Thursday, 21 May 2015


Good Afternoon to you,

I do love re-discovering something I had quite forgotten about, as when found, it is like seeing the item for the very first time.

The other day, I was rooting around at the back of the cupboard, when I found a lovely little cruet set. Well I say found, what I actually mean is, I re-discovered a silver cruet set, which I had quite forgotten about.  I had bought it quite a few years ago and the reason I bought it, was that the cruet set, reminded me so much of Ivy, my grandmother.

I think I have mentioned before, that Ivy loved a well laid table. Her table was always beautiful, whether it was set for breakfast, dinner or tea-time. Not only was the table laid beautifully with lovely linen tablecloths, but the item which stands out in my memory, is a silver cruet set which was always placed on the table.... but do you know, it was hardly used and certainly not by the children, as we were never allowed to add salt or pepper to our meals. The adults, after tasting their food, and only after tasting their food, would put a tiny spoonful of salt on to the side of their plate, ready to sprinkle over food which needed a little extra salt..... and when I say it was a small spoon, it certainly was as it was the size of my little finger nail, yes it was that small.

Just recently, I have been placing salt in a tiny dish and putting it on the table along with a tiny dish of black pepper.  I can't tell you when I started doing this, but I think I know why..... it is because when I am taking photographs of my food, and the time arrives for the salt and pepper to be photographed, I always put the salt and pepper into little dishes....and now,  it seems to have become a habit.

..... and do you know I think I might expand that habit to include my silver cruet set..... now that would look very 'shi shi' on the table, wouldn't it.

You will be able to see my little silver cruet set as I have included it in the photographs, but before you see it, you need to know what we are making today.

A very healthy quinoa salad.  The weather isn't really salad weather, as believe it or not it is still very cold. I went shopping today wearing a coat, scarf and gloves, but I digress, back to the salad, this is one of those salads which I find I can eat anytime of the year.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to is,

Robbie William's fabulous album 'Swing When You're Winning'. Listen to and enjoy,

'Mack The Knife'
'Well Did You Ever'
'They Can't Take That Away From Me'

I love all the original versions, but I have to say, Robbie does a fabulous job singing these old songs.

So while I listen to 'Beyond the Sea'..... one of George's favourites, I will organise my ingredients.


100g quinoa
1 fresh chilli (medium heat)
2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
5 spring onions
280g jar artichoke hearts
100g edamame beans
(I used frozen edamame beans)
2 tablespoons capers
8 sun dried tomatoes
lemon juice ~ 1/2 lemon
4 tablespoons of olive oil
sea salt
black pepper


Rinse the quinoa
in plenty of cold water.

Place the quinoa into a pan
500 ml of cold water.
Bring the water to the boil
simmer the quinoa for 15-18 minutes
until the water has been absorbed
and the quinoa is tender.

While the quinoa is cooking,
place the edamame beans in a pan
and add water,
bring to the boil 
and simmer for 3 minutes.
set aside for the moment.

I would advise
that you
wear a pair of rubber gloves
when handling the chilli,
because you might inadvertently
 rub your eye
and trust me,
these chillies will sting,
so I find the safest bet is to 
wear gloves throughout this process.
Better to be safe than sorry, I feel.

Remove the stem of the chilli
remove the membrane and the seeds
finely chop.
If you prefer a hotter flavour
use the seeds as well.

Top and tail
the spring onions

finely slice.
Set aside for the moment.

Cut the sun dried tomatoes
into slices
set aside.

Wash the spinach leaves
set aside.

Mix together
lemon juice

olive oil

thoroughly combined.

Season with
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper.
(This is my lovely little cruet set.
Do you see the size of the spoon... tiny
isn't it.)

When cooked,
place the quinoa in a large bowl
the dressing.

Toss together.

toss together.

edamame beans,
 spring onions,
sun dried tomatoes,
toss together.


toss together.

Check for seasoning,
and lemon juice.
If needed
then toss again.


drain the artichokes

on top
 of the salad
all there is left to do

I love artichocke hearts, but if they don't float your boat, add french beans.  With this type of salad it is easy to take away and add what you love.

