Saturday 25 August 2018

Jennett Cragg and Lancashire Wool

So excited to read this blog post today from a lady producing and selling wool in Lancaster and the surrounding area.

Her new wool is named after our ancestor Jennett and Kate tells the story of how she went on horseback in 1687 to London to collect her baby grandsons after their parents died of typhoid fever...

have a look at Kate's wool and the beautiful scenery around Lancaster

A Lancastrian Legend

I wrote about this story in one of my earlier posts too Jennett Cragg

Here are a couple of our photos of Littledale and one of the lovely sheep farms in the area

Home-made Pasties

my cooking usually looks 'rustic' but these are delicious

Just a quick post to record this lovely recipe adapted from this recipe with a little help from Heather.
Heather suggested grating the vegies and adding a teaspoon or two of cornflour to soak up the vegetable juices and stop the pastry getting too moist.

I make my own all-butter pastry in the food processor so I grated the vegies in that as well while it was out. You could use hand-made pastry or sheets of store bought shortcrust pastry. We'd had a couple of Cornish pasties from a local butcher's shop and if there was a teaspoon of meat in each one I will eat my hat! $4 each too!

Pastry- Makes 8 large pasties

400gms wholemeal flour
200gms butter chopped into smallish pieces
very cold water

Pulse the flour and butter until you have a breadcrumb like mix, slowly pour in a little cold water at a time until it all comes together in a large ball. Cover tightly with a damp tea towel or two or place in a plastic bag in the 'fridge until you are ready to use it, all day is fine...take it out a short while before you sue it for the butter to soften again.


300gm minced beef
3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and grated
1 large carrot, grated
1 brown onion, grated or finely chopped
2 T peas or corn
1 teaspoon of beef stock powder or simply use lots of salt and pepper, they must be well seasoned
1 beaten egg
Mix well

Take the pastry and cut it into 8 equal portions, roll into a ball and then use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle the size of a small plate.
Place around 1/8th of the filling mix on one side and fold the other half over, seal with a little water.
Place on a baking tray and brush with the beaten egg for a lovely golden...Joe got this job as I was running late after Dad had lost his car at the shopping centre and I had to go and help him look for it and then revive him with a cuppa here at home!
Joe was heard to mutter in French "I am an artiste" as he painted the pasties!

Bake at 180C for around 45-50 mins

I had too much filling for the last pasty so I made a rustic looking 'pie' and poked some cheese in too for Joe(he is French after all)

So Dad has 2 of them, 2 are in the freezer(they freeze very well), we had one each on Thursday and can have another for dinner tonight. lunch today ...they didn't make to dinner time :)
Have a great weekend every-one

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Mmmm Walnut Muffins!

Dimpled clouds after two very warm-for-Winter days

I never thought a post about walnut muffins would make it here as they sound so boring but we should never say never eh?
 I spent a lazy hour this morning going over The Prudent Homemaker's recipes...Brandy is very clever at keeping household costs down and her recipe appealed to me as I had just cleaned the fridge and found half a bag of elderly walnut halves begging to be used. I changed it slightly, used less sugar and used wholemeal self raising flour to make these muffins that are lovely with both sweet and savoury spreads/toppings...

Beat together in a large bowl

2 eggs
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1/2 cup raw sugar

Stir in

2 cups of self raising wholemeal flour
around 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts...I didn't toast mine
a rounded teaspoon of your preferred spice...I used nutmeg, try cinnamon, mixed spices, ginger
around 3/4 cup of milk...see how much it needs to make a not too runny and not too stiff there a name for that?

Spoon into your prepared muffin pans...I made 10 today....bake at 180C for around 20 minutes, let cool slightly before buttering and enjoying, I enjoyed mine with some real butter and some oh so creamy Camembert cheese from Aldi.

...and with all the rain this winter here in WA(remember there is an appalling drought in the Eastern States this year) our potted orange tree is covered with gorgeously scented blossom...I gave it a good feed of manure which was well watered in by an afternoon downpour...this curly lettuce grew from seed dropped last Summer and look at the colour of the freesia flowers...they too smell wonderful...

Joe and I took Mandy, Elizabeth and Caleb out for lunch on Sunday, we all needed cheering up for one reason or another and we certainly had some good laughs which made me realise how long it had been since I laughed out loud and how good it made me feel...I added to the general giddiness...

as did Joe...

We've enjoyed some nice meals at home too this week, "Singapore" noodles which are a great way to use up the other half of the bag of beansprouts if you've had Pho soup...add a couple of teaspoons of ordinary curry powder when you fry off the garlic and ginger to make won't find them in Singapore but they are a lovely old favourite and a good way to use up bits and pieces from the fridge. Left-over pork from the freezer became a roast dinner as well as appearing in the noodle dish. I'm making satay chicken tonight with the peanut butter we bought freshly ground at our 'Pantryman' shop. We get our free range eggs there too, they're delicious.
I must away as I'm taking our neighbour to the library and supermarket, she doesn't drive so we make the most of this monthly outing.

Hope you're having a really good week,
Love from Sue

PS Joe says this font/letter size is too you find it OK to read or do I need to increase it? xx

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Pho Soup with Meatballs

When Joe was in Canada in May, fare-welling Priss he enjoyed this Vietnamese soup on several occasions and wanted to make it from scratch when he got home. We looked on-line at various recipes and came up with this blend that he says is better than restaurant quality. It looks rather time consuming but the main ingredient is the stock and by using a crock-pot we can leave it to cook itself.
The need to peel anything as you strain the stock once it's cooked...

