Monday, 30 November 2009


Last night I spotted this wonderful idea on Petit Filoux's blog (
This made an advent calender out of little paper boxes that you can fill with your own chocolates.

Thank you Petit Filoux for emailing me the print outs. I have spent all evening cutting and gluing and even had to get an extra pair of hands to help, thanks Lukey. I wanted it done for tomorrow, being the first day of Advent.

This shows the boxes in close up. I printed them onto brown wrapping paper to look a little rustic!!

This is my advent candle. It has a list of numbers going from one down to 24, each day you burn off the candle down to the next number. I got this one in Wilkinsons, but have seen them in all sorts of shops that sell Christmas decorations. Some years they have been easier to find than others and this year I have spotted lots. I first got one when the children were little, and it has become a family tradition they are now nearly grown up, but Jared is still at home.
We always light the candle while we eat dinner, sometimes we forget if we have been out and have to let it burn for 2 or 3 numbers, but it is a good visual countdown. I am looking forward to lighting it tomorrow evening.

Sunday, 29 November 2009


Christmas is coming! In Manningtree the other afternoon just as it was getting dark I noticed the window of The Wholefood Store, it looked so pretty I just had to take a photo.
Only 6 days until I go to Hamburg to see Alice!!

I made some mince pies using the mincemeat that I made last week. They were very tasty, got full approval from all those that tried them. I try to shop locally, but was not able to get a star cutter in Manningtree either this year or last. I had asked in Howels, the hardware and kitchen ware shop, but they did not get one in, which is a shame. In the end I found one in Lakeland in Ipswich
I used my special sweet pastry recipe which is:

3 1/2 oz butter, 5 oz plain flour, 2 oz ground almonds, 2 oz castor sugar, almond essence, 1 egg.

rub the butter into the flour and then add everything else, mix together and chill in fridge.

This makes nice crispy pastry.

Monday, 23 November 2009

mincemeat and wine

Last week I bottled some wine. This was the Elderberry that I had made from a tin, it is very quick, takes just 4 weeks and then a couple of weeks after that it is ready to drink.

This one is the peapod wine that I made in the summer from the peas that we grew. It is not ready to drink yet, I have put it away in the shed for a few months

I also started off some more larger. My bucket is not big enough to use a whole tin, so I make half at a time and store the other half in the fridge. First you add the contents of the tin to some sugar and boiling water and then top up to 20 pints with cold water.

Then add the yeast.

Cover with cling film and put in a warm place. Mine goes in the airing cupboard for about 6 days and then it is ready to bottle. This I will do tomorrow and it will be ready to drink at Christmas.

I also made some mincemeat ready for the mince pies. I always make it as Lukey does not like peel or nuts, I adjust the recipe to take them out and add other things.

I used the recipe from last years "Good Food" magazine, vegetarian special, for Blitz and Blend mincemeat. You have to chop everything up in the food processor, which means you don't have great big raisins in the mix. This is especially good for making mini pies.
I used an apple, stem Ginger, glace cherries, dried pineapple, sultanas, raisins and currents, vegetarian shredded suet, light muscodavo sugar, ground ginger, mixed spice, nutmeg, orange juice and zest, and dark rum.
This is all blended together and then put in jars and left to mature for a few weeks. Mmmmmm...

Only 11 days until I go to Hamburg to see Alice and visit the Christmas markets.....



Monday, 16 November 2009


Who could eat this beautiful cow? Someone will, he is being fattened up - poor thing. Moooo

Had a lovely weekend, Alice was home from Hamburg after 12 weeks away. Went out for dinner on Saturday night with her and John, her boyfriend and Jared and his girlfriend Ashleigh. Which was fun.

And on Sunday morning we went to John's cow shed to get some cow poo for the allotment. The cows are beautiful and have become very friendly and nosey. They were very interested in what we were doing and kept putting their noses in the bags and getting in the way. They will also eat hay from your hand and have very rough tongues. When you walk away from them they moo "where are you going?" mooo

I was also allowed to feed them by pouring their pellet food into the trough!!!

If this doesn't get things growing on the plot I don't know what will?