Sunday, 14 September 2014


Good Afternoon to you,

After a busy morning, dividing plants and adding top soil to the flower beds..... we were feeling quite tired.  So we decided to stop and enjoy the afternoon sunshine. I made lunch, which we took into the garden and we sat in our deckchairs and put our feet up.  After we finished talking about our plans for the garden, George mentioned that he needed to tidy his garage a little, which led us to talking about the happy memories associated with his father's garage.

It will bring a smile to your face when you learn about Bob, and his love affair with the contents of his garage.  

Bob had been a builder for most of his life and in his later years he renovated old houses..... and in those old houses were items which are so popular nowadays..... such as stone sinks, old ranges, chimney pots, old kitchen tables and the like.   Bob knew that I loved vintage items, and that was before vintage became popular, but  in those days they were called second hand, as they were not old enough to be called antiques. Each time Bob would save something for me, Sadie would say that I really wouldn't like it, but Bob said I would, and so it was safely stored in his garage waiting for my arrival..... but I hasten to add, not just for me, he would do the same for everyone in the family.  

I remember when Natasha went to university, he told us to pop over to see if there was anything in his garage that Natasha could use.... honestly it was like an Aladdin's cave. Natasha chose the things she felt would be useful, we packed the car and we took them to her new rooms, leaving hardly a dent in Bob's Aladdin's cave, actually you wouldn't have known we had taken anything.

Just before I go on, I need to mention, the reason that Sadie did not like the items which Bob stored in his garage, was because as a young girl, growing up in the 1930's, the items Bob found were the style which she had grown up with. She remembered, as a young girl, having to scrub the kitchen table with plenty of soapy water, a scrubbing brush and lots of elbow grease. This was a time when housework was hard work and whilst ranges are very popular today, they are easily wiped clean, whereas Sadie's mother had to black lead her range, which was such a dirty job. There were no such things as hoovers, only brushes to sweep, so in later years, Sadie much preferred modern conveniences. I remember when Bob gave me a chimney pot, Sadie really couldn't imagine why I would want it, as they were smelly old things, which had been filled with smoke. Even when I told her I would wash them, then use them as plant pots, you could see she really thought I was as mad as a hatter and put it down to my youth. 

It was a little later, that I spoke to Auntie Mim and my mother, Phyllis, who are the same age, and they both told me about life in the 1930's and they said the same thing..... going backwards was certainly not for them, they loved the modern, easy clean, style of living and could not understand why I harked back to owning things from a different era.

Sadie didn't really mind Bob collecting the vintage items, even though she did not understand why he did, but she did not want to see them.... and the trouble was, she did see them. To the side of the garage, there was quite a large window, which she had to pass every time she went into the house via the backdoor. She tried not to look in the window, of the garage, but you know how it is, when you don't want to look, you do.  It upset her to see, what she felt was rubbish, inside the garage, so she hit on a solution.  She bought some voile curtaining and when Bob was at work, she hung it on the inside of the window, so that when she passed by, she did not see anything, which was inside the garage, she just saw a pretty voile hanging from the window and so she was happy..... but Bob was not, as he did not want a voile curtain hanging from his manly garage, as he felt it was not man appropriate. They resolved their disagreement and Bob agreed that it would stay, as it made Sadie happy and actually Bob was quite canny, because it meant that Sadie would not be able to see any of Bob's new acquisitions, so he could carry on collecting to his hearts content. 

We always loved visiting Bob's garage, because you never knew what you would find, before any of the family went to the shops to buy anything, they would always visit Bob to see if he had what was needed, inside his garage..... invariably he did.

There is a little more to this story, but if I carry on, there will  be  no time left for making,

Mackerel Dip.   Now this is a throw back to the 1970's as we always served this dip at parties..... but just because something is considered old fashioned nowadays, it does not mean to say that it is past it's sell by date.  So I have decided to re-introduce my version of Mackerel Dip to you.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I have chosen to listen to is,

LeAnn Rimes.  You might recognise a couple of the songs from the film Coyote Ugly, such as 'Can't Fight the Moonlight' and 'But I Do Love You', but also listen to 'I Need You'.

So with 'Written in the Stars'  playing, it is time to organise my ingredients.


250g  cooked peppered mackerel
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 small onion
1-2 tablespoons of creamed horseradish
1 tablespoon of cream cheese
2 tablespoons of creme fraiche
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Finely chop
the onion.

Place the olive oil in a pan

add the onions.

Cook slowly,
until the onions are golden brown.

Whilst the onions are browning,

remove the skin from the mackerel


shred into smaller pieces.

Place the mackerel in to a food processor



cream cheese,

creme fraiche


horseradish cream.
If you are not sure about the horseradish cream,
then add a little at a time and taste,
then if you need more, add a little more.

Whizz in the food processor
until all the ingredients are mixed together.

Add the 
browned onions
and whizz again.

Add the lemon juice,
a little at a time.
Add by the teaspoon, whizz and then taste,
keep adding the lemon juice until you get the right
balance of flavours.
It is always better to add a little at a time.

Season with sea salt
freshly ground pepper
whizz again.
I did not add very much black pepper as I had used
smoked cooked Scottish Mackerel with a spicy
peppercorn coating,
 if you use, as I often do,
plain cooked mackerel,
then  do add more pepper.

Whizz until you get the consistency you want,
sometimes I make this Mackerel Dip

such as today, I make a smoother,
Mackerel Dip.
It really depends on your fancy on the day.

You will notice that I am serving my Mackerel Dip with some little breaded crisps.  I am not going to be showing you how to make them today, but I promise, I will on Wednesday.

I thought I would let you know that I am in the process of changing my label names and I have decided to group together, all of my vintage recipes under the name of 'Arctic Roll and Aspic'.  Arctic Roll, because when I was first married, there was nothing more fabulous than an Arctic Roll.... sorry to the younger ladies, but I am talking about the 1970's.  I could not believe that it was actually possible to bake ice cream in the oven and that it did not melt. The Aspic part of the label is because it was used in the 1940's and 50's, when Ivy and Phyllis were young, as Aspic was a really popular ingredient, used in dishes such as 'Eggs in Aspic'. I just felt it was a nice way to label vintage dishes with Ivy, Phyllis and Me! in mind.

Don't forget, I will finish my story about Bob and his garage on Wednesday, but I have to tell you. you know what we found at the back of George's uncle's garage? Three vintage, Jones, treadle sewing machines.... of which one, now sits happily in my sewing room...... so you see hoarding does run in the family.

Take care and I will see you on Wednesday.

This week I will be joining,


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Dear Friends,

It is so wonderful to know you enjoy reading Ivy, Phyllis and Me! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment. I really do appreciate it.

Best wishes to you.


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