Ten Ideas to Make Life Easier at Home

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These ideas will help you to organize your life a little better.

Just small changes to your daily habits will save you a bit of time and thought – nothing spectacular, but if you save yourself even five minutes a day, this is over two hours a month – two hours when you can sit back and put your feet up (or whatever you do with your leisure time).

See what you think:

1.  Paint the top of electronic device plugs with a marker, so that you can see immediately which side to plug them in

You know how fiddly it can be, working out which way round the connector plugs into the socket.  Once you have marked them in a contrasting colour, you’ll never have that problem again, because there’s only one way to plug them in, and that’s face-up so that the identifying marks show.

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Connector Plugged Into my Computer (Red Arrow Shows White Identification Marks Painted on)

 

 

You can buy these Sharpie Marker Pens on Amazon

They are very useful for marking items, posting parcels, doing artwork and colouring in.  The ones shown are in a packet of 24, which gives you a good range of colors, but you can also buy smaller packs

Just follow this Amazon link to take a look

 

2.  If you see a useful advert on a notice board or in a shop window, no need to arduously write down all the details – just take a photograph with your smart phone

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Advert Photographed by my Android Phone

 

3.  Never leave the room empty-handed –

This one was one of my mother’s favourite sayings, oft repeated and very labor-saving.

 

4.  Keep like things with like, where possible

For instance keep all your tea-making equipment including teabags, sugar, mugs and pills which you have to take regularly near the kettle.

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Keeping All the Tea-Making Equipment in One Place

5.  Put a plastic food container on your kitchen counter when peeling fruit and vegetables so you can collect the waste easily to transfer to your recycling bin

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Plastic Food Container as Kitchen Counter Waste Box

6.  Keep several pens around the house –

Certainly one in every room, but consider keeping one in every handbag, one near every phone, one by the front door, one in the hall, one on your kitchen counter, one on your bedside table, one in your shed and one in your car.

 7.  Keep a shopping list near your kitchen store cupboards or fridge

And make sure everyone writes down any item that they see is low in stock, or if they have used the last one.  This ensures you never knowingly run out of any basic food or equipment. Well, that’s the principle, anyway – we all know that people won’t always remember, but if they even do it some of the time, it’s a help.

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Magnetic Shopping List on Side of Fridge

 

You can buy a Magnetic Shopping List with Pen Attached on Amazon

They have plenty to choose from, some with and some without pens.

I’ve been using one with a pen (as you can see in my photo above) for a long time – it’s quite convenient not having to scuffle round for a pen when you’re in a hurry.

Here’s the Amazon Link

8.  If you re-use plastic takeaway containers, use an indelible marker to mark each container on the bottom with a letter or number and the same number on the corresponding lid

This means you will never have to hunt through a pile of lids to find one that fits, because each box has its own lid.  A refinement of this is to then store the boxes in alphabetical or numerical order and likewise the lids.

 

9.  Keep a packet of small sticky labels in your kitchen drawer, so that you can label every container before you put it in the fridge or freezer

Write on the label the contents and the date it was cooked.  Then you’ll know which to use up first, and you won’t have to open every lid to see what’s inside.

 

10.  Keep a plastic pot lid on your kitchen counter so you can dump your used teabag, teaspoon or cooking utensil, to avoid making a mess on the counter itself

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Yogurt Lid makes a Handy Spoon Rest

 

You might also like How to Defrost a Freezer Quickly

Traditional Bread-and-Butter Pudding – Quick and Easy Recipe

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A Tasty Sweet Prepared in Minutes

How to Use Up Stale Bread to Make a Delicious Traditional English Pudding Which is Normally Eaten With Custard

I used to run a restaurant, specializing in good traditional English food. There was always a lot of food waste, but we were also adept at using up food that was a little stale but still edible, to make very popular dishes. Bread-and-Butter Pudding is one such dish.

Bread and butter pudding is very cheap to make, using only a few slices of stale bread, spread lightly with butter or butter substitute, and a scattering of dried fruit, soaked in milk. This is a very suitable recipe for a beginner, as well as more seasoned cooks, and requires very little skill or time – a real quick and easy recipe. Even quite young children could make bread and butter pudding.

