Sunday, 18 November 2012

A surfeit of Lemons

recently I made a sugar free lemon meringue pie and while I was gathering the ingredients together I realised that I needed more lemons so I texted Mr M who was doing the shopping and asked for more lemons.
"too late" he replied. This meant he out of the supermarket and would not be going back just for some lemons. I texted my daughter who was also out shopping and asked if she could get some lemons. She was in the market and right next to the greengrocer's! Hurrah!
Mr M arrived and as I unpacked the shopping I found a net bag of four lemons. I gave him the look, you know the one, not yet cross but still wanting to know what's going on.
"I stopped at Aldi on the way home," he said, "You wanted lemons, I got lemons." I gave him a hug and a kiss for being so thoughtful and then asked for the loose change from his pocket so I could pay my daughter for the lemons when she brought them, which she did. Another four big lemons from the market.
I used two for the lemon meringue and then wondered how to use the rest.

Thank goodness for my Good Housekeeping Cookbook. It has to be the best thing I ever received. I think I bought it about 1970. All the recipes are in Imperial and metric measurements so it has to be early 1970s when we were changing over.
It has wonderful things in it like Eve's pudding, and Chutney recipes and ...

Lemon Curd.

I first made lemon curd when I was in Agricultural College - class of 1962 - I know it has sugar in it and Mr M can't eat huge amounts because of the Diabetes but he does without so much and I know we are hopeless about diets but I just had to make it.
4 eggs, beaten
The grated rind and juice of four lemons,
100g of butter,
450g of sugar.
Put all the ingredients into a bowl and stand this on a pan of simmering water. make sure the bowl does not touch the bottom of the pan. If you have a double saucepan then use that.
Stir the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved and then continue to stir until the mixture thickens.
It is difficult to describe how to know when it is ready you just keep stirring and it thickens, then thickens some more and then even more. Then when you dip the wooden spoon in and lift it the curd kind of flakes away from the spoon.
You can drop a little onto a cold plate and if it keeps its shape and dosen't run across the plate when you tilt it then it is ready. Put into sterile jars. put the lids on tight and leave to cool. Will keep for about a month in a cool place. There are no artificial colours no preservatives except the lemon juice and sugar.
This recipe makes about one and a half pounds. I deliberately put it into 8oz jars because they will be used up quickly after opening.
We had to lick the spoons and scrape out the bowl so we have had our sugar allowance for today - YUUUMMMMMM.

Friday, 16 November 2012

One Moment

11.45am Friday. As I decide that now is a good moment to reflect Mr M arrives back from visiting his mother. She has dementia and now resides in a nursing home. My loving, funny, adorable, irritating, exasperating beloved mother-in-law left us a long time ago. What we have now is a stranger that continues to exist within her physical form. This stranger talks in scribble, strings of unconnected words mingled with the occasional chuckle or a saucy glance or sometimes a wagged finger and a stern look. I close my eyes and take a slow quiet breath.
"How's your mum?" I ask, but I really dread the answer. She doesn't walk anymore as her brain has forgotten her legs now. She eats like a bird and forgets to drink unless a straw is put to her mouth and you over ride the scribble and keep saying "drink this, drink this now Mam."
"She knew me today," Mr M replies, hanging his coat up and slipping off his shoes. "She lifted her hands the way she used to." He turns to me and the tears are welling into his eyes.

When ever she saw him she would lift her hands to his face and cup his cheeks in them "oh my baby," she would say and I would feel a stab of impatience that she was doing this to her grown-up son. Every time we visited she did this and even after she went into the home she couldn't remember his name but her hands would go to his face and you just knew that the scribble was meant to be "oh my baby" She hadn't done this for months. Not since before our anniversary in June so for her to remember was the final straw and my moment ended with tears from both of us

This is part of the Simply a moment that Alexa started and I love.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

New Baby!!

Yesterday my eldest granddaughter gave birth to a baby boy. 8lb 7oz. His big sister is, apparently very glad he has finally arrived, and mummy is pretty pleased too.

