Sunday, 9 November 2014

REMEMBRANCE DAY ~ 9TH NOVEMBER 2014

Good Morning to you,





'Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there.
I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle Autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush.
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there.
I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Fry
1932

There really are not enough words, to say thank you, to all the brave men and women, from across the world, who lost their lives, so that we can enjoy the freedom we have today.

..... but we can remember and we must always remember their sacrifice.

George and I will never, ever, forget friends and family, who lost their lives in conflicts across the world.

They will always have our gratitude, 

and

they will always live on, 

in our hearts.




to you and your family,






Wednesday, 5 November 2014

TURKEY SOUP WITH PEARL BARLEY

Good Afternoon to you,


As you know, I have lived in Cyprus at various times in my life and I have a very strong affinity with the island.

The time I am going to be talking about is when I was about 6 years old and we lived in a place called Famagusta.  In those days, we, as children, were always able to play outdoors safely because everyone in the street, knew each other, so there was never a problem.

Now I had a friend, who lived along the road from us, and to reach my friends house, I had to walk past a bungalow whose owners had chickens running freely around  the garden.... chickens.... they were no problem, but they also kept a turkey, which also roamed freely around the garden.

Now, as you know, turkeys are much larger than chickens, but I never worried about the turkey, that is until one day, as I walked past the bungalow, the turkey noticed me.  The turkey raised it's head, stared at me and then made a gobbling sound, and with that, started walking and then ended up running towards me..... I think my 'flight or fight' intuition kicked in, because on seeing the turkey running towards me, I ran as fast as I could towards my friends house, and when I arrived, I  looked behind me, to see the turkey was still chasing  me. Luckily my friend had a garden gate and so I was able to run into the garden and close the gate.

So you can imagine, the next time I walked by the bungalow, I was very cautious, I thought I was practically tiptoeing past the bungalow, but no, on that occasion and every subsequent occasion, each time I reached the bungalow, the turkey would see me, and off we would go..... turkey seeing me..... me running....and the turkey chasing me. This went on for quite a while, until one day, suddenly the turkey was not there, it had disappeared. At the time I was so pleased, but being a little girl I only felt relief, I did not realise why the turkey had disappeared...... probably just as well, because even though the turkey frightened the life out of me, I would have been sad to know it had probably been added to a pot for the family meal. 

So every time I roast a turkey, which is usually only at Christmas time, I think about the turkey who terrorised me for so many months, all those years ago.

Now, as I say, I usually only cook turkey at Christmas time, but recently the butcher had some joints of turkey, at a very reasonable price, so I bought one, and made,


this turkey soup with pearl barley and chunky vegetables.  A really hearty, winter's soup..... perfect for Bonfire Night.  

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


the wonderful soothing voice of Norah Jones.  This is such a lovely album, listen to and enjoy, 

'Sunrise'

'What Am I To You'

and

'Don't Miss You At All'

So whilst I am listening to, 'In the Morning' I will organise my ingredients.

INGREDIENTS
TO 
MAKE
TURKEY SOUP
WITH
PEARL BARLEY

The evening before you are ready to make the
soup.
Place the broth mix in a large bowl
and
cover with water.
Allow the broth mix to
soak overnight.

The following day,
drain the water from the broth mix
and set aside until ready to use.

200g broth mix
250g  turkey joint
8 small waxy potatoes
1 large onion
4 large carrots
2 large parsnips
1 240g tin of tomatoes
2 litres of turkey stock
2 tablespoons of olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


HOW TO MAKE
TURKEY SOUP 
WITH 
PEARL BARLEY

Cook the turkey joint
in plenty of stock
and
when cooked, place the turkey meat 
on a plate
and
reserve the turkey stock.

Whilst the turkey is cooking,


wash and drain the soaked
broth mix
and
set aside for the moment.


Slice the onions.


Place the olive oil
into
a
large pan
and 
add the onions.


Cook until golden brown.

While the onions are cooking,


peel and chop
 the 
carrots
into chunks.


Peel and chop
the
parsnips 
into chunks.


Peel and chop
the 
potatoes
into chunks.

When the onions are golden in colour,
add the
chopped carrots,
the
chopped parsnips,
and
the
chopped potatoes.


Add
 the 
tomatoes,


the
turkey stock
and
the

broth mix.


Add
half a teaspoon of 
sea salt
and
half a teaspoon of
freshly ground black pepper.

Stir the ingredients.

Place a lid on the pan
and
Bring the soup to the boil
then
reduce to a simmer 
and 
cook for
45 minutes
or 
until the broth mix is thoroughly cooked.

