Tuesday, 30 April 2013


There has been new life  created in our house.......

My sourdough loaf has been born.... No yeast, just my very own starter.... I feel very proud

Its even got holes in it and it tastes good too.

Just between you and me ..... I am winning the competition as Joseph had a go with his starter the other day and it did nothing and had to be chucked, somehow that was my fault, but his starter is still looking lively and frothy so we will try a new technique at the weekend!!

Saturday, 27 April 2013


What a lovely day we are having!
Have just made a batch of ginger biscuits and ate a fair few......

Spent an hour or so sleeping in the sun before a huge hail storm and now listening to Ian and Joseph fiddling about with bike stuff in the kitchen.. all rather blissful really.

Weekend started quite badly last night with dinner out with friends at a newly refurbished pub up the road. Looks lovely but had one of the worse meals ever there. Appalling service, cold food , undercooked chips, we sent it back but really should have not paid at all. On top of that i was driving and so was stone cold sober.... Came home to find that one of Josephs friends who was sleeping over was poorly and vomitting and spent a good while cleaning up sick and trying to sort him out!!

Then woken early in the morning by the lodgers alarm and unanswered phone ringing!! Hence the sleep in the sun...

The sourdough competition continues.... Joseph is making a loaf as we speak, but its not rising well, I am not confident, though both our starters look lively enough, in fact Josephs was escaping earlier in the week .

Monday, 22 April 2013


I am trying AGAIN to make a sourdough starter that really takes off and makes bread rise without adding commercial yeast. I think this is the 4th or 5th time I have tried and I just cant get it to work. have been watching Paul Hollywoods "Bread" show and Have become inspired again, it all looks SOOOOO easy , a mixture of flour and water and thats it, then a few days later and stinky bubbling goo of yeasts. Well, I think they cheat on the telly and add yeast to it as it doesn't work that well for me. And there is no way on Gods earth that the reason I cant grow yeast is because my kitchen is too clean...!!!???

Joseph is a keen breadmaker and we are currently in competition to see who can grow the best starter. We started together with one starter on the go, looked hopeful at first but the died pretty soon after I fed it!! Of course that was all my fault so we now have seperate starters on the go so I cannot be blamed for any fatalities. Incidentally ... we revived the original starter with a few grains of yeast left over at the bottom of an empty sachet. That is now blossoming !!

So here are the starters

 this one is mine
and this is Josephs

I'd say at the moment its close.......

This is some bread I have just made from the starter that had some yeast added to it

it has turned it out more like a cake. When I proved it for the 2nd time it turned into chewing gum and stuck to everything  so I was not hopeful as to the consistency but it looks ok and has some holes in it

and more importantly tastes REALLY good!!. Sadly I am on a fast day today so can't tuck into it in the way that I really want to, so just had a very small crusty bit.

Haven't been blogging much as have become obsessed with granny squares , they are so quick and very satisfying to make. Here is my stash so far, I can feel another blanket coming along!!!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013


Last night I was at book club. We were discussing "home" by Maryilynn Robinson, Which I really enjoyed. We had some really good questions to stimulate discussion and we pretty much kept to the topic, which we don't always do. There were lots of lovely snacks and drinks, which I indulged in.... to my peril which I was to discover later on in the night.

I had a couple of cups of tea, I usually drink decaff but this was caffeinated and I also began working my way through a bowl of pineapple. We finished late and I climbed into bed about 11.30 and picked up my book... " a fault in our stars" An hour later I was still reading, wide awake!! the book is great, a rather sad story of a teen romance between cancer sufferers. Pn the face of it , I can see it doesnt sound very appealing, but it is well written in a touching and funny style and i have completely fallen for the characters. Sensibility took the better of me and I turned the light off and went to sleep.

I woke a couple of hours later worrying that Charlie, ( in Oz) , was going to be eaten by a sea water crocodile...!!! Ridiculous it sounds now but at 3am I couldn't shake it. I must of dropped off eventually but woke a while later with the same thought and also violent indigestion. As i lay awake with my thoughts I realised I was listening to the dawn chorus, how beautiful that is and something I haven't heard for a while. I drifted , toying with the idea of getting up to make a peppermint tea, as the birds sang me back to sleep. As a bad nights sleep goes, at least there was happy end to it!!

Now setting off to the breast feeding workshop... arghhhhh. Just walked the dogs, a circus has just moved on from the park so lots of lovely smells left for the dogs. Huxley fancied smelling of horse poo and had a god roll there. However he is now smelling of peach shower gel with coconut conditioner with a faint undertone of poo!!

Sunday, 14 April 2013


No excuses for not writing for so long.... not much going on really...

All rather quiet here, Becca back at Leeds, just finished her dissertation...yeehah, 12,000 words no less on anorexia, Sam back in Glasgow, Charlie sunning himself in Australia, moving rapidly up the east coast towards Cairns. It got EVEN quieter as Joseph went to stay with a friend for a few days and it was just ian and me for a day or 2 , most unusual but rather lovely really.

