Saturday, 31 January 2015

Corners Of My World : Snow Melts

When travelling to places those  familar and those new you collect experiences, and a visit to the corners of your world is no different. You are rewarded you with a diverse and intriguing selection of both culture, history, countryside and quaint villages or you just rewards could be stark, bleak cold hearted modernism  From a day’s adventure to weeks exploring, whatever time you have spare, prepare to discover how much your surroundings have to offer.


And the biggest secret of all? That you can push the corners of your world , we are pretty blinkered at times in the world in which we live , but take a look to your left , take a look to your right. 

Is the light different ?

A winter sky ?

Take another look summer may have breezed in.

For now to my right ,the wet ,drip,of captive snow melts.


Friday, 30 January 2015

Spanish Breakfast Wake Up








Today I am channelling my inner Spanish side OLE .. I have no Spanish side but I still wanted to shake my breakfast up a bit    a lot  , as I was tired of hearing the boring sound of cereal falling into a bowl day after day . So I decided to shake my breakfast up and this recipe is SO easy you just use the same amount of ingredients for each person.


Ingredients

One potato , 2 potato 3 , potato 4 ) sorry   not sorry I am in a bit of a silly mood today !

Use one potato for each person

A quarter of pepper for one person / whole pepper for 4

A quarter of a onion for one person / whole onion for four

3 slices of Chorizo cubed for one person / and what ever you want for 4


An egg per person


Method








Cut your potato in half.


Cube the potato.

Slice the pepper.



Dice the onion  ( busy bee aren't you )


Soften in a microwave for a few minutes.

Next heat some oil in a pan and add the potato , toss till browned,

Toss in the onion , pepper and chorizo. ( one of those carefree days)


Continue to cook for around 10 minutes till it all looks a lovely colour.


Then crack an egg in to the pan and wait till it is cooked how you like it. My egg split grrrrr !




Serve add seasonings and enjoy


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Having an Only child

Having an only child doesn't mean he is a lonely child and I get narked sometimes when folk insist that I must populate the world some more , true he is a teen now and I am past the stage of "won't he get lonely if he doesn't have a sibling " True to say we did have the odd protest of loneliness over over time but he has grown into a happy well adjusted teen with a bright head on his shoulders. I still get:

"But you'll have bedrooms to fill when he goes to university " ( noting he still has year 11 to finish and then 2 years of sixth form.


"OOOh you won't get to see nativity plays any more"


" ooh you'll miss the company of the school run "


"Christmas is for children"


Argh just arghhhh.

Stop and listen to yourself , everyone is entitled to an opinion but I wouldn't shove my choice of music down your throat.


"oooh he won't know how to share, he will be selfish"

No and no he does share , though I made the mistake of letting him sit in the front of the car when he was younger and now he just won't budge and it's a family joke ( no really it is ) And anyway there is more room at the back and I can make my husband wear a chauffeurs hat if I so choose. I should not be stigmatised for having an only child I am still doing my bit for humanity and all that jazz.


"He will expect toys and new things all the time"



No it has never been like that , he has always been very mindful and respectful of money and works for what he wants not as a job  but chores around the house, though has slightly slacked off from cleaning his rugby boots of late. However we are approaching GCSE time and it is best to to chide him over such things when he is knee deep in study books.


We have for the past 3 weeks been on an ice cream stand off , he is a tad fickle over puddings and won't eat quite a number of things , he has a great liking for Ben and Jerry's , who doesn't ?
Ben and Jerry is not a cheap ice cream so I stopped buying  it for a bit well exactly three weeks ago and I had some nice Cornish ice cream in but ooh no that wasn't the same , but now he is eating hurrah .

The cats liked Whiskers SO I brough a box of 48 .... so now they don't like  it .



Monday, 26 January 2015

Seared Scallops And Wilted Greens And Chorizo






Ingredients 
Scallops for how ever many guests.
A bag of curly kale which will serve 4 nicely.
For 3 people I used 7 slices of chorizo diced.
Oil
Knob of unsalted butter.






