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The Homemade Heart
Central Scotland
Recent Activity
Thank you so much Gillian, for your kind and encouraging words. Yes, I am very much looking forward to having everyone under one roof at christmas! (I agree about IG by the way) X
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on teetering at The Homemade Heart
That is so interesting Sarah, and encouraging too, that lovely phrase you use ‘life has filled up the empty gaps’. I laughed at your description of your 6’3” son -our boys are the same , 6’3” and 6’4”, I feel tiny at 5’8”! X
Toggle Commented Nov 26, 2017 on teetering at The Homemade Heart
Thank you so much for visiting and commenting Connie, I appreciate it. You sum it up so perfectly with your example of the doors that stay closed, sounds like a book title too! I agree it helps enormously that Jacob is happy, and we do see him fairly often, usually every few weeks, but that ‘bubble’ of family life has been popped, and it will never be the same again, and that is the hard part to come to terms with. X
Toggle Commented Nov 26, 2017 on teetering at The Homemade Heart
Thank you for coming back to comment, I appreciate that! Yes its a funny old game, blogging. We blog about our lives, but if our lives get busy, or messy, or it all gets too much (and what life doesn't), we tend to stop. Hope you find your blogging mojo again too, sounds like you will have lots to write about when it all settles back down! X
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2017 on teetering at The Homemade Heart
Thank you Louise. I must agree with you as far as the ironing is concerned.....! X
Toggle Commented Nov 13, 2017 on teetering at The Homemade Heart
Thank you so much Gina, it’s lovely to hear from you here x
Toggle Commented Nov 11, 2017 on teetering at The Homemade Heart
Thank you so much Christina, I really appreciate that you have been kind enough to read and comment after my lengthy absence! I will write up my Dalmally Show post soon, it was a good year, especially for my mum (three cups!) x
Toggle Commented Nov 10, 2017 on teetering at The Homemade Heart
I agree wholeheartedly with you Elizabeth, and was so pleased to see that you wrote a blog post yesterday, amd thank you again for the mention in that post! Very kind x
Toggle Commented Nov 10, 2017 on teetering at The Homemade Heart
Thank you so much for your kind words Barbara, I really appreciate your encouragement. X
Toggle Commented Nov 10, 2017 on teetering at The Homemade Heart
Thank you so much, that is very encouraging. Thank you for reading and having not abandoned me during my absence! X
Toggle Commented Nov 9, 2017 on teetering at The Homemade Heart
Thank you Chy. I will be dusting off my Bloglovin app soon and will come visit you, promise x
Toggle Commented Nov 9, 2017 on teetering at The Homemade Heart
What's going on? My blog has been teetering on the brink of extinction in recent months.... My last Cookery Calendar Challenge did not materialise (though I am still cooking) My quilt posts dried up (though I am still quilting) My book posts failed to materialise (though I am still reading) My seasonal posts have not been written (though I am still noting and enjoying the changing seasons) My annual Dalmally Show post has never been composed (though it was a good year for prizes and cups) My Christmas crafts and recipes have not been shared (though preparations are well underway) Why? The lure of Instagram (easy, colourful, quick, communicative) The less you blog....the less you blog (losing the habit) The difficulty of knowing how to restart (feeling mildly embarrassed) The nagging question 'Do I still want to do this?' (still having doubts) But.... The main reason I have not been around is a change in our lives which I have been focussed on adapting to, and it has taken time: Jacob has left home to go to University, and my little nest is half empty. One of my baby birds has flown, and is joyfully spreading his wings as a fledgling adult. A very large baby bird, at 6' 4" with size 12 feet, but my baby bird nevertheless. This is, of course, what we bring our children up to do, and I am truly happy and proud that my dear boy is forging ahead with his characteristic single minded energy and commitment, calmly taking this new situation in his stride. He is loving university life, keeping in touch with us, and staying true to himself, and I can't ask for more than that. However.... How to get used to the empty bedroom; the un-raided fridge, the clean bathroom, the lack of dirty dishes in the sitting room, the loft ladders no longer dominating our narrow hallway (Jacob had a man-cave in the loft, and I had grown used to daily negotiating my way past the wooden loft ladders). How to get used to not seeing him, cuddling him, talking to him every day, going in to his room at night to say goodnight, tell him that I love him, and go to bed knowing my wee family was all under one roof. In the end, it comes down to a hefty dose of self discipline. I haven't sent him to war, and I haven't sent him to sea, so I can cope, and I am coping, and will cope. I have also been very absorbed in supporting Isaac through some challenging health issues, which have been adversely affecting his well-being for a long time. We are now slowly - painfully slowly - moving forwards and hopefully life should begin to gradually (how I wish it were instantly) improve for my