Tip 7 – Clean the bathroom / shower room straight after your shower.

The room is all steamy – the best time to easily lift the dust, dirt and smudges.

Have a quick wipe around straight after your shower.

The room will be sparkling clean, and you’ll have done your morning stretches in no time at all!


* * *

Tip 6 – Thrifty use of leftover or stale bread.

P1000003P1000102See recipes for

Bread And Butter Pudding – a comforting way to use up leftover bread or jam.

Bread Pudding – a hearty and very traditional use for stale bread.

* * *


Tip 5 –      Bring the garden inside.

We had some friends to supper at the weekend, and wanted to make the table look lovely but not formal.

We picked little bunches of flowers and herbs from the garden and put them in small glass tea-light holders – the mix of colours, textures and heights of the rather random assortment of flowers, I think, is simply beautiful – and so much more interesting than a perfect bunch of conforming blooms from the florist.

When I was an outside caterer, the most joyful wedding that I worked at was in Richmond – in the garden of a beautiful house.  The guests all sat at round tables and the bride and groom had asked the local butcher to make meat pies for each table of 8.  We cooked the puff pastry pies, and served with garlicky dauphinoise

potatoes, salads and pretty puddings.  The bride and her mother had collected lovely jam jars and picked wonderful, hap-hazard poseys of garden flowers and leaves – it looked so perfect – pretty, happy and relaxed – I’m sure that the guests appreciated the effort, care and attention to detail but also responded to the more personal touch, and enjoyed themselves more as a result.

I have loved little jars, pots or other containers with combinations of flowers and herbs ever since – I think that anything looks good together – if it’s good enough to be grown in the garden, then it’s sure to look fab and bring a little sunshine into the house too 🙂

“I must have flowers, always, and always.”   Claude Monet.

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”  Iris Murdoch.

“Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.”  Luther Burbank (1849 – 1926).

* * *

Tip 4 –      Using up old apples from the fruit bowl          –        Apple Chutney.


This is a recipe for when you’ve got rather too many apples going wrinkly and don’t want to stew them, make apple sauce or crumble, or cake.  There are times like that – occasionally…

The idea of this recipe is that it’s a store-cuboard based make something nice out of what’s around type of thing, so I have listed what I used, but adapt it to suit what you have – just need apples, malt vinegar, some sugar and something else that will go well in chutney with the apples – dried apricot, dried pineapple, fresh or dried mango, ginger, sultanas, dates, plums, figs, rhubarb, cranberry…

  • 2 lb (90og)  apples, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8 oz (225 g) chopped onion
  • 1½ pints (900 ml) malt vinegar
  • 1 lb (450 g) sugar – white or brown, but not dark brown as this has too much flavour
  • 2 oz (56 g) mixed pickling spice or make up your own from cumin, corriander seeds, cinnamon, black onion seeds..
  • 8 oz (225 g) mango, raisins, dates, figs, sultanas, dried cranberries, apricots, or what is to hand.
  • ½ oz (14 g) salt (cooking salt)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger or some fresh
If you don’t like having the spices left in your chutney when you come to eat it, tie spices in a muslin bag first, then squeeze out and remove just before bottling.
Put all ingredients except for sugar and ginger into a heavy based, wide pan and simmer until onion and apples are soft.
Add ginger and sugar, then boil until it is a thick consistency.  Stir now and then to ensure that the chutney does not stick to the pan and burn.
Whilst cooking, steralise the jars in a warm oven – this will make about 4 good sized jars.
To steralise, put the clean jars and their lids into the oven – I put them onto an oven tray first, as it’s tricky to take glass jars out of the hot oven when wearing thick oven gloves!  If you’re using jars that have a rubber seal, remember to remove it before putting them into the oven.
When the chutney is the right consistency, put into hot steralised jars straight away, seal with waxed paper and a well fitting lid, and cool.
* * *
Tip 3  –       Using up apples from the fruit bowl – Cakes!
(Also a good tip for keeping the kitchen warm and smelling homely in the cold winter months!)
P1000037see posts for recipes for  –   Chunky Apple Cake,
                                              –   Apple, Semolina and Vanilla Syrup Cake,
                                              –   Apple, Sunflower Seed and Honey Cake.
* * *
Tip 2 –        Keeping the glass on your log burner clean 
When it’s cold, just use scrunched up newspaper which you’ve dipped in a little water to scrub the black off.
If it needs a little abrasion, gently dip into the soot once you’ve wet the scrunched paper – this will clean all dirt and then you can wipe with a fresh piece of scrunched newspaper, and dazzle yourself with how brilliantly clean it is!
* * *
Tip 1  –      Skinned Peppers make beautiful antipasto with a glass of wine, a colourful garnish for decoration or to add a splash of red, orange or yellow to a green leaf salad –

Skinnined Pimento, to use for a garnish or salad.

Pimento (red, yellow, orange or green peppers) are great for garnish – they have much more vibrant colours when skinned.

They’re also softer, and sweeter (especially the red, yellow or orange ones).

To easily skin peppers, or pimento, just cut in half or thirds, remove seeds and toss in a little olive oil.

Lay skin side up on a baking tray and bake at the top of a hot oven (about 200c, or number 6) until skin is starting to blister and go black.

Then immediately put them into a plastic bag (I use a supermarket veg bag) and twist to secure – leave them for a while to sweat off their skins, then just finish off the job carefully, as shown below – use as garnish cut into cubes or long strands, or toss in garlic dressing for a wonderfully colourful salad.

DSCN2503 copy

skinning pimento - 2skinning pimento


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s