Sunday, 30 November 2014

Shop Local

I went to a lovely craft fair yesterday intending to buy a few bits for Xmas presents, who was I fooling, of course I ended up buying bits for myself, and lovely bits they were too.  Locally made  crafts don't have to be expensive, there are usually little things that don't cost the earth if you are on a tight budget.  Often though people think craft items are expensive without realising how many hours went into making them.

Now I don't want to come across as all 'preachy' here.  Your money is yours to spend on what you want, but perhaps you would consider looking in the little local shops when you are out Xmas shopping.  The independently owned butchers, greengrocers, bakers, toy shops, music stores, book shops and craft shops. Go to local markets, get your Xmas trees from local growers and farm gate sellers.  Yes some things may be a bit more expensive, or they may not be, it is worth taking a look.  I recently bought some wool from a local wool shop that was cheaper than they were charging in a national budget store.

 My motto is 'less is more'.  I would rather buy one locally made item than several cheaper mass produced things.  I love going into towns that have lots of little independent, locally owned shops.  The sad thing is, if we don't support them they will not survive.  There has been a huge decline in the number of butchers, bakers and candlestick makers as the supermarkets dominate everything and drive them out of business.  Sadly the high streets are all beginning to look the same with their chain stores all looking identical to hundreds of others in towns across the country.
I have a Cornish food box delivery every week that contains only food produced in Cornwall and pays the producers a fair price.  The milk, eggs and meat are from local farms so I know they have been checked by the company to ensure that their welfare standards are good.  Last year I made up hampers of Cornish produce for Xmas presents, supporting local businesses and no shipping things halfway across the world so better for the environment.  The money went into the local economy and not into shareholders pockets.  But I also supported charities, this year as usual I got my cards from NACC, the Crohns Association as my son has Crohns disease. The money will go into research to find a cure for this terrible disease, and supporting sufferers.  Not local but 'close to home'.   There are lots of local charities that need your support for local hospices etc.

I'll get off my soap box now :)

Which local shops do you like to buy from?

I'm going to be making a chocolate cake with kidney beans later.....yes you read that correctly.  I will let you know how it turns out.

Chickpea xx

Welcome to Margaret :)

Friday, 28 November 2014

My Anti- Black Friday Day

Pixies Band T. Shirt

Today is apparently Black Friday, sorry but I won't be partaking, to me it feels like another ploy to get your money off you.  I would prefer to celebrate 'Wear your old band t.shirt to work' day which 6 Music fans are taking part in,  so even though I am not at work today I will be putting on my Pixies band t.shirt while I do the housework, I know, not very rock and roll :)  Technically it should be an OLD band t.shirt but mine seem to have shrunk in the wardrobe.

There are already reports on the news of fights breaking out at the shops, yes, fights!  Seriously people saving a few pounds is not worth fighting about, I would rather do without.

My family will be receiving slouchy chunky home made socks for Xmas, made with love and no fighting involved.  These are mine, well I had to test them out, made with James C Brett Marble Chunky £4.90 for 200g, I should be able  to make 2 pairs out of this so thats £2.45 a pair.  I found the pattern for them on

As you know I play in a Samba band which is huge fun but in the winter can be flipping freezing standing on the streets.  Tonight we are playing at a Turning on the Xmas Lights event in a local town. I will be putting as many thermal vests under my band hoodie as possible and looking like the Michelin man no doubt.   I came up with the idea of making myself a cowl in band colours to wear for the winter gigs, though the speed I knit it may be for next winter.  Our band colours are VERY bright and cheerful, the assistant in the wool shop looked at the colours and said mmmm they are 'interesting' colours.  She must have wondered what on earth I was making with florescent orange!

