pudding · quick and easy · recipes

Stewed Rhubarb

Serves 4

500g rhubarb, trimmed, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces

2tbsp cold water

Splenda to taste

Place the rhubarb in a saucepan and add the water. Cover and cook on a medium heat.

When it is simmering well, begin adding the splenda a tbsp at a time. Test the flavour for sweetness, as rhubarb is at its best when it is tart and not over-sweet.

Serve with a generous dollop of cool marscapone cheese. It’s creamy sweetness is the perfect foil for the tart rhubarb.

Fresh from the garden this afternoon, then cooked and eaten by 6.30pm!

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Bits and Bobs

White Rabbits, White Rabbits, White Rabbits!

Welcome March, ‘in like a lion and out like a lamb’, or so the saying goes. I hope it’s true this year, for weeks now we’ve had nothing but ‘lion’ weather.

The flooding is widespread and for some poor folk it has been devastating. I think it will take a good while to go down and even then, the mess left by the dirty water is vile.

We have been very lucky here. Our main issue is with the roads. Lots of standing water, flooding and masses of potholes. The roads were bad with regards to potholes at the start of Winter, but now, with all the rain and flooding, they are appalling.

But it’s not all gloom, in the rare moments of sunshine, Spring is doing her work.

Our snowdrops have gone over but there is a whole host of new flowers to catch our eyes.

Once today’s rain has cleared off I’ll be out in the garden. I’ve barely spent any time in it lately and there is much to do. But I’ll just start with a gentle potter, it is Sunday after all!

Coming soon, Cloud Bread recipe, perfect for roast beef sandwiches

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Bits and Bobs · recipes

Garlic

I have a confession to make, just like Dracula, I can’t stand garlic!

I dislike onions too. The only alliums in my life and in my cooking are the ornamental garden ones, chives and very occasionally, the odd leek.

I appreciate not everyone feels the same way, I have friends and family who absolutely love the stuff (the weirdos!), so with that in mind, please add onions and garlic at will, to any of my recipes that you feel need it. The Beef and Red Wine Crumble springs to mind.

But that is the nature of cooking, you add and subtract to suit your taste and to what you have available in your cupboard and fridge.

With low-carb, experimentaion is essential to convert familiar dishes into ones that fit with this lifestyle. I don’t want to go without the foods I love and nor should you. The key is finding the appropriate substitues, and hopefully, the recipes on this blog are achieving that.

Percy is not keen on garlic either!

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Bits and Bobs

Chasing The Light

Sunshine at last!

It has been endlessly grey since September, well, that’s what it feels like to me. Dull and wet weather has dominated so far this winter, and although I love falling asleep to the sound of the rain and cloudy days can make for really atmospheric photographs, you can have a bit too much of the same thing!

So I was determined to make the most of today’s sunshine. I haven’t been out on my scooter as much as I intended over the Christmas Holidays, cold and damp is not ideal for scootering no matter how good your clothing.

I had a quick lunch of cheese and sweet pepper omlette and then hit the road.

I wanted to take some photos at a local beauty spot where, because it is common land, there are ponies and cattle roaming free. It also has the most gorgeous views across the county and into Wales.

Just visible through the mist on the horizon are Sugar Loaf Mountain and Blorenge.

This sweet boy was colour co-ordinated perfectly with his surroundings!

The ponies are pretty laid back about people and dogs, there are always lots of vistors here, but it is better to show the animals respect and approach with caution and not just assume they are going to be friendly!

It’s a pretty easy walk to the top of the hill with lovely views all around. The breeze was chilly but the gorgeous sunshine made up for it.

At the top, in amongst the 99 trees, are benches perfectly placed to enjoy the views.

I think it is always good to remember to put down your camera and phone and actually absorb the place you are in. Its very easy to get lost in looking for a perfect photo (something I have been guilty of), when perhaps we should be more intent on capturing these moments with our eyes and our memories.

Hopefully tomorrow will be sunny too, it never ceases to amaze me how much better good weather can make me feel and it definitely makes me feel more energized.

I hope you have good weather and the time to enjoy it wherever you are.

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Bits and Bobs

Looking Forward

So, that’s Christmas gone for another year. I hope you had the kind of Christmas you wanted, I’m very much aware that not everyone does.

This can be a particularly tough time for some, and the pressure to be continuously ‘festive’ can be downright irritating. If you fall into this category, well done for making it through!

But however you feel about Christmas, once it has passed, thoughts can move towards Spring. The shortest day has come and gone and now (hopefully), weather-wise things can only get better!

The light is making it’s way back to us as the wheel of the year turns, and under the earth life is begining again.

Now is the time to plant a few seeds. Just a few pots on a windowsill is enough if you don’t have a greenhouse.

I recommend Sweetpeas. They are the easiest things ever and will reward you with gorgeous, sweetly scented blooms all through the Summer. Planted now and pinched out you will have strong healthy plants which will cope with cooler temperatures once planted out in beds or containers. I have had them survive late frosts, when in my haste I have planted them out a little too soon.

I planted these (middle picture), at the end of November and I shall plant another couple of trays in a week or so, and more in late February. This will give me a really long season of flowers to enjoy. A vase of Sweetpeas fills the room with dreamy scent and is one of life’s pleasures.

So a Happy New Year to you, may the good outweigh the bad. x

Bits and Bobs

Winter Solstice

At last, a dryish day!

