Thursday, 26 March 2020

Home baking: scones

Hi everyone

We are all in the same boat so I am sharing some tried & tested recipes I use at home. I have also used this recipe with my student who does food technology with me & it was successful.

 It is important to see the positives in the situation - we all have the luxury of time so enjoy it.

My regulars will see more of my patriotic tea towel in the coming days ...

Scones are quick & easy to make - this is the ingredients needed in a pictorial image

- 250g self-raising flour (1 cup)
- 1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
- 40g softened butter
- 25g caster sugar (I left this out)
- 1 large egg
- about 100ml milk
- Optional - grated cheese & a little mustard powder

Preheat the oven to 200C (fan oven)
Put the flour & baking powder in a large bowl. Add the butter & rub it in with fingertips till it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar (if using)
Beat the egg in a measuring jug & top up with milk to about 100ml of liquid. Keep a small amount aside for brushing on the top.
Add the egg & milk mix to the dry ingredients & stir until you have a sticky dough.
Turn the mixture on to a lightly floured surface & pat out to about 2cm thick.

I halved mine in two parts & added the cheese & mustard to half a mix & gently mixed it in.

Turn on to a floured board, pat to about 2cm then cut out using a scone cutter.

I use silicon baking sheets (from Ikea) as they come off without sticking. Brush the tops with the egg / milk mix you saved so they brown.

Bake at 200C for about 8-10 min, then cool on a wire rack.

 Freshly baked scone - nicely browned

You have to use proper butter with scones; I served mine with jam & additional grated cheese 

 Make coffee & then sit back & enjoy.

I hope all of us who are in self isolation / lockdown stay safe, adjust your thinking to realise this downtime is so valuable so rest, relax, rejuvenate

Thank you for stopping by, I look forward to your company & comments, tell me if you make them, 

Dee ~💕~

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Time for some organic gardening

Hi all,

The luxury of time & the growing shortage of certain foods has reminded me that I need to plant some salad greens earlier than I usually would.  I have 3 covered Elho planters at my kitchen door where I plant organic leaves, greens etc in. I am very pleased with the planters because they are waist height & the covers raise the temperature & protect the greens from birds & insects. They only have organic compost in them & I use no chemical which makes it healthier. Being close to the door, they are used all the time.  I fortunately had a selection of seeds & nasturtium leaves & flowers are edible & always used in Spring salads so it is time to get planting.

I eat salad most days & so an assortment of leaves is always needed. I picked salad leaves in January from these Elho covered planters by our kitchen door.

Fortunately, I still had some seeds so even though it was a brisk 5c this morning, I cleaned up the planters which still have celery, spring onions & some nasturtiums in them, then topped up with additional organic soil.

The celery is enjoying the heat cover - I grow celery from crowns when I cut it for salads & cooking (we use a lot of celery at home). It is easy to grow - cut the stalks off leaving the base which is put in a shallow glass dish for a few days to root, then it is transferred to the herb containers or these ones by the door.

I use the newly growing stalks & leaves in food or as salad greens (the leaves are quite peppery but very healthy). The base / crown really keeps giving & it is an excellent way to use the part you would otherwise throw away.

I have these celery crowns / bases in several pots at home, especially the raised ones with herbs & soft fruits.

The spring onions have done well in the covered containers - they are all watered with rain water from the water butts ...

The containers are protected against the house wall, flanking the kitchen door so they are ready to be used. The green fleece covered pot contains my sweat peas; they are not frost hardy so they are always covered up to give them a head start before our warmer weather ... 

I find that the seeds take longer than the 25-30 days the packets said but at least I will have some leaves for spring salads & I feel that I am doing something to help too ... 

Who else loves the peppery leaves of nasturtiums? Mine are grown alongside the salad leaves so they are protected & have no chemicals. They always brighten up a bowl of salads with their bright colour.

I feel that I am at least doing something useful, hopefully the cooler weather will not effect the early leaves.  It is too early for outdoor tomatoes but I feel happy to have started my planting. Do you grow anything at home? Tell all ...

Thank you for stopping by, I look forward to your company & comments, 

Dee ~💕~

Monday, 23 March 2020

Taking extra precautions result in a little sewing job ...

Hi all, I know we are all in the same boat & having to find ways to deal with Coronavirus.

