The Six Week Store Cupboard Challenge

Day 6

Item to be used up: Date Paste, Bee Pollen, Lecithin Granules, Carob Pods

   

Carob Pods are also on my list.  We collected these from a tree last time we were in Spain, where we lovingly dried them out on the steps in the sunshine.  Yet they have sat in a carrier bag in my store cupboard ever since.  You will see that I have done the fiddly job of removing the innermost beans.  My electric mill didn’t like them very much and in the back of my mind I recalled a pigeon-Spanish conversation with a man who said that they use those beans to make plastic.  Please, please do not think for one minute that they are…it is just my lack of Spanish and lack of knowledge that has caused me to leave them out.  Anyway for reference here are the pods and the beans:

   

The bee pollen is not something that I would choose to buy as a vegetarian.  My understanding is that the method of collection can rip legs off the bees…not great for instant karma.  But this jar was a gift and so I made the decision to work through it and make good use of it.  I have been putting it in my morning smoothies and that is the recipe that I bring today.

My naturopathy has taken me on a fantastic journey.  What I am realising more and more is that you have to listen to your own body in order to make sense of what really works.  I am not sure that this means that everyone will have completely different needs.  It is just that with so much controversy out there, it is really hard to find the truth.  The truth lies within.

I have to admit that fruit smoothies are a relatively new addition for me.  I have been avoiding fruit for a couple of years now, believing that the fruit sugars (as any sugar) contributes to feeding yeasts and parasites and unhinges your endocrine system.

These preconceptions ended last September when I was introduced to the 80:10:10 diet.  I have reservations about this tropical fruit laden, all raw diet that might work perfectly well in the warm jungles of Central America.  Heading through a cold, dark English winter seems to beckon soups and broths to me.  Yet there is truth I believe, to be found in his writing.  He suggests that a jar of marbles, when coated with oil will collect the oil at the bottom of the jar.  Yet all the marbles will remain coated.  He talks of our cells in a similar fashion, that our constant overuse of fats, yes even as vegan or vegetarians is rendering our cells less efficient, with our nutrients struggling to penetrate the gloopy, coated membrane.

So no fats or oils.  That is his message.  My Guru, Barbara Wren has tried it and said that it gave her more ‘Gi gi’.  She also went on to explain that as above, so below, when she cleaned her liver (fat free), she went on to clean her entire home, from top to bottom…not a corner, nor cupboard was left untouched.

In addition her husband’s blood pressure returned to normal after only thee days.

My take on this new diet was to re-introduce fruits in the morning, benefiting from their alkalising properties.  Then to add a juice before lunch and then go as fat free as I feel I can during the winter, but not get too hung up on it.

So this is the form that my smoothie has taken most mornings:

 

Cook book: None
Recipe: Banana, date and carob smoothie with frozen fruits.

  • 4-10 bananas
  • 2-3 sticks celery
  • frozen fruits (of course fresh would be even better…I will not have my soft fruit shipped from South America at this time of year, so I am using frozen British fruit)
  • Date paste
  • 1 tsp Bee pollen
  • Carob powder
  • 1 tbs lecithin granules – I am using this up but you can consider using a raw egg
  • hot water – I really believe that drinks should be body temperature, the lecithin may really thicken your smoothie, so water can keep it the right consistency (well at least let you get it out of the food mixer)
  • I also add some flax oil and some evening primrose oil after the whizzing has taken place, again I am using that up as I see that it might be too concentrated in its fat content…I will move to the ground whole seeds when I have done so.
  1. Put everything in the food mixer and whizz together, making up the desired consistency with the warm water.
  2. Add flax oil gently if using, otherwise some ground seeds.

     

For the final power boost, you can energise your drink, however you wish.

 

Six Week Store Cupboard Challenge

Day 5

Item to be used up: Molasses, Molasses sugar and Golden Syrup

I am thrilled to see the back of three items from my store cupboard for this recipe.  I am also hoping that by having three items, less attention will be paid to the fact that yes I do have golden syrup in my cupboard.  Not for long!

I am making this recipe today as my amazing daughter Zoe is off on a school trip to the O2 Arena, to take part in the Young Voices Choir.  I thought that I would send her off with a little home baked love.  She took one look at my crumbled offerings and said that she’d pass thank you very much.  I did not grumble (just ate 1/2 of them!).

