Sunday, 16 September 2012


I'm sure you've all done it, been out and shopped too long, played in the park with children or in my case grandchildren and simply forgotten the time, and suddenly lunchtime looms and you have nothing planned. Well a week before our schools reopened I was looking after my  two grandsons, got carried away and was then in a panic about what to feed two starving boys.
Of course pasta! Quick nutritious and fortunately for me loved by both.(Well done mummy and daddy for introducing them to all kinds of food including chilli, curries and pasta, it makes nanny's job so much easier!)
All I needed was pasta, tick, pasta sauce (OK for once a good organic one out of a jar will do!) Not so, the cupboard was bare! I had fresh tomatoes, tinned tomatoes and tomato paste but no ready made tomato sauce.
Now all the recipes I had used in the past called for fresh tomato sauce to be cooked slowly and at length, so I resorted to the trusty Internet to find 'the best, tastiest, quickest tomato sauce for pasta'.
Now this is where I am a bit embarrassed because here there should be a link to the recipe which I sort of followed with a few minor adjustments, but I can't find it now, so I apologise to whoever it was that helped me out and gave me the most perfect ( in my opinion, and for my taste) tomato sauce recipe.

Now the original recipe as I recall was made as follows

2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion

3 desertspoons of soft brown sugar
2 large tins chopped tomatoes
1 tsp each of oregano, marjoram and basil
salt and pepper to taste

The method
Heat the oil, chop onion finely and then throw everything in the pan and cook on a medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes

I read some of the reviews and whilst it generally got good reports, some thought it too sweet and some too runny.

Now I like my sauce hearty and with plenty of garlic so my version went something like this....

1 tablespoon oil
1 large finely red onion
1 finely chopped red pepper
4 plump cloves garlic crushed
1 desertspoon sugar
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 good desertspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon mixed herbs ( these latter two were what I had in the cupboard!)
1 bay leaf


Heat the oil and gently cook the onion and garlic until soft but not browned (about 5 mins)
Add all the other ingredients and cook for a further 25 to 30mins stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf.

Cook your choice of pasta and pour over the sauce and enjoy.....Pasta heaven...

and the boys didn't leave a bit...........

I have since done this with fresh vine tomatoes (home grown for flavour) in place of the tinned tomatoes, have added a teaspoon of chilli flakes and added chicken and both have been delicious.

Now I am sure many of you will have your favourite recipe and I would love to hear of them, especially if they are quick and easy.

Hope you have all had a good weekend, we made a bit more progress with the decorating, did a car boot and got rid of some rubbish treasure and I'm now off for a well earned glass of wine.

Jenny xx

Sunday, 9 September 2012


Hi, remember me, the woman who always has too much to say in each post that I am always surprised when anyone gets to the end of one!! Well for once I have been silenced, and if you ever hear me utter the immortal words....'we are just going to'......again you have my permission to point me to this post immediately.


We were just going to have a log burner installed in the dining room. One of only three rooms in the house without double glazing (we can't afford the £3000+ quoted for each of the 3 big bay windows), and we feel it would spoil the front elevation of the property anyway. We have been assured that the one we chose will be so efficient we will be wanting to open windows when it gets too warm .And make a mess having it installed. Oh no! they do it all the time.........

So what could go wrong!!

'After'... S@*t...isn't this supposed to look better?

Well....... nothing if you discount the fact that they couldn't get the lining down the chimney and were so convinced that the chimney was blocked that they planned to knock a hole through the wall in the attic to see where the problem was!!....The fact that the attic is 2 beautiful bedrooms and not a dark storage space did seem to make them rethink that one thank goodness.....And when they did manage to get the lining through, despite the fact that the chimney had been swept, they found the only deposit of soot still left and managed to cover the whole dining room in it. No more cream curtains, no more beige carpet and a fine layer of black in places I didn't know existed.  So of course it has all been a doddle!! ( and I'm still cleaning up soot!)

Four weeks later having stripped said dining room and repaired and repainted all the walls, had curtains cleaned, purchased new carpet and reorganised the whole thing I think we are on the home run....but at the moment I am keeping schtum!! I will do a reveal, but only when there is absolutely nothing left to do.

And of course there is still the small matter of the sewing room makeover which we were sure would 'just' take a week or so and which was so rudely interrupted........

watch this space .......

Of course in between all this there has been a weekend in Cheshire, a visit to a brilliant country show and the grandson's school holidays, so no reason at all not to have finished everything by now!! I'll tell you more about those another time.

Have a great week....and don't forget to start looking out those winter woollies, I fear our Indian summer is about to come to an abrupt end..........A wood burner would come in handy then!!

Jenny xx