring to the boil and simmer until thick
Place into warm, clean jars, label

Give as gifts and a very Merry Chritmas to you all.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Christmas Wreath

I was so inspired by all your Christmas Wreaths, that I decided I just had to get on and make one myself. Kirstie Allsopp's Homemade Christmas also was a WOW factor and should be checked out immediately for inspiration. Anyway I wandered along the hedgerows and gathered together a few bits and bobs and visited the local garden centre for the essentials and I got busy.
Here is my result.
I think it needs a bit more colour, like a big gold bow, but for now it will do until I finish school next week.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Twelve Days of Christmas

I have just finished laying out the mincepies ready for our school Carol Concert this evening and I turned round and there on the wall was the Twelve Days of Christmas. I just had to take a photograph and share it with you all. I think they were made by the Junior groups.
I think I will make a Mosaic and post it on Mosaic Monday.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Mulled Wine and Mince Pies

I am going to busy over the next few days. It is our school ' Christmas Concert'. I am catering for 150 people and the mene is Mulled Wine and Mince Pies.

Mince Pies
225 cold butter, diced
350g plain flour
100g caster sugar
280g mincemeat
icing sugar to dust

1. To make the pastry runb the butter into the flour, then mix in the sugar.
2. Combine the pastry into a ball and knead it briefly - no need to add any liquid
3. Pre-heat the oven to Gas 6/200C
4. Cut the pastry in half and work each seperately to avoid rolling and re rolling
5. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured table.
6. Cut out larger circles and smaller circles for the tops.
7. Place the larger circles into a bun tray, fill with a teaspoon of mincemeat and
cover witht the smaller circle - press down and snip the top with scissors or a
couple of fork pricks.
8. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and crisp.
9. Leave 5 mins in the tray to cool and then transfer to a rack for cooling
10. Dust with icing sugar

Some people don't like a full topped mincepie and so I use the pastry trims to make holly leaves or stars for the top - just bake in the same way.

Well I can't sit here all day, ingredients to buy and get to making mince pies.

Mulled Wine
I just cheat and buy bottles of Mulled Wine from the supermarket and add some extra spices and slices of oranges.
Just heat - not boil - and pour into large glass jugs.
Serve with a mince pie.

What could be better than listening to Christmas music with a glass in one hand and a mince pie in the other.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Just missed it

What a day. I received an email from Susannah Conway re her new course registration starting in January. Oh! my you have to be really quick. All 160 places were sold out in 82 minutes. I missed out this time, but will be on the look out for her next registration. The course just sounds so amazing

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Children in Need Update

Well we certainly had a good day raising money and I made £60.00 selling my cupcakes. I had hoped to take some photographs, but by the time I had remembered, all my cakes were sold and all that was left was the paper wrappers they were baked in.
The programme on TV was fun and the uptodate money raised is in excess of £2 million pounds. A great result and all the money to be used for good causes.
I have just been reading an article about a charity that supplies sewing kits to women who want to start their own sewing business, so I am going to investigate this further and perhaps this will be my next little project.
Have a good weekend, whats left of it.

Jalfrazi Curry

During the week I had a phone call from my sister to say that a cousin who we had not seen for 40 years had found her and wished to meet us. So we arranged to meet on Saturday evening at my house for a curry, chat and look back at old photographs.
Quite sad that we lost touch, but we have all moved around so much, living and working in different parts of the UK. My cousin who was 50 years old last year suddenly felt he needed to trace family again and so thats how we all came together on Saturday evening. What fun we had catching up on 40 years of news and events.
I decided to make a Jalfrazi Curry to warm our hearts. OF course we now have addresses and phone numbers and have arranged to meet again in the New Year.