Since stopping all my students last week, we have been self isolating at home, only going out when we really needed to.

Fortunately we have a reasonable set back from the road front garden & an enclosed back garden so it is easy to enjoy some outdoor time without contact.

Public Health England have urged us all to wash our hands regularly even if we are at home & so we have stepped up that. However,  with us in & out the kitchen door, I decided on a practical measure of using large microfibre cloths which can be laundered easier than hand towels & being different colours, they are easy to rotate.

However, since they had no hanging loops they have been a source of frustration. I looked at the possibility of sewing loops on the top, then I noticed they had an adequately large label - perfect.

After a few seconds at the sewing machine (which is set out for other things) & they were perfect. I merely sewed the label to the other side of the corner to form a loop that could be hung over the cupboard knob by the utility basin - perfect & it did not take any time.

We are in interesting times & we have to think of ways to protect ourselves.  Our utility basin has soap & antibacterial hand wash & we use this sink constantly so having a towel at hand is essential.

The labels now loop over the cupboard handles very well - perfect ...

Have you adjusted your activities to add extra protections?

Thank you for stopping by, I look forward to your company & comments, tell me if you make them, 

Dee ~💕~

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Keep calm & make pancakes

Hi all

We are living in such challenging times that people want something familiar.

Many have taken to cooking & baking, the familiar rituals we find comforting. I decided to do our favourite weekend pancakes & several have asked for the recipe.

It is my late Mom’s one - 3 ingredients that can be whisked up,  cooked & served in minutes. I had many instagram requests so this is the recipe in am image

1 cup of self raising flour
1 egg
125 -140ml milk

Mix it all - I just use a whisk, then drop large blobs of it on to a warm non stick frying pan;  cook them over a moderate heat till bubbles start to form, pop a few blueberries on now if you want them then flip them over & give them a gentle squish with the flipper so they make contact with the pan. Keep warm while you make the rest - this recipe makes about 10-12 small pancakes, depending on the size.

I always have fruit, yoghurt, a drizzle of maple syrup & a shake of cinnamon on them.

Keep calm & cook things you love ....

Thank you for stopping by, I look forward to your company & comments, tell me if you make them, 

Dee ~💕~

Living with social distancing & uncertainty ...

Hi everyone 

We are all in the same boat - that sounds supportive & encompassing  & perhaps that is how we should think of this crisis times

We in the UK have watched the scenes across China & Europe with sadness, fear & then disbelief at how quickly it has gripped all our nations.  Last week, there was an air of foreboding lurking in the shadows - a feeling that we were in the lull before the storm & then suddenly this week, the Covid19 storm caught up with us & we are being tossed around in its turmoil. 

I have been a self employed Elective Home Education Tutor for the last 16 years, working with families who have opted out of mainstream education. Some of my 32 students have come to me for all their education from the time they were 5 years old- they know no other teacher & they are mortified that students change teachers each year. Others have joined me at various times in the primary education, while others have only joined me for their secondary school years. I work in their home so I know the whole family - siblings, nieces, cousins, grandparents, aunts & uncles etc & because most stay with me for years, I know my students very well.  

Because I know their whole families too, I know those who are ill, who have compromised immune systems like one of my lads who overcame cancer after almost 4 years as I worked with him through his treatments ... 

This week I had to take the drastic & painful step to suspend all my lessons because I could not have social distancing in my work & I did not want to inadvertently carry anything to the community I work in. The parents all responded so sympathetically - many phoning back to send wishes to my own family for all our safe keeping.  My 2019 -2020 academic diary is not needed now as our schools will be shut to the summer break in July, so I will probably only resume lessons in September. 

We are awaiting the arrival of our first grandchild in a month so we have to self isolate to have any chance of meeting the little one with this virus circling us all; the expectant Mum is already in self isolation so we are living in interesting times. 

This is such a HUGE step for me to postpone my work - I have worked from the time I graduated as a teacher - at times in mainstream education; in a nursery school (my own & another) when my girls were young; training rural early years teachers & drawing up a new scheme of work in the rurals of the Kingdom of Lesotho when we lived there for 5 years; helping to raise funds for building & equipping a new school in Ethiopia  for the 5 and a half years we spent there, working in a university library between educational jobs & then the last 16 years in EHE.  I have never had to suspend my lessons so this feels surreal to not know when it will resume. Being without a job or funding is not something I like. 

