Proper Homecooked Meals

When I think of a housewife, I always think of delicous home cooking, freshly baked cakes and bread and other tasty delicacies.

I want to be able to provide lovely meals and treats for my family and to fill the house with aromas of delicious cooking.

I think that a meal that has taken time to make is filled with love and nutrition and always tastes so much better.

At the moment it is sometimes difficult having the time to prepare a meal and entertain my 11 month old at the same time! However, I do try my best to make sure we eat well.

This week I made a bolognese that was simmerimg for over an hour on the stove. I followed a recipe but tweaked the ingredients slightly. Often I just cook down some mince and veg and tip a tin of tomatoes on the top and it is done! – there is absolutely nothing wrong with this but there is a huge flavour difference in a bolognese that is made with stock and left to simmer for all the flavours to really come through. I also get more satisfaction knowing that I have taken my time over a meal.

I also made a roast chicken dinner on Sunday and with the leftover chicken made a chicken cobbler on Monday. I am so pleased that I have been able to get these meals made this week and that we can enjoy them together as a family.

I also think good homecooking is important as it can be really healthy and nutritious and as a family I want us to eat well and experience new flavours together.

Obviously cakes aren’t too healthy but a homemade cake is so much better than a shop bought one and I often reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe to make it a little healthier.

I aspire to be the housewife who always has homemade cakes, biscuits or bread available whenever anybody comes round.


Hello – I am Back!

It has been nearly a year since my last blog post! Since then my husband and I welcomed our new daughter into the world. She is 10 and half months now and has been keeping me very busy. I am really enjoying life as a Mum!

Those of you who read my blog posts before are probably aware that I am a very private person – which seems odd seeing as I have a blog available for all to view on the internet! I feel that I have a lot to share that doesn’t have to include personal details. For example, baking, gardening, home projects etc. I really enjoyed blogging about those things and look forward to getting back into it.

You will probably also noticed that I didn’t blog about my pregnancy and birth journey. This is because I want my blog to be more about home lifestyle and homemaking.

I am sure there will still be some posts about life as a new Mum but as you know I won’t be sharing photos or personal details.

We have lots planned for the next few months and I have lots of new ideas for blog posts.

Thank you for reading and sticking with me! I look forward to restarting my blogging journey.

Happenings over the last month

Over the last month the focus has been on getting the house prepared and ready for the new arrival!

The nursery is almost complete, it is just in need of some soft furnishings, however the baby won’t be sleeping in there for the first few months. The furniture fits in really well as it is quite a small room.

We have also redecorated the downstairs toilet as the paint was peeling off and it looked messy. We have changed the colour which makes the room much brighter and have gone for wallpaper to cover the problem patches on the walls.

Another room that has had a good clean and tidy is the pantry. It was in need of a good tidy and freshen up and is now the perfect place to store the pram.

I have been doing a bit of harvesting in the garden and have picked over a dozen apples from my Braeburn apple tree. They are very tasty and make lovely apple scones. I have also picked a few grapes from the grape vine and have pulled up all my parsnips. I certainly wouldn’t win any prizes for them but they do taste good! I have chopped and blanched them ready to go in the freezer for whenever we want them.

I have also had a tidy up in the garden. I have raked over the vegetable beds that are no longer in use and have pruned and tidied some of the fruit bushes and trees. I still have kale, leeks and brussel sprouts in one bed so I shall see how well they turn out over the winter months. It is looking quite bare out there now.

Our dog, Maple turned 1 yesterday! She is no longer a puppy! We got her at the beginning of December when she was 8 weeks old. She is very good and loves lots of fuss!

I haven’t been baking as much as I used to but did make some tasty Challah bread a couple of weeks ago and also made some heart shaped apple scones.

Monday’s Bakes

I haven’t had a baking Monday for a long time now and really wanted to get back into it. I think the last time I made bread was in February!!

I went out in the morning and made sure that I had yeast and flour. I also had a large number of eggs that needed using up so this was a good incentive to bake.

I decided I would make a savoury bread and a fruit bread that can be toasted for breakfast. I chose to make Challah breads as I have made these before and my husband and I both enjoy them. (The recipe also uses 5 eggs)! I find that this bread bakes really well and is always soft and fluffy. 

The recipe made two loaves so I have one in the freezer ready for another week.

For my fruit bread I followed a recipe for sultana bread but used dried mixed fruit instead and added a little mixed spice. 

I also made a fruit cake in a loaf tin so that it is easier for packing in a lunch box. It will keep well for a week so I don’t need to make any other cake. As there are only two of us we struggle to get through homemade cake so I prefer to make smaller items or things that last longer.

I also made a quiche which was a great way to use up my eggs and leftover cauliflower and broccoli. I sliced and par boiled the vegetables and let them cool. I then arranged them in my short crust pastry case that I had just baked. I topped this with an egg and milk mixture to them with seasoning, thyme, a little mustard and some cheddar. 

We had half of this for dinner and then I have put the other half in the freezer for a meal another day.

I am very pleased with my bakes and feel like I had a productive Monday afternoon.

Preserving Fruit and Veg

Yesterday I had a good tidy up in the garden and harvested the last of my carrots and beetroots. I also picked a few green beans and lots of sticks of rhubarb.

There wasn’t a huge amount of produce but I have made sure it hasn’t gone to waste. I have chopped and blanched the carrots and green beans and frozen them. The beetroot has been fully cooked, peeled, chopped and bagged ready to be frozen. It is nice to know that I can eat seasonal produce throughout the year because of preserving it in the freezer. 
I also have other fruit in the freezer from earlier in the season which I will be able to use in desserts and jams.

