Tuesday, 22 December 2009
During this time my sister owned a Triumph Herald and on a visit home from Australia we embarked in her trusty vehicle on a 50mph journey north to my Granny's in Durham. A journey of nearly 250 miles. We stopped overnight at "The Angel" in Hull and had a lovely B&B at the pub with a shower cubicle in the room and a dinner in the Snug. HALIBUT. Real halibut steaks with a fresh prawn sauce. I can still taste it. On arrival at Granny's we were welcomed by the roaring fire and a cuppa. Granny never had coffee and in her cupboard was the small jar you had left behind last time. It had usually congealed. So Trish and I arrived with eggs, milk, bread, bacon and stuff like that .
That particular visit, we went to Seaham Harbour. There was a second hand shop and I bought a fancy dinner plate. It was a pound. I have had it ever since. It has been to Oz and back and here it is showing off my mini mince pies.
Laura at Amongst the Oaks makes the most wonderful biscuits and I was so moved by her efforts that I have tried to improve my own. I made a batch of these the other day but they weren't worthy of posting. Today I made some more and am more pleased with them but they still rank as quite rustic. You may also notice that there are only eleven.
Yes, Dear Reader, one had to be dug out of the teflon tray and eaten by me with a teaspoon. It was yummy.
Monday, 21 December 2009
I'm watching Nigella tonight. She is good but not my favourite. I adore Rick Stein, Nick Cairn and many other British cooks, but I miss Kylie Kwong, Stephanie Alexander and other Aussie Cooks.
I certainly feel that my foodie ability has been enhanced by my time in Oz. Let's face it, there aren't many countries which can offer foods from tropical to sub-arctic origins at a full range of time spans/seasons.
I miss the availability of produce and ingredients that was available in Australia all year round and not dragged in from Africa but I never cease to be amazed by the "Ready Meal" varieties available here in the UK. BUT I have discovered that you can keep the next spare milk on the doorstep because it will be fresh when you want it even though it doesn't fit in the fridge.
Sunday, 20 December 2009
I made mince pies last night and was pleased with my pastry which I haven't made for years. I have got lazy and purchase the readymade stuff, but the homemade was lovely enough to make the effort. I shall make more for Christmas because I'll need to after scoffing last night's batch. I mixed some marmalade into the mince and am enjoying the flavour so much it shall become a regular thing. It seems to take the slightly metallic taste out of the readymade mincemeat. I have made my own mincemeat before but it is meant to mature for a few weeks so I resorted to Asda's luxury blend. Great all round. Pics next time when I take more care with the tops and dust them with newly bought icing sugar.
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
In the first place they are so "dead tasteful" that I should have thought better of it. But I had already started with stick-on rhinestones (actually, I like them and may use them again) which lift the paintings from poor attempts at art to true seasonal crafts.
But then, when you get to the post office, they try to slip them through the "letter gauge". Oops, they don't fit and you have to pay small packet rate for your shoddy homemade cards.
I'll be surprised if the bells stay on all the way to their destinations.
The very first christmas cake ever cooked by me, is in the oven. According to Delia, the Goddess of Cooking, I'm not allowed to open the oven door until 5pm....even for a teeny peep. It's like cooking a yorkshire but costs more.
The washing up was horrendous....three large bowls, two small ones, electric beaters, whisks, measuring spoons and more. All for a 6inch square cake.
A buzzer has gone....is it early? shall I peep?
Sunday, 13 December 2009
I bought some bits and pieces which "finished" the cards I was assembling. I painted some vignettes and then bought some card blanks, trimmings and glue and put it all together. I painted little pics and made them look like tree-baubles. I stuck on peel-off greetings
I added little bells and ribbons at the top and then I pressed on stick-on rhinestones
Saturday, 12 December 2009
I know some people manage to keep their poinsettias going from one Christmas to the next but I don't have a great deal of success with indoor plants. Poinsettias show their disdain for their new home by fading and shedding their green and red leaves as soon as my back is turned. I water them and it happens. I don't water them and it happens. I realise it is something to do with the temperature of the house but I do like to be warm, so the poinsettias lose out. Anyway, at the moment there are more poinsettias at the supermarket than litres of milk and they cost the same so I bought a few more!!! They seem to like to be in huddles of hundreds but it was three for £5, so three more came home to replace the two, fast-fading ones. Unfortunately, they don't fit in the fridge like the milk does even though they would probably prefer that sort of environment.
This is one of the old survivors and oops! a leaf fell off as I wrote this!!! Perhaps they don't like exclamation marks!!!!!
It would be tragic to allow me to treat real Christmas trees to the same central heating temperature, so I invested in a tinsel tree. I'm fond of Wilkos at the moment. It seems to have replaced Woolworths for many items and is easy to use and the staff are really friendly. I came home from Wilkos with this little GOLD tinsel job (not much point having a faux GREEN one) which has LED fibre-optic ends to the branches and they change colours beautifully. I tried to take pics of the different colours but they blur, so the blue will have to do. It looks really lovely in the sitting room and has been much admired by DJ and me, in fact, nearly as much as the new telly.
At WI a few weeks ago we got to paint ceramic blanks, which the tutor took away to glaze and fire. This much improved the overall look of the item but my "snowman" xmas-tree bauble still has an alarmingly grizzly look about him. I've secreted him amongst the lower branches where he is dazzled by the fibre-optics. The other two..."xmas tree bauble" and "holly bauble" are buried more deeply into the tinsel "foliage" for good reasons. If I had a child who came home from kinder with them I would have been proud. Me...I'm 61 and should be able to do better!
Aaaargh!!!The front door has been a bit breezy lately and so a door-curtain has been hung to exclude the cold wafts of air. DJ did the pole and I did the sewing. It only took a couple of hours. It's great to have that teamwork. It is simply whisked across a pole as the evening draws in (or is it "on"). It is so successful that the doors to the kitchen and sitting room have now been removed by DJ and stored in the shed. The whole downstairs is now a lovely warm open space.
My foot is doing really well...my own non-medical opinion...and the stitches will come out on Friday. I have been obliged to keep the same dressing on all that time. I bath with the left leg dangling over the side of the bath. Tis fine and well and easy to do. I can see the bruising changing colours as the other toes peep out, but the big toe is well wrapped and out of bounds. I can move it up and down without pain. So..., I want to be able to drive again... VERY SOON. Maybe Saturday 19th
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
The first part of the paving is shown above. It is decorative and should not be used to carry the weight of a car but...
this area will be covered with blocks in sand and cars will be able to be driven in and parked.
Yesterday, no less, I was admitted to Shotley Bridge Hospital for day surgery to re-condition what I have, because they haven't perfected replacement toe joints yet. It is called a Cheilectomy and you can google gory videos of the procedure. So I did, as you do. It told me a lot more than the doctor did.