Thursday, 30 April 2015


Good Morning to you,

I love Tuesdays

..... because it is the day our sewing group meets. After a lovely morning spent catching up with each other and sharing our sewing projects, three or four of us head for the charity shops, to see what little treasures are waiting to be found and this Tuesday was no exception.

After visiting three other shops with no luck, my final port of call was the 'Mind Shop'. I was scanning the books and looking for any titles which would jump out at me, when I discovered a book called The Real 'Dad's Army', The War Diaries of Colonel Rodney Foster. I knew straight away that I had to buy the book as I knew George would love it.

The reason I knew George would love the book, is because there is also a 1970's comedy series, called 'Dad's Army' which George loves. He watches the re-runs whenever they are shown on the television,  I swear George must have seen the series so many times that if asked, he could probably recite every word to you. 

Now here's the thing, when I find a book which I take a fancy to, I do not just pick up the book and read the cover information, I like to open the book and read the first couple of pages, to see if I can get a feel for the book. In this case I by-passed the first few pages which were maps and the introduction, because I knew I could read those pages later.... I went straight to Friday 1 September, 1939 and the paragraph began,

'Daphne's birthday.  Phyllis out to a board meeting in the afternoon and I had my usual afternoon with my father-in-law.  In the evening we sat in our blacked-out house.  Very stuffy, inconvenient and depressing.'

Well I never, you can imagine my surprise. What are the chances of both the names, Phyllis and Daphne appearing in a book, not just in a book but also on the same page.

At first I was not sure who Phyllis and Daphne were, but then, after further reading, I discovered that Rodney had married Phyllis in 1910, so Phyllis was Rodney's wife and three years later, in 1913, their daughter was born and yes, her name was Daphne. 

.... so just like (Ivy), Phyllis and Me, Phyllis is the mother and Daphne is the eldest daughter.

How marvellous.

I need to investigate further.  What are the chances that the name Ivy will appear in the book.... mmm I wonder, I can't wait to find out.

I am really looking forward to reading these diaries, as in 1910, Ivy, my grandmother, would have been about 9 or 10 years old and I am fascinated to see what life was like back then,  but I will have to wait in line.... after all I did buy the book for George.

So it's on with the pinnie and today, we are making,

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, which is so easy and relatively quick to make.

So while I organise my ingredients, I have a fabulous album for you to listen to,

the lovely Barbara Dickson.  Parcel of Rogues is a such a good album.  I first came across Barbara in the 1970's when she sang, 'Answer Me'.

Listen to,

Van Diemen's Land
My Johnny was a Shoemaker
Fine Flowers in the Valley

you will thoroughly enjoy each song.

So whilst I listen to 'Sule Skerry'.... no singing along today, as I love just listening to this album, I will organise my ingredients.


400g jar (drained weight) Roasted Red Peppers
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
400g tinned tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of sugar
sea salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3/4 pint of chicken stock
handful of basil leaves
100g of Feta cheese


250g fusilli pasta


Finely chop the onion.

Place the olive oil into a wide pan
add the chopped onions.

Cook until translucent.

Grate the garlic
add to the pan.
Cook for a minute.

Add the dried oregano
dried chilli flakes
cook for a minute.

Add the tomato paste
to the pan
and stir,
cook for 2 minutes.

Chop the tomatoes
and add to the pan.

Stir the ingredients together.

Add the

chicken stock

Drain and slice the 
roasted red peppers
add to the pan.

Bring to the boil,
reduce the heat.
Place a lid on the pan
simmer for 20 minutes.

Check after 15 minutes that the sauce is
not too thick. 
If it is reducing too quickly,
add a little more chicken stock.

While the sauce is cooking.


Bring a pan of salted water to the boil
cook as directed on the packet.
the pasta until it is al dente (with a bite)

Drain the water.


When the sauce is cooked,
place a third into a food blender
and blitz
until the sauce is smooth.

Repeat the process 
until all the sauce is smooth.

Check for seasoning, if salt is required
add now.

Return the roasted red pepper sauce
to the pan
add the drained pasta.
Toss everything together
until the
pasta is thoroughly coated.

Shred the basil leaves
and add to the spaghetti.
Toss together.

Add the feta cheese

I know you will.

I add feta cheese because I love the sharpness it gives to the dish, but if you prefer you can add shavings of Parmesan cheese.

If you would prefer to roast your own peppers, then I have shown you how to do it  here.  Often during the summer time, when there is an abundance of peppers, I will roast my own, but I also keep jars of roasted peppers in my store cupboard for when I want to make a quick meal.

The house is quiet, it's raining and George has gone for a swim, so it's the perfect time to borrow his book The Real 'Dad's Army, to see if I can find Ivy's name ..... fingers crossed.

