We woke up to a slightly pinkish sky this morning, not quite the red sky of the old saying, “Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight; red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning.” But it was great to see that the snow which I’d longed for had actually disappeared – it soon became a nasty, slushy mess – and we could turn down the thermostat as the house suddenly felt rather hot, not just agreeably warm.
I cooked breakfast while husband went for the Sunday paper. Red grapefruit for myself, prunes for husband – much like yesterday – followed by scrambled eggs on toast with small crispy pieces of bacon, followed by toast and marmalade, all with mugs of tea.
I changed the bed linen after breakfast – I love to luxuriate in clean bed linen at least once a week (and I also change the pillow cases again mid-week) – and the laundry I removed has already been washed, dried and ironed. Yes one machine does the washing, another does the drying, but husband kindly does the ironing. It has all now been put away in the airing cupboard rather than being the start of another pile to be ironed at some unspecified date in the future!
As soon as I’d changed the bed linen and also cleared away breakfast and filled the dishwasher, I decided to make rock buns. I have to psych myself up to making rock buns because while they are very easy to make, they have 12 different ingredients, all of which need weighing or grating or measuring, almost as many ingredients as a Christmas cake. But my goodness, although they look insignificant and certainly not as handsome as a Christmas cake, they are worth the effort as they are totally delicious.
For those not familiar with rock buns, the name refers to their shape, not their texture! They are lovely served with a small amount of butter (we use Normandy butter, a delicious light butter unlike the bright yellow rather oily English butter.)
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After I baked the rock buns I decided to make an all-in-one fruit cake. I am sure I’ve mentioned this before, but never mind, it must’ve been a very long time ago as I really can’t remember whether I did or not! I have been using this recipe since the late 1960s/early 1970s. I cut it from an advert for Stork margarine in a women’s magazine.
It is simple but, again, you need to weigh and measure ingredients.
4oz caster sugar (I use golden caster sugar)
1/2 pt milk less two tablespoons so I measure a scant 1/2 pt
12oz mixed fruit (I use sultanas, raisins and glace cherries which I rinse first, to remove the sugar, dry on kitchen paper, and halve)
8oz self-raising flour
1 level teaspoon mixed spice (I use cinnamon instead, and grated nutmeg)
Walnut halves (about 8 or 9)
Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment or a specially-produced liner. Light the oven and set it to 325F, Gas No 3, or Electric fan assisted oven 160/170C.
Place all the ingredients (except the walnut halves) in a mixing bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon until well mixed. Place the mixture into the prepared loaf tin, smooth the top (I do this by simply shaking the tin slightly) and put the walnut halves on top.
Bake in the centre of the hot oven for approximately 1 hr but check after 45 minutes. (My recipe gives a much longer baking time, but my cake was baked at exactly 1 hour.)
Leave in the tin to cool on a wire tray, only remove from the tin when cool.
I had some leftover cooked chicken in the fridge and so decided to make a chicken curry for our lunch. It was very tasty and we enjoyed this light and easy lunch in the sitting room, on trays for a change.
It isn’t easy making curry look scrumptious, it is what it is, but I do enjoy chicken curry. I serve it with wholegrain Basmati rice.
I would also add here that we don’t tend to pile our plates high with food. Also, if there is a ‘well’ in the plate – the kinds of plates we use are not modern ones, they have rims and ‘wells’ – the food should be kept within the area of ‘well’. The rim is there for a reason: to enable whoever is serving to hold the plate without their fingers from touching the food, and it also prevents the food slopping over the edge of the plate. I really dislike seeing food extending right to the very edges of a plate; if it does, either there is too much on the plate or the plate is too small.
And now it’s 5 pm and icy rain is falling once again. Time for a cup of tea and one of the rock buns I think and the Sunday paper. Ooh, and there is Endeavour to look forward to on TV tonight, and a lovely freshly made bed after that. Bliss.
Until next time.