Friday, 28 August 2015

Digestive Biscuits - Jennie On The Kitchen Front

Hello Biscuit Lovers!

First up, I'll give you the grim news that we lost 5 of our 6 hens to a fox on Monday. Bright, sunny afternoon too, foxes only usually turn up on grim days and at dawn around here. But this fox was different, he was the size of an Alsatian and quite aggressive with Ma, who stepped outside and found him in the garden - He got away, but he must've been been waiting around for us to step inside as we were later in for dinner than usual.
We're all devastated by the loss, they were all wonderful, cheeky, adorable girls, and will be very much missed - Rose, Ruby, Doris, Iris and Annie.
Mary somehow survived, she was found hiding in an overgrown patch of garden. She's alright, shaken and missing her sisters, but now she has a big brother in the form of our cat, Charlie. He's become very protective of her.

I could talk about the girls and boy for ages, but I shall get onto the recipe now.

This week I thought you might like some biscuits. So, are digestives alright for you? These aren't like the well known branded ones, more like a cross between those and oatcakes. Learn from my mistake though, I don't have any table salt, I only had rock salt, and I didn't pound it up very well. So use table salt if you can, rather than having lumps of salt in the occasional mouthful - Like salty roulette!

Digestive Biscuits - 1942

Makes about 24 if a 2 1/2 inch cutter is used (I rolled a little thin and came out with 28)

6 ozs Wholemeal Flour
1 oz White Flour (plain)
1 oz Oatmeal
3 ozs Fat - I used a veggie Baking Fat
1 Dessertspoonful Sugar
1/2 Teaspoonful Salt
1 Teaspoonful Cream of Tartar
1/2 Bicarbonate of Soda
A little Milk and Water to mix

Mix wholemeal and white flour, salt, cream of tartar and bicarbonate.

Rub in fat.

Add oatmeal and sugar, mix again.

Gradually stir in a little milk and water to make a stiff dough.

Knead well.

Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness.

Stamp out rounds with a plain cutter.

Border the biscuits all round with small holes, making these with a skewer; similarly prick a small inner circle of holes.

Cook on a baking sheet in a moderate oven, Gas Mark 5 (190 C / 375 F) for about 20 minutes.


I hope you enjoy these, I'm trying to resist their charms until I put the kettle on next... About 5 more minutes then!
I'll leave you with a quote from Ma, when a couple of hours before making I said "I hope they're alright". Ma replies "Well, if they're not, chuck some chocolate on them" - Thanks Ma!

Any requests for next week?

Until I next post


Friday, 21 August 2015

Jennie On The Kitchen Front - Little Fruit Cakes

Hello all, I am indeed back with another recipe. I am intending some posts for other things beside baking, but as yet, I haven't gotten around to it.

This little recipe is from 1943. The cakes in question are not the light and airy ones you may be expecting, but are quite tasty, and not very sweet at all, indeed, I'm intending on splitting them and having them spread with butter and jam. I say that, but with half of them gone, I'm not sure it will happen :)

I've just realized what they remind me of, blueberry muffins... without the blueberries! Though you could use some more exotic dried fruits if you wish

Here's to it then readers:
Little Fruit Cakes (1943)

Makes one dozen cakes.

6 ozs flour (plain)
Pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoonful baking powder
2 ozs margarine or half and half margarine and lard (or baking fat) - I used all margarine
2 tablespoonfuls sugar
2 tablespoonfuls sultanas or small raisins - I used sultanas
1 reconstituted dried egg - I used 1 fresh egg
About 1 gill of milk (about 1/4 pint)

Halve sultanas or raisins.

Mix flour, salt and baking powder..

Rub in fat.

Add and mix in sugar and fruit.

Stir in beaten egg and enough milk to make a mixture of stiff drop-from-the-spoon consistency.

Fill into 12 greased queen cake tins or patty pans.

Brush with milk.

Bake in a moderate oven, gas mark 6 (200 C/400 F) for about 20 minutes.

I hope you've enjoyed this recipe, now I'm off to polish off another cake with some tea

Until next time


Friday, 14 August 2015

Jennie On The Kitchen Front - Chocolate Rocks


Welcome to the first installment of my new cookery feature, here on the old bloglette.
I'll be rummaging through my wartime magazines and testing the recipes, before writing them up here.
I won't be changing the sugar/fat quantities, but I will be providing suitable alternatives where it's needed - Such as using baking fat instead of lard for us veggies, and using fresh eggs when the original recipe calls for reconstituted dried egg, though I will say if dried egg is mentioned.

So let's get started. Here is the first recipe, 

Chocolate Rocks from 1943

Makes 16

1/2 lb Flour (plain)
Pinch of Salt
1 Heaped teaspoonful Baking Powder
3 ozs fat - half and half margarine and lard/baking fat
3 ozs Sugar
1 Tablespoonful Cocoa
1 egg (or one reconstituted dried egg)
A little milk
Vanilla Essence (optional)
Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa.