Jalfazi Curry
1 onion - peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli - deseeded and chopped
small piece root ginger - finely chopped
1 butternut squash - peeled and cubed
small cauliflower - broken into florets
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 jar Jalfrazi curry sauce
small can chickpeas - drained
2 tomatoes-chopped
1. Heat a couple of glugs of olive oil in a large saucepan
2. Add the onion, chilli and root ginger and fry for a few mins until soft
3. Add the butternut squashm cauliflower and chickpeas.
4. Add the tomatoes, curry paste and a half can of water.
5. Simmer for 40-45 minutes until tender
6. Add a couple of chopped tomatoes
7. Serve with pilau rice and naan breads

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Children In Need

Friday 21st November is a big day in the UK. It is the day we spend fundraising in every possible way to raise money for 'Children in Need' and the money goes to lots of good causes. Many schools get involved and we having a non-uniform day, which means the students come to school in casaual clothes instead of their uniform and they have to pay for the privelege of doing that - usually £2.00. I have made so many batches of large cup cakes to sell for 50p each that I have lost count. The symbol of 'Children in Need' is a bear called 'Pudsey'. The day starts at 6.00am with requests for music played on the radio and donations made. The highlight of the day is a 7 hour programme on the BBC to raise money in unusual ways. I will let you know the final total next week when it will be published in the newspaper.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Savannah in Photographs

What a place to visit. Around every corner there is something different to see. I tried to walk down by the river every afternoon to catch a glimse of the huge container ships that pass right beside you. I loved the story of 'The Waving Lady'.
The story goes that her boyfriend went away to sea and she went to wave him off. She went down to the river every afternoon to wave and hope for his return. HE didn't come back, but she waved for 40 years until she died.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Hello Everyone I am back

I have been away far too long and its good to be back. I moved house and then went to see my son who now lives in Savannah, Georgia for a 10 day stay. I came home and went back to work. It is now two weeks since I have been back at work and it feels like I have hardly been away. Anyway I have now caught up with myself and I am back to blog and tell you stories.
Savannah was just the best place to visit. As my son is now working at his very first job he was really busy during the day time and so we shared our evenings and weekend. As he lives out on Wilmington Island, I decided to stay in Savannah, so that I could met him for lunch and potter around the place during the day time.
I stayed at The Green Palm Inn, which if you are visiting Savannah is just the best place to stay. Diana was the perfect hostess. The minute I arrived I felt like part of the family. Help yourself to cakes and cookies in the afternoon and a glas of wine in the evenings. The room was comfy, homely with luxury and I had a great time. I met so many lovely people as we shared a large breakfast table. People from all over the states. A young coule who had just got married two weeks earlier in London and a couple on their first wedding anniversary. There was a lady and her two daughters from Canada, who had come for three days to go on a cookery course and a couple from South Georgia who were travelling by train from Savannah to Washington DC. I won't go on just now but to say The Green Palm Inn is a must for every traveller who goes to Savannah


Breakfast was amazing and I really did not want to eat anything until the evening (well sometimes I did).
I asked Diane for some of her recipes and said she really must put them on her website.
Banana French Toast
1 stick butter - melted
Add 1 cup brown sugar and 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Mix together
Prepare with cooking spray a 9x 13 pan.
Pour the butter/sugar mixture into the bottom.
Slice 4-5 bananas and place on top with the butter.
Slice 6-8 large croissatns lengthwise.
Place bottoms onto the bananas
Fill in the holes and make look pretty with the croissant tos.
Mix 1-1/2 cups milk and 6 eggs.
Add 2 tsp vanilla and 2tsp cinamon
Pour over the croissants
Cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate over night.
Bake 350 degrees for 55 mins.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 mins
I top the french toast with caramel ice-cream topping, whiped cream and nuts.

This was served in a wedge for breakfast along with strips of bacon and fresh fruit.
Pleny of fresh orange juice and lashings of coffee.

I was set up for the day and with all the walking in Savannah a hearty breakfast is necessary.

