Friday, 30 September 2016


Good morning, gentle readers, and welcome to the last day of September.

Yesterday was an odd day - I woke feeling 'not right', felt progressively worse through the day although I did my reading stint at school, came home to get ready for the music festival meeting and just crashed out, shivering and freezing cold.  I turned up the heating, sent apologies to the meeting and tried to get warm under my owl fleece and after a while the warmth returned and I went to sleep.  Still feeling a bit odd this morning but definitely better after sleeping really well, although I'm very glad I have no commitments.  I was going to school to watch a video about Termly Learning Conferences, but it's not essential so I shall give it a miss and take it easy and gentle today, keeping the aches at bay as much as possible.

Whinge over - thanks for listening.

On Bake Off this week, the technical challenge was making fougasse, which is a French flatbread traditionally shaped and slashed to resemble a leaf.   As I watched, it seemed a very simple process, not to different from an ordinary bread dough (with the addition of fresh herbs to match the 'botanical' theme for the week).  I looked it up, found the recipe they used (newly posted on the Beeb site!!) and thought I would have a go.  I quite fancy making mini-fougasse, if that is possible.  The only ingredient I don't have is fine semolina for dusting.  Have any of you, my readers, made fougasse?  How did it go?

I finished the bag and managed to get it to the lady who is going on maternity leave today.  Here's a couple of not very good photos - the patterned fabric is a Very Hungry Caterpillar pattern.  The bag and the pockets are all filled with something - a pack of disposables, baby oil, etc, with a couple of goodies for the mum to enjoy once baby is born.

Yesterday's food went totally doolally but never mind, here's today's plan
B: two boiled eggs, apple
L:  red pepper hummus, oatcakes, fruit
D:  fish pie (MUST have it today), runner beans, yogurt and pineapple

Wednesday, 28 September 2016


Good morning, gentle readers.

I feel so rested this morning.  One could almost say that I overslept - I didn't wake until 5:45 this morning which, given that I've been waking around four recently, is fantastic and I do feel so much better for nearly another two hours of sleep.  I wasn't late to bed either.

I bounced downstairs and set to making this year's mincemeat.  I use the Delia recipe that my mum has used for decades and which looks a bit urgh in the jar but tastes heavenly.  I adapted it, of course, to suit what I had in the cupboard so, instead of currants, I used cranberries and I added some chopped dried apricots which needed using up.
There are a few things I need to get: a bit more candied peel and some oranges, and I think I will also add some chopped walnuts as I adore them in Christmassy things.  I'm also trying to decide whether to add brandy or whether to get some grand marnier and add that instead.  I have time to think about that as it's a long process and I won't need the alcohol until tomorrow as I am leaving it all to steep until early tomorrow morning so the flavours develop and mingle..
Here's a link to the recipe, if you're interested.  It's really good and I will give some away as Christmas presents.

Yesterday I was given a bag of crab apples (thanks, M-A) so that's another very pleasant task for today.  I have to brave the garage to find my jelly bag first though as it has to be a lovely, clear, pink tinted jelly.  I think I will use the remaining mush to make something else though as I can't bear the waste which is why I rarely make a jelly.

After having a good time in Foundation Stage in the morning, getting to know the new-to-school children, the afternoon was spent in sewing and crocheting.  I've finished the gift now and, hopefully, will get it to the recipient tomorrow.  I hope she likes it.  I have also almost finished the poncho I am making.  It's a step above what I used to make with granny squares in my younger days and fits nicely so I am sure to wear it.  I just have to decide whether to put a fringe round or not.  I'm thinking not as it strikes me as rather hippy-teenager-60s like and while I can relate to the 60s, it's in quite a different way!!
Here's a link to the pattern which I have made, not in the lurid colours there, but in a nice, slightly tweedy dusky-dark lilac aran.

So today is mostly going to be kitchen based after a trip to get what I need.  Apart from the crab apple jelly, I have a pile of giulietta tomatoes to turn into chopped tomatoes for the freezer and I'm pondering over making some red onion marmalade.

Later on it is tuition, but the planning for that is pretty much done and really just needs a tweak and a polish.

I also have to start owl making for a friend who has ordered two and, after some good news from another friend, I am thinking quilts again!

However did I find time to work, eh?

Today's food
B:  toast and marmalade; apple
L:  red pepper hummus, oatcakes, salad; orange
D:  fish fingers, new potatoes, runner beans, tomatoes; yogurt and pineapple

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Good morning, gentle readers.  It's dark out there and it feels cool.  Not dressing gown and slippers cool, just slightly less than comfortable.  Yesterday evening the heating clicked on.  Autumn is definitely here now.

I worked hard in school yesterday and by the time I had to go I had sorted out the resources and produced an audit sheet.  Good feeling.  It felt odd, however, to be sitting with the staff eating my beans on toast - sort of half in the past and half not belonging any more.  Nice but odd.

