Saturday, 10 August 2013


One of my very favourite cut flowers;  these were on offer in Lidl, two big bunches for £3, British grown. Love the colours, thrilled with them


Friday, 9 August 2013


Even in all my years of cooking in various guises, I have never cooked or eaten globe artichokes. I have now, I bought two as a wee holiday diversion, and to try them for myself.  Trimmed, then steamed for about 25 minutes, then eat the heart with a teaspoon and suck the flesh from the base of the inner leaves. The taste is a delicate green taste, very delicious. There will be more appearing at home, am lucky in that Dikes sell them too; I have a packet of purple artichoke seeds for next year too. Artichoke heaven :)


Day Seven in the Holiday House

Started as another lovely day here, but got chillier as the day wore on; by evening, I was ready for bed to keep warm - I haven't brought any cardis or jumpers with me, so under the duvet it was! Another quiet day, only saw one person, and that was the postman through the window on the front door. heard the usual horse riders, cyclists, and lots of noise from the gaggle of starling youngsters playing in and around the back garden. I spent the morning on a bit of sewing, as I said my sewing machine has forgiven me for its non-action over quite a few months, and after a few false starts, was running fine; I've started a patchwork project, and have various bits of sewing to do when I get home too. The rest of the day was spent working on my knitting, and adaptation of Judy Furlong's 'Delft' cardigan. Loving knitting this, doing it in the round and it's top quality wool, smells lovely and woolly/sheepy and is just the most gorgeous colours. It will be a sleeveless pullover, which I feel will show off the design to its best.

Other than that, a very quiet day again; tomorrow will be my last day here, need to start thinking about getting all my things together and making sure I don't leave anything behind. I usually do............................

Thursday, 8 August 2013


My sewing machine has decided it does love me after all, so I made a start on my latest patchwork project this morning

These triangle patches are destined for a waistcoat for myself, hoping to get it into the County Show too.  I think the poor machine was suffering withdrawal symptoms, after not having been used in months. There may still be a small problem with the foot control, will need to have that looked at. I think I need to do a lot more sewing to keep the old girl sweet, but don't envisage that as a problem really :)

Mindful by Mary Oliver

Mindful by Mary Oliver

Every day
I see or hear
... that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for -
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world -
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant -
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these -
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean's shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?


Day Six in the Holiday House

Woke up to another lovely day here, but almost on the cusp of the autumn turning - you know that moment when there is a perceptible change in the light, the tiniest wee nip of cool in the air?  I think we're almost there, although there is still some good warm weather to come I feel. This turning, and the leading up to it is my very favourite time of year, everything just seems right with my world. Yesterday I spent a few hours here in the kitchen, making things with the free courgettes we found on a garden wall in the village. I would make some chutney, but can't find  any plain vinegar, so the last marrow will go home with me and I'll bring some of the chutney back when it's done. Spent a nice few minutes watching out of the kitchen window while the juvenile starlings were bouncing on the washing line lol. Lots of butterflies about again, which I love. It was also my lovely daughter's 22nd birthday, so we all went out for supper; it was great to get Bean and Shaun and EJ all together again. Lots of laughs and talking, a lot of it went over my head, the computer stuff and things, but I'm used to that. Picked up my Abel & Cole delivery on the way back here, but yet another mistake, the third week in a row, so very disappointed with that. Will be cancelling my orders from them, for now at least, and go back to the little independent supermarket* I use. Abel & Cole were great while I wasn't well enough to shop, but I continued as their  stuff was so good, but if they can't get my orders right for the money I'm paying them, then bye bye for now. Will miss the seasonal excitement of opening the fruit/veg box though! I'm almost back to being well enough to get back out in the garden too, so will be able to get some veg in for winter I hope, and there looks to be an excellent crop of Devonshire Quarenden apples to deal with, and medlars. I need to check my quinces when I get back too, fingers crossed for them.
Bit of sadness on the way back here late at night; we saw two badgers; the first one was by another badger who had sadly been run over on the road, perhaps its mate?  That scene will haunt me for many a day, and I shed quite a few tears when I got back. I love seeing them running around and know how privileged I am to have the opportunity, but I wish, I wish that drivers would be more careful if they can. :(



Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Al fresco lunch

 - and it didn't rain!!  lol  One of the very best simple dishes known to mankind. Take a sizeable portion of good quality fresh spaghetti, boil in slightly salted water for about 5 minutes, drain well, coat in good salted butter and add a liberal amount of fresh black pepper. Can't be beaten :)

Add in a view like this, a large amount of peace and quiet and a few bees, butterflies and birds on the wing. perfect.


