Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside

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Shrove Tuesday – Gluten-free Pancake Day

Gluten-free pancakes!  The sweet ones (with dark brown sugar and lime juice) were not quite as good as wheat ones, to my taste-buds (and I wasn’t too keen on the smell as they cooked), but the savoury ones were very good.

I used:

4 tablespoons of buckwheat flour (about 4 oz)

1 egg

Enough milk to make a fairly runny batter (I didn’t measure it, but something like half a mugful, maybe a bit more).

Then I fried them in hot butter.

When nearly cooked both sides, sprinkle on some grated strong Cheddar cheese, add some parsley and chopped ham.  When the cheese is melted, slide the pancake onto a plate, roll it up and eat.  I managed about half a dozen (look – they are very tiny).  Nom nom nom.

According to the buckwheat flour packet, French crepes and Russian blinis are often made with buckwheat flour – so a perfectly acceptable alternative to wheat-flour pancakes.


Cheese, ham and parsley savoury pancake before rolling



Gluten-free Yorkshire Puddings and Chi running

We had roast beef today, and we really wanted to have Yorkshire puddings with it, but I was sure it wouldn’t work to just use cornflour.  Hubby is stubborn though (in a good way) and decided we’d just try anyway.  I did a quick web search for proportions of milk/flour/eggs – and found that recipes are extremely variable.  The simplest one just used equal volumes of egg, flour and milk, but other recipes varied the proportions a lot.  I didn’t actually search for gluten free recipes (why not? – no idea), so we made it up.

To my surprise, they were just about the best ones I’ve ever tasted!  Beef dripping from the meat, and a very hot oven were probably the key points.
We used:
1 egg
Some cornflour – I didn’t weigh it, but probably 2-3 ounces – about 2-3 tablespoonfuls-ish
Milk – didn’t measure it – about half a mugful
Pinch of salt
A dribble of olive oil with herbs (left over from snack olives)
Mix the egg into the cornflour, making sure there are no lumps, then add the milk and oil, and beat well.
Pour hot fat from the roast into patty tins or a bigger tin – we had 6 little ones and one big one – and put back into the oven (240 C) until really hot – other recipes mention smoking, but I don’t think we got quite that hot.
Pour in the re-whisked batter and bake for about 20 minutes.   Other recipes mention the importance of incorporating air in the whisking, and leaving the batter to stand – but I wonder whether those both apply to gluten-containing batter.
Whatever – they were delicious – lovely and crunchy at the top and more gooey at the bottom.

Gluten-free Yorkshire puddings

I felt I deserved the roast and puddings, as I’d been out for a walk/run earlier on, and managed to run for a total of 30 minutes, in several chunks.  It was hard going to start with, then I remembered to ‘think Chi’ (as in Tai Chi) and concentrated on keeping my chin up, and my body aligned, and it really did seem easier.  Slowing down a bit probably helped too.  🙂



Inspired by Red Hen’s blog about flapjacks, I went off and took a photo of my rather ancient recipe book.  I bought it in a jumble sale (probably when I was running the White Elephant stall as a Guide – I loved haggling with old ladies – who were probably no older than I am now).  The binding round the edge had worn out, so I made some string by twisting a long loop of thread and then folding it back on itself, and rebound the cover.

Recipe book cover

My recipe book cover. I bought it at a jumble sale in September 1972 (when I was 13).   Isn’t it gorgeous?

Inside this slip-cover is a book to write your own recipes in. Sadly, it didn’t have any written in by the previous owner, but she had signed and dated it.  So it goes back a bit – but probably not contemporary with the lady’s clothes.

Signature of original recipe book owner

The signature of the original owner of my recipe book.

I crossed her name out and wrote mine in instead. The satisfaction of ownership. Then I started copying in recipes that I liked. The second one was for flapjacks, and here it is, from forty years ago.

Flapjack recipe

Flapjack recipe in my 13-year-old handwriting.

As you can see, I decided that the baking powder didn’t add much, and I no longer bother with it.  We only had a gas cooker then, but I copied in the Farenheit temperature. Years later, I had to convert it to Celsius (which we then called Centigrade).

I have no idea where I copied the recipe from. After a few years, I started recording the date when I’d added each recipe, and the source, as I became more aware that was the right sort of thing to do. 🙂

One of the later recipes, from when my girls were young, is for ‘Blue Peter Pumpkin Soup’.  (Blue Peter being a children’s tv programme.)  That one has become a family tradition around Hallowe’en, and very good it is too.


