Shrinking Violet


Latest posts by Shrinking Violet

Memories of the past

Posted: 20/11/2016 at 21:20

So many memories are stirred by others' experiences!  Yes - frosted windows that did, indeed, look like ferns and leaves, and then I would make a little circle in the frost to look out to see what the weather was like! 


And there was the time when my brother and I were little, both our beds were put into the one room so that the little fire could be lit for Christmas.  In joyous expectation of the event, we decided to use my toy broom and dustpan set (sexist toy!) to sweep the chimney for Father Christmas.  My mother was unamused by the amount of sooty handprints everywhere that had to be cleaned.


The living room had a coal fire, which, when the wind was in a certain direction, wouldn't "draw" so she would hold a sheet of newspaper over the opening to create a draught.  We waited with baited breath for the inevitable conflagration.


Sunday roast.  Monday washday, so cold cuts (beef: nice.  lamb: ugh!) and bubble and squeak.  Tuesday cottage pie with the left-overs. 


Walking to school and back (nearly a mile each way: home for lunch meant we walked the distance four times a day).  Milk in small bottles at school - and oh, the pride of being milk-monitor and piercing the silver tops with straws!  And inkwells and dip-in pens - impossible to grip a pen like a crab's claw and actually write as seems to be more commonplace today. 


Playing games in the street, with no adult to tell us the rules - but a sort of rough justice that prevailed for anyone who "cheated".


Tough times, but lots of happy memories nevertheless!

Strictly is back!

Posted: 12/11/2016 at 20:08

I'm in total shock!  Ed Balls - words fail me (but I haven't laughed so much for a long time )

Christmas cooking

Posted: 08/11/2016 at 16:15

Many thanks for the feedback.  I am drawn to another Kenwood, not least because the bowl from this one will still fit  a new one - how excellent that will be when mixing different things, especially whisking egg whites which requires a spotless, clean bowl,


I also have a (Kenwood) hand-held mixer and a Food Processor, but for some items, the large table-top mixer is indispensable. 


I used to have the mincer attachment but found I rarely used it, relying on the FP. But with the Kenwood, I would have the option again.

Christmas cooking

Posted: 08/11/2016 at 14:04

My cake is now in the oven and will gently cook for a few hours.  The smell as it bakes is awesome, which is just as well since, as I was whisking the last of the eggs into the butter and sugar, the motor on my Kenwood Chef suddenly went "clunk" and electrical smoke filled the kitchen! 


I was able to finish with the hand mixer, and all is now well.  I can't really complain about the Chef - I've had it for over 40 years, having bought it at Staff Sales price when I worked for Thorn Electrical (the parent company).  Now I have to decide if my lifestyle demands another table-top piece of equipment.  There are many more brands on the market these days, so any input about plusses and minuses would be welcome.


Off to make my mincemeat which, at least, doesn't need any serious mixing, other than a good stir or three

Christmas cooking

Posted: 07/11/2016 at 20:14

OK - panic over  Whew!!!  I was all set to make my mincemeat tomorrow and Obelixx asked for my recipe.  We moved last year, and I thought I had done the unthinkable and thrown it (the recipe) away.  But no - even I'm not that silly.  So here it is:


1 lb cooking apples


4 oz Muscovado sugar


1 tsp mixed spice


1 tsp ground cinnamon


1/2 tsp ground cloves


1/2 pt dry cider


1 lb mixed dried fruit


4 oz mixed candied peel, chopped


1. Peel and core apples, chop into small dice (or blitz briefly in food processor)


2. Put into saucepan with sugar, spices and cider


3. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes


4. Add dried fruit and peel; cook for a further 10 minutes (if the mixture seems too wet, cook for a further


    5 minutes)


Leave to cool.  Spoon into polybox and freeze or refrigerate for up to 6 months (though I have had some for a year, and it's still very good)


Note:  the dried fruit can be of your own choosing eg chopped dried apricots, dried cranberries, chopped dried figs etc. Just keep the proportions about right.  A few chopped nuts can be added if liked:  I find walnuts work well.    Also: be generous with the spices, which are best ground in a pestle and mortar rather than ready-ground.


Tried and trusted recipe has never failed me yet.  I make a double quantity, some for mince pies and some for mincemeat Jalousie or mincemeat and apple tranche, whichever takes my fancy!

Christmas cooking

Posted: 07/11/2016 at 17:44

Chrissie - I tend to agree with you regarding  it seeming unwelcoming to expect others to bring their own food.  The article, however, was dealing with the etiquette of going to another for Christmas, and that it would be a help to the host to offer, at least, to bring one's own.  (Still not sure how it would work, though.  I could see it being a bit of a bone of contention  What if someone's nut roast took up limited oven space, for example?  Hmmmm)


There is nothing funny about real food intolerances/allergies, and a freezer must come into its own here, with things prepped in advance, limiting the workload on the day.


Good luck!


If all else fails, offer the veggie unlimited sprouts . . .

Mini greenhouse question

Posted: 07/11/2016 at 15:59

I had no option but to use a mini GH last winter (I have fixed GH now which is bubble-wrapped for the winter).  It - the mini GH - gave a bit of protection, but I did lose a few tender plants.  You can buy fleece liners, I believe, which would help, but I don't think I would rely on one, especially in the light of the current winter forecast! 

Christmas cooking

Posted: 07/11/2016 at 15:53

I have a pudding which has been retrieved from the freezer a few weeks ago, and is copiously "fed" with brandy each week (Tip:  get an eye-dropper for squeezing the brandy into holes made with a skewer or very thin knife: much easier).


I have all the dried fruit soaking in brandy ready for the cake to be made tomorrow.  It's classic Delia's recipe which never fails.  And it will, in due course, be anointed with extra brandy as per the pud.


I will make my own mincemeat:  a fatless recipe with all the dried fruits and spices gently heated through in cider, then left to cool and kept in the fridge until required.  It also freezes well, and the flavours are much better than shop-bought - and a lot less sweet, since I add only a little soft brown sugar. 


The smell of Christmas baking is a treat in itself:  cinnamon and spices say it all!  Advent Sunday is early this year (27th November) which will be a good excuse to get the Lebkuchen and Stollen out as the Advent candle is lit.  I think the run-up to Christmas is almost better than the actual thing.


btw re special diets (veggie/gluten-free etc) I don't have to cater for any of those but an article I read recently said that it was perfectly acceptable to expect those with special dietary requirements to bring their own to the table rather than expecting to be catered for.  Not sure how it would work, though - it could be more trouble than it's worth! 

Sssssssscared or what?

Posted: 06/11/2016 at 20:38

Glad I didn't see them - snakes definitely not a favourite creature of mine!


Actually gave up on the programme after about 20 minutes:  so fed up with the music - not background but foreground much of the time, and intensely irritating.

The Problems of Disability and Jobs

Posted: 01/11/2016 at 21:23

Lovely picture Oakridge.  And you have just added another dimension to my "accounts only count" mentality that seems to reign supreme:  there are good people out there who are willing and able to provide meaningful help to those who need a helping hand in life.  The withdrawal of your (and others) support cannot be quantified in financial terms alone.


Shame.

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