Cheese Soup Recipe

I love finding old interesting recipes and although I probably wouldn’t personally call this a ‘soup’, that’s what it was listed as in the Cassells Vegetarian Cookery book published in 1891 🙂

I quite like the idea of using stale bread in this way. Stale slices in my house tend to get ‘bread-and-butter pudding’ed’ or binned!

I’ve kept the original text but added a note or two…

Cheese Soup

Light-coloured and dry cheese is necessary for this somewhat peculiar soup, but the best cheese of all is, undoubtedly, Gruyère. Grate half a pound of cheese and spread a layer of this at the bottom of the soup-tureen. Cover this layer of cheese with some very thin slices of stale bread.

Then put another layer of cheese and another layer of bread till all the cheese is used up.

Next take about two tablespoonfuls of *brown roux, melt this in a small saucepan, and add two tablespoonfuls of chopped onion. Let the onion cook in the melted roux over the fire, and then add a **quart of water, and stir it all up till it boils, adding pepper and salt and a few drops of ***Parisian essence (burnt sugar) to give it a dark brown colour.

Now pour the boiling soup over the contents of the soup-tureen, and let it stand a few minutes so that the bread has time to soak, and serve.

*brown roux:
This recipe seems to assume you have a stock of brown roux available at any time 🙂 Generally a roux is made by melting fat in a saucepan and adding the equivalent weight of flour, stirring until smooth. Basically you want to land up with a smooth pourable sauce. Stir over a low-medium heat until brown.

Butter is usually used as the ‘fat’ ingredient but fats from meats can also be used. For the cheese soup I would probably go for butter but it’s your choice!

**A quart is 2 pints or approx. 1 litre

***Parisian Essence ?? – no idea but wouldn’t have thought it essential to the recipe

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Chocolate Nougat Cake

I found this delicious sounding recipe in a very old book and wanted to share. I haven’t tried it yet but it looks fairly straightforward so I might have a go. I’ve re-written the recipe in today’s language as the original was probably written over 100 years ago, and they spoke different then 🙂

I can’t find the date of publication but there is a reference to White Mountain Cream and their factory was destroyed in 1881 although they may have rebuilt of course. The recipes in this book reference particular brands quite often and it’s sometimes hard to know what on earth they meant!

MISS FARMER’S CHOCOLATE NOUGAT CAKE

¼ a cup of butter,
1 ½ cups of powdered sugar,
1 egg,
1 cup of milk,
2 cups of bread flour,
3 teaspoonfuls of baking powder,
½ teaspoonful of vanilla,

2 squares of chocolate, melted,
½ a cup of powdered sugar,
2/3 a cup of almonds blanched and shredded.

  1. Cream the butter. Add one and a half cups of sugar gradually and then add unbeaten egg.
  2. When well mixed, add two-thirds of the milk
  3. Stir sifted flour and baking powder together. Add to the mixture with the vanilla. Mix together well.
  4. To melted chocolate add rest of powdered sugar, place on range (I’d probably do this in a bowl over boiling water), gradually add remaining milk and cook until smooth.
  5. Cool slightly and add to cake mixture. Bake fifteen to twenty minutes in round layer-cake pans.
  6. Put between layers and on top of cake *White Mountain Cream sprinkled with almonds.

*I think ‘White Mountain Cream’ may have been a whipping or double cream or possibly ice cream. Go with your choice or what you have available.*

Not sure that bread flour is necessary. I might try this with gluten free flour and perhaps substitute some of the sugar with honey. Also, nougat nowadays tends to have cherries and other fruits and nuts mixed in, so might try that as well. This is changing rapidly. Better go back to the original and see where we go with it:-)

Happy Baking!

Linda x

Pocket Crowdfunder

Yes! The Crowdfunder campaign’s published. Not sure what to do now.

But I guess I need to tell as many people as possible about it. The idea has so many good points to it that I really want to get it off the ground.

The money isn’t as important as the exposure – well, the small target of £150 would get the idea launched of course but overall I want to help support small businesses and local communities.