Method 

Slice the kale into thin pieces and the leaves into larger strips. Heat a large, deep pan to medium-high.  Add the chorizo a cook 3-4 minutes.

Then add the onions( shallots would also work) and cook until soft for 3 more minutes.

Then the garlic or shallots  is added cook until softened for 3 minutes.


Cook another 4-5 minutes before adding the leaves. Toss until wilted over the heat. Add the soy sauce (if you want) then season , you might find it will be salty enough already , keep warm.

A fishmonger had already removed the foots off the scallop ( or is that feet!)

Next add the oil to the pan and swirl it around. When it starts to smoke, quickly add the scallops.  Cook on high for about 1-2 minutes.

Flip the scallops and add the butter.  Spoon the butter over the scallops as they cook another 1-2 minutes. Serve over warm greens.



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Friday, 23 January 2015

Trees I love Trees The Gallery







Trees seeing the wood for the trees.

Where ever I go, my eyes are immediately drawn to trees , they have so much character in fact I love them from their long neck giraffe elegance to their knarly appearance.


Trees you see frame the beauty of nature , you just stop and there before you you have a jaw dropping work of art. I'm lucky I am surrounded by trees from the woods and rolling field at the bottom of the road to the tree lined lane my school is situated on. There are some tresses that are candidates for the coffee book of eerie trees and wouldn't look out of place in a Grimm fairytale.


Trees are the worlds life blood , they purify the air , protect us from flooding , give us food , medicine also they give us fuel and provide our wonderful wildlife a safe and natural harbour. 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Rustic Cheese and Garlic Savoury Scones

Everyone loves a scone be it savoury or sweet , today I decided to tackle the savoury scone perfect to enjoy straight from the oven with what ever filling you choose . Ideal with cheese and pickle the possibilities are endless and anyone can do this recipe .


Ingredients 

500g of self raising flour

6 teaspoons baking powder 


3 free range eggs 

5 table spoons of milk, add more to suit.

50 g of grated cheese

I used garlic jam which I blitzed but you  could use garlic paste or powder.





Method 
Preheat the oven to 200 c


I didn't have to weigh the flour out as I used the whole 500 g bag , sift the flour into a big mixing bowl . I added 6 teaspoons of baking powder.

In a seperate bowl beat the 3 eggs and add the milk.

You can either use a mixer when adding the 159g of butter or spread. I like to mix to a fine tilth by hand.

Add the 50 g of grated cheese. 

Next add the garlic.


Then add the beaten egg and mix ( you make have to get your hands in there ( don't wish to get them mucky dust your hands with a little flour .


You'll have a lot of dough so it is best to work in manageable batches.

Roll the dough out to 2.5 cm and then use a suitable round cutter or an up turned glass to cut out your shapes.

Placed on a greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes making any allowances if the oven is fan assisted.

Remove from oven leave to cool or eat them warm.






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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Learn To Speak Cat

Learn to speak cat is something I should do really it should be on my life bucket list, that way I may understand my cat 'evil' as it is .






These are the cartoons that appeared in by Metro they are draw by the  very talented Anthony Smith and are based on the view of a cat and cleaver puns and word play are the order of the day. This is an ideal gift of course for a cat lover but also if you like humour as well as your funny bone won't fail to get tickled. Anthony creates really funny scenarios which I find myself nodding and crying with laughter at.

I have come to the conclusion that I don't own my cat but it owns me as you can see in the pictures from constant smugness , this is what I live with day in day out! There are two cat books available "Learn to speak cat" and "Learn to speak cat 2" the latest book is priced at £6.99 over at Amazon quick go get your paws on a copy.


My cat is immensely grateful at being sent a review copy and is plotting my doom as I type this, infact  these could be my last words.

Scream :stage left

Monday, 19 January 2015

Blue Skies And Sunflare

Blue skies and sunflare I spy



A sign of a good day and a week to come 



I'm back taking the sort of pictures that I'm known for for.

Being in the countryside is where I feel most at home , being stifled inside my heart and soul can not room.

