Friday, 29 November 2013

Approved Foods .... again!

Hello there ... just very quick post ... 
busy days here ....

Just to say really ... have a quick look at AF ... I've gone mad and placed another order.
They have in a load of Community Organic store cupboard staples ... oatmeal.. sea salt (yummy) ... nuts... pearl barley ... soup mix .. rice etc etc .. all sorts of great cupboard standbys.

Winters a commin ... fill ya boots!

Be back soon as I get a few spare minutes...

Take care xx

Monday, 25 November 2013

Peas and More Peas ... But Such Good Value!

Hello there ...
beginning of another week ... where do the days go to ..

A nice young mad delivered my Approved Food order today ...
and carried right into the house ... how great is that ..
its all so easy.

 There perhaps wasn't a great many items as other times .. but of course the weight was in the tins and sack of flour and I only spent £25 all in.
Huge tins of mushy peas ... and just £1 each.

 Whilst I was putting it away it gave me chance to sort out the cupboards .... fill up the everyday jars ... rotate stocks and get a grip of just what I have got ... which happens to be ...lots of curry 'mix in paste-y' things.
So lots of curries on the horizon ...

Now at the moment we have a problem with a 'visitor'  ... I think he has clogs on and lives in the roof space. We have never had mice in the house before ... and to be honest .. this is bigger than a mouse.
How.. why or where .. we don't know .. but they (water board) were doing work on the drains in the road last week .. so maybe they have disturbed something then ....
Hubby P has gone into full battle mode ... the house is wired up like a don't know what ... 
the cat ..
well she's sleeping like a baby ....not a bit interested ... not her problem!

Luckily all foodstuffs are kept in jars and tins .. and I managed to get the big sack of flour in the green enamel bread bin.

I tackled one of the tins of peas .... they are just fine ... mushy peas ... whats to say!
As you can see I had 4 plastic pots handy so I lined them with freezer bags ... filled them .. put them in the freezer. Tomorrow I will take them out of the plastic pots (so I can use the pots again .. the 'blocks' of peas will stack nicely in the freezer.
The remainder of the peas .. well some we had with our gammon for tea and the rest went into a big pot of soup. 

 The flour looks good  .. lets hope so since I bought a whole great sack of it.

I made a soda bread for Hubby P ... we've yet to try it ...
it looks nice and rustic ...
and smells good and wholesome ..

Just what our warrior needs ... 
I do hope our visitor leaves before it comes to a showdown ...

But needs must .. we can have vermin in the house.

Take care xx

Saturday, 23 November 2013

How About These For A Cute Find! ...

Hello there ...
just a quickie post .. jut to say Hello to you all really!

 Just having a sort out today and came across these I found the other week ... thought I would share them with you ..
they are just so cute!

 1960/70's vintage knitting needles ...
 in the most amazing colours ...
 just so pretty.

 Even the dinky little labels are so lovely ... I'm sure I could use them in all sorts of crafty ways ... decoupage and cards and whatnot... they have that old vintage-y patina to them .. well you know what I mean.

 Packaged by Critchley Bros ... if that means anything to anyone ... there must have been some sort of factory in Stroud.

 I bought the bagful .. as you do when you get a bit carried away ... the colours just hit me and I loved them ..
you just cant buy anything this pretty these days.

I have quite a few ... don't quite know what I will do with them ... someone suggested bangles .. apparently they are easy to make .. basically you just melt/soften the needles and shape ... 

The little 6" ones would look nice with dollies and teddies ... 'learning to knit ' .. you know...

And of course you can always knit with them!

I've put a few on ebay .. try and recoup some costs.

Watch this space .. I really feel like giving this bangle thing a try.

Anyone else got any ideas? 

Take care x

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Todays Thrifty Doings ... Approved Food..

Hello there .. 
bit of a mundane sort of day ... rubbish weather .. rain and wind ...
just a kind of 'sorting out' .. cleaning ... catching up with laundry ... sorta day.

Its got to be done but I felt I hadn't done very much ... not much Thriftiness going on.

So ....

Cupboards are looking a bit bare ... and that worries me ... I like to have reasonable stocks in ... should we be snowed in we need a good store cupboard.

