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New Years Resolutions – continued

Continuing on from yesterday’s resolutions post, which was written as fast as possible to make sure it was actually posted on the right date…check be more organised! Like I said, I think resolutions should be a working thing, something you can work on and add to throughout the year. Here are a few more of mine that I’m kicking off 2014 with.

3. Be more selfish – stop pandering to others in work and focus on what is best for me and my family. I burned myself out too many times last year doing what is “right” for everyone else. This year it’s about us.

4. Don’t stop writing To Do lists but actually start doing them! – I guess this is apart of ‘Be more organised’, but I am queen of to do lists, I write lists about lists, shopping lists, places to go lists, cleaning lists, etc etc… But actually completing them is usually a different matter. It’s why I haven’t got around to selling my crafts at a fete or fayre for the past two years, despite working out all my plans. If it’s going to happen this year I’m going to have get myself into gear!

5. Complete the FatMumSlim photo-a-day challenge – ok so it’s not life changing, but it’s something I want to do! For those of you on Instagram, especially if you follow me, you may be aware of the FatMumSlim blog and her photo prompts. They encourage you to post something everyday, and I always start the month by posting the prompt list and saying something like “I’m going to do it this time” and then get 3 days in and forget or get lazy. So this year I’m going to make more of an effort with it. Because it’s fun!

January’s prompt list:


6. Blog more! – write stuff down on lunch breaks, car journeys, quite times at home, whatever or wherever just write more! I love writing and sharing, but I get so bad at doing. If I can’t blog I definitely won’t ever get started on that book I want to write! So little at a time, lets start here, with weekly posts, or at the very least bi-weekly. Something tells me this year will get busier (more on that later) but here would be a great way to record the Herniman milestones…but only if I remember to post!

Well that’s enough on resolutions for now. I better get started!

Mrs H xxx

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year blog land. I hope 2013 was good to you all.
It was an interesting year at the Herniman House, huge ups and major downs. Literally a year of new life and death. And we will never forget a single memory of any of them.

I know it’s a cliche, but it does make you realise what and who is important. So this year’s New Years resolutions are more about family and friends, personal goals and aspirations, instead of weight loss and stopping biting my nails (plus I’ve almost got that down!)

1. Make more effort to keep in touch – I’m pretty bad at replying to phone calls, texts and emails.

2. Be more organised – remember birthdays and send cards, keep the house tidier and more organised, stop loosing and misplacing stuff!

And the rest would be a work in progress. Resolutions should be made, improved and built on all year, not just the first.

Mrs H xxx

Chilli Jelly

The perfect accompaniment to the ham, well my favourite at least, is Nigella’s Chilli Jelly. Did I mention the woman is a genius!? Sweet and slightly spicy, this is good with hot or cold meats, dipping in chunks of cheese, spread on sandwiches, and generally anything you want to try it with!

Using jam sugar does make this so much easier, but I recommend adjusting the boiling time depending on the outcome you want. The recipe calls for 10 minutes at a ‘rollicking boil’, this will form a thick but still very liquid jelly, good for dipping and spooning over, however if you do prefer it to set into a more spreadable ‘jam’ then up the boiling time to 20minutes. Be very careful when leaving it longer, you don’t want it boil over or catch on the bottom! This is mostly personal preference, we prefer it more like a thick dipping sauce, whereas friends that we made it for asked for it to be firmer, either way it still tastes divine!


150 gram(s) long red chilli pepper (deseeded and cut into pieces)
150 gram(s) red peppers (cored, deseeded and cut into chunks)
1 kilogram(s) jam sugar
600 ml cider vinegar


Sterilize your jars and leave to cool

Put the chilli and peppers into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped

In a saucepan dissolve the sugar in the vinegar, over a low heat, without stirring! This keeps the jelly clear. Also this will take a while, be patient and keep an eye on it, I’ve found that once the sugar has all dissolved it will come to a boil very quickly, if you’re not concentrating it will boil over! Lesson learnt!

Once it’s all dissolved scrape the chilli and pepper flecks into the vinegar and sugar, still not stirring. Bring to the boil and leave at a rollicking boil for 10-20 minutes, depending on how set you want it (see above).

Take the saucepan off the heat, and leave to cool for about 40 minutes, it will have started to firm up, and you can now pour or ladle this into your jars. Stirring at this stage is fine.

Seal jars tightly and voila! Yummy chilli jelly!

