Thursday, October 30, 2008

That completes the pictorial instructions. Now for the RECIPE.

You will need at least a couple of lbs of Bramleys.
As you can see in the second picture  -  I had a bucketful. I didn't weigh my apples.
Enough juice was  left over after making Chilli and Mint jelly. Enough to make a few extra jars of Rosemary Apple Jelly and at least half a dozen jars of plain Apple jelly.

You can find fruit jelly recipes in almost any cookbook - recipes are mostly the same - but here's the one I used (filched from my brother David's recipe collection -  a brilliant engineer in real life.)  Thanks David. 

Definitive RECIPE for Simply Wonderful Apple Jelly.
Bramleys  3 - 4lbs
Approximately 3 lbs of jam-making sugar or granulated sugar
Enough cold water to cover the chopped fruit in pan (see pic).

For Chilli Apple Jelly - add  2tsps dried chilli flakes
For Mint Jelly - add 2 dessertsp finely chopped fresh mint + food colouring, if desired.

i)   Roughly chop apples including skin/pips/cores.
ii)  Put in large pan.
iii) Put enough cold water in pan to cover chopped apples.
iv)  Bring to the  boil. 
v)  Reduce heat. Simmer for approx 40 minutes.
            Fruit should look pulpy.
vi)  Pour the whole mixture into jelly bag (sterilised).
vii) Leave to drain into large bowl - preferably o/night. Cover contraption with large cloth.
viii) Measure juice and pour into clean pan.
ix)  Add 1lb sugar for each pint (or 500ml) of juice.
          If making Chilli Apple Jelly then add  1 tsp dried chilli flakes for each pint of juice.
x)  Stir the mixture and have heat on low until sugar is dissolved.
xi) Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and skim scum from surface.
xii) Return to the boil.  Boil vigorously for 15 to 20 minutes until setting point is reached.

Test for set:
Pour a few drops of jelly onto cold saucer that has been in freezer for half an hour.
If jelly wrinkles when slightly pushed - setting point is reached.

xiii) Remove pan from heat. Let stand for a couple of minutes.
xiv)  Ladle or pour liquid (HOT) jelly into sterilised jars using wide-mouth funnel.
       I sterilise jars by putting them through the dishwasher - then into 200ºC  oven for 10 min.
xv) Seal each jar with a wax disc (see pic) and a slightly wet large cellophane disc.
xvi) Fasten with  elastic bands before leaving to cool.
xvii) Finish off by covering the top of each jar with some pretty fabric.
 Enjoy!  It's a lovely delicate jelly and the Chilli Apple Jelly has a real kick!

Am off-line for a few days. Have a nice weekend.

Clear as a bell - my stash - waiting for lids and fancy tops.

Wax disc on top of jelly followed by wet cellophane circle and elastic band.

Have jars & funnel ready - ladle jelly into jars - fill to brim.

Stir and skim periodically to remove scum . . .

Pour juice in pan - add sugar followed by either chilli flakes or fresh mint and

Not a pretty sight . . .

Time for a coffee and a Kit-Kat . . .

Time for a break. Will post remaining pictures this afternoon. 

The complete recipe will be posted at The End.

See you later . . . .

Goodness - ET has landed . . .

Pour 'mash' into muslin 'bag' and let it drip into bowl . .

Push apples down - using potato masher . . .

Add water - almost to top . .

Chop apples - add any odd quinces laying around . . .

Use the latest equipment . . .

Pick your own Bramleys and a Big Pan

My Bramley Apple Tree . .

APPLE JELLY in 25 instalments . . . .

We are going to make 3 types of Apple Jelly:

i) Basic recipe for Apple Jelly.

ii) Chilli Apple Jelly (thanks to clever brother David for this idea!)

iii) Mint Apple Jelly

iv) Any others that occur to me whilst making basic recipe.

Let's get cracking . . . . .First find a tree . . . .

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sooooooo.... hungry.........

