Obsessed with quiche

I have rediscovered quiche, which has been particularly useful during the Cumbrian heatwave (29C yesterday! PTL for the rain which has lowered the humidity and made the weather just a touch less filthy).

Blogging to remember good combinations of quiche (all made with a 2 egg/1 pack of ‘lighter’ soft cheese – e.g. Philadelphia/Sainsburys own brand etc.):
– Salmon and asparagus (smoked salmon value trimmings from Asda)
– Chicken and chorizo (left over chicken from roast, sliced chorizo and sweet chilli soft cheese)
– Bacon and leek (with added cheese)
– Alpine sausage and red onion (random venison/pork salami-esque sausage bought from Aldi).

All nice with some salad, and a cheap source of lunch.


Crochet Project #1: It’s a Hoot Owl Container


Crochet Project #1: It’s a Hoot Owl Container

So – I rediscovered Ravelry and decided to make this in order to use up a stash of Aran wool that I had bought via Ebay with no particular purpose in mind (there’s a lesson in there I think). This was fairly quick to make (killed a few hours on New Year’s Eve waiting for midnight to come) and very straightforward once I got into the rhythm of it. Like many crochet patterns, the notation of the pattern looks quite confusing until you’ve got ‘into’ it – essentially this is a pattern which says:

1) Make a big circle

2) Reinforce the base with a couple of rows done in one side of the loop only)

3) Build the sides using a basic basket-ish type stitch

4) Put the handles on.

I do think that it would be easier if patterns included that kind of signposting sometimes as well as the detailed instructions.


Alternative Christmas Cake

Whilst staying with family this Christmas I sampled some excellent ‘alternative Christmas cake’. In place of traditional Christmas cake (brown, fruity, boozy, marzipan and icing – two of which at least I am not a fan of) we had a lovely sponge cake, flavoured with mixed spice and additional cinnamon, with an orange buttercream filling and topping, covered over with fondant icing then decorated with edible glitter.

It was rather nice. Blogged to aid my failing memory.

Almost 2014 – resolutions and intentions

It’s that time of the year where I start to get the itchy-fidgets and think up lots of resolutions for the New Year. Or, if not resolutions, semi-firm intentions about what would be good to change. The change of name doesn’t really impact on their longevity, but the thinking process is useful nonetheless.

In the past, this has included “let’s just eat vegetarian food in January” which has sometimes got as far as getting the Madhur Jaffrey books out, but seldom lasts more than a meal. Thinking about that one again for 2014, along with “let’s cook through a whole cookbook” (I was given “Save with Jamie” for Christmas and have the Hairy Bikers’ cookbooks as well which have always looked tempting). Think of how healthy we would be if we had a month of well-planned meals – think of how much money we would save!

Resolutions re: taking more exercise and getting fit and losing weight are also popular (grand schemes re: fitting in long walks before or after work have never come to fruition). This year’s incarnation is framed in terms of “let’s take the dog out for the day to the Lake District”. (Never start small when you can aim big, overreach and fail….).

Resolutions to see more family and friends and make better use of days off are also a frequent occurrence. In the past these have been reasonable successful – leading to regular Friday night dinners with friends while at vicar college. We’ve not quite got the knack of this back again since relocating to the Far North – now that we are both working full-time we are usually dead on our feet by Friday and spend most of Saturday mooching around getting energy levels back up. Still – I think that I could probably round up a few people for an evening of board games with cheese and biscuits and chutney, and there may be a few people interested in a day trip to Glasgow or Edinburgh.

A BibleGateway search on ‘plans’ includes the following:
Psalm 94:11 The Lord knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.
Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails



So – will see how I get on….

And so….11 months later

Someone mentioned my blog last night and I couldn’t remember when I last updated it – last August it seems. So – a little round up to jot down my memories of the last year:

Chickens – now upgraded to ‘the Chicken Palace’ – a great big steel framed run (**) that makes it much easier for me to get into, and gives them oodles of space (technically enough space for 11 chickens) to run around in. Bob, Bernard, Dame Julian, Hildegarde and Sister Mary Clarence are all well, missing the ability to run around free-range on the lawn (thereby destroying it) but otherwise happy and laying eggs at a rate of notes. Except Bernard who has gone broody twice in the last year.

(** more expensive than a wooden walk-in run, but given the amount of rain up here, thought would last much longer. Did I mention how much it rains? New definitions of ‘not really raining’, ‘raining a bit’, ‘tipping it down’ and then ‘it’s properly Cumbrian out there’ now in force at home).

