Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Good Evening to you,

Phew, I am finally here with you....what a day I've had today..... I seemed to be chasing my tail for most of the day and achieved very little,  then to top it all, I had to wait for my new Super Hub to arrive and be installed.... which took longer than I  had expected. The installation was very straightforward.... however, the young man who came to install the hub discovered that "this was wrong" and "that was wrong" with my computer and by the end of his visit, he had me convinced that I would need to buy a new computer.... but no, here I am, merrily tapping away on the keys and my little laptop seems to be very happy with  it's new wireless attachment. So here's hoping my laptop continues to be happy for a little while longer. 

Now, what, you are wondering, are we making today. Do you remember on Sunday, after I had finished baking the Sausage, Onion and Chilli Pie ,  I mentioned I was going to share with you how I used the pieces of left over pastry.

Well, the left over pastry turned into these delightful little sausage rolls, which are easy peasy to make.

These sausage rolls are delicious fresh from the oven and they are certainly very moreish and I have to tell you, your kitchen will smell wonderful when you are baking these little lovelies.

So my apron is on and the music I am listening to today is,

the music from the film, Chocolat, starring Johnny Depp, Juliette Binoche and Dame Judi Dench.  I have read  the book, written  by Joanne Harris and I have seen the film as well and it is a film I can watch over and over again. If you don't know the story of Chocolat, then I will explain just a little. The story is about a young women, Vianne, who arrives in a small French village on a Shrove Tuesday. Vianne decides to rent the old bakery, and at the beginning of Lent she opens a Chocolate Shop..... and there the story begins.

The music which runs through the film is fabulous and the first piece of music I am listening to, is Minor Swing played by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli and I guarantee, when you hear this music, your foot will certainly be tapping in time to the music. 

So, the music is playing, but I have just realised, that really, I have very few ingredients to share with you today.


Left over pastry
 A little sausagemeat
(the amount does depend on how much pastry
you have left over)
sea salt and black pepper
A little milk
  A sprinkling of sesame seeds


Pre-heat the oven to 180C

So where to begin.... I think I will begin where I ended the Sausage, Onion and Chilli Pie,

with the left over pastry.

Gently knead the pastry to bring it together
and then,
using a rolling pin,
roll out the pastry.

Trim the edges so that they are straight

cut your piece of pastry
into two.
Each piece measuring about two inches in width
and three inches in length

Place some sausagemeat onto the
pastry and sprinkle over
salt and pepper.

Brush the top and bottom edges with milk


roll the pastry over.
 Using a fork, seal the edges

Cut a couple of little slits into the top of the
sausage rolls, 
to allow the steam to escape


brush with milk 

Continue bringing the scraps of pastry together,
then roll out
and add the sausagemeat,
until you have used up all the pastry.

Sprinkle sesame seeds on some
or on all of the sausage rolls
place on a buttered baking tray.

Then bake in the pre-heated oven for 
30 -35 minutes 

until the sausage rolls are
golden brown and the pastry is light and flaky.

So from a few scraps of pastry, I managed to make seven sausage rolls, which did not hang around for very long, as George and his friend polished them off very quickly.

In the next few days  I am going to be making a much larger batch of sausage rolls. I will go so far as making the sausage rolls, but I will not bake them, instead I will open freeze them, and then layer them into containers where they will languish in the freezer until I am ready to bake them. When it is time for the sausage rolls to be eaten,  I will bake them from frozen and as they bake,  the smell will drift through the house and  I guarantee you, that one by one, my family will  make their way into the kitchen, ready to enjoy the sausage rolls as they come out of the oven. 

One of the reasons I enjoy cooking so much is,  I love seeing the smiles on everyone's faces when I lay the food on the table and afterwards, seeing the feeling of contentment, when all the food has been eaten and enjoyed. 

Before I go, I would like to wish all my friends a "Happy Thanksgiving".  Have a wonderful day with your family and friends tomorrow and I will be thinking of you all.

Take care and I will see you on Sunday.

This week I will be joining,

Sunday, 24 November 2013


Good Morning to you,

I was checking my Christmas To Do List,  and I am almost at the end. I just have three more things to complete before I can sit back and relax and enjoy the other pleasurable things associated with Christmas, such as sorting out the Christmas decorations.... a job which I love.