Cook book: Mother, Baby & Toddler Book; A Unique Guide To Raising A Baby On A Healthy Vegetarian Diet, by Rose Elliot
This is a great old fashioned book with loads of practical advice for parents.  One thing that Rose Elliot uses in a couple of her books is molasses.  Every time I have tried to bake with molasses recipes, they burn (this time was no exception).  So keep an eye on them.

I have learnt recently that molasses are a powerhouse of nutrients, which make them a real contender as a ‘good’ sugar product (along with date sugar, which is just ground dates). The nutrients offered are over and above those required to neutralise the sugar content…well so I hear anyway, so the idea is that you can eat molasses with gusto and guilt free.  In addition to all the other wonderful things that they offer, molasses are a brilliant source of iron.  As a food source the absorption of the iron will be maximised.  Many people swear by it and have cured all manner of ills with it.  Some take it by the tablespoon, I am baking Parkin with it.

Recipe: Parkin

I have never made this before and have heard of it but not known really what it was.  As I leafed through the pages of this book, my eyes fell upon the fact that I could use up three of my items in this baby so here we are, my nod to Alfred’s Cakes, it is not only Kings who can burn their buns.

  • 100g/40z plain wholewheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 100g/4 oz medium oatmeal
  • 100g/4oz molasses sugar
  • 100g/4oz black molasses
  • 100g/4oz honey or golden syrup
  • 100g/4oz butter or unhydrogenated vegetable margarine
  • 175ml/6fl oz milk or non dairy version
  1. Set the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Line a 20cm/8inch square tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and ginger into a bowl, adding the bran left in the sieve and the also the oatmeal.
  4. Put the sugar, molasses, and golden syrup or honey and butter or margarine into a saucepan and heat gently until melted.  Cool until you can comfortably put your head against the pan, then add the milk.
  5. Add the treacle mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing well and pour into the prepared tin.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until firm to the touch.
  7. Lift the Parkin out of the tin and put on a wire tray to cool, then cut into pieces and remove from the paper.

I have to admit that they did on the whole fall apart as I did not do as I was told and wait the required time to let them cool.  These were the few that were not too badly a) burned, b) trashed or c)eaten.

 

 

Six Week Store Cupboard Challenge

Day 4

Item to be used up: Coconut Milk or Cream and Star Anise.

   

Cook book: Under The Walnut Tree, Anna and Fanny Bergenstrom


I have a neighbour Kay who always turns out the most amazing array of colorful, perfectly presented assortment of nibbles and dishes when she entertains.  She gave me this book of rustic simplicity for my birthday and I believe that in giving me this book, she has let me into a secret.

 

Recipe: Potato and coconut curry

This recipe is probably not one that I would have used to serve as a flagship offering from their amazing repertoire.  However it is not just my store cupboard that is running down.  My fridge is woefully inadequate today as I am in desperate need of a shop.   I will however make do today and use up what I have.  I have not made this recipe before but it seems fitting to offer up something simple, unassuming and basically dependent on having some spuds in your fridge.

  • 6-7 medium potatoes (500g diced)
  • 2 large onions, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds roughly crushed
  • 2 tbs brown mustard seeds
  • 1 fresh red chilli finely chopped
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 300 ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2-3 star anise
  • sea salt to taste
  • Garnish with 1/2 red chilli, very finely sliced and a handful fresh coriander leaves.
  1. prepare the potatoes and onions.
  2. Pour the oil into a saucepan and saute the garlic, ginger, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and chilli.
  3. After a few minutes, add the coconut milk and stock and then the star anise, diced potato, sliced onion and a pinch of salt
  4. Let everything simmer for about 10 minutes (the first 5 minutes covered), until the potatoes are tender yet firm.
  5. Season to taste, and top up the curry with the chilli and chopped fresh coriander.

I have to say that this dish was a great quick lunchtime recipe.  However it is supposed to be served with chapatis and yogurt and despite its delicious smooth flavour I did feel that it needed something more.  The star anise did steal the show, working really well with the mustard seeds. I haven’t really used star anise in curries before and I really felt that the simplicity of the dish was given real depth by this little decorative beauty.

