Monday, 29 February 2016

Still in the kitchen...

I love being in the kitchen pootling about, although not all day. Those kind of days just tire me out!

Yesterday, I opened a jar of Lidl cherries in light syrup. They were strained through a sieve to catch all the juice, each was was gently felt to check for stones (found one), before being put into a dish:
We tasted the syrup, it was still a little sour for us so added some extra sweetness. It was then heated and cornflour added to set it. The cherries had an oat crumble put on top of them before baking the crumble for 35 minutes. It was just done when we removed it. This crumble mix doesn't brown too quickly so it can be overcooked if not careful. You can see the results below.
We had half the crumble between us with custard, after cheese and crackers for tea. The rest will be eaten tonight and the 'jelly' for two lunch times after some soup!

Friday, 26 February 2016

Frangipane Mincemeat Muffins

I adapted this recipe using just the frangipane section (and adapting that as well).

I dropped the sugar down by 20g, used margarine instead of butter (as it was all I had), added 1 teaspoon baking powder, plus 3 heaped desserspoonsful of mincemeat leftover from Christmas. It was done in the all in one method rather than beating sugar and margarine together etc.

I used an ice cream scoop to divide the mixture between 8 muffin cases and baked them for 25 minutes at 190C. They were just slightly too dark so next time, I shall cook them at 180C and see how they go.

They have a lovely texture and you can taste the mincemeat without it being overpowering:
Three when cold went into the freezer for our walk next week, the rest we shall eat in the next few days.

Although the frangipane element is a GF recipe, it should work just as well with normal flour.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Blue Skies ....

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Both yesterday and today have been sunny with bright blue skies, hardly any clouds but with a cold breeze/wind. Our neighbour has been out painting his fence but although we have bought the paint for the new fence and gates, we don't want to start until it is a little warmer. Both tins suggest 10C or above and it needs to dry before it is rained on!

We left to go out shopping this morning and within 1 hour and 20 minutes, had been to two different supermarkets, another shop, had a quick walk and returned home. The washing had finished and is now out on the line.

Although the temperature is only 3C, it should rise to around 5C and in the sun, should be enough to dry or mostly dry the washing.

Even at this time of the year, the laundry when brought in, still has that fantastic fresh air smell that no amount of fabric conditioner (for those that use it), seems to be able to duplicate.

Time out for a cup of tea then into the kitchen to prepare some soup for lunch.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Charlie Chaplin at Norwich

I'm sure anyone who has been to Norwich, may have seen this fantastic living statue but we hadn't. We rarely adventure to Norwich but did so yesterday and saw him for the first time. There are lots of video's of him on YouT but here was the one we thought was the best. Hope you enjoy it.

We went primarily to go to Loose's Cookshop (23-25 Magdalen Street) to try and find a certain type of bread tin but no luck so I shall have to buy it online:( DB bought a small metal tin to house our gramme weights in, as they are always getting knocked over. The shop is over two floors and is lovely, selling items to suit most people's pocket and interests.

For GF baking, we invested in some electronic weighing scales for more accuracy. Until now, I have been using an older one we use for weighing mail, but the number shown could be one or two grammes out on occasion, especially when trying to weigh small amounts.

We did however discover a GF Cafe and shop where we had a coffee and small cake. It can be found at 21 Timber Hill if anyone is interested. They had loads of GF items in their upstairs shop. We didn't need anything but it was nice to look around.

We wandered around enjoying the winter sun and generally, despite the cold wind, enjoyed tootling around. The visit should do us now for several months. We had a nice lunch at The Catheral Cafe. Unfortunately I burnt the roof of my mouth on a particularly hot piece of jacket potato. It is still tender this morning but I am hoping by tomorrow, it should be less painful.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016


We had run out of GF biscuits and always need some to nibble with coffee before we have our weekly walks. This time, courtesy of The Gluten Free Alchemist, I baked these.

Just finished mixing, a little wet we thought:
 A small amount pressed down to make a biscuit:
Then baked:
I didn't have chocolate chips so used 200g of chopped up, milk hazlenut chocolate, it worked a treat!

The recipe said it should make 22 but we got 35 (one less in the photo!) I think if I am going to make biscuits in the future, I might buy a cake pop (metal rather than plastic) as it would give me the same amount per biscuit, although we do like the rustic look.

Monday, 22 February 2016


First of all, welcome to Jacqueline Griffiths and Nadine Thomas via Bloglovin.

We have had a lovely long weekend with DS and DDiL, this time minus dogs! Whilst we all missed them, it was nice nonetheless, to have a really leisurely lazy weekend, doing not much at all. DS bought himself a game for PS4 for me to play with before handing it onto to him. Unfortunately I am one of those so called 'irritating' gamers that need to invert both x and y camera's and this one doesn't allow me to do the x one so I can't play it!:(

I think I shall have to play an old game and have a go at 'normal' play and see if I can change.

In celebration of their visit, I cooked once again, the chocolate fudge cake (GF), the recipe for which, can be found here.

