baking, cooking, Recipes, saving money]

Just touching base

spring 1

Hello everyone and how are you? What a lovely day it is here again in Scotland! Normally at Easter we have overcast, rainy weather, but it’s been glorious here for the last four days. Not roasting hot, but nice enough to walk around in and to feel the sun’s warmth on your face.

Anyway, on with the blog. Firstly, I have to apologise for neglecting you all recently. It’s been a month since my last blog post. Like everyone else though, I’ve been spending the last four weeks adjusting to this new way of living. I’ve also been working on a couple of books which, if you go over to my author blog, you can find out more about. At first, I found it really hard to get back into writing after the lockdown was announced. It’s been such a scary time. However, I am getting there. Well, not today, today is my fourth day of having a break from writing. Okay, so I’m writing this, but I am having a break from my books. Instead, I’ve been tidying the garden and my body is full of aches and pains for it. Still, it was worth it, the garden does look better.

spring 2

So, how have you all been coping? Have you been managing okay? I’ve found myself cooking things from scratch more, which is great because that’s what I’ve been wanting to do for ages.

Talking of cooking, have you stumbled across any great recipes you’d like to share? I’ve been following a blog called The 1940s Experiment for years now and it’s full of cheap nutritious (mostly British) recipes from the Second World War. Carolyn who runs the site is passionate about sharing great recipes from that era and tries them out herself before posting them. She’s currently pulling together a free Pandemic Pantry Cookbook, so if you have any recipes you’d like to share, pop along and send her them. They don’t have to be wartime and they don’t have to be British. I gave her my family’s go-to Bolognese sauce and our sponge cake recipe.

There’s also my friend Elaine’s Mortgage Free in Three blog which is packed full of brilliant recipes for you to try. She ran this blog a few years ago, then got a really busy job and had to give it up. However, due to the pandemic, she has resurrected the site (Yay! Cos I love it) and it has loads of recipes and info about frugal living.

spring 3

This week, I plan to scour all my old cookbooks to see if I can rustle up something good, nutritious (or not) and cheap. I’ll share it with you once I have them.

Right, I am going to love you and leave you. I really just wanted to say hello, I’m still here and to touch base with you. I will try to be more regular with my posts.

Til next time,

Dawn xxx


baking, cooking, old books, Recipes, Uncategorized

A lovely old book of home management that’s not Mrs Beeton

So, I have this lovely set of old books called The Book of the Home series and it’s full of useful tips. This set was printed in 1905 and feature plates by Arthur Rackham. I got them on Ebay during one of my sessions looking for old cookery books. They aren’t in perfect condition, but are interesting none-the-less. There are eight books in total.

Anyway, I’ve been flicking through the fourth book in the series and it’s quite wonderful. There are recipes for savoury and sweets, information about servants and what they should be doing around the house (as well as what they should be wearing in the morning and then later in the day), household economy and laundry work. There are fantastic illustrations throughout and photographs.

Here’s a weird recipe from the book, it’s called Crème Verte (Green Cream). For it you need three-quarters of a pint of cream, one teaspoonful of spinach greening (whatever that is), castor sugar, vanilla essence, oranges, bananas and half a pint of lightly frozen ice cream.

You quarter the oranges, take off the pith and pips and make a layer of them in a deep compote dish. Peel and slice the bananas and lay them over the oranges. Cover the fruit with the ice cream. Whip the cream with a pinch of salt til firm and rocky. When it is beginning to thicken, colour it with the spinach juices or some green colouring; sweeten to taste and complete the whisking. Pile over the ice cream.

Apart from colouring the cream with spinach juice, this recipe actually seems okay. Not able to be done by the ordinary working-class person in 1905, but I’m sure the middle and upper classes might have had it.

For nowadays, it’s quite a cheap pudding. I may even give it a go although I will use green (or no) colouring for the cream on top. Why does it need to be green anyway?

Dawn x


Ye cannae beat Scottish tablet

So today’s post is about something close to my heart – food, sweet food. I’m on to share this great recipe for Scottish tablet. Being a Scot, I love all things sweet so tablet is just heaven in my book. Although, you cannot eat too much of it. One square is usually enough otherwise you are in grave danger of sugar overload.

Anyway, the recipe I got was unfortunately not an old family recipe passed down from generation to generation. Only one of my grandmother’s was a good cook and I never knew her to make tablet. However, I did get a good one from the Great British Chefs website. I didn’t quit stick to their recipe exactly, there were a couple of minor changes.

The first change was that I doubled the amount and this was because I had a 397g tin of condensed milk and didn’t want to spoil it.

So here’s my recipe, with the minor amendments:

160 ml milk (I used long life skimmed milk, but I think any milk works)

120 g butter (use real butter)

900g caster sugar (not granulated)

397g tin of condensed milk

Place the milk and butter in a heavy bottomed pan and heat over a medium heat until the butter is melted. Bring to the boil. Once it’s boiling, remove from the heat and add in the sugar.

Return to the heat, dissolve the sugar. Once full dissolved, add in the condensed milk. Mix thoroughly and keep mixing to ensure the tablet doesn’t burn. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until it goes a lovely golden colour (see my tablet above to give you an idea of the kind of colour the liquid should go).

Once you’ve done this, take off the heat and beat for at least five minutes. You beat it like you would when creaming butter and sugar together. Then pour into a lined oven tray. I used greaseproof paper to line mine, but traditionally you would only smear it in butter. Leave to set.

Once set, cut it into squares and serve with a hot beverage of your choice. Delicious!

By the way, Scottish tablet is NOT fudge. Fudge is soft and chewy, tablet is hard, but melts in your mouth in a cacophony of sugary goodness. Just saying!! 😉

Also, I worked out how much this huge amount of tablet costs. I can’t give you an exact weight of tablet as we have eaten a fair bit of it, but it took up a whole baking tray. I estimated the total cost of it was £2.58 for ingredients and it will last up to three weeks if kept in an air tight tin… that’s if you haven’t eaten it by then. To buy a 100g bar of tablet in the shops will set you back around 80p. Enjoy.