Monthly Archives: November 2013

lemonade_2The juice and the zest of 2 large lemons

4oz/100g  Sugar

100ml water.

1 litre of  refrigerated Soda Water or fizzy mineral water.



Grate the zest of the lemons into a container, cut the lemons in half and squeeze out all the juice and add to the zest and stir.

In a small pan add the water and the sugar and put on a medium heat, stirring all the time, until the sugar has melted.

Continue stirring on a medium but gentle heat, until the mixture thickens and becomes a light syrup.

Do not allow the syrup to turn brown.

When the syrup is ready take it off the heat and set aside.

Strain the lemon mixture to get rid of the pips and add it to the syrup mixture in the pan.

Into a large Jug, Pour the syrup and lemon mixture into a large jug add to it the chilled soda water and stir well.

Bottle it and seal tightly.

Or serve immediately with slices of lemon?/Lime and ice.

This recipe is so easy  to make, children can make it as a present for Christmas or Birthdays. The Coconut Ice squares  look so appealing and delicate when put in their own  individual wrapper and presented in an attractive box or Jar.

coconut ices_2Coconut Ice

200g Condensed milk
8ozs/225g   Icing sugar
8ozs/225g desiccated coconut
1 tiny drop of natural red food colouring.

Line a small plastic box with cling film or greaseproof paper
Mix together the icing sugar and condensed milk  ( the mixture should be very stiff)
Place half of the mix into the plastic box and press down firmly to form the base.
Colour the other half of the coconut mix until  it is pale pink, keep mixing until you have an even colour.
Place the pink coconut on top of the white base and press firmly together.
Leave to set in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
Turn out of the box and cut into squares.
Keep in the fridge in an airtight container and use within 3 weeks.

There are a few variations of this recipe in the book,  all of them intrigue me especially the terminology.


Lemon Cheese
1 large lemon
1egg, well beaten,
1 tea cup of sugar,
1 piece of butter, size of a walnut.
2 tablespoons of water.
1 teaspoonful of cornflour mix to a paste with water

Start by whisking the eggs in a saucepan and then add all the other ingredients. Place the pan on a medium heat and keep whisking all the ingredients until the mixture stars to thicken. (7 or 8 mins) turn the stove down to the lowest heat, and simmer for a further minute whisking all the time.

Ladle into warm clean jars and seal. Leave to cool and then label and date.

This recipe is a stock Lancashire dish, it has been made for decades and is still popular today. It’s a tasty filling meal and it was very economical  and popular with mothers with large families. The recipe below will make 1 large pie on 4 smaller ones

Potato Pie28oz/ 250g Grandma Sarah’s Short crust Pastry       ( recipe in the book)
1 Large onion
1 pint of hot beef stock   (or beef stock cubes)
1lb/ 500g Best Lean minced beef/steak
Salt and pepper to season.

Preheat oven 180⁰C/gas mark3



Peel potatoes and cut into small pieces and set aside.
Roughly chop the onion and set aside.
In a  Large pan cook the meat until brown and add the onions, potatoes and hot stock and stir.
Bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer for 10mins stirring the pan from time to time.
While the pie mixture is simmering, roll out the pastry to fit the top of the dish and set to one side.
Take the pan off the cooker and stir thoroughly,   then carefully,  spoon the hot mix into the dish and fill to the top.
Carefully lay the pastry on top of the pie and press the edges down around the dish.
Brush with egg wash and cook for 30mins.
Serve with mushy peas, red cabbage or pickles of your choice.

Sausage Rolls.

Sausage_RollsThis is the easiest sausage roll recipe I have ever made.
Packet Puff pastry  (easier to use and more economical)
2 Large Sausage ( Buy the best quality available)
1 thick slice of bread.
Egg wash.
Preheat oven 200⁰C/400F/gas 6.



