Saturday, 23 February 2013

Impluse Pillows

So while out for lunch with a friend this week, I was asked  a very interesting question. "If I walked around your house, would almost everything be something that you have made?" It made me stop and think, and actually the asnwer is "No." I was not sure at the time but when I got home and had a good look around I was quite surprised.

I realised that alot of my crafting I give away, for birthdays, Christmas etc or as has happened before my craft was adored and claimed as a gift and I though I would make another one for myself, which surprise, surprise I have not, and not likely to, if I'm honest with myself.

So starting in my bedroom I will be crafting to beautify my own personal space. Don't get me wrong I will still be crafting for gifts.

Once that decision was made I made these impulse pillows.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Giant Paper Pom Poms

Tools and Materials

Tissue paper
24-gauge white cloth-covered floral wire

Hanging Pom-Poms How-To

1. Stack eight 20-by-30-inch sheets of tissue.
2. Make 1 1/2-inchwide accordion folds, creasing with each fold.
3. Fold an 18-inch piece of floral wire in half, and slip over center of folded tissue; twist.
4. With scissors, trim ends of tissue into rounded or pointy shapes.
5. Separate layers, pulling away from center one at a time.
6. Tie a length of monofilament to floral wire for hanging.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Pumpkin: Tis the Season ...Part 3

Pumpkin Soup

This recipe is from BBC Good Food


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions , finely chopped
  • 1kg pumpkins or squash (try kabocha), peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
  • 700ml vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 142ml pot double cream
  • 4 slices wholemeal seeded bread (if like me you don'e like croutons in your soup skip the bread)
  • handful pumpkin seed from a packet

  1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan, then gently cook 2 finely chopped onions for 5 mins, until soft but not coloured. Add 1kg peeled, deseeded and chopped pumpkin or squash to the pan, then carry on cooking for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally until it starts to soften and turn golden.
  2. Pour 700ml vegetable stock into the pan, then season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the squash is very soft. Pour the 142ml pot of double cream into the pan, bring back to the boil, then purée with a hand blender. For an extra-velvety consistency you can now push the soup through a fine sieve into another pan. The soup can now be frozen for up to 2 months.
  3. While the soup is cooking, slice the crusts from 4 slices of wholemeal seed bread, then cut the bread into small croutons. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, then fry the bread until it starts to become crisp. Add a handful of pumpkin seeds to the pan, then cook for a few mins more until they are toasted. These can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container. Reheat the soup if needed, taste for seasoning, then serve scattered with croutons and seeds and drizzled with more olive oil, if you want.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Pumpkin: Tis the Season... Part 2

Salted Pumpkin Seeds


Serves: 4
  • 150g (5 oz) pumpkin or squash seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Preparation method

Prep: 10 mins | Cook: 15 mins

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Pumpkin: Tis the Season for.. Part 1

This is a recipe that I reccently tried with a friend who was suffering with a serious case of Massive Pumpkin Syndrom, MPS if not dealt with quickly can result in Pumpkin rot which is equally distressing.

Pumpkin Pie

The recipe that we used is from the BBC's Saturday Kitchen and the chef was Antony Worrall Thompson who is one of my favourite chefs.

Please note that we proudly used a shop bought sweet short crust pastry case.


For the pastry
  • sweet short crust pastry case (or a packet of ready made sweet short crust pastry with 40g/1½oz crushed pecans mixed in.)
For the filling
  • 450 g/1lb prepared weight pumpkin flesh, cut into 1in/2.5 cm chunks
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 yolk (use the white for another dish)
  • 3 oz/75g soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 10 fl oz/275 ml double cream

Preparation method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Use a shop bought sweet crust pastry case, about 9 inch/23 cm diameter and 1½ inches/4 cm deep.
  3. To make the filling, steam the pumpkin then place in a coarse sieve and press lightly to extract any excess water.
  4. Then lightly whisk the eggs and extra yolk together in a large bowl.
  5. Place the sugar, spices and the cream in a pan, bring to simmering point, giving it a whisk to mix everything together. Then pour it over the eggs and whisk it again briefly. (Your kitchen will start to smell so good that you may be temped to lick the spoon, I was).
  6. Now add the pumpkin pureé, still whisking to combine everything thoroughly.

    Top Tip: If you puree is not that smooth it will make everything lumpy so throw everything into a blender or use a hand blender to solve that problem.

  7. Pour the filling into your pastry case and bake for 35-40 minutes, by which time it will puff up round the edges but still feel slightly wobbly in the centre.
  8. Remove the pie from the oven and place the tin on a wire cooling rack. Serve chilled (stored loosely covered in foil in the fridge) with some equally chilled créme fraïche, but warm or at room temperature would be fine.

Monday, 26 November 2012

By way of a blogging apology!

To all of you who have noticed a lack of weekly blog posts in the last few weeks, from tommorrow onwards I will be attempting to catch up and posting either a craft or recipe every other day.



Tuesday, 9 October 2012

How slow is Sloe Gin really?

