Thursday, 30 October 2014


Good Afternoon to you,

Oh my word, I am so very late this week, but life has been a  little hectic for us and when life is like that, it is important, to stop and take time out to catch up with yourself.

Apart from having a very busy week, you will never guess what happened to me on Tuesday.

I received my first parking fine.... how depressing is that.

I have been driving for over 35 years and this is the first time, I have found a parking fine underneath my windscreen wipers.

It really all came about, because I was in a rush.  I parked my car as normal in the car park, I then went to the ticket machine to buy my parking ticket.... I checked the ticket and I was alright parking for 3 hours.... I had until one o'clock that afternoon.

I placed the ticket on the dashboard, so that if the traffic warden was checking cars, it could be seen.

I picked up my bag containing my sewing.... having to hold the door quite firmly, as it was windy.  I closed the door, locked the car and I walked away.

Now here's the thing, I always, always, turn around and check that the parking ticket is in view.... so why did I not check this time.... well, it was due to a series of events, but mainly, it was because I was late for my sewing group.... so I rushed from the car park without a backward glance.

When I returned to the car, the traffic warden had been on a 'walk about' and what did he see, my car without a ticket.... and where was the said ticket... it had blown onto the floor of the car.  I think when I closed the car door, the whoosh from the wind, blew the ticket on to the floor.... and I hadn't noticed.  If only I had done, what I always do, which is, turn around and check my parking ticket was in view, I would have noticed that it wasn't where it should be.

Never mind, I have learnt my lesson, 'more haste, less speed'.

So in the meantime, I am writing a letter to the council, and I am hoping once they see my parking ticket, they will be kind, and  use their discretion..... I am keeping my fingers crossed and I will let you know what happens.

After feeling thoroughly fed up, I decided to do some baking and make myself some comfort food.... it always works and baking really does cheer me up.

..... and these little Cheese and Onion Scones certainly went well with my tomato soup.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to is,

one of George's favourite singers, John Denver.  George discovered John Denver during a trip to Canada in the 1970's.

  Natasha and Danielle's favourite song is,

'Grandma's Feather Bed'

and George's favourite, is,

'Annie's Song'


I love,

'Come and Let Me Look in Your Eyes'

but I know you will have your favourite.

So whilst I am listening to 'Annie's Song' I will gather my ingredients together.


225g self raising flour
1 teaspoon of dry English mustard
1 teaspoon of paprika
plus a little extra to dust onto the scones
1/2 teaspoon of table salt
1 teaspoon of olive oil
25g unsalted butter
100g (or 1 medium sized) red onion
25g Parmesan cheese
150ml of buttermilk


Pre-heat the oven to 200C

Line a baking tray
with parchment paper
dust with a little flour.

Finely chop the red onion.

Place 1 teaspoon of olive oil
into a pan.

Add the red onion

cook until translucent.
You will find you will need to move
the onion around the pan quite a lot
to prevent the onions from browning.
The reason is there is only
a small amount of oil used.

When the onions are cooked,
remove them from the pan
place on a dish.
Spread the onions out, to allow them to cool.

While the onions are cooling,

sift the self raising flour,

along with the 
English mustard,


the salt
into a large bowl.

Add the butter
to the bowl
rub into the mixture

until the mixture
resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the Parmesan cheese

Add the now,
cold onions
mix again.

Add enough buttermilk

to make a soft dough.
I tend to add half the buttermilk
and gently mix with a wooden spoon,
and then I add a little
at a time and use my hands
to create the dough.

Lightly knead the dough until 
it is smooth.

The only thing I need to mention,
is don't overwork the dough.

Gently roll out the dough
on a lightly floured surface


cut into rounds.
I wanted small scones on this occasion
so I used a 2 1/2 inch round cutter.

Place on the baking tray

brush each scone
with milk


using a small sieve,
sprinkle a little paprika
onto each

Place the scones in the pre-heated oven
and bake
for between 12 -14 minutes.

These cheese and onion scones
are small
 just perfect
to eat
with a 
bowl of soup.


As I mentioned, I have made the scones quite small and also quite thin.  The reason for this is that I did not want to make scones which could be cut in half and buttered.  I wanted these scones to be pulled into pieces and eaten just as they are, but if you would like  thicker scones, don't roll out the dough too much. I would suggest you roll the dough until it is about 1 inch thick.

..... and of course the larger and thicker the scones, the longer they will need  to bake.

