Monthly Archives: November 2015

Waste no more time

I don’t reblog very often..only when something really resonates with me or I want to help a friend promote a book..but this I think we could all learn a lesson 🙂

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Christmas Recipes.

Well, it’s that time of year so I thought I would post a few of our Christmas family favourites: Christmas pudding should be made now really and it’s something the kids can help with they like to stir and it’s supposed to be lucky.

Christmas Pudding:

Christmas Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 300g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ whole nutmeg, very finely grated
  • 350g raisins
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 250g suet
  • 225g Demerara sugar
  • 225g sultanas
  • 225g currants
  • 2 carrots, peeled and very finely grated
  • 2 cooking apples, peeled and very finely grated
  • (sh)Wet ingredients
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small wine glass of brandy and a tad more..ha ha
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten

 

Method:

  1. Put the breadcrumbs in the biggest mixing bowl you can find. Sieve the flour into the bowl with the mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Then add the remaining dry ingredients, up to and including the grated apples. Combine all the wet ingredients in a jug. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and mix together,  with a big wooden spoon. Take it in turns to give it a stir, closing your eyes and making a wish.
  2. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and leave overnight.
  3. Butter 2 x 1.2-litre pudding basins and spoon the mix into them. Place a disc of baking paper on top of the puddings, then seal with a big sheet of baking paper with a central pleat, to allow expansion. Cover with a cotton or muslin cloth and tie with string or foil. Steam for 6 hours in steamers, or in pans with simmering water that reaches two-thirds up the sides of the basins – be sure to keep the water topped up. Remove and allow to cool.
  4. When cool, re-cover the basins and store in a cool, dry place. On Christmas day, or the day you’re going to eat the puddings, steam for another 1-2 hours. Turn the pudding onto a plate, then pour 75ml of brandy into a ladle and carefully warm over a low heat for 1 minute or so. Light the brandy using a long match and tip over the pudding and enjoy!

What do we eat with our Christmas Turkey? Bread Sauce…living here in Phuket we were surprised how few of our friends even knew what this was so I am assuming it is an old English country recipe it was one my mum handed down to me. I always save any spare bits of bread in a bag in the freezer ( It is better to use stale bread).bread sauce

 

Ingredients:

About half loaf of Stale white bread either broken into smallish pieces or can blitz into breadcrumbs if you like a smoother sauce.

I brown Onion peeled and studded with cloves.

2 bay leaves.

Salt & Pepper.

About half pint milk.

Method:

Pour milk into a saucepan and add studded onion. Slowly bring to boil and turn down and let gently simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. When cool remove Onion and bay leaves.This can be reheated to serve or made the day before and kept covered in the fridge. It is quite a thick consistency so if too thin add some more bread if too thick some more milk.

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Chicken Pate:

Ingredients:

  • 220g/8oz  butter.

  • 4 shallots chopped.

  • 2  cloves, crushed or finely chopped.

  • 450g/1lb chicken Livers, trimmed and cut in half.

  • 1 tbsp Brandy.

    1 tsp mustard powder.

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • 1 bay leaf, to garnish.

  • 2-3 fresh cranberries, to garnish.

Method:

  1. Melt 110g/4oz of the butter in a pan over a medium heat, then add the onion and fry until softened, but not coloured.
  2. Add the garlic and chicken livers and fry the livers until golden-brown all over and cooked through. Add the brandy and mustard powder and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Place the liver mixture and 55g/2oz of the remaining butter into a food processor and blend until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Transfer the pâtĂ© into a serving ramekin or small dish and decorate with a couple of cranberries and a bay leaf….. I use lime leaves as cannot always get fresh bay leaves.
  5. Melt the remaining 55g/2oz of butter in a clean pan. Skim off the froth and pour the butter over the pâté. Transfer to the fridge to chill, then serve from the ramekin when ready.

Pickled  Onions.  There is nothing like your own crispy pickled onions… I use shallots…

Ingredients:

Ingredients:

SAM_7156

 

2 lb Pickling Onions, peeled.

11/2 pints pickling vinegar..I use white vinegar or a mix of apple cider and white vinegar.