I must also add that this curry did not keep well for the next day (unlike many curries that improve as their flavours blend) there was a strange sourness that did not work so eat this fresh.

Six Week Store Cupboard Challenge

Day 3

Item to be used up: Black Turtle Beans

Cook book: The New Intercourses, An Aphrodisiac Cookbook by Martha Hopkins

With Valentines Day fast approaching.  This is a brilliant pressie option.  I have to say that I have a rather battered original version.  Having had a quick peek at the pages, this recipe that I am about to divulge is probably not in there.  However, going by my first edition you would do well to invest in this book anyway, if only to emulate the asparagus skirt, hinted at in one of the pictures.

The idea is to arouse carnal desire in your loved one through the decadent, stimulating and indulgent foods offered up;  all in the best possible taste in this fabulous book.

Recipe: Black Bean Salsa

  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 green pepper
  • 1/4 red pepper
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 115g canned black beans
  • 75ml (3 fl oz) pineapple juice
  • 1 small bunch coriander
  • 1 tbls ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbls finely chopped green chilli
  • salt and pepper
  1. Soak the black beans and cook for 1 1/2 hours if using dried beans.
  2. Combine the mango, peppers, onion, black beans, pineapple juice and lime juice, coriander, cumin and chilli in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Chill.

Can be served as a snack with tortilla chips, or better still with fried plantain rounds.  I would also suggests this makes a great salsa for jacket potatoes, maybe with some soured cream.

I have to say that tonight’s extravaganza failed on a few accounts.  I tried to quadruple the mixture given the size of our family.  This does not work.  Stick to the recipe.  Also my mangoes, despite sitting next to bananas in our fruit bowl for nearly a week, failed to ripen into that succulent sweet softness that only a mango can do.  Hard and slightly sour does not do this dish justice.  Nor does using whole cumin and not spending enough time pounding the pestle.  So this one has not wholeheartedly satisfied the taste buds, but has made my larder 1/2 bag beans lighter.

And if you ever find the original version of this cookbook…try out the French toast baked in honey-pecan sauce.  I’ll say no more.

Six Week Store Cupboard Challenge

Day 2

After Yesterday’s all day kitchen event,  I decided on a bit of a cop out day.  Fulfilling my requirements yes, pulling out all the stops…no.  However that is because this recipe is so successfully simple, utterly gratifying and fills a family.

Anyway.

Items to be used: Quinoa flour, chestnut flour, preserved sundried tomatoes, marrow and apple chutney, Indian chutney.   We are on a roll here.

The cookbook is one that my brother Sam gave to me 10 years ago.  To say that it is dog-eared is an understatement.  Most pages have bits of dried flour, butter, water residue stuck to them and many pages are spattered with something resembling oil.  Boy have I used this book. Roll the drums for:

Cookbook: Nigella Lawson’s; How to be a domestic goddess

And for this recipe more than most: Lily’s scones, page 67

These scones do not fail to please, best of course fresh and warm from the oven.

  • 500g plain flour (I used up 50g chestnut flour and what I had left of my quinoa flour – about 100g, I then used a wholemeal plain flour, because in all this reckless abandon, I am still trying to hold on to some sense of being good.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 50g cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 25g Trex, in teaspooned lumps (or use another 75g butter)
  • 300 ml milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten, for egg-wash (but I don’t bother)
  • I used her variation of 75g cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7
  2. sift the flour, slat, bicarb and cream of tartar into a large bowl.
  3. Rub in the fats till it goes like damp sand.
  4. At this point I added her variation of cheddar cheese.
  5. Add the milk all at once, mix briefly – briefly being the operative word.
  6. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly to form a dough.
  7. Roll out to about 3cm thickness.  Then stamp out at least 10 scones.  You should get 12 but may need to  re-roll.                                                                                        
  8. Place on baking tray very close together – the idea is that they bulge and stick together on cooking.(You can brush with egg-wash if you wish)
  9. Cook in oven for 10 mins or until risen and golden.
  10. Always eat freshly baked.

