Monday, 28 January 2013

Pic N'Mix

Mr P has now caught my cold - but instead of a cold he has man flu! So just as I am feeling back to normal and returned to the swimming pool today bugs are still floating around here.

Every Monday a craft group meets in my home and there are some very talented ladies. Thought I'd show you a little of some of their work.

This lady has just learnt to crochet and look how well she is doing. The granny squares are to cover a cushion - hopefully I'll be able to show you a photo when she's completed it.

One lady has started making some 8" squares for a charity. The squares get posted to South Africa where some prisoners sew them together for orphan babies to lie on. Here's a link if you are interested in contributing some squares. knit a square  As you can see the square has been knitted so that you start with one stitch and then increase at the beginning of each row. This way saves you having to worry about how many stitches you need to cast on to make an 8" square - instead you just stop increasing at the desired width and start decreasing.

Here's a rather beautiful tapestry in the making.

Another lady has just knitted a couple of mug hugs for another charity.

A cardigan for a much cherished grand daughter.

 A prolific card maker who came tonight for the first time without her baby - hubby babysitting and there was no phone call for her to race back home.

For quite a long time I have been making this rag rug on Monday nights. Looking at this picture it looks as if it's almost complete but when you see the back then you can see just how much more I have to do.

Well time for Bedfordshire and three very busy days of work ahead. Good night.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Snow to Spring Overnight

Yesterday was an eventful day. The choir I sing in had its "Come and sing day". For those who are not into singing this a day when many people from lots of choirs come together and learn a piece of music in a day and then perform it in the evening. Yesterday we learnt and performed Carmina Burama by Carl Orff.

Think there was about 140 who attended which was good considering all the snow that was still around from the week.

The choir was accompanied by 2 excellent pianists on 2 grand pianos, also we had 3 lads from the school on percussion. They did a great job and worked really hard to learn the music too.

If you are not into classical music this is certainly a good piece to listen to - it's very lively and noisy. I enjoyed singing it and can recommend these sorts of days as an introduction into the choral singing world - give it a go.

It was a surprise to look out of the bedroom window this morning to see green again and not white. Also could see some new life that has been struggling to appear under all the snow.

New life in the kitchen too.

Dad bought me these lovely tulips which again reminds me of spring.

I just loved putting these flowers in my enamel jug something rather rustic, sorry don't know quite how to express myself here.

Mr P has been rather busy completing a jig saw puzzle - it's been years since he had done one. As he's got nearer finishing it has been rather tempting to do a few pieces.

 Oh going back to the garden - have started feeding the rat with some rather blue pellets - farewell ratty (hopefully)

Well back to the challenges - managed another Friday without a glass of wine, just three more to go!

Cookery challenge involved me using this book that I inherited from my mum.

Doesn't he look young?

Opted for the chicken wrapped in pancetta with leeks and thyme, served with tiny roast potatoes and peas. Did debate cooking the chicken with the Bombay potatoes but seems as Mr P has had to eat 2 vegetarian dinners in the last few days thought I'd please him with the non spicy choice.

Pudding came from another book inherited from mum. I wasn't too sure what I could use from the book but amazingly there was plenty to choose from.

This book was published in 1958, two years before I was born.

All the pages are in black and white.

Mr P sooo enjoyed this pudding that he actually had the cheek to ask me if I had bought it! Not sure what that says about my cooking? Fortunately I made four small puds so he can have the delights again tomorrow.

127 cookery books     7 recipes completed        120 books to go.

Now finally to finish with my dad thinks he's being funny - he came yesterday with another cookery book! I call it "badness"! So have decided that I am not including anymore books into my challenge that people give me this year - tough if you don't agree.


Thursday, 24 January 2013

Rewarding Day

Have at long last finished my crochet blanket. This started its existence as some granny squares to make some slippers for Christmas presies, but they came out so large that this had to be abandoned. The colours were not my ideal choice but would have looked good for the intended purpose. So what does one do but get extra wool to make a blanket! Not sure about the colour but pleased with the snuggly feel!

