Welcome to my blog!

Hello and a very warm, waffly welcome from Windsor.

That is Windsor, Berkshire, UK, home of the Queen in case you were wondering. But no, I don’t live in a wing of her Majesty’s castle.  

Just starting off with this blog… I am new to it all so please bear with me!  I hope you enjoy reading my content.

It’s Birthday Season

Hi. In my family we have a lot of April birthdays. My Mum’s was yesterday, my niece is on Monday and then I’m next Saturday. I like sharing my birthday proximity with my close relatives. My sister does not enjoy it so much and has been known to say it is like another Christmas for her with all the gift shopping, except this time she doesn’t get a present herself!

The picture above is the tub I planted up for my Mum for her birthday. My fingers were so cold on Wednesday doing this. I’ve managed to keep the plants alive since then by putting the tub under a cloche each night to help prevent frost. I gave my Mum one of our small cloches too so that she can continue to do the same until the weather warms up a bit. Anyway, she seemed delighted to receive it this afternoon, her face lit up. It should look even better when the lobelia and the verbena plants grow and start to tumble over the sides.

While we were there we admired my parents’ front wall of their house. Isn’t this pretty? I’ve never seen it like this before. My Mum kept telling me to take a cutting of the purple flowers (?lobelia) for myself, but I didn’t want to ruin it, so I just took a photo instead.

I also took her a rhubarb cake that I made myself this morning, the first rhubarb cake of the season. The rhubarb I picked this morning from The Waffle plot. It smelled so gorgeous and fresh when I chopped it. I love that rhubarb smell. I love this rhubarb cake too. The recipe is here. I made this many times last year and never grew tired of it. David doesn’t like rhubarb so I had to eat the whole cake myself each time spread over 4 or 5 days, oh well, it’s a hard life! Here it is cooking in the oven this morning..

I’ll show you a few more pics from the week and then I’ll love you and leave you for a while. Next blog will be in just over a week’s time after all the birthday shenanigans! Xx

This is my kitchen calendar picture for April. There is a different sunflower pic each month.

This is my desk calendar. I like this pretty picture.

These are our new gold dining candles I bought from Ocado. They are made by Price’s and seem to be lasting a bit longer than the recent ones I’ve bought. We get through a lot of dining candles with all our romantic dinners!

Isn’t this a lovely tulip? Spotted on a local walk the other day.

Still loving the dreamy blossom.


Leftover Easter eggs?!?

There was a link on the BBC news website to a recipe for rocky road made with your leftover Easter eggs. Leftover Easter eggs?! What a ridiculous suggestion. We may not have finished these beauties yet together with some other chocolate treats ongoing in our house, but I’m confident that we will. It will be more of a case of “boo hoo no more Easter eggs” than “what shall we do with these annoying leftovers?!” The thought of it!

How are you doing? I admit I was pleasantly surprised how nice the Easter weekend turned out to be for me. I approached it with a sense of apprehension about yet another period of time at home with not much planned to do. But it turned out to be both relaxing and enjoyable and I got to see a few people (outside of course) other than my darling husband, which made a change too! I’m sure he felt the same.

The weather now has turned soooooo cold in Windsor. Yesterday we had on and off snow flurries. Today I had a job to do in the garden for 30 minutes. After 10 minutes my hands were so cold they hurt and my fingers wouldn’t work properly. It was horrible! David went to outside practice with his band about 4 hours ago.. he will come home blue! I googled patio heaters the other day. It seems they are not all out of stock but they cost around £250. so I don’t think we’ll be buying one of those. Fingers crossed the weather will warm up a bit next week for al fresco pub dining, of which I plan to do A LOT, albeit probably with thermals on underneath. The camellia in my garden is still in bud, too scared to come out. This is the same camellia that featured in full glorious bloom on The Waffle on 1 March 2020.

I am busy making plans now to go out and socialise and visit pubs and restaurants outside locally as we can from next week. I absolutely cannot wait. No more Zoom! I know there are many who do not share my enthusiasm, who have got used to the home based life we were enforced into and now feel uncomfortable giving it up. Don’t get me wrong, I am not ready to go to an airport, on a holiday abroad, to go to a crowded theatre or to jostle cheek by jowl amongst complete strangers in a bar. I don’t really fancy doing that one ever again! But a bit of socially distant, Covid safe dining outside, with some food brought to me prepared by another human being, a different view, some alternative conversation, chewing the fat of life’s issues, big or small, now that I’m up for.