Cats – still snotty but happy and doing their best to keep on top of the rabbit population in the back field.

The Dog – for Valentine’s Day this year Mr.E and I gave each other ‘half a dog’. This dog comes in the form of a very bouncy black Labrador (working) who will either kill us or get us fit. Very different from the collies that I grew up with. Very bouncy (did I mention that?). Here is a picture of his favourite place. Actually, the fridge might be his favourite place as it contains sausages. Not quite sure which one would win out.

Splish Splash


Choir – We joined the local community choir last Autumn – it has been great to be singing in a choir again after not really doing any choral singing post school. I have, however, shifted to singing tenor to help out on numbers. I can just about manage tenor – baritone is a drop too far though.

Book Club – forcing my reading tastes to expand beyond their usual remit, this has also been a nice addition to social life, meeting monthly. After five months, I’ve actually got myself organised enough to finish one of the books covered in the group, rather than starting the new book straight after the last meeting, then forgetting about it, or leaving it until just before the next meeting (so that it is fresh in my mind) and not leaving enough time etc.

Garden – picking up slowly, although still trying to work out what is best to plant when you can’t plant out before June and it rains quite a lot (did I mention that?). Various runner beans/french beans in containers, some peas struggling along, and two raised beds that were going to be salad, and various root veg. Plans  kiboshed slightly by a dog who thought that it would be fun to jump in/on them… We’ve ‘inherited’ a beautiful garden at the Vicarage – having been city-dwellers for the last decade or so we’ve not really had the experience to know what to do with all the flowers that are in the beds here, so the first year has been a ‘watch,wait, perhaps prune’ approach. We’ll have to do something more this year.

Parish Magazine – I now edit the local parish magazine – childhood ambition now realised! I do enjoy a good parish magazine and it has been a good way to get to know a few more people locally.

Center Parcs – went on a short break with my sister and her family and discovered a) it has been a loooong time since I last rode a bike – but it is quite fun, and b) spas are actually quite nice.

Chutney-making in 2012-13 – nil.

Crochet in 2012-13 – not so much (I did finish the enormous blanket that I was making on the long drives to and from London/North East/Cumbria). It is now as long as our three/four seater summer, and 3 foot wide. Toasty….

Time to do some lovely Saturday admin now 😉




Thriftalicious: Price per kilo for protein

I’m currently trying to make our grocery budget stretch a bit further (who isn’t?) – and so decided to work out the price per kilo of various forms of protein. I’ve done that – and thought that it might be of use. Prices are from http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk – Tesco, as of this evening.

I was a bit surprised that buying a whole Tesco Finest chicken was the same price per kg as buying chicken thighs – and both of those options much cheaper than most other meats. Chicken it is then! ….

Meat Type per kg on offer
Beans/Pulses Red lentils 1.50
Beans/Pulses Chickpeas (tinned in water) 1.73
Beans/Pulses Butter beans (in water) 1.73
Beans/Pulses Green lentils 1.98
Beans/Pulses Cannellini beans 1.98
Sausages Frozen 2.00
Chicken Whole – value 2.07
Chicken Whole 2.76
Beef Value mince 3.00
Chicken Whole – finest free range 3.32
Chicken Thighs 3.86
Sausages Tesco – Butcher’s Choice 3.94 3.3
Turkey Mince 3.95
Beef Frozen mince 4.00
Bacon Gammon joint 4.50 3.75
Turkey Diced turkey thigh 4.54
Beans/Pulses Tofu 5.05
Pork Mince 5.33 4
Beans/Pulses Quorn Mince 5.56
Beans/Pulses Quorn Chicken Style Pieces 5.56
Beef Value roasting joint 5.75
Sausages Tesco Finest 6.25 5.63
Lamb Mince 6.60 6
Turkey Value breast pieces 6.67
Pork Value casserole pork 6.72
Beef Lean steak mince 6.86
Chicken Fillets – skinless 7.38
Beans/Pulses Quorn Sausages 8.00
Turkey Breast fillets 8.18 7.01
Beef Casserole steak 8.25 7.5
Turkey Lean turkey mince 8.29 7.89
Lamb Lean mince 8.75 7.5
Pork Loin steaks 9.00
Chicken Fillets – skinless 9.26 £8.10
Beef Silverside 9.70
Chicken Fillets – frozen 11.10 5.48
Lamb Diced 13.33 10
Bacon Tesco Finest – unsmoked back 14.20 12.5
Lamb Lamb chops 15.47 11.16
Beef Ribeye steak 16.00