#Recipes

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15 Years down the road and round the bend but not quite over the hill... Our satirical 'Woman Zone' columns first appeared in print in 1999. Those responsible for the rants, raves and ramblings included Shona Prophett, the Bishop, Rosemary, Eddie Elwood, Jordan, Millie May, Agnes and Senga... names that many of you may recognise and characters some of you met.

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Environmental art, fuel and food foraging, preserving and preparing for the winter - that's what autumn is all about - being prepared. How to make crabapple and rosehip jelly is a handy skill to have, especially as the recipe can be adapted into foraged or hedgerow jelly.

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Autumn sunshine, showers, wind and windfalls! Yes, frugal friends, it's that time of year again in our corner of Scotland - the time of apples, brambles, berries, chilli peppers and tomatoes! We don't have a heated greenhouse or polytunnel and winters can be long with summers short, but it shouldn't stop us eating seasonal produce.

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It's Scotland, it's cold, it's wet, it's windy, it's June and we're still doing porridge for breakfast, so here's how to turn a pound into a tenner, if you are feeling charitable and sociable. Get your oats!

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The arrival of June was more a case of it being blown in than anything, as the weather failed to improve, still blasting us with wind, rain and hail. But this is Scotland, so no need to despair - we get there in the end with the gardening and we do our best to keep warm at all other times. Besides, the sun does shine sometimes and makes the great outdoors extremely inviting for frugal or free outings.

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May has been a busy money-saving month of mayhem, so far, but we have managed to complete the barn painting and have another corral, or small paddock, fenced, planted the last of this year's trees, sown seeds and I set up a makeshift wild bird feeding station outside the caravan, where the resident woodpecker is now visiting several times each day. That's my frugal entertainment. Life on site in a mobile home is great!

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I've just spent a fortnight in the Frugaldom home-from-home 'ranch' and, true to fashion, the good old Scottish weather has thrown everything at us, from heat wave to snow storms; it has been an interesting learning curve trying to maintain a good balanced temperature in a caravan, that's for sure.

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Cheap and cheerful living in small spaces is what many aspire to, which is quite amazing considering what's available to buy nowadays. But for frugal living, we want fun and affordable homes, like tiny houses, cabins or even caravans, camper vans or tents. Well, tomorrow is a big day for me, as I downsize to frugal summer quarters.

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Continuing with my challenge to slash the weekly grocery bill to an average £5 per person, I decided to adapt a very simple recipe for potato cakes. It's very similar to making fish cakes, except I didn't have leftover potatoes and fish, I had leftover potatoes and the bacon bits from making a pot of ham and lentil soup.

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Berries are brilliant! We can find them in abundance throughout the year. Whether it's strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants or others in our gardens or the hips, haws, sloes and brambles along the hedgerows when foraging, they are a great source of vitamins. Wherever you pick yours, even if it's yellow sticker items in the supermarkets, make the most of them all year round.

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