Tuesday 25 May 2010

Rosti Topped Turkey & Tarragon Pie

I am enjoying the challenge of throwing something together to eat from whatever I have got in the freezer, fridge or larder - it makes me more imaginative.
Tonight, I needed to use up a packet of frozen diced turkey (which was an Asda "whoops" at £1 for the packet).

I fried the turkey in a little oil, then added chopped carrot, leeks and celery, and a little water - popped the lid on and cooked it for 10 mins. I then took the lid off and continued to cook until the liquid had reduced.

I then made a white sauce using the roux method, and added some dried Tarragon. I made the sauce fairly thick as when you add it to the turkey and veg, the liquid already in here makes the sauce a bit thinner. The whole lot got popped into an oven proof dish.

The rosti potato top is made by part cooking some jacket potatoes - don't cook fully. Then grate these onto the top of the pie. I sprayed with a little oil (or you can use butter) and cooked it in the oven (at 200 C) until it was browning nicely on top.

I have made this with cooked turkey in the past, and I have also added ham or bacon too. Its also great with chicken, and its even good as a vegetarian dish by just omitting the meat. The Tarragon, carrot, leek and celery combo works really well I think.
A family favourite (except the young man picks the celery out!!!)

Salad Days

I'm having a week where I am emptying the freezer to defrost it, emptying the fridge to give it a good clean, and emptying the cupboards because hubby says some of the tins say "Give the Kaiser Hell" on them! They are so old!!

So when it was hot, I made us a massive salad. I used lettuce, tomato and cucumber for starters, but added cold boiled new potatoes, chopped boiled eggs, croutons made from some gorgeous fancy bread sticks that had fennel seeds on, but had gone rock hard in the freezer, but with a quick spray of olive oil and 5 mins in the oven, they crisped up. I topped it off with a couple of tins of Mackerel and Tuna, Basil leaves and a dollop of Pizza Express Light Caesar Dressing (my current favourite).

So was it Nicoise, Panzanella or Caesar? Who cares - it was very tasty.

Monday 24 May 2010

Fast Food

My kids and hubby say that I am a perfect cross between the two mothers on Gavin & Stacey. Like Gwen, I make a cracking Omlette - my favourite fast food. This was made using leftover boiled potatoes, chorizio sausage, mushrooms, cheddar cheese and lots of fresh basil.

Like Pamela, I get lairy and tend to burst into spontaneous song when I have had Gin!

Sunday 23 May 2010

Winnibriggs Winner

Little did I know that when was the 100th person to follow the lovely Jenny over at Winnibriggs House, it would make me a winner!! How fabulous is my prize!! I loved the little pocket containing 3 sweet little hearts, chocolate (shared with the dancing queen) my favourite Ginger and Lemon tea, and my own personalised needle case.

They were waiting for me when I returned home on the last day of my very trying 3 weeks of "overtime" at work. Many thanks Jenny - you are a very talented and generous lady. And can I ask - who is/was Winni Briggs?

Saturday 22 May 2010

Sunny Day

The drive from my home to the craft supplies shop in Elsecar (dangerous little place!) - via Wentworth is 3 miles long. This morning, driving these 3 miles, I realised that I live in the most beautiful place on earth.

The park has the most romantic of opening times!

Summer Days - bring 'em on. xx

Friday 21 May 2010

Playing Out

Monopoly - the "Sheffield Version" often played by these 3. Great that it was warm enough to play outside last evening - long may this heatwave continue. Even the dancing queen has her shorts on instead of baggy tracky bots (but its more than my lifes worth to publish those photo's!!). Enjoy your weekend. xx

Thursday 20 May 2010

The wrong words

My kids constantly roll their eyes at me when I unknowingly sing "the wrong words" to songs - like my dad used to do when I was little. My most famous gaff was to Fat Boy Slims - Funk Soul Brother. I thought he was singing "Punk Sold Rubber". When they asked me why did I think the Punk was selling rubber, I replied that I thought he must have a drug problem and was raising cash - it made perfect sense to me!
My daughter used to make me laugh when she was little singing along to Olivia Newton John in Grease - "Your the one that I want - You are the Volauvent - do do do" (she'll kill me when she reads this!)

Edited to include Hubby's " Nine stone Cowboy" by Glen Cambell!!!

Also - my kids just love this


What song words have you misheard?

Monday 17 May 2010

Saturday - part deaux

With the young man and his buddy's watching Chelsea Vs Portsmouth (having no vested interest in either team winning, they watched it purely for the love of the game!), hubby and I set off for an afternoon out on our own. I hang my head in shame when I tell you that "Old Moor" RSPB centre is about 3 miles away from where we live and we have never been! To be honest, I always thought it would be rubbish, as it is right by a very busy dual carriage way, and doesn't look much from the road. How very wrong I was.

The site is reclaimed from old mining land - and you know how much I love when nature reclaims once heavy industrial land. The best bit about old coal tips is that chemically they are very different to ordinary soil and so flora that is very rare elsewhere is abundant in area's such as these.