~Happy dance for the new baby~

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Sugar free lemon meringue

I don't have a photograph because I used my phone and now I have no idea how to transfer the picture to my blog but I made sugar free Lemon Meringue pie and it worked!
The Meringue was a little ..... delicate but that's because the sugar usually gives it strength and a bit of oomph. The splenda whisked into the egg whites just fine and it looked just like real meringue when I spread it on the pie - OH and the pie was just so simple to make. I followed the recipe in my good housekeeping cookbook.
I ate too much of it, of course, and it was extremely lemony. Well, it would be, wouldn't it, being made of cornflour, water lemon juice, grated lemon rind and two egg yolks. There's not much to deflect the lemony flavour of the grated rind of two lemons so it did kind of make my eyeballs bulge a little with the first mouthful. Probably because I just didn't expect it to be that flavourful.
Anyway, it was a great success, much much nicer than the pumpkin pie I made the other day. That was just...... goppin'! to quote my ex-army son.

oh and if anyone knows how to transfer pictures from my blackberry to the blog please tell me

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Pumpkin Pie

I have found a recipe for pumpkin pie that doesn't entails hours of pureeing. I have made a pie! I have no idea why I am so excited about it other than I can actually smell it. The virus two years ago stole my sense of smell and left me with a kind of random smellometer that would give me strange perfumes and scents at really strange times, the worst being the smell of smoke at 2am. Mr M didn't like that one either as it was his job to go and look. I would smell furniture polish in the cheese shop and cheese in the flower shop until this summer when I had a virus again. It sent me out of my tree for a day or two and poor Mr M didn't sleep for nearly 36 hours because I was talking. I wondered why I lost my voice and then he told me. Anyway when I came back to earth I could smell things. Real things. When they were there. So cooking chutney and jam has been a delight this weekend and making the pumpkin pie today was wonderful. My favourite son-in-law came in to find me standing in the kitchen breathing in deeply through my nose.
"Are you alright?" he asked looking as though he would be ringing my daughter at the first opportunity.
"I'm fine," I said, taking another deep breath. "I am just smelling the pumpkin pie."
"Oh, OK," he said, then paused for a second to compute all the information. He then remembered where he was and who he was with and his face cleared and resumed its usual happy expression. It was Mother-in-law! so perfectly normal.
Tomorrow I make lemon meringue pie from scratch - a mix up about lemons for the pumpkin jam has resulted in an excess of lemons. I can't wait to smell that!

A tasty snack for a chicken

I left the gate open at the top of the steps today so that the girls could come up and scratch for insects and look longingly through the glass door at me.
They soon found this milk thistle and began tucking in to a tasty snack

 It didn't take long for them to make short work of it and they were off down the steps to the barren wastes of what used to be my garden. There is absolutely nothing green under chicken-head-height down there and the one flower bed is just a mudbank pitted with wallow holes.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Jams and Chutneys

some of the 17 jars of Pumpkin Ginger Jam
On Saturday I made 11 pounds of Pumpkin Ginger Jam because one of the men that Mr M works with gave us a pumpkin from his allotment - wasn't that kind? we thought so. It was quite large so, having experienced the tediousness of pureeing pumpkin for a pie I decided to make some jam and some chutney. I got a little distracted after I finished making the jam.... who am I kidding? I was too tired to stand up after I finished making the jam so I didn't make the Chutney until Sunday. Mr M cooked the dinner on Sunday which was a lovely treat and I made about 5 pounds of Pumpkin Chutney.
I still have several pounds of pumpkin left so tomorrow I will be making pumpkin pie - a sugar free one because we are both diabetic. We can't eat the jam either and Mr M is only allowed a tiny spoonful of the chutney sometimes. This means that there are a lot of people who will be getting pumpkin jam for an extra Christmas present this year. I just hope they return the jars when they are empty

Sunday, 4 November 2012

It was a dark and stormy night...

Today is the first sunday in the month and that means one thing for me.... Storytelling Sunday2 is here again. Take a look at Sian's page over at From High in the Sky to read the stories from around the world, but please don't go there until you've read my story. It is a very short one today.

It was a dark and stormy night, three men sat in a cave and one man said "Tell us a story Bill." ..... sorry wrong story. It was a dark and stormy night here in The Towers when Mr M came into the study to sit at his computer and get down to some serious stuff (he had new levels of Angry Birds to achieve).
He rubbed his hands together and said "In this weather I should be wearing a woolly jumper to keep me warm." I reminded him that I had knitted one for him some time ago and without another word he got up from his chair and went out of the room. In moments he was back and that's when I remembered why I decided never to knit again.
This is what happens when you don't knit a tension swatch before starting.
Now you can take a look at Sian's blog and read all the other lovely stories. Thanks for dropping by