A linen skirt for £2, Char de Crabbe & prescriptions

If you have been reading my ramblings for long, you will know that sometimes I get a migraine. I have had them for as long as I can remember and they are triggered by many things. Coffee, chocolate and alcohol are the food ones, then there is not enough, or too much, sleep, cold wind, squinting in the sun, exercising too vigorously and anything that tightens up my shoulders or back of neck.

I think I have tried everything over the years, and the only thing that has ever worked is sumatriptan, sold under the brand name of Imigran. Although I usually only need 1 per attack, they cost an extortionate £8 for 2 tablets. I have considered that I can sort myself out with this, and didn’t want to go to the GP and ask them to pay for it, I was able to pay for them myself.

Imagine my horror then when there were none to be found in Heathfield because of a problem with manufacture. After going back several times to see if they had got any yet, the pharmacist happened to be in ear shot and said that he had packs of 6 of them, rather than the usual 2, but that he could supply them only with a prescription. So today I had to give in and go to the GP to get a prescription, and I now have a pack of 6 safely stowed away. Wonder how much the surgery had to pay to supply something I was willing, and able, to get for myself?

On the way back, as it was Tuesday, I popped into the market. It is a bit like a boot fair on Tuesdays. There is a good wet fishmonger there too, and a fruit and veg stall, but their prices are about the same as the supermarket, so I tend to use the greengrocer in the town, and support a local business that way.

There is a general auction on Tuesdays too, so I had a bit of a poke around there at all the interesting bits and pieces, then mosied over to the general stalls under cover.


imageBought my first pack of Christmas cards, very nice ones at £1 for 24.


imagePlus I found this lovely linen skirt. Just my size, and very much my kind of colour. I asked how much and she said £2 with that lift at the end as if expecting me to argue, but goodness me, £2 is very cheap. When I got it home, I noticed a little label attached to the inside, with £6 on it, so now I feel like I got even more of a bargain!

crab applesThe recipe today is one that I use when I have crab apples. The local Tesco car park has a little tree that is covered in crab apples every year and when I pick a big bag full it barely makes a dent. People are always intriqued as to what I am doing and ask what I am going to make. Not many people even realise that crab apples is what they are. A shame as lots of people could make lots of things with them if they only knew.

When I first found the tree, I Googled what to do with crab apples as I didn’t want to make jelly, we had loads of jam and up popped this recipe – Char De Crabb. It is a 15th Century English recipe, flavoured with anise, which must have cost an extraordinary amount then. I have frugalised the recipe a bit here. It is a lovely, flavoursome tart, using foraged fruit and possibly leftover bread made into crumbs, so appeals to me on that level.

I used the anise the first time I made it, but the apples make a lovely citrussy puree, so I don’t bother now.

crab apples to the equivalent of 5 large ordinary ones
250ml sugar
1 tsp white pepper if you have it
1/2 tsp salt
1 star anise (optional)
200g unseasoned breadcrumbs

200g s.r. flour
100ml veg oil

Wash the apples, but don’t even try to peel or core them, much too small! Put in a saucepan with a teeny amount of water, a tblsp, and simmer until they are a puree. Or cook in the microwave until they are pulp. Either way, mash them up and sieve to get rid of the stalks, blossom ends and pips.

If using the star anise, break it into pieces. not too small, people will need to be able to see it.

Add everything else, stir well. The mixture should look like a heavy cake batter.

While the apples are cooking, make the pastry with the oil and flour. Put them both in a bowl and add almost as much water as oil, to make a loose dough.  Roll out the pastry and use to line a 20-22cm pie tin.

Place the apple mixture in the lined tin and place in an oven pre-heated to 160°C and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven, allow to cool and set then serve.

Other uses for crab apples include this collection of recipes here, or how about Spiced & Pickled Crab apples, Slow Roasted Crab Apples or Slow Cooker Chutney, or there is a Pinterest with loads of possibilities and seemingly dozens of different crab apple jelly recipes, which personally , I find a bit boring. Hugh Fearnley Whiitingstall is on there with Crab Apple and Sloe sorbet, there is Crab Apple Crisp and Cramelised Crab Apples. I have loads of apples in the garden (not crab apples) and I shall be looking for ways to use those too.



Thrifty Lesley has an associated Facebook Group. Do come over and say hello if you haven’t already joined. I’d love to see you!

I’m a perpetual dieter, and to help with that endeavour, there is now also a Thrifty Lesley dieting group, a lovely, growing community.



  1. Lesley

    Feverfew? Ok, I’ll look out for it and try it, thanks

  2. Paula Higgleton-Wood

    Hi Lesley. My husband has suffered terrible migraines all his life, his are triggered like yours by caffeine, tiredness or stress. I got him to take feverfew and he rarely gets migraines now. He takes quite a high dose of 500mg daily and takes an extra one of feels headachey. I buy it quite cheaply through Amazon or eBay. I know this post was from a year ago so I hope you have already found some relief with it. Paula.

  3. Lesley

    I’ve never tried feverfew, I’ll pick some up next time I’m near an H&B shop and try it. Do you take one every day regardless if an attack is imminent, or just when you think you might need one?

  4. Gemma

    I’ve suffered terrible migraines for years (I’m 35) and have sumatriptian on prescription. One thing I’ve found that does help is a herbal tablet called feverfew. I get mine from ebay but Holland & Barrett etc sell it too. One tablet in the morning and 90% of the time it stops anything before it starts. I have to make sure I drink enough, wear my sunglasses etc etc but these have helped. X

  5. Lesley

    You know what, I haven’t tried acupuncture! I’ll have to have a little investigate

  6. Saraband

    I suffered from migraine all my pre-menopausal adult life (as did my Mum). I too tried lots of different treatments and found acupuncture worked best.


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