Showing posts from October, 2010

Quince (yes yes apples and grapes coming soon... I promise. Ooh and bacon too!)

The owl and the pussycat is a poem most of us Brits are introduced to as children... and we seem to remember the lines pretty much for the rest of our lives - well they are stuck in my brain anyway...  in particular the third verse which goes like this

Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
    Your ring?' Said the Piggy, 'I will.'
So they took it away, and were married next day
    By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
    Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
    They danced by the light of the moon,
          The moon,
          The moon, They danced by the light of the moon. You can see where I'm going now can't you...?  Yes, the slices of quince... a perfect accompaniement to mince and eaten with a runcible spoon.  Well I knew what a quince was - although I have to confess to never having eaten any until quite recently.  Quince is inedible straight from the tre…

Damsons! (Apples and Grapes coming soon!)

At the moment I am almost snowed under with produce that requires something done with it... With only one maslin pan, it's hardly had time to go cold before it's back on the heat again... I have three large buckets full of grapes demanding attention, along with two huge bags of mixed variety apples... (a step by step guide to bottling apples will be forthcoming Jo... but please bear with me on this one... I'm running out of jars)  before I decide what to do with all this fruit, I thought I would share with you, what I did with four kilo's of free damsons.

A couple of weeks ago, on the way to my allotment, I passed a really friendly sign that said 'Damsons, please help yourself, we've had tons!'... so we did.  It was unexpected and threw me into a bit of a tiz because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them.  After a bit of searching through my recipe books and old cuttings from magazines I came up with a plan....

They were washed an…

I'm Celebrating!

why?  Well, there is precious little Good News on the tv these days, so I have very much enjoyed hearing about the Chilean Miners miraculous rescue.  And so, today I bought a bottle of Chilean wine, which we shall enjoy with our usual Friday night curry.

And I shall toast the guy in charge of the rescue team - I don't know who he is, but boy does he deserve a medal, what a great job, well done!!

In other news, I dug over a bit of the allotment today and now my back really aches... I should have been there for an hour or two every day this week, but so many other things just got in the way.  The allotment is still producing - I got the very last of the butternut squash - two little diddy baby ones, and a decent sized swede, and a cabbage and some brussels sprouts which will not last until Christmas - in fact none of them look like they will last until Christmas - last years were much better, but never mind, they will go well with ham and potatoes which is planned for tomorrow. :-)

Soap Teacher Launches!

I have started a new blog entitled Soap Teacher. Now most of you will have been over to my skincare website from time to time and will wonder why I have felt the need to blog exactly the same stuff! Well.... it's been a hard decision but I have had to accept that I am definitely the Billy bit of this outfit rather than the Techno side of things.

My skincare website is quite expensive to run, it's supposed to make money from the advertising which should at the very least cover all it's costs. I never did get to grips with how to do this. I had pages and pages of tutorials to read but I never felt very comfortable with any of it - and in all honesty it was quite beyond me.
Around 53% of my visitors to the website came from the USA but my brain is quite firmly stuck here in the UK and I did not want to form advertising associations with companies in the US when I really did not understand their ethos or always approve of their advertising styles... my UK visitors were way d…

Time to get Serious about Saving!

OK having established that I need at least 2 or 3 thousand pounds under my belt to cover removals and/or storage... and just three years to do it... and did I mention that I don't actually have a job? Yeah... well... savings must be made and so I have been putting my thinking cap on (well lying on the couch with a glass of home made wine and a calculator).
£3000 divided by 36 months = £83.33 a month to be saved. Actually that doesn't scare me too much so I am going to say £85 a month should be the minimum amount saved. There are a couple of ways that spring to mind to start making savings. The obvious would be to cut down on the amount of meat that we eat. Now there I encounter the first obstacle... two very carnivorous children and a husband who eats anything and everything so long as there is lots of it! We already have one (sometimes two) days a week that are non-meat days which helps but cutting out any more meat is difficult. However, I did learn a rather clever tri…

On a Roll

Well... there is no time like the present, as the saying goes, and I am certainly making a start on my dream home.
The first, and most important step, is to decide how to finance this dream move of ours. Of course most of our money - if not all - is tied up in our home and that cannot be released until we actually want to move. How much we get for our current house is down to market forces and to be honest I don't really care too much about that... we shall get what we shall get for it and it will just have to be enough!
The plan is that on or shortly after 25th September 2013 we shall sell this house and rent something for about 3 or 4 months in the country/area of our choice (maybe northern Spain but looking at prices at the moment you can certainly get more for your money in central Portugal). While we are renting we shall investigate places to purchase find what we want and start living the good life. Yes I know it may not be as simple as that... but we are talking 'The …

A State of Mind

I am about to add another item to my list of things we want from our dream place.
Item 21. a courtyard.

The comments from my readers have been a little more supportive than those from closer family and friends. It's not so much what has been said, more the heavy silence, that irks. I guess they all want to say 'Oh but that is just a very long list and it is soooo unlikely to happen' or 'you would have to be a millionaire to get all of that' or just plain 'no one ever gets everything they want'.
Call it naive but I really see no reason why we shouldn't get what we want. We are not millionaires so we do not expect to have it all ready made on a plate... that is definitely NOT what we want. We are hoping for a place that needs work... somewhere we can make into our paradise.

My father did not understand why so many Brits retired to Spain, until he went there. The wonderful mild weather (and perhaps the dip in the thermal baths at Zujar) made the arthri…

A Rather Long Short-List

Well we are back from our holiday - and I'm exhausted - in fact I feel like I need a holiday! But am happy to report that all is well in Spain, daughter and grand-daughter both hale and hearty and since we took extended family with us (my father and brother) a very raucous and often hilarious time was had by all!

Walking through the village we came across several women preparing peppers for making huge quantities of spicy sauce or 'salsa' for bottling.

First you scorch or burn the skin of the peppers and then you cool them and peel them and then they get added to a pot with chillies and tomatoes and onions and other stuff (yeah I didn't follow the full recipe!!)

The women had huge quantities of home grown peppers to process and they were there for hours doing this... as people passed by they would stop and chat and it was all done in a rather leisurely fashion. A bit different from my mad rush to get produce frozen or bottled or pickled before it is spoiled.
In the proce…