March 19, 2011
The Easter Book is a look at some of the foods we eat around Easter. Meals like lamb, Hot Cross Buns and Simnel cake are all covered and include simple to make recipes for you to try.
Not only that we take a look at some of the many traditions and foods that Germany and Sweden practice and eat at Easter, from the Easter Bread, Gravlax, Jansson’s temptation and others. All the recipes in this book are simple to follow with outstanding results you and the family will love to eat this Easter.
Included within each chapter is information on such things as why we eat lamb and how the idea of eating lamb for Easter came into being.
Why we have the German’s to thank for some of today’s popular traditions.
Did you know that the Easter bunny came from the Germans?
What other traditions do the Germans have today and are any of them from days gone by?
1. Easter is a time to burn the Christmas trees in Germany!
2. A tradition started in Germany was the boiling and painting of eggs which were then used to decorate bushes and trees to represent the “Easter Tree.” The boiled and painted eggs represented new life, sunlight and growth for the oncoming spring.
Want to know the connection between birch, witches and Sweden?
- The whole Easter affair in Sweden starts on Thursday when witches flew off to Mount Blåkulla or Blue Mountain to meet with the devil.
- People painted crosses on their doors to ward off these evil spirits that were supposed to be around and also hid broomsticks.
Read the book to find out why they hid broomsticks in Sweden and more!
The Easter Book
The Easter Book– Amazon Kindle Version
The Easter Book– Other E-reader formats including Epub, Palm Doc and more
March 19, 2011
Now that spring is around the corner many of you will be thinking about the garden. Looking outside at your garden now, all you see is a mess and you wonder how on earth you can change your garden into one of stunning beauty without spending a fortune doing it.
It is possible to create a garden to die for, to have everyone who sees the finished outcome stop and admire your wonderful, flower filled garden, it is possible without having to re-mortgage the house. Frugal gardening is the way forward, it’s easy to do with no shame involved and is really fun too.
Frugal gardening isn’t hard to do especially if you follow a few simple ideas. Some are listed below for you to try, then purchase my book The Frugal Gardener which is packed full of more frugal hints, tips and ideas on how to have a garden the neighbor’s will be jealous off and it won’t cost you much.
Frugal Gardening: Start by Looking Around the House
So how can you be frugal in the garden? Well for starters have a look around the house. What you are looking for is any containers that you could use. Plastic containers that once contained food from supermarkets are great for this and can be used as seed trays. If they have lids then you have a simple propagator which will help the young tender shoots grow big and strong.
Glass jars are great for storing things in. maybe you have markers, pens, bits of string or other small items scattered over the greenhouse or house. Well using glass jars to store them in are wonderful and just look in the kitchen cupboard. In there you are bound to find some whether it contains coffee, sauces or jams.
If you are stuck for plant pots and want to start off some seeds there is another alternative and that is the metal can you get things like peas, carrots and other foods. You will have to give them a good clean out then put holes in the bottom, but they are great for emergency plant pots when you have none and stuck for money.
If you have lots of plants, seeds or herbs in pots but don’t have any identifiers so you know what’s what then this method works. Take a plastic margarine tub and after cleaning cut the plant identity markers out of the tub and lid. Ok so there will be writing on one side but the inside is white and perfect for you to write that plant name. Just remember to use a permanent marker!
These are just a few of the frugal gardening tips you can use in the garden but even there’s more inside my book The Frugal Gardener. The book is packed full of gardening tips including tips on vegetable gardening, herbs, and many other topics every gardener should know if he is to become a frugal gardener.
Why not purchase it now and see what frugal gardening will do for you and your garden this year? One thing is certain, you will have a garden that’s full of blooming flowers, shrubs, herbs and vegetables which will be the envy of everyone.
The Frugal Gardener
The Frugal Cookbook– Amazon Kindle version
The Easter Book– Amazon Kindle version
March 17, 2011
I came across this article earlier about gardening from Computer Active:
Use your computer to help you with gardening tasks and ideas – Computeractive – PC help.