I've felt so hungry all day. Truly HELLish situation - wot is a 'girl' to do? Desperate situations demand desperate measures!

One Pigeon in particular looked plump and tasty. Do not own shotgun - thus chances of securing said pigeon was slight - and my old yo yo proved useless.
Had removed pastry from freezer in readiness for feast and about to search for recipe in my pigeon book when chaplain arrived. He likes fruit cake - tho is not one himself. So the moment was lost and I had to make do with a dark rye ryvita and slimmers cottage cheese.

Photos of me taken 6 months ago look fairly OK. Had a waist. Those of me taken after months of sitting and sewing are akin to a hippopotamus.
In fact, I asked one or two ladies who have very grand and VERY expensive sewing machine that do everything bar sing - if they would embroider a hippopotamus on my smalls (a misnomer if ever there was) as a reminder of my sorry state.
Their machines apparently would embroider everything but. . . .

Now you'd think a machine that can embroider an elephant all by itself or even a country cottage and garden - or three-piece suite could cope with a hippopotamus? In my opinion these fancy machines are severely lacking and not worth the money!

Made lovely clear apple jelly this afternoon and will post pics and recipe tomorrow. You lucky people!

Pigeon Recipes . . . from Amazon - by post . . .

Ready with the pastry . . .

Mouthwatering . . . .Pigeon Pie . . . .?

Morning has broken . . .

Starving - that's the only word for it . . . .

And wot delights await me for breakfast?

HEALthy (should be spelt HELLthy ) muesli dampened with orange juice!

So - I will open the 'fridge door and what will I espie?

Fresh organic Orange juice sitting next to what? What?

Wonderful Wabberthwaite smoked back bacon and a curl of Cumberland sausage!

Now I ask you, folks. Wot would you do?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

To HELL . . . with frozen feet and big buttocks.....

Yes, have been in HEL(L) these past 2 days.

Will not keep you in suspense. Am not Cruella da Ville. Well, only sometimes, depending on the situation - see pic below.......

Q: Wot is HEL(L) you ask?

A: It is 'Healthy Eating Lifestyle . . . .'

Have come to the end of the present road having sat at sewing machine and computer for last 6 months.
This designing lark is OK but has detrimental effect i.e. big buttocks and bloodless lower regions.
And HEL(L) is a known Cure.

Have lived in Lettuce Land for 24 hours and drunk from the waters of local reservoir - albeit in champagne flute.
Shaken, not stirred.

Am so hungry could eat half a yard of Hobbs 80:20 wadding. Well, perhaps Thermore's a tad more digestible.


'Tis almost the bewitching hour - house is silent - am tempted to creep downstairs (it is Hallowe'en) and munch on a big barm bun slavered with butter and stuffed with some reet tasty Lancashire Cheese and Branston Pickle (wot else?)

Will she? Won't she?
You'll have to wait for the next exciting instalment of "Tempt Me Not, My Name's Temptation!"

In Cruella da Ville mode . . .

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Then I get down - literally - to business . . .

Pep Talk to start my Sampler Course . . . listen carefully . . . .

A sample from a 1994 Linda Straw workshop.

Sampler workshop - Linda Straw method . . .

June chose to make her Sampler Quilt using calico and tea in various strengths.

Here she is - working on a picture of her house in reverse machine appliqué - otherwise known as the Linda Straw method 'cos it was Linda who developed the idea many years ago and we must give credit where's due.

Linda Straw - look her up on Google - makes the most fabulous, detailed and humorous quilts picturing scenes from Shakespeare's plays and other historical scenes. She is much copied.

June has embellished her blocks - bringing them to life - using machine embroidery.

June and her tea-dyed reverse appliqué block . . .

Ah! That summer . . . .

Ending with memories of summer - wot summer? with Julie's quilt in background . . .(JulesJottings)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Close up - better in the flesh . . .

Winter Pot Plant can be seen on

Mean't wall Insulation. It's late - am tired and fed up . .