Before I leave you I wanted to let you know that I will be taking a blogging break for about 5 weeks.  I will miss you, but I will try my best to keep up with you and visit your blog when I can.

So take care of yourself and I will see you again in July.

Thursday, 14 May 2015


Good Morning to you,

'Well, well.  What a pretty picture', Mrs Swindell
said, clapping the money box lid shut.
'Poor Mr Swindell, out in the mud, digging
for the treasures what put food in your
ungrateful mouths'

The Forgotten Garden
Kate Morton

I am really enjoying 'The Forgotten Garden' by Kate Morton and if I have the time, I read a few chapters each day. A little way into the book, I came across the above passage. My word, 'mudlarks' they are a something from the past and quite forgotten by me. 

Firstly, let me explain what a 'mudlark' is.

A 'mudlark' is someone who scavenges in river mud searching for items which have been buried in the mud. They search during low tide for anything which can be re-sold. 

... and I have memories of mudlarks. As a young girl, when we visited Ivy and Gramps, we would travel by train, which I loved, but the part I liked the best, was the brief, but exciting ferry boat crossing.

We would arrive at Portsmouth Harbour and walk across a walkway.  If the tide was low, we would look over the barricades and there would be 'mudlarks' knee deep in mud, waiting for people to throw coins, which the 'mudlarks' would then retrieve. If they were lucky the 'mudlarks' would catch the coins, but if the coins landed in the mud, they would then have the awful task of searching in the mud for their treasure.

What is it about children and mud, because, I so wanted to be a part of the mudlark gang, I wanted to stand knee deep in mud (which Phyllis would never have allowed) and try and catch the pennies which were thrown.

On a serious note,  during the 1950's many people, were experiencing a difficult time and often, 'mudlarks' would help with the family finances. The children would give the money they collected to their parents to help put food on the table. To me as a young girl, mudlarking seemed fun, but of course, it wasn't, it was a sign of  poverty.

.... also in the 1950's, when we visited Ivy and Gramps, Ivy would make us lovely sandwiches for teatime and as it is 'British Sandwich Week' this week, I thought it a good idea to make a sandwich..... of sorts.... which George loves.

It is not a sandwich in the true sense of the word, because it is not made with sliced bread and it does not have a slice of bread on top..... but we very rarely eat sandwiches these days and having just one slice of ciabatta works well for us. So it is my version of an open sandwich.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I have chosen to listen to today, is a bit of a mix.... they are individual pieces of music which I know both Danielle and Natasha love, so I thought it would be fun to share a few of their favourites.

'Baby Don't You Cry'
Quincy Coleman
(I always have a tear when I hear this song)

'Hey Ya'
Obadiah Parker

'Song For You'
Alexi Murdoch

'If Not For You'
Derek Webb
Sandra McCracken

'Your Love Is My Love'
Whitney Houston

So while I listen to 'That's My Daughter in the Water' by Wainwright Loudin I will organise my ingredients.


2 ciabatta rolls cut in half
4 slices of your favourite bread
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove of garlic
2 red peppers
100g feta cheese
1 large aubergine
a few basil leaves
sea salt

Pre-heat the oven: 180C


Cut the red peppers in half
remove seeds and membrane.

Brush a tablespoon
olive oil onto a baking tray

place the red peppers
onto the baking tray.
Roast until slightly charred.
This normally takes about 45 minutes,
but it does depend on the size of the
peppers used.

When roasted 
carefully place the peppers into a dish
cover with a clean tea towel.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes then
remove the skins.
(Pop over and see the step by step
instructions for roasted peppers
 you can leave the skin of the
red peppers in tact.

Slice the red peppers into strips
set aside for the moment.

Remove the stem
from the
cut into cubes.

1 tablespoon of olive oil
into a pan
and over a medium heat
cook the aubergine
until brown and tender.
I tend to move
the aubergine around the pan every few minutes.
Aubergines tend to absorb the oil
so if needs be add a little more.