I'm afraid I'm still a beginner at crochet - the experienced ones will notice that it is not laying flat.

I think Mr P approves and doesn't seem to be worried about it not being perfect!

Last weekend saw the demise of my electric hand mixer. Spent quite a bit of time browsing the internet for a replacement but rather disappointed by the cost. Today I came across a shop I didn't know existed before - BM(yes that's the name). There I saw a mixer that I had been looking at on amazon but was thinking too expensive at £29.99. In the shop this mixer was being sold at £19.99. So decided this a good deal and took it to the checkout where it was put through and I was charged £14.99! I was so pleased - half price!!! Whooppee! I use my mixer a lot and can't wait to use it soon.


Dinner tonight was from another cookery book. I bought this one second hand from amazon after borrowing a copy from the library for 6 months! The title is so pleasing and I have to confess to having used the book quite a few times. Today I chose a recipe that I have not used before and note it is a vegetarian option. Mr P approved it for a mid-week meal. I did not use the chillies as I know Mr P would not have liked it. I am full of cold but I think it tasted good and we had it with basmati rice.

Mine does not look so orange as the books but perhaps it's because I did not use the chillies.

Sorry it does not look too tasty but the photo does not do it much credit.

127 cookery books      4 recipes completed       122 books to go.

Oops corrected 25.1.13
127 cookery books     5 recipes completed        122 books to go.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Winter at Last

Seems ages since we last had snow and then suddenly all the memories of how difficult going out comes flooding back. It does feel good to have some cold weather.  I felt sorry for the poor girlies - they looked quite shocked at the snow the other morning when I went to get them up.

Snow fell into their run as I opened the door.

"I'm not too sure about all this white stuff!"

As well as cooking at the weekend I decided to have a go at trying some ribbon embroidery. I have found this blog by  Cecile Franconie  facile cecile  really inspiring. So in December when we had some money come back from an account I bought her book. It is beautiful - even the binding is rather special.

Obviously it is in French but it is still worth buying. Anyway this is what I had a go at sewing. As I was experimenting I didn't know what the final purpose for it is but I have some ideas. Here's what I've made so far:

I found sewing with the ribbon rather tricky as I think the needles I have are not the right ones and the head of the needle was so thick that it was hard to pull through the material. Also I did not sew this with a hoop so the material has been pulled somewhat but I am quite pleased with my first attempt.

Challenge 1) now on day 18 of being a dryathlon. I found it a little tough last Friday night as that is when I really like to celebrate the weekend with a good bottle of red wine. Having a can of coco cola not really any consolation.

Challenge 2) Cooked toad in the hole from my first ever cookery book. I bought this from the milkman. Think mum had to buy some extra milk in order for me to get it. Guess I was about 14 years old. It's been well thumbed and used over the years - even to the point that I still use it fairly regularly.

The flan on the cover looks so dated now. They were all the rage in the 70's.

I think you can see from this page how well used it has been.

Here is the yummy result, which we had with masses of veggies, gravy and English mustard. This meal has always been a favourite of mine.

127 cookery books      3 recipes completed       123 books to go.

Oops corrected 25.1.13
127 cookery books     4 recipes completed        123 books to go.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Saturday Kitchen

Today I seemed to have spent an incredible amount of time in the kitchen. It started with me, at 7am, baking the granola bars.

It doesn't look too bad here, but when I tried to cut it into slices the whole thing just crumbled. I was rather dubious about it holding together as I was preparing it. The main holding ingredients were agarve syrup, tiny bit of marg and small quantity of vegetable oil, There was no flour or no eggs. So decided that the crumbly mess will go lovely with Greek yogurt, as there was nothing wrong with the flavour. Think I'll try the recipe another day with an egg.

Then I set about making some roasted butternut squash soup along with some Italian bread (sorry to any puritans - but this was made in my bread machine).


