Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mix and Match?

After using redcurrant jelly by mistake instead of cranberry sauce (in chicken sarnies) - and it worked, today - when making myself some sardine sarnies, instead of mashing them with a bit of vinegar decided to use up the last bit of tartare sauce from a jar in the fridge.  As this is eaten with fish I knew it would work. With the last teaspoon of redcurrant jelly left in the jar, I added that as well. and again found it worked.  Perhaps it was the sharpness of the redcurrants that cut through the oiliness of the fish, but anyway I enjoyed the slight sweetness it gave, which balanced the tartare sauce.  Not everyone's cup of tea I suppose, but then I always seem to be the one eating all the odds and ends and maybe now have enough experience and after many trials and errors usually get it right.

Even went so far as to add to my salad a handful of fresh and ripe blackberries freshly picked from a bush that had been hiding behind another (we discovered it only last year). The other salad ingredients were iceberg lettuce, two mini bell peppers (one orange, one yellow), three large radishes, thinly sliced, and a tomato cut into eighths.  Oh yes, some chunks of smoked cheddar.  When I came to eat the salad (I'd made it in advance and tossed everything together with a little mayonnaise), kept wondering what the unusual flavour was and it wasn't until I'd almost finished I found a blackberry and realised that is what it had been.   These went well with the salad, not so sure about with the cheese, but certainly would have complemented any meat or poultry I might have included (which I hadn't at that time but will do so when I have some).  Think it will be worth making some seedless blackberry jelly to eat with duck, in the same way we eat lamb (or chicken) with redcurrant jelly.

It really is turning out to be an amazing autumn with heavy crops of almost everything that ripens at this time of year.  From your comments it sounds as though you have all been busy amassing what you can and then taking time to preserve it all - in many different ways.

Hazel is turning her berries into wine, and despite all the work it entails, well worth it when the wine works out at only 18p a bottle!  Probably a great deal stronger than bought wine so could be diluted down.  Adding lemonade to wine helps the body extract the alcohol more easily so we get tiddly far quicker drinking added 'fizzed' to the wine. Using the cheapest lemonade (probably diet lemonade) this could bring the price of home-made wine down to about 12p a bottle.  DON'T add the lemonade to the wine before bottling (the bottles could explode), just pour the wine into a glass and then top up with lemonade.

Kathryn is as busy as ever (did you manage to take Dolly to Middleton Sands?), and I do agree that knitting and crochet is very relaxing.  Since Monday I've knitted two and a half cushion covers (one side of each only), intending to crochet the other side.

It's been so long since I knitted that I didn't realise that knitting pins are now in metric sizes.  Why? As I was needing to buy some (I gave all mine away before we moved), had to ask the assistant which size I needed.  The wool was called 'chunky' and she said 5 1/2 mm needles, and as far as I can work out they were the same as we used to call 'nines'.
Seems that knitting is like riding a bike, once learned you never forget.  Took me only a couple of minutes to cast on 60 stitches and discovered the large ball of yarn was exactly the right amount to knit a square (using plain, purl, and moss stitch for form patterns).

It is pleasant to have wool/yarn already wound in balls. Not sure when that started, but my early days of knitting (my mum taught me how to knit when I was five) I used to sit in a chair by the fire, with a hank of wool in my hands while my mother sat opposite me and wound it into balls,  I'd move my hands from side to side so my mum could easily wind the wool.  She was a fast knitter, so I used to spend quite some time holding hanks of wool.

The shop in our 'village' that sells wool, yarn, cottons and all things needed for knitting, crochet and sewing, is a place I love to go to.  Usually I sit on a chair and have a good chat (but do buy things as well). Was very surprised to find that balls of real wool were up to £4 a ball, yet the yarn was under £2 for a ball twice the size. 

I was saying how wool is always the warmest, but so difficult to wash as it shrank when the water was too hot, and difficult to get the water out as wringing it/or spin drying could stretch a garment out of shape. Apparently, nowadays the wool sold is machine washable, so suppose it has been specially treated.

There was a time when I learned how to spin wool using a spinning wheel, and it wasn't that difficult, also very relaxing, and the wool - spun from a fleece that I had 'carded' - still contained lanolin and so my hands were beautifully soft.
A sheep's fleece - even now - can be bought for £5, and probably would give enough wool to knot several sweaters (I bet Kathryn knows more about the costs), so I was twenty years younger (almost a pensioner even then) would definitely buy a spinning wheel, some fleeces and get carding, spinning and knitting.  Possibly even dying the wool in different colours. 
Even before I had the use of a (borrowed) spinning wheel was able to spin wool using a stick that I'd stuck into a potato, tying the end of the wool to the base of the stick, and then spinning it round so the pulled-out wool wrapped itself around the stick.