Equipment for Making Bread and Butter Pudding

  • Medium sized Baking Dish – this can be glass, metal or tinfoil
  • Small Saucepan
  • Bread Board or Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Dessert Spoon

Life is Much Easier if you Have the Right Equipment for Making Bread and Butter Pudding – Here is a very useful set of dishes from Amazon:

You can buy single dishes, but having a set of various sized dishes means you never have to worry about whether you have the right sized dish in your cupboard

Pyrex Easy Grab 5-Piece Glass Bakeware Set

Pyrex Easy Grab 5-Piece Glass Bakeware Set

It is very useful being able to store your cooking dish in the fridge to use the food later, with a lid on it to keep it fresh

 Buy Now

Making  Bread and Butter Pudding – Details:

  • Preparation time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 25 min
  • Yields: 4 Servings

 Ingredients:

  • 3 slices of bread (preferably thick slices)
  • Butter or butter substitute
  • 3/4 pint of milk or 1/2 pint of milk and 1/4 of water
  • A handful of raisins, currants or sultanas
  • 1 dessertspoon of sugar
  • Optional: Aromatic spice such as 1 clove a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. Warm the milk in a saucepan;
  2. Whilst it is warming, butter the bread slices;
  3. Cut the bread into cubes about 1 inches square;
  4. Layer about half the bread cubes in a medium sized baking dish (this can be glass, metal or tinfoil) so that they are slightly leaning against each other, and not flat on the bottom of the dish;
  5. Sprinkle about half the dried fruit evenly over the bread;
  6. Add another layer of bread and sprinkle it with the rest of the dried fruit;
  7. Pour the hot milk (or mixture of milk and water) over the bread;
  8. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top and add the spice;
  9. Cook in a preheated oven on a medium heat for twenty minutes. The top should be lightly browned. If not, cook it for a few minutes longer;
  10. Serve hot, with custard.

 

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Traditional Bread and Butter Pudding Served With Custard

Bird's Custard Powder 300gBird’s Custard Powder – You can even get custard powder on Amazon

It has a lovely smooth texture, and is the custard powder I have used all my life. I was very pleased to see that you can buy it in America as well as in the UK!
Bird’s custard powder is the one I always use, although there are other brands of custard powder on the market.

Bird’s Custard from Amazon

Buy Now

Bulk cooking is a Great Time-Saver:

Whilst you are making this bread and butter pudding, why not make an extra pudding and keep it for another day?

Bread and butter puddings

Two Bread and Butter Puddings are Better Than One

How Often do You Eat Pudding or Dessert? – Take This Poll and See How Many People Share Your Views

Some people have a sweet tooth and want to eat a pudding every day. Others just have pudding as a treat. And some, amazingly, never have pudding – that’s really Sad!

Chicken and Goat Cheese Risotto Recipe – Use up Leftovers

I used to work in a restaurant and love cooking and being inventive with whatever is in my fridge or store cupboard. I tend to find bland food a bit boring, so normally go for spicy food and a strong flavour, but if you like a mild flavour, you can just cut down on the quantities I use in my recipes

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Save Yourself Some Time –

It helps to organize all your equipment and ingredients before you start,

or gather all the herbs and spices whilst the onion is frying

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min   Cook time: 10 min     Ready in: 15 min
Yields: Serves 2 Portions

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (or other cooking oil)
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 2 – 4 oz.(50 – 100 gm) Cooked Chicken
  • 1 ½ -2 Mugs Cooked Rice, (if starting off with uncooked rice, risotto or paella rice have the best textured for this dish)
  • ¾ Mug Milk
  • 1 oz. (25 gm) Goat Milk Cheese
  • 1 Clove
  • ¼ teaspoon mixed spice (or nutmeg or cinnamon)
  • A tiny sprinkle of crushed chilli seeds or Chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon Herbs – any of marjoram, parsley, oregano, coriander or mixed herbs
  • Salt to taste

NB: The measurement of ingredients above is for your guidance only –

Precise measurement of the ingredients is unnecessary – you can add more or less of any of them, to suit your preference or what you have available.