On a completely different subject…..here’s last night’s dinner, as I promised my friend Pat she’d see this on The Waffle. I made chicken thighs baked in turmeric and coconut milk (BBC Good Food magazine) and they were very tasty.

After marinating the chicken thighs, you cook the spinach and sliced onion in a bit of the coconut milk. As you can see my coconut milk was a bit lumpy out of the tin, but it didn’t matter.

The marinated chicken then nestled on the top and got baked. Et voilà.

It looks a bit greasy in the picture above, but it wasn’t really. I served it with new potatoes with the skins still on.

We really enjoyed this dinner. And for pudding was… Easter egg of course! We had the last two chicken thighs from this dish heated in the microwave for lunch today with some leftover new potatoes sliced into thick chunks and fried, with a fried egg on top 😋.

On the menu tonight is butternut squash, sage and bacon pasta from the Good Housekeeping Express cookbook. We’ve had this before and it’s easy to make and tastes good.

As my friend Debs once said, I could call this blog “What’s Gail having for dinner?”, but I do like to Waffle on about other stuff as well! Spreading the love… I took some good ❤️ pics for you this week (always looking for love)…Ciao! Xx

Ok, so this one below is a bit dubious, but it’s a tired, imperfectly beautiful heart having a little lie down..

The tulips are out

Hi, these aren’t in my garden, but I spotted them on our walk today. Nice, aren’t they?

These are stunning too.

One of the highlights of yesterday’s walk with my friend Erica was this solitary daffodil in Clewer Park. Sometimes less is more. This one daffodil caught our eye, standing proud and full of cheeky character.

As usual, my free time seems to revolve around my two passions of nature and food. We’ve had a couple of particularly tasty home cooked meals this week from BBC Good Food magazine. My Mum likes to buy me a magazine subscription of my choice each year for Christmas, which is a great gift, and this year I chose BBC Good Food magazine. The magazine is a lot more trendy than I remember it from before. Some of the foods are quite alternative, but I am still managing to find some yummy recipes, and perhaps it is good for me to be pushed outside my comfort zone food wise a bit. The biggest challenge is usually that my regular diner, David, is a bit restrictive in his food choices, but he has got better in recent years in terms of trying new things, especially if I say they’re good for him.

We’ve both recently decided that we like chia seeds. They have loads of health benefits including lots of fibre and are easy to eat as they’re very small and don’t really taste of much at all. I had some today at lunchtime sprinkled on my yoghurt and blueberries. I’ve also tossed some into soup such as fish chowder. They just add a nice little crunchiness. I bought a pack of these from Ocado for £1.50.

By far the best meal of our week was this chicken and ham stew with mustardy dumplings from BBC Good Food magazine. So good. 😋 This picture was taken before the last 10 minutes in the oven with the lid off to crisp up the dumplings a bit..

This is what it looked like in the prep stage.

Carrots, leeks, onion, garlic.

Adding the chicken and ham.

Having a good simmer with the thyme, stock and cider…

The good news is we have a large amount of this stew leftover which is now in the freezer, so looking forward to enjoying this one again. I’m too lazy to label the pots in my freezer, but I also quite like the surprise of fishing out unidentified leftover home cooked food. I know it’s always something we’ve really enjoyed first time around if I’ve bothered to put it in the freezer.

Last night we had a sausage pasta bake from the same magazine. This was also very good, containing a rich tomatoey Ragu type sauce with some chilli flakes, also a white sauce with Parmesan, and dotted with mozzarella. We both agreed it was good, but it didn’t beat the casserole and dumplings!

All ready to gobble up..

So, the Easter eggs are coming out tomorrow… yippee!! Can’t wait. My friend Sarah says she’s hoping for peanuts instead…?!.? Peanuts? 😂Each to his/her own. I’m sticking with chocolate. How about you? Xx

When is an Easter egg not an Easter egg?

