Friday 30 December 2016

Comping reviewed

This has been the year that I have started to "comp" (enter competitions) systematically and it is proving to be great fun.  

My wins this year have included
My latest win!
Fridge storage boxes, 
A one hour life coaching session 
Tickets to a West End show,
Tickets to a country show, 
A pair of "designer" trainers, 
Four different selections of books
Selection of Milton hygiene products
A mobile phone
Tickets to a clothes show
A huge selection of gel nail products
A dinosaur toy

Some of these have been used, some given away and a few sold on eBay.

I seem to be particularly successful in winning books.  I suspect that these competitions have less entries than others.  

I spend about an hour every day entering competitions, usually first thing in the morning when I am barely conscious and not really up to doing much else!  It is not sure-fire way of acquiring something I want nor is it a quick way of making money but it is still fun waiting to see what the postie will bring.

Thursday 1 December 2016

Not a good start to December

Today is a day for kicking myself.  I went off to Brigg market and discovered that although I was in Brigg, my purse was in Caistor.  Fortunately I was meeting a friend for coffee so I used a credit card in Tesco then borrowed a little from her to do my market shopping.  She is a very good friend!

I am very ill prepared for Christmas.  I have two parcels almost ready to send to swap partners and I shall try and post those tomorrow.  I've got the fruit ready for Christmas pud but it should be made by  now.  The envelopes for the cards are addressed and the cards made but I need to get busy writing.  You get the picture?  So much is half done, nothing completed.

Anyway, today is a new page on the calendar so I shall make my Very Merry Berry Pudding.  It's not really a Christmas pud as it doesn't contain currants or raisins but I prefer it.  Here's the recipe.

Very Berry Christmas Pudding

100g (3½oz) sultanas
50g (2oz) each dried sour cherries, dried strawberries, dried cranberries and dried blueberries
50g (2oz) each ready-to-eat dried prunes, apricots and figs, roughly chopped
2tbsp fruit liqueur, 
100ml (3½fl oz) ginger wine
Zest and juice of 1 lemon  
Butter for greasing
75g (3oz) shredded suet
50g (2oz) self-raising flour
125g (4oz) fresh breadcrumbs
½tsp each mixed spice and ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch each of salt and freshly 
grated nutmeg
75g (3oz) soft dark brown sugar
2tbsp black treacle
1 Cox's apple, grated
2 medium eggs, beaten
50g (2oz) pecans, chopped (optional)

1 Put the dried fruit, raspberry liqueur, ginger wine, lemon zest and juice into a non-metallic mixing bowl. Cover and leave to soak overnight. Lightly butter a 1 litre (1¾ pint) pudding basin and put in a cool place. Put a 35.5cm (14in) square of foil on top of a square of baking parchment the same size. Fold a 4cm (1½in) pleat across the centre and set aside.
2 The next day, put the soaked fruit into a large mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix together until well combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pudding basin, pushing it down firmly, and level the surface. 
3 Put the pleated foil and parchment square (foil side up) on top and smooth down to cover. Using a long piece of string, tie securely under the lip of the basin, then knot. Bring the excess string over the top of the bowl and knot to the string on the other side to make a handle. 
4 To cook, put the pudding on an upturned heatproof saucer in a deep pan. Pour in enough water to come halfway up the basin, cover with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a simmer. Cook for 4½-5hr, topping up as necessary. Remove pudding from pan and cool. Leaving it covered and in the basin, wrap tightly in clingfilm. Store in a cool, dark place for up to three months.  

To reheat Take off the clingfilm wrapping. Cook for 2hr, following the instructions in step 4, until heated through.