I want it to knit up quickly and be nice and chunky so I'm knitting with 4 threads in both colours.  I don't think it's quite so 'in your face' with both colours mixed in.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Chickpea xx

Welcome to Julie, Rambler and Rebecca :)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

My attempts at Basket-making, Socks and Gluten Free Xmas Cake

Hello lovely fellow bloggers, I hope you are all keeping warm if you are experiencing our sudden winter spell in the U.K.  I have even got our winter duvet out to put on the bed later!

I thought I would be brave and show you the first basket I made in the basket- making workshop I have been attending.  Don't snigger, I know it's a bit wonky and has bits sticking out where they shouldn't.  I haven't quite finished it yet as I have to get new secateurs to snip off some bits sticking out, but I love it and couldn't wait to start using it.  It looks very tiny in the photos as I have huge balls of chunky wool in it, but it is actually a decent size and could be used as a picnic basket in the summer.  During the next workshop I will start another, I am loving the whole experience, it is hard on my hands which aren't the strongest after having my carpal tunnel operated on, but really enjoyable.

These are some chunky socks I am knitting, yes I am becoming a bit obsessed with knitting socks after completing my first pair a couple of months ago.  After seeing Kristies mukluc slippers over on  which I love,  I thought I would try to add soles to them.  Thank you for the advice yesterday, I will be trying various suggestions, to see which works best.  I had the idea of knitting socks for the family for Xmas but it is going so slowly they may be ready for Xmas 2015 at this rate!

I have also included the recipe for the Gluten Free Xmas cake I made the other day.  I won't be able to tell you what it is like until after Xmas obviously but I liked the ingredients.  It is from Delicious Magazine

450 grams luxury mixed dried fruit
250g dried figs, quartered
175g glace cherries
150 ml ruby port (or dark rum)
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
225 g dairy-free sunflower margarine ( I used butter as I am not dairy free)
175g light muscovado sugar
4 large eggs
225g gluten free plain flour
2 tsp ground mixed spice
50g ground almonds
100g pecan nuts

I used port in it as I like it with cheese, whereas the rum probably wouldn't be used so would be a waste.


Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm loose bottomed deep round cake tin with baking paper

Put the dried fruit, cherries, port or rum and orange zest and juice into a large saucepan.  Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 15 mins.  Remove from the heat and cool.

Preheat the oven to 150 C/fan130c/gas2

Beat the margarine/butter and sugar together until pale.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Fold in the flour with a pinch of salt, then add the mixed spice and ground almonds until well combined.  Stir in the fruit and pecan nuts and spoon into the prepared tin.  Level the surface and bake for 3 1/2 hours until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Cool in the tin for 30 mins, then take out and cool on a rack.  Discard the baking paper and re wrap in baking paper and foil.  Keep in an airtight tin for up to 2 months

I will be 'feeding' it every couple of weeks, and decorating it nearer Xmas.

Chickpea xx

Monday, 24 November 2014

First Frost

What a stunner of a day, cold but it had a crystal clear icy beauty to it.  I couldn't resist pulling the car over to take some photos of this beautiful lake.  It is a bit of a shock to the system as we were walking into the city with no coats on Saturday it was so warm.  The trusty old ice scraper helped to get me on the road first thing as I headed off to my basket making class.   I'm knitting socks, cooking stews, casseroles, chunky soups and curries, putting extra layers on the bed and being eaten out of home by the birds who are flocking to the feeders.  Getting up in the night for a wee is freezing!  Yep it's winter.

We are trying to get the front door frame fixed as it is completely rotten and the wind would howl under it if I didn't have a draught excluder jammed up against it.   I have had three people out to look at it, but when they see that it is only a small job they don't want to know.  Isn't anyone interested in doing small jobs anymore?  I'm feeling very frustrated with the lack of progress on the house, it just isn't happening I need to get my ass into gear but life is busy busy busy at the moment.

I received the new Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall book from eldest son for my birthday, Light and Easy.  In this book he is looking for alternatives to using wheat, I've already spotted some recipes that look good so hopefully I will find some time to give them a try and let you know how I get on with them.