Here are some points about Pocket Bags and where they’re going:

*Practical handmade extra ‘pockets’ that tie onto belts, bags purses etc;

*Lovely gift idea for you or a friend

*Goal is to launch a local cottage industry and a business model ready to share nationally or even internationally.

*New designs, colours and sizes in development all the time

If you’d like to take a look at my Crowdfunder page and share it, I would be so grateful. It’s not a highly polished affair just a simple homemade campaign for simple handmade products.

Stay Safe

Linda x

Pocket Bags: Name Change!

Well, they’ve taken on a few names over the past few months and many different design ideas but after much polishing of the pattern and playing with catchy names, I think I’ve got there – finally!

Honestly, when I first had this idea, I thought it was going to be straightforward. I mean, it’s just a tiny bag after all and if I was making them for me or the family then the original version would probably have been fine. BUT my mind went off on a creative escapade of its own and I had no choice but to follow 🙂

So now I’m ready, or as ready as I’ll ever be, to get this Crowdfunder campaign rolling. I’m only looking for a few donations to pay for the packaging – the bags have to be presented nicely and if they’re in their own little box, they make great gifts as well.

But more to the point, I’m doing this to showcase small and local businesses and with a view to keeping everything as enironment friendly as possible. The bags will eventually be on sale on a new UK creative sellers platform – Home of the Mall – which was recently created as an alternative to Etsy because, although a great site, Etsy has got so big that it’s not easy to get seen, however good your product is.

So my biggest task now is to promote the crowdfunder campaign as much as possible and, hopefully, find a few people who would love to support small businesses and the creative arts. Fingers crossed!

I should be able to publish tomorrow and I’ll post a quick update here when it’s live just in case you’d like to see what I’m up to!

Stay safe

Linda x

B-Bags

No, not a typo and I’m not going to write about tea bags, although I could probably write a book on tea and it’s variations!

But no, today I want to share a brand new and exciting project that – hopefully – will launch in a few days. It’s a Crowdfunder campaign to jump-start a product and support small and local businesses.

The B-Bags in question are mini bags that tie on to belts, belt loops, scarves, bags and loads of other things. They are also big enough to hold a special item such as an amulet or a moonstone. Or something less zen such as a few coins or a small lighter. Here’s a quick snapshot of ideas:

And they’re hand-made – crocheted with love and care by yours truly.

But my ultimate aim is to create a stir and receive so many orders that I HAVE to get someone else on board too. There are after all only so many hours in a day and sometimes Netflix beckons 🙂

Giving someone else, and hopefully lots of someone elses an income, albeit a fairly modest one, will develop quickly into a cottage industry for local people and my huge ginormous goal is to set up a kind of mini franchise system that may appeal to many areas of the UK, especially high unemployment areas.

And I guess, as my imagination seems to know no limits at the moment, this could also be a global network of cottage industries.

This is the kind of work where social distancing is fairly simple – not necessarily enjoyed but the operational plan will be easy to install. Also, of course, crocheters, packagers and administrators will be able to more or less choose their work hours and times to suit their lifestyle.

I’m so excited about this project as it ticks so many boxes:

*Local employment
*Supporting small business
*Eco – friendly product
*Hand-made
*Extensive colour choices

And on top of all that, it’s a fabulous new idea that’s practical, pretty and affordable. A perfect gift for a loved one or yourself!

Now, I have to polish the Crowdfunder story a little, sort out some images and then bombard Facebook and Instagram with some fabulous posts. Wish me luck!

Love and Peace
Linda x

New Writing Platform

Been busy building a new website. It started with an interest in a very well-known company and suddenly I found myself building a whole site! Still a freebie but time enough to upgrade.

laptop

It’s a new writing platform with writing articles and a few well-being tips for good balance. And it’ll be a perfect platform to showcase the course I’m building, designed to help anyone who wants to write a non-fiction book get started, finished and published.

I’m going to try the course locally and see where I go from there, although in the meantime I’ll be working on the online version so that I can reach more writing students and keep it affordable. I’ve never presented a course before, let alone with actual real people listening to what I have to say.

That is, without me yelling at them or resorting to the occasional bribe – mum persona 🙂

So, fingers crossed this will be a new career move for me and more to the point, I’m going to love helping people go from ‘I’ve got a great idea for a book’ to actually doing it!