It was a little bit more fragile this time, not sure why, but still delicious. I sandwiched it together with apricot jam and creme fraiche, then decorated the top with chocolate ganache:

I didn't have the correct cream to make the ganache, only Elmlea, but it worked just as well and tasted about the same. I also don't have 8" or 9" sandwich cake tins, only 7" which makes the cake almost too tall for my cake storage container!

We have decided next time we make it, to freeze one sandwich cake, then use the other one, to make a shorter version. That way we can top it with cream and fresh fruit, or mascapone and fruit, fruit and jelly etc.

We ate just over half of this between us all, 1/4 went into the freezer and we ate the other quarter yesterday.

We were out Saturday night at a lovely pub, celebrating their 1st Wedding Anniversay, my, how time flies.

Friday, 19 February 2016

And she's back...

I have no excuses for my absence, I've just had a few rest days when I simply couldn't be bothered to do much at all, other than the usual 'chores'. Oh, and enjoying myself with some gaming!

Sometimes, you just have to obey what you and your body wants to do - so I did.

We have both now decided that we like this 'new' version of GF Bread - on the left:

It has some vege-gel in to hold it together and it really works, especially after defrosting when it used to fall apart a bit when you spread it with something. Thanks to The GF Alchemist!

Whilst we were making that one, I also found another version by someone else for a sub style bread bap - made into a loaf on the right, the link to which is here.

Here is what it looked like, once sliced lengthways into 8 slices:
It was nice but went stale quickly so became nice toast! We shall have another attempt and fiddle with it. Have a lovely weekend folks!

Monday, 15 February 2016

First single bought...

Welcome to Jenner via Bloglovin.

DB likes to compile music for when we are in the car. I don't know if this was one of them but reckonised them on something else.

"Let's Go To San Francisco" was the first single record I bought and had to save about 7/- for the pleasure.

Here is a link to it:

This link tells you a little bit more about the 'group'. I still like it today but my all time favourite song has to be "Hotel California" by The Eagles see a full rendition here!

Unfortunately, if any adverts show up, click them away - blasted things. Have a good day.

Saturday, 13 February 2016


We needed to book a meal in a pub so went there yesterday to treat ourselves to lunch - 2 courses for £10 each. There should also have been a tea or coffee but we didn't want them.

Herewith our main - we chose the same - pulled pork nacho's with salad and coleslaw:
Followed by pudding - DB had banana fritters and salted caramel ice cream - they were rather like banana doughnuts - and I had chocolate tart with raspberry sorbet:
The main course was too big and I needed to leave some to make way for pudding. We have been in this pub before when people have been having this special. Neither of us think they cut the meals down in size just because they are on special offer. Even the waitress thought they were too large!

Anyhow, they were lovely. The nacho's were this time, not spicy which was good as it helped you taste the pork which was moist and succulent. There was hardly any pastry on the tart and the chocolate inside was very thick and tasty. You really needed the sorbet to cleanse your palate. We didn't need tea and only had cereals or toast later in the evening.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Are we a bit dim when it comes to light bulbs?

I don't know about you, but I am finding it a bit difficult to get my head around light bulb comparisons between the old standard light bulbs, halogen, CFL and now the LED versions. Its only a matter of time before I get there, but as the newer bulbs are designed to last years, I shall probably forget next time around!

As each bulb blows, particularly the halogen and CFL versions, we are aiming to replace them with their brighter, quicker to 'light' LED cousins.

These chaps are not cheap, seemingly anywhere between £5 and £12 each depending on how bright they are. Although the chart below gives some ideas when trying to decide what you need in watt comparisons, it seems we now need to get lumens into our brains rather than watts!
Although this chart is useful, not all companies employ it. Quite a few minor variations exist which complicate things further.

Once you get that into your head, you also need to know what bases you have. Have you got a small or large Edison screw, do you have large or small bayonet bases, see here.

Final thoughts must then turn onto whether you need them to be able to dim or not. Ah well, just another thing to adapt to!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

I've forgotten already!

Gosh, I am only a few weeks into the 53 weeks of 2015/2016, getting next winters box organised and already, I have forgotten one or two items:(

That is the problem as you age, you have a thought, think you can hold it and before you get to a pen, its gone. Luckily, most of the time it comes back. If we don't have lists for everything we need to do etc, I can't imagine how many things would get forgotten. Then remembered, then forgotten...

I have created myself a table now with the 53 weeks on it, although I can't get it onto my winter box page as a table which can still be filled in. On that particular page, it will just have to be a list.

I started the timing of the box, back dated to 1st December 2015 and it will be in use from 1st November 2016, or later.

I will try and remember to keep it up to date and with that in mind, have updated the list and added a tin of corned beef!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016


To Kim and Andy Murray on the birth of their daughter on Sunday.

My first GF Pizza

Welcome to Jill Mcclinton via Bloglovin.

Yesterday saw me make our first GF Pizza, using half the recipe for the base from here.

This gave us one pizza enough for the both of us:

I initially baked the base for 6 rather than 8 minutes, then after toppings were added, 10 rather than 15 minutes.