Now this is where you can use the cheapest meatiest 'bones' you can buy...they need some meat left on them to add to the soup bowl. We have used oxtail this time but we saw some lovely meaty bones this week that would have worked well. It looks a long list of spices but once you have them you should have enough to make several pots of stock. I make it in a large slow cooker/crock-pot but it can be done on the stove-top too....just toss everything in as you will be straining it once cooked.
This amount makes a very rich stock that can be diluted to taste:

800gms or so of beef bones/oxtails
large brown onion, unpeeled and roughly chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, unpeeled and roughly chopped
golf ball sized piece of fresh ginger also unpeeled and roughly chopped
4"/10cm stick of cinnamon
4 whole star anise
6 each of cloves and whole cardamon pods
20 black peppercorns
1/4 cup fish sauce
2t sugar
1t salt

Cover with warm water so that everything is well sub-merged and cook for around 8 hrs.
NB Let it cool somewhat before straining/sieving the stock...we didn't the first time and Joe badly burned his hand in the hot fat. The raw oxtail bones...

We use a sieve to strain the stock...purists may use cheese-cloth but it's really not the onion etc to get all the juice out...

If you have time let it sit in the fridge so that the fat comes to the can remove it more easily then. This jug holds 1200mls which is enough for 4-6 bowls of soup...taste it first though as it may be too strong for your liking, dilute it with boiling water...

 Take the beef off the bones and set aside... reserved beef...

 Now these are an optional will have cooked beef from the bones and thinly sliced steak so it's up to you whether you 'need' them or not...

500gms minced pork
1 beaten egg
2 slices of white bread processed into crumbs
3T fish sauce
1 level teaspoon of Chinese 5 Spice

Mix thoroughly and shape into 28 walnut sized balls
I prefer to steam mine but they could be gently fried or baked
I use 4 of these, halved per bowl of soup and freeze the rest, cooked, for future soups.

The Soup

for each bowl

1x 220 gm pack 'Wok ready' thin rice noodles, Asian section of supermarkets, we use Kan-Tong brand
1 cup of bean sprouts
50-60 gms of very thinly sliced steak, this cooks in the hot broth
2T the cooked beef off the bones
thinly sliced onion and or spring onion
to serve...
lime or lemon juice
thinly sliced chilli, optional
handful of coriander leaves or better still Vietnamese mint if you can get it
Sriracha chilli sauce and Hoisin sauce served on the side in small dishes, the noodles are dunked into one sauce and then the other for authenticity (these are a 'gotta') :D

I re-heat the stock in a sauce-pan then add in the following order...

cooked beef from bones

Pour into large soup dish, top with raw sliced steak and serve with the beansprouts, sauces, fresh herbs and lime juice etc and a large napkin!

This makes enough for Joe to have 4 very large bowls(must confess it's not my cup of tea)so I freeze the remaining stock in 3 containers to use one by one.

I hope this takes out some of the mystery behind this popular dish, once the stock is cooked it all comes together very quickly.

ăn tốt Vietnamese for 'eat well'

this is the soup Joe enjoyed one night in Montreal...

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Knitting Away

Thank you dear friends for your loving comments on the previous post, Priscilla will be greatly missed by every-one who knew her. Yesterday Will and the children laid her ashes to rest in a plot that they can visit when they wish. Today should have been their ninth wedding anniversary.

I'm trying to get back to writing blog posts and am working on a rather complicated one for the Vietnamese soup known as 'Pho' which is difficult to pronounce and sounds something like 'far'. It's Joe's favourite and he's very impressed by this version of it, will post that soon.

I have been spending the Winter knitting and reading, caring for Dad, supporting my daughter and her sons and I've also started collecting indoor plants again. This little house is rather dark so the plants have to be re-arranged daily or taken out-side for some extra light but they are beautiful and such a pleasure...apparently they enhance our lives with more than just oxygen and I find them very relaxing to care for. It's exciting to see a new leaf unfurl ;)

We didn't grow this Buddha's Hand but isn't it a beauty? It's a type of citrus that has no juice/flesh/seeds...grown for the novelty the skin can be zested for flavouring cakes etc

Charlie is now over 2 yrs old would you believe? I've made him 3 vests/tank tops this year;unfortunately the first was pure wool Fair Isle and was washed by his Dad in hot water, it now fits his dolly!!! The next two are in a self=striping acrylic...

Have also made 2 Paddington Bears from this pattern , have used 100% wool again and had to buy the toggles from an Etsy vendor in Toronto would you believe but they really finish off his little duffel coat...all the wool and the kilt pins in his hat came from Spotlight...

The last thing to show you is this easy 8ply knitting for ladies socks, using up the rest of the self striping acrylic from Charlie's jumpers; they knit up so quickly especially compared to using 'sock yarn'.
The free pattern comes from Winwick Mum , it's probably more suited to intermediate knitters, in the past I have always used 'Silver's  Sock Class' which is also free and more of a tutorial...

ETA Christine aka Winwick Mum has drawn my attention to her 'Sockalong' blog post where she takes absolute beginners step by step through the wonderful process of knitting socks...thanks Christine x

love the heel detail...such a clever construction method...

I haven't even worn socks for such a long time but it's been so cool and wet this Winter here while the rest of Australia is struggling with the worst drought on's frightening to see the photos of the parched land and dying animals.

So that's my round up for now, thank you for waiting so long for another post, let's try and make it a regular thing! Yes Dear!

Love Sue

Saturday 4 August 2018


After almost 7 yrs of treatment our daughter, Priscille-Eve Kelly, passed away at home on July 5th.

I've posted some photos on her blog which you can find at this link; many thanks to all who have already sent love and condolences.