If you have a minute, pop over to the new writing site and see what you think. Not an awful lot of content yet, but you’ll get the picture.  It’s even mobile phone optimized! New Writing Platform

To your success

Linda x

Homemade Gifts

Homemadegifts-pin

Making gifts for family and friends is so rewarding and there are many crafts that can be turned into pleasing and organic homemade gifts.

And you don’t have to be a crafting expert to create beautiful gifts. A while ago, I wrote an article called ‘Giving Green which includes a few project ideas to inspire new ways of giving gifts.

We all tend to live busy lives and often realize a week before a special birthday or a celebration such as Christmas that we haven’t sorted out gifts and/or decorations. So, off we trot to the shops and buy something we hope will be gratefully received.

And if you’re living on a tight budget as many of us are, that purchase can be based on cost and will possibly create a hole in the budget that week or month.

A couple of years ago, I found myself with a huge amount of knitting yarn in October and very little money so I bought a knitting pattern from Etsy (only a few pounds) for a pair of cozy slippers and spent most evenings knitting for my family.

On Christmas morning, they were all delighted with their gifts. I also made some finger-less gloves and, to avoid buying plastic coated wrapping paper, I tied each ‘package’ with a wide red ribbon.

Altogether, I had to buy some stop slip glue – which, yes, is plastic based, but unfortunately I couldn’t find an alternative at the time. It seemed quite expensive – around £5 for a small bottle, but the bottle covered all 12 pairs of slippers.

And I bought a few metres of wide red ribbon (Instead of wrapping paper) which also only cost a few pounds. Oh, and the original pattern, because I couldn’t find one I liked in any of my knitting books.

All, in all, I spent around £12 and created 12 gifts. Now, I did have the yarn to begin with, but a lot of that yarn was bought in charity shops and some was recycled by un-ravelling previously hand knitted items.

knitting

Getting into recycling and handmade mode is incredibly good for the soul. Even if you have to go to work every day, there are still evenings or a couple of hours every day when you could be enjoying a creative hobby, and turning that hobby, not necessarily into a side hustle business, but a way of giving handmade and unique gifts as well as saving money.

And a special bonus, is that you have complete control over the materials you use, which means you can be plastic-free as far as possible.

Have a quick look at the ideas in ‘Giving Green‘ and come up with some of your own that suit you and your abilities. Crafting for a couple of hours or even 30 minutes a day frees your mind from problems and as an added bonus, helps eliminate snacking in front of the TV – no more diets necessary!!

Happy Crafting!

Linda x

P.S. I’ve just updated my knitting pattern designs which are available on Etsy, Amazon and Payhip. Check them out and get knitting now 🙂 Knits U Love

Related Pages:

Where Do I Start?
Giving Green
Green Gifts
Christmas in August
Christmas Knits
Knitting for Christmas
Making Purses

Positive Number Play

With all the Covid, vaccines and political and scientific statistics bombarding every news item, numbers have been playing a pretty negative role in our lives at the moment.

But for those of you who like playing with numbers check this out…

I downloaded a numeric spark from the universe today and had some positive fun with numbers and letters. This is what I did but you can play with any dates, days and letters….

Because I live in ‘England’ this works for me!..

For the year 2021:

2+0+2+1 = 5

The 5th letter of the alphabet is E

The first letter of England is E

England is about to embark on 5 major E’s in 2021:

1. Europe– no doubt there’s gonna be a lot of negotiations with Europe this year.

2. Environment- many of us are growing more food and needing less plastic and fuel. And (hopefully) the farmers will re-classify their unused fields and grow crops we don’t have to import.

3. Energy– high bills and low wages aren’t fun but they are changing the way we consume energy. And the energy we enjoy while gardening will help keep us healthy!

4. Enterprise– entrepreneurs and creatives all over the country are getting out there and creating more home-spun ideas and helping their communities.

5. Enlightenment– well come on, after all these fabulous E’s there has to be some enlightenment going on 🙂

And a couple of bonuses:

The above E’s are always Evolving and this could be a very Exciting year..

Enjoy the moment!