Courgette and lime marmalade

Inspired by a recipe idea  on the Abel & Cole website, I experimented with courgette and lime marmalade. It's really rather nice!  I'll be making more when I get home, but only made an experimental jar and a bit while in my holiday kitchen.

1 lb peeled courgette/marrow, coarsely grated
1lb granulated sugar
zest and juice of two limes
juice of 1/2 lemon

Put everything into a wide topped pan (use a jam  pan for larger quantities), and cook gently over a low heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat, bring to a rolling boil and continue to setting point.  Remove from heat, stand for five minutes, then pour into prepared jars and seal. label when cool, store in a cool place.


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Day Five in the Holiday House

It's been a lovely day here today, warm and sunny; now, at 9.15pm the sky is like a watercolour wash of pinks and pale blues, greys and turquoises, and very peaceful. Saw no humans again today, although the cat did grace me with his company while I watered outdoors and re-filled the bird feeders. Spent the day quietly knitting, finished my sheep (picture below) and have cast on the next project already. Had a lovely lunch of tortellini with chunky tomato sauce and real buffalo mozzarella

I went down to the shed and filled a basket with jam jars ready for tomorrow's marathon marrow efforts, looking forward to that. I love cooking (as you know), but now have the added interest of an unknown kitchen and a very fast gas cooker, will enjoy all that.
Have just had to zap another one on Facebook; why do some men think it's alright to write really lewd and degrading comments to you, then act all surprised when you're unhappy about it? Well, sod him, he's well zapped and gone, serves him right. Sheesh.

Sheepie completie

Day Four in the Holiday House

Woke to a grey and drear day, didn't look wonderful out there, but was warm and breezy.Spent time working on the sheep and more research online. Holiday cat was about - came down to find him asleep in the dish drainer in the kitchen.................. he also came out to accompany me to lunch:

Here he is eyeing up my plate!

Shortly after this pic was taken, the heavens opened and I beat a hasty retreat inside with plate and wine to the table!  Neeedless to say I'd already spent half an hour watering all the plants out there, should have known it would rain.


Summer time on Harris

Have a watch of this stunning wee film here


Monday, 5 August 2013

People power at Balcombe


Day Three in the Holiday House

A very quiet Sunday here, not even cat for company; he showed up early for breakfast, then I saw neither hide nor hair of him after that. I did, however, meet three wee slugs on the kitchen floor..........  never fails to amaze me when they appear like that?  Just *how* do they get in?  Catflap?  I have no idea...................
Knitting on the sheep continued - lots of wee fiddly bits that will need careful sewing together and stuffing when done; bit on the tedious side, but will be nice when he's finished :)  Spent a lot of time online, reading and researching stuff. Tried to get the TV  to come on, but it just kept saying 'no signal' so I left it at that - certainly don't miss it at all, just more out of curiosity to see what was on. A chance comment on Facebook sent me haring off on a successful mission to procure a ticket to see Bryan Ferry and Steve Harley/Cockney Rebel playing at Glastonbury Abbey next Sunday night, very excited about that! Not long to wait either :) Monday will see me in the kitchen I think, a few things to cook and experiment with. On the way here on Thursday we spotted some free courgettes/marrows on a village wall, so came home with three of them; jam and other stuff in the offing. Always interesting cooking in someone else's kitchen!


Sunday, 4 August 2013


Long wanted to make this, have finally got around to making some, destined for the County Show :)  Can't get enough of the pink/cream/green :)


Word for a soulful Sunday


Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary

Scottish Gaelic


cianalas m, gen cianalais