Friday, 4 November 2011

Frugal Friday - 4th November

One of the most useful tools in my kitchen is my rubber spatula. I've had it a long, long time, it must be 18 years old now, bought in Marks & Spencer in Bournemouth - Bean was in a pushchair then! lol Why do I love it? It gets every last piece of whatever out of the jar/bowl whatever, so is a great tool for true frugality in the waste not want not mode of living. Mine is rubber with a metal handle; I'd like wood, but I suspect it wouldn't have lasted these 18 years if it were, with the  constant washing up. I also ahve one of the very tiny ones - great for jam jars and the like.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Days that don't go according to plan............

I'm away behind in things in general at home at the moment, and was looking forward to a whole day here to get stuck in again and move things along.Wasn't to be, but I don't mind! lol  My friend Jill let  me know yesterday that she had to take a big pile of cardboard to the tip today, more boxes from her recent move, so she would  swing by and pick me up on the way - I love a tip to the trip!  She'd been for a load of apples from Freecycle on the way, so car was packed to the roof with wet cardboard and Bramleys............
Got to the tip, opened dorr carefully, but the inevitable happened - apples rolling all around the recycling centre while we tried to extricate the cardboard, funny look sall round, but we're used to that...........
Got soem bargains too - another field sink from wartime (destined for a re-enactor type person whould they wan tit, I have a small one already, this one much bigger); very pretty vase, two grill racks for making my toast over the fire as the electric toaster is getting the heave ho now I'm back, a binder full of The Garden magazines (RHS, excellent reading), 2 small load tins, a rather nice big square Pyrex oven dish and another Swiss roll tin -  £2 the lot, and the field sink provided something toundle it all up in to bring home :). Next stop was Castle Gardens to investigate their latest Christmas display - stunning as usual, really enjoyed it, although don;t do the Christmas thing as such - lots of pretty twinkly things, sparkling baubles and gorgeous fabrics. There were a coupl eof things I spotted that I will go back for. Outside, we managed to find what I call 'compost corner' - where the sad looking plants are, and found all the herbseduced to 50p per pot - bargain! I got 9 and Jill got more than me lol  I added in a small tray of such pretty violas as you've enver seen for £3.50, for the pots to go ont he stand outside the kitchen window so I can see their little faces when I'm washing up. All that wonderfulness for £10 total. Then back here for tea and a bit of the rather good cake I made yesterday.

We like a bargain :)

 - and do you know what? All the stuff I hadn't done today was still there when I got home, waiting for me.

(that's a Google image, btw, not my kitchen lol - honest!) 

Walnut wool

Beautiful  shade of light fawn from walnut husks, very pretty - well pleased with this. Walnut husks are a substantive dye, so no mordant required, just the husks and some water. I have a few skeins undyed of this - a lovely organic wool with 25% alpaca added , beuatifully soft. I want to dye each skein a different natural dye and knit something uber stripey I think! Dyeing for me, especially with natural and home concocted dyes is quite addictive.....................

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Chocolate and cinnmon cake with blackcurrant and mascarpone

Lovely winter cake - give it a go :)

6 oz soft butter
6 oz granulated sugar
3 eggs beaten
6 oz self-raising flour
2 tbsp good quality cocoa
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs slowly; add flour, cinnamon and cocoa and mix thoroughly. Turn into prepared sandwich tins and bake in hottish oven until well risen and firm but springy to the touch. Cool on wire rack.


approx  200g of mascarpone cheese
icing sugar
4tbsp blackcurrant jam

Beat cheese with the icing  sugar added to taste - should be thick and not too sweet. Spread one half of cake with this, and hte other half with the jam. Sandwich together and dust with icing sugar if liked.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Monday, 31 October 2011

Hallowe'en lantern

First time in many, many years I've carved a traditional Scottish tumchie* lantern!  Enjoyed doing this, and had the innards for lunch with lots of butter and black pepper. The shell will go to the hens tomorrow, and the top slice to the goats for supper, so nothing wasted :)

Hallowe'en when I was growing up in a wee village in Scotland was great fun - all homemade and a couple of days before was plenty of time to get organised. Lots of 'What are you going as?' talk in the playground; we called it guising, and anything would go, didn't have to have a specific costume, just had to make sure you were unrecognisable - I remember blacking faces with the burnt end of a cork, and the smell of the turnip cooking inside the lantern. We had a wee carrier bag, and would sing, tell a joke or recite a poem or tale in return for monkey nuts, wee oranges, tablet, treacle toffee, apples. Good times :)

* tumchie = turnip, what the English call a swede