wonderful, creative, musical, sensitive, kind, funny, gentle boy. So... I have been busily assimilating the changed rhythms of home life for the last few months, and my familiar blogging subjects and themes have not felt a natural fit for what was happening, and how I was feeling. My lead carnivore (Jacob) is eating his dinners elsewhere now, and we are eating differently at home because of this absence, hence no Cookery Calendar Challenge. I have been sewing, and making quilts, but not taking photographs of them; it didn't seem important. I have been reading, but not as much as I usually do. I have been walking every day, but not taking my camera, or actively looking for 'good' photography subjects for the blog when out and about, as I previously would have. The question is.... Is blogging still something I want to do? Is it still a happy fit with what I want to write about and can I truly write about what is currently important in my life without compromising privacy, or sounding mysterious; neither of which are acceptable? And the answer... I honestly don't know. I have been thinking about writing this post for several weeks, not sure what to say, or how to say it. I have been writing this blog fairly consistently since January 2014, and I guess it is natural that there will be fallow periods now and then. This evening, sitting at my desk beside the fire, the winter wind howling round the house, it feels pleasant to be writing again; rather like meeting an old friend, and realising that you have missed them. I think there are things I would probably like to write about soon: I have a big pile of books waiting to be read, and several recommendations from recent reads. I have a Christmas quilt well underway. We are having a pre-Christmas brunch for family this weekend, and it would be nice to take photographs of the table, the food, the twinkling light from the candles. I will be planning my Christmas food gifts soon, and might make something new this year, and share the recipes.... Hmmm, I think my blog rehabilitation period may officially have begun. (*photographs from family holiday in Northumberland this summer) Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2017 at The Homemade Heart
Yes i really should put my carnivores to work , I hadn't thought of that! Sometimes when i have cooked a bigger chicken, Derek has retrieved small pieces of meat and I have mixed it with ham to make a risotto, or potato cakes, but more often if its a small chicken it does get thrown out. I am so glad you will be rejoining me at some point Christina, I really appreciate it X
Isn't is amazing what a visceral response we can have to food, even after many years. My husband still shudders at the memory of being forced to eat prunes at nursery school, over 45 years ago. It sounds like you have resolved to cook food that makes you happy, putting those bleaker food memories behind you x
I think your caveat 'done well' is the key. An indifferent tattie, nuked in the microwave, will never taste the same as one baked slowly in the oven! Happy to hear you are joining me this month Gina x
So lovely to hear from you lovely Linda, thank you for visiting! I haven't always been veggie, only for about 28 of the last 32 years (!) so i try not to mind about cooking meat for my family. I find lamb hard to cook, and sometimes trimming beef can really be a struggle, but I wear disposable gloves to cut up meat and that helps me a lot X
Thank you so much Sam, that is very kind of you. I am looking forward to using 'How I Cook', I have flicked through it and looks excellent. Fingers X'd for a good month of cooking x
Ha yes! I resorted to the more cowardly kitchen knife method of opening our baked potatoes! I know what you mean about parting with certain cook books, though it is good news for us charity-shop scourers! X
Thank you so much Louise. I always love hearing what other people cook x
Welcome to the Cookery Calendar Challenge for September; running a little late this month, but just the same format as usual, which, if you would like to join the challenge this month, you will find on the Cookery Calendar Challenge page. My chosen book for August was Nigel Slater's 'Real Food', a nice hardback copy bought for a song in our local branch of W.H. Smith. Nigel Slater's writing is just fabulous, and it is for this flowing, gentle, insightful prose that I love his books. I have almost never cooked from any of the (many) Nigel Slater books I own, though I have read and been inspired by them all. His writing is poetic, but never pretentious. In Nigel Slater's books, it is ok to have a big, fat, baked potato for dinner, or a mushroom sandwich, or sausages. Real Food is divided into chunky chapters; Potatoes; Chicken, Sausages, Garlic, Bread, Cheese, Ice Cream, and Chocolate. In each chapter, Nigel introduces the main ingredient in his thoughtful, informal style, and then presents some suggestions, and recipes, to bring out the best in each. He advocates quality, sustainability, and provenance, but not in a hectoring fashion. He somehow inspires the reader to want to eat only the best quality produce that we can afford, and then do comparatively little to it. In this vein, my first selected dish was baked potatoes. I have a great fondness for baked potatoes, as they were always regarded as a winter treat when I was growing up. Not the potatoes themselves (not even in the north of Scotland, in the 