Finally escape the kitchen for the cold, snowy outdoors. Everywhere looks so wonderful. What do you do on a snowy day yes of course you've got it go swimming! As  virtually no one was about there
I took the opportunity to snap a quick picture before anyone saw me.

These are the lovely changing rooms with wooden lockers!

I love this gadget - it's a baby spinning machine, so that you can tke your cossie home partially dry.

Sneak view of the pool, not really supposed to take pictures if someone is using it.

Home again to return to the kitchen and for poor Mr P a nightmare of a job trying to change the lightbulb on our car! Why do the manufacturers make it soooo difficult. It took him several hours to work out how to do it - this does not include time spent browsing the internet for some guiudance - crazy. But now he knows how to do it - just hope he can remember for next time.

Oh yes back to the kitchen to complete some of my challenge. The mornings bakes were out of my library book, so that doesn't count. Beef tagine and unpronounceable pudding - all Moroccan from a Jamie Oliver book.

Have to confess I do not think I have cooked anything before from this book. I am not aware of buying it, think it was a gift. It certainly is not one of my favourite of Jamie Olivers' cookbooks.



Ooh it was very yummy and we have plenty left for another day or two!

Was supposed to make a 2 metre sausage but who has a kitchen top that long? So ended up making two. Sorry I have not got any rose petals. Was terrified that if I didn't take a photo before I moved the pud onto a plate it might break up.

But I didn't need to worry I was able to transfer the pud fine and we had it with some Moroccoan mint tea. Great to eat this without worrying about deli belly.

It was very rich, the date sauce doesn't look too attractive, but we have lots of leftovers.

127 cookery books      2 recipes completed       124 books to go.

Oops corrected 25.1.13
127 cookery books.    3 recipes completed        124 books to go.

Friday, 18 January 2013

White Friday

Wow woke up this morning to most of the country covered in a blanket of snow and also Leicestershire experienced a small earthquake - 2.9 on the magnitude scale! All happening here!

I got cross with the ITV presenter this morning who casually said that there had been a bludgeoned rescue attempt in Algiers - what do they know about it? Golly we're such an arrogant country at times - to use a local expression "it does my head in!"
OK Mr P has told me that I've got the word  "bludgeoned" wrong - but I cannot remember the exact word but I guess the general idea was that it had been botched up.

Yesterday I popped into a local charity shop and purchased another gorgeous enamel teapot to go with my enamel coffee pot and enamel jug. It was a bargain 80p.

 What a bargain and look how nice they all look sitting together.

Did I show you my little bit of spring I bought last week? Well here it is - note the crochet cover back out again. That started me on my adventure into crochet when Lucy from Attic 24 was crocheting covers for tins of tuna last year.

Decided I cannot cope with any more challenges. I saw a great idea the other day when I was reading a blog Dutch Sisters There they were talking about a challenge making applique hearts for everyday of the year from another blog written by Francoise. Then my friend Mrs A sent me another challenge written by Hen House. I was really tempted by the heart one. Perhaps I'll do that one next year - but I do have a weakness for hearts and gingham.

Talking about weaknesses - cookery books(shshshshsh). I'm busy working at the library when suddenly out of the corner of my eye I see a new cookery book on the latest books shelf. I pick it up as it is crying out to me, I look inside convinced that there will be nothing I like but I only get to page 3 and the granola bar draws me in. A few pages later a recipe for French toast, then a few more pages on a recipe for butter nut squash and rosemary soup, oh help! No good I'll have to borrow it and oh so many wonderful recipes that it is added to my amazon wishlist before the book even makes it home! I've got a birthday next month so just maybe someone will buy it for me:) Oh dear is there no hope for me?

Going to make those bars tomorrow - they look so scrummy yummy and supposed to be healthy.

Well back to white Friday - coming home from work was interesting - my 5 minute journey took me 65 minutes. Thank goodness I did not have far to go, I felt so sorry for those who had much longer journeys home. Took a picture whilst I was stuck in traffic.

Then when I got home had to try and find the chicken house door to close - they seemed all snug in their small home.

Well take care all in the snow this weekend and have fun.