pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

1)Tatty Old Books 2) Toby & Sparky Get Cosy!

I have dozens of cookery books ranging from enormous glossy productions through to very tatty coverless pamphlets.

When I say tatty, I really do mean worn, ragged, messy.  Pre-loved small productions.
I have spent many more happy hours poring over these booklets, than I have ever spent with the modern ones, no matter how beautiful they may be.

I cannot but admire the way the women who contributed the recipes seem to have been able to feed many from so very little.  Necessity, I guess.

Food safety was also a problem.

As these two tips illustrate:

To make sure that all tinned goods are non-poisonous remove contents into a basin and leave about 3 tablespoonfuls of syrup or gravy (which ever it may be) in the tin.  Place a sixpence into the tin, place on the stove, and let it come to the boil for about three minutes.  Remove from the stove, take out the sixpence.  Should it have turned black you will know the food is poisonous: otherwise it is all right.

Tinned Foods
When the tins are once opened the contents should be immediately poured out, or emptied into a china dish.  This precaution applies to fish, meats or fruit.  To test on opening and emptying the tin,  plunge into the contents a bright steel knife.  Let it remain a few moments when, if copper be present in the smallest degree it will be deposited on the blade.  Such food always discard.

There are lots more of these hints and tips, but I thought I would leave you with a sandwich recipe.  

Often I pick out a savoury dish, but today I have chosen something sweet...

Cherry Sandwiches
A cupful of glace cherries, 1/4 cupful of orange juice, and as many round crackers as required.  Chop the cherries, adding the orange juice, gradually, and mix together.  Spread a layer on each cracker, press together, decorate with a cherry on top.

I won't be trying this one out either, just the thought of it makes my teeth ache.

Here is a photograph, taken last night, when Sparky and Toby got cosy together.  

Remarkable when you think that just six or seven months ago Sparky was a hissing, spitting, semi-feral cat, who had been found living wild and was rescued by the Cats Protection League.  She had been in their care for about 8 or 9 months and wasn't likely to be re-homed very quickly because every time she was viewed she hid in a cardboard box and spat at everyone.

We wanted a feral cat to keep the rats and mice down around this place, we really didn't want a lap cat...

Toby, on the other hand has always wanted a cat friend.  Our previous cats have all bullied him.  For some reason Sparky has taken to him.  

All is well.  Friendship has blossomed.  Long may it continue!


  1. If Sparky is a feral cat then I am Rambo.

    Too cute for words!

  2. Sparky obviously recognized high living when it came to him. Toby of the wise and wonderful face may have found a cat who listens and learns. I just scrolled down to submit and find the word verification includes the name of my favorite black and white cat. I am hereby joined!

  3. That is one loving home you have! Heartwarming to know the difference you have made for Sparky.

    I need those cherry "sandwiches" even if it means getting new teeth some day! (The recipe is so simple I think even I could "cook" them.)

  4. Hello Owl Wood, Sparky is the softest, most affectionate cat you could ever wish for. She is also a truly devilish hunting machine. We found five and a half mouse bodies at lunch time - luckily they were out on the patio.

  5. Hello Joanne - and welcome, it is lovely to meet you!

    Sparky is a wonderful character. She was so afraid of everything when we first got her and yet she constantly tries to conquer that fear. Toby was thrilled to have her snuggle up to him last night - Sparky enjoyed it too!

  6. Hi Mitch, Your holiday seems to be going really well. I saw those wonderful chocolates which you bought earlier; believe me you really wouldn't want glace cherries on crackers, with or without the orange juice after enjoying those delights!

    I sometimes have to pinch myself when I see how easily Sparky and Bennie have fitted in with life here. They really enrich family life - I think Toby would agree. They even tried to work their magic on Pip before she died.

  7. Those two are so adorable! I always love it when cats and dogs cosy. I cannot imagine Holly letting this happen ever! You know you can always join in my random recipes challenge this month with all those cookbooks!

  8. Hi Dom, Isn't it amazing how comfortable they are together.

    The random recipe challenge always sounds fun! However, you food blog people all cook wonderfully and the random part of the challenge would encompass more than just the recipe for me!

    Much safer if I stick to reading about it.

  9. I spent a while out in The Cayman Islands where we would catch plenty of Barracudas. As these would occasionally contain toxins, we would cut off a small piece to leave out for the ants. If in the morning we found dead ants, the Barra was chucked!

  10. I would love to go through all your cookbooks:D Love the photo of your pets, wonderful that they are great friends and keep each other entertained hehe... My cat Ranger and my dog Ruby plays all the time. Yesterday when I took Ranger out to cut his nails, my hubby told me Ruby went nuts looking for the two of us and cried for a long time before settle down on the couch next to the window sulking till we were back. Elaine, I have to apologize that i have not done the survey that you tagged me but I have not forgotten.

  11. Hello Cro, The simple tips are the best ones. I will make sure that gets an entry in my own handwritten cookery book.

  12. Hi Veronica, Don't worry about the survey, it is a busy time of year for all of us. You would be welcome to look at my recipe books any time!

  13. The book without a cover is beautiful! There's nothing quite like an old book; they're so comfortable some how.

  14. Hi Nilhuanwen,
    That particular book is worn, ragged, splashed and stained, but it doesn't smell. Pre-loved and perfect! I hope someone else will love it when I have finished with it. I hate to think how many small volumes like that just end up on the bonfire.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.