Mrs H xxx

Heavenly Ham

I won’t have a bad word said against Nigella Lawson. Whoever can come up with a recipe for a huge hunk of meat flavoured with my addiction ( full fat cola) and glazed in two kinds of sugar (and a little spice) can be my BFF forever!
And for anyone who is a bit dubious about trying this I urge you to give it a go! It converted everyone who tried it at the Herniman House last Christmas and I’ve been begged to make several this year! And if you are really unsure just make a small one, last year I bought a 1kg gammon for less than £5 in a supermarket, and that was just before Christmas, and the recipe is easy to halve. However I was shouted at a lot for not making enough. Give it a go….you know you want to!


2kg gammon
2 litres cola (your favourite brand, MUST be full fat)
1 onion, halved
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tsp English mustard powder
1 tbsp Demerara sugar
Handful cloves (optional)

If you think you’re gammon is going to be too salty place it in a saucepan and cover with cold water, and bring to the boil. As soon as it comes to the boil turn off the heat and drain the water away.

Put the gammon in to a saucepan, skin side down, and pour over the cola, it should cover it as much as possible, but if it doesn’t then just remember to turn it halfway through cooking. Add the onion and two cloves and bring to the boil.

Turn heat down so its gently simmering and leave to cook for 2 1/2 hours (remember to turn if needed). If you put the gammon in straight from the fridge, you may need to leave for an extra 20 minutes or so to make sure it’s cooked through.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 9 / 475*f / 240*c

Take the ham (it’s gammon when it’s raw and ham when cooked, unless you’re American when it is always ham – thanks Nigella for that!) out of the cola and leave it to cool until it is comfortable to handle.

Slice the skin and most of the fat from the top, leaving just a thin layer of white fat, and score this in a criss cross pattern to make diamond shapes.

If you want to use cloves you then stud the middle of each diamond with a clove.

Then brush over the fat with the treacle, sprinkle with the mustard powder and then sugar, and place onto a foil lined tray, or a disposable foil tray. You don’t have to, but unless you have a big desire to soak and scrub you’re baking trays I really recommend lining with foil!

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until sugar has caramelised and formed a gorgeous crust. It will of course look burnt but that’s because of the black treacle.

Try to let other people try some so you can enjoy all the compliments, although it is difficult to share!

This is lovely both hot and cold

Mrs H xxx

Decorating the Herniman House for Christmas

It’s Chrisssssssssssssstmaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssss!

I love Christmas more than any other time of year, and I am that really annoying person that starts counting down the days from September…or earlier!

I love the build up, the planning, the baking, the decorating, the shopping, the telly specials, the lights….there’s not much about Christmas that I don’t love….except wrapping the presents… I HATE wrapping, I’m very bad at wrapping. Mr H on the other hand is exceptionally good at wrapping, his presents for me arrive under the tree looking like they have come from a film set, mine for him arrive looking like the bad elf had a tantrum and ran loose with a roll of paper and three rolls of sellotape. Sorry Mr H!

Decorating our home is always a big deal for us, I have a countdown just to decorating day and this year was no different, and we had a new home to decorate, after moving in October. There’s lights and tinsel galore! But there’s also rules!

Rules for decorating the Herniman Home:

1. First there’s the food that you need to accompany Christmas decorating night. A very important factor to any evening.

A big platter of ‘picks’. Cheese, cold meats, crackers, salmon and cream cheese, pickles, whatever you fancy, its a bit of an echo of post Christmas day meals, but it means that you can eat as you decorate and pick at it throughout the evening.

The 'picks' platter

2. Secondly, you must be accompanied by the cheesiest sing along Christmas music that you can find, usually the music channels are good for this as you get a good mix. Sing loudly, and dance as you decorate. And usually a decent Christmassy themed outfit is required, this year it was a candy cane striped jumper.

3. Then the final rule is cram as many lights into the room as you can. Of course you can’t all be blessed with lighting designer husbands, but at Christmas its pretty easy to do. I LOVE fairy lights….and as you can see even the telly has been anointed with the Christmas lights.


4. You have the ‘Big Switch On’ and snuggle down on the sofa watching disney’s The Santa Clause. This is the only film to be watched straight after decorating (although if you’ve got time you can watch as many as you can afterwards!), drinking your favourite holiday tipple (usually a cherry brandy and coke for me, but this year it was just coke!), and finishing off the food platter. Or starting that tin of chocs if you’ve finished your platter!



Happy decorating!

Mrs H xxx