 So I had a little click on Approved Food ...
I often browse their aisles ... have a look what has come in.
You can click on 'Latest Products' ... its all very easy.

I use to get a bit carried away with all the bargains .. 
and end up with lots of unusual pickles and such ...
 stuff that took ages to eat up ... 
or 'far too much' chocolate-y stuff ... can you have 'far too much'? 

Anyway ... now I am more disciplined .. and I ask myself ...
'would I buy that from Tesco ... 
will I use it .. 
is it something I cook with on a daily/weekly basis'.

 Well tonight I found this ...
Granary Malted Wholegrain Hovis Flour.... £2.99 for 10kg.
Yes! .... I know ..

 I've been buying this from Tesco at £1.55 a Kg ... just to add sparingly to my cheapo flour to give a bit of nutty .. tasty flavour.

So to me it was worth putting in an order with AF ... I made sure I used all the weight allowance (I think it works out at £5 odd for delivery .. to the door).
But I only ordered goods I will use .. salt and pepper .. stuffing mix .. stock cubes ... brown sauce ... you know .. the kind of thing that will happily sit in the store cupboard.

 The flour is ideal for those of you who make your own bread ... we're off yeasty bread for the moment .. but I do make Hubby P a bit of soda bread .. and I shall try it in all kinds of baking ... I should think it will make interesting rustic cheese scones.

And they had these ... tins of Mushy Peas .. BIG tins of mushy peas!

Catering sized tins .. that's 2500gms ... just a few peas then.
I thought I could always freeze in portion sizes once I opened the tin .. or make a big pot of pea soup.

Hubby P likes a few mushy peas .... wont we be the 'healthy ones' ...
peas soup and rustic bread!

So ... ideas for gallons of mushy peas .. and rustic flour ?

How do you find Approved Food ... any tips welcome.


Monday, 18 November 2013

Thrifty Fruity Teabread .... lots of photo's !

Hello there ....

Yes ... I've given in and embraced the season ...

 At least the 'run up to the silly season'..

It was just a case of  'what can I do with these Christmas tree shaped pieces of fabric off cuts'..
So I made few little trees ... just a few .. then I got fed up with trees.... fiddly darn things.

I bunged them in a basket for sale ...lets hope someone wants to give them a home.

A Hubby P bargain here..... 

 A few weeks ago Hubby P came back from the local shop with a couple of boxes of Mixed Dried Fruit .. reduced to pennies...
not a man to miss a bargain he had snapped them up.

I had put them in the back of the cupboard ... and promptly forgot all about them.
It was yesterday as I was going through the cupboards checking stocks of baking stuff ( a shopping list in hand)... I found the fruit.

Now the only problem is .. we are not keen on candied peel .. I tend not to buy mixed fruit  for this reason .. but these boxes .. well ... these were a bargain ..
so I set to ...
and I picked out all the candied peel.

 The peel went into the bird house feeder for the birds and the mice...
and I had three good jars of dried fruit.

Today was a work day ... we had a good old sort out and a re/set out/ display ... of goods in the containers.
 All ready for tomorrows trading day.

 Now I know we all like to look at pic's of other peoples doings ... at least I do ... so I took a few quick snaps.

 Vintage-y girly bits and bobs.

Bags and bow ties ...

 Glittery glassware...

 Lace and linen ...

 Buttons and more buttons ...

And time for home ... its getting darker and jolly cold.

Time to get the oven on and the house warmed up.

Before we left I put a couple of handful of the dried fruit in a basin with the remains of the teapot (cold tea) and left it to plump up nicely. 

 I thought a  nice tea bread would do the trick .... haven't made one in years.
So I had a quick look at Nigella's page (googled it) and made a sort of version of a tea bread.

As you may notice on the pic ... I had only Bread flour left in the cupboard .. so ..
8 oz flour (and I chucked in some baking powder)
4 oz sugar
2 tbsp marmalade (none of that either .. so in went some apple and gooseberry jam)
An egg beaten
and the fruit and tea ...

Oh and I rooted in the spice tin and sprinkled a bit of ginger and cinnamon in there too.