That was about it for the day really.  These things take time and you can see how difficult it is for a class teacher to find the time to get things like this done on top of your normal full day's work.  It took me all day.  I shall be doing the history cupboard in a few weeks as well, history and geography being my 'responsibilities'.

Today is a more gentle day.  Into Foundation Stage this morning to finish off the reading books and then I want to do some shopping - I have mincemeat to make and don't have all the ingredients.  Also I gather I shall be given a bag of crab apples this morning and I need to sort out my jelly bag so I can make crab apple jelly.

Today's food:
B:  natural yogurt, blueberries and granola, apple
L:  beans on toast, orange  I might spice up the beans with some grated chorizo
D:  tomato, veg and tuna pasta, yogurt and pineapple

Have a good day!

Monday, 26 September 2016


Welcome to the start of the week!  A very busy week too, for me, and my diary is covered with scribbles and alterations!  It's all nice stuff though, nothing too hair raising!

Yesterday was really exciting.  Not 'impact the world' exciting, just impacting my world exciting.

H came round with the front door ramps and fitted them so that his lovely wife, my dear friend, Julia, can now come and visit, have lunch with me, coffee, etc.  I can't remember how long it has been since she could do that.  I forgot to take a photo in the excitement though, darn it!
We're now thinking lunches and craft days for me, Beth, Jules and Jen and, in time, maybe others.
That's exciting!!!  I'm thinking one in November and maybe a Christmas themes one in December, although that depends on how well busy ladies can make any dates!

I started off the day having a go at making onion gravy.  I've tried before but never really been successful except with the bisto and marmite version (which is nice enough with a decent stock for flavour  but . . .).  I'm a bit restricted because it needs to be vegetarian.
Anyway, I had a go at sort of following a recipe and what emerged was OK.  Actually, on its own it tasted just very slightly too vinegary but when poured over carrots, parsnips and new potatoes it came to life and was really delicious.  I suppose the sweetness of the veg and the tang of the gravy balanced each other.
We both had seconds.
I have some ideas for tweaking so will try it again another time soon and maybe report back, when I have got it just so!

Then I cleaned out Thermione and started off the bread dough.  On Saturday I used just spelt flour and it was really delicious but didn't rise all that much - it was a lovely texture inside though.  Yesterday I did half and half spelt and white and the loaf it produced was just beautiful.
I'm very lucky - I now have a contact who can get great quality flour for me at a ridiculously cheap price and, while I was perfectly OK with Aldi flour and would happily go back to it, should I need to, this flour is brilliant and it does make a difference.  Fantastic.

Of course, having fitted the ramp, Julia and Harry came in (ooooh - so exciting) for coffee and J selected the materials she wanted us to use to make two owl cushions.  She also spotted what I had made for my colleague and thought it was lovely so that settled my mind, especially after Beth was also very nice about it.  I have to get a few more bits and bobs to go with it and then I can take a photo and show it off!  She even hinted (well, stated) that she might like one herself and, as I have extra fabric, I could do that.

Finally, I booked to go on a course.  Being a governor, I am notified of relevant courses to match my interests and responsibilities and I liked the look of one that is taking place in January.  Generally we are, as a governing body, busy people so don't go on many of the courses but I thought 'why not' so did!  I don't have to pay and it should help me in my role as a humanities subject governor.

Today I'm in school wearing said governor's hat to do an audit of the Geography resources which, in reality, means tidying up the cupboard.  I know very well, from my own experiences, how hard it is to make the time to undertake something like that so am glad to be able to support in this way.  I'm booked to do something similar for the history cupboard at some point this term too.

After that it is tuition, changed from the normal day because of other commitments.  The planning is all done and I just need to glance over it all so it's at my finger tips.

My food plans for today:
B:  oat bran galette with fruit and yogurt; melon
L:  beans on toast (which I can prepare at school, if necessary); more melon
D:  leftovers from yesterday (ham, new pots, carrots), runner beans (the plants are still producing); fruit yogurt

I seem to have rambled on an awful lot.  Finished now!  Have a great day.

Sunday, 25 September 2016


Good morning.  It's too dark to say what the weather is like but wasn't yesterday beautiful?  The BBC tells me that today will be less sunny but fine, all the same.  OK by me!

I had a most successful expedition into town yesterday.  I set out to get some thread, some zips and, hopefully, a handbag.

The first two were easy.  The market stall really is very good.  So much stuff crammed in such a tiny space which makes it awkward when busy but at just after nine on a Saturday morning it was fine.
Then I went to look at the market stall but, disappointingly, there was nothing that suited.  Several lovely bags, sure, but just too small.  Not MY bag!

So I left the market and thought where I might get a bag.  Bhs was my first thought but then I remembered that it has closed.  Debenhams is way too expensive (I looked a couple of weeks ago).  However, we do have an M&S and, even better, I remembered that I had an M&S gift card that I had never used.