The first of those three things, which I am ticking off my list is,  

this Sausage, Onion and Chilli Pie.  So I am giving this pie it's red tick. One down and two to go.

This is a savoury pie, which is lovely to eat warm on Boxing Day with potato mayonnaise and a crisp green salad.  It also goes well served hot, with mashed potato, vegetables, such as broccoli and carrots, with a splash of gravy.  This is George's favourite way of eating this pie.... well other than cutting a slice and eating it fresh from the oven.

This is a pie I have been making for many, many years.  When I say many, many years, I mean about 40 years.  Actually, it was one of the first pies I ever made.  I have racked my brain trying to remember where I found the recipe, but I just cannot remember. When I first got married, I used to make this pie using sausagemeat and Paxo, Sage and Onion Stuffing.  I used to make up the stuffing with water and add it to the sausagemeat. George's father loved this pie and whenever I visited George's parents, I would always take this pie, along with Bob's favourite Fruit Cake ..... and when Bob used to visit us, both the Fruit Cake and the Sausage and Onion Pie had to be on the menu during his stay, as he loved both so much.  I have to say I am very proud of the fact that Bob liked both my Sausage and Onion Pie and my Fruit Cake, as he was a very good pie maker himself. When George was a child, Bob used to bake plate  pies for the family and if you speak to George's brothers and sisters they all remember Bob's plate pies with much affection. He had what Sadie called "a good pastry hand".

So the years have rolled by and the pie has changed slightly, but not the essence of the pie. Here is my up to date version of Sausage, Onion and Chilli Pie. But first, I need to put on my apron and organise the Christmas music.

The music I have chosen to listen to today is,

the very fabulous crooner, Bing Crosby. His voice is smooth and just beautiful to listen to...... and as much as I love listening to choirs and traditional Christmas hymns, Christmas would not be Christmas without listening to Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas", which funnily enough I am listening to right now. One of the Christmas films which I enjoy watching is "Holiday Inn" with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.... I love it's feel good factor and of course the song, White Christmas.

So with Bing singing White Christmas, I am ready to organise the ingredients I need for the pastry.  I have decided not to take  any photographs of the process of making the pastry, as we have made pastry so many times before, that I imagine, by now, you can make it standing on your head and with one eye closed (only joking). 



350g plain flour
110g unsalted butter
50g lard
1 teaspoon salt
enough cold water to bind the pastry


500g of sausagemeat
100g of breadcrumbs..... made with day old bread
2 tablespoons of dried sage
1 teaspoon of chilli
(or more if you prefer)
1 onion finely chopped
sea salt and black pepper
olive oil


A round, buttered 10 inch pie dish
Pre-heated  oven to 180C

When you have made the pastry, 
 wrap  it in clingfilm and
place it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes

While the pastry is resting in the fridge,

brown the onions in a tablespoon of olive oil
set aside to cool.


Make your fresh breadcrumbs,

and add

the Sage and the Chilli

also the

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
and mix together.

Add the cooled, browned onions
to the, 

and give it a good stir to combine all the ingredients.
(I use my hands as it makes the job a lot quicker)

Remove the pastry from the fridge
and cut one third, for the pie lid
and the remaining two thirds,  for the base of the pie.

Roll out the pastry for the base of the pie
and ease it gently into the pie tin.
Do not trim the pastry just yet.

Place the sausage mixture into the pastry case
and then
trim the edges of the pastry.

Brush the edges with milk


Roll out the pastry top
place on the pie.
Trim and seal the edges.
Brush with either
milk or  an egg wash.

Using a knife,
place a couple of slits into the centre
of the pastry lid,
to allow the steam to escape.

Bake in the oven for 40 - 45 minutes
or until the pie is golden brown
and thoroughly cooked.

and enjoy this pie warm

Now do you remember last week I showed you what I did with my leftover pastry,  well guess what, as usual, I had some left over,

but I am not going to tell you what I did with the pieces today, I am going to share that with you on Wednesday.  I really don't think you will be disappointed..... in fact I think you will be quite pleased with the little treat I have made.... they are certainly  a hit with us.