SPREAD THE WORD . . . re cowboys . . .

Please spread the word - to elderly people in particular - and to all who are offered FREE wall insulation by the government - about the installation cowboys out there and the fact you could end up with a higher energy bill than before!

BEWARE the wall installation cowboys . .

Worksheet states: 2 man crew - but one young lad turned up - at lunchtime instead of between 8am and 10 am as stated.

I am furious. Not only will repairs will be costly, but my heating bill will now rise.

Be very careful if dealing with the following firm:
MARK GROUP (energy saving)
70 Boston Road
Beaumont Leys
Tel: 0800 616 302

Nasty, obtrusive, cheap brown plastic cover . . .

Air vent in floor is what was needed . . .

SERIOUS WARNING re energy saving . . . . .

Free wall insulation was installed yesterday by a company called THE MARK GROUP (energy saving).

A few weeks ago a nice young man, very smartly dressed, called to measure up the outside wall of my house.
His name is Dan Hubberstey and he works for THE MARK GROUP.

He informed me that an air vent would have to be installed in living room.

Q: Why on earth would I need that in this cold draughty room?

A: New regulations.

Q: Why put an air vent in a very draughty room with open fireplace and glass doors permanently open into another room which
has an open fireplace?

A: New regulations.

Q: Will there be a mess?

A: No.

Q: Are you sure?

A: Yes. It will be discreet.

The mess was appalling. Red dust and grit everywhere.

The cheap white plastic cover fell off when the curtain was closed revealing a large rough hole - see below.

My grandson was outside listening to us talking and I caught him peering at me through the ugly cheap brown plastic grate attached to the front of the house.

A force 10 gale was blowing cold air into the room. Heat had to be turned up as room was so cold.

What I want to know is - how does having to turn up the heat equate with energy saving?

A discreet air vent in the floor is a better alternative - see above - but this was not mentioned by Mr Hubberstey.

The MARK GROUP do not respond to my emails (with photos attached) or calls.

Have any of you experienced similar problems with the MARK GROUP or any other so-called energy saving firms?

How much do they receive from the government for the work?

WARNING re free installation by COWBOY firms . .

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A hole lot of trouble . . . and it was FREE!

Vulgarity in Blue Plastic . . .

Damien Hirst - cry your heart out! THIS is art.

Textile artists - get cracking - can visualize this at The Tate - and sold at Christies for a mint. Yes,a mint!

Offers on a postcard . ..

Cherry ripe, cherry ripe, ripe I cry . . . (song)

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Cake(s) Saga . . . and Mr Kipling's "If . . . . . .

Now then my Fans. Where are the cakes?

Am disappointed and half a mind to exchange the capital F so generously bestowed upon you, for a lower case letter. i.e. fans!

My own cherry cake is 'ripening' in a nice big airtight container - and as I have managed to upload/download pictures from my camera - to iphoto via my All-in-one Epson printer - will show you the fruits of my labour tomorrow evening.

Have discovered a very important factor that I would like to pass on to you all. It's this:

"If all else fails, read the instructions!"

Greetings to Cath, my numero six Follower. I'll bet you make a mean cake Cath, and I suspect your pastry is lighter than mine.

Had they used my 'short' (a misnomer) crust pastry for surfacing the M6 - roadworks would be non-existent!

My heartfelt thanks to Mr Saxby of Jus-Rol for saving my bacon on many occasions.

Mr Wonderful - spent 3 hours sifting through your Blog seeking the Real You! Where are You hiding?

Have busy day tomorrow. Workshop with ladies from South Lancs. Discussing borders for their Heirloom Sampler Quilts.

Some very exciting quilts emerging from this group.

Yawn, yawn. Bed calls. Till tomorrow - and news of The Cakes!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hmm . . . . .

Not sure Fly Fishing and Martial Arts are going to be helpful regarding this Blog of mine.

