Monday, 1 September 2014

AROUND THE WORLD BLOG HOP

Good Afternoon to you,


Today is a very different day for me,  because normally I do not post on a Monday, but I have been invited by the lovely CeLynn from CeLynn's Sunflower Patch to take part in the Around the World Blog Hop. I was thrilled to pieces to be asked and so pleased to accept CeLynn's invitation.

I have known CeLynn for about a year or so and the first time I visited CeLynn she shared the most delicious salmon recipe, which she cooked using cedar papers. I have to be honest and say I had never heard of them, and just in case you are wondering, they are papers which are made with 100% western red cedar. When I mentioned that I had never heard of cedar papers, CeLynn was kind enough to say that the next time she went into town, she would buy a pack and post them to me.  We exchanged addresses and a little while later they arrived in the post all the way from America. I have to tell you, I could not wait to use them..... and when I did, I was not disappointed.

We have remained friends and we often email each other.  Now I would like to tell you a little bit about CeLynn. CeLynn is a marvellous quilter, not only does she quilt, but she makes beautiful bags, ranging from small to large with wonderful names such as 'bowling and swing'..... and there is more, not only is she marvellous with a needle and thread, but she preserves food as well, so whether you want to learn a technique for inserting a zip into a pouch or preserving foods, you will find all the answers on CeLynn's blog. Pay her a visit and say hello as I know you will receive a warm welcome.

Now on to the questions I have been asked.

HOW DOES MY WRITING/CREATIVE PROCESS WORK?



Well, the first thing you need to know about my creative process, is, before I begin, I need to find my reading glasses.... and there lies a problem in itself.  I have three pairs of glasses which I leave in different rooms around the house, so that if I need them, I can easily find a pair. Does that sound sensible to you, well I think it does, but there is a fly in the ointment....George. When he finds my glasses lying around, he will gather my glasses together and place them in another room, so when I expect to find my glasses in a certain room, they are not there and I have to hunt for them. So once I have tracked down a pair of reading glasses, I think about the day's experiences so that I can share them with you. It can be a thought about Ivy, my grandmother, it can be something about Phyllis or it can be something funny which has occurred, and if I think you will enjoy reading about our exploits then I share them. My writing is quite stylised, because the words you are reading are the words, which, if you are seated in the same room as me, would be the words coming out of my mouth.  So the text is not always grammatically correct, and even though sometimes I am tempted to correct the grammar, I don't, because if I did, I would lose the flow of the story and you would lose the flavour of the story.  

So as you can see, I am not a planner, whatever happens during the week, I share with you and whatever I am cooking I share with you. The food I cook, is food which we enjoy eating and whatever I post on a Wednesday or a Sunday has been food which has been eaten and enjoyed.


For instance this Bakewell Tart. This is a tart which I remember Ivy making when I was a child.... admittedly not like the one I made, as Ivy's version would have been made with less ingredients.


Sometimes all you want is a salad and this Three Bean Salad is perfect  for warm summer days.


....and there is nothing like a slice of cake on the weekend and this Pear and Ginger Cake, surprisingly made with tin pears, works beautifully.





or maybe I am making Falafel..... 





or preserved lemons, 

whichever recipe I share, it is always food we enjoy.


..... but I also love to garden,





so, I have added gardening to my blog.

and 

I also
love


music,



and I love bead work and sewing,

 so they were added to my blog,



and I could not let you miss my many visits to India as this is such a fascinating country..... so my blog has grown to include other things which I enjoy...... and that is the essence of my blog.... my day to day life.

WHY DO I WRITE/CREATE WHAT I DO?

Well the answer to this question is simple.  I had made copious notes in note books throughout the years, to record Ivy, Phyllis and my recipes, as I did not want the recipes to disappear in the miasmal mist, as the recipes were the culinary history stretching from the 1930's to the present day. I wanted Natasha and Danielle to feel a sense of culinary history when they read about their Great Grandmother Ivy, Grandmother Phyllis and me, their mother's culinary lives. 

The trouble was, the notebooks were growing in number.... too many really, so Natasha suggested I start recording these recipes in a blog.... and you cannot imagine how I resisted this idea..... well maybe you will get a little sense of it from reading my first post.  Me, writing a blog, whoever thought of such a thing, I really did not want to write a blog. For a start off, I had no idea how to begin setting up a blog. Now, I have to tell you, Natasha is not a daughter who will take no for an answer, she really believed that not only would I enjoy writing a  blog, but that it would be a success. So after much coaxing from Natasha, I finally made myself sit down and write my first post, I was excited, but nervous and could not imagine that anyone would take the time to read my words.  You cannot imagine my surprise when I discovered I had my very first follower, I could not believe it, and if there is anything which is higher than 'over the moon' then that was the feeling I had. I was on a high for a week. My first follower was Karen from My Little Home and Garden when I saw Karen's  Peony thumbnail appear on my blog, it really was a wonderful moment. 

