Wednesday, 24 June 2015

yarn along




To begin with it looked easy but then I struggled... I thought I needed to be some kind of grown up Charlotte to work the five needles and spin the lacy web. But when you keep going and cast on three, or even four times and succeed at last to join those four needles and knit with the fifth, you can give yourself a big pat on the back for not giving up. IT IS SO EASY once you've done that, to knit this cute Rachel bag by 
Handy Kitty, a sweet extra summer birthday gift, the one that I first saw on Lori's blog here, and now I can't put it down. I'm sure that I will make lots more and maybe one day I'll even make one of those complicated lacy fragile shawls 

I'm still reading Paris was a woman :: portraits from the left bank. It's an easy read a fascinating biography of some of the great women writers and publishers of the left bank at the turn of the last century. But I'm also reading River Cottage, Light & easy :: Healthy recipes for every day. A belated Christmas present from one of my sisters...Did you see the cute card...

I do read recipe books especially ones with a tale to tell. This one is just what I need at the moment. Something to direct me towards fast, healthy food  and introduce me to new ingredients...I'm looking forward to trying out different grains or alternative oils...I'll let you know how I get on...

...do you read recipe books too?

Project: Rachel bag by Handy Kitty
Link: Ravelry Page 
Yarn: Paton's, 100 percent mercerised cotton 

I'm linking with ginny and nicole today.



Monday, 22 June 2015

vintage finds, ships in the woods and Bohemian Bristol


 



I was the luckiest. Ahmad got the short straw a few weekends ago. He stayed  in a hotel in Bristol for a meeting about maths papers and I got to stay with Hannah and Bob and explore the Bohemian quarter, Montpelier. Well it was a swanky hotel with a George Clooney Nespresso machine in the bedroom and amazing food...so he didn't do too badly...

Before he left us we explored Leigh woods and discovered totem poles and curious carvings, red deer with full antlers and an art installation 'Withdrawn' by Luke Jerram. A ghostly flotilla of abandoned fishing boats. We peeped inside one of the cabins and spied forgotten objects. A sou'wester and  tortoiseshell reading glasses. Lonely possessions...Jilted by some natural disaster? We asked the questions the artist wanted us to ask...and maybe some he didn't...

Saturday whilst Ahmad worked, Hannah, Bob and I had brunch at The Bristolian cafe. It was lively and friendly,so busy we had to wait for food. We didn't mind. We ordered coffees and played board games and were soon served up with massive portions of freshly cooked waffles with fruit and honey, or eggs florentine (they do eggs benedict too,) or baguettes with scrumptious free range eggs. The portions were good for hearty eaters but much too big for me or Hannah...We'll definitely go again, but agreed to share one portion next time.

Bob left for more boyish pursuits and we found la belle boutique. They had the prettiest delicate antique lace and silk blouses that looked as though they would fall to pieces if you as much as breathed on them. It was so hard not to. And there were throws and rugs, soft leather handmade shoes and cute little toy tin boats, powered by candles, or rusted olive harvesting buckets. We could have spent ages there. 

Exploring Montpelier some more, we found bargain thrifted dresses. The softest washed out grey cotton one for me. It needs a bit of adjusting a bit too big and I'm not really a frilly person but the fabric is lovely and it only cost £2.50. Sweet Hannah treated me to a 1950's enamel flour tin to store the remainder of my sack of spelt flour in. It was so much fun to spend some time with her and her new city...

...Isn't it good when your daughter is grown up enough for you stay over?
dx


Weekend, Midsummer's Day, the lovely Alys Fowler and A Father's Day Treat :: Man-sized Old School Scones




Summer is here and it began with an explosion of flowers. There were lots of Gardens in the Wild to visit this weekend but we only had a morning to spare and I had tickets for the lovely Alys Fowler's talk, How to have your garden and eat it: Growing flowers and vegetables together. I learnt so much and it seems that so far I'm doing all the right things for our smallish garden. She's even prettier in real life and very entertaining and amusing too, even if I did catch Ahmad with his eyes closed at one point...Just for a few seconds...

We'd been away for two days to London a quick dash for  Ahmad to see his friends, and stock up with our favourite Persian foods. It's amazing just how much happens in your garden in two days. We spent most of the weekend weeding and planting, watering and harvesting the radishes before they bolt, and strawberries before something else eats them, leaving some plants to go to seed and planning what to plant next. I can't believe that it looked like a building plot complete with JCB not too many months ago. 

So it was a quiet weekend just peppered with the whirring sound of wheels and a mad dash for the camera and bumping into neighbours doing the same thing as 'A' dashed out to catch a shot of the cycle race rooted through the village. 

These scones are genuinely my old school recipe complete with imperial measurements. As with all school recipes it's basic but also tried and tested by thousands of school children so pretty fool proof too. 

Old school scones

Ingredients:

  • 8oz of flour (I used self raising)
  • 2oz of butter
  • one egg plus a little milk
  • 2oz golden caster sugar
  • 2 to 3 oz of fruit
  • 1/4 pint of milk
Method:
  1. Rub the butter into the flour
  2. Add the sugar and fruit
  3. Add the beaten egg and milk leaving some to brush onto the top of the scone and combine all the ingredient making them into a firm dough. 
  4. I put mine in the fridge to chill for about half an hour before making the scones. It's much easier to work with when a little cold.
  5. Either roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut into small scones or if you want nice big hearty man-sized ones like I made, just form the dough into a roughish circle shape and cut into four pieces. Form each one into a smaller circle and flatten a little. Place all the scones onto a prepared baking tray or pans.
  6. Brush the top of the scones with the reserved egg/milk mixture.
  7. Bake regulo 8 for 10 to 15 minutes. 
You can link to a conversion chart here for metric measurements. 

These are scrumptious served with clotted or double cream and strawberries or jam...or both...

...that's just a bit of my weekend...how was yours?