Saturday I couldn't get to to lagoon I've been meaning to go to and that made me cuckoo.

Oh but Sunday my euphoric rise the rain of love in cloudy wintry skies.


Ensuring A Bit Of Me Time



It is wall to wall sport I have to report in this house , football and rugby and come summer there will be cricket , if there was international tiddly winks I am pretty sure that would be on the television as well . Don't get me wrong I do like sport but when on occasion it feels like an episode of 24 , though if Kiefler Sutherland was to appear I might perk up.

The sports 'widow ' aspect doesn't just stop there as my husband is secretary for the football team and also for the rugby team , and many an evening I'll find a football manager on my doorstep needing a form, not Aresene Wenger not just yet !


Then there is the washing of the kit , football , rugby and ooh do do much mud , my son has on occasion washed his own boots and I probably do it more than he does but I'm not fussed he's a good boy. He never gets into trouble and to and I will miss the sport and mud when he is at university but don't tell him that!


Mmmm miss the mud ....



My son is very good at his sport , in the past he has had football trails but it is a very competitive world so he is now just content with playing sport and so much so he is studying GCSE sport at school and wishes to have a career in sport. He had thought about teaching but now he is thinking of going to university after A levels to study sports science , perhaps some of that will involve how to get mud stains out of football and rugby kits!!





Even the cat ' Jack Black ' has got in on a bit of me time , he isn't allowed to sit on the new sofa and is trained to go to his box. His old box to be honest was a bit of a hovel but what with moving being quite awkward at the minute due to a volatile housing market it seemed impossible. Thankfully I was able to gift the box in which the Pamper Parcels items came in to Jack. So he has gone from hovel to penthouse in one fell swoop.




Mr T is an avid Derby County fan and apparently uttering the words:

"Will there be any more goals?"

Will cause the  opposition to score , Ooops sorry Mr T and Derby County FC and they were playing the deadly rivals Nottingham Forest , double ooops !

When I go to watch my son play sport always make sure I make good use of my time whilst my son is warming up before the watch and my husband is nattering to the other dads about football ,rugby etc. I go and take pictures that is another part of my making sure I have have me time and I go and take pictures , I love my countryside landscapes and it is a subject I have become known for and  I go awfully shy when they tell me that I am good. I made sure that I had my Burts Bee lip balm that came in my Pamper Parcels box to protect my lips from the elements , there is nothing worse than having chapped lips I tell you.



Sport will always be part of this family in some way or the other , we are off to Washington DC in August and I hope we can catch some American sports when we are out there , and I bet my husband and son will get competitive in the pool as well. I will of course be escaping for that essential bit of me time.

Disclosure Thank you to Betfair and Pamper Parcels for the opportunity to have a bit of me time.


Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Lyrical Tryst

You can make the world smaller , you can do this magic , not alas with a Harry Potter wand but with your camera or smart phone . I find it amazing that what I capture with my minds eye , if the picture is right before my eyes then I know when I take my camera to it then 9 times  out of 10 then it will work. Taking pictures is really my salvation it keeps me calm , I will go on what ever adventures I choose if I want to have tea and scones on a field I will , I will adventure and no one can stop me.

You can really get caught up on getting the perfect shot , this is where I relay on how I feel I get awful fidgety if I haven't been out to capture my world around me. You don't have to photograph your every move this is indeed true just a few pictures can capture the mood and then you can go about your day.


My randomness is what allows me to have adventures , it is what enables me to interact it is the backbone of my life and I can't and will not be any different. 

Labels why must we be labelled always ?!



I'm being more positive ( hang on have I just labelled myself)




The one thing I am finding now I'm calmer is the lack of politeness in people  a human necessity perhaps this has been fished out of people as if they are in a game of operation. Constructive criticism can be a lyrical literal tryst , but one we accept wether we agree with or not.

If you need me I'll be here cloud watching.


