Saturday, 30 October 2010

Today Is ...

This post is specially for all my friends and followers who have been so supportive over the past three months of my new blogging and crafting career.

I want to say a heartfelt  'Thank You'  for all the lovely emails I have received and all the thoughtful comments I have had - and most of all, all the wonderful times I have had recently reading your inspirational blogs and learning all about you. I shall be away from my site for two or three weeks and want you all to still be here when I return, when I hope to be well enough to carry on with my life as before.

I also want to urge you all to make the most of each and every day as you never know just what is around the corner.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Giveaway Book And Kit


My lovely friend over at Flying Blind has a giveaway. Do pop over and join in ... and take a good look at her site as it is a lovely way to start each day.

Lovely Book

Sock Owl Kit

Last Night's Dinner

Pork Chops With Beetroot Chutney and Apricots

I Love This!

Last week I made a very simple chutney with some beetroots. It tasted delicious with cheese and meat and yesterday it went wonderfully well with pork chops. The recipe was simple. Just a quick browning of the chops in a little olive oil and butter (I did mine on a griddle pan) and then straight into the oven for around ten minutes to cook through. At this point I added some stewed apricots and warmed it all through together before serving with the beetroot chutney and a green salad.

Pork Chops, Apricots and Beetroot Chutney

Beetroot Chutney

3lb cooked beetroot, diced into small cubes
1lb Granny Smith apples, finely chopped
1lb onions, finely chopped
 lb granulated sugar
600ml spiced white wine vinegar
2 teaspoon sea salt
Put all the chopped ingredients into a huge pan and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer gently for around one hour until thickened and fully integrated. Bottle into sterilized jars - this quantity makes around six jars.

Beetroot Chutney

Friday, 22 October 2010

Jamie Oliver Fan Club

The Jamie Oliver Fan Club

Wherever you are in the world you really must have heard of the wonderful Jamie Oliver!

The Lovely Jamie Oliver

I first came across Jamie at The River Cafe at Thames Wharf  in London many years ago where he was training under the amazing chefs Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers. This Italian cafe was unusual in its approach at the time ... the setting was beautifully designed by the architect Richard Rogers, (the husband of Ruth), its position alongside the Thames in a previously rather derelict area was inspired, and the food wonderful and fresh and based on amazing tastes, wholesome home cooking, and the finest home grown ingredients and it was such a refreshing change from the classic dining ideas of the past.

Outdoors At The River Cafe

The restaurant was designed in such a way that the kitchen and dining areas were one and it was possible to see the dishes being prepared in this open and vibrant setting, while sipping wines from their extensive Italian range. I loved it then, and still do, and furthermore have followed Jamie's amazing rise to fame since then with great pleasure and no surprise.

I have collected Jamie's easy to follow cookery books for many years and watched his TV debut in The Naked Chef and many series since and followed his family life and career with interest. His cookery style is one I love, based solely on taste and wholesome ingredients and has none of the finicky measuring and balancing of other TV chefs. His home and beautiful family life seem perfect and his down to earth manner, 'the cheeky chap', decent and honorable and one I really admire.

The Wonderful Jamie Oliver

I think Jamie has done more in his short life (he is only thirty five) to improve cookery skills and eating habits throughout the world than anyone else ever, and is responsible for an improvement in the health of many.

What a    PUKKA       chap!

 My Favourite Jamie Oliver Recipe Of The Moment 
(Changes frequently!)

Jamie Does .. Spain, Italy, Sweden, Morocco, Greece, France

It comes from this lovely book - not only full of lovely recipes but also a great book, printed and photographed beautifully - it will make you drool just to look at it!

My Favourite Paella
Chorizo sausage
Pork belly
Green and Red Pepper
Fresh herbs, salt and pepper, saffron, stock cube
Clams and mussels and prawns
Paella Rice
Tomatoes plus tin chopped tomatoes
Olive oil

I have not been precise about quantities because I feel that this recipe is very adaptable and as long as you have some of each of the ingredients it is possible to make a very tasty paella - whether for two or twenty. Just keep tasting until it seems perfect!

In a large flat based pan fry the meats (pork and chopped chorizo) in olive oil for ten minutes until crisp.
Add the chopped peppers, garlic, onion and half the herbs along with a good pinch of seasoning and the saffron and the stock cube.
Fry for another ten minutes and then add the rice and the chopped tomatoes and the tinned tomatoes.
Bring to boil and then lower the temperature and keep on a light simmer, stirring constantly (and gently) until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice cooked.
Add the clams, mussels and prawns and coat all over with the lovely rice mixture.
Heat gently for five minutes and add a little more stock if necessary.
At this point you should have a thick, creamy consistency, not too dry, but certainly not wet.
Sprinkle with chopped herbs and serve with lemon wedges.