I served these scones with a simple green salad and dressing, with a rather camel turd looking goats cheese – a Christmas pressie that turned out to be quite delicious.  We also added the chutneys which proved to be quite a perfect accompaniment, some olives and some preserved sundried tomatoes.  I can sit back today, having had an easy ride and with a cupboard less stocked.

 

 

 

 

Six Week Store Cupboard Challenge

Day 1

Item to be used: Preserved Lemons

Cookbook: Terre a Terre; The Vegetarian Cookbook.  This book is wild and decadent, difficult, fiddly and downright off putting.  But that is exactly why I recommend it.  You will be producing something amazing, gorgeous, delicious and off the beaten track.  Dare to be different!


I am going to kick this baby off with an almighty effort by attempting their ‘Send My Regards to Broadway’ Which is actually a whole menu for 6.

Seared Cherry Vine Tomatoes                                                                                         

  • 1 tbsp  oil,
  • 12 cherry tomatoes on the vine,
  • salt and pepper                                        
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan until smoking
  2. add tomatoes and sear them in the hot oil all over for about a minute
  3. season with salt and plenty of pepper
  4. remove from pan and leave to cool.

Broad Bean Mousse

  • 400g fresh or frozen broad beans
  • 400ml whole milk
  • 60g onion, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • a few parsley stalks
  • grated nutmeg
  • 70g unsalted butter
  • 70g plain flour
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs; whites and yolks separated, yolks beaten.
  1. if using fresh beans, blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water and drain.
  2. peel the skins off the beans.
  3. make a bechamel sauce – put milk in pan with onion, bay leaf, cloves, parsley stalks and nutmeg and bring to a simmer.
  4. Remove from heat, strain and reserve milk, discarding flavourings.
  5. Melt butter in a pan, add flour and stir well to make a paste.  Cook this roux on a low heat for 2 mins stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from the heat and beat in a ladleful of the hot milk.  Return the pan to the heat and continue adding milk a ladleful at a time.  When all the milk has been incorporated simmer for 5 mins, still stirring so that it does not catch on the bottom.
  7. Season generously with salt and pepper and pour into a bowl to cool down.
  8. Put the skinned beans into a food processor and blend to a smooth thick puree.  Pass the puree through a fine sieve and fold into the cold bechamel, together with the beaten egg yolks.
  9. Turn on the oven to 150C Gas Mark 2
  10. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and then fold into the broad bean bechamel.  You need only a little lightness so you don’t need to be as gentle as you would with a souffle.  Season to taste.
  11. take a shallow baking tray around 20-30cm and line with baking parchment.  Pour in the mousse and spread it around the tin. Bake in the oven at 150C for 30-40 mins, until the mixture has risen slightly and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Leave to cool then place in the fridge until required for the Mille Feuille.
Hand peeled broad beans. It took about 20 minutes.

 

Yemini Pickle

3 lemons, peel and white pith removed, flesh cut into segments

  • 100ml lemon juice
  • Peel from 3 preserved lemons
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Yemen paste – from their own recipe (I can do no more, I am going to use up something similar from the fridge that is hot and spicy and add some fresh coriander leaves to it).
  1. Blend the lemon flesh, juice and peel together at high speed in a blender or food processor, then put this in a small pan with the sugar and heat gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Boil rapidly for 2 minutes.  Now stir in the Yemen paste according to your taste (not for the faint hearted) leave to cool.              

Asparagus, broad bean and fennel salad.

  • 24 asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 100g fresh (shelled) broad beans
  • 20g fennel fronds
  •  200g mixed salad leaves
  • 20g mint
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme
  • 2tbls olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Blanch the asparagus spears in slated water for 2 mins, then drain
  2. Blanch and drain the broad beans in the same way then peel off the skins
  3. reserve 6 of the asparagus spears for garnishing the Mille Feuille.
  4. Cut the remaining asparagus to 7cm lengths and mix with all of the remaining ingredients.  Set aside.
  5. Just before serving dress the salad with the oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Then Just put it all together:

Spread Lemony Yeminy over the top of one of the pastry slices, add chopped mint 1 tbsp.  Then add a layer of broad bean mousse, then another pastry layer and repeat.  Serve with seared tomatoes, and the salad.