Take care and I will see you on Thursday.

This week I will be joining,


Thursday, 23 April 2015


Good Morning to you,

Before I begin, in case you don't know, I thought I would mention that the term 'Geordie',  is a person from Newcastle. 

.... and I love living in Newcastle and the 'Geordie' women I have met are lovely.

Family is very important to them, they are warm hearted and they love to talk, any time, any place, any where.

I can be standing at a bus stop, waiting for the bus to arrive, and if I am the first person at the bus stop, the second person to arrive, will always chat to me. If I am the third person to arrive, the women already at the bus stop, will always include me in their conversation.

I can be waiting in a queue at the shop and I can guarantee you, that the lady behind me will always talk to me, as will the lady in front.

.... but George, who is a 'Geordie' himself, was surprised to hear women talking in the swimming pool, when he was swimming his many lengths.

When swimming, George alternates between breast stroke and crawl and when he swims crawl, he hears nothing but the whoosh of the water, but when he swims breast stroke, he hears snippets of conversation when he passes by.  What surprised him the other day, was that the same group of women were talking when he was swimming his first length and  still talking when he was swimming his final length.  He does not understand this.  When he mentioned it to me, he said "If they don't want to swim, why take all that time to get showered and changed, just to stand around in the water. Why don't they go and have a coffee together and talk?"  I explained that women are not like men, we are different and we enjoy talking wherever we are.

I could see the confused look in his eyes.  He really doesn't understand that we women just love to talk, whether it is at home, at the bus stop or the swimming pool.

What surprises me though, is that he does not understand, because as a young boy, he was brought up in a house full of women.  He also has three women in his life, and when Natasha, Danielle and I meet up, we never stop talking.  When we used to take his mother, Sadie, and his Auntie Mim out and about, they would talk non-stop in the car as well.... so women who like talking have always been a part of George's life.

..... and then he asked, "Why do some women wear jewellery and make up when swimming?"

I think it's time I re-read 'Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus' or maybe I should get George to re-read the book.

..... and my apologies to all the quiet women out there, as I know there are many, I am talking generally about the women I have met.

So while I think where I put the book, let me tell you what we are making today.

Do you remember I mentioned Labneh when I made English Muffins, Labneh and Salmon for breakfast just before Easter. Well, today we are going to be making,

the said Labneh. Labneh is a popular Middle Eastern snack made by straining yoghurt.  

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

The Lovin' Spoonful and my oh my, does this take me back to my teenage years.  I was still in school and living in Larnaca, Cyprus, when I first heard the 'Lovin Spoonful. Do you know I can't believe it was so many years ago in 1966. The first song |I heard was, can you guess,


Whenever this song came on the transistor radio, my friends and I would always dance and sing along... we loved this song.

Do you remember,

'Summer in the City'


'Do you Believe in Magic'

I love the songs now, as much as I did then.  So whilst I organise my ingredients, I am listening to and loving 'Darling Companion' and yes, I know all the words and I can't help myself, I am singing along.


500g Greek style yoghurt

4 pieces of cheesecloth 13" x 13"
(washed and dried)

l large jug,
1 soup dish
1 large wooden spoon


I tend to make Labneh in the evening,
ready for the following day.

Line a dish
(I use a soup dish)

the pre-washed

Spoon the yoghurt

the centre 
the cheesecloth.

bring the first two opposite corners together
and tie.
Repeat with the other two corners.

Place the wooden spoon
underneath the tied corners.

It will look a little like Dick Whittington's knapsack.

Have your jug ready
(I am using a glass container so that you can see clearly)


suspend the 
cheesecloth filled with the yoghurt.
This allows the liquid to drain away.

It is important that the 
cheesecloth bag does not touch the bottom
of the jug.

place in a cool place overnight.

If you place the jug in the fridge, it
will need at least 16 hours to drain.

In the morning you will 
notice that the cheesecloth bag is not so rounded,
in actual fact it looks much thinner.
This is because all the liquid has drained

Untie the cheesecloth
and place the Labneh


On it's own the flavour is mild and tangy,

you can add 
other flavours

such as 
chopped spring onions,
chopped chives,
shredded basil,
thinly sliced pepper dew peppers,
crushed black pepper
my favourite
crushed walnuts.

Labneh can be served with crusty bread,
crackers, pitta bread,
whatever takes your fancy.

I pop the Labneh into a Tupperware box with a lid and place it in the fridge.  It will keep well in the fridge for 3 or 4 days..... but not in this house, once made, it is eaten and gone within two days.

I mentioned at the beginning that a 'Geordie' is someone from Newcastle, but there are several other interpretations and if you would like to know what they are, take a look here.

