Recipes from my Suffolk Kitchen

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Virago Modern Classics

I've been reading my own books again, this time one of my growing collection of Virago Modern Classics with their bottle green covers.

  Virago are like Persephone, publishing books that have been forgotten - usually by women authors and I'm picking up any that sound good  whenever I spot them in charity shops..........which isn't often.
Ruth Adam published a few fiction books and A Woman's Place 1910 -1975.which is a History of Women's lives in the 20th century and has been re-printed by Persephone

Virago re-printed I'm Not Complaining, her 1938 semi-autobiographical novel in 1984. It is set in the grim 1930s depression in industrial Nottinghamshire.
Madge Grigson is a primary school teacher in the poorest part of town. With her colleagues she battles with the problems of the time, nits, malnutrition, a caretaker damaged by the Great War, large families and grinding poverty. When all teachers were spinsters and poorly paid and sharing houses with other teachers was the norm.
An interesting story but also useful for finding out more about at the social history of the period. I read and enjoyed it and looked on Amazon to find her other novels but the one I was interested in - A House in the Country is £50! Perhaps Persephone or Virago will reprint it.

Many thanks for comments about strawberry vodka, Christmas hampers and the cross stitch cards.

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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Strawberry Vodka Plus other things

Another item for the Christmas hampers has been sorted.

Earlier this year I put some strawberries from Col's brother  into a kilner jar with a small bottle of Vodka and stood them in a dark cupboard.
Now the vodka is beautifully pink and has been strained into these bottles. The bottles are one of the few things actually bought specially for the hampers this year. They do look good and just need labels. No idea of the taste as I can't drink alcohol but the colour is lovely.

I found a comment from Pat asking about the hampers. I started making Christmas gift hampers for my sister and husband and Col's sister and husband just a few years ago when I needed to cut down on spending.Before that I'd given some home made chutney with a gift voucher of some sort  but the amount I could afford looked a bit mean. But a hamper full of goodies always looks good and it spreads the cost out too. One of my big dislikes of Christmas is wasting money on something not needed or wanted and edibles are always acceptable.

This is what 2016's hamper looked like, there was some Fair-trade drinking chocolate with mini marshmallows, home made truffles, Dundee cake, marmalades, cranberry chutney,  and some chocolate spoons to stir into the drinking chocolate.
 In 2015 there was a bottle of red wine (which we had been given and couldn't drink due to medication) and spices for making mulled wine. Then chutneys, spiced nuts, jam and marmalade and Dundee cake.

This years makes have been mentioned which has rather spoiled the surprise for my sister  who reads sometimes (sorry L!), but luckily Col's sister doesn't read the blog.

And the Other Things........................Remember the Christmas cross stitch I rescued and put into cards? Well Col took them into the Macmillan Cancer Support and Information center at the hospital and they said Yes they could sell them so that's good. They offer help, information and support to anyone with cancer and cups of tea too!

Thank you all for comments and welcome to a new follower number 226, not sure who you are but hello.

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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

2 Hours in Ipswich

Last week Col dropped me off in the town centre when he went for his regular blood test and clinic appointment at the hospital. I had a couple of hours with not many places I had to go which gave me time to trawl the charity shops. I've not found anything I wanted in any charity shops anywhere for months (August was the last charity shop finds post) so it was quite a surprise to pick up 3 things.

Another little kilner jar, this one will be for the herb and spice shelf it was one whole £.
The pack on the right is something I've never before seen in a charity shop or boot-sale. It's a Replica Pack of paper memorabilia  from WWII. I've seen them at museum shops and always wondered what sort of things they had in them, never bought one as they are £6.95 new.The company (Sweet and Nostalgic) produce all sorts of packs from The Blitz and Home Front to Childhood of the 60's. I think they are really a teaching resource? Anyway this one was all about The Navy and the war at sea and it was £1.
After opening and reading all the bits I'm glad I've never paid full price for a set.

The book on the left was rather a punt because I have been trying to collect  this series of books of historical crime for years and years. Written by this prolific author back in the 90's, they are quite hard to come by. At one time I had a list in my bag of the titles I hadn't got but of course it  isn't in my bag now. There were 3 of the series in the charity shop and I recognised the other two covers but wasn't sure about this one, but at 99p I thought I'd risk it and Great Joy it was one I didn't have. I've now got 8 out of 11, when I've got all 11 I'll start reading them.

Then I had to hang around waiting  for Col to pick me up for half an hour as it got gradually darker and colder as he'd got held up in traffic between the hospital and town. I was glad to get home. I used to love a couple of hours in town to rootle around in charity shops but must be getting old.

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