Category Archives: recipe

The Wedding – getting ready.

P1020096As we are in the last two days before the wedding the activity levels increase. Yesterday I got the rest of the Order of Service printed and Alex stapled them. Then I fell asleep!

Today I’ve got some bits and pieces to do but am under strict instruction to do very little so I can be sure of being there on Saturday. I do not want to miss my son’s wedding and I am trusting that I will be fine on the day.

Ronan has made a lovely gluten free treacle tart and instead of Eton Mess he’s going to make a lemon meringue thing, I just made the lemon curd in the most cheatish way I’ve ever seen.

200g of caster sugar (gran’ll do)

250 mls lemon juice

100g of unsalted butter (I used the butter I made a couple of days ago)

3 eggs. whip the eggs up.

Put it all in a pyrex or other microwave safe bowl. Give a whipping with a fork.

Put it in the microwave and then nuke it for a minute at a time, stirring it with the fork after every minute or so.

It took about 5 to 6 minutes (can’t quite remember) to get it to thicken nicely. Leave it to cool

I’ve never made curd this way before but it has worked reasonably welll and is certainly quicker than the proper way. The proper way produces a much better consistancy though – but the quick version tastes fine.

I’ll pour this into a flan case and then crumble meringues into whipped cream and slap that over the top.

P1020099Ronan’s Gluten Free treacle tart

grease and line a 9″ tin.

roll out shop bought gluten free shortcrust pastry and line the tin.

Into a heavy base saucepan put  8 tablespoons of golden syrup

2 oz of unsalted butter (used my home made)

heat this over a low hob until the butter is melted.

let it cool a little and then add in 2 beaten eggs

4 0z of gluten free breadcrumbs and 4 tablespoons of buttermilk (you can use cream but we have buttermilk from making the butter)

Pour the mixture into the pastry case and cook on Gas Mark 4/350 F for about 20 minutes.

Alex has just arrived with an armful of cheese, which stinks! However, he has left behind the Stinking Bishop which was offered as a substitute for something else (a hard cheese, so why they subbed Stinking Bishop I don’t know.) He’s decided not to have the SB at the reception as it will stink out the entire place!

Things are getting a little stressful for the bride and groom but Iona is all calmness as she completes the wedding cake; only occasionally bursting out “Don’t touch me I’ve made A HUNDRED scones!”

As I’ve only made about 18 I can’t really compete can I? LOL!


Wedding preparation: making butter.

It is the week leading up to Alex and Anna’s wedding.  The Reception, which they are having in our Church Hall will be a bring and share feast. So the cooking is under way. Iona has the cake to made and there are scones and tea loaf for freezing before the day.

I have just made a batch of butter. It’s pretty easy to make.

I had two big tubs of double cream (it was on offer – the best time to buy it for making butter)

If, like me, you are lucky enough to have a Kenwood with the K beater – you’re made.

P1020078Pour the cream into the bowl and start beating it. The cream will thicken and get stiff. Watch at that moment because the transition from thick cream to butter happens rather suddenly.

You will find the butter and buttermilk have separated.  Pour off the buttermilk into a jug.

You need very cold water. Pour some in with the butter and beat very slowly. More buttermilk will form which you can pour off. I usually manage to do a couple of these before I need to take the butter out and wash it the final few times. I put the butter in a bowl and rinse it a few times under the tap until the water runs off nearly clear. Press the butter to leach out the final water.

Rinsing and washing is important to prevent the butter going rancid.

Then I rolled the butter out and using Iona’s embossing sheet (she uses forP1020079 cakes) embossed the butter with swirls. Then cut them into pieces. I’ve carefully stacked the pieces between sheets of silicon paper and now they are chilling.

You can freeze butter. Home made butter doesn’t last as long as shop butter because the only ingredient is the butter. But the more I learn about food production the more I would rather make my own.

The butter milk was handed straight to Iona who is making batches of scones with it.


So people can have a little pat of butter to go with their scones.

I did not add salt. If you are going to freeze butter it can overly enhance the salt. Anyway, it’s so creamy and fresh, who needs salt?

cooking for Christmas recipes: cranberry sauce

Cranberries are in season for a very short time indeed (What was God thinking?). So grab ’em while you can get them.