Instructions for Cooking Chicken and Goat Cheese Risotto:

  1. If you haven’t got any cooked rice, put some on to boil now, whilst preparing the other ingredients
  2. Peel and chop the onion into small pieces and fry gently in the oil for about 5 minutes, to let it sweat and brown slightly without crisping it, stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the pan
  3. Peel and crush the garlic, chop it finely and add to the onions; keep stirring
  4. Add the cooked chicken and cooked rice and stir into the mixture
  5. Add the cooked chicken and cooked rice and stir into the mixture
  6. Add salt if necessary (don’t forget the rice might already have been cooked with salt)
  7. Continue to cook and stir on a gentle heat until the cheese has melted and rice has absorbed most of the liquid (about 5 minutes). If it dries out, stir in a tablespoon of water. Make sure all the ingredients are spread evenly through the mixture.
  8. Then serve

You Can Buy Goat Cheese Online

 

Montchevre Organic Goat Cheese Plain

Creamy, organic Goat Cheese, vacuum packed and absolutely amazing!

How to Make the Real Italian Risotto:

YouTube Video – How to Make The Real Italian Risotto

See More of my Recipe Ideas Using Leftovers:

How to Use up Chicken & Turkey Leftovers After Your Thanksgiving Dinner: Nine Quick Easy Recipes –Turn even the smallest amounts of chicken or turkey leftovers into a tasty meal: use them to make paella, vol-au-vents, risotto, pilaff, stirfry, chicken supreme, soup & sandwiches

How to Make Bread-and-Butter Pudding Using Up Stale Bread – Quick and Easy Recipe Bread and Butter Pudding is a traditional English recipe which is very quick and cheap to make, using a couple of slices of stale bread. So if you hate wasting food, here is a recipe for a delicious pudding. You can prepare it in 5 minutes or less

Chicken Supreme – Quick and Easy Recipe for Christmas Turkey or Chicken Leftovers Chicken supreme originated in Russia. Use up the remains of your celebration turkey dinner or Sunday chicken roast with this simple recipe, using chicken or turkey. Easy Beginner’s level in cookery

Do Leave a Comment Below – I love to hear from people

Poppy Seed Pudding Diana

Recipe For Poppy Seed Pudding Diana

Not everyone likes poppy seeds, but if you do, you will love this Poppy Seed Pudding. It would make a delicious dessert for a special dinner.

This pudding recipe evolved in my own kitchen – that’s why I named it Poppy Seed Pudding Diana – a delicious and unusual pudding.

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Poppy Seed Pudding Diana

I developed a lasting interest in cooking when working in, and helping to run, a restaurant in the 1960’s

It wasn’t a fancy restaurant, maybe more of a cafe really, where the emphasis was on simple home-style food, and as a result of that experience, I became adept at creating simple easy recipes, using the sort of ingredients you might have around the home,

Ingredients For Poppy Seed Pudding Diana –

Assemble the Poppyseed Pudding Diana Ingredients before you start

Ingredients:

  • Poppy Seed Pudding Diana
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • ¾ cup Plain Flour
  • ½ teaspoonful of Baking Soda
  • 4 tablespoons of Water
  • 1½ teaspoonsful of Mixed Spice
  • (or mix your own:
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoonful of Lemon Juice
  • ¼ teaspoonful of salt
  • Optional: Philadelphia Cream Cheese (or other cream cheese)
  • Tin of Poppy Seeds Cake Mixture (get these from a Continental or Polish store)

Equipment for making Poppy Seed Pudding Diana

– The main utensil is a low sided large baking sheet

– Greaseproof paper or silver foil

– Electric Hand-Mixer

– Mixing bowl

 Method for Making Poppy Seed Pudding Diana – Your Poppy Seed Pudding Diana Will be ready in 25 Minutes

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Instructions for Making Poppy Seed Pudding Diana

It’s so easy –

  •  Blend the sugar and eggs in a bowl for 5 minutes (until creamy and frothy)
  • Mix the Flour, baking powder, spice and salt together, then gradually add them to the sugar and egg mixture. Add the water and salt and blend all together.
  • Pour in the mixture and spread evenly
  • Bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes, until the mixture is springy to the touch
  • Remove from oven and separate the cake from the paper or foil with a knife or fish lift
  • Spread the poppy seed mix on the top and then put blobs of cream cheese on top
  • Cut into slices and either leave to cool or serve immediately with cream or ice cream.

YouTube video poppy seed recipe – This one seems to be popular: I’m planning to follow it myself

What do you do When Your Recipe Goes Wrong?

What would you do if your cake turned out wrong?Are you the kind of person who would simply cut your losses and chuck the whole lot in the bin, or would you salvage what you can, and be creative?

