Tuesday 31 August 2010

John West - take note!

The tinned fish that I brought home with me from France, not only taste delicious,

but look very decorative on my kitchen shelves too.

Monday 30 August 2010

Wentworth Castle

Its been a while since I took you to Wentworth Castle - remember I bought a ticket for a years worth of entry for myself and Mr Heartshaped - so when we are skint, we go for a walk here as its only 10 minutes away too.

The colours in the gardens have changed very much since last times visit.

Ive no idea what this plant is, but it was very lovely.

It won't be long before these are changing colour.

Spot the bee.

They had a lovely dahlia patch.

I did love all the purple flowers. (spot another bee!)

They are doing a couple of tours of the house in September. It is a college, so it wont be like touring Chatsworth etc - but still worth a visit.
Views over towards Barnsley.

The skies were very blue, but it was so windy!

I'll bring you back when the leafs turn.
As a bit of a bonus, the "friends" of Wentworth Castle have been having a book, plant, CD and Bricabrac stall over the summer to help raise money for the Conservatory restoration. I picked up this adorable painted glass dish for £1.00

Sunday 29 August 2010

Survival Kit

The young man plays cricket. Sometimes, they call him up to play with the big boys of the senior team. He still likes us to go and watch him, and I still enjoy being there to see him take a catch etc, but it can be an endurance test when I have to go on my own when hubby is working.

Sitting in a field in all weathers from noon until around 7.30pm on my own, requires a survival kit. This week I took:

Large flask, a magazine, a book, embroidery, suncream, lipsalve, a sun top, a fleecey top, a padded coat, combat trousers that could be rolled up - or down, kagoul, umberella, snacks, chair, blanket, sunglasses, "readers" and thick padded coat.

I used everything in my survival kit - sometimes all at once!

Re discovering old friends

When I was 13 years old, my "Home Economics" teacher - Mrs Mannion (or Fanny Mannion as we called her) introduced me to Good Housekeeping Magazine and I was instantly hooked. It was full of exotic recipes that I couldn't wait to try. You have to realise that what passed for exotic food in our house at that time was a Vesta Chow Mein (we all sat and watched as the dried prawns swelled up to normal size when you added the water!). Any way, Fanny Mannion fed my habit for the next 3 years, and then I had to buy my own copy when I left school. Once I married, I treated myself to a subscription for a few years, but then when I needed to "tighten my belt" I cancelled this, and only periodically bought a copy after that. However, whilst looking for some light holiday reading matter, I decided to purchase this months copy and really enjoyed it. Also - whilst searching for a light summer fragrance, I was delighted to stumble across one of my grans old favourite perfumes - 4711 Eau de Cologne. I didn't realise they still made it! It has been perfect for summer.

It feels as if I have stumbled upon two old friends.
Edited to add - I just read that Holly Golightly uses this perfume in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" - and I bought it in Boots the Chemist.

Saturday 28 August 2010


These little beauties are providing me with sunshine in my garden - even on days when the sun refuses to show.

They have 10 really large flowers on them and I have positioned them in pots by my door to create the impression that you are crossing some Tuscan field to get to me!!!

I'll definitely grow more next year and I'll be feeding the birds on the seeds all winter long.

Friday 27 August 2010

When a targeted marketing campaign fails!

Dear Asda,
Many thanks for your recent mail and my special birthday offer. However, on this occasion I think I will give it a miss.
You see, as lovely as "Doris" is (and lets face it, she's the one with the modelling career - not me!), I am struggling to identify with her and her desire for a lovely funeral plan. In my head, I am still believing that I could "pull" Enrique Iglesias. I still feel like a teenage girl, and you are wanting me to grow up far too quickly.

Mrs Heartshaped
PS Could you also tell those lovely people who keep sending me brochures for cruises that my idea of a great holiday is living in the same pair of denim shorts for 2 weeks in a field.

Thursday 26 August 2010

Savoury Quiche...

or is it?
It was the W.I.'s silver anniversary and they were having a party. We all had to put down what we would make for the buffet - I volunteered my signature Savoury Quiche (school recipe!).

So I made my quiche, at the same time as I was making a Tarte Tatin (aka Rotherham Tart - previous post) as multi tasking is always the order of the day in my kitchen. However, whilst frying my bacon and onions, I decided to use the leftover butter that was in the pan that I had fried the apples in. Great idea, except that this also had SUGAR in it!!!!
So what could I do? - I could throw it away and start again - but I don't like waste, or I could continue and pretend I had used caramelised onions (as they are very sweet aren't they!).
So I made the shortcrust pastry base, continued frying the chopped onions and bacon - adding these to the base. Then I grated cheddar cheese on top and added egg, milk and a few chopped herbs - decorated with sliced tomatoes and put in the oven (at 200 degrees c)for 20 minutes, before reducing to to 160 degrees c until it was cooked.

So then I took it to the W.I. untasted!! I know how to live life on the edge!

Once the buffet opened, I dove in for a taste (if it was dire, I was going to remove it from the table!!) but discovered it was pretty good - yes you could taste the sweetness and it was a bit unusual, but good never the less! However, if you have a go at it, I'd omit the sugar and stick to salt and pepper.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

And so...

...a very quick roundup of the rest of what we did in France. I can't believe we only had 2 weeks there - we did fit a lot in, but it was very relaxing too!!

We visited castles in Caen,

found every home "Farrow'd and Ball'd" - I loved this one in the Blangy Le Chateau - the next village to the campsite.

Drooled over patisserie and macaroons (and even bought the odd box full!)
Spent a rainy day in Rouen (another massive church!! in fact Rouen had 3 Cathedral sized church's!!!)
This one had taken some direct hits in the war and had taken ages to repair, in fact most of Rouen had been flattened and rebuilt - its still having a lot of rebuilding done today. It reminded me very much of our northern towns, especially Leeds.

Every where in France looks like the film set from Harry Potter. This staircase in the Cathedral definitely did.

The old parts of the town had been restored beautifully.

I'd forgotten that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake here - on this very spot.

The church dedicated to Joan of Arc was very modern and quite unusual.
The "sculpture" (which looked like Keplunk sticks!) across the bridge which spans the Seinne, certainly brightened the gloomy day.

We spent a wonderful evening at a local cider farm. The farmer said it had been a good year for apples.

I love buying produce from places like this.

We left with freshly pressed apple juice, cider, Calvados and cider vinegar!

We visited loads of little towns that were well off the tourist trail and so very very pretty.

Pont Audemere was a sweet little place with canals running through the town. In the olden days, the towns industry had been tanning (hides, not sunbathing bodies!).

Ah well. Farewell to France - until next time.

Monday 23 August 2010

The "big ass" church

The young man commented that no matter how small the village or town in France, there is always a "big ass" church - and one of the biggest, and newest was the Basilica in the town of Lisieux.

Even though it looks much older, it was only built in the 1930's and was built to honour St Therese - who was born in the town. The mosaic ceiling was stunning.

It is built on the highest hill in the town with great views - as you can see - it is enormous!!!

The kids seemed to enjoy looking around church's and castles etc these days, and so we visited a fair few this time.