Soak the bread in 50ml of water and set aside.
Slit the sausage at the side and peel off the skin.
In a bowl, put the sausage and add the seasoning.
Squeeze the water out of the bread and add it to the sausage.
Mix well and set aside.
Divide the puff pastry in two and roll out one half in the shape of an oblong and egg wash all around the edges.
Take a spoonful of sausage mix and make a long sausage shape along the top of the oblong of pastry leaving ¼ in from the edge.
Fold over the pastry to cover the meat and trim to make one sausage roll, egg wash all around the edges and press to seal well.
Mark around the edges with a fork, and make two small cuts in the top to allow steam to escape.
Repeat the above until all the sausage meat is used.
Bake in the oven for 10-15mins until the rolls are nice and brown.

Scones31lb/ 450g Flour
1 tsp of baking powder
3oz/85g sugar
2oz/50g currants
2oz/50g sultanas
4oz/100g butter
Breakfast cup/100ml of milk
1 egg.

Preheat the oven at 200⁰ C




Scones1In a large bowl, put the flour, baking powder and the butter.

Rub in  the flour and butter until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.

Add the dried fruit and sugar and egg and mix, adding the milk little by little until the mixture forms a firm dough and the dough leaves the sides of the mixing bowl and forms a ball.

Turn out on to a floured surface and roll out or press the dough gently with your hand until it is about 38mm thick.

Select the cutter and cut out the scones and place on a lightly floured or greased baking tray. Brush the top of the scones with milk.

Bake for 12/15 mins or until the scones are golden brown.

When cold, cut the scones in two, fill with jam and clotted cream. Then put the top half onto the bottom half and serve.

Cake determined by the weight of the egg
To be honest when I saw this recipe I was doubtful as to whether it would work or not, but, once again Grandma Rules OK.

1 Egg
It’s weight in:
Castor sugar
Ground Rice or rice flour
Vanilla essence/almond essence
Raspberry Jam.
Preheat the oven to 180⁰C/gas 4/350F


First of all, line the bun tray or individual small tins with short crust pastry, put a small amount of jam on to the bottom of  each of the  pastry in the tins  and set to one side.

Cream the fat and the sugar to a cream, add the egg, and beat until smooth.
Fold in the ground rice and essence and mix well.
Spoon the mixture on top of the jam, careful not to over fill the bun cases.
At this point I sprinkled flaked almonds over the top of each cake, but this is optional
Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the cake is golden brown

Quiet man and Unsung Hero
Sergeant Norman Matthews of the L.N.L. RegimentIn 1914 Grandpa Norman  left his job in the cotton mill and went  to fight in the  first World War (1914-1918), he was 21 years old. He enlisted in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment where he rose to the rank of Sergeant. Research shows that  later due lack of recruits and the senseless slaughter of millions of  young men fighting in France,  his battalion then amalgamated with the Kings Liverpool regiment, where he rose to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant  commanding and  fighting on the front line in France,  and from  what we learn  from the  history books,  he must have seen and experienced first hand, the horrors and the inhumane suffering of the soldiers and everyone caught up in this awful part of our British History. The poet Wilfred Owen who was a British soldier and one of the leading poets of World War One, wrote in his poem  Dulce et Decorum Est  powerful descriptions  from first-hand experience, about the shocking conditions faced by soldiers in the trenches and the effects of gas warfare. In the first line of the poem  Wilfred Owen writes…
“Bent double like beggars under sacks, knock kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge” and in the next stanza writes,
“Gas ! Gas! Quick boys – An ecstasy of fumbling, fitting clumsy helmets just in time”
Wilfred Owen was killed in action a week before the war ended.
In Thomas Hardy’s poem “The man he killed” written about the Boer War, is spoken from a soldiers point of view, asking himself that had he and the other soldier met under different circumstances, they probably would have bought each other a drink instead of trying to kill each other pointing out that ordinary men fight and kill not because they want to but because they are trained and forced to.
“Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin
Contrary to other poets of  the time, who romanticised and glorified the war promising adventure, excitement and glory to persuade men sign up as soldiers, Wilfred Owen, Thomas Hardy  and history shows, the reality of life on the front line turned out to be very different.


