Monday, 30 January 2012

Journey through January

Bargin Buy Monday

I spotted these books in a bookshop yesterday. But as is usually the case, I didn't buy them when I saw them. So I went back today, and they were there.

Rose Prince Kitchenella and Jane Grigson English Food, both are to my mind, reading books as well as cookery books.

£2.98 for both of them - Happy me.

Braised chicken rice, steamed with allspice and Apple Tart 

Rump steak, with Potato, garlic and cream gratin

Spring chicken and Pork

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Museums, Weekend and Cake

One of our favourites

Unfortunately, I didn't ask whether I could take any pictures inside.

Two historic houses make up Newarke Houses Museum, one is Wygston's Chantry House and the other is Skeffington House. The museum shows exhibits which tell the story of 20th century Leicester and the history of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment.

If you look in the background of this picture you will see The Magazine Gateway

The building is the remains of the mediaeval gateway added to Leicester Castle by the Third Earl of Leicester. It is a Grade I Listed Building, you never know it might pop up on Grand Designs one of these days!!!

Jewry Wall Museum


Jewry Wall Museum was part of the Roman town's public baths, with abit of imagination you can see  the layout of the baths, its what remains of the walls that you can see.

and after all that, cake was needed.

The big Garden Bird Watch

The weekend started of with the Big Garden Birdwatch

We provide food all year round, we have noticed that the bird that visit our garden like mealworms, they pick these out from the other mixes of seeds, even if the mealworms are within a suet mix. They throw the other 'rubbish' to one side.

To take part, you have to watch for one hour over this weekend then submit your results. I watched whilst making bread and butter pickles.

I counted the following, Blackbird, Collard Dove, Robin, House Sparrow, 2 Feral Pigeons, Starling and a little Jenny Wren.

Results duly sumitted.

Onto Bread and Butter Pickles.

Cucumber, Onions and Pickling Spice in Pickled Vinegar.
According to instructions, 1 tbsp of spice per pint of vinegar, I had half a pint of vinegar, so half tbsp boiled then left to cool for 2 hours.

Its the first time, so I'll let you know.

Sunday, 22 January 2012


First time for everything, this is my first go at making marmalade.

2lb of seville oranges

the juice of these oranges with the juice of one lemon

Squeeze the lemon and oranges, saving the very important pips.

Place the pips and pith in a square of muslin and secure with string.
I bought the muslin from a fabric shop, £2.73 per meter, rather than square from Lakeland.

Add the juice and slices of orange to 4 pints of water and suspend the muslin bag in the liquid.

Simmer for 2 hours.

After 1 hour, or there abouts of simmering.

After the full 2 hours comes the all important set test, after rapid boil for 20 minutes try it for test, of course it hadn't set. So I tried again after 10 minutes and it seemed better. I've read that it always sets anyway. I think in the past I've over boiled jam which has turned out very nice but rather hard.

Anyway all seems well and we have four nice jars of Marmalade.

Saturday Shopper

Only a couple of things to show you.

We had some errands to run, chemist and car wash to name two. After driving to the allotment last week to take some slabs, which were gifted from Freecycle, the poor car looked as if I'd been off roading.

Its nearly seed sowing time and Aldi have come up trumps again this year as always.

Only 39p each.

Something to watch as well, some funny finds in Loros and Mind.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Plum Cheese Making

I've read alot about making fruit cheeses, to eat with proper cheese. So thought I would have a go. According to my book Reader's Digest Food from your Garden, you use the softened plums which your have left from making jelly. I froze these plums last year with a view to doing exactly this.

I had nearly 3lb of plums, to which I added 6fl oz of water and left to simmer until very soft.
this took 3/4 qtrs of an hour.

Then you have to push the pulp through a medium sieve, I do have a sieve, no idea whether its medium or not, but having used a masher they were softer than I thought.

So I moved onto a sieve, I shouldn't have doubted Reader's Digest, they have been doing it for far longer than me.

After pushing half of theplums through the sieve, I transfered to a bigger bowl, which I should have used in the first place!

I ended up with 2 pints of juice, to which you add 1lb of sugar for each pint of juice, plus a squeeze of lemon.

Bring to the boil and stir.

I made notes as I went along, for future reference. That way I could see where I went wrong or perhaps what I did right.

This stage of simmering and stiring took a further 45 minutes. Its finished when you can drawer a line along the bottom with a wooden spoon.

Now comes the potting up into jars and ramekins. I think the idea of using ramekins is that you can turn them out. I'm too much of a chicken to try that. It does seem to be set but I don't want to end up with a blob on the plate. So I've frozen one of the ramekins and we will eat the other one first.
The others are in jars so will be fine for ages.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Maccano Magic

Maccano Magic day at Abbey Pumping Station. Lots of things for big kids as well as small kids all made from Maccano.

All the fun of the fair.

The Clock Tower in the centre of town.

Which you saw here, recently.

A good day, as always.

January Garden

There isn't much to show in the garden at this time of year, but I had a walk around anyway.

At least the sun was shining and the birds were singing.

On view from the living room window, where its rather more cozy and warm.

Roll on spring !!