Last year, I was not organised enough to make my own Sloe Gin, not so this year! On Sunday, I went to the Alexandra Palace's Farmer's Market, I know it's a cheat to buy them. But to be honest I'm a city girl and only really comfortable foraging blackberries and the like. Maybe next year.

Making sloe gin is pretty quick to start and slow to finish but not laborious, think of the turtoise and the hare and you're on the right track. There's no cooking required, just patience as the sloes steep in the gin.

You will need:

-450g/1lb sloes
-225g/8oz caster sugar
-1 litre/1¾ pint gin
- A large sterilised jar or bottle
- A sterilised needle
- A funnel
- Measuring Scales

Preparation method:

-Prick the tough skin of the sloes all over with a clean needle and put in a large sterilised jar. (My advice use something that can hold atleast 2ltr with a wide neck, I didn't and may pay for that later. I used a 1 1/2ltr bottle and could only get half of the gin in the bottle so I will have to leave it alone for that first week, then transfer the whole mixture to something bigger).
-Pour the sugar in through the funnel and use the gin to wash it through the funnel spout, seal tightly and shake well.
-Store in a cool, dark cupboard and shake every other day for a week. Then shake once a week for at least two months.
-Strain the sloe gin through muslin into a sterilised bottle.

 I will be trying to update this post with photos after each shake.

 Top recipe tip to try as well:

You can make blackberry brandy in the same way, substituting blackberries for the sloes and brandy for the gin. Blackberries do not need pricking. If I have time in the next couple of weeks, I will try this tip.



Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Ooh it's getting cold outside...time for some home-made ginger cordial

As the weather starts to cool, the skies seem more grey than blue, we all know that our first winter cold is about to make itself known. My home-made ginger cordial isn't a cure all but will warm you from your core and only takes about 30 minutes to make.

Try it and let me know what you think.

Ingredients :~ Makes 350ml approx but this recipes doubles easier
  • Rind of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 240ml water
  • 3 inch (generous chunk) piece of ginger peeled and chopped finely (or cheat and throw in the blender with the water)
  • 2tsp cream of tartar
  • 50ml fresh lemon juice

    Step 1. Peel the rind off the unwaxed lemon making sure you remove any of the white pith and put in a heavy based saucepan.

    Step 2. Add the water, ginger, cream of tartar and the sugar last.

    Step 3. Turn up the heat to bring to the boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

    Step 4. Take off the heat and add the lemon juice.

    Step 5. Bring back to the boil then strain the mixture through a fine sieve or muslin into a bowl and set aside to cool.

    Step 6. When cool, pour into a sterilised bottle jar (I used a bottle that originally contained olive oil).

    Keep refrigerated and use within 2 weeks .

    I got this recipe from how to cook good food.




Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Food Glorious Food

I would really like to  take full credit for this beautiful spread but I wasn't the cook but one of those invited to taste test . With that said I did remember to get the recipes...once I actually asked for them.

Herby Tomatoe Salad
6 tomatoes 
1 medium red onion
Big hand full or parsley and coriander minced.
2 cloves of garlic minced, 
Good glug Balsamic viniger
Good glug of Olive oil

Squash Salad
1 butternut squash , peeled and cut into long pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
250g pearl barley
300g Tenderstem broccoli , cut into medium-size pieces
100g SunBlush tomatoes, sliced
1 small red onion, diced
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp small capers, rinsed
15 black olives, pitted
20g pack basil, chopped
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove , finely chopped

Pepper Parcels
½ red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
4 baby courgettes, halved and sliced
16 small cherry tomatoes
16 small black olives
200g feta cheese
2 tbsp shredded basil
olive oil
4 red peppers , halved, seeds removed

Grilled Portobello
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 large portobello mushrooms
2 thick slices beefsteak tomato
2 ciabatta rolls, toasted
2 slices red onion
2 handfuls rocket

Cougette Salad
2 large courgettes
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp clear honey
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 small garlic clove , crushed
salt and pepper , to taste

In my own opinion, I have left the best to last
1 pound of peppers (you can mix it up, but go red or go green for bright, consistent color)
1 head fresh garlic, peeled
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
Black pepper and sea salt to taste
Olive oil to cover

Hope you like them. Let me know what you think.



Tuesday, 18 September 2012

New Lampshade from Cath Kidston

Apologies for that late post but Cath Kidston is to blame or rather the fabulous Cath Kidston lampshade workshop that they held this evening.

The whole event was well worth the 20 minute wait on hold the day of the ticket release back at the start of this month and the cost of the ticket.

I went to the Marylebone store with my crafter-in-crime partner, you've seen her hands and kitchen in the soap making post.

Our tutor this evening was the amazing Georgie of Sew Over It.

I would type out all the instructions but a quick internet search looking for lampshade making kits found kits that come with paper instructions inside. If you need additional help search youtube for "Lampshade Making".

p.s. if this is truely your first time making your own lampshade, I would suggest inviting a friend around for abit of a craft evening and you both making lampshades. You will be so greatful for the extra hands!!