Saturday 23 December 2017


Good Afternoon to you,

My Christmas cards have been posted

'Posting a Letter'
by Albert Ludovici Jnr


all our Christmas gifts have been wrapped and placed under the tree.

My Christmas pudding has been made
my Christmas cake is waiting in the wings,
to take centre stage,
 on Christmas Day.

The Christmas mince pies 
are yet to be made,
but the sweet smell of baking 
will fill my kitchen,
 on Christmas Eve.

All the practical things have been done.

.... but there is one more, 
very important thing, left for me to do

.... and that is,
to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for taking the time to visit me here at Ivy, Phyllis and Me! 
 I am thrilled that each year you return again and again, to see what is happening in my kitchen or in my garden. Maybe you return to read one of the many stories I write about my day to day life. 
For whatever reason you return, truly, I am very grateful.

So all there is left for me to do
to wish you a merry Christmas 
and a Happy New Year.

Take care and I will catch up with you again in the 2018.

As Always.

Thursday 7 December 2017


Good Morning to you,

Oranges and lemons
Say the bells of St Clement's
You owe me five farthings
Say the bells of St Martin's
When will you pay me
Say the bells of Old Bailey
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney
I do not know
Say the great bells of Bow

My day was going well. I had planned what I wanted to do.... and I was determined to stick to my plan, because as you know, I can be easily sidetracked.

I had thought it would be fun to make some dried orange slices to use as Christmas decorations. I did not want to string them together with cinnamon and pine cones, instead I wanted their delicate aroma to sit in bowls decorated with pine cones and a little pot pourri.

So I checked my fruit bowl and there sat 2 oranges some lemons and tangerines.... perfect for what I wanted to do.

I began by topping and tailing the 2 oranges and then I cut them into approximately 1/4" slices.

I switched the oven on, to its lowest setting and then

I spread the orange slices between the 2 shelves in my oven and waited for them to dry.  This took 2 hours 25 minutes.

A very simple task.... and as you can see, they turned out perfectly.

Whilst the orange slices were drying in the oven,

I set about scoring the peel of the tangerines and lemons into 8ths, taking care not to cut all the way through, just half way through, so when the peel dried, it separated and the inside of the orange could be seen.

I popped them into the oven, on the lowest temperature, to dehydrate.

So far so good.

I needed the fruit to be in the oven for 6 to 7 hours to enable the tangerines and lemons to dehydrate properly.  They had been in the oven for almost 6 hours and were looking good, when the phone rang.  Always a good thing, because I love a good chat.

.... and it was Natasha ringing to have a Skype chat.  Perfect.  I said I would be with her in 2 ticks.  I made myself a coffee as we always drink our coffee together when we have a Skype chat, Natasha in Chicago and me here in Newcastle. We talked about Christmas and Christmas gifts we were buying.

Now I don't know about you, but when I talk to my daughters, I never have a sense of timing.  I am always surprised to discover we can talk for up to 2 hours, without drawing breath, yes honestly. I only discover the length of our chat when Natasha tells me just before we say goodbye.  

So now you know Natasha rang, but let me take you back to the lemons and tangerines dehydrating in the oven.  They had been in the oven for almost 6 hours before I began chatting to Natasha, and a further 2 hours talking to Natasha, which meant the oranges and lemons had been in the oven for roughly 8 hours.

Can you see where this is leading?

What do you think?  too much time spent in the oven?

Well, let me show you the results.

What do you think now? Yes, you are absolutely right, they spent a tad too long in the oven.... they are a bit of a disaster aren't they.  I was so enjoying my chat with Natasha that I had quite forgotten about the dehydrating fruit.

Now I was not on my own in the house, George was downstairs, reading in the conservatory and when I asked him if he had noticed any burning smells, he said he had caught a whiff of what he thought was marmalade.... mmm it didn't smell like marmalade to me, because when I went into the kitchen, I could definitely smell a little bit of burning.

When I checked in the oven, I discovered that whilst dehydrating, 2 tangerines and 1 lemon had dropped between the shelves,  because as the fruit dehydrated they had become smaller.  They must have fallen with a bit of a thud, as their bottoms were all squashed.... certainly not the look I was going for.

Now I could have decided not to talk about dehydrating whole fruits in the oven, but as you know, I like to be honest and share not only my successes, but also my failures with you.... and it has to be said, on this occasion,  the drying of the whole fruits were a complete disaster.

They normally work well, but that is when I keep an eye on them. So what will I do next time.

.... what Natasha and Danielle are always telling me to do.

'Mum, use the alarm on your phone, to remind you when you need to check something.'

I think it's time I heeded their advice, don't you.

How about you, have you ever been caught out and forgotten the time, when talking with friends or family.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that I'm not the only one who does this.

But before I leave you, I have decided,  I am not going to leave you on a low,  oh no,

I am going to show you one of my cute Christmas cushions which are beginning to fill my home.... I feel sure, this cute little dachshund, will put a smile on your face.

.... and a further treat, enjoy 'The Bells of St Clements' played by the BBC Concert Orchestra. It is almost 5 minutes long, but well worth the time, so sit back and enjoy.

Take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.

As Always,

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...