As my blog has grown, I really do not see my friends as followers, I see them as friends who enjoy reading my blog and I am always pleased to receive comments, which I love answering.  Sometimes a little late, but then, life can become busy at times, but I always make sure I answer the comments.



 After my first post,
there was no turning back
and the rest,
as they say,
 is history.

So,

that is how,  
Ivy, Phyllis and Me! 
was born.



HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER
 FROM
 OTHERS IN IT'S GENRE?

There are so many marvellous bloggers, especially when it comes to the cooking/lifestyle section, but the first lesson I learnt was not to compare my blog with other blogs. I admire other blogs, but it was important that I stay true to myself.  I am a visual learner, so adding step by step photographs seemed the natural thing for me to do. Give me a set of written instructions and it takes me a month of Sunday's to work them out, but show me how to do something and that is a completely different story, as once shown, I learn very quickly. I felt it was also important to share my mistakes, as I am not infallible, there are days when I can be talking to George or listening to the radio and not concentrating and I will make a mistake, for instance,




I have made soda bread a hundred times, but when I made soda bread to share with you, I cut the cross too large and so when baked, the bread was mis-shapen. It didn't spoil the taste of the bread, but it didn't look particularly attractive either, but  I shared it with you, I wanted you to see that I can mistakes as well. Remember, I am the same as you, I am a home cook who loves to cook, but who also happens to blog.


WHAT AM I WORKING ON NOW?

If you have been reading my blog for a little while, you will know that I always say 'it's on with the pinnie'. I always wear pinnies and I have quite a selection, so I have decided that I am going to sew my own range of pinnies..... I have outlined the details in my mind and I am very excited about it, but I just need to think a few things through and then I will be whipping out the sewing machine and as they say here in England,  'I will be sewing for England'.

Now it is time for me to introduce you to the three very talented ladies who I have invited to be part of the Around the World Blog Hop.

Firstly from France, is a lady who started writing her blog roughly about the same time as I did.  Barbara from Barbara Lilian in France has been a little poorly of late, so if you could pop by and say hello I know she will be pleased to see you..... and what is special about Barbara's blog, well, if you love to walk along country lanes in France, admire beautiful flowers or take a peek at beautiful watercolours, then those are the treats which will be in store for you.

Secondly, from America, the lovely Nancy from Pug Mom Quilts, now I can sense you are a little more than curious.... a Pug Mom....who can that be?  Well Nancy is a lovely, newly married lady who also happens to sew the most beautiful quilts.  Her quilts never cease to amaze me they really are a feast for the eyes.... and where does the Pug part of the title come into it.... well let me introduce you to Romeo, Larry and Elvis.... three of the most adorable Pugs.... go on, I dare you to take a look at their photos on Nancy's blog and not smile.

....and thirdly, my friend who I invited to take part was very busy.... you know how it is.... end of summer.... children to school.....lots of things to do.  So forgive me for not sending you a third friends blog to read and enjoy..... but I recommend you visit Karen who lives in Canada and writes, My Little House and Garden, not as part of the Around the World Blog Hop, but purely because I know you will love her blog.

So take care and I will see you, as usual, on Wednesday..... and that will be around before you know it.







Wednesday, 27 August 2014

FETA CHEESE DIP

Good Morning to you,


Last evening was a very exciting evening in the music world, as Kate Bush held her first concert for 35 years at the Hammersmith Apollo.  The tickets went on sale in March and 100,000, yes 100,000 tickets were sold within minutes. 

I have always enjoyed Kate's music and I can remember, the very first time I heard Kate singing.  It was in 1978 and Kate was singing Wuthering Heights. 

When I first heard Kate singing on the radio, I have to be quite honest, I was not sure what to make of her.  I don't mean this as a criticism, but the reason I was unsure was that Kate's voice was and still is unique, but the more I heard her singing the more I enjoyed her music.  

The first album I bought of Kate's was the 1978 album 'Lionheart' and I still have it in my collection.  It is hard to let go of all my old albums as they are a part of my music history. I keep thinking to myself that I will pass them on to Danielle, who as you know collects vinyls, but then I think, well maybe I will keep them for another year and then give them to Danielle next year.... and so it goes on.

