Life and Thyme!

Moussaka Recipe

My husband had a Greek Mum. He says my Moussaka is the best he ever ate. Praise indeed. Here’s my recipe, evolved over many years.

1 Aubergine

12oz best lean minced beef, but you could use lamb if you prefer

1 finely chopped onion

Dried or fresh chopped parsley, to taste

A good squeeze of tomato puree

Olive Oil

Aubergine- this is critical to over all success. 15 minutes before you want to start cooking. Top and tail, then slice the aubergine length ways, sprinkle with salt and leave to dry in a colander over the sink. This draws out the bitterness. Actually I do this for all recipes which use aubergine, even it doesn’t tell you to. Then rinse and pat dry.

Using a pastry brush, brush olive oil onto one side and grill under a hot grill till brown. Turn, brush with olive oil and grill the other side. This is much quicker than frying the aubergine and uses less oil. A good thing as far as I am concerned!

Next fry the onion in a little olive oil, when soft, add the mince ,the tomato puree and the parsley. When cooked the mince should look dry not swimming in grease or liquid. If necessary and you used lamb, drain off any fat.


Make a roux sauce, I make nearly a pint, add grated cheese to taste, we like cheese so I add a grater full of strong cheddar, and then add one beaten egg. I use a large one.

Put a LAYER of Aubergine in an oven proof dish, then a LAYER of meat sauce all of it. Add a LAYER ( hope you see where the photo challenge is going now!) of Aubergine, the rest of it. Then top with a LAYER of the white sauce, all of it. Put it to brown in a pre- heated oven 180C . Serve with salad.

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Next week’s photo challenge is Fern and I haven’t a clue what to do…

If you have a  picture for Layer , please feel free to add a link to your post in the comments section. Sandra from Wild Daffodil kindly posts a weekly round up of all pictures. Meantime do pop by some of our regular contributors listed below.

Jane from Rainbow Junkie Corner

Sandra at Wild Daffodil

Melissa at

Roz at

Jenny at

Christina at

Ali at

SAL- 1st May

Spot the difference time again! Only one hour managed on my cross stitch this time. next time won’t see much progress either, a busy month ahead and some deadlines on other projects to meet. After that there should be more to see when I report in.

Last time

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And this time

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I added the back stitch to her face just for you Kate!

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I thought to work on a different part but the next logical part is the leaf to the right of the flower stem, and there are many shades of green so I decided to plug on with the flower. I would like this finished by October so there will be a big push over the summer.

Please check out the other more productive ladies in our SAL. If you would like to join please contact Avis.

Avis at
Claire at
Gun at
Carole at
Wendy at
Lucy at
Cathy at
Jess at
Sue at
Constanze at


16 for 2016- April

Can’t believe we are 1/3rd of the way through the year. Spring has sprung albeit rather soggily in these parts, and we are reliably informed by the weather people it will get warmer …… Anyway time to see how my 16 for 2016 is progressing!

16 swims–Drum Roll please, ACHIEVED. I have now been 17 times, and plan on continuing on a weekly basis. I got muddled up counting lengths on the 16th visit and found I enjoyed it far more when I just swam! As the year has progressed there are more swimmers so sometimes you swim as much sideways to avoid collisions as forwards to do a length. So much better to stop counting and just go with the flow. Being British, us regulars now discuss the water temperature in great detail ,as well as the state of the showers!!

15 minutes x 2 x5 days walking. Still a work in progress , but lots of lovely walks. Including one to Farndale to enjoy the Wild Daffodils.

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14lbs lost-total is unchanged at 8. She blamed rhubarb.

13 outings-It’s been a lovely month for outings. I went to Wembley to see Oxford United, only 2 games to go this season, both super crucial for league promotion prospects. I digress. One to Newburgh Priory and one to the walled garden at Scampston Hall. So that makes 6.

12 cookery posts- 3 now with the rhubarb, one more coming next week in a most unexpected post!

11 flower photos. Who knew flowers could be harder to photo than the animals I undertook to photo last year. The ones that are easiest to photo position wise are the ones that something nibbled. Talking of flower nibbling, did anyone else hear that the slug population should explode in the UK this year due to the wet summer of 2015 and the mild winter. Anyone got any good anti slug ideas? I favour salt , but that is a bit nasty. anyway flower picture..

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Not to good because I clipped off the petal on the left. Doh! But I loved the cherry blossom at Scampston.

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So I will call that just the one picture , giving me a total of 4.

10 handmade cards- total remains at 5.

9 garden posts-3, so far

8 stash kit busting. I am having huge fun with my fabric stash. It has taken over a lot of my life since I started to think of ways to use the scrap bits of fabric. I have started to make a big hexie quilt. I am calling it another 1 as I have completed a couple of scrap fabric projects. So that makes 2

7 sewing/embroidery projects. Using the fabric stash I made another padded coat hanger and a mug rug. So I am calling that another 1. Giving me 2 in total. But wait till I show you what I sewing at the moment, involves the use of scary sewing machine! Next month….

6 Acts of Kindness. Last month I wrote about civic kindness, picking up litter and sorting out trolley parks at shops. This month I want to include two quite different acts of kindness. I was the recipient!

We were on our way to Wembley. The tube was full of passengers, standing room only. A female supporter of the opposing team stood up and offered me her seat. I was surprised at the offer, until I realised that she was not the same age as me, being somewhere in her 40s, big surprise to me, that to her I was older, well I do draw a pension, so I am a Senior which is a much nicer term than Old Age Pensioner which is used in the UK, and that I was jolly glad to sit down. So I thanked her profusely and accepted the seat.

