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….. We make
….. We explore
….. We nuture

Three children (16, 14, 11)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

You can find me here

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Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

Thank you….

  • Susan Mann I've never been there but it looks amazing. What beautiful photos and a lovely way to catch up with family xx #wotw 25 Jun
  • Angela Webster Wow, you really did pack a lot into your week. The Lakes are so beautiful, we only live an hour or so's drive away but... 25 Jun
  • Natasha Mairs Isn't amazing, that even though we visit or see the same thing a lot, we can still find new things that we didn't see before... 25 Jun
  • Sarah Christie Blimey 126...... We have about 10 and that seems a lot! I bet looking at UNIs is so daunting? Jack will be staying at home... 24 Jun
  • Sarah-Marie It looks like such an incredibly peaceful place to visit. I love a place with intriguing history too. #MMBC 24 Jun
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Sticky

baking

Pie dishes and car boot sale

We went to a local car boot sale over the weekend. It’s been a while. I warned the children not to expect to buy anything. Always go with a minimal, mental list of things you’d like to find and avoid impulse buying, otherwise all you’re doing is moving clutter from one home to another. Shifting the problem. It works if one person’s clutter becomes your desired purchase. Everyone wins that way.

So included on my list were garden tools (I could do with another fork), a tailors dummy (I live in hope) and individual pie dishes. I know I could buy all these first hand very easily and have it all straight away, but that’s daft if I can help someone else clear their clutter and save it going to a landfill. It’s one of the reasons I try to buy nothing new.

I’m patient. I can wait to find the right solution.

(Unless it’s fabric. Then the conversation in my head, about the gorgeous new fabric in my hands, goes on a whole heap longer and can get heated. Fabric is my weakness, but I’m working on it)

Also I find items fall off the list after a while, proving I really didn’t need them.

I think by the end, the children were more than ready to go home. They chattered happily in the car about the strange things they’d seen for sale, conversations they’d overheard and no one was upset about coming home empty handed.

Nestled by my feet, were a stack of small pie dishes.

Six of them.

They are the ceramic dishes that Charlie Bingham’s pies come in. I’ve never tried this range of pies. I like to make my own. I’m assuming that the owner of the stall must have absolutely loved them, as she had a box brimming over with these dishes. Empty and clean! Perfect for my pie making. I bought 6 for £1.

Last night, I used them to make fruit crumble. Using up leftovers before my supermarket delivery arrives today. I mixed pears, blueberries and raspberries, with a dash of almond essence. I’m not sure if it was the new dishes, the stormy weather raging outside or the fruit combination, but everyone really loved the crumble. Bowls were cleaned.

The new dishes have given me the chance to try out something else that’s been on my list – bowl cosies. Especially important as the dishes are coming straight out of the Aga and I wanted to protect everyone’s hands.  Turns out that bowl cosies are ridiculously easy to make. A few darts and the flat square turn into a bowl, with the perfect dimensions for my new individual pie dishes.

I’ve made one so far, as a proof of concept. I’m using Aldi fat quarters, with cotton wadding. Sewn up with cotton thread. The theory is that by avoiding mademade fibres, I can put these in the microwave or my lower oven, without fear of anything melting. It makes it easier to lift the hot bowls out. The cosies can either be held by two diagonal corners or in the palm of your hands. Even if it spills, the fabric catches most of the hot splashes before they can hit anyone. Usually me, to be honest.

It’s reversible too. I’m not sure how important that feels to me at the moment. I guess that some dishes will look better against the yellow and others with the blue. Flexibility to change the colour may be nice, but I’m more interesting in making a set of cosies that complement each other but not match. I am not a matching kind of person.

Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. I’m quite happy with my new pie dishes. Love that it pushed me to dabble in a new sewing project too. It seems to have gone down well with everyone. Even had requests for customised bowl cosies. I like that. It means they are already picturing themselves using these cosies for late evening, garden eating.

Oh. Roll on summer!

PoCoLo

Going Green

My kind of baking happy

I love limes. In fact, during a recent twenty-questions-as-you-reverse-the-car moment, I selected limes as my favourite fruit. It did silence my son for a moment. Not the answer he expected.

Lemons are only just pipped at the post, but recently I’ve definitely had two feet squarely in the lime camp. It is my favourite.

Which brings me nicely to today. I’m celebrating. Nothing big, just the feet tapping with joy fact that our Aga is back on. The oil was delivered yesterday. I was good. I let it settle in the tank before we lit it. I can finally bake again.

Can you hear that? It’s me doing a little dance of joy.

This spring and summer, we moved the kitchen out to a spot in our fondly named conservatory. It’s not a conservatory. Not one that anyone would recognise, anyway, although it does have a wall of windows and it is quite long.

I believe it was originally built to link the house with the outdoor privy and coal house, which have long since gone. I’m sure it was a well appreciated addition at the time. Keeping them dry as they scuttled out on a rainy night.

We use it as a utility room/mud room. Very useful when wet dogs come in. At the far end, we’ve added cupboards and counters, which work well as an alternative kitchen. Bright and light. I’ve been cooking there, since the Aga has been off. The facilities are a bit limited, but I’ve enjoyed the change and the challenge.I’ve missed baking cakes. No surprise that it’s the first thing I’ve cooked today. I’ve gone for a lime sponge cake, with homemade strawberry jam in the middle. Oh, and icing on the top.

I used this recipe. Substituted two limes for the grapefruit and split the mixture into two tins. Shorter baking time too.

So, what next? A pie I think. Apple pie with custard. Oh, and a very happy baking day to you all.

Pumpkin Pie in the Aga

This is only the second pumpkin pie I have made. Ever. The last one was so long ago, that it was only as I tried to carry the over-filled pastry case to the Aga, that the memory came flooding back.

Funny how something can bring it all back.  This time it was the trail of spilt pie filling on the floor. Oh yes, then I remembered that next time I made it, I was going to add the filling once the pastry case was already in the oven. Might have avoided the burnt spilt effect around the edge.

Sigh

So a quick note to future self (and anyone else that might want to make pumpkin pie in an Aga):

Recipe – for a simple, but tasty pumpkin pie, I used this one (instructions are for a conventional oven). For the pastry case, I used my usual sweet pastry recipe. Rolled out, put in a greased pie dish and left to rest in the fridge, while I prepared the rest.

Ingredients – I used a pumpkin that was for cooking not carving (£1.20 from Sainsburys), which I de-seeded and sliced up. Then roasted on the floor of the roasting oven. Took about 30 minutes. Easy to scoop the flesh out of the skin.

Preparation notes – Mash the pumpkin flesh with a potato masher to make it into puree. Squeeze as much liquid out of the puree as humanly possible.  Next, I put all the pie filling ingredients in my Kitchen Aid bowl and mixed them thoroughly with the wire whisk.

Baking notes – I put the pie on the Continue reading

Photos

There have been cases when people lifted my photos and words, and used them without credit to me or asking permission first. Using them for their own commercial gain. I have now added a level of security to deter people from doing this. Apologies to people who do play nicely. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

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