This was such a good start.  It tasted amazing and every bit worth all the effort.  The tangy Lemony Yeminy Pickle, set against the fresh mint and combined with the flaky pastry and decadent mousse – a definite yes from me.  Although I have to say that I skipped the asparagus and broad bean salad…not quite the season and I draw the line at importing asparagus from Peru.  It did need more, or maybe just a smaller family to share it with.

I say a big lemony Yeminy Yes.

 

The Six Week Store Cupboard Challenge

Six Weeks of Larder Recipes

I wrote in a an earlier blog that I have been inspired to start looking at the Wealth pages of my site, motivated by one advisor to get up earlier in the morning, every morning to fit in the time to do that.

I have been diligent, not exactly leaping from my bed but getting myself in front of the computer to do my research all the same.  So what happens when your phone line gets cut and you computer is down for a day or two?

Well you diversify and that is exactly how I found myself looking at this challenge.  Without being able to save or invest on-line, I decided to look around at some cash that I could release around the home.  I have an added incentive, as we are about to lose the kitchen though an extension and for weeks or months I will be in a temporary space.  The long and the short of it is that I must chuck out, store or use all those packets, tins, jars and supplements that I have in my cupboard space.

I believe that I have more random ingredients than most, due to my interest in all things healthy.  I am not sure how many people will have a packet of Tempeh starter culture lurking in the back recesses of their cupboards.  But because of this I feel that I am in a good position to find uses for many things that might be in any cupboard.

Anyway I decided to set myself this six week challenge – to empty my cupboards in an interesting way.  Each item must be used in a great recipe.  I have loads of great cookbooks and so I am going to pilfer them for ideas and come up with some fabulous ways to turn those dusty packets into reasons for not going out to dinner and spending more money.

The rules that I have set for myself:

  • At least 1 new recipe per day.
  • The recipe must use at least 1 store cupboard stock item in it.
  • I will take photos along the way. (This is my biggest challenge, as a complete download phobe I have largely avoided bringing colour to my site.  This is about to change!).
  • I have 6 weeks or less to complete the challenge.

You will find among others, vegetarian recipes for using up:

  • preserved lemons
  • mung beans
  • rice syrup
  • coconut milk
  • honey and mustard dressing
  • chestnut flour
  • tinned mangosteens
  • Indian chutney
  • flax seeds
  • cannelini beans
  • mirin
  • molasses sugar
  • glace cherries
  • evaporated milk
  • lucuma powder
  • lime pickle
  • alphabet pasta
  • raw cacao powder
  • sunflower seeds
  • black turtle beans
  • food colouring
  • tinned rambutans
  • mustard
  • hazlenuts
  • preserved sundried tomatoes
  • pasta flour
  • semolina
  • soy beans and a tempeh starter kit
  • golden syrup
  • date paste
  • chickpea flour
  • lecithin granules
  • jam
  • jar of molasses
  • artichoke hearts

 

 

So I will kick off with a bit of an epic (for very little store cupboard use as you will see, but to demonstrate my eagerness to be creative).

 

Omar Ramsden and Alwyn Carr – A brush with beauty

Well I went to the auction house, looking for gold sovereigns and ended up placing a bid on a beautiful lidded silver bowl made by Omar Ramsden and Alwyn Carr.  I got really excited about the idea of finding and collecting things of beauty rather than just for their melt down value.

Unfortunately for me I had chosen, from their whole auction the piece that they had decided to adorn the front cover of their brochure.

http://www.tooveys.com/lots.asp?WEBLOTID=229305&LOTID=350&AUCTIONID=

A good friend advised me that I had just selected one of the top and most collectable  names in silver antiques.  Now I was gladdened by my sense of good taste, but downtrodden by the realisation that my humble low bid was probably going to be outshone by a bottomless pocket investor.

I returned home confused about my investment choices.  I had gone for the gold and failed to even put a bid down on the Victorian gold jubilee coin that I had found.  Yet here I was getting involved in a big investment name that I felt was out of my league.  Yet I was pulled.  Surely if people bid six times more than the asking price then they would do that in the future.  If I was choosing some thing that people really love, but more importantly that I really love then that makes it all the more successful.

So the big question presented itself, should I go all out and pay many more times the asking price or should I stick to my bid and try to get lucky, trying never to pay too much for any investment, not getting carried away?

