Monday, 18 December 2017

Comfort Cooking, Dancing & A Good Read : My LIfe:11th -17th Dec. 2017:

11th December 2017  
Very, very cold, with heavy frost, but no actual snow unlike in the Highlands and into much of England and Wales - we are in the middle and  seem to have escaped it.  

Ice on the Leader Water at Earlston, Scottish Borders  

Mainly a domestic day - I even cleared the oven!  The weather for comfort cooking, so we had cottage pie for tea and to follow Mincemeat Cake - an old recipe for my kind of simple baking.  You can serve small pieces as a teatime treat or as a dessert - delicious served with either custard, cream, vanilla yoghurt or stewed apple - take your pick! 
6 oz self raising flour.   4oz margarine.  4oz caster sugar.  2 large eggs. 
quarter teaspoon vanilla essence.  4 generous tablespoons of mincemeat. 

Set oven to 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4.  (will be lower for fan ovens) Grease and line a swiss roll tin. Cream margerine & sugar, beat in eggs,  add vanilla essence.  Fold in flour and mincemeat.  Spread in tin.  Bake for 30  minutes until firm.  Freeze for up to 3 months.  Enjoy!    
This evening, I was all set to watch University Challenge on TV, to discover  it was axed in  favour of an extended Nigella Cooks Christmas special!   We turned to escapism and the film "Mamma Mia", enjoying the sight of summer sun, sea and sand. 

Tuesday 12th December 201
Tried a new soup recipe, that I saw demonstrated at the Women''s Group in the village - very different from my usual version of lentil & vegetables.  
Two medium size sweet potatoes, and one carrot peeled & diced;  diced onion;   Sachet of Patak's Creamed Coconut;  desertspoonful of red Thai curry paste;  one stock pot/cube;  salt & pepper. 
Sweat the vegetables in a little olive oil.  Add the coconut cream, paste and stock cube.   Season  to taste.  Ready in 20 min.  Hot,  spicy and warming.  

Wednesday 13th December 2017
Wrote a blog post for the latest Sepia Saturday prompt on the theme Snowy Pleasures. 

Finished a very good library book - "The Sugar  Camp Quilt"  by Jennifer Chiaverini  
The novel is set in Creek’s Crossing, Pennsylvania in the years prior to the American Civil War and focuses on young Dorothea Granger. She discovers, after the death of her cranky Uncle Jacob, that a quilt she had stitched to his exacting design, hides clues for runaway slaves following the Underground Railroad to safety. 
The Sugar Camp Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts, #7) 
I found it an engrossing and enjoyable read on an aspect of history I knew little about. Particularly well covered were the descriptions of the harsh farming life of the mid 19th century  for both men and women, the nature of small town gossip, and the desperation of the runaway slaves.  Dorothea’s character is beautifully developed, as she comes to revise her opinion of her seeming suitor Cyrus Pearson, the new distant schoolmaster Mr Nelson, her irascible uncle with whom her family lived under sufferance,  and the differing attitudes on the key issue of slavery in the southern states of America. 

I added a book review to 

Thursday 14th  December 2017
An ice rink  outside, so I abandoned the idea of joining the Walking Group today. I did venture out to get the newspapers and some odds and ends of shopping, but I dread falling on the icy pavements - I would have created a scrambled mess, given, coming slowly back, I was carrying a dozen eggs!

Friday15th December 2017
The way I was feeling today is typified in the  1950's jingle:

"Colds and sneezes spreads diseases, so trap your germs in your handkerchief".

Lazy morning - Niamh after school when we played card games.

Saturday 15th December 2017
Not too bad underfoot, though temperatures still around 1-2C.  People are getting in the Christmas spirit  - the staff in the chemist's  were sporting  lovely Christmas jumpers and even the bus driver had on a Santa hat and a cheery red jumper, instead of his usual uniform.   I took the bus the 14 mile round trip north to Lauder to get a post office open on a Saturday morning, as overseas cards needed to get weighed - to find a queue of 13!  Ridiculous the way the banks and the post office are abandoning rural communities. 

Strictly Come Dancing Final  - and it was brilliant!  Loved the dances and the costumes and the "feel good" factor about the whole programme, especially as my favourite - Joe from Scotland - won.  I will suffer withdrawal symptoms with no longer that to look forward to on a Saturday night. 

Sunday 18th December 2017
Lazy day.  Grey. wet  and miserable outside, so no incentive to go out. Discovered a new Favebook page  Bonny Border Views for uploading photographs - G. and I have enthusiastically joined the group.  Had a session on the phone talking to friends I had not been in touch with for some time - something I like to make a point of doing around Christmas. 

Final of "The Apprentice" -  I find most of the contestants obnoxious and the challenges unrealistic and stupid, expecting the tasks to be done and dusted in 48 hours. Yet
somehow I do find it compulsive viewing,

More winter warmers for tea - casserole and crispy roast potatoes, followed by hot spiced peaches stuffed with mincemeat and flaked almonds - my style of a quick and easy dessert.

It is supposed to get milder next week!



  1. It sounds freeezing! I enjoyed how you added the recipes and your book review to your weekly journal. I must admit the thought of having to catch the bus everywhere boggles my brain even though for the first 20years of my life we didn’t own a car. Happy Christmas week.

  2. Thank you, Pauleen, for taking the time to comment. I very much appreciate the feedback. I am finding it an enjoyable challenge trying to make my very ordinary life interesting to others. Needs must with travelling by bus, as first I stopped driving because of my eyesight and then my husband had the sense to realise it was time to stop. Fortunately we are reasonably served by buses here, plus we have free bus passes - a benefit of age!