However, I am realistic & on reflection I realise that we are all in unchartered waters - we have all collectively had our lives changed in mere days - the new reality is something that we do not know or understand - it feels as if things are not going to be the same, as if reality has been warped by something we don’t know. 

However, it is time to take stock of life, to reflect,  revise & reaffirm what is important - ones feels that there is a shift in life that has come quietly yet resolutely, a quiet acceptance amid the panic that has gripped some people. We have lived in remote communities for extended times so we are well prepared to face it resolutely without panic. 

When we lived in remote communities in Ethiopia,  we shopped at the local markets & whatever was available there, that was what we cooked - it was interesting going back with really random vegetables & then having to make meals out of that with just basic stock tins or various flours on hand. It taught me to be adaptable & resourceful.  The panic buying here has seen silly scenes & I am not sure why certain things have been stripped from all the shelves. However, the upside is that more people will be cooking  & cleaning (judging by the empty cleaning product aisles) so that can only be a good thing. 

With us all in the same boat, let us all support each other emotionally so that we emerge from this crisis as kinder people - this looks different for all of us but all our realities are valid as they reflect our own priorities. 

I will be using this time to unwind, to catch up on the many things we put off & to just readjust again so when life resumes (and it will) we will all be better for it.

Take care, practice social distancing, kindness & keep tabs on people. Please share ideas here on how we can all support each other through this challenging time ... 

Thank you for stopping by, I look forward to your company & comments, 

Dee ~💕~

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Happy International Women’s Day - I am Generation Equality

Happy International Women’s Day to all my lovely Lady followers. I come from a long line of strong, independent & confident women & I am happy to acknowledge their contribution. Us women need to lift each other up, to champion their successes & stand together.

I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights

I previously blogged about the strong women in my family  , women who met life’s challenges head on & I am proud to call them mine.


I have raised two strong daughters - both engineers - who have to stand their ground in a world that is still dominated by men.  There is still overt & covert sexism in the workplace that they have to call out.

The girls both mentor others in their career fields - raising standards by lifting others up ..

However this year I am championing the ordinary women we all are & who we all know because not everyone is destined for greatness but everyone deserves to be appreciated. 

Following a lifetime in education, I am championing the Mothers who do their best often in challenging circumstances - we all know the working ones rushing across the playground, several children in tow, lunch boxes hurriedly made between breakfasts & finding PE kits, homework supervised while they juggle supper, laundry,  clubs, shopping, & making cupcakes for school cake sales at midnight because that is when they found the scrunched up note in the bottom of the schoolbags. They are hugely under appreciated by all but they are the ones who keep the family going.

I am also championing the single Mothers that circumstances have left them as lone parents - they have the added financial stress of making ends meet while juggling way too many things; we know that their time is so stretched that they fall asleep on the sofa watching the news, they are torn between doing it all & finding a few minutes to themselves.

I am championing the ordinary Mother’s who had dreams of their own which could not be realised; many make sure that their children are free to dream & achieve loftier things - not held back by the social restraints of a generation ago.

I am championing all the ordinary mothers who are under appreciated & taken fore granted - there is still a generation of men who do not do their share, who still think of life in terms of men & women’s chores & have yet to realise that women do not need their permission or approval. These ordinary women still do most of the work & cooking at home as well as working; these women find their frustrations rising because they are unappreciated even in the 21st century.
I am championing the ordinary Mothers whose efforts are invisible to society & their family - the ones who are not appreciated for themselves, their talents & achievements. In the celebrity age, so many have the ideal image & many ordinary people fall short of these expectations. We forget that these celebs have a legion of helpers doing all the ordinary things that normal women have to add to their day. These ordinary women are the backbone of family life ...

So on this Women’s Day, straighten another women’s crown without telling the world it was crooked.

Celebrate & take stock of the successes of women - mothers, sisters, daughters by inspiring each other so that the ripples filter down to the next generation.

Why do we still have inequality &  how can we improve it for everyone? Don’t just think about the impact you have today but think about the impact you have on future generations ....

Thank you for stopping by, I look forward to your company & comments, 

Dee ~💕~