Before I leave you, I wanted to say, that I am sorry I have not been able to leave comments, but I am hoping, this weekend to find the time to catch up with you and to see what you have been up to.

So take care and I will see you on Sunday.

Sunday, 26 October 2014


Good Morning to you,

Do you remember, last week, I mentioned that I am an avid, Strictly Come Dancing fan. 

Watching Strictly, certainly brings my happy gene to the foreground. I love the sultriness of the Latin dances and the elegance of the ballroom dances.  I love all the beautiful dresses, which are worn by the dancers and of course I enjoy the music.

I have always enjoyed dancing, I remember as a teenager dancing the 'Twist' and then the 'Shake' and many other dances which I now, cannot remember their names, to meeting George and learning how to jive. 

Time moved on and I learnt how to waltz and then I learnt how to line dance and that was such a funny experience, as it did not turn out as I had expected.  I thought as I was quite adept at moving my feet, line dancing would be a piece of cake and I would catch on in no time. But learning how to line dance, reminded me of when I was learning how to drive a car. 

When I began learning to drive, it felt as if there were far too many pedals for my feet to cope with, not only pedals, but a gear stick to think about as well..... I felt like my feet were dancing not sure whether to press the clutch, the brake or the accelerator.... and then the gear stick, how could I press the clutch, change gear and watch the road at the same time. Of course as with all things, it suddenly all fell into place.

..... and when I was learning how to line dance, my brain went through the same experience. My brain just would not tell my feet what to do.  Week after week I went to classes, the feet continued to mis-behave, but I was determined to persevere and then one day, out of the blue and without warning, the brain managed to communicate with my feet... yes suddenly, I could dance the steps. I was ecstatic, not only had I mastered, what I saw as complicated steps, but in actual fact were easy steps, but even the complicated steps began to make sense.

..... Oh yes, I know a 'kick ball change' when I see one.

Actually the dish I am making today is a meal I always use to have when I returned home from zumba or line dancing..... sometimes I thought I should have eaten it before, to give me more energy. Notice I say used to.  Zumba was fabulous, but the exercises became a little too aerobic for me, too much jumping and the line dancing, unfortunatley there is not a class close by..... but with or without a zumba or line dancing class, I know you will enjoy,

pasta with roasted tomatoes and chorizo.  Doesn't it look inviting, with all the lovely bright colours.  I have roasted the tomatoes, so when you bite into a piece of pasta and a slice of chorizo then add a small roasted tomato, the sweetness of the tomato just bursts in your mouth.

So it is on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to is,

the absolutely fabulous voice of Peggy Lee.  Listen to,

'When My Sugar Walks Down the Street'
'Just in Time'
'What a Little Moonlight Can Do'

and you will love her voice as well.  In fact you will probably know all Peggy's music.  I love listening to Peggy, in the evening, when the shutters are closed, the lights are on and the candles are lit..... and me, I am pottering around the kitchen just enjoying Peggy's voice.... well of course singing to the odd song or two... well maybe three.

So whilst Peggy is singing 'Just in Time' it is time for me to organise my ingredients.


250g fresh baby tomatoes
100g Chorizo
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
200g Cavatappi pasta
125g fresh spinach
5 or 6 shavings of Parmesan Cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 180C


Cut the tomatoes
in half
remove the stem.

Brush a baking tray
olive oil
and arrange the tomatoes,
cut side up, on the baking tray.

Place in the oven
for 45 minutes
or until the tomatoes
have reduced in size
and the plumpness has disappeared.

When the tomatoes have been roasting
for 25 minutes,

bring a pan of salted water
to the boil
cook the Cavatappi pasta
as per 
the manufacturer's instructions.

Whilst the pasta is cooking,

peel and finely slice
the onion.

2 tablespoons of olive oil to a wide pan
and slowly cook the onions
until they are golden brown.

grate the garlic.

Just before the onions are browned,
add the grated garlic to the pan

the dried oregano
cook for a couple of minutes.

Slice the chorizo
add to the pan
and cook for  3 minutes.

Drain the pasta,
but reserve a couple of tablespoons
of cooking liquid.

Place the drained pasta
 into the pan with the onions and chorizo
and toss.

Add the reserved cooking liquid
to the pan
toss again.

Wash the spinach
and add to the pan.
Don't worry, if it looks like there
is far too much spinach
as the spinach
will wilt.

Place a lid on the pan
and place the pan on a very low
heat for a few minutes
as this will allow the spinach
to wilt.

If the spinach has not wilted enough
for you, leave the pan on the heat for a little longer.

