Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Summer Garden

I have just read the third and final book in the Tatiana and Alexander trilogy by Paullina Simons - The Summer Garden.
At first I found it was just too full of sex if that is possible but after ploughing through the first 300 odd pages a plot started to form and after being encouraged to finish reading it, by my eldest daughter, I am pleased I did.
It was good to sort of finish the 'life' story of Tatiana and Alexander and the family. It was 838 pages so quite a mammoth read but a great sense of satisfaction completing it and the series.
These books cover their lives starting in Russia at the start of WW2 and the love that holds them together keeping them alive as they eventually arrive in America in times of peace.
The other two are...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Macaroni Cheese

I love pasta but unfortunately my husband isn't that keen so if he is away or there are enough left overs to make up a meal for him the rest of us have pasta. I would eat it all the time if I could but then I realised that the recipes I like don't have many 'greens' so one would have to have a lot of salad etc to get a balanced meal. However every now and again pasta is goooood!!

One my son loves is macaroni cheese and I have made it so often that I don't have it written down (like a lot of my recipes) as I have changed it over the years. And I don't really know the quantities so you have to guess.
This serves two people and the milk is really just a guess. If you know how to make white sauce you will know how to adjust it.

Macaroni elbows (about a cup)
20gr butter
half an onion
1 tblsp flour
a few slices  of ham or bacon
1 cup milk approx
1/4 tsp dry mustard
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup of grated cheese
Bring to the boil a large pot of salted water and add a few drops of cooking oil (this helps the pasta stop sticking together).Add pasta to boiling water and cook macaroni until just cooked.

Melt the butter in a microwave and oven proof dish you will cook the macaroni in.
Add the diced onion and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add chopped bacon/ham and cook for another two minutes.
Blend in flour and cook for about 30 seconds.
Slowly stir in milk a few tablespoons at a time. Once it is a creamy mix add rest of milk stirring well and then cook on high for about 3-4 minutes stirring every minute. Add more milk if it is too thick.
Add the seasoning and cook another minute until the mixture is a white sauce consistency.
Add 3/4 cup of grated cheese and stir in straight away so it melts.
Add drained pasta and mix through.
Flatten and top with the rest of the grated cheese and a handful of bread crumbs.
Place sliced tomatoes on the top.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 180C or until the topping just starts to turn golden

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lastest Knitting

I love hand crafts like knitting, crocheting and sewing, however over the years the family have not really wanted much. But now there are grandchildren and I am able to knit little garments that don't take long and give me much pleasure. There is something special about finding a pattern and then the wool, knitting up the garment (and being small these can just take a week) and then finishing it off with buttons etc.
My latest was a little jacket for Evelyn our 5 week old granddaughter. I used some old wool I have had for ages and "Design Four" from the Cleckheaton no. 423 pattern book, "Little babies including Premature Sizes".

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mumseys' Apple Crumble

With the cooler nights coming in we seem to enjoy a warm pudding served with cream or vanilla ice cream.
One such recipe is one I have made for years and so it is made just off the top of my head.
My youngest daughter was helping with tea the other night and wanted to make it so I had to give her instructions as she went along and it is so easy to make...I thought I would blog it for the rest of the cherubs should they need it.

About 5 or 6 apples
50 grams butter
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of soft brown sugar
1 cup of rolled oats (but you could use crushed weetbix)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cook the apples in the oven dish that you are going to make the pudding in if it is microwave safe. Cook in the mocrowave for about 6 minutes on high with a little water and covered. (Or you can stew them on the stove with more water, but drain most of the water off when placing in the pudding dish when they are done. You don't want a lot of water or the topping will get soggy.)
Melt the butter in a bowl or pot and add the other ingredients mixing well to combine.
Sprinkle over the apple and bake at 180C for about 20 minutes until the topping is lightly golden.

This is excellent for popping in the oven after a casserole or roast and good for using up old apples or ones that are a bit marked etc. We used some of the windfalls from our apple tree

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bryant Retreat for Women

A few years ago I had what was commonly seen as a breakdown. With out going into details here, I learnt that for me I have to look after myself and at times take time out.
With five children some of them married and with children of their own and a husband that suffers from a mental illness, some times 'time out' means going away on my own where all my needs are taken care of.
I have been on two over the last six months and the latest one was simply amazing.
I had to commit to 11 days as that is part of being able to totally relax. It was at the Bryan Retreat for Women, in Raglan and it was totally free, although you have to be referred there by your GP.
I arrived on a Monday afternoon and left 11 days later on the Friday morning.
 The brochure  states, "Bryant Retreat was created to provide an environment where women are able to rest in quiet, calm, surroundings. The simple timetable, together with the relaxing atmosphere and peaceful location of the home, provides guests with stress-free surroundings in which they are able to think out their problems....The timetable at the home allows plenty of free time so that guests can unwind, free from work, home and family responsibilities.... The Bryant Retreat is for women between the ages of 25 and 65 years, who are in need of rest and relaxation. A maximum of six women guests at a time are accommodated for ..."

The timetable was a bit alarming before I went but I realized it was so right once I was there.
  • 7.30am  Breakfast in bed; Quiet time spent in bed until after morning tea. No shower or bath until after morning tea
  • 9.30am Morning tea - served in bedroom. Guests arise and dress - free time until 12 noon
  • 12 noon Dinner, Rest until 2.30pm
  • 2.30pm Afternoon tea - served in rest area. Free time until 5.00pm
  • 5.00pm Tea 
  • 8.30pm approx. Supper - at time to suit guests
  •  9.30 approx. Guests are asked to be in bed unless arrangements are made with Manager.