Thursday, 21 August 2014

My new favourite cookery book

I said yesterday that I would write about my new favourite cookery book so make yourselves comfortable and I'll begin (you'll see how appropriate that phrase is as all is revealed!)
Whilst Charlotte was up a couple of weeks ago she had wanted to have her first outing to look at wedding dresses, so we found ourselves in Sheffield at 'Hunters Bar' (a place not a pub) earlier than our appointment with the dress shop so leaving us with time on our hands. It was suggested by Becky (who was also with us) that we might have a coffee to fill the time in. Whilst walking along enjoying the huge variety of shops on Sharrow Vale Road we spotted this little place

which struck us as just the right kind of place, and indeed it was. A cosy tea shop with mismatched chairs, squashy sofas and a book shelf with cookery books on for you to look at whilst enjoying your coffee. Becky who was right by the shelf pull this one off, initially attracted by the title on the spine and then by the cover

What attracted me was the illustration in the top left corner - yes Milly, Molly, Mandy! Even before I said anything it had been spotted by Becky saying 'I loved Milly, Molly, Mandy I can remember you used to read it to me, and the book was falling to pieces because it was yours' I guess many of you reading this know her and her friend 'Little Friend Susan' and of course 'Billy Blunt'. By this time Charlotte was also leaning over to get a look and pages were being turned. The more turned the more squeals of delight came from us all as so many of our favourite book characters were revealed. Unfortunately the book had to be left behind as we went for our allotted time at the wedding dress shop but I made a mental note of the title with a view to getting hold of one and putting it away for one of the girls for Christmas (I'm not generally this organised).
Once our house quietened down I looked the book up on Amazon - you can find it here and ordered one. It soon arrived and I settled down to have a good look and like a good fiction book I couldn't put it down. It came about due to discussions between Jane Brocket and her daughter on the food mentioned in story books. Jane started to do some research and linked the 'book food' to recipes and so the book was written. Page after page, I relived stories from my childhood and the illustrations brought back so many memories that I soon realised that this book would be in my Christmas stocking and not in one of the girls. 

Here is a taster of it starting with Milly Molly Mandy

on another page Milly Molly Mandy bakes 'Little patty-pan sultana cakes'

Do you remember this illustration?

It's the first time Anne, Julian and Dick met Timmy the dog in Five on Treasure Island. The Famous Five feature throughout the cookery book - not surprising really as food was rather important to them whether they were camping, caravaning or locked in a dungeon. There are recipes for 'Aunt Fanny's treacly, sticky ginger cake' and 'Very last mouthful cherry cake' as made by Mrs Johnson in Five go to Mystery Moor.

But who are these children?

Do you need to count them are do you recognise the picture? I know I did when I saw it - I guess you've got it, The Secret Seven of course! Peter and Janet's Mother always provided the secret society with food for their meetings including jam tarts, chocolate biscuits, Janet's homemade lemonade and rock buns, the recipe for which is provided.

There are so many other books represented too many to mention but I could not finish without writing about these children

To me so easily recognisable through the authors's illustrations, it can only be Authur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons. As a child I read and re-read those books time and time again, Swallows and Amazons being my favourite. My parents sailed an Enterprise dingy and whilst they were involved in the races on Welbeck Great Lake my brother and I would potter around in our small sailing dingy just like John, Susan, Tltty and Rodger. Out of my three children it was Becky who took to Arthur Ransome, buying those books that I hadn't had as a child. However all of them loved the film which we still have on video somewhere, watching it time and time again. We took great delight in seeking out the places from the books and film when we were in the lake district, looking for the secret harbour on Wild Cat Island otherwise known as Peel Island on Coniston Water used in the film. So it was to a recipe linked to Swallows and Amazons that I chose to make to take away in the caravan last week - Bunloaf. Not as you might imagine a bread like loaf but a rich spicy fruit loaf and here is the finished result

and very nice it was too!!

Well I hope I've not bored you, but instead brought back childhood memories. What is so lovely about this book is the fact that in it you have illustrations from many books and instead of those books being packed away in a loft as ours are, you are reminded of them in a cookery book that is on the shelf downstairs and used on a regular basis.