Did I Tell You That I Love Jamie Oliver?

Thursday, 21 October 2010

I've Been Busy!

Hello, Hello, Hello
Where Has All The Time Gone?

I do so miss my friends when I am away! How are you all? Do let me know. I have had some big family occasions. Lots of friends for meals. Lots of meals out. A trip away. Visit to a wonderful craft fair. Family staying. Lots of shopping. Lots of cooking. Lots of eating! Just a little bit of crafting, etc. I shall post a few pics to give you a taste of my days away from blogging ...

Lots Of Eating
Lots Of Cooking
A Trip Away
Some Shopping
Some Walking In The Rain
Some Gardening

Lots Of Tea!!!
Some Pretty Flower Gifts

I also got a new camera ... very exciting as I take so many pics and this one is small enough to carry with me wherever I go ...

So Pink!!
Goodies From Craft Fair
And Just A Little Sewing!

Just a little note about the goodies from the craft fair. They were adorable little mirrors with some fabric craft on the back and were made by Katie of 'What Katie Did Next'. She had a wonderful stall and her goods were so reasonably priced ... do take a look at her site ... she was a lovely person and so very clever and I love her blog.

And Even More Flowers

Its Great To Be Back!


I'm In Love With Bicycles! 

Natalie Goncharo - The Cyclist

Bikes are an important part of my life at present as one son has recently opened a new bicycle shop called Surbiton Cycles.   We have spent years as a family interested in bikes and cycling and all of a sudden they are the 'next big thing' in London with the new  'London Cycle Schemes'  and  'Hire Bikes'  throughout the central London area.

Mayor Of London With New Hire Bikes

How about where you are?  Do you have a bike?  Here are some of my favourites pics of bikes  ...

Bicycle Art
Wonderful Kids Bikes
And Lets Not Forget These!

Design Your Own Bikes
Rickshaw India
Heavy Load Bicycles In China
Messenger Bike
Slingshot Bike
More My Style Bike!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Welcome To The Postman

  I just love it when the postman comes! Today some more goodies for me ...

I Wonder What Is In The Parcel?
More Wonderful Alexander Henry Fabrics
I Wonder What Is In This Parcel?
More Wonderful Laura Gunn Fabrics

The Alexander Henry fabrics are again from the 'Folklorico Collection' and the Laura Gunn fabrics are from the 'Poppy Collection'. I think that I can hear my sewing machine calling me??

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Patchwork Bird

Tree Decoration

This week I have been making hanging birds for the Christmas tree (yes ... I really am trying to organize things early this year). This is the pattern I have been using ...

Cut One From First Fabric On The Fold
Cut One From Second Fabric

To make.
Copy and cut out pattern, place pattern on fold of fabric. The overall length is approximately eight inches but could be anything you wish.  Second fabric piece overall length is approximately six inches - or three quarters of the first measurement. I used quarter inch seams all around. Sew together between dotted lines until 'stops' Sew head together, and leave tail end open to stuff with wadding then after stuffing close with hand sewing. Use buttons or beads for eyes and attach a ribbon to hang. Very simple ten minute project.

Patchwork Bird

Easy Tree Decoration

Saturday, 9 October 2010

El Dia De Los Muertos

El Dia De Los Muertos

Mexican Pop Art

 I found some wonderful fabric at Fancy Moon, which commemorates the Mexican festival of the dead. This holiday takes place in Mexico, (and elsewhere among Mexican communities), over three days from 31st October until 2nd November, which is the actual day of celebrations ... El Dia De Los Muertos - The Day Of The Dead.

Mini Calaveras Red

Los Novios

Mini Calaveras Turquoise

Fiesta De Los Muertos Black

Fiesta De Los Muertos White

Rose Tattoo

Paseo De Los Muertos

Mini Calaveras Black

Whole families visit graveyards and take drinks for the adults and toys for the children and a picnic for themselves and they tidy the graves and reminisce about the life and times of the dead family members. This is a joyous occasion and not the least bit morbid and the festival atmosphere is continued throughout the holiday break with colourful foods and sweets for the children, bright clothing and decorations in the homes.

Papier Mache Skulls

Papier mache skulls are made by the children and sugar skulls are sold throughout Mexico for the children to be given as gifts.

Sugar Skulls

A really charming idea, I think, and with the lovely material that I have bought from Fancy Moon I am busy making my own gifts (for some special little people), which I hope will not scare them too much!!  All this wonderful colourful fabric comes from a range by Alexander Henry.

Patchwork Surprise