I will put the gluten free xmas cake recipe on the next post.  I am also trying to make some slipper socks with soles, I'm not sure how to make them so any ideas would be appreciated.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes, it was a lovely weekend.

Keep warm,

Chickpea xx

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Birthday Date with Matthew McConaughey

Today I became year older and I am truly grateful.  I don't mind getting older and all that comes with it, I am just happy with everyday I have with my family.  Last year I was not sure if my time was going to be limited but I was one of the lucky ones, so today was a day to celebrate life.  I had a lovely lunch with my 'boys' and then we went to the cinema where we watched Interstellar, you can keep your romantic stuff, my sons and I love geeky sci fi, and I could listen to Matthew McConaughey talk all night, that drawl!!  He's not bad to look at either :)

What did I get for my birthday I hear you ask?  Well I bought myself a washing machine!  It wasn't planned but my old old machine, that had originally been my dads eventually gave up.  After a few days of having dripping washing all over the house I was taking grumpiness to a new level so ordered a new one which will hopefully last me many years.  A washing machine is the one thing I would really hate to be without.  I have done my time in the past without a washing machine, boiling nappies on the stove and struggling to scrub and wring out the bearded ones oil covered work jeans and overalls by hand.  We don't have the equipment to do these things by hand anyway.  I remember my nanny had a big mangle to put the washing through, hard physical work, I don't think they had to worry about 'bingo' wings in those days.   What is the one thing that would push you over the edge if you had to do without?

I also received flowers and chocolates and bought this lovely face mask I found in the local sewing shop.  It was a bit worse for wear so I got it for half price.  You are probably wondering why I need a face mask, it's nothing kinky :)  Our band plays at the New Years Eve celebrations at St Ives and we like to bling up a bit with face masks and feathers so I thought this would be perfect.

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend.

Chickpea xx

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Truro City of Lights Festival

Last night was the Annual City of Lights parade through the City.  Our Samba band took part again  this year,  it was huge fun and a lovely community atmosphere.  Thousands attend each year,  we were lucky that the rain had cleared and it was reasonably warm, these events are so weather dependant.  Last year was dry but absolutely freezing, I had so many layers on I could hardly move, let alone feel my hands to play.   A huge amount of work goes into this and the children of the local schools make their own lanterns to carry.  I caught the bus into town standing next to a little girl with her lantern who was just so excited to be taking part she could not stop talking and was whacking everyone on the head with her lantern!  Her mother had to tell her to calm down or she wouldn't even make it to the parade.  When you are in the parade you don't actually see anything but watching the videos after I think my favourite is the wonderful horse.  Obviously this is not my video, I hope they don't mind me sharing it, and yes I am on there banging away on my drum.  I just watched the parade on the news and we drowned out the news presenter.  I bet he could have cursed us.

The theme was heroes, the 1st World War played a prominent part with a bear representing the Polish Army, the friends group who volunteered, the carrier pigeons and the horses.

After the parade the samba bands got together and had a 'mass samba play' and of course we then had to recuperate at a local pub.  I am absolutely exhausted this morning and mainlining coffee, so I hope you will excuse the short and lets face it pretty lazy on my part post.

Enjoy the video.

Chickpea xx

Welcome to Leanne :) a fellow blogger living in beautiful Cornwall

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Mysogynists, Hoarding and a Gluten Free Xmas Cake Disaster?

Thanks for all your comments about the troll.  Having spent many years helping women and children escape domestic abuse I am used to dealing with misogynists like this and have been called every name imaginable so his pathetic little rant didn't upset me.  The most common thing they could think to call me was a lesbian man hater, which is pretty funny as having a male partner and two sons I lived in a house full of men.  Sounds like a lot of you received the same comment, he obviously has far too much time on his hands!