Well divine providence intervened,  I got home determined to put some more money on my internet bid (I couldn’t make the actual auction)…I found that my phone line and hence my internet connection had been cut.  You should know by now that I do not own a mobile phone – no not even for making important bids on silverware).  By the time it came back up it was too late for placing bids.

Well it didn’t go for as much as I thought it would , but still more than double my original bid.  Don’t forget the 27% on top for fees and VAT too.

So why didn’t I go to a friends for a phone call?  As I said Divine Providence intervened…I took it as a sign that it was not going to happen, not right now anyway.

Sure enough, by that afternoon another investment opportunity literally walked through my door.

 

 

The Big Balloon of Life

So having got thoroughly engaged in the economics of our age and making a decision to buy gold, I did a bit more homework.  What I have found out is that there is a balloon approach to this whole economic conundrum.  It is either going to huff and puff itself full of hot air, or it is going to sag into a sorry mess.

As I see it the two possibilities for this balloon are Inflation and Deflation.

Inflation is the idea that I mentioned before, with the governments printing money that they do not have, prices for goods and services pushing upwards and as a result; money, the cash that we have, becomes worth less and less.  The fix is to try to invest in commodities that might hold their value against inflation or even better shoot through the roof as more and more people try and find a safe haven for their pennies in more scarce resources.

Deflation is where nobody has any confidence in the markets and so people stop investing in anything; preferring instead to hold onto what cash they have, thinking that things will get cheaper ‘tomorrow’.  Commodity prices such as gold may well go down at this time, with everyone waiting a day more, a week longer, a month more to try to get a better price, a better deal.  As more and more firms go bust, unemployment goes up, people start to default on their mortgages, houses get repossessed, the housing market crashes.  At this point if you have cash  you are doing well so will get more for your money.  Cash is king here.

So do you recognise any of these in our world today?  The point  is that both of these apply.  It could go either way.  We have seen inflation desperately being forced on us to try to jump start spending and an economic revival, but with more and more high street names being added to the closure list, it looks like we are heading for a deflationary depression, like it or not.  How long this lasts and how soon before inflation takes our mortgages sky high in these volatile times is the crux of the matter.  So the path through this may be to hedge your bets.  Some are suggesting some cash, some gold.  Some are suggesting careful and safe money markets such as Switzerland.  Some are suggesting hybrid mortgages which are half fixed, half variable.  It appears that no one knows where or why we are heading, rather like the balloon that is flying high but looking like it might just snag on that thorn bush over there.

As I said to my mum last night, it doesn’t really matter what the markets do.  Unless I start saving something, anything, sometime, my money is in a far more dangerous place…in my purse.  That it would be spent and lost is a foregone conclusion, so any attempts I make are a worthwhile investment in my book.  On that note I am off to auction.

Gemma x

Golddigga

Today I might be buying my first gold sovereign.  A friend told me about an auction that has some sovereigns for sale.  He suggested that quality is very important when buying old coins as collectables and suggested that I follow the on-line link to fill out a request for a quality report.  I happily ticked the right boxes for 10 of them and got a telling off by the auction house.  They suggested 5 reports maximum.  I explained that I was a complete novice and needed the most collectable and the best condition and so they narrowed it down for me to two of the five.

The first is the oldest and only shield back coin in this sale.  A Victorian coin 1863.

The 1896 Victorian coin is, I am advised, in the best condition.

This was very helpful and has given me a bit more confidence in the sell on value of my purchase.  I am not sure how much added value the extra 33 years will give the earlier coin, or the fact that it is a shield back.  Given that the guide prices in this auction are the same for both I would imagine that I should go for the better condition coin.

I had of course had visions, after reading my book on Gold Sovereigns by Michael A Marsh of starting my collection with a modest and fairly rare George IV sovereign.  Needless to say that there are none in this auction.  The coins are all common I think and so I have made my mind up to stay at the low end of the guide price of 200-250 pounds. Ha ha we shall see!

If I don’t end up at the auction at least watching the prices unfold at the end will give me an idea for future bidding.

This is all about getting started and gaining experience.  And of course the fact that Jupiter, bringer of luck is in my sign right now!

Yours with sparkly bits

Gemma x