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I just finished enjoying the BBC’s new series of P. G. Wodehouses’ ‘Blandings’. An excellent cast of familiar British faces such Imageas Timothy Spall, Jennifer Saunders and Mark Williams. I’m not overly familiar with Wodehouse, but I’d gathered that his talent lay in satirising the prim and proper era which he grew up in: the early 1900s. His fame for wit through language became apparent as the cast of Blandings relished in creative turns of phrase and anecdotes. My particular favourite was Spall reminiscing fondly how his deceased wife had such a way with words she once persuaded him to put beetroot in his mouth and he found it quite pleasant!

I wish I could remember some direct quotes, but the first episode has spiked my curiousity and after Caitlin Moran’s ‘Moranthology’ and a book about Woman’s Hour, I’ll be picking up my first copy of Wodehouse. I love…

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I thought this was really good!!

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

Father Brown

I’ve been a Father Brown fan for more than twenty years, but although I was delighted to hear that G. K. Chesterton’s classic sleuth would be coming to BBC1, my initial reaction to news of the show was negative.

  • First of all, Mark Williams. He was great in The Fast Show, and showed fine form with his turns in Being Human and Doctor Who, but surely he was absolutely nothing like short, dumpy Father Brown? (If asked to select a Fast Show actor to play Brown, I’d have gone with Charlie Higson.)
  • Also, who were all these other people? ‘Father Brown will be assisted in each episode by Parish Secretary Mrs McCarthy, the extravagant Lady Felicia… reformed criminal Sid Carter and the priest’s housekeeper Susie Jasinski’.
  • And the setting: ‘Kembleford in the Cotswolds.’ Part of the mystery of Father Brown is that he crops up in the…

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Aside

A very Snowy week. It started snowing on Monday morning and has continued, on and off all week. Friday was the worst (or best), we came home, lit an enormous fire and drank Prosecco. On Saturday Hester made Parsnip soup, we had a ‘Jamie Oliver’ hot chocolate and went out into the garden to make a snowman ‘lady’ which was actually harder than we thought because the snow is very fine and crumbly, still she looks very glamorous in a hat Hester got from Paris, a Monsoon scarf and a Cath Kidston shopping bag. Forecast says more snow this evening so we shall see……………

A bucketful of candles - just in case!  We did have a powercut last Sunday!

A bucketful of candles – just in case! We did have a powercut last Sunday!

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Witchhazel from the garden and Hester's handmade bird!

Witchhazel from the garden and a Hester’s handmade bird!

Hester and Graham

Hester and Graham

A Snowy Snow 'lady' with a Cath Kidston bag!

A Snowy Snow ‘lady’ with a Cath Kidston bag!

A Snowy Garden

A Snowy Garden

A Snowy Balcony

A Snowy Balcony

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A Snowy Week

The Weekend

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Homemade Firelighters

Homemade Firelighters

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Homemade Firelighters

Homemade Firelighters

Bread!!

Bread!!

Carrot, lentil and coriander soup

Carrot, lentil and coriander soup

Fridays's Dinner

Fridays’s Dinner

Friday's Pepperpot stew

Friday’s Pepperpot stew

Phew…it’s the weekend! Far too many days spent at work and it’s Parents Evening next week, so tried to do something nice. Friday evening we had Jamaican Pepperpot Stew, a little bit hot, but nice for a change. Walked to the shops this morning to buy daffodils and bread,  also came back with an orange expresso set!!  Made pine cone fire lighters, stars for over the fireplace and carrot and lentil soup (with coriander) for lunch and then watched The Scapeboat (AGAIN).  Feel better now and will be ready for work on Monday – just have to finish all the washing.

Moving Mushrooms & Preserving Chillies

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IMG_1498Have to go back to school tomorrow, so bag packed, marking sorted and clothes ready.  Wanted to do something nice today, but the weather is dull and dreary. So…..we have some lovely wooden mushrooms at the bottom of the garden ‘orchard’ and in the depths of winter, we never see them…so….I moved them up to the balcony and we can now see them from the sun room – maybe I will put fairy lights on them?  I had also had two chilli plants in the kitchen, by way of Christmas decorations and they were absolutely laden with chillies, far too many for us to eat, so I have preserved them and hopefully they will liven up winter stews, curries and stir fries.

Recipe:

600g medium green/red chillies
15 black peppercorns
5 bay leaves
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
5 teaspoons salt
6 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
1 litre white wine vinegar or rice vinegar

Carefully score the chillies from the stalk end to the tip on one side only and remove the seeds (use the handle of a teaspoon for this). Pour boiling water over the chillies, let them sit for 5 minutes, then drain. This will get rid of most of the seeds left behind. Next, put the black peppercorns, bay leaves, coriander, chillies and salt into a large jar or other airtight container. Put the sugar and the vinegar into a pan and heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. When this is quite hot, but not boiling, pour it into the jar with the chillies. Allow it to cool down and then put the lid on, put into the fridge and leave for a minimum of 2 weeks before using. They will keep in the fridge for at least 4 months.