I made the most of it, a muddy walk at the lake followed by a good old fried breakfast and then a visit to Lydney Harbour, somewhere I’ve not been before.

It was very cold there but so beautiful. I will return in the future, the sunsets must be amazing.

This afternoon I have been busy making white chocolate, it’s in the fridge right now setting, I can’t wait to try it, I love white chocolate (well, to be honest, I love all chocolate!), and tomorrow I’ll be making Rum Truffles so watch this space!

I hope all your Christmas preparations are going well, don’t forget to take a break though, to quote Mary Oliver, “Breathe it all in, love it all out”.

White chocolate bars coming soon!

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Bits and Bobs · Christmas · festive treats

Christmas Dinner

So, the shopping is complete. By pure fluke I got nearly all my present shopping done in November, very out of character, the decorations are up and this morning I have done the Christmas food shop.

I have never felt so smug!

But pride comes before a fall so I’m bound to have forgotton something!

But, for the time being it is all under control. I’m going to have roast chicken with mashed swede, cauliflower cheese, roasted turnips, roasted celariac, sugar free cranberry sauce, pigs in blankets and chicken gravy.

Pudding will probably be a mince pie with cream, if I’ve any room left! That is one of the most noticable things I have found with eating low-carb, the actual volume of food I need has reduced massively. I tend to eat one main meal at lunchtime, a mid-morning snack and a snack or small meal in the evening.

This is why I try and ensure as much of the food I make as possible can be frozen, I’d never get through it otherwise.

I still enjoy sweet tastes with Splenda, but the sugar cravings I had in the past are long gone. I enjoy and appreciate my food so much more. It is now what it should have always been, nourishment, not a ‘treat’ or ‘reward’ or something that inspires guilt. We very often get more negative emotions tangled up with our eating habits instead of pleasant ones, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The Headspace app has courses designed to help with your relationship with food focusing on mindful eating and coping with cravings.

But getting back to Christmas Dinner, I know for a lot of people my lunch will be missing out on several traditions, no turkey, no goose, and worst of all, no sprouts! but I will be honouring my Mum’s tradition of roasting a ham with cloves and a little honey.

So, I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas with lots of good company and good food for you to enjoy.

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Bits and Bobs

December

I took this picture a couple of December’s ago. It’s one of my favourite photographs, it was a Monday morning and bitterly cold, but the beauty of it made it worthwhile.

I have been working outdoors for years and in mild, dry weather it’s fantastic, but bad weather is a different story. Even with good clothes it’s hard going.

We have had masses of rain here lately but at the moment there is a dry spell. So I’m going to make the most of it this week, there’s lots I need to do in the garden. But I’m not going to tidy it too much. The seedheads are good for the birds and a few corners left alone will provide shelter for insects, and hopefully a hedgehog or two.

With sunlight in short supply this time of year just taking a few minutes to feel it on your face is lovely. So if you get chance, pause for 10 minutes and soak it up, it’ll do you good, I promise.

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Bits and Bobs · craft projects

Dried Wreath

To make a dried wreath you will need:

Copper wreath base

Cardboard (packaging type is ideal).

A selection of dried seedheads

Small pine or fir cones

Small amount of moss, dried

Glue gun

Florist wire

Tweezers

Craft knife

Snips

Scissors

Optional:

Feathers

Dried fruit slices

Cinnamon sticks

Faux berries

Spray paint

Glitter

First you need to choose what you want to decorate with, and then spray and allow to dry any painted items.

Next you will need the cardboard, draw around the wreath base and cut out. Use the florist wire to attach it to the wreath base.

Then, with the glue gun, begin sticking each piece to the card. Make sure to overlap the edges and any gaps can be filled with a little dried moss.

It might help to roughly lay out what you would like to use before you start gluing to ensure you have enough material and that you are happy with the placement.

These wreaths are perfect for indoor decorations, either hung on doors or as a centre piece on a table. Battery powered candles are probably the safest option.

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Bits and Bobs · craft projects

A Quiet Sunday

Today has been lovely and sunny though quite cold. I’ve been out on my scooter again, this time to a different lake in the heart of the woods.

I haven’t been here in quite a while so it was a real treat.

Afterwards I went to breakfast with my family in Ross on Wye. As we were pottering back to the car, we came across a lovely little shop full of beautiful bits and pieces. Heavenly Homes & Gardenwares

It is perfect for gifts and treats for yourself and also for craft projects.

I found this gorgeous little leaf which has put the finishing touch to a simple Autumn display in my living room.

As you have probably noticed by now, I adore vintage, The other treasures I came across today were some lovely old dinner plates and a mixing bowl in a charity shop. They will be making an appearence here soon!

I also will be having a sort out this week of my craft supplies. I still have pinecones, poppy seedheads, crocosmia seedheads and a few other bits, but a foraging trip is still going to be required.

I won’t be gathering holly and ivy until December, I like to ensure my Christmas wreaths are as fresh as possible.

But dried wreaths can easily be made now before all the Christmas preparations get too hectic!

Reindeer moss, copper wreath rings and florist wire are the basic essentials you will need for making decorations. A glue gun is also extremely useful, as are varnish, glitter, spray paint, cinnamon sticks and faux berries. But you can build up your supplies over time.

A walk in the woods or local park along with bits from your garden will provide you with a rich bounty of pinecones, grasses and seedheads. It will need to be left somewhere to dry before you work with it though.

I will describe the method for making this wreath pictured above in my next post.

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