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A Few Of My Favourite Things

The hubby and I have been in America for over six weeks now and I’m slowly becoming accustomed to my new home. To be honest we’ve both been busy with all the usual hectic stuff that goes with a move abroad i.e. renting a flat; buying a car; settling into a new job; getting to know people; finding the best place to get a take away curry etc. etc.

I’m very excited about coming to America and all the opportunities it presents. From the time I was a teenager, I had a feeling that I’d one day end up living abroad. And now I’ve done just that. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get homesick and miss England and everyone and everything in it terribly because I do. So I always take comfort in anything that reminds me of home… and some of these things even have a connection to my childhood!

BOOT’S PRODUCTS

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I remember when I was last in Oregon a few years back, Target had started stocking  up Boot’s products which I was very excited about. And I’d totally forgotten about it until we went into our local Target last week and found a small section of the store – and I do mean small – dedicated to Boot’s cosmetics and skin care products. That really did cheer me up – to see a little piece of home.

I’m not familiar with many of the brands available in the States although I will inevitably get round to trying them out – but right now its great to see a brand I know and trust.

JELLY

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Or jello as its called over here. OK, I know – jelly is such a kid’s dessert. No one with a sophisticated palate would even consider a bowlful of the wibbly-wobbly stuff and most adults will probably only touch it if you add alcohol and serve them up in little plastic shot glasses at parties.

But then I’ve never really been one for following the crowd and I’ve always loved jelly. It stems from childhood when a bowlful of jelly was an amazing treat – how easily pleased we were – and even now, when I’m feeling homesick or a bit low for any reason, jelly hits the spot every time. And if there’s any ice- cream or squirty cream to go with it, so much the better!

Funnily enough, most American adults I know have no interest in jello – unless we’re talking jello shots – but yet there’s such a fantastic array of flavours unlike the UK where we’re pretty much limited to five flavours. So far I’ve come across peach, melon, cherry, blueberry, apricot, grape, fruit punch, cola, pineapple, mango… and those are just the ones I can remember!

While the Americans beat us on flavours, the thing I love about jelly in Britain is that you can get them in the form of squidgy gelatine squares whereas over here in America it’s always in crystal form. How I love those jelly squares! Whenever my mum used to make jelly for us, you could be sure I’d pop a couple of squares in my gob. In fact, I’ve even been known to scoff a whole packet like sweets!

EGGO WAFFLES

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In Britain, waffles are either Belgian or potato which are both fab but I remember my aunt making a different type of waffle when i used to go round to her house which seemed to be made from batter. I have no idea what brand it was but when I was much older I used to look for them in the frozen aisles but could never find them so they’d obviously been discontinued long ago.

Eggo waffles are the ones that come closest to my childhood memory and they are a firm favourite in our household.

SARA LEE DESSERTS

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Who remembers those Sara Lee television ads of the eighties where we were advised that “If at first you don’t succeed – cheat!” I’m quite sure that Sara Lee gateaus would have been all the rage at dinner parties back in the day but this brand is another thing that seems to have disappeared over the years in Britain. It was only when I used to visit Oregon a few years back that I ran into this brand at the supermarket like a long- lost friend… and those Sara Lee fruit pies soon became a freezer staple.

These days I’m addicted to Sara Lee’s pound cake. Delicious!

 

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Posted by on March 1, 2016 in Brands

 

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Comfort Food #1: Mum’s Homemade Apple ‘Nostalgia’ Pie and Custard

I still remember the first time I watched my Mum bake an apple pie (from scratch) and serve it with custard (not from scratch!) I was about four years old and I was sat on the kitchen work top and I saw her get to work making the pastry dough; rolling it out; covering a pie dish with it and trimming the edges before filling it with sliced fresh apples. Oh and my favourite bit: sealing the edges with a fork so that it had that lined effect that pastry chefs deem ‘old fashioned’ but to me is the sign of a good homemade pie.

I can still taste how good it was and how the sharp, tangy apples contrasted deliciously with the sweet, creamy custard. It’s still one of my favourite puddings to this day but then who isn’t partial to a bit of apple pie and custard? Oh and has to be custard. Flavoured creams and ice-cream are all very well but nothing beats lashings of hot custard.

Unfortunately Mum doesn’t really do recipes as she pretty much likes to experiment as she goes along – and most of the time it works! But I did stumble across a recipe which is very similar what Mum used to bake. And If you are more adventurous than Mum, you might like to have a go at making custard from scratch and not just open a tin of Birds custard powder (even if that does take me back to my childhood!)

Apple Pie

Courtesy of janissewcrazy @ pixabay.com

Ingredients

For the pastry
For the filling

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  2. Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl.
  3. Rub in the margarine or butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  4. Add the cold water to the flour mixture. Using a knife, mix the water into the flour, using your hand to firm up the mixture. The pastry should be of an even colour and suitable consistency for rolling.
  5. Divide the pastry into two halves. Take one half and roll it out so that it is big enough to cover an 20cm/8in enamel or aluminium plate. Trim the edges with a knife using the edge of the plate as your guide.
  6. Cover the pastry with the stewed apples and sprinkle with sugar to taste.
  7. Roll out the other half of the pastry. Moisten the edge of the bottom layer of pastry and place the second piece on top.
  8. Press down on the pastry edges, making sure that they are properly sealed. Trim off any excess pastry with a knife in a downward motion, again using the plate as your guide.
  9. Flute the edges with a pinching action using your fingers and thumb.
  10. Prick the surface of the pastry lightly before placing the pie in the oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes.
  11. When the pie is cooked it should move slightly on the plate when gently shaken.
  12. Slide on to a serving plate, dust with caster sugar and serve.

 

 

Custard

Ingredients

Preparation method

  1. Bring the milk, cream and vanilla pod to simmering point slowly over a low heat.
  2. Remove the vanilla pod (wash the vanilla pod, dry and store in jar with caster sugar to make vanilla sugar).
  3. Whisk the yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl until well blended.
  4. Pour the hot milk and cream on to the eggs and sugar, whisking all the time with a balloon whisk.
  5. Return to the pan, (add vanilla extract if using) and over a low heat gently stir with a wooden spatula until thickened.
  6. Pour the custard into a jug and serve at once.
  7. To keep hot, stand the jug in a pan of hot water and cover the top with cling film to prevent skin forming.

Yummy!

 

 

 

 
 

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