I've still not got quite to the end of it yet but we are off to Richmond in the caravan this weekend so I will be taking it to finish then and deciding what to bake next!

Have a lovely holiday weekend and I hope the sun shines for you. Anne xx

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

I think weddings are like buses!

To continue the saying - 'you wait ages for one and two come along at the same time' Yes we have another wedding, Tom proposed to Becky when they were away in Venice last week. It looks as though the weddings may well be within a few weeks of each other but in two very different places - one around here in South Yorkshire


and the other in Portugal.

I'm sure that over the next few weeks dates and venues will start to emerge and there will be trips to wedding dress shops to look forward to. I'll keep you posted.

I hope tomorrow to find time to write about the latest cookery book I bought - it was to be a present but I love it so much I think I'm going to have to keep it for now. So see you tomorrow xx

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Not all work and no play

It's not all work and no play when we are in Ireland as this post will show.
I had a little project other than the garden which I was looking forward to doing, and that was recovering the kitchen stool.

I had measured it last time we were over so had all I needed to complete the project. Striping the stool back took quite a long time as it various 'layers' under the cover.

 and after a sand down

it was ready for it's new cover

 definitely an improvement.

We went down into the village most days at some point

 often calling in at Hackett's bar

or Newmans for a well deserved drink.

Saturday is market day in Skibereen and it's a really good market selling all kinds of things from bread and olives to plants and second hand goods

We went home with lots of lovely goodies which kept us going for the next few days.
On the way back we went down to Kilcoe - not really a village, more a hamlet but with a castle and not just any castle - a castle owned by Jeremy Irons no less!
He bought it as this

and turned it into this

There has been some interesting comments from the locals about the colour but I love it. 

It was very hot and humid whilst we were over  which unfortunately  brought out the horse flies and having been bitten badly we had to resort to wearing long sleeved shirts and trousers which meant by the end of the day we were very hot and sticky. However there was a solution to this - just go down to Drreennatra pier and jump off the end!

David and Jonathan also got chance to go out fishing and returned with mackerel and pollock

 which we put on the bbq that night for tea.
We also took time out to visit 'Three Castle Head', just beyond Mizzen Head.

So called because the castle had three towers.

It was quite a hard climb but the views were fantastic and on our way back we rewarded ourselves with a drink from the cafe - what a view that has!

So not all work and we couldn't have had better weather whilst we were there. So we left it all packed up, 
a tidy wood store

with plenty of wood for the log burners next time we go and a garden with a view

and an empty space where a 70 foot tree had been.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

What a busy time, an engagement, a graduation, and an overgrown garden in Ireland!

Well what a quiet house here, just David and I. We seem to have gone from one thing to another since I last had down to write to you including a number of celebrations.
Our first celebration was of Charlotte and Angus's engagement. Unexpected, even for Charlotte! but we were over the moon about it. A few tentative plans in that the wedding will be abroad, small, possibly September 2015 but that's all for now.
Second celebration was for Jonathan's graduation from Loughborough. A scorching hot day (I had the foresight to take a pair of very old comfy sandals to walk around in before I had to change into my best ones!) but very enjoyable.

We took a picnic and having parked in the grounds of the hall where Jonathan had lived for most of his Uni life, found a shaded spot under a tree to eat.

A good move - quiet and cool.
After graduation day we were at a family party to celebrate the fact that my cousin was over from America. From there David, Jonathan and I went straight to Liverpool to catch the over night ferry to Dublin. It's a good way to travel for us as we get a good nights sleep plus meals before our drive to Schull. 

Can you Schull on the map? Go to the left of Skibbereen, past Ballydehob and slightly down - yes that's it.

There's a good motorway from Dublin to Cork here it is

Seriously, that's how it was a lot of the way - the main route from Dublin to Cork deserted, how I wish our motorways were like that.! The weather did get worse the nearer we got to the south west and by the time we reached the house it felt like November, rain, mist and fog although warm and it remained liked that the following day too. The garden looked like this when we arrived

in between like this

 there was a lot of this

 till finally it looked like this

Quite an achievement, but there wasn't only the garden work to be done and it's not all work which you will see next time.