Saturday, 22 November 2014

Happy Day 100: It's Starting to Look a lot like Christmas

#100HappyDays Day 100: Town was packed today with people starting to shop for Christmas, the market is open, the lights are up. Middle B and I decided to get a bit creative today - we made red onion chutney, raspberry gin and she started sketches for a book she is making for relatives and I started stitching up a Christmas present and rounded the day off watching Strictly. Beautiful!

The gin won't be ready for a while but I don't mind, that means I have something to look forward to. And we still have jars left so maybe I'll make some jam at some point.

Caramelised Red Onion Chutney

8 red onions
1 chilli
2 bay leaves
25 ml olive oil
200g brown sugar
150 ml balsamic vinegar
150 ml red wine vinegar

- Slice onions and chilli finely and put them in a large pan with the bay leaves and oil. Cook over a low heat for about 20 mins to soften the onions.

- Once the onions are darker, add the sugar and vinegars and simmer for about 30 mins - an hour, check that the consistency is gloopy not too runny.

- While that is cooking, rinse out your jars in hot soapy water. Put a saucepan full of water on to boil the lids of the jars. Then put the oven on at 100 C and put the jars on a baking tray, once the oven is up to heat put them in for about 10 minutes to sterilise. Try to time it so that you can put the chutney into the jars as they come straight out of the oven. Use oven gloves and hot plates for this because both the chutney and the jars will be pretty hot.

- Using a jam funnel, spoon the gloopy mixture into the jars and seal them. Make sure that there is a bit of oniony liquid in each jar - when the mixture cools it will set more. Leave it for about a month to get the best flavour.

In time for Christmas! This made me about three small jars (250g) and two larger jam jars (500g). We used a recipe that was featured in the Guardian but was originally in Fraser Doherty's 'The Super Jam Cookbook'.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Happy Day 99: Graduation Day

#100HappyDays Day 99: Lots of dressed up graduates roaming town today and proud families snapping photos. A couple of those graduates were close friends, so I even got some celebrating in with them at the pub in the evening. It's the first time I've been out until 2am for quite some time, but we did go to Munchies and get chips after, just proving that some things in life don't change much - in fact I think I probably did that after my own graduation. I'm so happy for both of them, they worked so hard!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Happy Day 98: Lights!

#100HappyDays Day 98: The Christmas lights are now up and on in town! Twinkle twinkle.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Happy Day 97: Friends Reunited

#100HappyDays Day 97: I went into the big city after work to meet up with my friend Mary who I haven't seen for eight years, since her wedding in fact. We both ended up living in other countries and wandering around the place failing to grow up... and in the meantime lost track of one another. We met at the train station for tea and cake (with the biggest teapot I've seen!) and a gossip.

After tea (a copper leaved oolong to match Mary's hair), we had a wander to try and find a restaurant. We ended up going up a small street with nothing much in it apart from this light sculpture that changed colours and had a swing in the middle of it. Some one was having a good old swing as we walked past.

We finally ambled back the right way and had some dinner. It was such a lovely catch up, it was like we'd seen each other yesterday. We talked about what had changed and what hasn't, about our families and mutual friends, what interests we've taken up, what books we're reading. She promised that we would see each other soon and I promised to give her the dates of my holidays from work.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Happy Day 96: Mushrooms and Blue Cheese

#100HappyDays Day 96: Miss T made us jacket potatoes with mushrooms and blue cheese.... so much yum! So just so you know, we really love our food. Really, really. We even eat it out the pan, I'm not ashamed. I'm just glad I didn't get indigestion while dancing later....