Hi guys. I do hope this blog post is going to look OK. Behind the scenes WordPress seem to change things on a daily basis and the technical process of writing the blog is different every time. It’s getting pretty frustrating. Aaaaaarrrgggghhh!

Well, what was I saying? Oh yes, about Easter eggs. It seems that they are no longer called Easter eggs, by some of the bigger confectioners, even though they are still, in my humble opinion, EASTER EGGS!! You can check out an example of packaging without the word Easter or egg on it here.

Apparently this makes it easier for big companies to market their products overseas in non Christian countries. Well, I am not a religious person at all but for me I celebrate Easter as a festival of family, Spring and chocolate eggs. I like my overpriced, oval shaped, hollow chocolate shell bought in a ridiculously large cardboard package at this time of year to be called an Easter egg. I also like hot cross buns, but I like them so much I eat them all year round 😋😋😋.

This year I’ve gone all in for Easter, more time at home I guess, and I’ve sent a few Easter cards and even made my own Easter tree. This is made up of some hand collected twigs of Windsor and some beautiful eggs hand painted by some ladies in Romania from when I visited there many years ago on a business trip. Do you like my “tree”?

The little bell on it is a souvenir from Slovenia where we visited on holiday once, and the baby wooden clogs are from Holland, of course. I’ve probably had these since childhood as my Dad worked in Holland for a while and we lived there for a few months when I was eight years old.

I’m not planning on doing that much Easter cooking, but we will be having lamb shanks as our Sunday roast. We have some Lindt Easter eggs (the best!) in the cupboard which say egg on them but not Easter. I am already tucking into the hot cross buns.

These ones are nice, but personally I think my favourites are the Waitrose richly fruited hot cross buns. I tried some M & S Bramley Apple ones but quite frankly they were so moist they felt a bit too doughy, like the bread hadn’t been cooked properly. I thought about trying the chocolate ones but something about chocolate hot cross buns doesn’t sit right with me, they should be fruity and a bit spicy in a fruity way but not chocolate don’t you think? Feel free to disagree. Have you tried the chocolate ones? Goodness knows what bizarre flavour Heston Blumenthal’s come up with? Probably petrol or something!

On the subject of the nonsense that is political correctness, one can only breathe a sigh of relief that Bournemouth Council in the end decided not to continue with the idea of making everyone gender neutral and replacing Mr and Mrs with Mx!! Whatever next?

Enjoy your oval shaped confectionery treats… sorry, I mean Easter eggs! Xx 😉😋😊🐰🐣

Happy Saturday

Hello and Happy Saturday. It’s been a reasonable Saturday so far. I’ve had a slight headache all day. Hope you are doing well.

This afternoon we went for a walk near Boveney lock. Here are a few pics.

I don’t think this boat will be going anywhere soon!

Lovely cream daffodils in front of the little old church.

I like the shape of this tree, although it is broken. Poor tree.

There were no boats at all out on the river today, not one. Last time we were here during a lockdown we saw a party boat with lots of giggling, drunk young ladies.

Interesting logs.

I love the contours of this one below.

This reminds me of something we came across at Windsor Home Park last weekend. I wonder who lives here?

I’m not a big fan of creepy crawlies, but I do try to be as I know they are an important part of nature and the ecosystem.

Do you like these catkins on a birch tree I found this morning on my way back from the post office?

Deep pink magnolia with pigeon posing on the roof.

All that is left to do today is to have a little lie down whilst pondering the very important decision of which takeaway to have tonight. I think we’ve narrowed it down to either a curry from The Binoy or ribs/burrito/chips from The Prince Albert pub… Mmmmmmm 🤔. Bye for now Xx.

Tidy kitchen cupboards

Hi everyone. I’ve had a good tidy up of all my kitchen food cupboards today. I’ve thrown quite a bit away and wiped down the inside of all the cupboards. More importantly, I now know exactly what I’ve got in stock, so I’m less likely to buy duplicates by mistake. I can’t say I’ve thrown away everything past its best before date, because there are so many items that are still fine to use after their best before dates. I recently used up some over 10 year old curry powder that tasted fine and we weren’t ill. It probably just wasn’t as potent as it used to be. I hesitated over a tub of cocoa powder dated 2011 today. In the end I threw that out. I kept some slightly out of date flour, dried fruits and herbs and spices. I’m sure they’ll be fine.

