Archive for the Homemade Category

Pottering in the garden

Posted in Food, Homemade, Journal, Nurturing Nature with tags , , on 30/03/2017 by Jen Healey

What follows is an unfinished post from 4 years ago, when I had a garden to potter about in.  Sure I could delete it, but I think I’ll post it instead… I just did.  For myself more than anything. Shows just how different my life is now.

4 years ago…

“Over the last couple of months I have discovered enjoyment in gardening, I know, how old am I?!  Previously I would not describe myself as having ‘green fingers’, in fact I would’ve gone so far as to say that I had ‘black fingers’, being the kiss of death for anything green.  Although, I have managed to not kill a cactus for over nine years, his name is Sweaty Bill and has survived my neglect.

I started with buying some vegetable propagator kits from a couple of 99p shops, some were even 3 kits for 99p, which I figured was a low risk investment.  If I got a couple of cucumbers I would have made my money back.  I also gratefully received some free plants from a couple of friends of mine and picked up the odd cheap plants that had been marked down for clearance.

Within a couple of days I had some cucumber seedlings popping up – I was genuinely amazed.  Not long after this they were potted up and flourishing, some ended up being donated as I had loads.  Likewise with the courgettes.  At that point my porch (substitute greenhouse) looked like this –


There is Sweaty in the corner with his new little friend.  Donated tomato and pepper plants down the right hand side, cucumbers on the left.  The lupin has been potted outside the front door and seems to be surviving, so far.





Below are donated plants, coriander and French beans.




Little, young plants which needed somewhere to spread out, so I had to start work on the garden.

These are the before pictures –




As you can see, lots to do!

Here are some donated mint plants, these are also ‘before’ pictures.


This is a 99p Chocolate Mint plant below, next to the lamp, which smells AMAZING!



I am very proud to say that my Beth and I enjoyed our first harvest on Tuesday, fresh French beans, they were delicious (for beans) and it was a strangely magic and satisfying experience.  I guess it is the little things that matter –


Admittedly, Beth only ate two, but that’s better than none.  I used the rest to top my ‘packet pasta’, which looks as ‘meh’ as it tasted, improved immeasurably by the addition of my beans – not that I’m bragging…”



…and there we have it.  So strange to look back, it feels like another life now.

The first step

Posted in Homemade, Journal, Nurturing Nature, Reblog with tags on 06/12/2013 by Jen Healey

What’s this?! A new blog! 😉

Hearthside Ramblings

This blog has been an awfully long time coming, I have been mulling over the concept since July (2013), trying to settle on what it’s purpose should be, what to call it and, of course, what to include. Well, the answer to the latter is simple – warts and all!

It’s title… that one would not leave my mind, despite many wonderful ideas from my quiet (journey) partner. There it is, at the top, encapsulating my genuine feelings about what we are doing in our quiet little corner of the Warwickshire countryside! Highlighting the fact, which will become pretty obvious in time, that I am NO expert! Just someone who is learning and exploring things that are new to me, and wanting to share the simple magic and wonder of it all.

So, we light upon the purpose, about which I will be absolutely upfront, there is more than one…

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Bloody “Dexter” Cupcakes

Posted in Fledgling Foodie File, Food, Homemade, TV with tags , , , , , on 27/05/2013 by Jen Healey

Now these deserve a post all of their very own!


Yum!  They are from here – click.

Thanks A x

Happy Bank Holiday!


Urgh… HOT!!!

Posted in Fledgling Foodie File, Food, Gothic, Homemade, Journal, Music with tags , , , , , , , on 27/05/2012 by Jen Healey

I hardly ever moan about it being cold, so I’m entitled to say “It is too hot”!  I’m well aware that this is nothing compared to other countries’ hot weather/temperatures, but I’m British ok, so I like it colder, cloudier, windier, rainier… you get my drift.

I have problems sleeping well in these temperatures, waking often and remembering crazy, heat-induced dreams.  I think it is time to start stopping off for some frosty frappucino-type beverages, coolness and caffeine, mmmm.  This is definitely the time of year for cold drinks, shade-seeking (as I do not yet own a gorgeously Goth parasol) and ‘full-on’ fans.