Sue over at Our New Life in the Country has been talking about de-cluttering.  It made me think about my hoarding habits.  I don't have knik knacks, ornaments, a wardrobe full of clothes etc.  My hoarding habits involve books, anything to do with my sons, I can't bear to throw away their old school books, toys, drawings, favourite and home made baby/children clothes, especially made by my mum, their old story books, and  my craft items.  Also anything that can be recycled, old t.shirts etc for rag rugs and old cotton clothes for patchwork fill the spare bedroom/workroom. I also have lots of things that I cleared out of my parents house including furniture which is taking room up in the garage waiting to be 'up cycled'.   I am torn, I like the idea of having less 'stuff' it must be incredibly freeing, on the other hand I hate waste and can always think of things I can make with just about anything.  The bearded one and eldest son are get rid of everything types, my youngest son is like me and hangs on to everything.  I am having a battle with him at the moment over all the computer stuff he left in his wardrobe years ago when he moved out.  He knows if he takes it home his partner will want to get rid of it all. (also a get rid of everything type)  The kids old toys and books are now being used by the grandchildren which is lovely, and I can be smug over my decision to keep them.  I also love the fact that I have many of my original vinyl including The New York Dolls from about 1971 a prized possession.   What are your hoarding hangups, or are you a get rid of everything type of person?

I haven't made a Xmas cake for years.   I have never worked it out (though I'm sure many of you have and will put me right) but it just seems more expensive to buy all the ingredients, marzipan, icing, time in the oven, alcohol that we don't drink (more of a wine family) etc than to buy one.  It may well taste better as well as I'm not much of a baker due to not having a sweet tooth.  However since becoming gluten free, it is definitely cheaper to make my own than to buy a ridiculously overpriced GF one. So I had a go at making a gluten free Xmas cake yesterday. I'm not sure how it will turn out though as my oven decided to turn itself off halfway through. I didn't notice so I'm not sure how long it was off. It then appeared to be cooked a long time before the recipe said, so it could be undercooked, overcooked  or fingers crossed ok. It may be a very expensive disaster, but hey we will eat it anyway.  Have you made a cake this year?

Chickpea xx

(I am actually having a clear out at the moment, I think I may have to lie down to get over the stress of it all)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Baking With a Two Year Old and Dealing with Trolls

You may have noticed that I have activated comment moderation for the moment as I had a troll comment on my blog.   I really don't know why people would want to spend so much time on line making an ass of themselves, but hey ho as John from Going Gently would say,  I will remove the moderation again in a few days.  Do you have trouble with trolls?  How do you deal with them?  I don't want to keep the moderation on as then they have won.  I'm more than capable of dealing with trolls but I don't want people to have to read their pathetic little comments.  Why do people have to be so nasty, they must have sad and lonely lives.

We have been looking after the grandchildren for a few days to give their mum a rest.  They are 2 and 4 so our days have been full of wiping faces and bums.  We had an excursion to an indoor play area as it's been raining most days, we were both exhausted after climbing around the obstacle courses with them!  I think we were the only ones going around with the children, are we over protective grandparents?  The children enjoyed it but I think we will just put boots and rain macs on and go to the beach next time for some fresh air and create our own climbing challenges on rocks and slides down the dunes.  We have been building dens, having picnics in an indoor tent,  helping grandpa sweep the patio in the rain and baking buns.  All good fun.  They are going home tomorrow, the house will seem a lot quieter.

There has been a debate on Facebook about a teacher who slaughtered a rabbit in class and cut it up to show the children where their food came from.  There were a lot of people who thought this was a good thing to do as children need to see these things.  My thoughts are that we tell children how babies are made but we don't give them a demonstration!  I explained to my children exactly where their food came from and what was involved  in the production of meat.  They both decided to be vegetarians and still are.  There is enough cruelty in the world, I would rather they didn't witness it in school.  What are your thoughts?

Chickpea xx

Welcome to Elaine and Plain Jane :)

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Is it me or is it too flipping hot in here?