Burgundy-drop Bonnet and Greensleeves

Mycena haematopus

Burgundy-drop Bonnet (Mycena haematopus)

I found this pretty little fungus growing on a rotting log in the garden. It’s only about 2 cm across the cap, and when I broke the stem, it bled! Dark red-brown juice oozed out. There are a couple of ‘bonnet’ fungi that do that, but I think this one is the Burgundy-drop Bonnet, Mycena haematopus (‘bloody-foot’ is more gory than burgundy).

As there’s a big storm forecast for this weekend, we’ve picked the rest of our apples, and I’ve bagged them up and labelled them according to recommended eating times.  We have: Scrumptious (those are past their best now), Ellison’s Orange, Gala, Fiesta, Greensleeves, Herefordshire Russet, Sunset, Laxton’s Superb, Tydeman’s Late Orange and Bramley.

Apples to store

Apples ready for winter storage


The Apple Book  (which is full of beautiful apple paintings and very good descriptions of well over a hundred apple varieties) recommends using plastic bags with pencil-thickness holes poked in them. I prefer the idea of old newspapers, but the bags do make it quick to check whether any are beginning to rot, and last year they did keep very well in the bags. They didn’t shrivel up like ones I’ve paper-wrapped in the past. Some of them should still be good to eat into January.

The box of apples is kept in the shed.  Some of the apples were picked last week, but a mouse had got in and started nibbling one of them, so this is my high-tech solution to keeping the mice out:

Apple storage to avoid mice

Anti-mouse technology

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Black jelly

Yesterday I went for a walk to find blackberries, and accidentally came across this beauty, as I was taking a photo of a butterfly next to it. It’s head looks rather like a little cartoon dog!


Southern Hawker dragonfly head – can you see the dog-face?

Little windfall hedgerow apples, about an inch across were chopped up with two Bramley cookers from the garden – the first it has produced since we planted the cordons about seven years ago. They’re not really quite ripe yet, but the Bramley next to this was damaged, and both came off together.


Bramley apple on left, hedgerow apple on right

jellybag in action

Jelly-bag in action. Look at that rich colour.
Really must get those chairs recovered…

Along with about a pound of blackberries, they boiled up beautifully, and then I drained the juice with this wonderful arrangement, then added about 1.5 pounds of sugar, boiled until the jam thermometer said ‘jam’ and poured into jars. Wonderful-tasting B&A jelly. Yum.


Shiny, shiny apple

Tada!  Our first apple of the year, picked yesterday evening.  Supposed to be ready in September, but I couldn’t resist trying one, as they were so red already – just look at that polish!  We have about ten different varieties grown as cordons against a wall, so plenty more apple pics to come.  Not quite fully ripe yet, but tasty all the same.

red apple

Discovery (whoops) Scrumptious apple

Yay!  I ran 5k again today, only the second time this month, and about the tenth one ever, since the first one back in February.  Can’t say I enjoyed it much – from about 2 minutes in, I was ready to stop, and my calves were complaining much more than usual, I suppose from the lack of practice at longer runs, so serves me right.

Still, at about 25 minutes I realised I wasn’t thinking about my legs or my breathing any more – I was thinking about blogs, and what makes us think the way we do about things – but I will save the details for a few days, so as not to pre-empt someone else’s interesting project.  Watch this space for more information next week.  🙂  (No giving it away now!)

So, with that distraction, instead of stopping at 30 minutes, I kept going until I’d done 5k, which took me 45 minutes, which is ok.  Had another apple as a reward, and some lemon and lime curd on a rice-cake.  Nom nom nom.   🙂

PS  Just edited apple name – I got mixed up.  Discovery looks similar and is also an early variety.


A sad brown lime has a yummy ending

Trundling around the blogosphere using my newfound Topic searching skills I came across Sheryl’s Being Fifty-something post on making lime curd from an excess of limes.

My first thought was that I only had one lime. And it was shrivelled and brown (ok, I should have thrown it away last week).


Does this look appetising? My sad little lime.

But I’d got the taste in my mind…  It’s years since I’ve made a citrus curd.  She’d also blogged about the importance of adults playing, and making just one jar sounded like play.

So here it is, one little pot of lemon and lime curd (no blueberries were hurt in preparation of this curd – The Blueberry Co makes a very tasty blueberry and lavender spread, but it didn’t last long).

The lime had so little juice that I sloshed in some lemon juice from a bottle. But it tastes mmmmmmmmmmmm.  Sheryl’s recipe came from here.  I cooked it in a pyrex bowl over a pan of boiling water, rather than directly in the pan.

Jar of lemon and lime curd

Lemon and lime curd