Followed my number 4 Follower, if you follow my gist - and had a quick peep during my 5 minute break from cooking and housekeeping - to see what's available on Mr Wonderful (with a capital W)'s site.

One is spoilt for choice, as you will see, if you click on him.

I will leave you to it as I MUST get back to my labours.
I promised myself I would NOT do any sewing or computing today - but confine myself to cooking and tidying up.
So much for resolutions.

Re cooking:
I made a LUSCIOUS CHERRY CAKE this morning, using ground almonds, Amaretto and cherries - smothered it in Amaretto and icing sugar. Topped with more cherries. It is the most vulgar looking cake one is likely to see. Just as well I am camera-less at the moment. You would reel back in shock at the sight of it!. However, it is delicious and just the thing for my diet.
250g butter
250g caster sugar
250g SR flour - I substituted 100g ground almonds for this particular cake.
4 eggs
1 tablespoon Amaretto for this cake (normally use lemon juice and grated zest of 2 lemons)
100g cherries (not fresh - the sticky ones in a little tub - can't remember the name)! Chopped and a few whole ones for top.

Pop butter and caster sugar into Delta food processor - (Aldi - cheap and excellent) on #1 setting for 5 minutes (set timer).

Meanwhile, set oven to 180ºC and prepare baking tin.

Add eggs one at a time - whiz for at least 30 seconds between each egg.
Sometimes I add a bit of flour after each egg to prevent curdling.

Add flour/ground almond mixture all at once. Pulse a couple or three times to incorporate dry ingredients.

Add chopped cherries. Pulse for 3 seconds.

NOW for the 'SECRET' ingredient. This info is strictly for your own use. (Please respect my COPYRIGHT and PARANOIA!)

Hmm . . . should I reveal it? Hmm. . . .
Oh, go on Babs. Have faith. They'll keep this info to themselves - just tell 'em!

Add 2 tablespoons SEMOLINA. Yes, semolina. Pulse for a second.

Finally add the liqueur (or lemon juice) and pulse again for one second.

Pour mixture into prepared tin. I usually line mine with baking paper but this time I used a square plastic-type cake baking container or wotever it's called - it is blue and from Lidl. Can tolerate heat to 230ºC.

Bake for 30 minutes. Check cake. Cover with a piece of foil or baking parchment if browning too quickly.
Bake further 15 minutes - check top to see if it is very soft at centre. Continue baking until it is fairly firm on top, thus cooked.

Pour a mixture of icing sugar and Amaretto ( or lemon juice) onto cake whilst is still warm and in baking tin.

Leave to cool. Wrap in parchment. Store in tin - gets moister as time goes by. ENJOY!

Made PEPPERED CELERY SOUP. Very tasty and unusual. I have to call it peppered as I accidentally dropped a load of black peppercorns into the pan - top came off.
Rescued half of them but thought 'blow it' and 'jiggered' the soup till smooth and creamy.
Soup now contains lots of little black bits - which are not unattractive in their own way. Sort of. But It's delicious!
Gordon Ramsay and Marco eat your hearts out!

Oh dear, look at the time - got to give in to the inevitabe. Switch this machine OFF for rest of day.

Enjoy the cooking. Let me know how your cake(s) turns out.

The basic cake recipe is a bit like my own approach to PATCHWORK.
I start with a very basic block and then fiddle around with it - adding bits here and there..... until it becomes . . . ??

Look, I'm going or will be here all day . . . . cheerio . . . .

Saturday, October 18, 2008


A Lovely Man with IT and 'it' and more 'it' ............has risen to the challenge and answered my call!

Not only is he handsome and my numero quatre Follower, but he can fix bad backs - can fix everything - even horses and tattoos!

Monsieur - I salute vous. Bit soon for tu.

Have had a very busy day - thus ready for bed and book - but tomorrow I shall have a closer look at My Champion!

PS. Thankyou, Janet. Will have a look at those sites tomorrow.