As part of my job I work in various places, yesterday I walked into the usual room I use and was hit by the intense heat, I had to walked out again.  It was ridiculously hot in there, I wouldn't have lasted 5 minutes, neither would my clients.  I asked for another room that was slightly cooler.    This is not a one off, go into the big stores in winter and they will be pumping out the heat causing everyone to strip off outer layers before they succumb to heat stroke.  I know little old me doesn't know much about energy issues.  I hear the 'experts' warning us about blackouts due to running out of this that and the other this winter, (the cynical side of me thinks they are trying to scare us into agreeing to new nuclear plants and fracking), but surely turning down the heat makes sense and would save an awful lot of energy.  Have we all become delicate little hot house flowers?   As I say to my sons who moan that our house is cold when they visit, put a jumper on!! It is not cold, just a sensible temperature that we are used to.   Is it just me, yes I am a woman of a certain age, or do you find the shops, public buildings etc just too warm?

In other news I have just ordered my Xmas cards from the Crohns Association.  This is a record, I have never done any preparation for Xmas so early, I may have to go and lie down now.   I really have to get on with it this year as we have a new grandchild due at Xmas so we have to be ready in case we are needed.

As I was making soup this morning I was struck by the beautiful colours that mark this time of year, so I squelched out into my garden to take some photos to share with you.  All the golds, oranges, reds and browns were even reflected in the food I love at this time of year.

Carrot and butternut squash soup

There are also new signs of life in the garden that are confusing me.  I put in some 'spring' bulbs a couple of weeks ago and they are already coming through.  I'm not a gardener but isn't this a bit early even for Cornwall, does it mean they will be all gone by Spring?  Perhaps they should be renamed winter bulbs.

Chickpea xx

Monday, 10 November 2014

Never Too Old to Learn a New Skill

It is beastly weather again here in Cornwall, high winds and heavy rain,  I was lucky enough to be tucked away in a lovely warm workshop learning how to make a basket.  I first had a go at this about 30 years ago, I made a wonky little fruit basket and while my mum who was on the same course made a lovely huge laundry basket.  My mother was very talented at anything she put her hands to!  We started off with a little round basket which are apparently the easiest to start with.  By the end of the day it had started taking shape, though needed a bit of manipulating by the tutor to sort out some lumps and bumps.  Once I got into a rhythm it was a really enjoyable process, and grew quickly.  There are four classes altogether and I will hopefully complete two baskets.  It's not the neatest basket, but not too bad for a first attempt by someone as cack handed as me and I will definitely use it when it's finished.

I really believe you are never too old to learn a new skill.   Have you learned a new skill lately or have plans to give something a go?  Are there any basket makers out there?

Chickpea xx

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Going Grey Gracefully?

I remember having a conversation with my mum many years ago about wether she should keep dying her hair or go grey gracefully.  It came to mind yesterday as I sat in the hairdressers chair having my roots done.  I have been dying my hair since I was a teenager.  It has been all different colours including green streaks at one stage (a happy accident).  The last few years I have been pretending I'm a blonde so the grey doesn't show up so much.  It's not that I don't like grey hair, I have a hankering after a long grey pigtail, it will suit my mad cat lady ambitions,  but I don't think I'm ready for that step yet, after all 50 is the new 30 isn't it?  Are you ready for the grey yet or have you already taken the plunge, and how do you go about it anyway?  It is all very well being grey but it is the growing out stage that I don't think I could cope with!

Talking of hair, I haven't seen any mo's about for Movember this year yet, I hope it is still popular it is a brilliant way of raising awareness and money for mens health.  Do you know someone who is taking part?

I had some cooking apples left over from the chutney making the other day so I thought I would make some seasonal tasting baked apples.  Remove the cores and stuff the holes with mincemeat, cut a line around the middle of the apple so it can expand as it cooks and put in the oven until they are soft.  Very easy and delicious.