It’s a really good article giving you hints & tips about what to do in the garden, you can use the computer to help you with the tasks too.
March 8, 2011
Today it’s Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday and I hope you are all going to be having pancakes tonight for tea!
But did you know that only 1 in 10 of us will make our own pancake batter this Pancake Day?
Now I don’t have a problem with all that pre-made rubb……but surely just this once you could all go out buy a small bag of flour, a few eggs and a carton of milk then make your own lovely and delicious tasting pancakes?
Go on, you know you want to!!!
March 7, 2011
I don’t have any bad habits unless you listen to the other half. Then I have only 1 bad fault, apart from being a British snail (I do everything slowly she says!) Well that habit is quite a bad habit, even I would agree with that but quitting smoking is just hard work.
Images via Wikipedia
Yes I smoke much to the disdain of the better half. I smoke about 15-20 a day and have been smoking since I was 16, I am 40 cough, cough, something now. I know it’s a bad, filthy habit BUT stopping is really difficult. I have tried pretty much everything from the gum, patches and the inhalers all have done squat in helping me quit. Then at the other end of the spectrum hypnosis, acupuncture and pure will power alone have done little or nothing in helping me fight this one demon I desperately want to get rid of. In fact the last time I tried to quit using will power my now x brought me a pack of cigarettes and threw them at me.
Image by stallio via Flickr
“If you don’t start smoking again I will leave you.” She said looking at me like she really would. Wish I hadn’t smoked now, maybe we would have done it sooner!!!
I have even tried Champix from the doctors. The first time they were great and I “almost” quit. (Yes I know not good enough) But sadly the 2nd time I tried them they had no effect on me whatsoever and have now stopped taking them. They are good though and I recommend you going to see your GP and ask for them.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy. Those gremlins inside you head start knawing away at your mind telling you you need a smoke. Try to ignore them at your peril too. They then start a more aggressive campaign to get that small white cancerous stick into your mouth and pollute your body and mind with that toxic smoke. In the end sweat appears on your brow and no matter what you are doing nothing can remove those thoughts from your mind. The thoughts those horrible gremlins firmly implanted into every nook and cranny of a now desperate mind. The thoughts of lighting up another cigarette.
Just 1 more, PLEASE!!!
When you smoke a cigarette you are inhaling 4000 different chemicals including tar, ammonia, benzene and carbon monoxide plus over 50 other toxic chemicals which are known to cause cancer! Wow that’s some serous stuff inside 1 cigarette. Knowing all that does it help you to quit? Knowing just 1 cigarette can kill you will it deter you or force you to say enough is enough, no more? No me neither.
You see smoking is addictive, very, very addictive. So much more addictive than, say taking some of the very bad drugs that seem to be freely available on the streets right now. Just 1 puff on a cigarette can lead you into the murky depths of a smoking career that can last until. Well they finally kill you. And they will
in the end no doubt about that.
No matter what we are told about smoking, from the harmful effects it has on our bodies, the early deaths, the strain on our Health Service to the fact it’s just unsocial, we smokers still smoke.
Well No Smoking Day is on Wednesday the 9th of March, that’s a couple of days from now. I WILL try and quit once more. I will quit because I do want to see my kids and grandkids grow up to old age. I want to have a fit and
healthy middle aged body. I want to save money so me and the little demon can go on trips around Europe. And, most of all I will quit because I WANT TO QUIT.
Oh and if I don’t SHE WILL KILL ME!!!
Now I am telling that to the 4 odd billion internet users out there that I will try to quit smoking. Wow now I will have to quit! Anybody with me??? Ahhh you chickens, lets quit together.
Just 1 other thing. If you live within 100 miles of me I would move now. Might get messy for a while!!!
March 6, 2011
In Sweden it was customary on the last Tuesday before Lent to use up all their fat like butter, oil etc. and 1 way of using it all up was by making these buns. Over the centuries this day became known as Fat Tuesday, a day which we call Shrove Tuesday. The Semla Buns were originally eaten in a bowl of warm milk as cream hadn’t been invented. That tradition is still practiced in Sweden today even though the use of cream instead of warm milk has taken over.