After wandering around the food hall (sheer pleasure), I found the bags and, yes, there was one that was Just Right!  It was much more than I would have wanted to pay but that gift card made it affordable, so there you go!

Once home, I transferred all my stuff over and, while doing so, found something important that I have been looking for and thought I had lost which was a great relief and made me very happy.

After that I used Thermione II to make the spelt dough (lovely smell) and I now have a couple of loaves to enjoy.  I shall slice it and then freeze it as I eat much less bread nowadays.

I also did some sewing and finished the gift I am making.  I'm not totally sure about it really so I'll see what Beth thinks.

Today I'm baking in the morning and in the afternoon H is coming round to fit the ramps for my front door.  Really exciting!

I'm not totally sure about today's food.  Must do some more menu planning!

Added later - I forgot to post this - yesterday's pickings from a very small patch!

Saturday, 24 September 2016


It's Saturday!  I know, just another day of retired idleness but even so!  Saturday.

First of all, Diane, thank you so much for the recipe.  I've made it but wasn't able to eat it yesterday so I will have it this evening.  I changed a few bits: I added wine as well as water and I shall thicken it a bit with some thickening granules.  It is absolutely delicious and made the house smell wonderful.

Yesterday and Thursday I caught up with quite a pile of washing which included visitors' sheets.  Yesterday evening I set the ironing board up in front of the telly and worked through the lot.  Now all I have to do is wash my own sheets and that's that for the week.  Cheers!

After swimming yesterday Beth came round and we had a good natter while she got on with some sewing.  I made soup for lunch and after she left I popped up to school to pick up two lovely bags of spelt flour from a friend.  I shall try it out after I've been to the market today.

I had a bit of a scare in the evening (if 'scare' is the right word).  When I went up to bed, the shower light was flickering on and off, on and off but no water.  I had no idea what was the problem so I fired off a message to the lovely Matt and slept soundly - and this morning it was OK again, working perfectly.  Really weird.

I also spent some time going through some new Thermomix recipe books that I have acquired.  Occasionally I have a slight sense of guilt about these books but then I remind myself that cooking is a hobby and it's just a bit of pleasure really.  Anyway - looking through, there's loads of recipes I want to try so, after I've done the bread, I might have a go at the red onion balsamic relish which looks really delicious.

I also want to have a go at Delia's mincemeat.  Now I have more time, I'm taking on more of the Christmas cooking.  Mum has always made the mince pies but this year I shall have a go and hope that my new found and somewhat fragile pastry skills hold up!  Not today though as I have enough plans.

So it's off to the market first for some thread, zips and, if possible, a handbag.  While I was on holiday, on my visit to Snape Maltings, I indulged in a lovely new purse/wallet thingy.  It's gorgeous and so it should be at that price, but ever so slightly too large for my bag which was too small anyway.  There's a good (and cheap) handbag stall in the market so I shall go and get one, if possible.

Then it's home again to do lots of sweet, homey, simple things for the rest of the day.  Bread, chutney, sewing, crochet, changing my sheets - all those little things that make life such a a pleasure.

Today's food:
B:  yogurt, fruit, granola, melon
L:  ham salad wrap, apple
D:  chorizo and potato stew with runner beans, orange

Friday, 23 September 2016


Good morning, gentle readers.  Welcome to an early Friday morning.

For someone with virtually nothing written in the diary, I seem to be having a very busy two days.
Yesterday, after Mum and Dad left (good journey, no problems with traffic) I set to and washed the bedding so that's now just waiting to be ironed.  I sorted out a huge pile of tomatoes (passata/freezer) and thought I really ought to dig out the tomato ketchup recipe I made last year.
Then, before I went into school in the afternoon, I sorted out the planning and got it all set out and ready.
Reading with year 2 was super and then it was tuition which all went really well.
I was tired after all that!

Today I've started off the day by ironing the fabric and cutting out the pieces for the gift I am making.  In a little while I'm going swimming with Beth and then I will sew and knit, do a bit of gardening, sort out a corner of the kitchen and generally keep things moving.  Later I am pick up some spelt flour from a friend so tomorrow I will be making spelt bread for the first time.

With Autumn coming ever closer and a garden overshadowed by a tree (falling leaves, etc), I bought a garden hoover yesterday.  Not an expensive one but to give it a go.  It blows and sucks at different speeds and - well, we will see.  It warns against trying to suck up wet leaves but I doubt I'd be doing that anyway.  It wasn't terribly expensive so I don;t feel too guilty.

The project I was working on has now been delivered and the recipient has - er - received their gift so I can post photos.  They're not great (the photos) but you will get the idea.
It's got a deep hem so can be turned down quite a bit.  The colour's not come out well on the photo.

Sweet little cardigan.

Detail of the pattern.

Today's food:
B:  before swimming: apple.  After swimming: toast and marmalade
L:  Ham salad, orange
D:  Chorizo and potato stew (thank you, Diane), yogurt and melon