With the rhubarb, I am currently making a rhubarb and orange jam which ,once jarred, will keep for about a year.

I also have a food dehydrator that I am hoping to experiment with more over time. I have used it to make prunes from the plums I grew and have also dried tomatoes and some herbs in there. I am wanting to make some apple crisps soon and have a tree full of Braeburn apples that are not far off being ripe enough to pick. 

Elsewhere in the garden I have grapes ripening on the vine, I was hoping that a whole bunch would ripen at the same time but that doesn’t seem to be happening at the moment! I also have parsnips that are growing well and a few leeks. Some of the sweetcorn looks ready to be picked so I will hopefully be enjoying that next week.

Getting Organised, Writing Lists and Planning a New Schedule

Perhaps my nesting instincts are beginning to kick in. I have an overwhelming desire to get organised and back on track. With so many things that need doing, I decided it was best to start writing lists and hopefully begin to tick things off of them.

I think that I have let myself get a little lazy over the past 6 months and with 11 weeks until our baby is estimated to arrive I need to get things sorted.

Last week I finished decorating the nursery. We just need to get a carpet and furnishings and get the radiator back on and painted. The room is a huge improvement from what it used to look like. We have chosen a yellow and grey colour scheme, keeping it neutral.

Here are the before and after pictures. (The ceiling was originally painted blue)!

I think having things written down helps me as I know exactly what needs doing and will hopefully give me motivation to get it done!

This morning I have reorganised my shelves in the living room and added more books and DVD’s to make it like a library section.

This has cleared space elsewhere so I am hoping to be able to move things around and find a place for everything!

I have started to re-write a new schedule to keep me on track. I know this will change when the baby arrives but hopefully it will get me used to being organised and prepared! I am hoping to use reusable cloth nappies on the baby, so keeping on track with washing is very important!

The Garden

The garden is starting to look much more colourful and the fruits and vegetables are growing well. 

A few months ago we put up a polytunnel which is very handy for starting seeds and seedling growth and perfect for growing tomatoes, chillies and peppers. The polytunnel was a surprise gift from my husband – such a lovely present! This year I haven’t sown any tomatoes or peppers but next year I definitely will be as I know they will grow very well.

In the polytunnel at the moment I have a couple of tomato plants from my Grandad and a chilli plant that my parents bought. I also have some cucumbers that I have sown from seed. I sowed some sunflowers seeds in there too to get the seedlings started off before transplanting into areas in the garden.

I am also using the polytunnel to dry some herbs from the garden.

In front of the polytunnel there is a little strip of soil – perfect for a few sunflowers to grow. There is a path in front of this and then a large patch of soil which we decided to grow some wild flowers in. Over the last two weeks the flowers have started to appear and have filled the area with colour. They are also attracting lots of bees.

I haven’t got large amount of vegetables, just a few of several different types. Unfortunately some of my seedlings died after transplanting and lots of seeds that I sowed direct didn’t germinate however I am happy with what I have got in my beds.

In this bed I have sweetcorn, beetroot and carrots. I was hoping to have lettuce but the seeds just didn’t germinate.

In this bed I have cauliflowers, purple sprouting broccoli and calabrese. I also have some onions and green beans which aren’t on the photo.

This bed has leeks, dwarf kale, cabbage, red Brussels sprouts and parsnips.

I still have plenty of fruit to be harvesting including more Morello cherries! The boysenberries are starting to ripen and I have already picked several raspberries. There are still more strawberries to pick! I am starting to fill my freezer and also come up with recipes for all my fruits. My sweet cherries have been picked this week also!

Enjoying the Fruit Harvest

In the last few days I have picked so many strawberries and cherries! I have an abundance that I need to work out what to do with so they don’t go to waste. 
On Monday I used several of the strawberries to make refreshing smoothies. I will freeze some strawberries so that they can be put straight into a smoothie mixer for a lovely chilled drink.

Yesterday I made a cherry pie which used 900g of cherries! I can’t believe that I had this many cherries and still have a bowl full to use!

I am hoping to chop up most of the strawberries and freeze them so that they are preserved and can be used whenever we want. I will also pit the cherries and freeze them. I have a couple of small tubs of blackcurrants in the freezer that are ready and waiting for a yummy recipe!

I am very pleased with this year’s harvest and I am hoping to find lots of recipes to use up my home grown fruits.

How is the Fruit Garden Growing?

I have now started to harvest fruit from my garden. So far I have been able to pick strawberries, blackcurrants and white currants. It won’t be long before the morello cherries are ripe and there is an abundance of those this year! I am looking forward to making cherry pies.

The grape vine has grown a lot in the last 2 months and there are now tiny buds which will grow into grapes which will be ready for harvesting in the Autumn.

The boysenberry and raspberry are growing well and there are fruits on both plants which should start to ripen in the next month or so. The redcurrants aren’t far off of ripening either .

I also have several blueberries growing nicely which should be ready next month.

I am enjoying picking fruit from my garden and I am pleased with what I have managed to grow. 

Getting Back to Blog Writing

It has been a few months since I last wrote a blog post. A lot has been going on in the house and the garden and I look forward to sharing it with you.

In my next few blog posts I shall focus on different areas – Our nursery decorating project, our dining room project, the garden – fruits, vegetables and the polytunnel. I also hope to still write posts about baking and cooking as well as future/ongoing projects with the house and garden. And also there maybe some sewing/craft posts.

For now I shall leave you with a few pictures to sum up the last few months.

My first strawberry of the season picked today.

New sofas in the living room – just looking to buy some throws and cushions to add colour.

A more functional dining room! Obviously there still needs to be flooring and soft furnishings.

Homegrown radishes.