Sunday, 16 November 2014

catch up's hectic here, and beautiful, and fun and hard work; even though most of it's being done by others.

However much I scrub my nails or wash my hands there always seems to be a greyish tinge to them. No matter how many times I shampoo my hair, I can still feel the grit of childhood holidays in the little wooden cabin on the sand-dunes of Talacre, where everything was powdered with a generous dusting of white sand. 

Maybe it's just in my head like Lady McBeth's "dam spot".

The kitchen ceiling is a spaghetti junction of cables dangling overhead, we still have no central heating and it takes a week for washing to dry. But I am in my element here, and bit-by-bit things are coming together. 

We painted the front door F & B Hague Blue. At first, mildly shocked at the turquoise tinge to the liquid in the tin (nothing like on the shade card). Relieved when a second coat mellowed to a more subtle petrol blue and now that it's finally hanged in place sealing all the draughty holes, it's kindled a warm smile to the old stone wall. 

We accepted a Bonfire/Anniversary supper invitation, and had a fun evening with bubbly and amazing food next door. It was good to get to know more neighbours. 

I was rescued again, and taken to this amazing market where we bought delicious Alex Gooch bread and had breakfast here

We crossed the borders once more traversing the Brecon Beacons National Park. A coliadascope (whoops) kaleidoscope of changing, rust, green, sage...Epic scenery. The photos don't do justice. I was too busy 'oohing' and 'aahing' as we drove through the misty weather to look down and reach for the camera until  the best bits had whizzed by. I wanted to paint it, or knit it and probably will do so at some time. Once in the capital Cardiff, we met up with H and friends. Ate Lebanese food here and then watched her friend perform in this opera here, extremely impressed at the amazing big voice and stage presence that we never imagined belonged to her childhood friend. 

We had an unexpected visit from the man that had sheltered with us. He arrived with his girl friend and father, bearing a scrumptious hamper of local produce that we've been guzzling ever since.

In-between we've visited auctions and bid on bargains, loosing some things, but winning others. Painted and plumped, cooked and eaten more sandwiches than you can imagine and forged more friendships that will hopefully last a long, long time...

How about you...I've missed you...what have you been up to? 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

This week in my kitchen :: Bowl Food

Capturing my love of whole foods, combined with the activity of a bustling kitchen.
A weekly collection of photos from the center of my home. 
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Busy days food: Bowls of fruit steamed with maple syrup and vanilla that we eat with scrumptious creamy golden coloured turkish Kaymakli  yoghurt that's made in the pot and arrives with a crusty skin. Or soups made from produce like colourful rainbow chard from neighbour's vegetable plot eaten with Alex Gooch sourdough bread; comforting melty cheese on toast with gifted homemade chutneys, farm fresh eggs poached on toast, quickly thrown together pizzas on shop bought bases and the first stollen of the season. 

I'm joining Heather for her weekly blog hop...sadly for the last time...

...are you coming for a quick last peep?

Saturday, 1 November 2014

rosy skies and pumpkin lanterns, a quickie mini carving tutorial...Happy Halloween

It's 21 degrees and all hallows eve...It feels more like spring than autumn. 

Our days are busy. We make trips to source materials for the house; wood or coir flooring, windows and doors. The sat nav sends us down lanes painted with vivid foliage and lilac skies, photoshopped by light and nature. It's hard to stay indoors.The garden that I share with the digger beckons me. I want to put my hands into the soil and feel it trickle through my dirty fingers. It's different from the heavy clay that I'm used to.  

I begin a mini excavation, discovering hidden treasures; small paths and rock gardens, tiny buds peeping through the feathery carpet. I smell pine from the tree and perfume from the blossoms that mask the earthy farmyard smells carried by the wind. I try to decipher the source.  I should wear gloves but the earth feels so good. I remember the school sand box.  Soiled fingers, magic potions and mud pies I could loose days here and almost do until it turns dark and the drizzle rain that at first was refreshing begins to send a chill down my back...and it's the witching hour...

Here's a mini pumpkin carving tutorial...thanks to my clever H who made this amazing lantern...

To make a pumpkin lantern you will need the following:
  • a pumpkin
  • either a pumpkin carving kit. You can find ones here of varying prices, or make up your own using knitting needles/bodkin/toothpick and kitchen tools including narrow bladed cerated edged knife and some kind of scoop or large spoon.
  • a tea light and matches
  • an image or template you can find some here, here and here, and there are lots more free downloads available on line.
  • a chopping board or cutting mat
  • dress making pins or tape
  1. Find/draw or photograph an image that you would like to carve onto your lantern. Choosing something that has a clear outline and strong details. Preferably in black and white. H used an image of ghoulish actor Christopher Lee. Make sure that it will fit onto the pumpkin and leave enough space  for the lid and to hide the tealight.
  2. Trace it onto a piece of baking parchment or tracing paper.
  3. Put the pumpkin onto your board and use a sharp cerated knife very carefully cut the top of close to the stalk. Keep this to place back onto the lantern when finished.
  4. Begin to carefully scoop out the flesh and seeds from inside the pumpkin leaving enough flesh to hold the pumpkin together when carved.
  5. Attach the paper to the pumpkin with some dress making pins or tape.
  6. Carefully prick the lines of the image onto the pumpkin using a tool, toothpick or a fine knitting needle or bodkin. The closer together the holes the better as this make a cerated edge that will be easy to cut or push out. Ensure that you keep enough of the flesh in tact so that you can see the lines of the image.
  7. Then begin to carve out the the image taking your time.
  8. Light a tea light to place inside and hey presto you have a ghoulish lantern...or maybe a cute little friendly casper ghostly one...

happy halloweeeen...eeen...Ya...ha...ha...ha...haaaaa...