One thing after another . .

Not only having problems sorting out this Blog but my Sony digital camera is now kaput.

Have pics inside camera but won't transfer to iphoto. Have been doing this successfully for past 8 years.
Tried changing batteries, settings and memory stick etc., without luck. Dead as Dodo.

Promised to upload photos onto 'Ask Aunty Babs' thread on site this afternoon so was doubly cross as I hate to let people down or break a promise.

Giving some demos tomorrow at Fulwood - machine piecing, machine embroidery, machine appliqué and machine quilting. Needless to say I'm taking my best Bernina to the show.

Busy week ahead. Workshops on Monday/Wednesday. Pilates class. Family visiting from Scotland on Tuesday for 5 days.
Wall insulation being installed. Free for us over seventies - aren't I lucky? I'm sure you need to know all this!

Neatened reverse of my Lilac Heirloom Sampler quilt this evening whilst I watched Simon Schama's programme on America. Excellent.
Have to finish the quilt by Christmas in time to be photographed.

Made Evensong block for Autumn Garden and Pot Plant block for Winter garden this morning between bouts of ironing and cooking - not to mention some dusting.

No pics so will have to make do with words.

Let's face it - one sees some amazing and clever quilts but would you want to put them on your bed? Not bloomin' likely.

Find, as I get older, that I am drawn to traditional quilts for my home. The age process at work no doubt.

Have designed two pieced and appliqué quilts - in 2 colourways. Not samplers. Cut out pieces for one of them.
Am pleased - 'cos they're charming and will look lovely on beds. Which is where I am heading.

Night night!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Blog Advice . .

Have information, from a reliable source, that my Blog is not colourful enough

Of that I am painfully aware and have spent one whole hour changing/arranging the colours into a pleasingly coordinated scheme as far as I my IT skills allow.

If this was a play The Man with IT should enter the scene from stage left.

The Age of Chivalry is surely not dead. Where is he?

HELP! Wanted - man with IT!

Desperately in need of a man who knows what's what with IT.

By IT I do not mean 'it' which is a different kettle of fish - tho' might be an advantage. Hmm. . .. .
At this moment in time I need a man who knows what he's at - is skilled - at a computer. 'Cos, folks - I ain't!

Can bumble along trying this and that but unable to make my Blog sparkle and sing like others I've seen!
Every time I change something - it shrinks. Could make a pun here - but will restrain myself . . .

Does anyone else have this problem with lack of sparkle - or IT man? I have an imac.
Have read instructions for adding this and that till proverbial cows cum home - but 'sparkle' eludes me.

I read somewhere there is a book called Blogging for Dummies. Anyone heard of it? Guess I could Google it.

Apart from sending some pics in answer to a query on Ask Aunty Babs thread at Popular Patchwork website - am remaining glued to ironing board and duster flinging today. Exciting prospect, you'll agree.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

STUNNED and humbled . . .

Have been accessing a few Blogs that I follow and am STUNNED - yes, stunned by the amount and brilliance of textile art on display.

I feel positively humbled by what I have seen this evening.


Greetings and welcome to my new Follower!

Half-way with Autumn Blocks

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Le Nouveau Moi . . . .

Yes, aiming not only for a new Blog display - but attempting to create a new me - new moi - new image.

How do I achieve this you may ask?

Well, the first is easy. Just click onto Blog Layout and there you have templates galore.

I chose the green one - representing the green stuff in my life and all the green stuff I intend to eat as part of my new image.
I'll have to be careful with the cabbage - for reasons best known to myself (and possibly a few others).

It is gratifying to see the hordes of followers to my site. THREE!
You lucky people - on the receiving end of my daily words of wisdom and information.

However, on second thoughts, can think of other sites that provide more information and more titillation.
(I think that's how it's spelt - been a long time!!)

Click on the names of my trusty Followers (they deserve a capital F) and you will arrive in Blog Heaven.

Pics this evening.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008