NPME

Easter2019

posted by Natalie Paddick

EASTER IS ON ITS WAY

I find this celebration difficult now my children are grown up, long gone are the days of collecting 100's of chocolate Easter eggs to hide in the garden for them and their cousin to find. I always remember that the sun shone on these occasions and the children would run into the garden with the dog, Gypsy in hot pursuit madly chasing them, barking and wagging her tail in the vain hope that they might drop one of these edible morsels, which would mean that she would 'quick as a flash' steal the fallen egg from them, double back and running away, as they screamed at her over her blatant theft. Gypsy would eat the entire egg if you did not get to her in time including the silver foil...!

Once we had done that entertainment we would have a large buffet lunch, which I enjoyed creating, you know the type of thing - cold meats, the Paddick 'sausage plat', [a must otherwise there is complaints], cheeses, hearty salads and potatoes of some description.. Followed by a myriad of, [even if I say so myself], beautifully created cakes of all denominations ... Making sure the two Bengal cats were safely stowed away so as not to allow them to ram-raid the food.. They had a irritating habit of getting outside and following the guests around the room from their position on the window ledge, like some feline stalkers.. A quick note; for anyone thinking of buying Bengals... You should know that they come with a number of health issues, not theirs yours as they drive you nuts! Trying to stop them getting into the food is hard work; they are professional thieves, and far better than the dog as they are fast, dangerous, determined and prepared to fight for the food... And they jump... They also come with other even more disgusting habits, which I won't go into in this blog! But they are beautiful to look at if that is any compensation! .. Anyway these were just lovely big family occasions, there is about 20 of us the Paddick lot and quite often a number of friends would be invited too.. The day would meander into evening and usually the weekend too ... More games .. More fun ... More family ... I loved doing it, it was all about family to me... 

Now as these times are a beautiful memory, the older cousins have moved on and in some cases are newly married and our children have grown up too... Times are different ... This year now our daughter, pictured at 16, has finished her university degree she will return to the fold from London for a brief but welcome break, for both her brothers 21st Birthday and for the Easter festivities ... Such as things are now... The celebrations this year will be a 21st Birthday party organised by them in the house, which means loud music and alcohol in abundance... I am always very much included in these wild parties, dancing until the small hours; to be honest, it usually takes me a good week to recover! Whilst they all re-emerge the next day looking bleary eyed; but after a few cups of tea or coffee, the latter has to be drunk away from me as I can't stand the smell... And a few bacon sandwiches they all bonce back and are ready in the evening for round two of wild entertainment which here in Somerset, means pub, club and usually back to the house for more drinking ... And so it goes on .... 

I used to dress the table on Easter morning, with all the usual paraphernalia associated with chocolate, rabbits, chicks and painted real eggs for the egg game later in the day, where we smash eggs to see who has the last intact egg... Another Paddick tradition ... This year our three beauty's will emerge usually the youngest the seventeen year old first, who still finds it interesting to see what is going on downstairs Easter wise.. Followed sometime in the early afternoon by the older two... We will enjoy a quite Easter day.. Meander through bacon sandwiches, eating the chocolate displays and eventually sometime in the afternoon all sitting down to a big Easter lunch, listening to them tell us about the drunken antics of the night before... Then we will have the highly competitive Egg Game with real eggs.... It is believe it or not great fun and remains one of the only family traditions of the Easter day... But does not require much skill apart from choosing the thickest shelled egg.... At the end of the day it is cake possibly in front of the TV...  A pleasant sort of a day, but totally different from the past fun and memories of younger children..... So bring it on as I learn to embrace the change ... Easter is a coming ... I wish you all a very Happy Easter what ever age  ... Natalie xx

 

 

 

 


Christmas.2018

posted by Natalie Paddick

This Christmas .. I just wanted to do something different, something that was in keeping with the environmental feelings of not creating more waste ... All round it has been a different kind of year.. So on a walk with my husband we came across a 9ft Ash branch in the undergrowth around the moat at the beautiful Wells Cathedral. It was naturally a bit wet and covered in lichen and bald! So my husband retrieved it and brought it home. Normally we have a 7ft chunky Spruce, which is beautiful, traditional and takes over a lot of space but has enough branches to house most of our now large collection of decorations...

So time for change ... First issue to find a container to work with the skeletal dancing limbs of the tree. A good old 'rootle' around the cupboards and a perfect solution an old terracotta bread bin... Filled with off white gravel, which cost £3.29, which we will repatriate to the garden come the New Year ... No waste there... It also secures the tree beautifully in place.... 


I chose decorations from Christmas box, ones that I thought would work with the design on these bare branches, but it needed a splash of colour... So a ball of red wool threaded through red, silver and black baubles and tied with a bow added to the design with a scattering of decorations taken from our large box of goodies. The wool cost £2.50. 

The delightful effect was finished off with the feel of festive icicles created from a beaded strings that I usually use to create shaped loops on our Spruce... Overall cost of our Christmas tree £5.79. Not bad!

What fun in the hallway... I am a habitual reader of glossy magazines, so with the aid of my trusty guillotine and a bit of tape I quickly made an enormous Christmas paper chain ... You can choose your colours to match your design ... I like the dramatic ... Sort of Versace look against the white background ... And look at those shadows .... Such a good look...

 

So all in all a simple designs for pennies ... I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year ... x 


 

 


My.Idea.Of.A.Tart

posted by Natalie Paddick

Caramelised Onion Tart

As I have said I loved to cook, I don’t mind what I cook as long as I am cooking….

I don’t eat meat and I can’t eat flour products …. But I don’t care because I can cook them! I have a keen sense of smell and that is how I flavour my food…. I then have a household of willing participants to check my seasoning … So all is well!

As you might imagine meal times are a bit of a marathon in this house as everyone has slightly different tastes and favourite meals … For me this is a good thing … It means that every meal time I get to cook many different meals .. Not everyone’s idea of fun … I realise … But it works for me!

This onion tart can be used for any season and is great if you are entertaining a vegetarian, just melt some goats cheese over the top for extra pizzazz. The tart works beautifully as an accompaniment to any meat dish and I also used it in packed lunches … So in brief it is a great all-rounder!

The best tip about making this tart is the painting of beaten egg over the base of the tart to stop it having a soggy bottom! A tip for all tarts if you ask me!

But no it is not one of my recipes it belongs to Delia! Here is the link:

CARAMELISED BALSAMIC AND RED ONION TARTS WITH GOATS' CHEESE – Just Google it!

The sauce in the picture is my recipe and it goes beautifully with this zinging tart.

Natalie’s crunchy mayonnaise

Judge the amount of ingredients to suit your needs and the amount of people you are serving.

You don’t have to use mayonnaise, sometimes I use yoghurt! Use what you have nothing is written in stone. Just mix them all to taste. Here is what I put in!

Mayonnaise

Good glug of Olive Oil

Dijon mustard tsp or so

Squeeze of lemon

Chopped spring onions

Capers

Chopped celery

Cornichon – Gherkins

This sauce, is quick and easy and works so well, with so many other dishes. The caramelised tart is really quite sweet because of the balsamic vinegar. However if you use this sauce with another meal such as beef or fish, you can sweeten it with a dash of honey or even a squirt of tomato ketchup! Enjoy X

 



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