Give it a good stir up .. pop in a loaf tin ... an hour or so at 140 ..

And oh boy ... so easy ... and so yummy.

Ideal ... quick and easy to throw in the oven when cooking tea ... and you need to fill up those empty shelves.
I imagine it would be great toasted too .. not that this will last that long the way 'some people' are munching it!

So .. come on .. share .. the cold weather is a comin .. whats quick and easy to fill up the oven ... and doesn't cost a fortune.


Thursday, 14 November 2013

A Fabric Sorta Day ...

Hello there ....
just a fabric sort of day today ...
read on if fabric 'does it for you'!

As you know we trade for a living ... and I buy lots of fabric ...

 I buy big lumps and little scraps ... vintage fabrics ... modern Ikea fabrics .. pretty and jazzy and bright and funky .. anything really ... that might light up someones eyes ... and brings a smile to their face ...
 that ' Oh that's just the right colour/design ... has the right feel' look.

 I have bags of the stuff stacked around my work space ... 
some of it needs washing and ironing to freshen it up .. 
most needs sorting and trimming up.

 Nice and neat and ready to use .... 
I have lots of ladies who quilt and craft and come weekly just to have a browse through the fabrics ...
 maybe they just need a fabric fix .. 
a touch and a feel of the cotton ... a quest for ideas and inspiration ... well .. you know how it is.
Its a bit like a little sewing group ... one set of friends helping another with quilting problems .. or where to find that lady who knows where that particular thing/pattern etc is ... you know how it is.
So its all very nice and jolly .. I like selling the fabric.

 Hubby P was out today and came home with this ... he thought he would take a risk and get it ... maybe I could do something with it ...
He said he was thinking 'around the box ? up inside the box?'
...I think he was trying to say 'thinking outside the box'.
Someone said to us recently that our 'goods' are a little different .. we do things differently .. its as if we 'think outside the box'.

So its Hubby P's new mantra ...when he can get it right.

 Whilst I had the fabric out (strewn through out the house) .. I rootled about for some blue-ish bits ..
why is it you never .... ever ... have just what you have in your minds eye....
three suitcases I emptied in search of blue fabric!

 I made do with these bits ... not really what I wanted but needs must.
I took the Home Sweet Home off the tatty bit of card it was stuck to ...
and put together a bit of a cushion.

I think its all a bit 'busy' really...  
but I find these frilly .. 
a bit over the top 'inside/out the box?' ones ... 
do tend to sell as feature cushions rather than the more practical ones.
So we shall see ... its something a bit fresh to put out on the stall.

Sorry its been all a bit work related .. 
but that's been my day today.

So what have you been up to ...tell me .. do you find fabric expensive ... my ladies tell me horror stories of fabric costing £'s per yard.
 It use to be the cheapest thing to get a yard or two from the market ... but who has a market these days?


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Candles and Poppies ... Rememberance...

Hello there...

Ooo its feeling really wintry here ... cold and windy with dreary grey skies.

Now .. I know I'm a bit late with this Poppy thing ... but I'm quite pleased with this idea .. so I thought I would share...

 It started off with me being a bit bored one day whilst standing around at work ... waiting for/or hoping for customers. So I found a nice bit of wool and decided to crochet myself a poppy and just pop a donation into the 'Poppy Box'.

The above pic is of my poppy on my furry hat.

I got such a lot of Ooo's and Ahhh's ... could you please make one for me .. so the Thursday before Remembrance Sunday ... I started crocheting like a mad thing.

 I took some wool home with me and thought I really must have everything else I need stashed away ... after all it all about Make Do and Mend!

 And you know what .. I had no black buttons ..
I sell bucketfuls of buttons each week .. I have loads of them at work .. all colours ... all sizes ... buttons that look like Toadstools ..
 but not a black button to be found at home.

So needs must ... I cut um off Hubby P's coat ... small cost to pay for remembering our soldiers who died that we might live in a free world ..

 I got a few made ... and took them to the car boot sale on Sunday ... and I sold them all in no time ... £20 .. all money to the 'Poppy Box'.
It felt nice ... so next year I will start a bit sooner and make a few more.