Good to be back. Will share some photographs of Savannah on Mosaic Monday.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Memories of Scotland

I was looking through my photographs and came across some ones I took whilst visiting Scotland earlier this year and late last year. They were mainly taken on the Isle of Mull and Isle of Skye. How I miss living in Scotland. Enjoy the Scottish Mosaic.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Cherry Iced CAkes

I can hardly believe it is Friday, the end of the week and the start of a new part of my life - moving house. We are finally on the move over the next few days. Boxes will be moving backwards and forwards transporting our lives. I am almost packed, just that special little box that has to have everything in it for the move: tea, mugs, milk, towels, light bulbs, pen, paper, corkscrew, champagne and glasses and of course car keys and pet food.
However before the move can start I have to work at school on Saturday morning for two hours at our Open Morning. We have three Open Mornings each year where prospective parents can come and meet us, bring their children and have an experience of some of the classes. Of course being the Home Economics teacher I put on a show and this year I have a small group of children making Cherry Iced Cakes.

Cherry Iced Cakes
150g margarine
150g caster sugar
150g SR flour
3 eggs
100g icing sugar
2 teaspoons water
12 glace cherries

Pre-heat the oven to Gas 5/190C
Line a tray with 12 paper cases - muffin size
1. Place the margarine, sugar, eggs and flour into a mixing bowl.
2. Use an electric mixer to whisk up the mixture until it is light and creamy.
3. Place a heaped teaspoon of mixture into each paper case.
4. Bake for 20-25 mins until golden and well risen.
5. Cool on a wire rack
6. Make up the glace icing by mixing the icing sugar and water together until thick
and smooth.
7. Cover the top of each cake and pop on a glace cherry

Photograph will be added over the weekend when I see how the cakes turn out and I have unpacked a few boxes and of course got the computer to work.
Have a nice weekend.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Another Mosaic Monday

I got quite hooked making my first mosiac, so decided I had a few minutes in-between packing boxes to post another one. I got a bit carried out and linked into http://dearlittleredhouse.blogspot.com before posting the mosaic - anyway here it is now.
The mosaic shows the water feature outside Sheffield railway station in the UK. It really is a beautiful place to visit, just sit and watch/listen to the water.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Not really an excuse for not blogging all week, but we decided to think about moving house a couple of weeks ago. You see we spend a good part of every day just sitting in the car travelling to and from work. It has never really bothered me, as when I lived in Scotland I regularly travelled 150 mile round trip every day. However I now live in England and the traffic is much heavier and the cost of fuel is just crazy. So we decided to move south, just alittle bit. And so it was that we found just the perfect house to rent for 12 months until we decide fully what to do. We have rented out our current house and we move to our new house in a couple of weeks, although it could be as early as next week. All of you who have moved house know it is not an easy task, especially packing up your kitchen. I have been surrounded by boxes every night for the past week and just decided enough was enough for today and I should catch up on all your news and have some 'me time'. I really should get my mosiac ready for 'Mosaic Monday.
So all of you have a nice week and I hope to back blogging agin very soon.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Mosaic Monday

The first day of Autumn, so my colour has to be orange.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Custard Biscuits

This has to be the easiest recipe for biscuits ever.

Custard Creams

150g butter
40g icing sugar
2 tabsp. custard powder
165g plain flour
pinch nutmeg
80g butter
75g icing sugar
2 tabsp. custard powder
Pre-heat oven to Gas 3/170C
1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
2. Add the custard powder and plain flour and mix well to form a dough
3. Roll the dough into a sausage shape and wrap in cling film - put in
fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Slice the dough into 24 slices and place on a baking tray.
5. Sprinkle on the nutmeg and bake for 10-12 minutes
6. Cool on a wire rack
7. Make the filling by combining all the ingredients together
8. Sandwich the biscuits together with the custard cream

I could harldy wait to make a cup of tea and sit and taste the biscuits.
I am not sure how many are left in the tin.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

A Little Friend Came To Stay

Last week our neighbour went away on holiday for a few days. I offered to look after her new kitty. We already have two quite elderly cats - Roly and Lucy. So Lily came to stay and she made her presence felt immediately. Roly gazed and gazed at her but finaly decided that Lily was not for him and stayed out of the way. Lucy, however took Lily under her wing and showed her the right things to do and a quick flick of the paw soon put Lily in her place. Lily really is the sweetest kitty despite taking all the books out of bookcase, sitting in the bath, tryuing to get inside the printer and hide underneath the bed. I hope you agree from the photographs she really is just a little kitty.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Traffic Light Sandwich