Grandpa Norman like many brave young men of World War One never spoke about his time in the war or the sights he’d witnessed, he returned home in 1918, to married life and to the lovely Grandma Sarah, and a year later, on the 6th of July 1919 their only son Ronald was born. Together they all settled down in a lovely house with a lovely garden in the Middle Hulton area on the outskirts of Bolton and they lived there for the rest of their lives.  Grandpa Norman died in hospital in 1967 aged 74 yrs old and Grandma Sarah died in the same hospital in December 1970 aged 77 yrs old  leaving behind  precious and everlasting memories.



Grandpa Norman and his beloved Shed.

Grandpa Norman was a typical Grandpa, he spent lots of time with his grandchildren, a quiet, gentle, patient man,  spent time in his beloved shed at the bottom of the garden, making items of furniture for the house. He would also make small items of furniture for the neighbours and considering that his main occupation was a cotton mill worker, his natural skills with the plane and the lathe were amazing. The smell of warm wood, glue and home-made wood stains coming from his shed was always a clue that he would be working on the latest footstool, cabinet or light fitting.
Below are a list of the home-made wood stains he made up and used.
Light oak stain
Mix ¼ pint of liquid ammonia with ¾ of a pint of rainwater.
Add Yellow Ochre to the shade required.
Brown Oak Stain
1oz of Permanganate of Potash,
Dissolve in 1 Pint of rainwater,
Add a little Brown or Burnt Umber.
Try out on waste wood, if too light in colour Add a little more Umber until the required colour is obtained.
Rosewood Stain
½ lb of logwood ghips.
Boil in 1 quart of water
A little soda will help to draw out the colour.

Fred Dibnah MBE

Steeplejack, Television Presenter and Mechanical Engineer.


Fred Dibnah 1 Fredrick Dibnah was born on the 28th April 1938 in Bolton.

He began his working life as a joiner before he became a steeplejack.

After completing his two years National Service in the armed forces, Fred was demobbed in1962 and returned to steeplejacking but the decline in the cotton industry affected his work. Mills all over the town were closing and he struggled to get work.

Then he was  asked to repair the Bolton Parish Church, and  the publicity that  followed helped to boost his flagging business ensuring that he was always  in employment.

He also made repairs to Bolton’s stunning Town Hall where decades of wear had caused serious damage to the clock tower. Fred repaired the clock tower and gilded the golden sphere at the top of the building. Whilst he was working on the town hall he was approached by the BBC Look North West News programme, who wanted to interview him, the interview took place at the top of the town hall with Fred perched outside on his scaffolding.


This led to television appearances and further interviews, most of them hundreds of feet in the air, and he was contacted by a producer with a view to making a documentary and this was a great success, he was asked to do many more over the years and in 1979 Fred won the BAFTA award for best documentary.

Fred Dibnah was recognised as the stereotypical northern working man and he was held in high esteem by many British people, he was unique and his like we will never see again, he was one of a kind.

Fred Dibnah 3Fred Dibnah died Bolton Hospice on the 6th of November 2004 he was 66 years old, he is buried in Tonge Cemetery on the outskirts of Bolton town centre, thousands turned out to watch his funeral. His coffin was towed through the centre of Bolton by his restored tractor engine which was driven by his son and a possession of steam-powered vehicles made their way to Bolton Parish Church.



Fred Dibnah 2Today a bronze statue of  stands in Bolton town centre in memory of Fred Dibnah MBE.

A play titled “The Demolition Man” was staged at Bolton’s Octagon Theatre in tribute to Freds early life.

Kenneth Wolstenholme

Kenneth  Wolstenholme

Kenneth Wolstenholme was born in Worsley not far from Bolton, he went to Farnworth Grammar School, (quite near to the school where I work)

He started career as a journalist with a Manchester Newspaper.

In World War two,  he was a qualified pilot, and he flew many brave sorties over occupied Europe for his bravery he was awarded the DFC and Bar. After the war he became a freelance journalist working for the BBC then he moved to television.

He is best remembered for his commentary of the 1966 World Cup Final at Wembley Stadium when in injury time a small number of the crowd invaded the pitch and Kenneth Wolstenholme said  “They think it’s all over” but then Geoff Hurst scored another goal which prompted him to say “IT IS NOW!”