Search This Blog

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Frugal food and a new gadget

 I was pleased that I had picked lots of blackberries during the hot spell and made bramble jelly because the ones near here seem to have rotted in the rain. Last weekend there were still some so I took a box and my rucksack on my walk. I had to drop something into a friend and there is a cut-through near her house which goes past the community farm. It has been closed for ages but the gate was open and a box of veg and fruit with the message to "help yourself, donations welcome". I didn't have any money on me so hesitated then I saw a bag with cooking apples which I thought would go well with the berries. I saw some people inside and called out that I would donate next time. They were happy with that although actually they are happy for it just to be taken if you need it. I will make sure I have my purse next time.

I found quite a few blackberries at a pleasant spot with benches and a good view. Then I started home via another bramble spot and was doing quite well there. Then I espied apples on the ground. I managed to find 9 good windfalls which went into my rucksack with the others.  I spent a pleasant evening preparing apples and cooking them with the berries. Most have been frozen.

Then a few days ago a friend called and gave me produce from her allotment. 3 large potatoes which were delicious, a large beetroot which has now been cooked, several bulbs of garlic and more apples. These were made into a large apple cake. The garlic was very handy as I was cooking spaghetti bolognese that evening and only had powdered garlic which is fine but fresh is nice. 

Today I had a walk in a village a few miles away and was surprised to see so many good blackberries. So I will go back with a box and collect a few more. I am keeping my eye on an apple tree along the river. I have never seen so much fruit on it but it needs to mature a bit. 

The new gadget is a Danish Whisk which I bought from Amazon and I really like it. 

I have been amazed how easily it mixes ingredients up. Even little GD who is not 3 yet mixed her biscuits up with it. It is much easier to clean than most whisks and less washing up than an electric whisk. It is very solidly made as well. I do love a simple gadget.

Friday, 21 August 2020

Rubber bacon

 I have heard of rubber chicken where people eke it out to provide so many meals but I think this week I have managed rubber bacon. 

I bought a bacon joint for just over £5, boiled it and served 3 meals with new potatoes, veg and home made mustard sauce. Two more portions were frozen to do the same with this weekend.  Two meals of bacon rosti went down well. I also made and froze 4 bacon burgers so that's another two meals. I needed breadcrumbs for these but didn't want to use my fresh home made bread so found half a pack of sage and onion stuffing in the cupboard. Minced the bacon and mixed with the stuffing, an egg and some water. These were formed in my little burger press bought years ago at a car boot sale. The rest of the stock made 4 portions of split pea soup. 

I make that 13 meals so think it qualifies as rubber bacon. Very satisfied with that.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Tea on the Heath.......

 Only we had lunch. I booked this last week hoping the weather would change as we have been taking advantage of the "eat out to help out" offer. The weather forecast was changed yesterday but being stoic Brits used to carrying on whatever the weather we did.

The very kind owners could have squeezed us inside but we felt safer outside under a large parasol with our raincoats on. The food was all freshly made and delicious. We both had smoked salmon and cream cheese granary sandwiches with salad and shared a pot of tea. Then I opted for the chocolate fudge cake which was huge and DB had the special ice cream. I'm afraid I will have to go again to try the icecream!

I liked the fact that all of the crockery was all different and very pretty. 

I hadn't realized there were these lovely little independent shops behind the tea room so we explored the old fashioned toy and sweet shop. It had a mixture of new and pre-loved items so we chose a few things for little GD.

She has just learnt how to do 12 piece jigsaws so we had to have this one as her daddy loved Playschool. The game encourages counting and matching and is pre-loved. The two new items are wooden and are a ladybird yo-yo and a swaying snake. She will have fun with the snake. The owner was lovely and provided a chair for DB. I felt for her as she took the shop over, spent some time getting it all ready and was open for one day when the shut down came. She was still cheerful though. 

It was a lovely drive out to the village and we came back a different way in heavy rain but it felt good to have some time out. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

The beach!

I went back to Clacton for a few days to visit DD as she had to have her last dog put to sleep and for the first time in years she has been without one. It was sad but also a relief to her as she knew it was coming and there were a few false alarms. Also since this dog had pancreitis 2 years ago and nearly died she's had to have a low fat diet which she didn't like and that caused her to have toilet accidents. 

DD has been ill for 11 years since she caught swine flu at the care home we both worked in. She was very ill with secondary infection and has since been diagnosed with CFS so she is  restricted in what she can do. Really the dogs took all her energy so when I do visit we don't get to do much. I went to give her a bit of support and also steam clean the carpet. DD manages to clean the spots but can't cope with a major clean. We were also able to have some fun. The day after I arrived we decided to go to the beach about 10 am before it got too hot. We took it in turns to sit with our belongings and I had a lovely time with a bit of swimming and lots of floating. DD's energy levels would only let her float but it was the first time in years she has been in the sea. This is the beach.


DD is one of the dots in the water. We then had fish and chips and a pot of tea and headed for home so DD could have a sleep. We didn't go again as it became much hotter and also DD can't do much two days running. We did manage to see BIL and his wife which was lovely. We also took advantage of the eat out to help out offer the day I arrived at our favourite eatery near DD's home. 

I was allowed to stay with DD but we tried to stay apart and no hugging which was hard. 

Today DB and I went to the nearby carvery to use the offer again. We both had the roast which was a bit tricky as I had to carry them both back to the table as no way DB could stand in the queue or walk back with a dinner. It was delicious though and we also treated ourself to an icecream pudding.

I've taken to having a walk most evenings when it's cooler and quiet. I usually sit for a while beside the river watching the water birds. It is so peaceful and relaxing.