At home ... time to dig out the Winter Curtains ... I've given up trying to pretend winter's not here yet ... time for the thick velvet curtains.

 They are nice and thick with good linings ... no double glazing here ...

 Whilst I was at it ... washing the lightweight summery curtains and putting them away ... wiping down the window frames ... chasing away the spiders!
I took down my dingly dangly sparkly bits and gave them a wash .... I like all my bits and bobs that reflect the light ... especially when there is not such a lot of it in the wintertime.

 It could be why I so love a little candlelight ..
 I have a little candle on the windowsill and I like to light it in the evening when I have a chance to sit and enjoy its warm bright light.
I light it in remembrance of my loved ones .. 
the ones that have gone ahead of me ...
 I suppose the warmness of the flame reminds me of their warm and gentle love ... I have my memories ... as we all do ...  
thank goodness.

Alongside the candle is this old copper cigar box .... I have had this for years ... I remember as a very small child going with my Dad to a job ... 
At the time he had his own business selling and repairing TVs ..
 I use to go with him on repair jobs and be spoiled rotten by all the old folks ... 
they would feed be cake and sweeties and amuse me whilst Dad fixed their TV.
 One had a Mynah bird that could 'talk' ... don't think I have ever seen a Mynah bird since.

Back to the cigar box .... well one old Gent ... he had come to this country from Jamaica I think .. or that part of the world anyway ...
things were bad .... bit like today 
money was scarce .... poor old chap couldn't pay his bill for the repair of the TV...
So he gave Dad the box ... I remember Mum wasn't too thrilled.

I suspect we too were struggling along financially ... and a cigar box wasn't going to buy us groceries ...
Dad didn't have the business for too long ... he wasn't a business man really ... he went back to working for someone else ...
But he held on to the box ... 

Dad was a nice guy ... when he left us to go ahead he was only in his fifties ... far too young to die.

And so I light my candles ... and  remember my loved ones.

What it it stirs the memories for you?


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Food From Field And Hedgerow .....

Cheers M'dears .... 
how's your day been .? 

 Just thought I would share our good fortune with you ... we were so pleased today to receive a gift of Pheasant.... fresh from the fields and woods.

Oh boy .... yummy.

 Not only a brace of pheasant .. but all dressed ready for the oven ... now kind was that.

 Now its not for the faint hearted ... look away if you find it difficult to deal with real ... raw meat. 
In this pic you can see the holes in the breast meat where the shot went ... I think it is important to face up to the fact that .. yes .. we have to kill things if we want to eat their flesh ... tis no good being squeamish about this.
Its either the real deal ... or stick to lentils.

Anyway one bag went in the freezer and another in the pan with a knob of butter to brown.

 Now is the time of year to look at the Blackberry Port.
This is made by simply ... picking your blackberries .. picking over them to remove any debris etc (do not wash .. you want to preserve all the natural yeasts)...put a layer in a lidded bucket (inch deep) and cover in a good layer of sugar.
Repeat with as many layers as you can pick over the summer ... keep covered by the lid.
The natural yeasts will turn the juice into a Port type drink .. just lovely.
Today I simply removed as much of the solid fruit as I could ... draining it well ... and poured the liquid through some muslin cloth to remove any last bits.

 And poured it into sterilised bottles .. we sampled it of course ... just to make sure it was okay.
I am sure it must be a health drink ... all that vitamin C an all ...
makes you feel all warm inside (and want to go asleep!)

 Back to the pheasant ... nicely browned in the butter ... add an onion ... carrot .. celery (its what I had) .. stir around a bit ... an oxo .. and the magic ingredient ... 
a good glassful of Blackberry Port.

I put the whole panful into a casserole dish .. bit extra water and a spoonful of gooseberry and apple jam ... a good stir and into a slow oven to do its thing for a couple of hours.

 We've been at work this morning ... standing in a chilly wind .. time for a sit down and a glass of something warming ... health reasons of course ... you understand.

Well ... tea was just lovely ... 
pheasant casserole served simply with fluffy mashed potatoes.

Fresh food from field and hedgerow ... what more could we want ...what a treat ... we are so lucky.

Mind you ... 
I doubt we would appreciate it if we had it every week.