As promised, I’m getting back to my blogging and crafting. Finally! It snowing outside and I’m fed up of this foul weather. Where has spring gone? I’ve decided to induce it myself by starting one of my 10 for ’10 resolutions. No. 9. Eat something I’ve grown myself from seed. I found a great little tutorial for making newspaper pots for seedlings which I think are brilliant and have great eco-credentials. I made 8 little pots and have temporarily housed them in a baking dish, filled them with packed soil, and planted my seeds. I planted cherry tomatoes and some strawberrys and now I have my fingers crossed! My only fear is that I’m going away next week and god knows what neglect they’re going to suffer in the hands of Mr. A. Perhaps flashing neon signs saying ‘water me!’ will have to be erected over them. Hopefully things will go as plan though and when I get back I’ll have plants!
Archive for March, 2010
Tags: apartment, Food, garden, gardening, grow, tomatoes
Tags: Baking, british, brownie, Chocolate, dinner, Food, party, pie, steak
Apologies for the lack of posts of late. As I previously mentioned I had a big deadline and that had to take all my time. But finally, I’m FREE! Free for the next few days to do some lovely crafty things. Oh Joy! I promise to keep you posted on all of it.
First things first. I did manage to do a few things this weekend. I (foolishly) offered to make dessert for a dinner party on Saturday. Due to my lack of time, I fell back on an old favorite that is no trouble at all to make. ‘Elaine’s Brownies’ from the Avoca Cookbook. It’s the best irish cookbook I’ve ever come across and reminds me of all the delicious food they serve in their shops and cafes. It’s a very simple recipe (basically throw everything in a bowl and whisk like hell), and the outcome are the best brownies I’ve ever come across. I served them heated with greek yogurt ice cream and almonds. Now they are everyone else’s favorite brownies too!
Then on Sunday I felt it was time to have a last hooray pie. Its getting to the end of pie season and I’m sorry to see it go. I felt I haven’t made the most of it. So steak pie for dinner it was. If you haven’t had a steak pie, you haven’t lived! Its such a Great British staple meal.
- Coat 1lb. of diced beef (any cut will do. If it is of lesser quality just make sure to keep in the oven for longer) in some flour and season with salt and pepper
- Fry on a high heat in a pan with some oil to seal it
- Roughly dice two onions and three medium carrots and place in a pie dish. Put you sealed beef in on top
- Pour a can of ale (I used Belhaven Best) on top of your beef and veggies, cover and place in the oven at 160 degrees C for two hours
- Remove from the oven. Scatter diced mushrooms onto your pie mix. top of liquid with beef stock if necessary. Add a generous tablespoon of cornflour to the liquid in your pie to get your gravy to the required thickness
- Roll out a piece of ready-made puff pasty to the required size to fit the top of your pie dish. Brush the pastry with egg or milk.
- Place back into the oven at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes or until the puff pasty is golden.
Tags: Canada, landscape, Life, Photography, romance, Scotland
It’s been one of those days. I just can’t seem to get the spring back in my step. I think it may be a combination of the weather and all my current deadlines. Even the delivery of my wonderful new wool from Pickles couldn’t cheer me up (perhaps thats because I just don’t have the time to start working on my new Wild Vest as part of my 10 for ’10 resolutions). I was even so bold that I broke into my easter egg early! Naughty.
However, I do have something to be cheery about. I went for a walk awhile ago in the rain with my little camera and I managed to capture some really gorgeous shots of the scottish landscape. Some more photos for making card out of I think. I love the shots. They are really misty, damp, romantic scenes from Scotland. It was a pleasure to be walking in the wood too. Last time I did that I was in Canada and I spent the entire time petrified that some bone-crunching monster was about to pounce on me. It’s such a pleasure to live in a country like the UK or Ireland where you’re the top of the food chain! Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photos and perhaps it will encourage you to come pay us a visit.
I woke up super early this morning, and due to the fact that I no longer have any knitting to get on with I thought I’d whip up something yum to have with my morning cuppa. When I don’t feel like sifting through my cook books and back issues of Olive and Delicious, I find the net is a really simple way of looking for inspiration. I finally settled on Tana Ramsey’s Lemon Drizzle Loaf. Lemon cake has to be a favorite of mine and it’s probably the only type of cake that my boyfriend will eat (other than chocolate of course!).
The recipe took no time to whip up (thanks to my christmas present of a hand mixer), although the baking time recommended was way off. Instead of the 45 minutes they suggested it took over an hour and a quarter and by the time it was done my loaf tin was almost overflowing. But all in all, it’s delicious.
Tags: Beading, Beads, Books, Crafts, Gift, Jewelry, Necklace, Reading
I’ve been at it again. Beading that is. I tend to go months without making a thing and now all of a sudden I can’t get enough of it. There is a reason for it though. I got up this morning with the hope or brewing a pot of tea and doing a little bit of morning knitting in my PJ’s (such a guilty pleasure!), only to get down to it and find I’m not going to have enough yarn to finish it. This has to be a knitters worst nightmare. Its happened to me before and you’d think I’d learn. So that just put me in the worst mood ever. Thankfully I sat in front of my bead boxes and hoped for a distraction from my knitting faux pas. And this is what I finished up with!
A suede cord, knotted necklace using the beads I picked up from the bead fair last weekend. I really like it, it’s really light and just a little bit trashy thanks to those leopard print beads! And after I made it, I stumbled on an (almost) replica in fat face!