Last week I went shoe shopping. I damaged the sole on my left foot back in September by wearing flimsy sandals of rough Greek terrain. I am fed up of wearing trainers. I decided to bite the bullet and buy some sensible shoes. I bowled along to the shoe shop, explained my predicament to the sales assistant, who was full of good advice and found several pairs of not too hideous lace up shoes. I tried on one particular pair and was over joyed, I said I wished I gone there months ago, the shoes were blissful. She gave me a big hug! That hug, the concern she demonstrated, which I believe was genuine and not just about making the sale, was infused with kindness and made such a difference to how I felt about sensible shoes. Why do I believe it was genuine, because I have been a sales assistant, and she told me about her Policeman’s heel, caused by standing all day in a shoe shop.

Both events told me that the kindness of strangers should never ever be underestimated.

So that makes 4.

5 non fiction books read. I finished the book Voices from the Workhouse. I plan on spending sometime this year in the County Records office to find out more about our local workhouse. Not certain what I will read next, several thoughts… Oh that makes 2

4 Projects to improve my knitting/crochet skills. I completed the cable cardigan for my grandson.

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So that makes 2

3 projects completed from my bucket list-still just 1

2 railway journeys- ACHIEVED.One to Reading and one to Wembley. And I got to use the last four days on my rail card before it expired. I shall need a new one if I go by train anywhere else.

1 bus jouney-0

0 magazines purchases. 0. But oh so hard.

Looking forward to reading how everyone else is getting on this year.

And have you ever experienced kindness from strangers? How did it make you feel?

Here’s to our May achievements. Good Luck everyone.





Strictly speaking rhubarb is a vegetable, but I don’t know of anyone who eats it as such. We have had a good crop this year and I have been experimenting with various recipes. My two favourites are Rhubarb cake

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which we ate as a pudding.

One of the blogs, sorry I can’t remember whose, spoke of eating rhubarb and lemon scones. I just had to try making some.

They are delicious.

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I am not a great scone maker as you can see, but they tasted good. Recipe here

Now I have seen recipes for strawberry and rhubarb pies. Has anyone tried making them, what were they like. Love to hear about any favourite rhubarb recipes as we have lots still in the garden

Yarn Along!

I finished the cardigan for my grandson Master T, probably too big right now but there we are. My first cable knitting project.

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So onto my next challenge. Last year I struggled enormously with a simple lacy pattern, so this year I am determined to improve my skills. Turns out it really is just a case of concentrating, last year I was worrying a lot, this year so far is better, so no interference with concentration. Biggest problem was counting 238 stitches cast on for the first row!

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After that the going got easier. Little cardigan for a new family baby due next month, for our nephews /godson’s first baby.

Very disappointed that in this book of short stories there isn’t one about a cat, a hat and a piece of string. Turns out these were the three luxury items on desert island discs. Which set me wondering which three luxuries would you take to a desert island? Remember you can take a book as well, and the Bible and a complete copy of Shakespeare is there already.

Me, I would take sun cream, matches and a pair of binoculars. As for the book, Dr Zhivago, which I have always meant to read, and for which there would be plenty of time before I got rescued.

What about you?

Linking with Ginny for Yarn Along

Photo Challenge- Work

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Burton Agnes Hall, taken earlier this year. Just loved this work of art , showing a gardener at work so much, I saved the picture for this week’s challenge.

Next weeks prompt is Layer. The full list for the challenge is above. Please feel free to join in at anytime, by leaving a link in the comments. A full round up appears at Wild Daffodil each week.

Regular contributors can be found here:-

Jane from Rainbow Junkie Corner

Sandra at Wild Daffodil

Melissa at

Roz at

Jenny at

Christina at

Ali at

Happy Snapping!


April Garden

It has truly been a month of April Showers. The ground remained waterlogged for sometime, but the last week has seen lots of sunshine by day, but chilly nights. The main task in the garden has been clearing away the rest of the winter debris and weeding.

The daffodils are only just going over now, lots of yellow still dotted around.

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I love this primula.

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And the grape hyacinths are just coming into bloom.

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I moved the little statue

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She is now by the side of the pond among the logs I have left for the insects and rock hidey holes for frogs. I think she makes a rather good woodland nymph. And we can now see her from the kitchen window. Talking of frogs there is now loads of frog spawn in the pond and we have newts too. The birds are busy picking out their “des res ” and nest building. Spotted a cheeky sparrow uprooting greenery from a flower tub this week.

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Lots of plants now wanting to go outside , if only the weather would be kinder at night.hard to stay patient and keep them snug indoors.

I bought three herbs at the plant sale -sage, marjoram and lemon balm, to go with the mint, chives, rosemary and thyme which I already have. Hoping to get a few more plants for my herb garden still.

I also bought Pulsatila Red Bells, which is nearly fully open and also Echinops, which is a globe thistle.

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Not much to see there yet.

Can’t wait for the weather to warm up, then we will have tulips, bluebells, iris, lilac, honeysuckle, poppies, and who knows some of the seeds I planted this year too, like morning glory, sunflowers and cosmos.

Right now to go back outside, we spread some manure on the roses and the blackbirds have had a good root through it for worms and have made a right mess on the grass and footpaths.

Hope you have some warm weather and get outside too this weekend.


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