It's time to put my thinking cap on, to see if I can remember where I put that book..... I wonder if I gave it away, I hope not, as I need to be prepared, as I have a feeling there could be more questions, from George, in the future.

Take care and I will see you on Thursday.

This week I will be joining,


Thursday, 16 April 2015


Good Morning to you,

Do you have a recipe, that as a young woman, you used all the time, but as time went by, and your cooking repertoire grew, the recipe was placed in the back of your cookery book and forgotten about. 

I have such a recipe. 

As a young married wife, one of my 'go to' recipes was Coronation Chicken.  

... but I did not know it's origins, until much later. I discovered that Coronation Chicken was quite a special dish in the 1950's. The creators were Rosemary Hume and Constance Spry, and they created Coronation Chicken as a celebration dish, for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. 

The recipe I was given many years ago, uses cooked chicken, mayonnaise, curry powder and apricot jam instead of mango chutney.... yes that's right, you read correctly, apricot jam.... because at the time, mango chutney was a very exotic ingredient. The sauce was then mixed with cooked chicken and the end result was what I know as Coronation Chicken.

I have not made Coronation Chicken for many years, and had quite forgotten about it, until last year.

The reason for the resurrection of this dish was a family New Year's party, when each of us were asked to take along a dish to add to the buffet table. Whilst I was thinking about what to make, Natasha suggested Coronation chicken.

So we bought a chicken, poached it, mixed together the dressing,  shredded the chicken and coated the chicken with the dressing. I have to tell you it was a huge hit at the party, as it was the first dish to be finished.

So it's on with the pinnie and yes, you've guessed it, today, we are making,

that blast from the past, Coronation Chicken.  I have tweaked the recipe a little.  I know this is an old recipe, but I feel it is time to bring it forward, into the year 2015.

As you know, I love country and western music, so it will come as no surprise to you when I tell you the music I am listening to is,

Rockin' the Country.  Do you know, I had forgotten I had this album.  I discovered it tucked away at the back of the shelf.  When I read the names of the artists on this album, I was surprised to read the name Blake Shelton.  Do you remember I featured Barbara Streisand's album in the New Year and I mentioned that I loved the voice of Blake Shelton, but I had never heard of him.  Well blow me down, that obviously was not true, because he sings on this album.  I really must take more notice of the names on these compilation albums.

So my first recommendation has got to be, Blake Shelton singing,

'Some Beach'
then how about
'HickTown' sung by Jason Aldean
'Billy's Got His Beer Goggles On' by Neal McCoy

So while I listen to Tennessee River Run I will organise my ingredients.


1 kg chicken breasts (about 4)
5 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
pinch of saffron (optional)
chicken stock
1 teaspoon of salt


1 large onion
4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
3 tablespoons of mango chutney
2 tablespoons of curry powder
250g Greek Yoghurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
50g toasted almonds
handful flat leaf parsley


Place the chicken breasts into a deep


the bay leaf,
black peppercorns

Add enough chicken stock
to cover the chicken breasts.

Place a lid on the saucepan
bring to a simmer.

Gently poach, until the chicken breasts
are thoroughly cooked.

When cooked, drain the stock
and place on a plate
and allow to cool. 
Set aside for the moment.


Place the flaked almonds
into a dry pan
and toast until golden brown.
Make sure you move the almonds
around the pan.

I would advise that you don't walk
away, as the almonds can easily become burnt.
 One minute the almonds are white
and the next minute they are brown. 

Set aside and allow to cool.


Finely slice the onion.

Place the olive oil into a pan
add the sliced onions.

Cook gently until
golden in colour,

the curry powder. 
Move the onions around the pan
 the curry powder
is thoroughly incorporated.

Remove the cooked onions from the
and allow to cool.

Place the 
mango chutney
into a bowl
mix together.

Add the cooled
cooked onions

stir the ingredients 
thoroughly combined.


Slice the cooled chicken
into cubes


add to the sauce.
Mix the sauce and chicken together. 

Make sure all the chicken is coated.

Place a clean tea-towel
over the bowl
and place it in the fridge
for at least an hour.

When ready to eat,
fold in the


toasted almonds,


with a nice green salad.

Just a word of advice, do not add the flat leafed parsley and the toasted almond flakes until you are ready to eat, otherwise, they will become soggy. I often place them on the table, in a couple of small bowls, so that they can be added to the Coronation Chicken as desired. 

Now here's the thing, Coronation Chicken can be used in many ways.  We have eaten it with a rice salad, with a pasta salad, boiled new potatoes with a green salad and even used left overs in a sandwich or roll.... pretty versatile don't you think?

So what do you think, should this recipe be relegated to the 1950's or is it worth resurrecting and bringing it into the year 2015.

...... personally, I feel it can make the leap into 2015 without any problem.

Take care and I will see you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,


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