Grate the garlic
when the aubergine
is almost cooked
the grated garlic to the pan
cook for a minute or so.

Remove the mixture
from the pan and place into a bowl.

Mash the aubergine.

sea salt,
but not too much
we will be adding
Feta cheese 
to the open sandwiches.

Split the ciabatta rolls
in half
toast both sides until
golden and crispy.

Spread a quarter
of the mashed aubergine
each ciabatta half.


divide the roasted, sliced red peppers
between the four pieces of ciabatta.

Cube the Feta cheese
sprinkle over the 
red peppers.

shred some basil leaves

sprinkle over the
open sandwiches.

Pop them onto an oval platter

if you prefer
wooden platter

You can also roast the aubergine in the oven, then scoop out the flesh and mash. Sometimes I use this method, it all depends on how much time I have.

Oh yes, just before I go, I wanted to mention a few new things.

Firstly, I have started a Facebook page for Ivy, Phyllis and Me! and you can find it here. I have to tell you it is a learning process for me because currently, I am learning how to create the header for my FB page and also how to add things of interest via my phone.... I am getting there and I hope you will be patient with me. If you have the time, I would love it if you could pay me a visit me.... you would be most welcome.

Secondly, I have added my Pinterest Boards just below my lovely friends on Google +.  I really do love Pinterest as I find so much inspiration there.

..... and thirdly, I have added a recipe page which can be accessed to print the recipes from Ivy, Phyllis and Me!  It will take a little while to add all my recipes as there are almost three years worth, but I hope to have achieved this over the next three or four months.... I think that is being a little optimistic as truthfully, I think it will take longer.

So that is enough about me, (I am being very English), because now I want to tell you how I learnt to add the page to print my recipes. It was from the lovely,

who writes the fabulous blog

Linda is such a kind and generous spirit, because not only is she a blog designer, but she shares 'how to' information. I found her step by step information on how to create a ReciPage invaluable.  So if you need your blog to be re-designed or you need information on 'how to' then pop over and visit Linda, I know she would love to see you there.

Take care and I will see you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,


Wednesday, 6 May 2015


Good Morning to you,

Last Thursday started like any other Thursday.
I had my breakfast and morning coffee with George.

I checked my blog and decided it was ready to be published.

I wrote my shopping list, checking my store cupboard to see what was needed.

I got myself ready, you know the usual, casual clothes, a little make up, a spray of perfume and then I collected my shopping bags and we (that is George and I) headed for the car.

Whilst George was driving, we were talking, then out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something on the pavement.  I asked George to stop. George asked why, but before I could answer, he quickly pulled in to the side of the road. The car had hardly stopped when I flung open the door, as I had realised it was a lady slumped on the floor.  I ran towards her and when I reached her, I asked what had happened. She told me that she had tripped over a paving stone and fallen, and she just needed help to get back on to her feet.

George arrived and our first thought was to call an ambulance, but she became so upset, when we mentioned this. She said she was alright, she just could not get up. George asked her some questions to check that all was well, and it was then, that we decided it was best that we did as she asked, because she was getting very upset.

We asked if there was anyone we could telephone and she said there wasn't, which made me feel quite sad. We asked where she lived and luckily she lived just a few yards down the road.  When she pointed out where she lived, we realised she lived in sheltered accommodation and we knew that there would be a nurse on duty.  So we each took an arm and very slowly we walked her home, keeping an eye on her as we walked. 

When we arrived, she could not find her keys and became very anxious and upset, but luckily someone was coming out of the door, which allowed us to walk through the door, into the entrance. We found a nurse and explained what happened and the minute the lady, who we discovered was called Joan, saw a familiar face, tears welled up in her eyes..... she had found a comforting face.  Both George and I realised that we were strangers, and even though we were helping Joan, she did not know us, which made her nervous.

Joan so reminded me of my mother, Phyllis, as both Joan and Phyllis come from a generation who do not make a fuss, they just get on with things. I recognised that, Joan, just like Phyllis (when she fell) needed a little love and attention, even though neither of them knew it themselves.