Rub in fat.

Add sugar.

Mix to a stiff dough with the egg and a little milk, about 3 Tablespoonfuls. Add vanilla (if using).

Place mixture in 16 small heaps on the greased baking sheet (I use baking paper on a tray).

Bake in a quick oven, gas mark 7 (220 C / 425 F) for 15-20 minutes.

Personally I think these are a nice mid-morning treat with a cup of tea, and not too greedy on the fat and sugar ration. I hope you'd enjoyed the first recipe, do tell me if you try them out and also if there's anything in particular you'd like to see a recipe for.

Until next time,


P.S. Apologies for the photos, the big bad black cloud was coming over fast when I was making these!

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Great Eggscape


Oh dearie, I've been awful for keeping up to date with the blog. I'm just getting back into reading other blogs, but I'm not quite sorted when it comes to my own, but it will happen... One day!

Anyway, to some news!

When I was growing up, we couldn't have hens, which was a shame as my Ma had grown up with hens (I always picture the Larkins when I think of how Ma grew up) and my Gran had hens throughout her childhood and I think my Great-Gran did too... Anyway, Ma decided to put this right a few weeks ago and ordered a hen house and put her name down for four hens from the BHWT.

Well, last Sunday we went to collect four ex battery hens. They had some which were without a home to go to, so were offered more. Ma, suddenly struck by a bout of MoreHens disease, agreed to take another two.

It's been a week of worry and joy - Little Mary has been a worry, she just didn't want to do anything, and though we put it down to the shock of the change, it seems it may also be because she's suddenly sprouted a back and belly of feather spikes. But she's a bit brighter by the day, and is joining the others in discovering a free range life.

We had about 21 eggs in the first week... I've never eaten so much cake in all my life! And I'm about to make some biscuits or cake, I've yet to decide, as we has a soft-ish shelled egg this morning and I want to use it up before it gets broken. Ginger biscuits or  chocolate cake? Oh dear, what a life!

They are a little bare in places, though within a week of pellets, corn and roaming, the feathers are fluffing out everywhere. Though from some angles they are still a little "oven-ready" looking - Poor things.

I'll leave you with my favourite photo, taken on Saturday afternoon, when I should've been catching up on jobs, but was actually lounging on the swing seat, drinking tea, eating swiss roll, watching the cat and the hens and knitting... Tough life!

So, may I present to you... The Bare Bottom Girls - 

I'll be back shortly, I'm feeling the call of the blog now, so it shouldn't be too long before my next post :)

Until then

Jennie xxx

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Just a Bit of News

Hello you!

Yep, after all that hassle I didn't even bother with the blog! Though never fear, I am here now, so lets get going, yes?

Well, I set to work trying to take control of some of the hedging around the house, of which there is plenty. It gets cut on the top and on the field side, but as there's no room down the side of the house to get the tractor, it has to be done by Jennie Power!

Well, I was out there with loppers cutting at the blackthorn (nasty stuff), trying to avoid it coming down on my face (my face, my beautiful face!) and made room to show off some of the more delicate specimens, such as this pink thing (gardeners will be impressed with my naming, I'm sure):

I also found two new Oak trees in the making, so I'm going to cut around them and pop them behind the chicken fencing so they have something to lean against whilst they grow big and strong. To think, the Oaks I really admire are hundreds of years old, and I'm not going to get to see these in their prime. Quite sad really.

My pussy cat has made it into another year, it was touch-and-go. He was rushed into the kitty hospital at the end of November, operated on, and looked a very sad sight. The vet warned he might not make it through the operation, then when he did, he wasn't doing well and she seemed to think that was it for him.

But he's a little soldier, and pulled through. Though it was a worrying few months, but he got through a month of hospital food (better for cats than humans it seems!) and I picked myself up off the floor after seeing how much his bill was - Seriously, a second-hand car or the cat! Those vets know how to charge, and nope, before you ask, no insurance!

Anyway, here's my boy, all happy and off a-hunting for voles:

Any bit of sun and I've been out, not only doing the hedge (just the front to finish off, before starting again!), but also clearing the rubbish from the back (more on that when it's all done). Also, the bays are being planted up. The beans and peas were put in a few weeks back, these were the ones started in the tunnel. But I think they look rather lovely, all caned up - Before the storm pulled the canes down, and the slugs ate the beans!

That's the main news, that I can think of. I'm currently knitting a jumper which has been a nightmare. I'm starting to sew in the tails (grrr) and I'm hoping it will sew up alright, though I'm not expecting it to! I will be back to show it off if it's all good, believe me, it will be shown off!

Well, I'd best be off. I have work to do. I will be back, I actually will.

So take care, have fun, be good (ish)

Jennie xx

Monday, 4 May 2015

What A Numpty

Yes, it's me!
It really is!