Do you know, I can remember where I was and what I was doing when an album is being played. The music I love has the ability to transport me back in time. I can play a track and remember where I was. For instance, 'Dancing on the Ceiling' by Lionel Richie, I remember dancing at a Summer Ball wearing a beautiful evening dress.... I even remember the evening dress.  I used to love getting dressed for these evenings, choosing which dress to wear, choosing the shoes and jewellery to wear.  These night's out were always wonderful evenings.

So music for me is more than a sound, music is also filled with wonderful life memories.

.... and I just know those people who are lucky enough to see Kate's performance, will have a wonderful evening and it will be a memory they will never forget.

As well as music, food conjures up memories, and today,



I am making a Feta Cheese Dip.... and yes I realise I used Feta Cheese on Sunday, but do you know, there is a hint of Autumn in the air, the mornings are not quite as warm as they have been and I noticed the spiders are busily weaving their webs around my garden... that is always a sure sign that Autumn is on it's way.  Feta is a cheese I associate with warm sunny days and we tend to eat more Feta cheese in the Summer, so I thought as the days are getting shorter and shorter it would be nice to celebrate the last throws of summer.

So 'it's on with the pinnie' and I wonder, can you guess who I am listening to today?



Yes that's right, it can only be Kate Bush.  I just love 'Cloudbusting', 'The Man With the Child in  His Eyes' and  'Running Up That  Hill ', oh yes and 'This Woman's Work'.... there are many, many more songs I could list, but I would be producing such a long list that you would become bored.

So with 'Babooshka' playing and yes I am singing, but not as well as Kate, but that is alright as no one is listening,  it is time to organise my ingredients.


INGREDIENTS
FOR
FETA CHEESE DIP

250g Feta Cheese
2 Spring Onions
4 Sun Dried Tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of olive oil

HOW TO MAKE
FETA CHEESE DIP


Slice the Spring Onions
into
thin slices.
Set aside for the moment.


Cube the Feta cheese
and place into a food processor
and blitz.

If you do not have a food processor,
please don't worry,
mash the feta with a fork or a potato masher.


Peel the garlic
cut into small pieces
and add to the Feta cheese
and blitz.

Alternatively,
grate the garlic 
and
add to the Feta cheese
and stir.


Add the oregano to the Feta cheese
and either
blitz
or 
stir.


Add the sun dried tomatoes
to the Feta cheese mixture
and blitz
or
finely chop the sun dried tomatoes
and stir into the 
Feta cheese.


Add the olive oil
and 
either
blitz 
to incorporate the olive oil
or
stir into the rest of the ingredients.


Now this is where you have a choice,
you can either
stir in the finely sliced spring onions
to give a crunchy texture,
or
you can do as I do and that is
add the spring onions to the mixture
in the food processor
and
blitz.

Well that is not strictly true, as I remove
half of the Feta Cheese Dip and 
add half the finely sliced onions and
mix together for George
as he loves the crunchy texture.

Whereas I love a smoother texture 
so
I
 add
the spring onions
to the food processor and
blitz to produce a smoother texture.


Which ever version you prefer,
Enjoy.

We enjoyed this Feta cheese dip with toasted Walnut bread and a few baby tomatoes.  The Feta cheese dip is a very strong tasting dip, as Feta cheese is a strong tasting cheese and the sun dried tomatoes are full of flavour, so I find baby tomatoes are a nice accompaniment, but there is one thing I need to mention, if you normally add salt to the tomatoes, on this occasion please don't as Feta is a salty cheese.

This dip can also be enjoyed with crudites. Cut up  pieces of celery, cucumber, carrot and pepper and you will have a lovely dip to share with friends.

Now, you might have noticed, that in the photograph of the Feta cheese, there was olive oil and oregano in the dish.  Well,


do you remember on Sunday we made Feta Cheese with oregano, garlic and olive oil.... well I had an extra one in the cupboard, which was from a batch I made a couple of weeks ago.  This is what I used, so all I had to do was add the sun dried tomatoes and spring onions.  I thought, just in case you had not had the time to make these little jars of sunshine I would give you step by step instructions.

Before I go, I must mention that I will not be posting on Sunday, as I will be posting on Monday morning instead.

So take care and I will see you on Monday.

This week I will be joining,

and




Sunday, 24 August 2014

GREEK FETA WITH OREGANO, GARLIC AND OLIVE OIL

Good Morning to you,


It has been raining..... not just a little.... but quite a lot just lately.


Now being English, I just know, that as I have started my first sentence talking about the weather, you are going to assume that I am going to continue talking about the weather..... well, I am breaking with tradition, as I am going to resist..... yes honestly, I am going to resist.

You will see why in a moment.