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Red Wine Herby Infused Gammon

Gammon is one of those foods I never really give much thought ,but when I spied a half price offer whilst shopping with Ocado I thought why not, at worse I could slip into a Shirley Valentine movie and talking to the wall while serving egg and chips ( albeit  with the edition of gammon)

Ingredients 

Chateau Neuf 1978

Any red wine will do ~ the whole bottle 

2 bay leaves

12 pepper corns ( I used mixed peppercorns )

Tea spoon ginger

Method 

Pour the wine into the slow cooker , add the herbs and obviously the gammon 

I left mine on high for about 7 hours 

The result was a crimson gammon that I was able to pull apart 








Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Fussy Cat Who Me ow ?

"Oh me I'm choice , I'm select , I really like those the discount supermarket brand of biscuits ( brought 10 boxes you say ?) You are a good human bean , you really are !

Guess what , don't like them any more , yes yes I know you've 8 boxes left ! 

Ooooh you are telling me tails of cats less fortunate than myself , well perhaps they'll like the biscuits!

I know I'm one step away from going to the vets ...

I thank you for buying the new biscuits ( hypoallergenic, free from this ,that and the other , hand baked by the Dali Llama.


 
Oooh there is a man at the door with 8kg of those hypoallergenic biscuits ~ ooh yay ! 

There's a free gift you say ? baked dried chicken lovingly cut into cute hearts ~ guess what I don't like. 

Oooh I've not heard that word before , I think you are being a bit of a drama llama , no never seen a llama . And quite why three would be a llama treading the thespian boards I don't know "

Oooh you know the discount biscuits I like them again now "


Monday, 12 January 2015

Brussels Sprout Bubble and Squeak

It has been a long time since I did a food post , and now it is time that I rectified this and I bet you are glad aren't you after the excesses of Christmas ?! When it comes to Christmas dinner we only ever use 3 sprouts ( for Mr T) as I detest them if I am honest but January is a long month and I have to tighten the shopping budget then using up what we have is a must.


Ingredients


Enough mash potato for 4 people


Left over sprouts chopped

Half to a full onion chopped



Garlic jam ( or you could add a tablespoon of brown sugar instead)

Vegetable stock cube


Method

Chop the Brussel sprouts quite roughly.

Chop an onion.

Place in a bowl together and mix.

Add a tablespoon of garlic jam .

Crumble in a vegetable stock cube.

Heat some oil in a frying pan.

Fry the chopped Brussel sprout and onion for about 5 minutes

Mix with the mashed potato.

Add some more oil to the pan if needed.

Next put the mixture in to pan , divide into four. Fry on each side for about 5 minutes on each side.

I served mine with some pasta but the bubble and squeak would go with anything just don't tell the children it has sprouts in , I didn't ( insert evil laugh)


Casa Costello

Preparing For Sweden On A Photography Front

One of the places I would love to go to is Sweden, odd I know as I crave the warmth really but my sense of adventure prevails all other worries like cold tootsies and do they serve tea . I admit I get jittery if I can't have tea abroad  very often to have to take my own tea bags with me as time away from tea I believe is a crime punishable by being hit by a tea spoon.

I have wanderlust and my feet just won't stay still , later this year I am off to Washington DC August in fact but for now it is 800 miles north of Sweden that beckons. I love my photography and I have been wondering about how my cameras would stand up to the cold and when I say cold the temperature out there is blooming cold  . I shall be stopping in the legendary Ice Hotel and I couldn't be more excited how often does an opportunity to stop in such an amazing location happen.


No stranger to the cold am I , having done the Lapland Santa with an emphasis on seeing Finland as well such as playing ice football, sledging with huskies and going on a snow mobile. James Bond has nothing on me except I don't ski or jump of aeroplanes or not yet I don't anyway ( imagines me jumping out of an aeroplane)


One of the cameras I have been looking at that can withstand the frozen wasteland is from Fuji and it is less that £140 , can you recommend anything else that fits within the budget range?



Friday, 9 January 2015

Berry Breakfast Quinoa Porridge

I have / had quinoa hiding in my cupboard not sure exactly how quinoa can hide but it was , this was British grown quinoa from Hodmedod's. I'd never have thought to make porridge with it though , shame I don't have any fancy kilner jars for ultimate breakfast styling.