2tbls Pickling spices or your mix…again I mix black, white peppercorns, coriander seeds.

Method…2 days before mix 2pts water with 4 oz salt pour over onions, cover and keep in cool place. I keep in the fridge due to the heat here.

Then drain onions and pat dry. Pack into sterilised jars layering pickling spices as you go then pour over vinegar making sure onions are completely covered. Store for 4-6 weeks and they ready…They are the crispest onions I have eaten, far better than shop bought and generally don’t get to 4 weeks let alone 6 weeks as they get dipped into …men!

 

 

That’s all for now …next time it will be a family favorite Prawn Cocktail which I have to make on pain of death, my son will not let me away with it..” you always make it mum” so mum does…haha and Mince Pies of which it wouldn’t be Christmas without a mince-pie or two and Sausage Rolls which my mum always makes but here I have to make own…. and my big son…teases me over Skype with nans sausage rolls and I must admit no one makes them like my mummy…

 

The only time the world beats a path to your door is when you are in the bathroom!

Here is another of my very first blogs which has a lovely recipe for Spiced Red Cabbage which I always cook as an accompaniment to the Christmas Turkey. It’s easy to make and very nice 🙂

Retired? No one told me!

..and  is that just the truth?  Your mobile goes or someone has something sourgent that they talk  through the door at you…..

Goodbye?  Did you guess right? It was Cherokee!   How many of you got that one?

I have decided that as I am learning Thai I am going to try to speak it all the time where I can , especially at home and then my grandson or daughter in law can correct me. Well that is the plan…

This week it’s Red Cabbage.

Cooked with Apples,red onion or shallots,some spices,balsamic and a tinsy, winsy drop of Red Wine….mmm..try a glassful…lol..

It is a lovely accompaniment  to Roast Dinners and tastes even better when kept a day or two…well if it lasts that long …and it freezes well. It wouldn’t be a Christmas or Thanksgiving Dinner without it…we love it.SAM_6215

Ingredients:

One medium size Red Cabbage.

One…

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Book Launch – Tales from the Garden – Fairy stories by Sally Cronin

Truly lovely Tales from the Garden which will delight all ages, a lovely stocking filler

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Tales From the Garden small- Cover

I am delighted to announce that my latest book Tales from the Garden is now available in Ebook versions with the print copies available shortly.

We will be leaving our house and garden at some point in the future and when we put the house on the market, I realised that it was not only the sunshine that I would miss. I already had many photographs taken over the last sixteen years and I decided to capture as many aspects of the garden as I could to take with us digitally at least.

As I photographed the statues, most far too heavy to take with us, it came to me that some of them had been here at least for 60 years and had seen many changes over that time. Also there was the mystery surrounding the missing dwarves? Just exactly where did they disappear to some nights; when the…

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As I have just passed the milestone of over 100 blogs I thought I would reblog my very first effort at blogging…I wonder if I have changed?

Retired? No one told me!

Where to start…help…

The watery sun was just rising. Already warm, time to water my seedlings. The tomatoes are about 2 inches high and the lettuces have just broken through the sandy soil. Collecting my can I wandered into the kitchen half in a dream wondering what the day would bring. Turning on the tap the water came out with a stop start, stop, start….. immediately something flew out of the watering can, you can imagine I screamed, dropped the can..hubby come running probably imagining that I had chopped off a limb.

Looking up I spied a little tree frog clinging for dear life on my utensil rack..well a pair of tongs is more accurate and that little frog was probably more scared than me. Hubby giving me the look that said it’s only a frog…. gently removed the tongs from the rack and carried it gently outside and over to…

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A writer is simply a photographer of thoughts….

I love this quote,  it certainly resonates with me.

