Tag Archives: recipes

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?


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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Apples everywhere; recipes to take advantage.

I don’t know what it’s like around your neck o’the woods, but around here there has been an abundance of apples this year. As usual they haven’t all grown big, shiny and Euro approved looking, but there are lots that can be done with an apple glut.


You can use cookers like Bramley that haven’t quite made it or crab apples or any apple that’s tart and hasn’t bothered to grow big. (For bigger apples there are better uses I think).

You will need a preserving pan or cauldron for this.

Take all the apples and chop them in half or chunks leaving the core and pips in. the pips have pectin and that will help the jelly set later.

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Making Marmalade and Chicken soup the Fibro way. :)

Making marmalade the fibro way goes like this:

Walk into the kitchen and see the oranges you bought for making marmalade and realise you really need to find the energy to do this before they turn into penicillin.

So. First, take no drugs – you will be using the hob. Brain fog makes that risky enough without adding drugs to the situation.

Weigh out 3lbs of oranges and a grapefruit.

Put them into a cauldron or large preserving pan and pour in 5pts of water. Light the hob and check you really did light it and that you really did light the right ring.

Leave the oranges to simmer.

Forget all about them until your daughter or other person who happens to walk into the kitchen asks if you really want them to boil dry. Realise that you were making marmalade and return to kitchen. Add five more pints and remember to cover the pot with foil so it doesn’t boil dry. Simmer. Have all the children constantly remind you that you have the hob on.

Turn hob off and leave to cool.

Take drugs.

Following day.

The oranges and grapefruit should be nice and soft. Don’t peel them- that would hurt like…Anyway cut them into quaters and feed through a processor blade to slice thinly. You will find that this isn’t completely “professional” looking so take some of the really big bits of skin and slice with a knife. This is easy and not too painful.

Add all the stuff back into the water and pour in just less than 3lbs of pectin sugar.

Don’t take drugs. Put the hob on and let this boil. You really must not walk away, because you just KNOW you will forget and hot sugar is jolly dangerous. So stay there.  Stir it a few times.  After about 10 minutes possibly a little longer test the skin for wrinkles or do the cool saucer test where you put a teaspoon of the marmalade on a plate and see if it wrinkles and sticks when gently pushed. Boil longer if needed and test again. To manage pain at this point pace. Research shows that pacing does actually help.

When ready leave to cool. Take drugs.

Next day get jars for sterilisation. Light oven to sterilise jars for 8minutes at gas mark 8. Check oven some time later and wonder where the jars are. Realise you never actually put them in the oven. REMAIN CALM.  Place jars in oven. Do other stuff around the place where you have written in large letters “JARS IN OVEN” and then remove them.

Spoon marmalade into jars that you have placed next to pan with plenty of kitchen roll around to take the mess you make thanks to the fact your hands don’t co-ordinate in normal marmalade making fashion.

Lid jars and go sit down with a cuppa.


Day before: prepare chicken with a bit of lemon juice and a brush of butter. Ask son to place it in the oven before he goes off to do his work. Set gas mark 7 and take drugs. Go off to do other things. Have a child say, “What’s for tea?” at a very providential moment and suddenly remember you left the chicken in the oven.

Take it out and find that thankfully it isn’t burned or even overcooked! Thank God for 7 year old boys.

Get daughter to help you prepare tea because Tramadol has left you so stoned and hardly touched the pain, that you can’t do it properly.

Place stripped chicken carcass in pot.

Next day.  Add water to carcass and leave simmering on hob. This is difficult to get wrong as it smells of chicken soup so as you move around the house it reminds you it’s on. It also makes a high pitched sound which I am sure only fibro’s hear. Very annoying but very useful in brain fog.

Turn off the hob. Leave to cool.

Take drugs. You will be standing up for a while and will need it.

Use slotted spoon and remove all the carcass from the pot leaving behind the stock. Strip off the meat and throw out the bones. Using a sharp knife just chop a bit at the meat so that it’s smaller. Leave to one side.

Take either two small or one large red onion and peel and chop it. (Aren’t you glad you took those drugs now?)

In a pan heat some oil and a sprinkle of fennel seeds. Add the onion and a teaspoon of ready chopped garlic. (Pressing a garlic clove under a flat knife isn’t for us any longer is it my fellow fibros?) Add some water to sweat the onions and season. Add about four handfuls of red lentils and then more water. Simmer for a while and stir. Add it all into the stock pot. Simmer and stir until the lentils are softened.

Now, if you happen to be having a good day you can peel and chop a couple of big spuds and boil them and add them to thicken the soup. But if, you aren’t – you just can’t. It’s thinner soup but I don’t care.

Get hand held whizzer thing- what are they called? Can’t remember. Anyway, it blitzes the soup to s lovely smoothness. Add some milk or cream if you like. I added a bit of almond milk. Very nice.

Now add the chopped meat and stir. It’s done.

I put a loaf on this morning in the bread machine so there’s bread and soup.

Oh dear, just remembered it’s Friday and I’m supposed to be Catholic.

Ah well. Enjoy.