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 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.