One of my first teaching lessons in Home Economics is to introduce the pupils to the working life of the kitchen and give them basic instruction of using the small equipment in the units, how to wash up and follow routines.(it is amazing how many of them do not know how to wash up and they are 11 years old)So I start with the making of a

Traffic Light Sandwich

2 slices bread
10g spread
1 tomato
20g cheese/or small carrot
lettuce leaves

I hope the pictures can tell you the method

Grate the cheese or carrot

Slice the Tomato

Cut holes in one slice of the bread using an apple corer

Arrange the sliced tomato - red
Grated cheese or carrot - amber
Shredded lettuce - green

Put the slice with the holes on top and cut into wedges.

You should have a traffic light.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Blackcurrant Jam and Sock Monkey's

There is never enough hours in the day. I wanted to catch up on my preserves, but I was also desperate to make another couple of 'Sock Monkey's'. So busy, busy and I managed both plus a walk.

Microwave Blackcurrant Jam

600g blackcurrants
600g preserving sugar with added pectin
1 lemon
1. Wash and sterilise 3 jars in the oven
2. Place the blackcurrants into a large bowl that will fit into the microwave and
be able to turn easily
3. Add the squeezed lemon juice and microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes until the
juice runs out.
4. Add the sugar - mix well
5. Return to the microwave for approx 12 minutes - stirring every 3 minutes.
6. Remove from the microwave stir, test for setting point
7. Pour the jam into the clean, warm jars
8. Seal and label.

The jam is such a lovely dark colour and I could not resist spreding some on a slice of a bread to have with a cup of tea.

The 'Sock Monkey's worked out well and I took a photograph of one of them, as the other fell on the floor during the photo shoot - perhaps he was nervous.

Every time I go out now I am looking for socks.

Friday, 11 September 2009

A Day of Rememberance

We remember them today, tomorrow and forever.

Thursday, 10 September 2009


I have been preparing for my Year 11 class today, as I will be teaching food preservation on Friday. I like to have a selelction of jams and chutneys to show them and demonstrate some of the recipes. This year has been a bumper crop for many of the fruits and vegetables and I just love Autumn to make sure they are preserved so they be can be eaten in the winter to remind ourselves of the summertime.
I started this morning with Spicy Plum Chutney as I had been given about 8lb of the most beautiful plums. I also made some Plum Jam. Strawberries were on special offer in the supermarket and although I have already made a huge amount I want to show the class how to make the jam using my new electric jam maker. I will also be making Lemon Curd and Blackcurrant Jam. A busy time of year, but it is important to show the younger generation how to preserve.

Spicy Plum Chutney

1.5kg plums
500g cooking apples
2 oranges
200 dried figs - choppled
100g dried cranberries
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
300ml red wine vinegar
500g demerera sugar
Method1. Halve the plums and remove the stone
2. Peel, core and dice the apples
3. Finely grate the zest from the oranges and sqwueeze the juice into a large pan
4. Add the figs, cranberries and spices along with the vinegar and sugar
5. Stir until dissolved
6. Simmer until thick and syrupy
7. Put into clean, warm jars and label when cold

I will let you know how the lesson goes when thy make it next week.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Breakfast - The Most Important Meal of the Day

Healthy eating is so important and many of the blogs I read echo that thought. Home-grown produce wether it is grown in the garden or on the farm, everyone is wanting to eat the best food that they can. Farmer's Markets, Organic Stalls and Local Produce tables are all selling such a great variety of healthy food. It is up to us to choose the right foods to eat. It is so often that people make bad choices which eventually leads to health problems. We are what we eat. Here in the UK there are many programmes, books and articles about eating for good health. I teach Home Economics to children aged 3-16 and 'Healthy Eating' is a big part of my curiculum.
I teach these rules:
Enjoy your food - with your family
Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day
Eat less fat - avoid animal fats e.g butter, cream, full fat milk
Eat less salt - avoid salty snack like crisps and nuts
Eat less sugar - avoid cakes and sweets
Eat more fibre - choose wholemeal breads, pasta and cereals
Choose foods that are well balanced to provide all the essential nutrients
Drink plenty of water - avoid fizzy drinks

