Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Thrifty Ice-Cream

Inspired by good intentions, good comments & mouthwatering reminders...I've finally made...

Rosewater, Honey & Pistachio Ice-Cream, the thrifty way of course!

I spotted a tub of 'posh' ready made custard looking forlorn in the supermarket. It had one day left on the shelf & had been majorly reduced in price (50p for the tub).

I stirred in about 2 tablespoons of runny honey, 2 caps of rose water & a small handful of pistachios.

I wasn't following a recipe, so I had to taste, test it at very regular intervals (just to check!!!!). When I had controlled myself, I put it in the freezer for an hour...

...then stirred it...& had a quick taste...

...then froze it for another hour...

...then stirred it...& had a quick taste...

...then froze it for another hour...(you get the idea)

Eventually I got bored & went to bed.

The next day I had ice-cream for breakfast (it needed to be properly assessed?)

It was wonderful!

Each time I see ready made custard reduced for a quick sale, I will be buying it for ice-cream-experimentation-purposes-only you understand! (I might even be 'investing' in an ice-cream scoop at this rate).

Any tips on different flavourings to try out?

Monday, 25 June 2012

Half Full or Half Empty?

When I think the tube/pot/bottle is empty...

I cut it in half to find loads more 'stuff' lurking in the bottom...

Thursday, 21 June 2012


Great name isn't it!?

Taken from this book and heavily adapted (but I had to keep the wonderful name)

The recipe is for drink that reminds me of barley water...(but without the fuss of bringing the barley to the boil)

I put 4oz/110g of oatmeal into a bowl (I didn't have any fine oatmeal so used pinhead oatmeal instead) with 1.5oz/40g of rosemary sugar. Then I added a chopped lemon. The chopped lemon could easily be substituted for a good glug of bottled lemon juice. (The oatmeal could be substituted with rolled oats or boiled barley)

4oz/110g oatmeal, 1.5oz/40g sugar & a chopped lemon

Cover with boiled water, stir to dissolve the sugar then top up with a litre of warm water. At this point I stirred in a generous handful of torn lemon balm & mint leaves.

Leave to cool, then drink...

It tastes delicious!
(The original recipe uses the same method but different amounts- 4oz fine oatmeal, 6oz loaf sugar, half a lemon and a gallon of water)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Puppy Love (but not quite...)

Ever since I was a child, I've wanted a dog.

I used to walk a neighbour's dog. She, the dog- not the neighbour, was a bit mad but totally wonderful...

I've often suggested to (nagged) Mr TH that we should get a dog.

He's not so keen.

As part of my persuade-Mr-TH-that-he-really-does-want-a-dog campaign (otherwise known as nagging); I went for this option...

 When Mr TH had eventually stopped laughing...

I'm still deciding on exactly where to place the eyes- hence the white pins...

  He still said, 'No'.

Maybe one day...

Monday, 18 June 2012

Thrifty Find

I do not live in a farmhouse but I couldn't resist the recipes Alison Uttley remembered from her childhood.

According to me, the signs of a good cookery book are...
  • hurriedly scrawled notes in pencil alongside favourite recipes
  • the numerous splodges of mistakenly dropped food-stuffs
  • a broken spine and some loose pages (even perhaps opening automatically at a previously favoured page...?)
This book has all those wonderful badges of honour and it was a real bargain too.

Last night, in bed, I read & dreamt of my future culinary conquests. With such fantastical sounding recipes as Thor's Cake, Spanish Flummery, Hasty Pudding, Carsington Pikelets, Tennis Cake, Wakes Cakes, Exeter Stew and Slackers, what can I do but get cooking?

Friday, 15 June 2012

Holiday Food

Yesterday, I dug out my holiday photos & remembered...

...the wonderful fish, the sublime olives & the beautiful, local wine in Cordoba (Montilla).

Black Rice with Calamari

My top three favourite foods were;

The Moorish potatoes, basically sauté potatoes & a sauce that my taste buds told me was a mix of mayonnaise, turmeric, cumin, garlic & seasoning. Unfortunately the excitement that this dish inspired in me resulted in my inability to take a decent photograph of it. So instead I've substituted a photo of aubergines & honey...

I also became rather partial to the lettuce hearts with olive oil & lots of garlic. It is not only delicious but pretty thrifty & easy as well. (not a brilliant photo but you get the idea...)

My winner in the desert section, was without doubt, the 'fig thing'. Translated from menus as a fig biscuit served with frozen yoghurt, it was actually more like frozen fig ice-cream. It had chopped dried figs, crumbled biscuits, nuts, spices & honey (?) mixed in ice-cream & re-frozen. The accompanying frozen yoghurt was really sharp & 'live' tasting. It was an amazing combination! (I'd also like to try the frozen yoghurt with shredded mint & lemon balm leaves)

Not too sure about the red stuff though...
 Maybe it's time to try & recreate these dishes...