Before serving
check for seasoning
and add a little more
if necessary.

When the turkey joint is cooked,
dice into bite sized pieces.


Decide on the dish
you wish to use,
and
ladle the chunky soup
into the
soup dish.

Add
as much, or as little turkey meat
as you want
and
Enjoy.

I guarantee, that this soup is so filling you will not need any bread to mop up the soup.

If you are not sure what a broth mix is, here in England, it is a mixture of pearl barley (which is delicious), lentils, yellow split peas, green split peas and marrowfat peas, but if these are not available to you, this soup works very well with just pearl barley.

Also the potatoes I used are waxy potatoes, because I did not want the potatoes falling apart in the soup, I wanted them to retain their shape.

You will also notice, that the vegetables are cut much larger than I normally do, because adding chunky vegetables adds a certain 'something' to the soup and as George says, he likes a soup he can 'get his teeth into'.

This is such a healthy soup and each year, at this time of year, we always try to eat healthily, before  the indulgence of Christmas arrives.  This way, we find we really look forward to, and enjoy the richer Christmas foods.

How about you, do you have any healthy pre-Christmas food traditions?

Take care and I will see you on Sunday.

This week I will be joining,

and







Sunday, 2 November 2014

CHRISTMAS GIFTS ~ A GIFT OF TEA

Good Afternoon to you,


On Friday, I was shopping in Newcastle, when quite by accident, I came across the perfect pair of slippers.

The funny thing is, you can guarantee, if I was looking for a pair of slippers to buy, I would not find the right slippers, so to find a pair, without really looking, was a treat.

As I said, I did not go shopping for a pair of slippers, even though my old slippers were looking a little sorry for themselves.... comfy, but a little past their sell by date. I came across my lovely new slippers when I was looking for some Molton Brown hand wash, which, incidentally, I forgot to buy, as I was so pleased with my purchase,  I simply walked out of the shop.

The first thing I did when I arrived home, was, unwrap the slippers, take off my shoes and pop the slippers on my feet..... oh the joy of putting my tired feet inside my brand new pair of slippers, it was sheer pleasure.

.... they are so soft and fluffy inside and my feet are as warm as toast.

The second thing I did was, put the kettle on, to make a cup of tea.

..... and as I was making my cup of tea, my thoughts drifted towards a friend of mine who adores, good strong tea and in that moment, I knew just what  I was going to do.


I am going to give my friend a Christmas gift of a good quality black tea,  along with a gorgeous cup and saucer, which I know will make her so very happy.

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


the album, Mercury Falling by Sting.  When I listen to Sting's words, he reminds me of  a medieval minstrel, as his songs always tell a story.

Listen to,

I Hung My Head,
and
I Was Brought To My Senses
and
I'm So Happy, I Can't Stop Crying

and you will see what I mean.

So whilst I am listening to 'All Four Seasons' I will organise the items I will  need..... bit of a cheek really to say organise, as there is very little to organise.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED
TO 
MAKE A 
CHRISTMAS GIFT 
OF TEA

Choose a good quality
tea.


I chose a
black Indian tea, 
with
hints of,


root ginger,


cloves,


and
cardamom.


You will need a small
cellophane bag

and


a funnel.


Place the funnel
inside the
cellophane bag
and 
carefully pour the black tea
into the bag.

The aroma is wonderful.

Gather the top of the bag together
and secure the bag
with a small rubber band.


Choose a colourful
ribbon.
I just love this ribbon,
'Everything Stops For Tea'


and tie a bow
to cover the rubber band.

Now whilst I was doing this,
I thought,
about another close friend
who enjoys tea.

For this friend, I am going to add
a tea strainer
to her gift
or
maybe


I will give both of my friends
and beautiful cup and saucer,
some black tea
and
tea strainer.

Yes, 
I feel sure,
this will be the perfect gift,
for both of my friends.



I just need to look
for  two lovely
cups and saucers,
like my Italian Spode,
which is not a difficulty for me
as it is
always fun to see what I can find.

Do you have a friend  who would love a Christmas gift of tea?

As for me, I decided to put my feet up and enjoy a cup of tea. I was very happy as I was wearing my new slippers. Would you like to take a peek?


aahh..... the simple pleasures are the best.

Take care and I will see you on Wednesday.

This week I will be joining,


and









Thursday, 30 October 2014

CHEESE AND ONION SCONES

Good Afternoon to you,


Oh my word, I am so very late this week, but life has been a  little hectic for us and when life is like that, it is important, to stop and take time out to catch up with yourself.

Apart from having a very busy week, you will never guess what happened to me on Tuesday.

I received my first parking fine.... how depressing is that.

