Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Sunshine after the rain

The sun was shining today.  After all that rain the past two days I felt I must get out, be outside and soak up some of this lovely sun and light.  Autumn and winter are beckoning and I'm trying to hold onto these nice days.  I took a walk across the bridge that connects our village with the next one and looking up the river wished I was on a boat, setting off somewhere with the wind in my hair and without a care in the world.  Picking up a coffee at our local cafe I wandered off to the allotment to pull up some weeds.  Ahhh, the perfect morning, away from the daily grind - it was such a tonic.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A mini break in Barcelona

This summer my parents decided that they would like the children to come and stay for a couple of days, at their house, without the parents.  Both children?  A couple of days?  Without us?  That had mini break written all over it!!  Question was - where to go?  Now I'm not sure if I've mentioned My List here before, but a couple of years ago there was an article on women turning 50 and one of the interviewee's was Carol Vorderman.  Don't get me wrong Carol Vorderman is not the sort of person I am usually inspired by but her idea of doing 50 things she has always wanted to do in her 50th year got me thinking.  So I put together a list of my own, places I wanted to visit, things I wanted to do before I die!  That kind of thing.  Well of course there will be some things on the list that I'll never get to do but it does focus your mind and keeps me on track with what I hope to achieve and do in my life.  So Barcelona was on the list, I have never been and really wanted to go, so off we went!

 Well the title of this post should really be a hommage to Gaudi!

 Or at least a hommage to La Sagrada Familia!

 Wow it was amazing
 I was totally blown away by it all but I also loved the city too.  So vibrant and cosmopolitan.
It was so lovely exploring and we walked miles, ate lots of gorgeous tapas but for me the highlight of the trip was seeing the Bicibar
We saw it in action and it was hilarious - had us giggling all weekend.  For those who haven't seen one of these before, people sit on the bike seats and peddle frantically while being served drinks and tapas - what's not to like - a moving restaurant!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

It's Chutney and Jam time again!

It has been very busy in my kitchen this week.  First, after the quick picking of all the green tomatoes I whipped up some chutney using my current favourite chutney receipe - well the one I used last year!  People may laugh at my receipe book but I did buy the Jams, Pickles and Chutneys: Best Kept Secrets of the Women's Institute book.  Ok, I'm not quite ready for the W.I. yet but I figured that if anyone knows about making Jams and Chutneys then the W.I. will do; and I have to say I really like this book and have made a number of their recipes.  The chutney was made using Aunt Mary's Green Tomato Chutney and it is really easy to make and tasty too.  The only downside for me is that the glut meant I had to double the recipe so I ended up chopping 6lb of tomatoes, 3lb of apples and the killer for me was chopping 3lb of onions - tears were rolling down my face in rivers that night.  Also I didn't really give it much thought when I set out to double the receipe that a) I would have a big enough bowl to put the ingredients in overnight (I didn't and so had to carefully mound it all up into a big pile and cover with clingfilm!) and b) whether it would all fit in my perserving pan once I'd added all the other ingredients.  Well it was touch and go - I always like to add a bit of excitement into my cooking and now the smell of vinegar has finally left my house and I've got 14 jars of chutney to keep me going . . .!
Well the annual brambling and jam making took place last weekend.  DH had to make a quick trip to the hardware store to buy some more jars, after all that chutney my reserves of jars that I save over the year were running low.  I have to say that this year I have made some lovely Blackberry and Apple Jam - my best so far I think.  I'm not sure what I did differently, if anything but you can really taste the fruit this year.  The jam making has been a total family affair, DH and the little ones picked the blackberries, I made the jam and Flopsy Bunny came up trumps with the labels - I just love the decorations don't you?!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Piggy Love

This Little Piggy........ Quick and Very Easy - PDF KNITTING PATTERN
Knitting Pattern Toy Pig PDF. Knit Your Own Hog.

If you have a yearning to knit a pig then these would come high up my list.
This is my favourite though ... Big Pink Pig by Whits Knits, although I'm rather taken by Oink too! 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Glut and blight

Oh the highs and lows of one weekend.  I had a wonderful time with the kids picking all these beans and we seem to have courgettes coming out of our ears at the moment - at last a glut or something resembling one at least!  My shopping basket is now quite empty as we have all this glorious veg to eat at home.  The favourite courgette recipe's of the moment are 'courgette dollops' for the kids - which we've now managed to introduce to other families too (!) and 'courgette and lemon risotto' - lovely and yummy - that's my favourite - although I wouldn't say no to a dollop either!
Then we discovered, or rather had confirmation that all our amazing tomato plants had succumbed to potato blight.  I was so upset as I quickly picked all the green tomatoes and realised we would have had a bumper crop.  Sadly the only thing for it was to make green tomato chutney and quick.  So yesterday evening I chopped 6lb of green tomatoes, 3lb of apple and 3lb of onion (which certainly had me in tears by the end!) - it was a bit touch and go as to whether I had a big enough bowl to put them all in!  But I did and the chutney is made and bottled up - 15 jars in all - watch out family and friends - there's chutney coming your way this Christmas!!
Grandpa on the other hand has been growing prize winning beetroots and had one very happy helper to pull them all up.