This week I treated us to a new baking tray. I’m forever buying new metal ones and begging David not to put them in the dishwasher as they go rusty very quickly. David likes to put EVERYTHING in the dishwasher including the wooden breadboard last year… completely warped, but we did get a very nice new one, which so far has not been submerged into water. I found a glass, Pyrex baking sheet on Amazon for £9.78 which I actually bought with some gift vouchers I had on my Amazon account.

So far I think this looks good and it is definitely dishwasher/David proof, but it is rather heavy so now I’ve warned him to be very careful not to drop it onto his arthritic big toe… 😫or any other part of the body. I’m going to try it out tonight for our salmon en croutes (made by Charlie Bigham not me). I do love a new piece of kitchen equipment (so middle aged), and I like the fact it stores very neatly in our kitchen drawer inside my big roasting dish. 10 year guarantee too. Oven, freezer and microwave proof… microwave?? You’d need to have a weird MASSIVE microwave for that 😂. Anyway, what’s not to like? Apart from the heaviness and risk of dropping onto your foot maybe. It cannot be worse, my friends, than Monday night when I made from scratch a perfect looking fish pie, put the pie in its dish onto the old baking tray, then somehow missed the shelf of the oven and ended up with a vertical pie dish and uncooked fish pie dripping everywhere inside and outside the hot oven, me nearly crying, whilst David scraped up bits of dropped pie from all sorts of possibly not that clean places like the very bottom of the oven and inside of the oven door until I pulled myself (and the pie) together. Actually it tasted fine, the upside down, reconstructed fish pie. Isn’t that a restaurant thing… deconstructed? Reconstructed? Well I was certainly deconstructed, who knows about the pie!

Enough of my waffling, I’ll show you a few foodie pics from the weekend you may like and then leave you in peace.

Loved the prawns from Côte at home.

Scallops and lobster going under the grill.

😋 Yum.

We put the scallop shells in the dishwasher afterwards.

Now they are in use as our new soap dishes and objets d’art.

Do you think we will ever get used to this pandemic/post pandemic life? David and his band mate John are currently strumming guitars in the garden preparing for a wedding gig they have coming up in May. It’s a little chilly but the sun’s shining a bit. I guess it does us all a lot of good spending more time socialising outdoors these days. We’ll have to get used to it. I’ll probably be wearing my thermal vest underneath until about June. Off for tea and toasted tea cake now. This blogging is thirsty work. 🥵Xx

A lazy Saturday blog with lots of blossom

Hello. I’m really blossoming now 😂😂.

It’s been quite a lazy day for me today. This afternoon we went around the block for a quick walk before tea. There is blossom EVERYWHERE my friends. Don’t ask me what sort any of it is, I think some of it is hawthorn.

Through the fence at Windsor marina.

How much more prettiness can one get in suburbia? Pink and white loveliness all around.

I spent the morning receiving food orders. Firstly a big weekly shop from Ocado, lots of lovely goodies and ingredients for recipes. And then a treat order for tonight’s dinner from Côte at home. We are having this luxury seafood box.

This looks really good, if you like seafood as we do.

We have yummy looking big prawns, garlic aioli dip, scallops which need cooking briefly in garlic butter provided, and their shells for serving, lobster halves to grill, and ready prepared crab, 2 half baguettes to heat in the oven and also butter and lemons. Full details are here. It cost £75. including delivery which isn’t cheap, but good, fresh seafood never is. I also added a side order of roasted new potatoes and 2 chocolate mousses as their mousses are really good and you get a generous portion. We’ve had the mousses before but not the seafood box.

For now I’m under pressure to start making margaritas… I had a complaint I haven’t made these for far too long. I do make a really good margarita. This is the recipe I use. Cheers! 😋🍹Xx.

The freshness of Spring blossom

Hi. How are you all doing? I’m loving the Spring blossom at the moment. So gorgeous. I spotted some more of it today.

Also a magnolia tree, on its way.

Here are some other little Spring bits I haven’t shared with you yet.