Linda x

Seasonal Creations

If you create products in any form, whether they are physical items or digital books, they have a good chance of being seasonal.

I use the word seasonal loosely as there are many special days throughout the year including celebration days such as Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day etc; and a whole lot of awareness days including ‘potato month’ or ‘asparagus day’ –

I just made them up but a quick google search can clue you into national or international celebration days.

Having said all that, planning your product launches can be complicated and I would suggest creating a spreadsheet or using a diary on or offline to keep track of everything; Product ideas for each month/season, ordering supplies, dates to launch and market etc;

Always allow enough time to make the items and have a strategy in place if you get more orders than you anticipated.

So apart from the great ideas flowing out of your ears and the boring admin stuff weighing you down, there is another issue that creatives have to address. It’s an issue that magazine publishers have been dealing with forever and we have no choice but to comply with the way it’s always been done. We have to have a lead time, even if you do think outside the box and want to do it your way!

I get it. I’m guilty every year of deciding to write a book about making christmas gifts or crocheting christmas tree decorations at the end of NOVEMBER! This does NOT work if you are trying to make a living from your creations or are already running a small business. Believe me….

As living beings we’re very likely to be affected by the weather, temperatures and daylight hours, hence wanting to start making Christmas things at the end of November. But there is a way to find that Christmas creative spark in July, or a summer cocktail recipe in December. By stimulating our senses we can trick our brains – left and right sides 🙂 – into finding the inspiration and motivation we need to get the timing right for our small or hobby business.

A while ago, I wrote an article Stimulate Your Senses that was related to creative writing and it was published on a few popular writing websites at the time. I haven’t edited it and it still veers towards writing but I’ve decided to apply it to my other pursuits and it seems to be working well. I’m working on Easter Bunnies as we speak!

Check through the article as I’m pretty sure you’ll get some out-of-the-box inspiration to help you get your products out on time next season.

Good Luck and stay safe

Linda x

P.S. The article is only a 5 minute read – less if you scan! Copy it onto your phone or desktop and refer to it when the weather is playing with your motivation. Stimulate Your Senses

Christmas: A Political Issue?

It certainly feels like it with the lockdown, health and economic headlines scaring us all senseless this year.

But maybe it always was a political issue…

According to history, the first pope (Constantine) declared the 25th of December to be the day we should celebrate the birth of Christ.

Now, there are a couple of issues here..

The declaration was made in the year 336 AD – that’s AD – AFTER Christ. In the years 0-335, the birth of Christ wasn’t celebrated, as far as we know, at all. So how did he know? He didn’t, he just picked a date…

Why the 25th December? History points to this being a political act to steer people away from the pagan tradition of acknowledging the winter solstice, when the harvest was in and gratitude was placed firmly in the hands of nature, humanity included.

Was this the beginning of a certain lack of gratitude for nature’s bounty?

There are billions of humans on this planet and I’m pretty sure there are a whole lot of them who either don’t celebrate Christmas because of their religious beliefs or they are just totally fed up with spending too much money on plastic bits and pieces and general craziness of it all.

So, how about this for a contraversial idea. This year – 2020, the year when the world went mad – what if we ‘postponed’ Christmas until March 21st.

We could celebrate on the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere;

*New life budding from the very earth we stand on.
*A promise of better weather to come

And on the first day of Autumn in the southern hemisphere;

*Getting in the harvest
*Preparing for a cozy winter

And why shouldn’t we call it Christmas – the Bible is very vague as to the time of year and exact date that Christ was born. Surely with the pandemic and economic collapse of many sectors of society, as a species we should be preserving our lives and nature as a whole, rather than being overly concerned about the political views of a pope who lived over 1600 years ago.

And as for the plastic bits and pieces..

However hard we try, a plastic-free lifestyle atm is virtually impossible unless you are mega rich and don’t possess any electric or electronique devices… hmm … perhaps the answer is to grow plants specifically for plant-based plastics – maybe we could start them all off on 21st March next year – when the Universe, God or whichever higher power you feel close to can spring forth and bring us all together under a non-political umbrella that hasn’t really existed since before the year 336AD.

Worth a thought anyway 🙂

Stay safe

Linda x