1970's, was life that hard), but the baking of them. My parents ran a series of small fishing hotels in the highlands, so our ovens in the summer were used for preparing meals for the guests who stayed at the hotel. To take up oven space, and time, with some big fat spuds was not really an option in the summer. However, in the winter months, the gigantic Aga with its huge ovens was all ours, as was the massive kitchen table, which again, we couldn't really use in the summer , but in the winter months, it was this table we sat around, where did our homework, ate our meals, drew, read, argued and played with my baby brother in his high chair. During those winter months, we felt like a 'normal family', whatever our idea of that was, and Mum cooked us mince and tatties, or macaroni cheese, and lots of other homely dishes that we didn't eat in the summer. In the summer months, our dinners were a derivation of whatever was being served to the guests, or just a quick snack rustled from the larder. In the cold winter months (and they really were cold), baked potatoes, fat, floury, roasting hot, with creamy white insides giving forth hissing clouds of steam when cut open, slathered in butter, lots of salt, and perhaps some grated cheese, made a perfect dinner. My own dear family however, has never shared the same nostalgic feelings about baked potatoes, and there is an inevitable collective groan when they are presented for dinner. Even with Nigel's encouraging words in my ear, the baked potato dinner was not seen in the 'enough's as good as a feast' category by the family, and as I didn't have Nigel's confidence, to serve simply with some tasty cheese and lots of butter and salt, I reverted to form, and over compensated for the plainness by providing, or rather over-providing, fillings, salads, toppings and relishes. Thus a simple, economical dinner, became a pricey, slightly wasteful dinner, with lots of little dribs and drabs of fillings left over. I bet if Nigel had been on spud duty my carnivores would have had a different attitude... On to dish number two, and this time it was a simple roast chicken. I cook roast chicken quite a lot for the family, and this time I went for the best (or almost the best, it was only a week night after all), and roasted it, served it with new potatoes, cut into chunks, and roasted red onions. It was rather a small chicken, as only Derek and Jacob were eating it. Being a veggie, I don't eat chicken, and Isaac doesn't really like chicken unless it is enjoying at least a nodding acquaintance with some breadcrumb coating. I thought the little dish looked rather pretty and appetising, and the carnivores enjoyed it. I must confess I can never face retrieving every last morsel of meat from the bones of the chicken, so once the meal is over, the carcass is swiftly disposed of into the food waste bin. Though not a squeamish vegetarian, denuding a chicken carcass is beyond me. I really like 'Real Food'. Like an inspiring teacher at school, who somehow teaches you without your ever noticing, Nigel helps you make the right decisions in the kitchen and cook with calm ease, which is what we all want on a week night when we just want to feed the family decent food with not too much fuss. My chosen book for September is 'How I Cook' by Skye Gyngell. I picked up this lovely hardback in the charity shop recently, drawn to its pleasing size, the very charming photograph of slightly tarnished silver cutlery on the front, and the double ribbon marker. Yes I really am that shallow. If you joined me last month, thank you. If you would like to join the challenge this month, this is what to do: The challenge is simple: the first week of every month, select a cookery book from your shelf, and cook two new recipes from it. The recipes can be for any meal. Cakes and bakes are excluded, but puddings are included. Don't worry about photographs; if you haven't taken a photograph of the dish, post a photograph of the recipe book you used. Similarly, you are welcome to share a recipe if you wish, but there is no pressure to do so. This project is more about the process of reconnecting with your cookery book collection, than about recipe sharing or food photography. At the beginning of the following month, blog about the recipes you have used, and announce your chosen cookery book for the month ahead. This is an ongoing project, it's never too late to get involved, and everyone is very welcome. I would appreciate a link back to this Cookery Calendar Challenge post in your post. Grab the Cookery Calendar Challenge badge to display on your blog too, if you like (just copy and paste the code on to your dashboard to display). You can also join via Instagram using hashtag #cookerycalendarchallenge (you will find me on Instagram @penny.homemadeheart ) An InLinkz Link-up Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2017 at The Homemade Heart
Hello Jayne, thank you so much for visiting and leaving such an interesting comment. I do hope you come back with your recipes in October, I would love to hear what you make x
It would be delightful if you joined next month, but no pressure! I actually love fish curry, and fish stew. X
That is funny Christina! Yes I agree about the little tomatoes, I eat a few from the bowl on the counter every time I walk past x
Wise woman! X
I have a feeling i may have his Veg somewhere, must have a look for it and see if I waem to it a little more x