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Compost & Worms & Vermiphobia

I have a friend who hates worms, if like her, you also hate worms, please do not bother to read this post!

Hearing about the wonders of compost heaps really frustrates me. Our garden is so tiny (& paved) that there isn't really anywhere obvious for one to go. So instead we have a wormery hidden away in a corner by the kitchen wall.

Wormery artfully hidden by a bag of potatoes...

Utterly convinced that it would smell terrible, I was extremely sceptical at first. I was wrong, it doesn't smell at all & now I wouldn't be without it.

We feed the worms all the vegetable peelings, old tea bags, coffee grounds, egg shells & shreddings from the paper shredder. The pretty pink tiger worms happily munch their way through the contents, breaking the food remnants down as they chomp their way through the various layers of the wormery...They are quite old-fashioned in their tastes & turn their noses up at onions, garlic, chilli or citrus. (Do worms have noses?)

I regularly drain 'worm tea'  from the base of the wormery & dilute it with 10 parts water to use as plant food.

Every so often I'll empty out the bottom layer & spread it on the garden as fertiliser.

In addition to this we also collect free soil improver from our local recycling centre (as long as we take our own shovel & bags).

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Poor Man's Pâtѐ

Mr TH loves peppered mackerel.

Mackerel is good flaked on salads...

...but even better as Poor Man's Pâtѐ. (Why do I call it that? I've no idea...)

Mix soft butter or cream cheese with flaked mackerel. I normally add a third to a half pack of butter to a whole packet of fish. If you want a really smooth texture, use a blender/food processor.

Add lemon juice (and grated lemon rind if you want).

Chill...(the pâtѐ)


I never season Poor Man's Pâtѐ because the fish is peppered & the butter is salted.

One pack of fish makes 2 good sized pots of pâtѐ; one for the fridge & one for the freezer!

Sunday, 10 June 2012


Rosemary is meant to help you remember...

One of my good intentions for 2012 was to grow more of my own herbs...

The basil took one look at our English 'summer', promptly curled up its toes & gave up the ghost...

The coriander followed suit.

The parsley is struggling but just about holding on...

The rosemary, well the rosemary seems to be loving it...

I've had to keep it under control so we've been making a whole host of rosemary related recipes:

Rosemary bread, Rosemary sugar, Rosemary cake, Rosemary salad dressings, Rosemary  & garlic roasted potatoes, Rosemary salt, Rosemary vinegar & Rosemary oil.

I didn't remember to add the labels...

To make Rosemary vinegar or oil: wash and roughly chop rosemary, fill a sterilised jar, top up with vinegar (or oil) & leave for approx 2 weeks to steep. You can speed up the process by gently heating the mix for about 20 mins (If you can cope with the smell of vinegar!) Strain the mix, put in a sterilised jar & add a new sprig of rosemary.

I use the oil for cooking, making balm, salad dressings, mayonnaise, on bread and in bread.

The vinegar is good for salad dressings, salsas, mint sauce, sore throats and adding to a final hair rinse. (& strangely enough it also works well in meringue- there will be a meringue post at some point over the summer)

For some delicious, herby recipe ideas, pop over to Lavender & Lovage for Herbs on Saturday.

P.S. According to legend, Aphrodite emerged from the sea cloaked in rosemary (Personally, I'd have chosen something with bigger leaves!)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Potentially Thrifty Lemongrass?

Lemongrass tastes wonderful but isn't cheap. I suspect that it travels many miles to reach my cooking pot.

A few weeks ago, I bought some lemongrass & noticed tiny, nubbly, root nodules forming around the cut base of the sticks.

I put the sticks in water for about 10 days. The nodules become roots. I planted them on.

They don't look like speedy growers but I'll wait & see what happens...

Sunday, 3 June 2012

What to do whilst awaiting a Jubilee Flotilla?

I woke up very early this morning.

It was raining. Mr TH was fast asleep.

There were hours to go until the flotilla watching (TV watching not in person watching)... so I made jam.

Having enjoyed the most wonderful blackcurrant jam at Silverpebble's special '*0th-Birthday-Do', I decided to make my own. We had some freeze-dried blackcurrants in the cupboard & so I experimented...

Two jars were produced with just enough left over for scones this afternoon...

P.S. Blackcurrant stains can be removed by pouring white vinegar directly over the stain...works like magic!

Friday, 1 June 2012

A bit of sunshine...

Thank you to the lovely (& very talented) Rachel over at VirtuSew Adventures for giving me the sunshine award. I'm thrilled!

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