Yesterday, I was busy catching up on my emails, when I happened to look up, and out of the window, I saw a very spritely, elderly lady, rushing by.  On her head she wore a scarf and to protect her scarf she had donned a plastic covering.  In her hands she had two shopping bags filled with her shopping and because of this little plastic covering, she did not need an umbrella, as it freed her hands to carry her shopping.

I have to tell you, it has been many a year since I have seen one of these plastic coverings.  I will describe it to you, as once described, I feel sure you will know what I am talking about. Imagine a square piece of cellophane, roughly twelve inches by twelve inches, which has been folded into a concertina. Once folded, each end is stitched and on each end, a length of ribbon  is attached. When it rains, the plastic cover is shaken, which opens the concertina and it is then popped over a hat or scarf and the ribbons tied..... and there you have it, protection from the rain.

I remember as a child, seeing many ladies wearing these plastic coverings to keep their hair, hat or scarves dry.  I remember Ivy, always had one tucked inside her handbag which she would bring out when the need arose.... and she always had a spare, which I wore on more than one occasion, but that was a long time ago and I did not think women wore them anymore.  So I spoke to Sadie, and asked her if she could remember the last time she wore one of these plastic coverings. She disappeared from the room for a moment and went into her cupboard to fetch her bag, she rustled around in the bottom of her handbag and like a rabbit out of a hat, she produced a plastic covering.... and promptly put it on her head to show me. She told me that lots of her friends still wore these plastic coverings when it rained as they were so useful, but when I spoke to Phyllis, she said that none of her friends wore plastic coverings anymore.... so it must depend on where a person lives as to whether they are still popular.

Today, I don't have to worry about popularity, 


because I know Feta Cheese with Oregano, Garlic and Olive Oil is very, very popular in my household.

So, it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to today, I just know you will love,


the one and only Bobby Darin.  Don't you just love 'Beyond the Sea', 'Mack the Knife' and 'Dream Lover'. I'll let you into a little secret, when 'Splish Splash' started playing, George and I could not help ourselves, we had a little bop around the kitchen..... you never forget the dance steps do you.

So whilst the energising 'Early in the Morning' is playing I will organise my ingredients.

INGREDIENTS
FOR
FETA CHEESE WITH OREGANO,
GARLIC AND OLIVE OIL

500g Greek Feta Cheese
2 garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
(2 tablespoons if shop bought)
Approximately 3/4 pint of extra virgin olive oil

YOU WILL NEED

3 x 1/2 pint jars with lids
Sterilize the jars in the normal way

HOW TO MAKE
FETA CHEESE WITH OREGANO,
GARLIC AND OLIVE OIL


Cut the Feta Cheese into small cubes.


Finely slice the garlic,


Remove the leaves from the
dried oregano


Half fill the 3 jars with the cubed feta cheese 


Sprinkle oregano over the feta cheese,
make sure you have enough left
to repeat the process.



Tuck a bay leaf into each jar

and


divide  the sliced garlic 
between the three jars.


Top the jars up with the 
remaining Feta cheese
and sprinkle the remaining oregano
between the 3 jars.


Fill each jar with olive oil
(you can see a couple of pieces of Feta cheese
poking  through the oil.... I dealt with them
and pushed them back into the oil!)

Place the lids on securely.


This next little bit is totally optional.

Cut out three 7 inch rounds of material with pinking shears

and


place over the lid of the jars.
Secure the material with elastic bands.
Tie with ribbon or string.

Store in a cool place.

Now, I cannot tell you how long they will last,
because in our house they do not last
very long,
but I should imagine as long as the Feta 
cheese is immersed in the olive oil
they should last for a month or so.

The reason I cut the material rounds is that I am going to give two of the jars to friends as gifts.  I always enjoy making any gift I give look attractive.

Oh I have to tell you before I go,  if you listened to 'Early in the Morning', Bobby Darin was singing with 'The Rinky Dinks' I don't why, but that name just tickled me. Does anyone remember 'The Rinky Dinks'?



Oh yes, just one more thing and then I am going. I thought I would mention, don't worry if you cannot fit all the Feta cheese into the jars, as I had a couple of pieces left over. Now what to do with them..... well I see them as 'cooks perks' so I popped them into my mouth and ate them.....feel free to do the same.

Take care and I will see you on Wednesday.

This week I will be joining,


and








Wednesday, 20 August 2014

BROCCOLI AND STILTON TART

Good Morning to you,


It is official..... I am getting old.  

Well, I have to tell you, that is not my opinion, as I don't think I am getting old, but since I reached retirement age, I keep getting all sorts of phone calls from people who think I am old.

"Do I need a stair lift to get upstairs?" one young man rang and asked me. 

I replied,  "No, I am as fit as a fiddle and walk around with out any problems."

He then asked, "Did I need help getting into the bath?"