I had a celeriac in my veg box this week, I have put it in soups and mashed it with potatoes before, has anyone got any more exciting ideas of what to do with it?

Chickpea xx

Thursday, 6 November 2014

I've Been Rocked and the Promised Chutney Recipe

When I left for work yesterday morning, I found this beautiful rock in my flower pot by the front door.  There was a note attached explaining that it was from an organisation called Who Gives A Rock.  The letter went on to say

"You have been nominated  by ............ to be 'rocked'.

"Please find enclosed a small gift  from 'Who Gives a Rock' which we have painted in recognition of your awesomeness.

Who Gives A Rock, celebrate what is known as Art Abandonment, meaning we paint rocks and pebbles then leave them lying around as  presents for the unsuspecting public.

We also post and deliver pebbles, but only to very special people, and arrange treasure hunts with clues on our Facebook page or sent to your inbox.

Our mission is to bring a smile to your face by brightening your surroundings and sharing the pebble love. "

It is all done by anonymous artists, isn't it a wonderful idea!  I had not heard of it before and never been lucky enough to find one of their rocks, so I was surprised and thrilled to be nominated for one of their rocks.  I was nominated by the wife of someone who works with OH or (The Bearded One as he will henceforth be known, it suites him better) Not sure what I have done to deserve it :)  I went on their Facebook page and they seem to have different themes for their rocks, mine being Hope.  You can find out more about them on their Facebook page Who Gives A Rock.  (the pebbles are not taken from the beach, they are from a sustainable source)

In other news, the woodpecker visited my garden again today, of course by the time I got the camera it was gone.  It will be the death of me, running through the house in slippers on a tiled floor is not recommended.  Oh and I have spent 2 days trying to get access to the work computer to log my expenses, for some reason I am blocked.  Life was so much easier when I wrote them on a piece of paper and handed it in.


Makes approx 4 lbs

Keeps 9 months

2 kg (4 1/2lbs) cooking apples peeled, cored and chopped
3 onions peeled and finely chopped
2.5 cm (1 inch) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
115g (4 oz) sultanas
125 g (4 1/2 oz) ready to eat stoned dates, chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 litre (1 3/4 pts) cider vinegar
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) granulated sugar

Put the apples, onions, ginger, sultanas, dates and mustard seeds in a preserving pan or large heavy based stainless steel saucepan.  Stir everything together, then pour in the cider vinegar and add the sugar.

Cook on a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil, reduce the heat, and cook gently for about 1 1/2 hours.  Stir continuously near the end of the cooking time so that the chutney doesn't catch on the base of the pan.  The mixture is ready when it is thick and sticky.

Ladle into warm sterilised jars with non-metallic or vinegar proof lids, making sure there are no air gaps.  Cover each pot with a waxed paper disc, seal and label.  Store in a cool, dark place.  Allow the flavours to mature for 1 month and refrigerate after opening.

Easy peasy, just make sure it is nice and thick, mine took a little longer than they said.

The recipe was taken from a DK/Soil Association book The Preserving Book by Lynda Brown, another lovely book acquired at a very reasonable price from work place booksellers.   Too tempting not to buy!


Chickpea xx

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Blogger Ate My Homework.

My day got off to a good start today when a beautiful double rainbow appeared in the sky as I was driving to work.  It then went downhill when I realised half way through the morning that my blouse was on back to front.  Yep highly professional as usual.   Then got a whole lot better as I was sitting eating my lunch and a woodpecker landed in the tree right beside our patio door.  I have never seen one so close before, though it did insist on lurking on the other side of the trunk.   Unfortunately the day took a dive when I typed a huge post which was absolutely brilliant, my best yet, award winning writing.....honest.....which then disappeared.