I personally like to see what can be rescued, and whether I can still make something nice out of it.

I’ll let you into a little secret: I developed my recipe for Poppy Seed Pudding Diana when I rescued a cooking disaster and turned it into something spectacular -follow this link to the story of how it evolved – Poppy Seed Pudding – How a Recipe Was Born

So what would you do? 

Take The Poll Below and See How Many People Share Your Views

                              

One of my Foodie Designs on Zazzle – a Tongue-in-Cheek Political Statement “We’re All in This Together!” With Grinning Mushrooms

 

On Zazzle you can choose your design and then put it on any product

And Here’s an Apron “I Love Home Cooking!”

See my Zazzle Shop – Glorious Confusion for more Products.

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It’s so nice to hear from people all round the world…….. I love to get feedback (no pun intended)

Recipes my Mother Taught me

My Mother was an Excellent Cook – Many of the things I cook today were recipes my mother taught me

I have made several Recipe web pages,featuring quick and easy recipes with cheap ingredients – you might like to take a look:

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Lovely Pink Borscht

I love it, my children hate it!

 

 

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Chopped Liver

My Mother’s Recipe for Chopped Liver – a Family Favourite

  • This is a traditional cheap, quick and easy recipe for Chopped Chicken Liver – a nutritious, delicious and slimming pate – my Mother would always have this waiting for us when we visited, and I always associate chopped liver with her

 

 

Poppy Seed Cake-Filling – Bakalland Poppy Seed Filling

Fun in the Kitchen

Here’s the story of how I came to make my Poppy Seed Pudding – the secret is just to be a little bit courageous and creative:

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Poppy Seed Cake Filling

One day I saw a recipe for Pumpkin Roll,and thought “I’ll make that”. Well it didn’t happen!

Believing I had all the ingredients stored in my cupboard, I assembled all that I could, and only then discovered that a packet I had thought was “pumpkin mix” actually turned out to be “pumpkin soup mix”.

I might have just abandoned the pumpkin roll idea to make pumpkin soup instead, leaving the pumpkin roll to be made on some future occasion. But if I had followed that route, there would never have been a Poppy Seed Pudding a la Diana, and you would not be reading this story, so some good came out of it and, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining.

Although it was close to Halloween, the most popular time of the year for purchasing all things pumpkin, and in spite of a diligent and persistent search of local shops, I could not find any tins of pumpkin, or any pumpkin mix. If the London grocery stores were not full of pumpkin products now, they never would be. Eventually I bought a piece of fresh pumpkin at an astronomical price, left it lying around for a few days until it went fizzy and then had to throw it away, unused.

Undaunted, and determined to make some kind of roll, I cast around in my mind to think what else I could use.

I remembered a tin of Polish poppyseed cake-filling – Bakalland Masa Makova – I had bought a year ago from an ethnic grocery. As the instructions on the tin were in Polish, I was not sure how to use it, and too idle to look it up on the internet.

Poppy seed tin

Bakalland Masa Makova – Poppy Seed

The Pumpkin Roll Recipe was now no longer appropriate as I needed to substitute the pumpkin puree with the poppy seed. I thought the best thing would be to cobble together the best of two recipes. So I looked through a very old International Jewish Recipe Book which my mother had used in Africa in the 1950′s. Sure enough, there was a recipe for Swiss roll.

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A Vintage Recipe Book from 1950

The Most Important Thing to Remember:

Be confident in your cooking – It is usually possible to rescue a spoiled meal by creating something different but still tasty, and no-one will ever know the difference.

So, dodging between American cups and ounces and English cups, (fortunately not having to deal with grams because they do my head in), I knocked up the sponge mixture. One of the recipes called for 4 eggs, which I thought was excessive, and the other for 3, so I compromised using 3 large eggs.

Both recipes both called for waxed grease-proof paper, which I thought had gone out with the swinging 60’s, but obviously not. I had lots of silver foil (several rolls came from a house clearance I did when I was a lawyer doing probate work), so I substituted that, greasing it as required. The recipe stated heating to 350 degrees, but as my oven just has numbers, I guessed approximately Regulo 5.

Cooking went well for 10 minutes.

