a busy domestic blog of knitting, sewing and all kinds of needlecrafts, cooking my garden produce and preserving it

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Gloves from sleeve off cuts.

Remember I had a cardigan with sleeves that were too long and had to be chopped off?
Well, this is the end of one chopped-off sleeve - now worn the wrong way - that I decided was too lovely  to waste.

It isn't quite the right shape for gloves but I think will work.
So I found out some oddments of matching yarn and picked up the stitches.

It's slightly baggy round the wrist so I may add either a cord or some coloured elastic.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Home made Christmas

 It's Christmas - and the Advent tree is now fully decorated.

 My new twiggy wreaths have ribbons and 'berries' attached to finish them. Hung in a corner with two older home-made bird hangings.

....and a special Christmas angel - a joint effort between me and my youngest daughter when she was 4.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Take One Pumpkin #3

If you've been following the adventures of this pumpkin, you'll know I'm only about half way through it, so it seemed time to use up a lot in one go - for pumpkin and lemon marmalade.

3lb of pumpkin made 5 jars.

and there was still enough left for....
spicy tomato, chickpea and pumpkin stew...

....curried pumpkin and baked bean soup...

and with the very last piece....

pumpkin chilli - not quite a proper chilli as half way through I realised there weren't any tine of red kidney beans and had to substitute borlottis.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

New Peg-bag

 My old home-made peg-bag has been getting a bit worse for wear so after putting it off as long as possible, it was time to make a new one.

I had a length of nice checked material cut off an overlong IKEA tablecloth and looking for a use -and being able to make of the ready hemmed edges speeded things up. Using the old peg bag as template I cut the pieces out - making a minor change of adding extra material to the lower front section.

There was a ready made turning - the tablecloth hem - through which I threaded elastic....

...to even out the front and back.
The surplus on the lower edge was tucked into a lazy pleat - not pinned or tacked but just folded as I sewed the edge.

Ta da!! Finished bag!

Just one problem - what to do with this time's leftovers?

The only question now is - can I find a use for the left-overs?

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Advent Tree

I'm not sure how long ago we swapped from shop-bought chocolate filled calendars to our home made version but here it is again for another year. Each night I pop something into the next day's felt bag. The tray at the bottom holds decorations to replace the emptied bag on by Christmas it's totally decorated.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

A bit of shortening

I made this fair-isle cardigan quite a while ago and although I've worn it a lot the sleeves have always been too long - I'm not stretching the sleeve in this photo, it really comes to my fingertips! I've decided that it's now time to shorten them, pulling a thread out just above the pale pink hearts on the left of the photo.  
I'm also trying to think of uses for the chopped-off bits of sleeve - gloves maybe?

Friday, 23 November 2012

Lunch from the Lottie #8

 Went down to the lottie this week and found salad leaves and radishes so back to salads - with cabbage, tiny tomatoes, apple and pickled red cabbage.
Even managed an almost home-grown dinner - potatoes, leeks, kale and parsnips but not the pork!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Take One Pumpkin.....#2

We're almost half way through the pumpkin and raiding the recipe books for untried ideas...

Gardener's Chicken with pumpkin from the Abel & Cole Cookbook

Chickpeas with pumpkin, lemongrass and coriander from Tender by Nigel Slater

 ..and a make-it-up-as-I-go lunch  - chopping pumpkin with onions and peppers for a tomatoey soup

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Spot the not-so-deliberate mistake

Well, I thought I'd finished my new gloves - till I laid them out to admire them.

Some unravelling called for today....

Friday, 16 November 2012

Testing - Tender by Nigel Slater #1

          Chickpeas with pumpkin, lemongrass and coriander

Part of the continuing search for interesting new pumpkin recipes.....

I started out knowing I would have to substitute a few things - tinned chickpeas instead of dried, lemon instead of lemon grass and, most interesting as I knew the theory but have never tried it out, d-i-y coconut milk from dessicated cocnut. I then realised I didn't have the stem ginger and forgot to add coriander at the end!

Despite what seems like a catalogue of errors, this worked quite well. It wasn't a complicated recipe but I should have sorted the spices - the recipe calls for ground coriander and turmeric, cardamom pods and a chilli rather than adding a 'curry powder' - before I started cooking instead of hunting round in the cupboard while the pans got hot. It was a little too 'hot' for me but our home-grown chillies are unpredictable in heat - even so, another time I might add less.