Anyway what I was rambling on about was the imminent arrival of winter and trundling around seriously out in the middle of nowhere little roads where if I were to break down or hit a famously hard Cornish hedge I would have to walk miles for help.  So this year I thought I would get organised early, my friends have probably fainted at this stage.  My boot is now full of a blanket, boots, coat, hat, gloves, scarf, de-icer, screen cleaner, torch with SPARE BATTERIES!  I think I excelled myself with that little extra.  As I flit around to various overheated locations in my work role I am often dressed as if it is summer, so actually getting out of the car to walk far would probably see me off.  The AA has an excellent winter driving check list here It advises carrying snacks in the car in case you are stuck anywhere, I would be eating them if I was stuck in traffic for five minutes!

So over to you, what are your winter essentials in the car?

I promised you a chutney recipe, I know how excited you were, but I am still sulking about losing the damn thing that took ages to type out so I will put it in my next post.

Chickpea xx

Welcome to Deb :)

Sorry for any typos, I'm pressing the publish button before the damn thing eats my post again.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Seasonal Cooking and a Spooky Walk through the Woods

We had a fun filled night at the Dead of Night Dance in Tehidy Woods on Friday evening.  There was something magical about wondering through the woods in the dark.  They sent us through the woods in small groups following a winding path where we were invited through the gates to the otherworld, along the way meeting lost souls who told us their stories.  Many of our fellow travellers had come along dressed in all sorts of wonderful costumes for the occasion, carrying lanterns and baskets of food.  As we progressed we could hear previous groups screaming, we soon found out why when a 'werewolf' scuttled through the woods and jumped out at us.  We then came to a large tent where we sat on hay bales to watch the entertainment.  Scary stories were told through song and dance, followed by a cauldron of woodland stew and various brews.  The actors and audience then danced the night away to Thriller, Ghost Town, Ghostbuster, Bat out of Hell and all the other spook themed tunes they could find.

I love the change of seasons and the change in food that they bring.  I have a weekly Cornish veg box delivery that only supplies things grown or produced in Cornwall.   The contents of the veg boxes mark the changes of season as there is no out of season veggies.  If you go into to any supermarket it could be easy to not realise there are seasonal food as things are shipped in from all over the world.  This weeks veg box contained the first red cabbage, I get excited about these things!  I have just finished last years braised red cabbage from the freezer, so time to start making some more.  I love eating it with a roast dinner and we always have some with our Xmas dinner.  In fact give me a plate of veggies, roast potatoes and all the accompaniments and I'm happy.  You can keep your Turkey.

 I thought I would try a different recipe this year based on a Felicity Cloake recipe out of The Guardian, however I always cook my braised red cabbage in the slow cooker rather than on the stove.  The cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are wintery warming spices that I love at this time of year.

Braised Red Cabbage

50 g butter
1 red onion
1 cinnamon stick or 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 grated or ground nutmeg
1 red cabbage cut into chunks and washed
1 cooking apple
3 tbs muscovado sugar
150 ml balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons cranberry sauce

In a saucepan melt the butter and soften the onion for a few minutes.

Add the spices and cook for one minute.  As the spices hit the pan the kitchen is filled with their wonderful aroma

Tip in the red cabbage and stir to coat everything with the butter so it glistens.

You could carry on cooking in the saucepan at this stage but I tip it all into my slow cooker along with the apple, sugar and vinegar.

Give it a good stir and I cook it on high for about 4 hours, adding the cranberry sauce half way through.  Every slow cooker is different, my high setting isn't very hot, or you may prefer to put it on low for longer.  You can drain off any extra liquid if you have any.  Season well

I freeze my braised red cabbage so I have some throughout the year.  Defrost, and heat adding some butter to serve.  I have just tasted it and think I prefer it to last years recipe, so this will go into my recipe book I am creating with all my favourite recipes.  I often find a lovely recipe only to forget where I got it from so it's time I got organised!

This afternoon I made some chutney, I will include the recipe in my next post.  The whole house smells of spices now.

Do you have any favourite seasonal tastes and smells?

Chickpea xx

Welcome to Jeannette :)