Archive for July, 2010

Desperate measures

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

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It’s the sumjmer holidays. This can sometimes mean squabbling - of epic proportions.

I needed new strategies and I needed them quick.

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I grabbed chairs, tablecloths, pegs and rugs.

I made a tent. I put bunting on it (I know - I was desperate).

They still squabbled. There’s no ROOOOM in here for you!

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I piped Classic FM at them. All was well until the dog got in the tent. It wasn’t pretty. So much for the Mozart effect.

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I pulled out the big guns: a £1.50 bubble kit from the post office with heart-shaped wands.

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I sat with a cup of tea and watched them. It was blissful for a while.  Then the bubble mixture spilled onto the patio.

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Back to the drawing board. Anyone know how to make home-made bubble mixture? Do I need a chemistry lab?

EDIT: I found this link - Sugar! Sugar added to washing up liquid and water is the answer. I think I can manage that.

Portable crumble

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

We all have our cooking idols: Jamie, Nigella, maybe even Sophie, but mine is a little more old school.

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I’ve had Delia’s ‘How to Cook’ books since they were published, about ten years ago. They’ve helped me, a woman with enthusiasm but fairly limited knowledge, to cook more. I’m no longer scared of making my own pastry or using it to knock up the odd steak and ale pie.

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This page, as you can see, has been open a lot. It’s a recipe for ‘plum and cinnamon oat squares.’ These are more than just flapjacks though: 8oz of butter goes into a small tray-full.

Back in the days of my ‘proper job’ I used to manage projects for food industry clients. A recurring theme was eating solutions for people in a hurry with no access to a kitchen. Some of the concepts were pretty madcap, and took inspiration from space missions.

This recipe keeps it simple though - these are like squares of crumble you can carry around. Genius picnic food.

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The recipe is mind-bogglingly easy and brilliant with seasonal fruits (I used raspberries and blackberries from the PYO down the road).

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Look! A man, carrying one around, then eating it.

I swear allegiance to the woman who has made fruit crumble portable.

Ingredients/equipment

7in by 10in by 1 inch deep baking tray lined with parchment

Up to a lb of fruit (chopped dried apricots, apples, seasonal soft fruit are good)

10 oz wholemeal plain flour

5 oz porridge oats

1 tsp salt

8 oz butter

4 oz light soft brown sugar (I used golden granulated though - it worked fine)

  • Put dry ingredients into a bowl.
  • Melt butter in microwave.
  • Add to dry ingredients and mix.
  • Put just under half into the tray and squish down firmly with fingers.
  • Spread fruit on.
  • Put rest of oaty mix on top and squish down well - try to cover all the fruit if possible.
  • Bake for 25-30 mins at 200 degrees C
  • Cool, cut into 15 squares
  • Eat, whilst walking around if you wish

Open Studios in pictures

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

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I had so much fun.

 

 

A silver pebble

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

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The lovely sunny days we’ve been having have made me pine for the seaside…again!

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With another Open Studios weekend coming up we can’t get there at the moment so I’ve been trying to make my own little bits of beach instead.

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This has to be my favourite kind of jewellery-making…

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…scouring my stash for tiny shells, pearls and beachcomby-type treasures, making silver pieces to go with them, then putting them together in the spare moments when the girls are asleep or busy playing.

Meanwhile the washing is neglected and piles of mess build up. Hmm. Still, at least there’s something to show for the indulgent-feeling twiddling time.

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Despite the recurring beachy theme, there’s one thing I haven’t made since I started this blog. In a way it’s the simplest and knobbliest of all my beachy designs. Something I’m feeling a bit reluctant about selling.

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A silver pebble.

 

Collaboration

Friday, July 16th, 2010

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Hellebores

Designed by nature

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Free machine petals

Made by Gina

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Tiny pearl, peridot and silver stamens

made by me

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The result:

A combination of textile and jewels to add the finishing touch to an outfit

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I sold one last weekend and there are two left - available at Gina’s Open Studio this weekend, and my second opening next weekend. We have more ideas - necklaces of little flowers with leaves of silver and garnet berries….brooches with clusters of small flowers…little flower earrings. The possibilities are endless.

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For those of you who read both our blogs - apologies, this is old news, it’s just that, well, we’re very excited about working together!

Thankyou so much for your concern about little P - her croup didn’t last long, thankfully, and she’s just left with a bit of a husky voice like Edith Piaf.

Pass the Book draw

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

The last week’s been a whirlwind - Open Studios, some commissions, croup.

Croup? Do I live on the pages of Anne of Green Gables? I thought croup was a defunct disease but no, littlest woke up with it last Thursday morning. I shall be watching out for agues and pestilences.

Anyway, all these things meant I’ve been slow in drawing Pass the Book. I’m afraid I haven’t been fancy schmancy with this one. It’s a quick bish bash with the random number generator and Bob’s you uncle.

So,

here we go

the winner of the little copy of Cranford to pass on and a silver charm of her choosing is

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Number 14,  Anne, of Andamento!

The two runners up who will also receive charms are

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Number 27, Winnibrigg’s House

and

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Number 25, The Coffee Lady.

Hurray! The only problem is, I don’t know what any of the three of you would like, silver charm-wise, so drop me a line and I’ll get busy with the fizzy.

I’m thinking of popping a book in for all three to be honest - I like this sharing books malarkey.

If any of you would like any self-seedy seeds I can pop some of those in too.

Thankyou so much for all your entries - it was serious fun, as usual x

An exciting new chapter

Friday, July 9th, 2010

I’ve been busy

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converting the garden

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and Mr P’s office into Nice Places to Be.

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Tomorrow is my first ever Cambridge Open Studio. Here’s where I’ll be sitting and making things as people drift in.

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Here’s where visitors can try things on.

Here’s where they can sit in the sun for a minute or two. Just look at Mrs Bobo Bun’s crochet bunting. Delicious.

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I’ve been visiting other studios round the county every July for nearly twenty years and always longed to be part of it. Around two hundred other workshops and special sheds will be open at the same time for artists to show their work and how it is made.

I’m thrilled to be joining in at last.

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This is the view.

All I have left to do

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is price up and put out the silveriness here tomorrow morning.

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If you’re in Cambridgeshire I’d love to see you. If you don’t have a COS guide but want to come along, email me and I’ll send you directions.

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BTW Pass the Book is now closed - I will be drawing the winners early next week. So many thanks for all the entries and charm ideas!

Finally….

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

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finally

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…I made elderflower cordial.

It’s only taken me about four years of good intentions to get round to it. Surely I get a special badge for procrastination.

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Whilst I was picking the flowers I got a chance to have a close look at them.

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They are exquisite. Each head is a mass of hundreds of tiny miniature flowers, like perfect lace, each smelling of honey, hay and citrus.

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I used golden granulated sugar - it has given it an even more honey-ish flavour and a golden colour.

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I added a spot of the cordial to some cheap white plonk from the coop. Good grief, this mixture is almost too good to be true (but a warning - it hardly tastes alcoholic at all and is all too easy to drink).

After all the simmering and tasting and marvelling at how such a common flower can be turned into something so delicious, I was inspired to do some making.

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I can’t make a tasty drink from this one though.

BTW I used Hugh’s recipe but substituted citric acid for tartaric acid (75g of citric is enough for just over a litre of cordial at the simmering stage). The bottle with the lovely Grolsch-like top is from Lakeland.

Don’t forget the Pass the Book giveaway on my last post - you could choose a silver charm design and I will make it for you. I’ll be leaving it open until Monday. Many thanks to all those who have put the button on their blog.