Must have missed the 'flag fiasco' you mentioned Margie. There is such a lot on the news at the moment about the Scots wanting their independence, with the possibility that they may then join the EU and take the euro as currency.  So that means when anyone goes to Scotland on holiday they would have to change their money.  Will they also need a passport?
Scotland does print its own money (or it is printed for them at the Royal Mint), and some places in England won't accept the notes, probably further down south than here in the north.

Canada seems to have connection with Scotland in that many of the first settlers were Scottish I believe, as were many were French, and on the news it did mention that Quebec wanted to break away from Ontario (is that what they call the rest of Canada?), and become properly French.  o sure if this is an on-going thing or something that occurred in the past and nothing came of it. If it happened would France then own part of Canada and the Scots own the rest? 
The British news reporter was talking to a person from Quebec and he spoke English (with both a Canadian and a French accent..  So I suppose when speaking French In Quebec it would is spoken with a Canadian accent.

Watching the ending of 'The Waltons' (on before 'Little House'....) and reading about it on the website, it is loosely based on the authors life, and the author himself does the voice-over at the end. He definitely has a Canadian accent (to me the difference between the US and Canadian accents is the way they pronounce the 'ou' in words) so would have expected his story to be set in Canada, instead of West Virginia.

Oh yes, can anyone explain to me about Walnut Grove (in' Little House....') sometimes they call it their 'town', yet the other day Mrs Oleson (shopkeeper) told some newcomers that Walnut Grove was part of Hero township.    We would perhaps call Walnut Grove a 'village', but have never heard of 'Hero' as a local town in the series, only other towns with names I recognise such as Sleepy Hollow, and even Minnesota (reached by rail).  Is a 'township' something different? 

Norma the Hair has had to change our appointment time, and this has made it difficult for me as I have a busy week ahead.  The sailing club has a two-day weekend and food is needed (some I will be supplying, and will also need to make a lot of preserves for the MacMillan Day later in the month, so as both Thursday morning and Friday morning I have other commitments, not sure how I'll fit it all in as still need to rest a bit each day.  Pleased to say my knee is slowly improving, and by the end of the month hope to be back to almost normal although the discomfort will never completely disappear.

So - it could be you might not get a blog from me at least one of the days later this week, could be tomorrow or Friday.  Saturday I'll definitely not be blogging, but by Sunday all the work should be done.  Please don't be concerned if I don't blog for a few days as it will be a case of expect me when you see me.   With any luck and a good wind behind me I could get on faster than expected, so a relaxing chat with you to help me unwind.  All I can do is play it by ear.

Before I leave, must mention a prog I watched last night on one of the Freeview channels, think it was called '10 ways to lose weight'.  Quite a few good tips.  One was the way we eat our food.  They did trials with a set number of people (under laboratory conditions). giving them all exactly the same meal, then tested them to find out when they next felt hungry.  But half of them had been given a glass of water to drink immediately after the meal, the other half had had the same meal chopped up and added to a pan with the water and heated to make a soup.
The ones who ate the food as soup did not feel hungry until hours later than the others, and this was due to their stomachs holding the food longer due to the added liquid. 

Protein foods also stay in the stomach for longer so people eat far less when their diet consists of plenty of protein (think we already know that as long as we don't eat carbos).
Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and low-fat cheese help to remove more fat from the body than if they were not eaten, this because these products 'wrap' themselves round other fats and help to remove them from our body.

Recently we had to re-programme the Freeview channels, and this I did so, but before that had discovered that the 'Food Network' - previously on channel 48 - has been replaced with 'Movies for Men' (the mind boggles!).  Can anyone tell me the correct channel number for the Food Network?  Not that I watch it much any more, but one day might wish to.

Will still check comments each day and if there are any requests will do my best to reply to them that day.  Otherwise, will be back as and when.  In the meantime expect most of you will be far too busy crop-gathering and then preserving to find time to switch on the comp.  Oh for those days when all we had was the radio to listen to.  Not surprising we managed to get more work done then - and it was proper work, like doing the washing with no machine to help, and hand-knitting and sewing garments, not to mention all the repairs (we didn't throw away things with holes in them, we either patched them or darned them).
Food of course was always home-prepared (although we did buy bread). that too took time, but how much pleasanter life seemed to be then, hard work but far less stress than we seem to have today.  There must have been bad times, and our nature is to remember only the good - of which there was plenty. 

Still good weather with more to come.  No wonder we see more smiling faces as we walk around.  There is nothing like a good English summer, followed by a lovely autumn to keep us in a good mood.   Pity we have been reminded to have our flu jabs ready for the winter (our jabs to be at the end of this month), and notices to book Christmas dinner are now appearing outside many pubs.  In a month Barton Grange will have its wonderful Christmas display set up, and the supermarkets will be selling tinsel, baubles and mince-pies.  If the weather carries on as it is doing we'll be eating Christmas Dinner on the barbecue.

Enough fantasy, be back again soon, or even sooner.  Enjoy every minute of our Indian summer, and
forget you have a comp (or tablet, or iPad or whatever).  Return to how it used to be and the pleasures it can give.  TTFN.