The first day I cleaned ....quite satisfying but very,very dull, so the next day I got my hair cut and coloured and went shopping in Oxford street.
We had our usual date night... saw "A late Quartet", very , very good , a nice gentle and well acted film, we gave it 8/10. Also watched "silver linings playbook" which is really 10/10 and just as good the second time!!

My sister and her boyfriend came to stay over the weekend and I cooked a fantastic
 spagetti vongole......

Saturday morning was almost spring like , with sun streaming through the curtains..... by 2pm it was blowing a gale, driving rain and a very cold wind. We were on Portobello road, so escaped to a coffee shop and had these......

Friends for supper last night and then today it was WARM, yes WARM, the sun was out the wind was warm and it felt quite hot.....21c so about 20c warmer than last week.... bliss

Holidays over now back to school and work but first I had to tackle this lot.....

Sunday, 7 April 2013


You might recall that in early Jan Becca and i did a surprise trip up to Glasgow to see Sam for his 21st birthday. It felt too close to Christmas and New Year to put on another big do when everyone was really partied out so we decided to leave the celebrations till easter.
 So that came around quickly and here we were yesterday  hosting a "do" for approx 40 people.

For a start Sam had arranged for 15 of his friends to go paintballing. Becca very bravely went along too, the only girl. An early start, they had to leave at 8.20. Try getting fifteen 21 yr olds out of bed and up and dressed by 8am on a saturday morning.... they left at 8.40!!!

we spent the day in preparation. I made
2 loaves of foccacia bread
coleslaw salad,
green salad
tomato, feta and cucumber salad
slow roasted chicken thighs with chorizo, sweet potato and garlic
for 40.......

Luckily I have an AMAZING friend who makes spectacular cakes and she did not disappoint this time

 Not only does it look fantastic ... it tastes amazing too.

Everyone tipped up here afterwards and we partied in earnest! it was a lovely evening, young and old together. The youngest left for a club later on leaving us oldies to our cups of tea and to pick at the cake!
Got to bed at 11. my legs were aching soooo much and I realised I had been standing ALL day. It was like the old days of nursing when I had worked a busy 8 hr shift , walking up and down all day!

I think Sam had a great time though this is how he spent a large part of today

This is what his back looks like after a day paintballing

I also mastered the art of granny squares.....

Friday, 5 April 2013


Sorry to keep going on and on and on about the weather but yesterday was unbelievably dreadful......
Really really really cold and snowy sleet all day. Not a day for being outside at all.
Walked the dogs as quickly as I could, I am looking after an extra who has been completely ruined by his owners and is a pain in the a***, came home and settled into a day of domesticity.....
The main event of the day was this.......

 My sockbasket had got out of control and it was time to sort it out which I did....
Although rather boring I do find sorting socks rather therapeutic . I realise I am very much a optimist as I find that I cant throw the odd ones away for a long time as I am forever hopeful of the other one turning up......

The red car would not start just as Becca was rushing off for an interview, rather stressful so she had to drive mine without insurance while I waited for the AA. Thankfully it was just the battery.....

Managed a trip to the gym and then lots of cooking and eating. we are on a carrot feast at present as I accidentally ordered online 5 BAGS of organic carrots instead of 5 carrots so we are making .....

 these were unbelivably yummy, carrot and halloumi fritters, really really tasty

we also made some carrot hummus to go with the falafel.

I also finished these.....

A baking fest all round, we have all been cooking as follows
 Sam made these cinnamon buns
 I made this pretend sourdough
 Becca made these fairy cakes for her boyfriends sisters birthday

 And joseph made this bloomer loaf.

Not bad going really and plenty to have for breakfast in bed tomorrow!!

Thursday, 4 April 2013


Well , those few days passed in a flash.... but how lovely they were!

Our Easter weekend started with a few tears.... Charlie left for 4 months to travel around OZ,NZ and SE Asia. The build up to these long absences are dreadful, worrying about getting everything organised, things going wrong, saying goodbyes to various people in the run up,etc etc. Tensions were running high. To make matters worse,Charlie and I have , what you might call, a volatile relationship, ie we explode at each other at any available opportunity. We had a MONSTER row about a week before he left but on a good note we do patch it up pretty well. However saying goodbye to him was hard and I did have a few tears to shed. That got everyone going so we all had a little weep.

Ian and i set off to the Isle of Wight by ourselves with the remaining 3 coming the following day! what a treat that was...In the evening we went to a lovely pub and had a BLOW OUT meal of seafood platter...... YUM,YUM and YUM..... Lobster, squid, mussels crab , prawns, scallops... Are you getting the picture?? We could hardly move after.....

Although the wind was unbelievably cold it was bright and sunny and we had 3 lovely days with long walks on the beaches, card games in the pub, I had my 1st roast for 6 wks after giving up meat for Lent, lots and lots of chocolates and a lovely day with friends. we always stay in Seaview which has the most glorious beaches just a few minutes from the flat. It is sooo good for the soul to walk the dogs on the empty beaches and restore the mind and body with some sea air!!

Becca showed me how to do Instagram and i became mildly obsessed with it, hence some of the rather arty photos below