This blog..be warned….may become a rant…I have had a mixed  couple of weeks ..some happy times and some very, very sad times…

I am happy because my not so little Soi Dog has settled in well…has his own blog …and although he chews it’s because he wants to get in or out, well maybe not all of it but he is lovely and I wouldn’t do without him……Soi Dogs do a wonderful job and if you can donate or adopt it would make a little dog very happy.. I have put this link on so you see what great work they do to save the dogs on the streets…….http://soidog.org/en/about-soi-dog

I am happy because back from my retreat my fingers are flying….All of  my short stories are edited and typed up ready for our book to celebrate our retreat and also for the 2nd volume of The Phuket Writers Anthology…which will be out early next year. My cookbook is taking shape and although my novel is a bit on the back burner due to other commitments I have lots of ideas…so all good. So if any of you lovely bloggers want to come along next year it would be great to meet you click on this link to read all about it and the lovely Annie my friend and mentor who is an amazing lady……http://www.globalwritingsolutions.com/Writers_retreat.html

I am happy  because I have ham brining Ham home curedand there is nothing better than homemade ham. Next week I’ll put the recipe I use on my blog as Christmas is coming and it’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to what we should be doing..like.. making our mincemeat and puds so I think I will do a Christmas recipe one..mmmm now that’s a good idea methinks..talked myself into that one..ha ha

I am happy because  one of us  Lori Jean Grace has published a book on Amazon …  A Michelle Angelique Urban Action Adventure Thriller Series Book #1 (Michelle Angelique Avenging Angel Assassin) Kindle Edition…Just click this link to buy :   http://amzn.to/1N2PX8I  Sista’z Revenge is a pacy thriller and Book 1 of a series…….  Love the cover, I have my copy and I can’t wait to read…I know the blood , sweat and tears which have gone into this …….so this afternoon I will settle down with my glass of chilled vino and read.

Sista'z Revenge

Now to the sadness I am heart-broken for a good friend of mine..who lost her son Phillip to Cancer this morning Friday 13th, he was 1 year and 11 days older than my son. None of us think our children will go before us..none…I keep reading of all these alternative cures maybe they work, maybe they don’t, maybe they can be used alongside conventional medicine..maybe it will stop being about money…maybe the big pharmaceuticals will lose their stranglehold on the world of medicine…so many maybe’s ..

I am sad that human life is worth less in some parts of this beautiful world than a bottle of water.

I am sad for Phillips mum and dad who now have the added pain of watching their only daughter fight cancer . Their only two children and both have this disease???

I am sad for those two little boys who have lost a beloved uncle and have a sick mother.

I am sad of being sad and wish with all my heart that God would step in and right some wrongs, that governments, teachers,anyone who can..and doesn’t….does…

I am sad because I have woken up and read about the terrible loss of life in France … Bombs and shootings …so many innocent people…….so many lives lost.

So if I only had two wishes in my life…. it would be for a cure for Cancer and other terrible diseases and World Peace……. methinks none of that will come to pass in my lifetime…I hope it does in my children’s and grand children’s……..

maudlin or What????? Next time it will be Christmas Recipes and all bright and jolly…….today  I just can’t muster that feeling of joy..so heart broken for my friend and her family…..

 

Until next time stay safe..be happy and love your neighbour unless of course the bass Music blaringis banging out at silly o’clock………….

Life of a Street Dog( Soi Dog) called Saang Chai.

Woof and lots of tail wagging because I now have my forever home.

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I met my mistresses neighbours yesterday ..they asked..because I keep growling at her when she comes out to peg her washing on the line..woof..I don’t mean it I just don’t really trust anyone when I don’t know them because I have been kicked a few times…woof..and it hurts…….Now I have my forever home I know that they will not hurt me like that…woof

I did bark a little bit but my mistress was there and then the lady let me sniff her..she smelt ok…I don’t think she will hurt me so next time maybe I won’t bark so much.

They left me indoors last night on my own…. only for a little while…….it was quite dark and we had no lights  I heard them say it was a power cut again..so they went to get something to eat….it came on soon after they left but I couldn’t get a signal on my i-phone..woof..to let them know…woof

They left me my dinner and a bone so I chewed that for a while ..checked out the garden and came inside to wait……..When they came back I heard my little master telling my mistress I had chewed her furniture. she didn’t believe him …….they were laughing and trying to make her angry I think ..but I hadn’t… wasn’t I good?….I got lots of pats and good boys…woof……

Laters chat next week ..woof