Speaking of cold drinks, I only have one sachet of Kool-Aid left from my pal in America, so I’ll be making more of these –

Thick Strawberry Milkshakes. 

They are easy and scrummy.

Please feel free to share any culinary coolers, they will be gratefully received and shared.

Today my incredibly sweet (and handsome) hubby took a trip into town with our daughter, they returned with lunch and two pressies for me!

Check ’em out –

This is the same game/box, can you tell the difference (apart from my using the flash!)?

Yes, the picture changes.  Tee hee.  Look closer –

Goodly, chaste lady becomes –

Rampant, blood-thirsty Vampire!

You gotta enjoy the little things.  It actually looks like a fun game, for 3-6 players… any takers?

They also bought this back for me –

Yes, that is a brand new copy of Mr Manson’s latest album!  Am I the luckiest, most spoilt Mummy ever or what?  How perfect are these gifts for me?!

Cool gifts on a hot day 🙂

I hope your Sunday is a good one y’all!



Posted in Fledgling Foodie File, Food, Homemade, Journal with tags on 16/10/2011 by Jen Healey

Well, as promised here are the pictures of my most recent experiments in the kitchen.  The first was meant to be some (as Nigella calls it) Hokey Pokey or honeycomb.  As implied by the title, it is not baked, but heated in a pan on the hob with three ingredients.

Yeah… it didn’t really work.  I made the briefest of notes whilst watching the recipe on tv and later gave it a go.  Afterwards, I actually checked the recipe online, duh!  I realised that I should have stirred in the bicarb off the heat.  It was too sticky and more bendy than smashable.  I guess that one needs another attempt.

The other creation was some Rocky Road, which again was not baked, but prepared in a saucepan and set in the fridge.  It was scrummy!  Modest, I know.

I feel the urge for something different, so plan to try my hand at a Baked Egg Custard Tart soon.  Pastry, eek!

Grandma’s Cheese Puff Triangles

Posted in Fledgling Foodie File, Food, Homemade, Journal with tags , on 17/09/2011 by Jen Healey

Today’s baking attempt was from a childhood memory that I hold dear, making cheese-filled and topped puff pastries with my grandma.  The finished product would look a bit like this –

I don’t think that I’ve cracked it yet, but I really enjoyed that first bite.  Despite not being quite right, it still took me back and I was back in grandma’s kitchen as a little girl.

I ran out of cheese, so didn’t top them all enough and I think that I rolled the puff pastry a touch too thin.

This one was probably the best of the batch.  Lotte, you may have to help me fill in the gaps!  I’m not sure but I may be missing something…

Beth had some puff pastry fun too –

Sitting on cooling racks is how I most remember Grandma’s cheese pastries, my impatience cementing the image below in my young mind, waiting for them to cool always took too long.

They are not likely to last very long, as everyone in the house loves cheese, so I guess I’ll be using my kitchen as a time-machine again quite soon.  Maybe I should go for mince pies a bit closer to Christmas?  I haven’t tasted a better mince-pie than the ones grandma used to bake.



Posted in Food, Homemade, Journal, Musings with tags on 16/09/2011 by Jen Healey

At about 7am this morning I walked by my open bedroom window and caught the scent of autumn… it made me smile.  I love this time of year, there is so much to look forward to – Halloween (of course), Bonfire Night, Christmas and warming comfort food whilst snuggled up all cozy at home with family.  To quote Ina Garten – “What’s not to like?”

I don’t mind the cold or the dark, unsurprisingly.  The colours and clothes are more to my taste and who doesn’t like the festivities?

My hubby is not a fan of the trick or treaters and I don’t like the icy roads, but that’s about all I can think of as negative about this end of the year.  Bring it on!

Yesterday I cooked the first casserole of the year, beef with bacon, veggies and small jersey potatoes, which was finished off by Jakey and myself for lunch today.  Not to brag, but it was warm, tasty and felt wholesome and comforting.  Simple stuff, but nice little pleasures to be savoured.

To those poor folks who suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is not a term that I hear at work at all really, I say – get involved in the celebrations, at whatever level you are comfortable with.  You could go all out, if you have the time and resources, and make your own decorations for Halloween and Christmas, and cook/bake treats for parties and visitors.  Enjoy the simple things in good company this season and the next.  As long as the roads aren’t too bad!


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