Monday, 27 February 2017

Cookery Challenge

I've been thinking for a long time that I'd like to use my cookery books more often. They sit forgotten on a shelf and occasionally I'll search through them looking in vain for a specific recipe. Usually I'll surf the BBC on-line recipes or merge two recipe books with ingredients or a cooking method I'm happier with. I've noticed that I'm sticking to a predictable 'same old' list on my weekly menu list such as roast and leftovers the next day, pizza, pasties and more adventurous on the other days. Since starting this blog I've stumbled across a 'Cookery Calendar Challenge' via another blogger's page. Being slightly obsessed with planning and organizing things as I am, I thought this sounded exciting, I know too sad. 

My aims in starting the challenge are to:- 

1) Try new recipes that will (hopefully) put variety back in my family meals.

2) Help me in better planning.

3) Make more use of my recipe books or add them to the clear out pile.

I'm particularly keen to do more in the 'cook today, prepare for tomorrow' idea I'd started a while ago.

How it works:
I'll choose a recipe book each month from my collection and make two recipes from it. Puddings are included in the challenge but cakes and bakes are excluded. The first week of the month I'll announce my chosen book and the following month I'll let you know how I got on trying something new.

My book I've chosen for March is:- The Hairy Dieters Eat For Life - Si King & Dave Myers. Although I'm not on a diet (quite the reverse, having struggled for years to put weight on- sickening I know). I love healthy eating and enjoyed watching the series that these guys did on TV. I had this book one Christmas and am ashamed to say I've never cooked a thing from it!

If you'd like to check out the original blog that I stumbled upon when I was thinking about this it's here 

QT my adorable 16 year old Maine Coon sporting his new scarf from the 'Street Cat Called Bob' set here
He usually sits on the arm of my chair when he's waiting for his biscuits (Dreamies). On the left of the photo, you should just make out my Moorland blanket. Week 2 is complete and the week three colour list is printed out and ready to go.

If you have any tips on menu planning or would like to share recipe ideas do 
feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading. 

Friday, 24 February 2017

Crochet & Natter

Welcome back, I wasn't sure how often I'd be popping in to write this blog as I don't want to be talking about all the things I've 'not' been doing. Instead I hoped to use this to motivate myself by being accountable to you. Also teen 1 keeps saying - have you done your blog yet Mum! So if I want to write, then I must get to work first. 

So this week, as storm Doris rages outside I sit and carry on hooking a bit more of the Moorland blanket. Progress is slow as life gets in the way with meetings to go to, shopping, work and constantly rushing round. Which reminds me, a hairdresser appointment got forgotten last week, oops! Note to self, apologize and re-book. 

I did make it to 'Craft Circle' this week, a sort of knit & Natter where ladies are knitting for charity some 'fish n chip' jumpers and strips of double rib knitting. These are then sewn together to make blankets for babies in Africa. They seem happy to let me knit or crochet my own thing which is great as I really do need to focus on finishing existing projects. We natter away over tea and coffee, sometimes if there's a birthday they serve lovely cakes or biscuits. A few weeks ago we had our Christmas dinner out with the group which was an excellent meal. The sub money each week seems to pay for 2 meals out a year and any extra wool once the donated yarn is all gone. At 50p a week that's amazing. It's good to catch up with friends and something I absolutely love about the group is that I'm the youngest member- whoo hoo!

Teen 2 helped to make the most delicious white chocolate cheesecake at the weekend. I can't remember what we did last time but this one definitely had a very crumbly bottom. With so many cookery books but never overly happy with any of the complicated instructions or lacking a vital ingredient we decided to concoct our own recipe. I made another one today and a banana loaf cake and if it's a success I'll share the recipe soon.
Somebody on facebook was asking whether I was teaching crochet. With so many youtube videos and blogs with crochet teaching I was wondering if this would just be repeating what's been done already.
Meanwhile a friend has asked me to teach 6 members of her family and if it's a success to open it up for more home school children. Initially she'd asked me to teach them how to crochet a flower but realistically I think a Granny square will be simpler for a complete beginner. As the square will need a slip knot, chain, treble crochet and sewing in ends this will provide practice for most of the skills needed. The flower will need a round of double crochet before the petals.

These primulas provided the inspiration for my crochet sunny flower. At the moment my plants are inside as I love looking at them with their lovely bright colours. After crocheting the flower I decided it would be better to make it with 8 petals as it'll be a natural next step to join straight into a granny square. It was very rushed so not the neatest. 

Nearing the end of the month, everything catches up with me and I realised the Book club needed attention with printing the newsletter and questions. Thankfully the book has the questions in the back of the book. The book is Tainted by Brooke Morgan, which was my choice this time, I do hope everyone liked it. It's always hard when it's your choice as not everyone likes the same styles, though we've all said our reading material has widened since the start of the group. I saw it years ago when Tesco ran their own book club before they disbanded the idea. Left to my own devices I'd mainly read Debbie Macomber, Erica James and Katie Fford.  

Friday, 17 February 2017

Keep on crocheting, keep on crocheting, whilst taking a trip down memory lane.

The trick seems to be to just keep going in whatever craft project you enjoy, not because it's a chore to stay motivated but because like this photo shows there are ups and downs - even in hobbies. The exciting parts that are in planning etc and the not so pleasing parts when 'it just doesn't look right!'

Busy crocheting my CAL (crochet-a-long) Attic 24 Moorland Blanket. Unsurprisingly I'm not keeping up with the correct weeks work, though it's progressing ok. Halfway through the second weeks work and it's moving from the dull greens to purple heather colours found on the Yorkshire Moors, beautiful even if I do say so myself. I do love green, it's my favourite colour, but... it'll be lovely to see more variety in the moorland palette.
The colour palette of the Stylecraft special DK that will make up the neat wave pattern for this blanket. The ladies at the crochet club who meet monthly at the library were worried I'd run out of wool after making these pegs up- er no! I just thought it'd be handy once the labels are cut off. In truth though, I always wrap the label in with the yarn end when I've finished that colour.

Casting my mind back- many years ago, I realise I've come full circle (kind of). Having started with French knitting, then my Mum taught me to knit (I wasn't a very patient learner- sorry Mum). Then after receiving a 'My Fun With Wool Book' one Christmas, I dived into crochet. I would visit a lovely lady called Queenie- who painted these stones, sadly no longer with us, she would welcome me with a drink and encourage me to chat (as if I needed help with that- oops!) and crochet. We'd while away the time crocheting granny squares ready for a waistcoat only to be made into a blanket instead. Then followed a short spell of ironing transfers onto cotton fabric and trying unsuccessfully to embroider. I never could get the hang of embroidery, though it does look so beautiful.
Many years later M (husband), encouraged me to try cross-stitch which kept me busy for quite a long time before returning to knitting and now crochet again which has become my main hobby passion. Most of the lovely things I've made have been given away as presents- which is nice for the recipients, but leaves a hole without a photograph. From cross-stitch pictures, cushions & a paperweight- to a knitted nurse for my Mum and some baby clothes & Barbie doll outfits. Here are some knitted characters that were added to Christmas stockings before the boys were teens and M's knitted car driver minus his hat. I kept the knitted scarves for myself and also made some socks for M and lastly for now I remember knitting a rather large Mr. Blobby for my niece- very pink!

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