Monday 25th January

After a busy week,  it has been really nice to catch up with other things that help to keep me organised!  As we were not expecting guests until the weekend, I took the opportunity of doing some further de-cluttering, this time in the cellar.  I went through all the jars and bottles I had collected over several months, of which there were several large Lidl bags worth! I decided to keep only the best ones and the rest were recycled.  Bon Maman is my favourite type of jar to put my homemade marmalade or jams in and my favourite bottles for liqueurs are the Voss Glass Water Bottles, big and small!

I also realised last week that it was the right time of year for Seville Oranges to be in the shops, and true to form Waitrose had a large display of them. I bought 8 kgs which will convert into about 30 pots of homemade marmalade. I’ll be making it during the week and will post the recipe and results in my next post! I’ve always made a traditional Seville marmalade, but this year I am going to do a batch with ginger and a batch with cardamom, you know just to mix things up… Alternatively, if you are not wanting to make your own marmalade, Radnor Preserves make a delicious marmalade and a friend of ours stocks it in his shop in Balham – Volker & Quinn.

At this time of year I start using up all the different items I have in the freezer, making a note of how long it is before I have to go to the shops. To start with I made a pea risotto using a bag of frozen peas, as well as using the stock from the ham I blogged about.

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I also came across some bacon which went into a Quiche Lorraine and tonight I’ll be making a butternut squash soup with some more stock I found tucked away beneath the bacon!

I think January is very much the month to live out of the freezer after the inevitable expense of December, not to mention the effort of cooking all that food around the holiday period.  It’s sometimes easy to forget what you have in the freezer… In fact, I found following in mine:  pastry (puff, short and sweet), frozen peas, bread, pre-baked rolls, ready to bake patisserie from Waitrose andLidl, frozen berries (use in a smoothie or to make a compote), bacon, chicken breasts, sausage meat, sausages, leg of lamb and prawns.  That rounds up the contents of my freezer!

The guests that stayed at the weekend were all so nice – it was a weekend of thirty-something’s and one set of grandparents coming to see their 9-month-old grandchild.  The grandparents were up and wanting an early breakfast and the 30 something’s wanted to stay in bed for as long as possible, and who can blame them.

They came down after 10 and had a leisurely breakfast, before checking out around midday.  Most of the chatter around the table was about the night before. Both couples had never stayed in a cosy B&B before, being more used to hotels. I got a hug from all of them as they left, saying that they would definitely be back.  I gave them a copy of the Wolsey Lodges brochure to tempt them with another B&B experience in the near future! 

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