Season the pasta with
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper.

Sprinkle a little sea salt
on the roasted tomatoes.

Place the pasta, chorizo and spinach
in a dish
some of the roasted tomatoes.

Finally add
some shavings of 
Parmesan Cheese.

Believe me when 
I say,
you will thoroughly 
enjoy your supper
it is not a prerequisite
 take a zumba class
or a line dancing class
to enjoy 
this dish of pasta
tomatoes and chorizo

You will have noticed that I used sliced chorizo, that is because I had some slices in the fridge which I wanted to use.... often I will use chorizo sausage, cut up into small cubes.  It really is whatever there is to hand.

I also added a few more leaves of spinach to the final dish because as I was taking time to photograph the final dish, the spinach wilted a little too much for my taste. 

Oh yes, just a thought, as you know I dry my own oregano, so the flavour tends to be much more intense than shop bought jars of oregano, so if you are using shop bought oregano, add 1 tablespoon to the dish instead of 1 teaspoon.

So take care and I will see you on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Good Morning to you,

We are heading towards the end of October and my thoughts are drifting towards Christmas.

Oh dear, do you feel it is too soon to talk about Christmas?

I am sorry if you do, but this is the time, when I usually gather the ingredients to make my Christmas cake and Christmas pudding, but this year, we are going to have a pared down Christmas, as our family are not able to be with us, to celebrate.

Please don't think that I am not excited about Christmas, because I am, I love Christmas, and all it entails.

So instead of thinking about Christmas cake and pudding, I need to start thinking about making home made gifts, so I thought in the coming weeks I would share some of my ideas with you.

I love flavoured oils and the one I am going to make today is,

Chilli Oil.  Making home made gifts is such a pleasure, but it is the time element which is important, as the last thing you want is to run out of time and have just a few weeks to make gifts.  Planning in advance makes life a little simpler..... yes, honestly, you did read correctly, I did say, planning.... as you know, planning is not my strongest point.

First, I go out and about to find some nice bottles for the chilli oil. 

Once I have found
the bottle I like, 
I then choose a tag,
a length of
red ribbon 


a gorgeous Christmas bag,
it has to be gorgeous.

When the bottles have been filled with chilli oil, 
 I then decorate the bottles with ribbon 
a tag.
I also include
 instructions for storing the oil. 

I also add
Christmas tree decoration.

I love Christmas tree decorations
and each year I buy a new one for the tree.

If I can find something a little different
so much the better.

Do you like these Christmas tree decorations
which were bought in India?

I think this makes a lovely Christmas present
for a friend.

So now, it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to, takes me back to my youth,

the Beatles White Album.  Now, here's the thing, I could not photograph the front of the album, because of course the album is white with just The BEATLES, highlighted on the album cover, but not enough so that you could see it in the photograph.  So I decided to photograph the list of songs instead.

There are so many Beatles songs to love, but my absolute favourite, is,

 'I Will',
 I love, love, love it. 

Also listen to
 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'

Once you have listened to these songs, I just know you will be listening to your own favourite Beatles songs.

So whilst I am listening to 'Revolution', I will organise my ingredients.


Olive Oil
(enough to fill your chosen bottles)
pinch of chilli flakes
6 small dried red chillies


Decide on the bottle
you wish to use


the bottle or bottles.

Place the olive oil
in a pan
gently heat to

Add the 
dried chilli flakes


dried chillies.

leave to cool.

Using a funnel,
pour the olive oil
with the chillies
chilli flakes
into the bottle.

You might need a spoon to remove the
chilli flakes from the pan.

Pop the lid on
store in a dark, cool place
for at least three weeks.
The longer you leave the oil,
the more intense the flavour.

Once a week, give the olive oil
a little shake.

I also make oregano oil
dried oregano.

Also lemon oil
rosemary oil.

Just a thought, you need to know that the chilli oil will turn a shade of red, the longer it is left to mature. So please don't think that something dreadful is happening to the chilli oil.

I have added 6 very small, red, dried chillies to my oil, because I know this is the perfect flavour for me, but if you feel this is too many chillies, then reduce the amount to suit your taste.

Do you have friends in mind who, you know, would love to receive a gift of chilli oil..... I know I do.

Now I am not a connoisseur of chillies, in fact, I really know very little about them, but if you are interested in learning more, pop over and visit MJ's Kitchen who knows everything there is to know about chillies.... and you will also find a lovely recipe for Tarragon, Lemon Quick Bread.

Take care and I will see you on Sunday.

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