When we left, the nurse had her arm around Joan, and we knew, although Joan was very shaken, she would be taken care of and loved.

.... and George and I, well we got back into the car and carried on to the shops, where one of things I bought was a butternut squash to make,

Roasted Squash Houmous (hummus).  I love houmous and have made it for years.  So when I was reading Gordon Ramsay's book, Ultimate Cookery Course and came across this recipe,  I just had to make it. 

So it's on with the pinnie and the music, well you'll never believe what I found in my music drawer, a cassette tape, still in its wrapper, which had never been played.... how could that have happened,

especially when I tell you it was a cassette of the Carpenters.  I feel sure you will agree, that Karen Carpenter had the most beautiful voice.

You do not need me to recommend these songs, as I feel sure you already know them.

Sweet Sweet Smile
Goodbye to Love
Yesterday Once More

So whilst I listen to 'We've Only Just Begun' I will organise my ingredients.


1 x 1kg butternut squash
3 cloves of garlic
4cm fresh root ginger
5 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of tahini
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper


1 cinnamon stick 
1 teaspoon of cloves
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds
1/2 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of mustard seeds
1/2 tablespoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of ground paprika


Snap the cinnamon in half.

Place the cinnamon,
coriander seeds,
fenugreek seeds,
fennel seeds,
mustard seeds
cumin seeds
into a dry pan.

Allow the spices to brown over a medium heat for
 3 minutes,
or until the seeds are browned and start popping.
Move the spices around the pan, as you don't
want them to burn.

When the spices are brown,
remove the pan from the heat
and add the ground paprika
mix together.

Place the spices into a coffee grinder
(I have one which I use just to grind spices)
a third at a time and blitz until
the spices are all ground.

You will be making more than you need today.


Pre-heat the oven to 180C

Remove the skin
cube the squash.
Place in a large bowl.

Drizzle over
2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of the
spice mix.

Add the sea salt
freshly ground black pepper.

toss everything together.

Brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil
onto a baking sheet
lay out the butternut squash.
Pour over any olive oil and spice mix
which is in the bottom of the bowl.

Place in the pre-heated oven
roast for 30 minute.
Remove the thinner squash pieces
as these will be cooked
and continue roasting the larger pieces of
squash until tender.

Grate the garlic
and the
and place in a food processor.
Add the already roasted butternut squash
whilst still hot

Add the tahini

Add the 

half a lemon
add to the food processor.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Place the contents of the food processor into a
large bowl.

When the rest of the butternut squash
has roasted,
place in the food processor, along with
the olive oil left in the tray.


If you find that you need to loosen the
mixture a little.... add a little water,
 but not too much.

When the roasted squash is smooth,
add to the bowl with the rest of 
the ingredients.

Stir everything together.

Taste and if you need more seasoning 
then add now.
Also you might find you need to add
more lemon, if so add now
mix well.

all there is left to do

This is my first attempt at this recipe and I have to tell you it was a real success. We both loved it.

We have eaten this roasted butternut squash houmous with pitta bread, crackers, crusty bread and crudites.

I have tweaked Gordon's recipe just a little.  If you prefer the more mellow taste of garlic then roast the garlic, you can also roast the ginger.

Also I added more tahini and lemon juice.... a personal preference. 

Now you may be looking at the ingredients thinking that there is an awful lot to do. Trust me there isn't, it just seems as if there is. If the recipe seems a little daunting, then you can make the spice mix one day and the houmous the next.

You will find that when you have made the spice mix, there will be too much for this one dish, but don't worry,

when the spices are cooled, pop them into a little jar, because as Gordon mentions in his book, the spices will last for 3 months..... but you know us.... they will be gone before we know it and I will be making some more.

Just before I leave you, I wanted to mention, that we checked to see how Joan was doing and I was told she is doing well. Luckily Joan suffered no grazing to her hands and knees, as she was wearing gloves and trousers. She was shaken, but otherwise doing well, which we are so pleased about.

Take care and I will see you next Thursday.

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