I opened the tin of Polish Poppy Seed Cake Filling, Bakalland Masa Makova, hoping it wasn’t out of date, and was a bit concerned that it looked too solid to use for a topping. I spread it on the nearly-cooked sponge and returned it to the oven expecting to melt it. After 15 minutes the poppy seed mix hadn’t melted, and sat on the top in a solid lump.

The original pumpkin roll recipe required soft cream cheese in the filling. I had some Philadelphia cream cheese, which is a fairly solid consistency, but I had every hope that it would melt when spread on the hot poppy seed filling. But no, It stuck to the mixture without melting at all.

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Some Ingredients and the Finished Product for Poppy Seed Pudding

Then I tried to remove the sponge from the base of the pan by rolling it, but I realized that the reason you are supposed to put the filling on later, and not at the time like I did, is because first you have to scrape the sponge off the pan, then turn it over and lay it on a cloth sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, and only then should you put the filling on top and then roll it up.

Reader, believe me – you cannot perform these steps with a sticky, heavy mass which has stuck to the bottom of the pan.

I tried to lift the cake up with a fish-lift, sprinkling it in stages with confectioner’s sugar , but it started to break up. In my tussle with the fish-lift, I knocked over the icing sugar, covering the microwave and kitchen counter in with the white powder, and somehow some of the poppy seed mix even flew on to the cupboard door above it.

Rescue Procedure Philosophy – Ride with the tide, not against it:

Realizing this would never be a Swiss roll, roly poly cake, or mock pumpkin roll, because it would not roll up, I allowed the cake to break up, concentrating on lifting it out of the cake pan in as large chunks as possible and thence on to a plate.

Mission accomplished, except for a small portion which was left over and would not fit on the plate:

I put that portion in a pudding dish, and it was at this point, a Eureka Moment, that I realized that this could be the makings of a brand new delicious pudding, possibly to be eaten heated up, with a little cream cheese topping to make it a bit tart, and a splash of cream, or even ice cream. Alternatively it would be just right with custard.

Success:

E voila! The birth of a new dish – Poppy Seed Pudding a la Diana.

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Poppy Seed Pudding a la Diana

You can see the result in the photograph above.

Here’s the full Recipe for Poppy Seed Pudding Diana

As it’s nice with Custard here’s my Recipe – How to Make Custard the Easy Way

Here are 3 YouTube Videos Showing How to Make Poppy Seed Roll – try them all and see which one you prefer:

This Poppy Seed Roll – Polish style looks good:     Polish Poppy Seed Roll

Another Polish Poppy Seed Roll:   Polish Poppy Seed Roll Polish Makowiec

A Traditional Kosher Poppy Seed Roll: How to Make Leah’s (so) Simple Kosher Poppy Seed Roll

What do you do if and when you have a cooking disaster?

Do you throw it away in disgust and disappointment, or do you wax creative and manage to save the day?

Perhaps you’d do what anyone would do in a food emergency – open a packet and knock up the nearest equivalent to what you were planning to cook in the first case!

Do leave a comment  – I love to know who has visited, and get a little feedback

An English Brunch to Dream About

I’m almost swooning just thinking about this!

It all started as I sat at my trusty computer and smelt bacon cooking as it wafted into my room from the kitchen. Full of hope and greed, I wandered through to the kitchen, only to find that my partner had cooked himself breakfast and eaten all the bacon without offering me any.

 That bacon smell is so pungent and so good that, some years ago, it actually caused my daughter to come off her year-long stint of being a vegetarian, but that’s a different story.

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Anyway, much saddened and disappointed, I looked around to see what was in the fridge, to give myself a mid-day treat. And this is what I found:

  • A small piece of supermarket flatbread with goats milk and caramellised onions
  • 2 Slices of bacon
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms

I put the flatbread in the oven for 10 minutes, and cooked the bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms to perfection on my grill pan. I knew this was going to be good – the aroma had all my senses going before I even sat down to eat it.

When I served it onto my plate, lovingly and artistically, I knew this was going to be one of the best brunches I could ever have, so I photographed it to share with you all. Sorry you can’t smell or taste it – Me, I was left almost swooning with delight and anticipation.

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 After the photography session I sat down and consumed it happily, safe in the knowledge that it was a hundred times better than the meal my partner didn’t cook for me.

Here’s a Shopping Tote I designed on Zazzle:

You can put your own pictures and/or wording on all sorts of products, or buy something you see, like this Tomato Tote  Bag: