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Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Good Life 3

The buttermilk was used in the making of the cheese scones and they were eaten today with the butter for lunch.
A little of the last of the xmas cake completed the meal.

The crossword was nearly completed at one sitting, without references. That's about my best go yet! There are three clues left to research.
A round picture, a freemason's doorkeeper and a place in Surrey with the letters E_H_M.

Cheers Gillian

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Good Life 2

The double cream was poured into the food processor and whipped with the whipper until it stopped. It might have stopped because the stuff was solid or because the contact in the processor had got very hot, but I changed over to the main metal blade and carried on.

It turned into lovely pale yellow butter and I poured the buttermilk into a jar and I hope to make it into scones tomorrow.

800 ml of double cream made about 700 gm butter and 100 ml buttermilk and a lot of washing up.

If the butter keeps well I may do this again. Cheap and very cheerful, especially if the scones are better than those I usually make.

Cheers Gillian

The Good Life 1

We were spending a few days away visiting and whilst at my sister's place, my nephew came round for lunch with some bread and butter he had made himself.
We all enjoyed it!
I'm not a good bread maker and will not waste time or ingredients checking up on that, but I'm going to have a go at the butter right now. E said he just beat the cream till it turned into butter and so shall I. Well I shan't do it by hand. I shall put it in the magimix with the whipped cream attachment and just watch it happen!
Let you know soon.

I finished my first two oil paintings and they seem to look quite good this size on the blog. I took photos and then copied the photos. Nothing terribly creative but I'm getting the hang of the paints and how they handle. They are the new water soluble oils, and the brushes and palettes (and hands) can be cleaned in warm soapy water.

I'm on to a third now and am trying to be a bit more adventurous and creative. Creative to me means something like using the "wrong" colour. Sad really. I wish had some flair.

Cheers Gillian

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Eating and Outing

We do concern ourselves with food and drink, probably over muchly.
The latest mission was to make a successful Quiche Lorraine. The last one was so unsuccessful that we threw it away after a few mouthfuls.
For this one, the recipe by Stephanie Alexander in her orange-coloured, Ozzie tome on food was followed carefully from homemade short pastry to how much cheese to include. And no tomatoes!

There was plenty of pastry. I was concerned with the wobbling centre after the allotted time, so gave it 5 more minutes. Next time I shall have more faith and not overdo it.
But all in all it was a great feed and has done us well for two meals and there is some left over. That last piece might remain left over.
I am rather obsessive about waste and try to use up everything, but sometimes I feel a need for a complete change and the last bit goes. I have had to make a rule about three times and it's out or we would be grimacing at one another over a bowl of quiche lorraine soup.
The glorious sunshine on Saturday saw us venture to Staithes in the campervan. Other vanners were there with their surfboards. Some had slept in them overnight in order to be up to catch these waves! It had been colder in the van than in the sea said one from Leicester. He had had three sleeping bags and was still cold.

It's a pretty village and famous for the artists who frequent it to catch the changes in colour and light.

We moved on to Saltburn where I found the "Arts Bank" ( full of lovely pictures and works for sale.

And then this morning, saw the Andrew Marr interview of David Hockney putting up his new exhibition at the R.A. I would love to get to that. I can't get a link working today but try and type in Hockney. Such colour.

I think I shall print this pic off and try it in lime greens, purples and stuff. I'm too staid with colour. Time for an adventure.

Cheers Gillian

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


OK. Here is the test.
I made two pots of porridge. I put lots of milk and some honey on both bowls. The one at the rear is "Tesco's Finest Rolled oats".

The one at the front is "Mornflake Medium Oatmeal". I had a yearning for the sort of porridge my granny used to make. She used to get up really early and cook it in a double boiler. My grandfather would have his with milk and a sprinkling of salt. I found the Mornflake stuff in Sainsbury's. I made the two batches at once so that we could compare them.

The outright verdict was Mornflake real porridge.

I admit I put them both on at the same time and so the rolled oats were quite well cooked and very smooth, but the other stuff was just right and it is definitely worth getting up earlier in order to cook it.

So I shall.

Cheers Gillian

Sunday, 8 January 2012


Another fine day saw us out at Seaton Carew having a long walk on the beach.

We weren't the only ones. Most people take a dog or two, or some kids and bikes. This bloke took his horse.

He said she had laminitis as a result of eating food too rich in oats and barley and it was like having gout in the knees.

Walking her through the cool water helped to bring down the inflamation and he would be bringing her back each day till she was better. (And fixing her diet, I hope).

She was certainly enjoying it.

Cheers Gillian


We got the campervan out of storage and took off in the early morning sunshine. The North Yorkshire coast is home to jet and fossils and Runswick Bay has a good reputation for both.
The village is absolutely lovely. Lots of cottages tumbling down the steep hillside, with footpaths intertwining all whichways through them.

Carparks and roads are off to the side.

Gardens are small and exquisitely kept and the views are plain marvelous.

The original village was swept away in a storm in the 1600s leaving only one cottage. It is still there at the foot of the cliff but new cottages have all been built higher up the steep cliff.

Unfortunately the beach is not as strewn with treasures as I was led to believe, but we walked all the way round to the cliffs and hammered hopefully at strange shapes. We returned empty handed to the van.

Bacon sandwiches and the Saturday papers kept us occupied for a fair while and we shall return as soon as we can because it is a treasure of a place even if I found none on the beach.

Cheers Gillian

Friday, 6 January 2012


I have another new toy. It is a rock polisher. It turns jagged rocks and lumpy pebbles into smooth shiny treasures.
The company who sell the polisher, send out a bag of jagged rocks for you to start on, so I did.

You put the rocks in a barrel, cover them with water and add a spoonful of grit. Then you put the lid on tightly.

The barrel is loaded onto the turner and left turning for a week. It's in the shed cos it rattles all the time as the rocks tumble around inside.

After ten days (oops) they came out looking like this. They were gorgeous while they were wet but are still lovely dry. They are now back in the tumbler with a finer grade of grit for another week and then they get a week with the polish. They should end up looking as if they are wet all the time.

I'm thrilled. Being a bit of a rock nut, this is a grand way to make some of them even more attractive. But the big concern is...WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH ALL THE POLISHED ROCKS? There are plenty of unpolished rocks in every nook and cranny of the house already and fossils fills spare spots on shelves and large boulders adorn the garden.

Please send suggestion soonest. Fortunately it takes a month to polish a small barrel from start to finish so you have time to think up some really ingenious suggestions. If it makes money I'll share the profits!

Last week I opened a "forward" from a friend in Oz and clicked on it in order to see an amazing picture. Nothing obvious happened, but the bug in the email then forwarded it to everyone in my address book. I didn't know that and apologise to all of you out there. The next bit is worse though. Windows/hotmail then blocked my email provision and will only consider unblocking it if I provide them with some very sensitive info, like all your names and addresses and contents of recent emails and even financial "up them". I'll start again with a provider which is more careful what it lets through and doesn't punish me for being a victim. So I'm now and would love to hear from you all so that I can start building up an address book again, from scratch!

Cheers Gillian