Imagine a cream bun topped off with icing sugar and you will have a rough idea of how the Semla Bun looks like. The only difference is the cream bun is soft and melts in the mouth whereas a Semla Bun is more like bread and a little harder. But believe me they are just as tasty as a cream bun, very filling and great on Shrove or Fat Tuesday. Why not have these after eating pancakes?
What You Will Need
- 70g baking margarine
- 175ml milk
- 25g yeast
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- 50g sugar
- 500g flour
For the Filling
- Carton of Whipping cream or a can
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 150g marzipan
- Melt the margarine in a pan on a medium heat.
- Stir the milk into the melted margarine. Keep stirring until the mixture is warm.
- Put the yeast into a bowl then add some of the liquid. You need just enough to dissolve the yeast.
- Once the yeast has dissolved add the remaining liquid, salt, cardamom, egg, sugar and flour. Mix everything together and work into a dough.
- Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a tea towel and allow to rise. Once risen remove dough from bowl and place dough onto a lightly floured surface.
- Heat up the oven to 220C or gas mark 7.
- Make 12 small balls about tennis ball size from the dough and place them on lightly greased baking sheets.
- Beat the egg in a cup or dish then brush onto the buns for glazing.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the buns are golden in colour. Remove and cool off at a wire rack.
- Once cool, cut a piece about ½ inch thick off of the top of the bun and set aside.
- Scoop out the centre of the buns with a teaspoon leaving a shell about ½ inch thick.
- Tear up the pieces you have removed into small pieces and put into a bowl.
- Moisten the pieces with milk then add the marzipan. Stir the mixture until smooth.
- If using whipping cream add some sugar into a bowl along with the cream. Whisk until the cream is firm or stiff.
- Fill each shell with a spoonful of marzipan filling then top off with the cream.
- Replace the tops onto the buns, dust with icing sugar then serve.
March 6, 2011
Shrove Tuesday will soon be upon us. The day when everyone should eat pancakes for tea covered with their favourite toppings. Kids of all ages love pancakes at any time of year but on Pancake Day they really do come into their own.
There are many ways in which you can make pancake batter including going to the shops or supermarket and buying pre-made batter or the dry ingredients. Why do that? All you need are a couple of eggs, flour, butter and a few other everyday ingredients and hey presto, you have all the things you need to make your own.
The following recipe is simple to make with the finished product tasting so nice the kids will have you making pancakes every day, not just for Pancake Day!
· 110g plain flour
· 2 eggs
· 175ml milk
· 1 omelette or pancake pan
· Butter for greasing the pan
· Lemon juice
· Maple syrup
· Hot chocolate
1. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Then begin whisking the eggs into the flour making sure you get everything from around the edges.
2. Next while whisking, slowly add the milk to the ingredients. Keep whisking and pouring until all the milk has been used and the batter is smooth and creamy, like a thin cream.
3. Heat the pan really hot, and then turn the heat down to medium. As the pan is heating up lightly rub some butter all around the pan. Be careful as you don’t want to burn yourself. Don’t use to much butter as any left in the pan will make the batter heavy.
4. Ladle some of the batter into the centre of the hot pan then slowly turn and twist the pan. This will make the batter run all over the pan and create a pancake.
5. Cook the pancake on the medium heat until the top starts to bubble then turn or flip the pancake over. You want a nice golden brown colour on the pancake, this will usually take a minute or two.
6. Once cooked remove by sliding the pancake from the pan onto a large plate. Repeat the process until you have used all the mixture.
7. You can either serve the pancakes as you make them or make all the pancakes and serve slightly cool on a plate, the choice is yours.
8. Cover the pancakes with your favourite topping and enjoy.
As you can see it really is simple to make your own pancakes, so why not try it this Pancake Day? It beats shop brought batter any day and your family will love them.
Happy Pancake Day!!!
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