Saturday, 30 March 2013


Just a very quick barge update. Electrics run, plasterboard going up and it is beginning to look like somewhere to live instead of a workshop. More to follow later .....

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

It's Official

We are going to be grandparents! I have known for a couple of weeks but I was sworn to secrecy, how mean was that when all I wanted to do was shout it from the roof tops! I am so excited, Baby Gap here I come ......

Sunday, 17 March 2013

More Food Confusion

I was looking for a recipe for Bread Pudding to veganize and I realised that once again there is real confusion about what a traditional British bread pudding is. I found so many recipes for "bread pudding" which to my mind were actually Bread and Butter puddings. Bread pudding is wonderfully dark, stodgy and packed with fruit. It is eaten by the slice and it can be served hot or cold, with cream, custard or ice cream. You can buy it in the bakers alongside the other cakes. My mum makes the most amazing bread pudding and I am drooling at the thought!

Here is the recipe that I am going to veganize, but I thought I would give it to you straight for all you non vegans to try.



8 oz bread (stale bread preferably, white or brown)
1 oz shredded suet (vegetarian please)
1 or 2 teaspoon mixed spice
3 oz soft brown natural sugar
4 oz sultanas or mixed dried fruit
1 egg (1 tablespoon flax seeds soaked in water or any other vegan alternative)


Soak the bread in water until it is soft.
Squeeze most of the water out and put the bread in a bowl.
Add the suet, spice, sugar and fruit and mix well so that the bread breaks up and mixes in. If the mixture feels too sloppy, add a tablespoon of flour.
Add the lightly beaten egg (or vegan alternative) and mix well again.
Put in a greased dish or tin and cook in the middle of the oven (350F / 180C / GM 4) for about an hour or until it is risen up in the middle and firm to the touch. If you want to make it really traditional, sprinkle sugar over the top for a bit of extra crunch.
Serve hot with cream, custard or ice cream or cold by the slice.

Saturday, 16 March 2013


Today a Dutchman told me a story about the invention of whiskey - he said that apparently the Irish were the first to distill whiskey.  But they used it to rub on their horses' flanks, it was the Scots who discovered that you could drink it!  True or I am being spun a yarn?  Mel over to you ......

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Avocado Toast

Where have you been all my life! Mashed avocado on hot, buttered granary toast, seasoned with salt and pepper. Simple, but tastes like a little bit of heaven on a plate. Mmmmmm.....

Photo via

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Us and Them and Food

I love looking at food blogs, mainly because I love eating! I can spend hours trawling through them before I end up with just about enough time to knock up beans on toast for tea! A lot of the blogs I read are from the US and at the moment they seem to be obsessed with St Patrick's Day fare. What has really struck me though is other country's ideas about what constitutes traditional fare in other countries.
I cannot count how many times I have seen that corned beef and cabbage is traditional for the Irish to serve up on 17th March. Really, I thought, corned beef doesn't sound very Irish to me, so I did a bit of research. It turns out that corned beef and cabbage has actually become the US traditional dish for St Patrick's Day because the original Irish immigrants could not afford (or get) the bacon or pork that they would have served up otherwise. It has become so established that the US tourists to Ireland were disappointed when they could not get it. Apparently these days corned beef and cabbage is now served up to appease the tourists, thereby perpetuating the myth!!
I suppose it is a bit the same with the English muffins that here in England we apparently eat for breakfast! Does anyone actually know where I can even buy them? I wonder what we consider traditional fare for the States that we are way off the mark with? Do they really eat Key Lime Pie or New York Vanilla Cheesecake, what about BBQ'd ribs and spices wedges, and I would be seriously disappointed if there was not a burger to be found! If I come to Canada please reassure me that I really am going to get Maple Syrup in copious quantities and over everything! I know that one of Britain's most popular foods, chicken tikka masala, is not even served up in India but what about channa masala?
Not that any of it really matters, it would be a very boring world if we all ate the same, part of the fun is discovering new dishes whether they are authentic or not.
Finally, when I was looking for a picture to illustrate this post I realised that my idea of corned beef and the US version of corned beef appear to be very different. Corned beef to me is the mush that comes out of a tin. Even though I am now a confirmed veggie, I have always disliked corned beef, yet Pete loves it, cold in sandwiches and hot in fritters or hash (another American traditional dish?). The American version looks more like boiled beef, can anyone enlighten me please?

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Blogging Whilst Living Afloat

It may appear that I have not been around for a while, but I promise you I have been lurking about, reading your blogs. Getting the Internet on the boat should be easy in this day and age. I have to use 3G as I do not have access to any kind of wifi. Tollesbury is too remote for BT Openzone (way too advanced, we don't even have gas!). My deal gives me 2GB per month which, considering I don't watch much television, is very little. Any extra I use costs me a fortune, hence you may hear from me at the beginning of the month and then I go silent for a while. I can read your blogs at work but blogger doesn't like my comments, often condemning them to your spam box, and the MoD computer system won't let me post on my blog. So I decided to get some extra usage. I rang Orange first as my provider and asked if I could get some extra GBs, no they replied not possible on your plan. So I went away and found a SIM card only deal with 5GB for £15 with T Mobile (who are in cohorts with Orange somehow). I rang Orange again and asked if I could use this with my ipad, "no" again was the answer. I explained my problem again and said that although I had been with Orange for 15 years, I would be leaving them as soon as my contract expired (end of the year). "Hold on" said the young man, "I will see what I can do". A couple of minutes later he came back giving me the 5GB at no extra cost, because I am such a valued customer! So, thank you Orange I do appreciate my extra usage but why did I have to threaten to leave? The good news (or bad news depending how you look at it) is that you will hear from me a bit more often from the end of this month (when the extra GBs kick in). In the meantime here is an entirely gratuitous photo of me and my oh so handsome boys (a bit of motherly bias creeping in there for which I make no apology!)