Unlike normal pizza which can have a tendency to bend when holding them as a slice, this one didn't. It was straight without being hard, had the texture of a regular pizza and tasted lovely. Definitely a keeper!

We topped it with tomato puree watered down with added herbs, sauted yellow pepper, green pepper salami, 2 slices of Gouda and a handful of grated cheddar. It was served with a carrot and apple coleslaw. Most definitely yum yum!

I recently found a recipe for GF Banana Muffins from this site. I reduced the sugar by 10g as a trial and instead of butter, used Benecol. They looked slightly different to her picture but taste fine. Sorry, forgot to photograph them.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Adjusting taste buds

To cholesterol lowering items, has so far, proved okay as far as we are concerned. It took a couple of days to adjust to 1% fat milk whereas we normally use 2% semi-skinned.

The next thing to change was to reduce/give up butter and change to plant stenol enhanced spread. We have tried both Flora Light Proactiv and Benecol Buttery. DB hasn't got a preference but I think the Flora is a little better in taste.

As we both like Edam (and now Gouda), we have changed onto those. They do toast (after a fashion), when done under the grill so that is a bonus. The price per kilo in Lidl (and probably Aldi) is almost £2 less for sliced versions. Indeed, in Lidl, the sliced is £2 a kilo cheaper than a chunk of either Edam or Gouda.

We like them both on crackers and in sandwiches. We shall still buy extra mature cheddar but only as a treat, maybe divide and freeze it to be on the safe side!

For now, these are our only changes. We don't want to drink those little bottles of probiotics at the moment and have no intention of changing onto skimmed milk which we both find horrible.

So far so good then.

Friday, 5 February 2016

G F Pancakes... UPDATED

Next Tuesday is Shrove Tuesday aka Pancake Day. We love pancakes although I have to be honest, I love them more than DB. We came across this recipe and gave it a whirl. We made up the full amount and had half of it freshly made, the other half will be used today to see if there is any difference! To be honest, I think it would also work with a bag of bought in gf flour.

(Yes, there is a slight difference. The second day, all the flour had sunk and it took a while to whisk everything up. They cooked the same and the texture seemed the same. There was however one difference. When cooling, those cooked immediately seemed to become less pliable than the ones today. They stayed soft and floppy. The way to go methinks!)

I chose to use a small non-stick frying pan. As the butter is already in the mix, it didn't need to be greased further.  After the rubbish first one (always the cooks treat), we got on with it. I used just under a 1/4 cup measurement, poured it in and left it until you could see little humps appearing:
I found it needed to be swirled quickly as although it looked like milk, they started to set quite quickly. Then it was flipped over:
It took a while and the occasional extra flip to get it browning correctly:
Each one, once ready, was put into the oven. Once 5 were done, DB came and got them:
We had 5 each, with a selection of lemon juice and sugar or proper maple syrup. They were very nice, not much difference in taste to non GF ones.

I do have another recipe to try for Oat pancakes and shall do those over the weekend.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Aye up!

Apologies for the brief absense, but not much to say, so didn't!

A bright but cold morning has arrived and we were out early (leaving the house at 08:15) to go food shopping. We got back at 10:00 having been to a wood yard to check out some fencing panels.

All being well, tomorrow should see the start of the fence on one side of the front garden, as well as some gates to the driveway. When our grand-dogs visit, they have to cram themselves outside the dining room door, into a long but very thin bit of garden.

Master L, often manges to snag the end of his tail on something, making it bleed. So now when they visit, they will have the whole of the driveway to investigate. Hopefully, it should only take a few trips outside, to get them to sit at the correct door!

Went to the doctors on Tuesday, to discuss the use of beta-blockers for one element of my heart problem,  and started on them yesterday. As it happens, my tachycardia switched itself off late Monday, after nearly 3 weeks (apart from of course, the day I went to see the specialist).

It is quite tiring having a heartbeat constantly around the 140 mark, with an elevated blood pressure to match. As I said, Monday evening saw it all start to calm down again and hopefully, the tablets will stop it starting again. If not, other measures will need to be taken.

At least this event was half that of the November/December one.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Why, why, why....

Do I at times, think I know better? In particular, ignoring the final bit of instructions about leaving biscuits for 10 minutes before removing from the tray.

Last week, I made some ginger nuts. Now, I know, without exception, that they can be like molten lava when fresh out the oven, they need to cool down before removing from the sheet.

However, thinking I was doing the right thing by cooking them on a silicone baking mat, and needing the tray for the next batch, I slipped the mat from the tray - error!

As luck would have it, they were so soft that despite cracking during removal, they joined back together again nicely.

Using a shortcake recipe from this site, I ignored the end bit where it states to leave on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing, as I needed to get the next lot in! This was the result of the first batch cooked after sliding the mat from the tray:
Oh dear!

Giving them time to cool down, I baked a loaf of bread. The second batch then went in - and were left to cool on the tray - and this time, looked like this:
A bit pale on the top but a lovely colour (similar to those above) underneath.


Well, as they are for our walk this week, the decent ones will be offered and the rest, we shall enjoy at home. They taste very nice by the way.