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

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Easiest Up-cycling Project Ever

As the weather's so warm we're eating lots of lollies - all of which come on wooden sticks which make excellent labels for seed sowing. This has to be the easiest, and possibly the most fun, upcycling project ever - and one that kids will enjoy helping with :)

Monday, 28 July 2014

Free Lunch - 27th July

Monday - no free lunch, but an almost free dinner; tiny salad potatoes and broad beans with lettuce, cucumber and cherry tomato salad (and fish)
Tuesday - salad - squashy over-ripe tomatoes from my parents (rescued with basil and olive oil), spinach, cucumber and mangetout peas

Wednesday - same sort of salad with additional courgettes
Friday - something a bit different at last! cabbage, cucumber, baby turnips, and apple 'thinnings' to make a huge coleslaw-style salad
Thursday and Sunday - sandwiches with tomatoes and cucumber

And most days - a glass of this year's  elderflower fizz

Thursday, 24 July 2014

A quick re-think...

extra inches needed

I have a few skirts that I made a while ago - simple garments made from two full widths of material (45 inches each) gathered in to a waistband. I've decided these aren't the most flattering of garments but I rather like the flowery material so some re-purposing is called for. With this in mind, I'd cut out pieces for a top, then discovered it was too tight, so wanted to widen the front without making a mess. The easiest way seemed to be to insert an extra panel in the centre.

never throw ANYTHING away!

To make the insertion look like a deliberate design feature, I raided my hoard of lace trimmings, found a piece the right length and 'framed' the extra panel.

A 'design feature' not a fix!

I'm now hoping the rest of the project goes without any hitches.....

Monday, 21 July 2014

Free lunch - 20th July

An excellent week of 'free lunches' enlivened by regularly-cropping cucumbers and courgettes, and tomatoes from my parents' greenhouse.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Necessary but dull

 Today has been a day of dull, but necessary, sewing as I needed to shorten a pair of new trousers. 
I have a bag full of scraps of trouser-bottom off-cuts, but for once I put at least part of it to use.

 The trousers didn't have any belt loops and as I'd bought a slightly large size, rather than pour myself into a smaller one, the waist was a little loose. 
So it was off-cuts to the rescue - four pieces of material, folded to hide the raw edges and....ta dah... belt loops!

Gooseberry Fool/Mess

I've been helping myself to the fruit on my parents' gooseberry bushes for the past couple of weeks. I made jam with some - with redcurrants and raspberries - but most of them have ended up in the freezer till I decide how exactly to use them. I just kept a few back to try making a gooseberry 'Eton mess'.

Now I was sure I had a recipe for gooseberry fool but couldn't find it easily, so I ploughed straight in, cooking the fruit till soft in my home-made elderflower fizz.

Meanwhile I whisked up an egg white to make small meringues - this is a time I really should have found out a recipe as I cooked them too quickly, ending up with a gooey rather than crisp texture.

The finished 'mess' - gooseberries and meringues layered with Greek yogurt

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

free lunch - 13th July

This is the last time you'll see raw broad beans appearing in my salads. I've been eting them quite happily for the last few weeks, but this week, while looking for something completely different, I read that the raw beans contain toxins. Although I'd probably have to eat several kilos a day to make a difference, I'm still going to stop - so now I'll need to find something new for lunch.

Monday - lettuce,broad beans, turnip, cougete, mangetout peas, cucumber

Tuesday - turnip, apple and broad beans (for coleslaw) with lettuce

Wednesday - sandwiches

Thursday - lettuce (of course) with a salsa made from cucumber, cherry tomatoes and the accidentally-chopped unripened grapes

 Friday - not lunch, but cucumber,courgette,turnip and lettuce to accompany my lazy TV dinner of fish and chips
 Saturday - sandwiches
Sunday - still for now eating the raw broad beas with red lettuce, cucumber and courgette

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Cabled cardigan - finished!!

Well, it's finished at last but I can't quite believe how long this has taken to knit. Almost unbelievably, I started it back in February ! I know I dithered a lot over shaping and amount of yarn as I wasn't working from a pattern but even so - that's a long while for one cardie!
I'm really pleased with it - it's a good length, it's shaped in at the waist so not too bulky, the neck is not so high that I feel throttled and the only thing I'd change is the length of the sleeves which could have been shorter.
On now to the next project - probably a rather similar garment, just a different colour.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Free lunch - and a dinner - 6th July

I've been trying to reckon up and I think this is about the twentieth week of trying to get a free lunch. They've not all been free but I think most weeks, apart from holidays, I manage about 5 or 6. Some days though it's just too easy to open a tin of something or put a sandwich together. This week has definitely been an interesting week - with 'surprise' salad ingredients - turnip and courgette.
Monday - my usual salad of lettuce, cucumber now the plants are cropping well, raw broad beans and peas with grated turnip. Not sure it was a success as it turned a bit 'mushy'...

so for Tuesday I chopped everything up with some 'cabbage' (actually leaves from a brussel sprout plant) and made a huge coleslaw

Wednesday was back to usual but with two sorts of cucumber - a green one (you can see the skin) and a yellow crystal lemon which I peeled

Thursaday was a quick sandwich day :(

Friday - testing raw courgette (at the top of the pic) along with cucumber, beans and peas. nice and crunchy with a good dollop of salad dressing so I think this is going to appear a lot!

Saturday - strawberry salad, another 'discovery' which I love.

...and also homegrown dinner - goulash of sorts - tomatoes and courgettes from the freezer (still using up last summer's), fresh broad beans, dried chillies and garlic topped with new potatoes - only had to buy the chorizo.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Jam again!

 Another day, another unusual batch of jam...

....this time rhubarb with raspberries and redcurrants.
Usually my spare rhubarb goes into a marmalade-style conserve with oranges or lemons
but as I have raspberries and redcurrants in abundance, and last week's experiment adding them to gooseberries worked so well, I decided to try mixing them with it instead.
I could find recipes for rhubarb with strawberries so decided to loosely follow one of them - putting fruit and sugar in the jam pan and leaving to stand over night till the juices run, and boiling it up the next day.

 It's a very pretty pink while boiling, but rather 'scummy' despite my best efforts at straining it off and very 'seedy'. Sampling it while cleaning up, as you do, it tastes ok but next time I'll make the effort to sieve the raspberries and currants.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Free lunch - June 29th

My 'free lunches' continue with lots of salads - and a couple of lazy days when the only 'free' element was a bit of lettuce. 
I'm trying to vary what goes in the salads, a task made easier by having cucumbers ready to pick, strawberries which are my latest 'must have' salad ingredient and a ready supply of fresh peas and broad beans.