" No I replied, because I am as fit as a fiddle and walk around with out any problems."

Then he asked me, 

"Do you need railings on your bed, to help you get in and out of bed each day".  

You've guessed it, 

"No I replied, because I am as fit as a fiddle and I walk around with out any  problems."

He went on to ask me another question, and I burst out laughing.  I said "Look, I have answered three of your questions, and I have told you that I am as fit as a fiddle, I really do not need any of these items which you are offering me.  I continued, I appreciate, there probably are people of my age who do need them, but I don't."

He then said, 

"That's a shame because I was going to ask if you needed a walking frame"......  at this point I really started laughing.  

He then said "Come to think of it, you don't sound like a regular 62 year old.... you sound quite young".  

To which, I said "Thank you, that is a very nice compliment".  I said goodbye, very nicely, and put the phone down before he could ask me any more questions.

It then got me thinking, what does a 62 year old woman sound like? 

Does something suddenly happen to our voices, is there suddenly an indication in our voices that we are of retirement age. I must make a note to check out my friends voices.... will they betray their ages.... I wonder.

Of course I am only joking, I do know it is because my name has appeared on some or other register, so I am targeted for apparatus which obviously companies feel at the age of 62 years I will need.

Truthfully, if I wanted to buy something, I would not buy from someone who is cold calling me, as I would do the research myself before I decided to buy anything.

....and don't get me started about life insurers.....as that is a whole other story..... who needs a free pen for signing on the dotted line.

At the moment, I am fit and healthy and I am going to keep being polite to the young men and women who call me, because I know they are only trying to do a job..... but I will keep saying no, when asked if I want a walking frame.... or maybe when the time arrives I will say yes.

Talking of aged, today I am making,


a Broccoli and Stilton Tart.  The aged part of this tart is the Stilton Cheese.... one of George's favourites.

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



Western Film Themes..... now that took you by surprise didn't it. The reason this music is playing is because George is in the kitchen and he is reading his paper.  So I thought I would play this album as he loves western films.... I have to be honest there are some pieces of music which I have never heard of.... I know 'The Big Country' and 'The Magnificent Seven', 'Rio Bravo', oh yes and 'The High Chaparral' and 'Bonanza' I was in love with Little Joe as a teenager.... weren't we all.

So while 'Dances with Wolves' is playing I will organise my ingredients.


PASTRY BASE
FOR 
BROCCOLI AND STILTON TART

200g plain flour
100g butter
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of water
(more if needed)

FILLING
FOR
BROCCOLI AND STILTON TART

225g broccoli
175g Stilton
6 eggs
1 small red onion
3 tablespoons of milk
1 tablespoon of olive oil
sea salt

Pre-heat the oven to 160C

You will need a
10" round tart tin

THE PASTRY BASE

Make the pastry base in the usual way
and blind bake the pastry case.

HOW TO MAKE 
THE FILLING 
FOR 
BROCCOLI AND STILTON TART


Cut the broccoli into florets
and 
cut any large florets
into smaller pieces.

Half fill a medium sized saucepan
with water
and bring to the boil. 

Blanch the broccoli for 3 minutes.


While the broccoli is blanching,
fill a medium sized bowl with water
and add some ice cubes.
This will prevent the broccoli from losing it's colour
and prevent further cooking.


Drain the broccoli and leave to stand for 5 minutes
to remove any excess water.

Then lay the broccoli onto  paper towel
to remove any lingering water as you don't
want your tart to be soggy.


Chop the red onion into small pieces.

Place the olive oil into a small pan
and
add the red onion.
Cook until translucent.


Spread the onion into the base of the pastry case.


Arrange the broccoli over the onions

and


break the Stilton into small pieces
and arrange over the broccoli.


Whisk the eggs

and


add the milk to the eggs
and 
whisk again.


Place the tart onto a baking sheet
and
pour the egg mixture into the tart.
(This makes it easier to put the tart
into the oven)

Bake for 25-30 minutes
or until the egg is cooked 
and the top is golden brown.


Allow to cool for 10 minutes,
then remove the tart from the baking tin.
Cut yourself a slice
and
Enjoy!

We tend to enjoy this Broccoli and Stilton Tart with a light green salad as the tart itself is very filling.  It really does make for a lovely lunch.

If Stilton is not the cheese of your choice, then use a good strong Cheddar Cheese as that works very well.

George loves Stilton cheese, so this is the perfect tart for him.  I actually don't like Stilton cheese very much,  but when it is cooked with broccoli and placed in a tart I actually enjoy it..... strange I know.... is it my age???

Take care and I will see you on Sunday.

This week I will be joining,

and








Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...