Ingredients

2 cups of milk

1 cup of quinoa

Blackberries or any other berries (fresh or frozen)

Sugar to taste 

Vanilla essence



Method

Simmer the 2 cups of milk

Then add the cup of quinoa

Do watch !!



Bring to the boil

Then let shimmer for 15 minutes 
Then add the berries 




and warm through adding a few drops of vanilla essence .


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The Advancement Of The Inner Self

The title of this reads like one of those mind numbing self help e books or bargain books doesn't it ( makes mental note  to look into this for possible career change) I just thought I would alter how I am a complete 360 on my behaviour and outlook , bare with me it is not a New Year , New Year bull frog piece of carp.


I am still holding into my inner 'teddy bear'

I am not however going to accept being bullied in any shape in real life or on line.

I'm still going to talk to people but I am not going to spread myself thin ( I would love to think myself thin though), I am going to let people come to me for a change. I think quite frankly that some peoples ego don't need any more puffing up, bring loud and brazen doesn't mean you get further though for some folk they will always be sanctimonious.


I still might get sad and woeful and write about depression but hay I'm not trendy enough and my musings do  not resonate ~ well they might for  someone and that is what I'm going to run with.

So what have I noticed since I haven't been so much a go to person on Twitter ~ it reveals I was the conversation chaser , some obviously don't want to interact , yes the world is a busy place but I have my suspicions on what some think of me ( and now I don't care).

I am going to carry on in my way , be as ever random my randomness allows me to discover so many things for my photography,food and recipe development, like minded people and humour, history , acrhictecture archaeology. So I have many strings to my bows , I can and will swap talking form one thing to another this is nervous energy and I won't ever change from this but have learnt to slow down my though process.

I have strength of conviction and won't worry too much much what folk think now , hell the other day I even took gentle ribbing ( all in good taste and it was a good giggle) so where do I go from here , well I make lists now of what i would like to do . Having depression and likely to alway have this is is essential that I have purpose structed in my day , some people are 'it' people and can effortlessly do everything I however am not one of these and will not be part of this pretence.

Changing my appearance I am going to grown my hair , not in an Elsa or Anna type of way though when it stopped I wished I had built a snowmen, no the hair going comes from the delivery man encounter the other day. I answer the door to a delivery man and it was "hello sir" so I think I need to grow my hair , yes you would have though that upper lady bits would have given this away but I guess that day I was channelling my inn 'Tootsie'

So there you have it for now the advancement of my inner self of which I will add to revaluate over the coming weeks and years.

Oh and if you want to talk to me I am @needaphone on twitter.



Sunday, 4 January 2015

Crafting In The New Year

Imagine if I didn't go with the flow , yet sometimes I go against it and why not ?

I blog as mentioned before on a whim and a prayer , I don't have a word for  this year , for the more I would think about it , then January would be well and truely over.



Having scone and tea in a field .


Monday for me will be going to see the little Shetland ponies ( I'm allergic to horses and once stayed on a horse farm by mistake ended up in A & E )

Tuesday will be a picnic and hot chocolate in the woods ( last year I could last in the woods and my husband had to come home for the Tesco delivery , I was lost in the woods for 3 hours.)

Wednesday I may hum along to a one direction song , I repeat you tell no one of this .

Thursday trying to explain to the cat for the umpteenth that it can sleep in the new bed without the cardboard box , it's ok Binky Bear will protect you.




Friday I may attempt my nemesis: the Victoria Sponge cake, I've no idea why it feels me with dread but it does. I think it is in the baking matrix do you dare go down that rabbit hole?

Also pencils in looking at YouTube crochet videos ~ non nanna mode.

Recycling old Christmas cards not into gift tags but into new cards.


Saturday, 3 January 2015

Dreaming Of Springtime I Am

I like all seasons really.





Winter sees that shaft of light than comes to glow twice for life.



And as the sun goes down the neighbourhood cats are out to prowl


Though it may be cold , the outside heightens the senses.




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