You will see that in the photograph of the finished pie I have added spinach...... well, this spinach was supposed to be in the pie, not beside it. Normally, I would put  half, the sausagemeat into the pastry case and then I would layer cooked spinach on top and cover the spinach with the rest of the sausagemeat. The reason the spinach is not in the pie is because a friend of mine popped around to see me,  which I was really pleased about, but it meant that I had to stop what I was doing, as I could not chat and take photographs at the same time. So by the time my friend left, the light had started to fade, (it starts fading at 3.30pm  in my part of the world) so I thought I had better get the pie into the oven quickly, otherwise I would not have been able to take any decent photographs..... but in my haste, I forgot to add the layer of spinach. So I had intended there to be a layer of spinach in the middle of the pie, but to be fair  I do sometimes make this pie, as I have done today.  To give you another alternative,  I sometimes add a layer of cranberries, which also works really well with the sausagemeat.

Today, I gave our Christmas Cake it's final drink of brandy.  I will leave the brandy to continue doing what it does best, and that is, rewarding me with the most beautifully, matured  Christmas Cake. Then next Sunday, you will see a change in  our Christmas Cake as it will be changing from a rather Plain Jane to a Princess Jane, and then the following week, to a Queen Jane.  First things first though, the first transition will be it's covering of marzipan.  I will leave the marzipan to dry and then the party dress will be put on..... the icing...... and all the decorations.

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

Take care and I will see you on Wednesday.

This week I will be joining,

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


Good Morning to you,

I have been doing a lot of baking, cooking and steaming lately, so today, I thought I would make something which requires no cooking at all..... well just a little toasting..... and a little chopping, which is not very hard work, is it.

Do you have a favourite breakfast, which you enjoy during the summer, but find, when the winter arrives, that lovely summer breakfast will just not do, because the weather is so much colder.

During the summer months, I enjoy eating a breakfast of,  thick Greek yoghurt, with a tablespoon of walnuts and a drizzle of honey..... just perfect.... I picked up that lovely habit whilst living in Cyprus, but during the winter months, I find, I need something a little more substantial, such as porridge, but  I don't want to eat the same breakfast day after day, so on other days I will eat a breakfast , chocka block with nuts, dried fruits and rolled oats..... and that breakfast is,

Muesli.  Visually it is lovely to look at, but I don't want to look at the Muesli, I want to eat it.

This is a breakfast which you can throw together easily, then all you have to do is find a Kilner jar or a Tupperware box to store your healthy breakfast and you are on your way to beginning your day, feeling very virtuous. 

The only thing  I need to tell you is,  you need to put a few tablespoons of Muesli in a bowl, pour over some milk and place the bowl in the fridge, the night before you are going to eat it..... but that doesn't take a lot of thinking about does it. If I want Muesli the following day, when I am making George's evening cup of mint tea and my cup of ginger tea, I organise the breakfast while I am waiting for the kettle to boil.  Then by the time the kettle has boiled, the job is done, and breakfast is ready and waiting the next morning.

So let us begin, it's on with the apron and the music I have chosen to listen to day is,

Doris Day, doesn't she have the most beautiful voice.  I love watching her in films as well, often if George is watching the sport on a Saturday afternoon, and there is a Doris Day film on the television, I will snuggle up on my sofa and watch it.  I love her in "Pillow Talk" and "Lover Come Back" and how about "Calamity Jane" when she sang "Secret Love".  When I was a teenager I remember Kathy Kirby singing "Secret Love", and it was a huge hit in the Hit Parade (old 1960's speak I'm afraid), it wasn't until much later, when I saw Doris Day in Calamity Jane that I heard Doris' version. At the moment Doris and I are singing Sentimental Journey, while I gather the ingredients we will need.


500g Scottish Whole Rolled Porridge Oats
75g Oat bran
250g Tropical Fruit Mix
(mine included dried apricots, sultanas,
pineapple and papaya)
200g Brazil Nuts
100g prunes
2 tablespoons of cinnamon

To serve,

a few raspberries and blueberries
1 tablespoonful of  ground Flax seed


Place the rolled oats 

on a baking tray and
toast under the grill until browned.
Please don't walk away, as you will have to keep an eye
 on the oats,
because the lovely colour brown can
very quickly turn to black.
You will need to toss the oats
to make sure they are browned.

