It's not always about music, everything else matters too ...
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Making your own Branston Pickle

This is an unashamed attempt to re-create the famous Branston Pickle.  Obviously it's not exactly the same as the commercial stuff, my last batch was a little spicier than the real thing, but it has all the sweet/sour balance of its namesake with the trademark crunchy cubes and goes very well with ham!  As it is only an homage to the pantry classic, I decided it needed another name; after thoughts of puns concerning Richard Branson (95% Tax Free anyone) ... I settled on Grandson Pickle as it might be a…

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Allotments are political

It might seem like a genteel pursuit, pottering around and growing your own veg in what the less horticulturally-minded think of as a glorified garden, but the reality of allotments is that they are last vestige of commoners rights, the one compromise that the politicians made as the enclosures act systematically placed the bounty of the land in to the pockets of the landowners.

Way back in Anglo-Saxon times the concept of common land was part and parcel of the old feudal system, and while the landowners…

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It's not too late for Parkin

Normally known as a traditional Bonfire Night speciality, Parkin walks a fine line between a cake and a toffee and is the perfect teatime treat for a cold day.  The recipes I've seen vary immensely, but there is a constant theme of ginger and treacle running through all of them.  It has the almost magical power to get even better if you store it for a couple of weeks rather than going stale and to my mind it should be chewy, rich and spicy.  You could almost imagine it was wholesome if you hadn't seen the

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The great thing about folk music, for me at least, is that at it's very essence it is DIY music, home-made entertainment, these simple but effective tunes and songs can be learnt by anyone without needing years of training and they are meant to be shared and enjoyed.

That isn't where the 'self-sufficiency' bug ends for me ... I embrace the folk concept in nearly all of my life and I am a keen allotment gardener, cook and maker of useful things out of rubbish!  This page is where I will put all of that stuff.