Tag Archives: cooking

Textile Treasure Hunt

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This Textile Treasure Hunt here in Varanasi India just keeps on giving. Today we visited silk weaving. This is carried out in the homes of local people in rural areas. I

am in a permanent state of shock, both culturally and dietary. The people are lovely and regard us as odd because many rural communities have not seen “white”faces before, especially the children.

The silk weaving is the main occupation and carried out by the men. It is a patriarchal society.

The silk produced is beautiful, colourful and hand woven. It is mainly produced for Saris, scarves and for dressmaking.

This morning we visited a Hindu village where the looms are hand driven just as they have been for hundreds of years. During the afternoon we went to a Muslim area of Varanasi where the looms are motor driven . We had the inevitable shopping opportunity where a beautiful silk scarf found its way into my bag!

just an example of some of the intricate weaving.

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Christmas Cookies

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Gorgeous Grandaughter and I decided to make Christmas Cookies, well she decided to so I went along with the plan. We have made Peanut Butter Cookies and Mincemeat cookies. We’ve batch baked twice so have a large supply. The point is we practiced and got better as we cooked!

More Cruise Projects

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img_0902One day I might meet myself coming backwards! Well I wouldn’t want it any other way  Busy is good, interesting, exhausting and fun! In the last month I have been on a Caribbean cruise with Hubs. Oh the glorious beaches, spicy aromas and hot hot sun! We left Christmas in the freezer returning home to a very cold stone cottage in the Welsh hills the day before Christmas. Once we had warmed up the cottage we put up some decorations and cooked Christmas dinner for 10 family members.

The next day I made another project for my imminent craft cruise. Three weeks on Friday I go to The Norwegian Fiords on another cruise. This time I will be teaching crafts whilst onboard. I have nearly completed assembling the craft projects that we will be doing on this cruise so phew! Another job done.

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This bag is made using iconic Liberty fabric. It is quite simple because it has to be hand stitched. The bag is just the right size to use on board ship to carry your book and sun tan lotion. ( Although I don’t think we will need much sun protection during the very short Norwegian days of Winter!) I have added a pocket to carry the ships card in.

I will update you again soon dear friends so may 2017 bring peace, health and love to you all.

Early Noel

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Last weekend I went away with my girlfriends for our annual Christmas celebration. We generally enjoy a Christmas Eve Buffet on the Friday evening, Christmas Day on the Saturday followed by a Boxing Day Sunday. We have a secret Santa AND a stocking of goodies. How lucky are we? This year we had a beautiful penthouse apartment in Alnmouth Northumberland and we decorated it with our festive stockings and a Christmas tree.

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We had great views of the beach and estuary. On “Christmas” day we opened our presents and watched Christmas movies🌲We put the turkey in the oven and went for a long walk along the beach. When we returned the turkey smelled lovely so we watched another Christmas movie. Sometime later I went to put the roast potatoes into the oven and WOAH ! oven cold! Turkey half cooked! Oven broken! Disaster 🌲

 

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Not the turkey!

After a search on line we realised no fast food outlet would deliver pizza etc. We’d all had a drink so driving wasn’t an option and Christmas table already decorated! Finally we walked into the small village of Almouth and one of the only eateries did take out fish and chips. So that was our Christmas dinner complete with Christmas crackers, paper hats and a borrowed bottle of vinegar from the fish restaurant. Merry Yuletide!

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Curried Butternut Squash Soup

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I made curried butternut squash soup for Halloween. A lovely, warming soup. Is there anything better than a steaming mug of yummy soup when trick or treating?

Cut into large pieces 1 butternut squash and roast until soft in the oven. About one hour.

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Fry until transparent a chopped red onion

Add curry powder to taste. ( I use I teaspoon full.) I sometimes swap the curry for chillies depending what I have in.

Scoop out roasted squash and add to the frying pan with the onion.

Add about a pint of vegetable stock and simmer for 10 minutes or so.

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Blitz in the blender until smooth. Season to taste. Serve with lovely bread rolls and enjoy.

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Anyhow job done so I’m off to the pub for a welcome glass of wine! Cheers!