Testing - The Abel & Cole Cookbook #1

Gardener's Chicken with Pumpkin (and Walnuts)

I've being trying to find new and hopefully exciting ways to use a large pumpkin and discovered this recipe in the Abel & Cole Cookbook. I didn't have any walnuts to hand but as they were only added at the end, I thought I'd go ahead anyway.

The recipe claimed to be quick and simple - and was. Basically the chicken and veg were tossed in olive oil then simmered in stock till cooked. I expected it to taste very like my normal chicken stew but the addition of sage almost at the end made a huge difference. 

The chicken looks a bit shrunken - because it is! but it's not the recipe's fault. It's not the nicest chicken ever but one of those 'cook from frozen' pieces which accounts for its looks. There wasn't a suggestion of what to serve with this dish so I cooked some of our home grown potatoes. After photographing, I decided they'd be better mashed to help soak up the sage-flavoured 'gravy'.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Take One Pumpkin....

I'm a great fan of pumpkins - either for soups, pasta, curries, chutney, marmalade...  anything really. This year we only have one small homegrown one, so with shops full of them for Halloween I had to stock up. I had intended to carve at least one of them but didn't so there hasn't been the desperate rush to use up pumpkin flesh that normally takes up the first week of November.

 I have now got round to cutting the first one - and I wondered out of curiosity how far my £2 investment would go....

The first wedge I took out went in lazy pumpkin chilli - chopped up pumpkin flesh, simmered till soft then a tin of chilli beans added.

 Second up was chutney ... 3lb of pumpkin chunks with onions, orange peel and mustards....

Same day - soup. Pumpkin and potato, flavoured with chilli and ginger, cooked in chicken stock till they could be mashed.

So far I've used a little under half. I wonder how much further it will stretch....

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Lunch from the Lottie #7

 Another of my 'use up all the salad bits' lunches though this is the last home-grown cucumber.

Dinner really not lunch - parsnip and leek curry. The rice isn't homegrown - though with how waterlogged some of the allotments have been, it might have been worth trying.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Parsnip curry


We've started to lift the parsnips in earnest now - and have some very funny shaped and some very large ones among them. The larger ones are far too big for one meal's accompanying veg so I decided to have a look round for alternative veg based ideas. I expected to find a curry recipe among my cook books but didn't so decided to adapt the leek and cauliflower curry recipe from Rose Elliot's New Complete Vegetarian swapping cauliflower for parsnips. It worked really well but best of all the veg - parsnips, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes - were home-grown!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Lunch from the Lottie #6

A week of salads - leaves from the greenhouse, tomatoes ripened in the kitchen, pickled cabbage and 2 crystal lemon cucumbers!
Unmixed coleslaw - 2 cabbages, apple, onion and some not-fully-grown peas cleared before the frost

 Three Salad - 3 different salad leaves, 3 cabbages (green, red and pickled) and 3 tomatoes (they were very small and wrinkly!) with cucumber and apple. 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Knitting for winter

 I've acquired for myself an old hat belonging to the Teen.
Just the jolly sort of colours needed to brighten up these dull Autumn days.

 But, although the hat fits, the matching gloves don't.
a quick, well not so quick, rummage around to find oddments of the yarn
and I'm on the way to a new pair of matching gloves.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Summer jam (and leather) on a dismal day

We've had some really damp dismal weather recently so it seemed that the best thing to do was get in the kitchen and make some summery-scented jam. It's also helpful that this involves clearing things out of the almost full freezer.

This time I went for a mix of raspberries and redcurrants .....

...with all the seeds sieved out....

At this point I put some purée aside for fruit leather. This is my second attempt and this time I spread it thinner to cover a baking sheet.

I'm not sure that it worked any better this way. Most of it dried quite quickly but being very thin, it was difficult to remove from the paper and broke into bits.

To the rest of the purée, I added 3/4 pound of red gooseberries (quite ancient ones from the depths of the freezer) and made into jam.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Lunch from the Lottie #5

'green salad' - ie chopped cabbage, rocket, baby lettuce, american land cress and cucumber - with tiny red and yellow tomatoes

'minestrone' with fresh parsnips and carrots and last year's broad beans and tomatoes from the freezer

chilli with 3 beans - french, broad and white. Used up lots of small wrinkled tomatoes, a variety of peppers and chillies, and added some fizzy ,turning to alcohol, homemade passata to thicken.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Alcoholic passata anyone?

Wanting to thicken some chilli, I opened one of last year's bottles of passata which gushed out almost like champagne. I assume the sugar was merrily turning into alcohol. Still I added it and no one fell into a drunken stupor after lunch so it must be ok to eat!