The gorse was in full bloom by the paths and had a beautiful scent. The staff at the centre are really enthusiastic and friendly and jumped at the chance to show us around for a while so we got a bit of a guided tour for a while - really interesting.

The site has some smaller ponds and also larger lakes - both are home to a diverse range of wildlife.

It was great to sit in the hides and listen to the birds. I could feel the stresses of the previous work week leave my muscles - it was totally relaxing. To make amends, hubby and I decided to join the RSPB for the year. This is the sort of place we can walk around when we only have a couple of hours at weekends when hubby has to work. Its also a place that I can feel safe walking around on my own too. Its also opening until 8pm on summers evenings so I think we will use our membership well. It also gives us access to many other places in the UK that we may not have visited before.

They had lots of wooden sculptures around.

I remember picking "milk maids" when I was a little girl.

And this "cowslip" meadow brings back lots of memories for me too. Cowslips are very common around our area - especially where the old coal tips used to be.

We didn't get chance to visit all of the site today as hubby had spotted the cafe when we came in! And lovely it was too.

And so another brilliant place for a great day out discovered on my doorstep - previously overlooked and dismissed. What else have I been missing?

Sunday 16 May 2010

A day of two halves

Compromise is the name of the game here at Heartshaped towers - especially since the kids got old enough to have a say in how they spend their free time. So on Saturday, my idea of a run to the coast, as warm weather was predicted was not met with enthusiasm since the sports mad young man insisted he did not want to miss the FA Cup (or whatever its called these days), so a plan B had to be formulated.
We decided that we would split the day into two. I insisted that the young man accompanied us on our morning walk - so that he got some "rays" and fresh air. We are very lucky that our village is surrounded by fields and lovely woodland. I think a walk in the woods at Bluebell time is a real treat.

(I know that this picture is sideways, but I am dyeing my hair as I blog - so cannot wear my specs, and it didn't look sideways when I selected it!!! and I can't turn it around now!!! )
Its so lovely to see the flowers poking out.

I love the woodland sculptures.

You might find these scenes a bit weird - apparently the local boys have been busy building a BMX track. I don't know if they have had permission or not, but it is very spectacular (and dangerous looking!! Many bones have been broken according to the young man, but boys will be boys!)

The wild garlic is at its best now.

And those sticky buds on the trees that I showed you earlier, have burst into full flower.
We have had some of the coldest weather ever for May here this week (icy windscreens in the morning in May! unheard of!!). So today - when it actually is starting to feel warm is a bit of a relief!
Then it was back home for lunch. The young man had invited a couple of friends to come and watch the match with him, so I laid on a dining table full of snacks and soft drinks for them. Hubby was not so bothered about the match, so I dragged him out for part 2 of the day - which will be revealed in the next post.

Saturday 15 May 2010

Blog Love

I have been a bit "missing in action" this week. I have to work longer hours when my colleague is on holiday - and she has gone for 3 weeks!!! I also have to do her job as well as mine - an impossibility and balls do get dropped!!! And if it could go wrong this week - it did. Faulty goods delivered by suppliers, damaged in transit goods required urgently, and staff members off sick all helped to make the week VERY TRYING!!! But when I returned home on Friday evening, I found my giveaway prize from the lovely Andamento had been delivered - and this made my week!!!

This lady is seriously talented - my photos do not do the lovely gifts justice.

The boat tea light holder is amazing - the quality is far superior to any other I have seen in shops. The boat reminds me of being in St Ives.

The chocolate did not last long - the kids have a great fondness for Lindor chocolate!

There was also a very pretty bracelet (which was here when I started, and has now moved to the top of this post!!!????) and some gorgeous fridge magnets (note the wizzened old hand and paper cut on finger!!!).

Many thanks to Anne - I absolutely adore my gifts and thank you for making my bad week a lot better. xxxx

Sunday 9 May 2010

Frugal Hand Made Cards

I bought a pack of plain card and envelopes £4.99 for 30, and 2 punches, £2.99 and £1.99 respectively. I punched away merrily using scraps of old card, old birthday cards, used gift wrap, and even an old paint chart!!

The paint chart booklet was good because it has huge blocks of colour in it.

I then spent a happy hour using 3d self adhesive pads (99p for a big packet) to make 30 cards that cost me around 36p each. I found similar cards in Asda - with only 3 3d flowers on - £3.00 each!
I stuck the leaves on with Pritt stick and a blob of glitter in the centre made them a bit more special.

This one was made using old gift wrap.

... and I had great fun doing it, although it is addictive.
We had a great sunny start to today, but it was FREEZING. I can vouch for this as I sat from 9.30am to 12.30 am watching the young man play cricket - they won, so it was worth it. When Hubby came home from work at 3.30pm, we decided to go and have a quick walk around the Ornamental Gardens at Wentworth Garden Centre - the crowds were all going home at this time.

I couldn't believe what a difference the past 2 weeks have made - every thing is so green and lush now - let me show you.

Firstly, you have to get past the guards, they are big and very ugly.

The sun was still out, and it had warmed up - thankfully.

Close up
from a distance

In full bloom

from outside of the tree

and from under the canopy

I feel like we are hurtling into early Summer - Hurray!!