There are a few hyacinths out now. The pink one above is in somebody else’s garden, the blue/purple one below is in mine.

Crocus still life!

The sedum is sprouting.

This vibrant yellow I spotted on our walk. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

Goodness knows what they’re trying to do with these poor trees at these new flats. This used to be a pub here, another one bites the dust.

I still like clouds. A lot.

So that’s the Spring summary for the day. I hope you have a Spring in your step. Only 3 more weeks of work til the pubs open… yippee 🥳. I’m cooking sausage and potato pie tonight, whilst waiting for someone to collect some stuff I put on freecycle today whilst the charity shops are shut. Have a nice evening. Back soon Xx.

A very muddy walk around Holyport

This, honestly, was one of the easiest paths this afternoon. It got really muddy after this. We were clinging on to branches at the sides of the path with brambles clawing at our jackets whilst trying to avoid getting sucked into the vortex of thick, gloopy mud below. Phew! We made it.

For those of you who are not local, Holyport is a very picturesque Berkshire village a few miles from Windsor, towards Maidenhead. It has a couple of nice pubs, a village green, some very big, expensive properties and a real tennis court dating back to 1899. It’s a pretty place and it was pleasant to go for a walk there for a change this afternoon. Here are some pics of the day.

The village pond.

The Belgian Arms pub. I like this pub and they used to do a very good steak. It got a bit too dog friendly for me in recent years at times, and some of the clientele (inebriated young ladies) got a bit too loud at times…

The George pub below, which apparently goes back a long, long way. This is what I’d call a proper English pub. The terrace outside to the left is great to sit and have lunch on a sunny day. Of course it’s all closed up at the moment.

Views of the green.

Sorry about the lack of sunshine. At least it wasn’t raining until the last few minutes of the walk, just a little.

Amazing daffodils.

A good sturdy tree, looks a bit like a redwood.

Another good tree.

Lamp in the ivy.

There are some interesting doors and gateways to the big properties.

My blogger friend at The Rambling Sloth is going to love these gates I reckon…😉

If you want to buy one of these gated dwellings, you’ll need a few million. David and I had a heated discussion about one that’s for sale, whether it was just the enormous barn or the house and barn for sale. It is both, as I suspected. I told David he could have the barn for his band and other hobbies and I’d have the lovely Georgian house, but he’d have to pop over to do the housework for me! David was most enthusiastic about the stumbling distance from the green with the two nice pubs. I think the road’s too noisy. Anyway, it’s £2.7 million my friends! You can check it out here. I could definitely see myself in that swimming pool… beautiful garden…

Enough of my dreaming! We have roast chicken tonight, one that you cook in the bag from M &S so it keeps very moist. David has told me several times how much he’s looking forward to it, including just after we’d eaten a takeaway Italian dinner feast last night! Stay safe, back soon Xxx.

Quick rainy Wednesday blog

Hi, this was our project for the morning. We’ve got new grass seed on this patch of our front lawn, and David noticed that the greedy pigeons were out gobbling it all up. So we went to the garden centre (Oak Tree garden centre near Winkfield) and bought some netting and bamboo poles, to make something to try to fend off the annoying birds. So far it is working. Not a fat pigeon in sight.

It’s not been a brilliant day. There’s the constant echo of building work down the road where they demolish our beloved old garden centre to build a new Aldi supermarket. I am not very impressed. Our house sat between two lovely garden centres, both with good cafés for lunch, and they’ve both now gone thanks to our local Council. There is now no longer a garden centre in Windsor at all. It is very sad.

It’s been miserable and rainy all day. My new skirt arrived via Amazon and I didn’t like it at all, really unflattering, so that’s got to go back. And I discovered the shop I bought it from doesn’t give free returns, so that’s even more tedious…

Yesterday was such a gorgeous sunny day. I went for a lovely coffee chat outside with a friend. This was the view of a gorgeous tree and blue sky between the office buildings.

Today all I saw were some daffodils that seemed to be shivering in the rain.

It’s time for tea and cake now to cheer myself up! Tomorrow is another day. Let’s hope for better weather and vibes then. And hopefully no fat pigeons gobbling up the grass seed. Bye for now Xx.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com
Photo by Frans Van Heerden on Pexels.com