Sunday, 27 February 2011

I can't always blog..

Sometimes not blogging isn’t necessarily a sign of not having anything to say or me being too busy, sometimes it’s because I just don’t feel like writing. Life for all of us can be hard at times: take a look at the world today, worrying events in North Africa and the Middle East, the awful earthquake in New Zealand as well as many ongoing problems that the world faces. At home we are all concerned with the economy and what the knock on effect will be for each of us. At times in our own lives we have a ‘annus horribilis’ (to quote our much loved Queen).

BUT I am an optimistic person and try to always look on the bright side, see the best in everyone and work on the probably misguided assumption that things will work out. Sometimes it’s the small things in life that are worth focusing on. When I’m down I usually turn to baking to cheer me up (its comfort cooking), or I get my paints out and try to create something. The sun is shining, the crocuses are out and the lambs are starting to appear in the fields. Spring is nearly here and although not as busy as usual with guests – they are still coming to stay and visit this lovely part of Wales. OK so where is my paint brush……………

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Wind, Rain and Cooking

When the weather is horrible as it has been for the last few days, windy, wet and frankly miserable - I like nothing more than cooking in my cosy kitchen. It's been a busy week food wise: on Wednesday it was party time at Erddig when all the Education Volunteers got together for our Christmas lunch (now a New Year tradition usually due to the bad weather in December). We all take a plate of food and enjoy a good catch up and gossip. I made Cheese scones which seemed to go down well. It is always interesting to see the range of goodies people bring: and they are all enthusiastically enjoyed. Someone made some lovely carrot cake, must find out who and get the recipe.

Thursday we had 8 friends round to celebrate Chinese New Year and I spent the whole day cooking up a feast. For one of the courses (there were 4) I cooked a whole crispy duck for the obligatory Duck with Pancakes. I wasn't sure how to cook the duck, so I cooked it in the slow cooker all day, then roasted it in the oven for another hour - and it worked really well. The bones have subsequently been in the slow cooker making stock which I shall turn into Garlic Soup later, and the duck fat is in a jar ready to use for my roast potatoes.

One of our frequent guests who comes over from Spain brought me some Seville Oranges recently and I have been busy making Marmalade today. Seville Oranges give a unique flavour that is slightly bitter and they always set really well. Although time consuming and fiddly I love the taste of homemade. I have added to the cupboard where all my homemade jam's, marmalade's and chutney's are kept. There is something very satisfying about seeing them all lined up waiting to be enjoyed by family, friends and guests.
I have put my recipe for Cheese Scones under the Recipe Page.