1 lb cranberries

a cinnamon stick and a star anise

5 fl oz of liquid either; water, red wine; orange juice; blueberry juice or something you would really like to see used to make cranberry sauce.

six tablespoons of sugar

Put the cranberries, cinnamon, star anise and liquid into the pan and heat until the cranberries have softened. Don’t add the sugar at the beginning as apparently it toughens the berry skins. I have forgotten occasionally and not noticed too much faff, but it is a bit easier to squish the cranberries if the sugar isn’t there.

The other thing I have found is that this amount per batch works best. Doubling up for me at least has not worked so well.

Now then, this is the basic cranberry sauce. You could do half cranberries half stoned cherries. You can use brandy, AfterShock or that orange liqueur whose name has gone out of my head right now.

If like us you can’t use alcohol then experiment with fancy juices and different sugars. (not molasses, it doesn’t seem to go with cranberries).

This one is easy enough for the children to have a go.

cooking for Christmas Recipes: Lemon and Lime Marmalade

You will need a really large pan, or a cauldron like I use.

2 and a half pints of boiling water

6 limes

4 large lemons or 5 small ones

1 ruby grapefruit

3 lbs of sugar ( one pound of which could be Jam sugar)

Measure boiled water into a jug to 2 1/2 pints

Using a peeler or sharp knife strip the fruit of it’s skin and set aside.

Cut the fruit in half and squeeze out the juices. Add all the juice to the jug and you should end up with just over 3 pts of liquid. Throw the halves into the pan pips and all and pour over the water and juice. On the top dump in all the peelings. Heat this until the fruit has softened.

Spoon the fruit and skin out of the liquid giving the fruit halves a good squeeze on their way out. You can now throw away the fruit but keep the skin peelings. They will have softened in the cooking and you can attack them with gusto with a pair of scissors or a knife so they are cut into little shreds. Very therapeutic.

Return the shreds to the pan and add 3 lbs of sugar.

Bring it all to a rolling boil stirring it until the sugar has dissolved.

Bring to setting point 220 F on a sugar thermometer. If you don’t have one use a cold saucer and add a teaspoon of the marmalade when you think it should be setting – usually about 10 to 15 minutes of boiling. Let it cool and push it. If it wrinkles and feels gloopy you have a set.

Adding the pinkiness of the grapefruit makes the final colour really golden, which I rather like.

If you have boiled the stuff to within an inch of its life and it still refuses to set, add jelly or agar gel. I know this is cheating but the fact is, sometimes a batch simply will not set.

If Delia Smith ever becomes a saint, we will all have St. Delia to approach for setting jams and marmalades; but until then we must cheat. 🙂

Unless anyone knows a patron saint of preserves and their makers?


Frugal Friday; free Easter lesson pack for home education

 As Lent moves on towards Easter, I have finished a new lesson pack which is YOURS FREE – and you can’t get more frugal than that.

The Via Guade continues from the Via Dolorosa which is also free. The Via Guade is all about the Resurrection of Jesus and His quiet time over 40 days with His apostles and some other disciples.  I have added the usual amount of fine art for picture study and of course the lapbooking pieces, which I hope will suit a mixed age and ability group of children.

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It’s time to make mincemeat; both kinds.

It’s that time of year when the house just has to smell of all things spice and brown sugar. So, even if I am too chicken to put the central heating on (the bills the bills!) we still get a warm glow from the scent of all spice and cinnamon.

It’s time to get into the kitchen and find the large mixing bowl.

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More apple recipes: apple sauce and apple upside down cake

Despite the glut of apples taking up a corner of my kitchen I was foggy enough to BUY some on Friday. So they need using. We had apple sauce with Sunday Dinner today. That’s really simple to make.

Peel, core and chop apples and put them in a smallish saucepan.

Add a little water and cook until soft. Mash them up and there’s the apple sauce. If the apples are tart add a little sugar. I added a dollop of apple jelly instead and stirred it in. Very nice.

Then I peeled and cored even more apples and sliced them. In a larger pan I melted a large dab of butter (about 3oz) with a little olive oil. I always add oil to stop the butter burning-and it does work. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of good cinnamon in and then add the apple slices and cook them until just about soft.

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