Firstly let me make it absolutely clear that this post has absolutely nothing to do with Elton John, gay marriage, the adoption of babies by same sex couples, the B&B in Cornwall nor the ridiculous furore which has erupted this week over the Belfast bakery which refused to put “I love gays” or some such on their cakes. No, it’s about my mate Pete. Continue reading “Faggots”

This one makes its own custard

I’m not a big maker of puds, though the chaps would eat one everyday… but somehow with yesterday’s weather I thought maybe a pudding would be appropriate.

The main course being duck, I thought an orangey pudding would fit the bill (sorry, I couldn’t resist) and I altered a recipe to take into account the ingredients we had. And here it is:

Orange Surprise Pudding Continue reading “This one makes its own custard”

Marmalade: reduced sugar.

I had a difficult mathematical calculation for a woman of limited mathematical ability: how to calculate the right ratios for a ‘reduced sugar marmalade’ (without resorting to sugar substitutes) from the existing figures!

I had the specific amounts of ‘sugar to fruit’ from Earlybird, who had success – then googled to see what recipes were out there. Not many. I didn’t have the amount of water I should use. And anyway I had a different weight of oranges than any of the recipes I found!

Anyhoo, maths and estimates done, this is what I came up with:

Reduced Sugar Marmalade

2kg Seville oranges, 4 litres water, 2 lemons, 2.75 kg sugar.
(My original recipe has a ratio of ‘fruit to sugar’ of 1:2: so 2kg of oranges would require 4kg sugar- so the reduction in this recipe is significant)
Continue reading “Marmalade: reduced sugar.”


A scratching behind the television intrigued Pippi Long Stocking who tried to get in to investigate.
I put her in the (f)utility (if a woman’s work is never done, why start?)  while I investigated, by pulling out the TV corner-unit, and taking off the room-side cover of the air-vent installed a few years ago (as a daft requirement of having the walls insulated.)
I fully expected a nest of mice. Inside, to my amazement was a little sharp-beaked bird. Possibly a tree-creeper, but difficult to be sure. All I could see was a silhouette of a flapping small thing. Continue reading “Nesting?”

Oranges in Caramel

Oranges in caramel

8 juicy oranges
225g caster sugar
30 ml-45 ml Grand Marnier
Water as needed.

Pare the rind, very thinly and cut into tiny strips.
Cover rind with water in a pan and bring to the boil for 5 mins. Drain and rinse under cold water.

Place the sugar and 300 ml of water in another pan and bring to the boil slowly. Boil until the syrup is caramel coloured. (I found a high heat is needed.)

Keep an eye on the sugar syrup while you prepare the oranges.
Remove all skin and pith. Slice the oranges into rounds, reserving any juice and discarding pips.
Put in a bowl.

Once sugar is turning caramel coloured you need to watch carefully so that it doesn’t burn.
Remove from the heat and carefully add three tablespoons of water, then return to a low heat to ensure all caramel is dissolved. Then add the reserved orange juice and the liqueur.

Leave syrup mixture to cool for 10 minutes, then pour over the oranges and top with the orange strips. Chill and turn over a few hours.