Safety for Guy Fawkes Night - Friday 5 November

November 4th, 2010 - Author: Kelly

Most everyone enjoys Guy Fawkes night for the bonfires, barbeques and fireworks.  But please remember to take these few simple precautions so that your enjoyment is not marred by any unforseen accident:-

These simple precautions may seem obvious to many, but it is always advisable to take all possible measures to prevent a dangerous situation.

1.  Keep children supervised and at a safe distance away.  Children should be under adult supervision at all times and this means keeping them at a safe distance away from where the fireworks are being displayed.  For small children and where possible, the safest place is to watch indoors through a window.

2.  NEVER leave fireworks and matches unattended.  Be certain to keep matches on your person and in a deep pocket to avoid them being lost and then found by children.  NEVER leave matches and fireworks together where children can get to them.  Take the matches with you to avoid temptation.

3.  Fireworks should be lit by responsible adults.   Children should never be allowed to light fireworks themselves.  Things can too easily go wrong and children with matches or firelighters is never a good idea at any time.  Even sparklers should be lit and supervised by adults to minimise danger.

4.  Light fireworks in a clear space.  Always light each firework away from the rest of the fireworks so that stray sparks do not ignite the entire supply. 

5.  Point fireworks towards the sky.  All fireworks should be pointed upwards before lighting them and under no circumstances should they be pointed at people, even in jest.  Accidents too easily happen.

6.  Keep water and-or sand nearby.  Whether it is a bucket of water or sand or the garden hose, it is essential to have something to hand and within reach to extinguish any fire in case of emergency.

7.  Be ready to give basic first aid.  Even with the best intentions, things go wrong so make sure you have a First Aid Kit nearby to administer any necessary first aid). Also, please be sure that you know how to administer any necessary medical aid before a trip to the hospital is necessary!

8.  Keep pets inside.  Not only do children need to be protected on Guy Fawkes Night, but your pets do as well.  The unexpected noise can make a pet extremely nervous and scared and it is best to keep them indoors with the doors securely shut or even let Granny keep them company for the night.

So, I will now get off my soap box and just say to HAVE A FANTASTIC NIGHT and STAY SAFE !




Volcanic Activity in Iceland AGAIN -Tuesday 2 November 2010

November 2nd, 2010 - Author: Kelly

Iceland:  It has just been announced that more volcanic activity has been monitored in Iceland.  The crater of the Grimsvoetn volcano has overspilled due to increased thermal temperatures and conditions could set off another eruption.

“When a river-run occurs, the pressure, in this case, in Grimsvotn, decreases, and with less pressure, there is a chance of an eruption with the volcano” Thorunn Skaftdotter, a geophysicist with the Icelandic Meteorlogical Institute announced today.  She added “this is not guaranteed, since an eruption can only happen if the volcano has collected enough magna.”

 The authorities are unable to predict whether if there is another ash eruption whether it would effect air traffic.  It depends on ash clouds reaching significant heights and the level of the wind.  It is impossible to predict with any certainty.

The good news is that if there is another eruption, it is unlikely to effect air traffic as it did only a few months ago.




Pumpkin Pie

November 1st, 2010 - Author: Kelly

pumpkin-pie.jpg Pumpkin Pie

A traditional pudding to finish off your Thanksgiving feast.  Perhaps an acquired taste, but for me, nothing better than warm pumpkin pie topped with a good dollop of freshly whipped vanilla cream !

Ingredients :

 Packet of sweet ready made short crust pastry

For the filling:

450g/1lb prepared weight Pumpkin flesh, cut into 1in/2.5cm chunks

2 Large Eggs plus 1 yolk

3 oz / 75 gm Soft Dark Brown Sugar

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 level tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

1/2 tsp Ground Allspice

1/2 tsp Ground Cloves

1/2 tsp Ground Ginger

10fl oz/275ml Double Cream

Fresh Whipped Cream to Garnish

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

2.  Use a shop bought sweet crust pastry case, about 9inch/23cm diameter and 1.5 inches/4cm deep.

3.  To make the filling, steam the pumpkin then place in a coarse sieve and press lightly to extract any excess water.

4.  Lightly whisk the eggs and extra yolk together in a large bowl.

5.  Place the sugar, spices and cream in a pan and bring to simmering point, giving it a whisk to mix everything together.  Pour this over the eggs and whisk again briefly.

6.  Add the pumpkin puree whilst whisking to mix thoroughly.

7.  Pour the filling into the pasty case and bake for 35-40 minutes.  It should puff up around the edges but still feel slightly wobbly in the centre. (Like a custard tart).

8.  Remove from the oven and place the tin on a wire cooling rack. 

9.  Serve chilled (store loosely covered with foil in the fridge) or at room temperature with (vanilla flavoured) whipped double cream.

Tantalizes your taste buds!  At least it does mine !




Thanksgiving Feast

November 1st, 2010 - Author: Kelly

thanksgiving.png 

Thanksgiving is an American national holiday (declared officially by President Lincoln in 1863 during the American Civil War).  Its roots began in 1621 when the Pilgrim fathers celebrated their first harvest and sat down to a feast with the native Wampanog Indians in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  The feast was held outside to commenorate their first harvest in the new world and to thank the Indians for their help and support whilst planting and growing their first crop.

The first thanksgiving feast included ducks, turkeys, geese, swan, venison, fish, clams, berries, watercress and dried fruit.  Modern day celebrations include pre-dinner egg nogg cocktails, turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, candied yams, sweet corn on the cob, brussel sprouts and apple and/or pumpkin pie to complete the feasting extravaganza.   It is now celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November and traditionally it is a day of eating, drinking and being merry where all family members gather for a total blow-out !

Thanksgiving is also celebrated in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Korea, Liberia and Switzerland but the origins differ.

 thanksgiving-day-parade.jpg   Thanksgiving Day Parade  -  Majorettes                      majorette.jpg

In New York, there is a traditional parade down 5th Avenue which began in 1924 with floats, bands, baton-twirling ‘majorettes‘*, clowns, helium balloons and general merriment.  The first parades included live camels, goats, elephants and donkeys and later lions and tigers and bears !! Ho Ho!

I was born and raised in New York and remember Thanksgiving as a great family get together with a fire roaring in the grate and snow up to your armpits outside.  But who cared because we were all together playing games and eating and drinking. 

*Majorettes were young girls from the age of 3 years old upwards who performed intricate dance and marching routines whilst  twirling their batons.  Their costumes were always fitted short jackets with matching short wide skirts, all covered in sparkles accompanied by high boots with tassles -   I aspired to be a majorette but never realised my dream (I preferred puddings to exercise when it came down to it and still do!)

 NB:  See the recipe section of the blog for some traditional recipes




Grandma’s Egg Nog

November 1st, 2010 - Author: Kelly

eggnog.jpg

Grandma’s EGG NOG :  A traditional pre-dinner tipple which will make you feel mellow and chilled out during the golden autumn or frosty winter. 

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1140ml/2 pints Whole Milk

6 Large Eggs

50gt/2 oz Castor Sugar

1 vanilla pod, split

200ml/7 fl oz Brandy

Cocoa Powder for dusting

Preparation method:

1.     Place the milk, eggs, sugar and vanilla pod in a medium pan and heat gently, without boiling, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

2.    Add the brandy to the egg nog mixture and divide between the glasses and serve, dusted with the cocoa powder3.  The egg nog can be served warmed or chilled and served later.  Try it both ways and see which you prefer !




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