I have been driving for over 35 years and this is the first time, I have found a parking fine underneath my windscreen wipers.

It really all came about, because I was in a rush.  I parked my car as normal in the car park, I then went to the ticket machine to buy my parking ticket.... I checked the ticket and I was alright parking for 3 hours.... I had until one o'clock that afternoon.

I placed the ticket on the dashboard, so that if the traffic warden was checking cars, it could be seen.

I picked up my bag containing my sewing.... having to hold the door quite firmly, as it was windy.  I closed the door, locked the car and I walked away.

Now here's the thing, I always, always, turn around and check that the parking ticket is in view.... so why did I not check this time.... well, it was due to a series of events, but mainly, it was because I was late for my sewing group.... so I rushed from the car park without a backward glance.

When I returned to the car, the traffic warden had been on a 'walk about' and what did he see, my car without a ticket.... and where was the said ticket... it had blown onto the floor of the car.  I think when I closed the car door, the whoosh from the wind, blew the ticket on to the floor.... and I hadn't noticed.  If only I had done, what I always do, which is, turn around and check my parking ticket was in view, I would have noticed that it wasn't where it should be.

Never mind, I have learnt my lesson, 'more haste, less speed'.

So in the meantime, I am writing a letter to the council, and I am hoping once they see my parking ticket, they will be kind, and  use their discretion..... I am keeping my fingers crossed and I will let you know what happens.

After feeling thoroughly fed up, I decided to do some baking and make myself some comfort food.... it always works and baking really does cheer me up.


..... and these little Cheese and Onion Scones certainly went well with my tomato soup.

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


one of George's favourite singers, John Denver.  George discovered John Denver during a trip to Canada in the 1970's.


  Natasha and Danielle's favourite song is,

'Grandma's Feather Bed'

and George's favourite, is,

'Annie's Song'

Me, 

I love,

'Come and Let Me Look in Your Eyes'

but I know you will have your favourite.

So whilst I am listening to 'Annie's Song' I will gather my ingredients together.

INGREDIENTS
TO 
MAKE
CHEESE AND ONION SCONES

225g self raising flour
1 teaspoon of dry English mustard
1 teaspoon of paprika
plus a little extra to dust onto the scones
1/2 teaspoon of table salt
1 teaspoon of olive oil
25g unsalted butter
100g (or 1 medium sized) red onion
25g Parmesan cheese
150ml of buttermilk


HOW TO
MAKE
CHEESE AND ONION SCONES

Pre-heat the oven to 200C

Line a baking tray
with parchment paper
and
dust with a little flour.


Finely chop the red onion.


Place 1 teaspoon of olive oil
into a pan.

Add the red onion
and 


cook until translucent.
You will find you will need to move
the onion around the pan quite a lot
to prevent the onions from browning.
The reason is there is only
a small amount of oil used.

When the onions are cooked,
remove them from the pan
and
place on a dish.
Spread the onions out, to allow them to cool.

While the onions are cooling,

sift the self raising flour,


along with the 
dried
English mustard,


the
paprika


and 
the salt
into a large bowl.


Add the butter
to the bowl
and 
rub into the mixture


until the mixture
resembles breadcrumbs.


Add the Parmesan cheese
and
mix.


Add the now,
cold onions
and
mix again.


Add enough buttermilk


to make a soft dough.
I tend to add half the buttermilk
and gently mix with a wooden spoon,
and then I add a little
at a time and use my hands
to create the dough.

Lightly knead the dough until 
it is smooth.

The only thing I need to mention,
is don't overwork the dough.


Gently roll out the dough
on a lightly floured surface

and


cut into rounds.
I wanted small scones on this occasion
so I used a 2 1/2 inch round cutter.

Place on the baking tray
and


brush each scone
with milk

and


using a small sieve,
sprinkle a little paprika
onto each
scone.

Place the scones in the pre-heated oven
and bake
for between 12 -14 minutes.


These cheese and onion scones
are small
and
 just perfect
to eat
with a 
bowl of soup.

Enjoy.

As I mentioned, I have made the scones quite small and also quite thin.  The reason for this is that I did not want to make scones which could be cut in half and buttered.  I wanted these scones to be pulled into pieces and eaten just as they are, but if you would like  thicker scones, don't roll out the dough too much. I would suggest you roll the dough until it is about 1 inch thick.

..... and of course the larger and thicker the scones, the longer they will need  to bake.

Before I leave you, I wanted to say, that I am sorry I have not been able to leave comments, but I am hoping, this weekend to find the time to catch up with you and to see what you have been up to.

So take care and I will see you on Sunday.









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