Jam and Lace

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imageI have spent hours washing and starching lace doilies. I reckon that I’m the only person who uses starch these days. You do get a lovely stiff finish however.

At the last count I had ironed 47 doilies and 6 table cloths! This is for our new venture “Nanna Amy’s Vintage Tea Party” whose launch party gets ever closer!

With the party in mind I have made Blackberry jam. Imagine freshly baked scones, clotted cream and Blackberry jam. Heaven on a plate! All served on vintage place settings.

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Nanna Amys Vintage Tea Party is a hire service for very vintage China and freshly laundered (and starched) table linen. We’ve got lace, embroidery and crochet cloths to compliment beautiful mix and match vintage tea sets. It’s great fun. Perfect for a very special very vintage party. Go to nannaamysvintageteaparty on Facebook, Instagram or web page.

Ode to Autumn

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Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. (John Keats)

There is no greater Autumnal pleasure than a walk down a country lane (me!)

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This lane leads away from my cottage and up the hill. This Autumn day it was extra specially gorgeous. The blossom was blowing in the air like confetti. As I walked up the hill I found a bounty of Blackberries not yet eaten by the birds. I picked some and left some for the birds to share.

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I was scratched, nettled and happy. My fingers were a delicious shade of purple. Benji dog thought it a good idea to steal some from my box but I rescued enough to make a pot of jam or jelly.

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Ive only just learned the difference between jam and jelly! Jam you cook with the sugar until set. Jelly you cook only the berries, strain and then add sugar and cook until set. Both are delectable.

From Jam To Jar

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Ive been making Gooseberry jam this week. I must admit it is REALLY simple. Just boil equal measures of fruit to sugar and hey presto! Jam! A great gift and scrummy on scones. It’s confession time again. I have had these gooseberries in the freezer since last year, and they were perfectly fine.

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The gooseberry jam is destined to go into these vintage jam pots! Or vintage preserve dishes. (Sounds much posher doesn’t it?)

I am looking for more glass pots similar to the above for “Nanna Amy’s Vintage Tea Party” so if you know where there are any please let me know.

If I can find time this week I hope to pick some Blackberries from the hedgerows to make more jam.Yummy! The big plus is that they are free. I love FREE.

By the way, why does green Gooseberry jam turn to such a lovely shade of red?

Bake! Baby Bake!

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imageThis week it was my delight to see Paul Hollywood, (judge in the Great a British Bake Off) in his tour of Britain. He was so very good. He entertained, baked, chatted, baked and flirted whilst he baked. He made what looked and smelled like a gorgeous baked Brie wrapped in a bread coat. There was a luscious chocolate, meringue roll. He baked a bread with a Stilton and walnut combo and he demonstrated a complicated bread plait.

Paul was a baker brought up in the North of England and has enjoyed global admiration since he became a judge on the Great British Bake Off. He has an easy manner and lovely blue eyes. Amazingly this show was the polar opposite to last weeks rock concert. This week I had the best seat in the theatre bought for me as a birthday present by number two child. Thank you number two child! Thank you Paul Hollywood.image

American Sour Dough Bread (attempt)

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Risen dough

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Fresh from the oven

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Sliced Bread

A friend gave me an American sour dough culture last week. I have nurtured this “living being” with much love and great care. I have fed it with specially purchased bread flour and stirred it carefully as instructed. Yesterday was THE day and I made the loaf. I left it to prove overnight when it rose so much it nearly took over the kitchen! OK I am prone to a little exaggeration!

Today a kneeded the thing again and left it to prove for a second time. Now at this point I should have been worried as it didn’t re-rise. I eventually put it into the oven at the correct temperature, I think. In due course I removed the baked loaf and it looked lovely if a little flat…..

The real problem started when I tried to cut the beast. I needed a hacksaw! I did taste it but was in fear of expensive dental treatment. It would make a great frisbee, or a weight for excercising, or a stone for my rock garden but not such a great sandwich. Ah well! I tried! Oops! I’ve just blocked the drain with the remaining culture! Help!!!!