I really cannot contain my excitement at being back, all proper like! I'll give you the quickest version of what happened:

Well, Blogger was playing up and wouldn't let me post properly. So I tried another blog, no luck. I thought all was lost and I'd just have to be a non-blogger once more.
However, I was on etsy and it was always telling me my browser was out of date... Wait for the penny to drop... Ooh, maybe if I update the browser I might get the blog to work.

Yes, for the sake of an out-of-date browser, I was without a blog! Numpty moment or what?!

So, this is me back for good - If you're hearing Take That right now, good on you!

Life has been it's usual unpredictable self since we last spoke. Though I'm still in my house (for now, it's still a waiting game!), my cat was very nearly a goner, but he's thankful pulled through and will now be on medication for life (a small price to pay). What else? Oh, my etsy shop was reopened to sell sewing patterns.

Gosh, I'm really stuck now, so much happens, yet remembering it seems a chore!
We had a lovely Easter, with cake!

Maybe, if I can't think of the past, I ought to tell you about my future plans?

A holiday coming up, only at home mind, I love having a holiday at home, exploring the delights within an hour or two of home and then being able to curl up at the end of the night in your own bed... Bliss.
I have a huge list of places to visit this year, but I fear a week won't cut it, so I think a whole week, plus many days dotted about throughout the year. Hopefully I'll be able to tempt into holidaying in Wales this year?

I'm really sorry, I'm so giddy about my blog working that I just don't know what to say... Maybe I should just leave it there and not say much more at all?

Alright, until next time (which will be when I remember half of what I want to say!)
I should be back soon though, a regular post just to make up for the missing ones.


Jennie xx

Friday, 13 December 2013

The Goose's Rear End And Twinkling Lights

Well hello you lovely little thing!

So my plan for a post last week fell through, I was far too busy and had to have my mind on work - But now it's playtime, want to come outside with me and jump in puddles?

But if you want to stay inside, all warm and dry, then fine. I'll stay here with a cat leaning against me and gazing at the tree lights.

Did I say tree lights? Why yes, I did! The tree went up thirteen days ago... Because we could, that's why!
Things are still up in the air, so we don't know if we can stay in the house. I was hoping it would be sorted by now, having that hanging over you at Christmas is no fun. We thought that last Christmas might be the last one if this house, but we're here for another, and hopefully many more. Some news on that front would be a present in itself. But never mind, not much I can do about that at the moment, so decorate, bake and be merry.

The 7 footer is back! I love this tree, I love not being able to reach the top without stepladders, which is why the angel is still in need of adjusting! Her arm was just left like that when she was popped up there... Oh dear, time to brave the dizzying height of the ladders! She's actually a really special angel as I think she was one of Mami's dolls which my Gran made a dress for, for their tree when Mami was a wee thing.

I love getting the house decorated, all those twinkling lights. Oh and being in the kitchen for something other than everyday dinners (I cook everyday, it gets a bit boring sometimes) - The home-made Irish cream, veggie sausage rolls, mince pies and the chocolate truffles, the one thing Ma makes! Oh, I should point out she makes most of the Christmas dinner too.

Speaking of food and decorating, my fridge is in on the act...

After getting out the festive DVDs and books, they needed somewhere to live - Step in corner sewing box/shelving unit!

I also enjoy a little chocolate with breakfast, oh and the cat likes his calender too! Mine's the Hello Kitty one, and Ma as the Peppa Pig one... Who is Peppa Pig?

Ah, go on, I'm going to just fill up on festive snaps now. Don't like it? Best go and make a cuppa, this is going to take a while!

I really love this swag over the Rayburn, Mama braved the ladders to do it - Mind, she's taller than me so it's as scarey for her!

A few weeks back Ma had picked up some cheap snowflake lights in a charity shop, they were all bundled up but she planned to pop them on the tree. After unwinding them at home we discovered they were those icicle lights. After mulling it over, they were put across the arch. However, they are above my head, yet most normal sized people smack their face on them... Oh, how I laugh!

Did you all watch Nigel Slater's 12 Tastes of Christmas? Tut, if you didn't! I love that man, he has a cat and he can cook... I really don't ask for much! Anyway, I happened to press the pause button (on the iPlayer) and this is the oh-so-awful moment I caught, so I had to take a snap. Nigel (yes, we're on first name terms) has his hand up a goose's rear end, but the look on his face has me in giggles... Maybe you need to see it to understand. The program is here:

I would've popped a link into the word "here", but would Blogger allow it? Oh no, why would they let me do something so obvious...Sorry, back to the goose...

Oh dear, I've just seen the time. It's almost time to feed the cat, then I have to go and sort out dog food and if I've time, pop into the charity shop - I've managed to pick up 4 presents in there so far, fingers crossed they'll have some more vintage decorations too!

Next time we'll maybe have a chat about that saucy book I read - I swear I didn't realise there would be so much graphic content when I started! But anyway, that's for another day!

Bye for now my lovelies

Jennie xx