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as it is the first meal after you wake up - break-the-fast. Your body needs fuel to provide energy for the day ahead.
Breakfst is different all around the world, but wherever you are choose wisely and look after your body.
When I am working I get up at 5.30am as I have a long journey. No matter what I always eat breakfast
2 Weetabix
1 nectarine/peach
1 banana
handful of blueberries
Semi-skimmed milk
tablespoon natural yoghurt

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Red Tomato Chutney

Yesterday I went into the garden to collect yet more green beans, tomatoes, courgettes, and chillies.
I decided to make some more chutney as I just love this with cold meat and cheeses with plenty of crusty bread.

Red Tomato Chutney
A fruity chutney to complement cold roast meats, mature cheddar cheese or grilled sausages.
900g (2lbs) Tomatoes skinned and chopped
450g (1lb) Cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
450g (1lb) Onions peeled and chopped
225g (8oz) Sultanas
225g (8oz) Sugar
5ml (1 teasp) Mustard powder
10ml (2 teasp) Ground coriander
5ml (1 teasp) Ground ginger
Salt and pepper
280ml (1/2 pt) Vinegar
Small tin tomato puree

1. Mix the tomatoes, apples, onions and sultanas in a large pan.
2. Stir in all the other ingredients, add a good sprinkling of salt and pepper.
3. Bring slowly to the boil, cover the pan and reduce the heat, simmer gently
until thick.
4. Stir during cooking, then pot and cover in the usual way.

Hot Tomato Chutney
Use 2 red chillies chopped up and 5ml (1 teasp) cayenne pepper to make a hot version of the above chutney.

I also roasted some of the tomatoes with garlic, onions, chillies and basil in olive oil. I then whizzed them to make a paste/sauce and used this to make a lasagna. I just browned an onion and the minced beef, then added some chopped mushrooms and a green pepper. I then added my tomato paste/sauce. Make 1/2 pint of white sauce - remember the seasoning. Then a drop of sauce in the base of a dish, pre-cooked lasagna strips, minced beef sauce, more lasagna strips, topped with sauce. Sprinkle over some grated Red Leicester Cheese and bake for 25 - 30 minutes until brown.
I suppose I could serve this with green beans and buttered courgettes.

I still had some windfall apples so just washed and chopped them leaving on the peel and cores. Cover with some cider and simmer until very soft. Then sieve them to extract the apple puree, add some sugar and mixed spice. I really love the smell of apples - autumn is coming.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Sock Monkey

As promised from yesterday, I went out and bought a pair of socks - infact I bought several pairs of socks - to try and make a'Sock Monkey'. I followed the tutorial which was just brilliant and hey presto! a 'Sock Monkey'.
I am really pleased with my effort and it only took about an hour to make. I will now be making some more to give as gifts for Christmas and this one will be mailed for a good cause.
Hope you like my 'Sock Monkey'. Why not have a go yourself - mix and match the socks for a different effect.

