Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Finding my feet

Its been a very busy and strange past two weeks. My youngest child started school. At first I was wondering what I would do with myself for those long lonely hours while the kids are at school, but actually I've been rather busy and I'm enjoying a bit of 'me' time which has been a luxury I haven't enjoyed in quite a while. I've still been busy cooking and creating but my new projects are taking some time.

I have managed to complete a knitting project. I knitted a shrug for Aimee which she thinks is so soft and cuddly and I was glad to see the end of as the wool was rather bobbly and well I am a beginner when it comes to crafts.
Here's a picture of the finished article:-

I also tried out a new chutney which is rather delicious even if I say so myself;-

Pear, Apricot and Ginger Chutney ( really easy to make too although I did use half the amounts ).

Here's the recipe:

425g ripe tomatoes , peeled, deseeded and chopped
425g caster sugar
140g cooking apples , peeled, cored and chopped
140g onions , finely chopped
140g dried apricots , chopped
3 tbsp chopped fresh root ginger
2 tsp salt
450ml white wine vinegar
1¼ kg pears , peeled, cored and cut into bite-size pieces

Combine all the ingredients, except the pears, in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer uncovered over a very low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook for about 1 hr, giving it a stir every 10 mins, until the mixture is syrupy. Add the chopped pears and cook for another 30 mins, stirring occasionally. Leave to cool completely, then store in sterilised, clean jars.  ( courtesy of )

Well its about 3 months to christmas now and we're very excited that my family from South Africa are coming to visit so I've got lots of planning and loads of recipes to try out before they get here. Will keep you posted as to how I'm getting on.

Monday, 19 September 2011

A Bowl of Sunshine

With Autumn fast approaching it gives me such pleasure to receive little gifts of summer from my garden. My cucumbers are finally fruiting and the tomatoes are a mass of red juicy gems. So far I have managed to pick about 2 and a half kilograms of tomatoes and they keep on coming.

I used some of them to make some wonderful tomato soup and a tomato and chorizo salsa to have with mackerel fishcakes ( see picture below), but I'm a purist at heart and nothing beats eating them just as they are.

I've also been blessed with some beautiful roses, which seem to be flowering for the first time in years. The scent reminds me of my grandmother's garden. As a child it was a wonderful world to escape in full of colours and scents. I miss her so, she was such an inspiration to me and taught me a lot of what I know today. 

Finally all my make and create has not been forgotten, this time I decided the dining chairs needed new covers, not my neatest work but for a first attempt it wasnt too bad.



Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Its the last day of the summer holidays and the weather is telling us summer is over. The rain and winds have arrived. So admist all the school checklists and name labelling, I'm taking a 5 minute break to update this blog with few of our latest achievements and have a quick cup of tea.

Shooting stars:-
To celebrate the goals the children have achieved over the holidays ( which involved Corbin age 6 reading the first 3 Harry Potter books all on his own and fussy eater Aimee age 4 finally discovering that food is actually quite exciting and trying numerous new things ) and use up the remains of the felt and ribbons in my sewing kit, we made shooting stars. Here's what they look like:-

'Zebra' shortbread biscuits :-
Thought I'd get adventurous and challenge myself with trying to make some shortbread. But not just any shortbread I mixed chocolate shortbread with vanilla shortbread and created some rather stripey biscuits hence the 'zebra' name. They taste delicious and I'm quite proud of my efforts as baking is not one of my stronger talents.

Back to the school routine tomorrow but I will try to keep the blog going.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Chocolate, camping and crystals.

Holidays are fun and are all too soon over, but we're making the most of them and what's left of the summer. We've have a very 'home' holiday this year, lots of lovely food, making things and general laziness...just what the doctor ordered. Here are a few of our latest adventures.....

A chocolate fondue.
What else, nothing beats delicious fresh fruit and lovely velvety melted chocolate. One sure way to get the children to tuck in to something healthy like fruit.

Embracing the great outdoors (or not).
The children have been asking for ages to go camping in the garden, well having finally given in an purchased a 2 man tent for them the two young adventurers set off to explore the wild lands of the backyard. Lots of fun and excitement until it came to nigh ttime when the reality of sleeping outside seemed way too scary. Determined to sleep in the tent we moved the tent inside for them and 2 very happy children slept very well all night.

A ramble in Salcey Forest.
Something I stumbled upon on the net. Not too far away is Salcey Forest and they have a Tree Top Walk, a wooden walkway rising 15 metres above the forest floor. It was quite wonderful and despite being scared of heights I managed to reach the end but confess I couldnt go up the final crows nest to 20 metres, the wobbles and bounces had got to me. It was a lovely day out with a delicious picnic and a good dose of fresh air.

Sugar Crystal Candy..... the results.
After waiting a week very patiently our sugar crystals are ready. We are all rather proud of them.