And secondly, a beaded bookmark. I’m going to Portugal in a few weeks and this is going to come in handy for the reading I’m planning on bringing. It uses a special bead to me, the little bear. I bought it when I was in Berlin last October with friends. I stumbled across a really funky (there is no other kind of shop in Berlin) bead shop, Tukadu, and ended up spending 3 euro on this one little bear (it was one of those moments when the idiot tourist blindly hands over a note, only to cough and splutter at the severe lack of change that is returned). But it’s sweet and reminds me of good times. Also included in it are some odd beads. The large green one, and the small, oval, pinky beads are ones I came across on a walk in town with my boyfriend. They were strewn across the pavement, and much to my boyfriend’s embarrassment, I scavenged them! I think I put them to good use.
There are four different strands each connected to every second link of a piece of chain which it then attached to the bookmark itself. These can be picked up at your local bead shop for about £0.75. I have a bookworm friend and I think one will have to be made to send to her, especially since it is so quick, and easy to assemble and the results look awesome.
Tags: 2010, Ambitions, Goals, Life, New Years, Personal
I know its a little late for New Year’s resolutions and I was going to keep this list until my next birthday but they are just dates, so why not now? There are a few things that have struck my lately as things I really want to do, but never really get round to. I’ve been inspired my a friend of mine who is turning 30. As part of it, she want to do 30 things to celebrate. I found myself contributing so many things to the list that I though ‘why am I telling someone to do the things I’ve always wanted to??!’ So I’m getting my finger out, I’m not going to make any more excuses, and hopefully having this blog will be the push I need. So here goes:
- Make my own cards – I took up photography last Autumn and I really need to start printing good shots as cards – Done! See my embossed homemade cards with free printables
- Knit an item of clothing that is not a hat/scarf/mittens – I have an enormous fear of washing something I lovingly slaved over. I’d destroy it, thats just my luck – Work in progress
- Try my hand at Fimo Jewelry – I got a Fimo kit as a gift for christmas because I was banging on about wanting to try it for so long. It’s time I opened the box – Done! See my Fimo Cupcakes and Fimo Button Tutorial, not to mention all the projects to use them in!
- Sell something I made – I think this must be one of the greatest feeling of achievement ever. Someone wants something you made enough to pay. Wow
- Make Macaroons – or this year’s cupcakes as their called. They look utterly irresistible
- Finish refurbishing my piano stool – after six years piano-less, I invested in a digital one a little over a year ago. Funds were so tight that I couldn’t quite stretch to a new piano stool to match. I went to our local second hand furniture store and managed to find a rather forlorn looking one (with promise) for the bargain price of £10. Despite initial enthusiasm work on it has ground to a halt.
- Design my own custom scrabble board – I love scrabble but hate the plastic-y boards and tiles that they now sell. And if you can make custom chess boards why not a scrabble board?
- Make cereal cover sketch books – I fly through sketch books and have bundles of left over, large, high grade paper perfect for making this Moleskine-esque books and I’m dying to try mixing sewing machines and paper – Done! Although I did chicken out of putting paper through my sewing machine. I did however try glue binding with my Sunday Sudoku Book, and staple binding with my Scrap Paper Notebooks.
- Eat something I’ve grown myself from seed – This may not seem the greatest challenge, but I live in an apartment in Scotland. Enough said? – Done! I grew delicious cherry tomatoes in two little window boxes in my apartment. Yum, Yum!
- Take time once a week to just sit on a bench in the sun taking in the world – I know this sounds highly naff and crass and I apologize. But I get very worked up and stressed over deadlines and I don’t take enough time to smell the roses.
Tags: Baking, Cooking, Dessert, Family, Food, Ireland, Irish, Recipe, St Patrick's Day
I’m embracing my Irish-ness today, and rather than doing all the cringe worthy things other people (mostly non-Irish) do today (mostly drinking :D), I’m making something that reminds me of home. My granny was a huge part of my life growing up, and I spent huge parts of my day with her. She was an amazing knitter, sewer, and cook, and was tough as nails. I really hope I take after her somewhat.
But there are several things (mostly food) that remind me of her and been a little girl. She cooked entirely ‘irish’ or homely food. Being born just after the first world war she toughed it out through some of the most trying and changing times in Ireland. What I would give for a slice of her soda bread or one of her hot potato scones! But after dinner when we were small we would have either one of three things – rice pudding, custard or trifle.
My Granny past away almost two years ago now, and this is only the second time I’ve tried to recapture her though cooking. Here’s a similar recipe to what she used to do:
- Bake 1/2 Victoria Sponge Recipe (I used Nigella Lawson’s in Domestic Goddess, this Good Food Recipe also works). Cut into pieces and arrange in the bottom of your trifle bowl.
- (Optional) Arrange chopped strawberries, or raspberries, between pieces of sponge.
- Make 1 and a 1/2 pints of instant Jelly (strawberry or raspberry) and pour half over your sponge.
- Make 1 and a 1/2 pints of custard (I used birds, Granny would approve). Pour half on top of the sponge and jelly.
- Layer more sponge and jelly, followed by custard and allow to cool
- (Optional) Spread 300ml of whipped Double Cream on top of your trifle and decorate with some more strawberries or raspberries.
I’m also wearing my shamrock badge that a friend knitted for me today. Enjoy La Feile Padraig!!!