Allow to cool

While you are waiting for the oats to cool,

chop the Brazil nuts


chop the prunes

chop the dried fruits

Using a large bowl,
place the oats, chopped fruits and chopped prunes,
 into the bowl.


the Oat bran
and two tablespoons of cinnamon,

add the chopped Brazil nuts 


mix together

Now you are ready to find a bowl,
 place a couple of tablespoons of Muesli into the bowl,
 pour over some fresh milk, allow the oats to soak overnight to become soft and squishy.... that is a professional term.... 
only joking, as I know, that you know, that it isn't, but at the moment, I cannot think of a better word to describe the oats,
 when they have been soaked in milk.  

The next morning,

a tablespoonful of ground Flax seed,
(I use a coffee bean grinder to grind the Flax seed)
add a few raspberries and blueberries,
some more milk if you prefer,
and you have a very healthy breakfast.

I do ring the changes when  I make this Muesli, as  sometimes  I add chopped walnuts and other times I will add chopped almonds.  I will also change the fruits,  I will  add dried dates  and dried  apricots.  It really  depends on  what you fancy at the time.  I  have  also made  this  Muesli  with refined porridge oats, but always toasted.  Admittedly not as healthy as whole rolled oats, but they are still enjoyable.

I have to tell you, we had a sudden burst of sunshine when I was taking the photograph of the Flax seed, and as sunshine is so rare these days, I had to share it. I just love seeing the shadows which were created by the sunshine...... don't you.

Take care and I will see you on Sunday.

Sunday, 17 November 2013


Good Morning to you,

The little red ticks are growing on my Christmas "To Do List" and my  list  of "Things To Do", is getting shorter and shorter, which gives me great satisfaction. I think I have told you before that I am a lover of lists.... it keeps me on the straight and narrow, because I can be easily  diverted into doing something else and not the thing I should be doing..... so lists will always be a part of my life.

So far I have made,

Christmas Cake baked .... tick

Christmas Cake fed with brandy each week .... tick

Each time I unwrap the cake,  Christmas hits my senses
 .... and do you know what else,
George  says, that  each time he gets a sniff of the cake
 it gets harder and harder not to grab
a knife and cut a slice.

I have to tell you, the cake is safe during the week,
but the risky time is when we go to Sadie's  
feed the cake with brandy.....
then, I am on "high alert".

Pickled onions made and stored .... tick

Christmas Pudding made .... tick

The Christmas pudding is safe from George
as it needs to be steamed before
it is ready to be eaten.... so this I keep at home.

Mince Pies .... are being made today .... tick 

..... and I have to tell you I love warm Mince Pies drizzled with cream.... or brandy cream..... just delicious... take a look,

don't they look fabulous.  I think they are extra special, because they are traditionally, eaten and enjoyed, only at Christmas time. 

So, firstly, I need to put on  my apron and then choose the music. Now, I could not decide whether I should listen, to Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra or Perry Como, 

but it was Nat King Cole who won. It is always a treat to listen to Nat King Cole singing with his wonderful velvety voice.  Although this is a Christmas album, "Unforgettable" has been included ..... and how fabulous is that, as it is the most beautiful song.

If you are ready, I will list the ingredients you will need to make these Mince Pies.



275g plain flour
75g icing sugar
175g butter
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons of cold water


1 x 450g jar of  Robertson's Mincemeat
or mincemeat of your choice


Oven temperature:   180C
This amount of pastry and mincemeat
will make 24 Mince Pies

1 x 12 holed patty tin,
buttered and dusted with flour

1 large pastry cutter for the base
1 small pastry cutter for the top

Using a large bowl,
sift together the,
flour, icing sugar and salt

Dice the butter and rub into the flour mixture,
until it resembles small breadcrumbs.

Add the egg
1 tablespoonful of water
and mix.
If needed, add the second tablespoonful of water
and mix until the mixture binds together.

Gently knead the pastry until it is nice and smooth.

Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 45 minutes

When the pastry has chilled, remove  the cling film
and roll out the pastry onto a floured surface.

Using the large pastry cutter, cut out 12 large rounds for the base
of the mince pies
place in the patty tins.

Place about 2 teaspoonfuls of mincemeat
into each of the pastry shells.
Don't overload the pastry shells with mincemeat
as when baked, the liquid will overflow too much.
Although I have to tell you, that in all my years of
baking these little mince pies, there is always a 
little overflow of liquid.

Then cut out 12 smaller pieces of pastry to
use for the mince pie lids.

Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill,

then remove from the fridge


brush with either an egg wash or milk


sprinkle with caster sugar

Bake in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes
or until the mince pies are golden brown.

When the mince pies are baked, I wait a couple of minutes
 before I remove them from the patty tin,
but please, do be careful, because
the mincemeat will be very hot.

Place the mince pies on a  wire rack to cool.

The reason I remove them from the patty tins so quickly
is that as the sugar content in the mince meat cools, 
 it becomes
sticky and if left to go cold, it will
make it more difficult to remove the mince pies from
the patty tin.

Sprinkle with a nice dusting of icing sugar
and eat them warm
brandy cream.

Now here's a thing, have you ever noticed, that when using pastry, there is always some left over.  As a rule, I roll the left over pastry into a ball and place it into a freezer bag and pop it into the freezer, to use for another time. 


out of the blue, a memory popped into my mind.  It was really strange, because I had not thought about this, for many, many years, but when I was ready to roll the pastry into a ball, I suddenly remembered what Phyllis used to do with the left over pastry.... she would make a mincemeat turnover for my father.

She would re-roll the left over pastry, find a suitably sized plate and place the plate onto the pastry.  She would then cut around the plate and remove the tiny pieces of pastry which were left over. Phyllis would then place the mincemeat into the centre of the round of pastry, brush the edges with milk and turn the pastry over, to make a half round, and then she would seal the edges with a fork. With the little pieces of left over pastry she would make small leaves and place them on the turnover.  The pastry would be egg washed or washed with milk..... having said that, I think I am wrong, I seem to remember the pastry was washed with milk, as to use an egg would have been considered wasteful.  The turnover was then baked in the oven for 35 - 40 minutes, and,

then sprinkled with icing sugar and there you have it, nothing wasted, and my father had a large turnover to enjoy. She would do the same thing if she was making jam tarts or apple tarts.... my father would always enjoy a large jam turnover or a large apple turnover, when Phyllis baked small tarts for us children.

My father always loved mince pies at Christmas time, and he loved eating them with lots of filling, but the pastry had to be very thin, almost wafer like and I have to tell you, that was a difficult thing to accomplish, as if too much mincemeat was added to the pastry, then the pastry became soggy.... but over the years, I managed to find a happy medium.

You will have noticed, that I mentioned, that the pastry would make 24 mince pies, but I have only made 12.  The reason for this is, I only have one patty tin, so I bake 12 at a time, but this time, with the second batch of 12, I wanted to freeze and not bake them.  

For the second batch, I went as far as placing the lids on the mince pies, but I did not wash with milk or sprinkle with caster sugar.  I left the mince pies in the patty tin, then I placed the tin and mince pies into my large freezer.  I open froze them, and then I carefully placed the mince pies into Tupperware containers (oh yes, I still own Tupperware) and put them back into the freezer.  On Christmas Eve, I will take the mince pies out of the freezer, place them back into the patty tins, brush with milk and sprinkle with caster sugar, then I will bake them in the oven and they will be just perfect to enjoy on Christmas Eve with a glass of mulled wine. 

Before I go, I just wanted to mention that you will have noticed that I used a jar of mincemeat, for my mince pies.  For years, I made my own mincemeat, which is easy to do, and if you are interested, let me know and I will share Ivy's recipe.  This year I decided to give making my own, a miss, as I have a number of projects I need to get finished before Christmas..... so I decided to take a short cut this year and I am pleased with the results.

Oh yes, George has sampled a mince pie..... you knew he would, didn't you... and he enjoyed it immensely. 

Take care and I will see you later in the week.

This week I will be joining,


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