Friday, 4 September 2009

New Ideas

I love blogging and sharing ideas with others. I came across a 'Friendship Bag Swap' a few weeks ago and have been busy making little bags - some have been photographed. I made a purple one the other evening for a colleagues daughter who has done really well in her recent examinations. I have just posted my 'Friendship Bag' to someone in Pensylvania - hopes she likes the autumn colours.
I have just been catching up on the latest news from the blogs I follow and wow! what a wonderful idea I found - a'Sock Monkey'. This is attached to a project, but I can hardly wait to go out and buy a pair of funky socks to have a go at making this monkey. It it works out OK I will be posting it for a good cause.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Last Day of the Holidays

Last day of the summer holidays. I always have mixed feelings at the end of the seven week break from school. I enjoy my time at home and often wonder how I find time to go to work, but I am equally ready to start the term and get on with the job of teaching, of which I am passionate about.
We spent the last day of the holiday at Burton Turn which is a new marina for houseboats. The canal system around Derby is fantastic with lots of boats going up and down. I love watching them as they chug along about 4 mile per hour. Many of them are highly decorated and often have flowers or tubs of herbs on the top. Dogs sit boldly on deck enjoying the breeze and I have seen cats curled up as they go along. Burton Turn is a great stopping off point for the houseboats and has several quaint shops. The book shop looked very inviting. We had the best ever ice-cream in a waffle cone from the little shop in the photograph. Maybe one day we will take a trip and the scenery from a canal boat.

Saturday, 29 August 2009


Last year I found a recipe for 'Apple Butter' which I published on this blog. I have since found another recipe which is even better.
I had not heard about 'Apple Butter' and then I heard that whole festivals are held around this event.

My neighbour has a small orchard and said I could collect all the windfall apples, so yesterday was my day for cooking with apples - infact I did not finish until nearly midnight when I sat down to look at my results. I made 'Apple Butter' and 'Apple Chutney'.

Spiced Apple Butter

6lb windfall apples
2 pints water
2 pints dry cider
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch ground allspice
rinfd of a lemon
1. Wash the apples and cut into pieces
2. Place in a large pan with the water and cider.
3. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the apples are very soft
4. Push the fruit and cooking liquid through a fine sieve and weigh the pulp
5. Allo 3/4lb of sugar to each 1lb of pulp
6. Return the pulp to the pan and simmer until it has recueced by 1/3 or until thick
7. Add the sugar, spices, lemon rind
8. Boil, stirring frequently until no liquid remains
9. Spoon into clean, dry, warm jars
10. Cover and seal with an airtight lid

I used brown sugar this year. It is just wonderful on buttered toast

Apple Chutney

2lb apples
8oz onion
1lb brown sugar
11/2pints pickling vinegar (spices already added)
8oz sultanas
1/2oz salt
2 teaspoons grouond ginger
1. Peel, core and slice the apples. Peel and chop the onion
2. Put the onions, apples, sultanas and salt into a large pan witht eh salt and
3. Simmer until soft.
4. Add the sugar and ginger and stir until soft.
5. Boil the chutney until it is thick.
6. Pout into hot, clean jars and seal.

It is best left for a couple of weeks to infuse the flavours and I serve it with cold meat, cheeses and crusty bread.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Crockpot Recipe

I use an electric Slowcooker for this recipe - just plug it in and leave it till you return from work.

Beef and Ale
2 sticks celery
2 onions
2 carrots
glug olive oil
pinch mixed herbs
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 x tin chopped tomatoes
pinch black pepper
500g diced stewing beef
500ml Guiness or Stout
1. Trim off the ends of the celery and roughly chop the onions

2. Peel the carrots and slice lenghtways and roughly chop
3. Place all vegetables, herbs and oil into a frypan and fry for 5 minutes

4. Add the meat and flour.

5. Add the ale and tinned tomatoes - season well.

6. Pour into the slow-cooker and leave on a medium heat for 4-5 hours.

7. The meat should be tender and delicious.

You may need to add more seasoning.

This is a basic recipe and you can add any of the following to the vegetables
- Chicken and White Wine (use fresh thyme as the herb)
- Pork and Cider (use sage as the herb)
- Lamb and Red wine (use rosemary as the herb)

I added Dumplings to this recipe/
4oz SR flour
2oz suet
pinch salt/pepper
pinch mixed herbs
1. Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and add enough water to make a soft
mixture (it should not be too wet).
2. Place heapfuls of mixture on top of the meat.
3. Cover and cook for a further 25 mins.

I served this with buttered courgettes and green beans - straight from the garden