Sunday, October 28, 2012

I carried a watermelon

Well a marrow really.
This beast has been cluttering up my kitchen work surfaces for a good month now. It is basically an overgrown courgette. I keep waiting for it to start showing signs of wrinkling so I can sling it but it is as shiny and solid as the day we picked it.
My husband thinks we should stuff it with mince but I'm not sure it would even fit in the oven. I found a recipe for stuffed marrow in this post-war recipe book we have, but it looks a little repulsive to me. 
The same book recommends pilchard flan, bacon loaf, sweetcorn pie and chops in batter. Not really my kinda thing.
How great is this kitchen though?
I did come across a reference to marrow and apple chutney in a novel I was reading. That would also solve our apple mountain in the garage problem. If I save a few jam jars and sort out some pretty scraps of fabric maybe I could make some jars of chutney as Christmas presents.

Or I may just hollow the thing out, cut a face into it and turn it into a halloween marrow.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fire walk with me

There is something quite Lynchian about a bonfire in the back garden. Maybe it's the unexpectedness of a great big blazing fire in the middle of an ordinary suburban garden. There is certainly something a little spooky about seeing everyday objects transformed by flickering flames and wobbling shadows.
We had a whole heap of dead branches, leaves and thorns building up by the back wall just crying out for a good burning. So while my in laws were over, Big M and his father took charge of setting light to the garden rubbish. His dad manned the hose, while Big M poured a cocktail of accelerants over the pile. The rest of us stood well back with baited breath.
I thought the hedge across the back was going to catch and I was torn between thinking "Yipee! Finally rid of that montrosity!" and "Oh my goodness! The neighbours will skin us alive!"
Fortunately the garden and house escaped unsinged.
The children were fascinated and unnerved in equal measure. And I loved how different and magical the garden looked at night.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pompom skirt

Phewee I did it! I completed the Elsie Marley KCWC
I admit I didn't spend an hour a day on making kids clothes but I did do a little something most days: washing and ironing the fabric on Monday, measuring up and cutting it out on Tuesday, threading up the machine on Wednesday - that was a headache I was out of bobbins and managed to jam up the machine trying wind a bobbin that already had a different coloured thread around it. Thursday I did the waistband and by Friday night I had this little creation.
I've had this picture from Mommy by day Crafter by night on pinterest for ages and it must have lodged in my subconscious. I was in a fabric shop looking for a brown velvet ribbon to trim the baby blue corduroy fabric I had just bought, when I spied these crazy pink pompoms. I suddenly remembered Ashley's pompom skirt and thought why not.
It is super cute. As usual I seem to have made it a little too big around the waist. I am always worried things will be tight so I go too far the other way. Oh well plenty of growing room.
I absolutely loved sewing with cord. It is so well behaved! It really holds it shape when you iron it and there is no slithering around when you sew. I found the pompoms a bit tricky to attach as they kept threatening to get snarled up on the presser foot but they were well worth the (very minor) trouble.
We visited the most beautiful public garden this weekend and the skirt passed the playing outdoors test with flying colours. We also spotted a few more pompoms...
I have half a metre of pompoms left. Now where shall I put them...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

An apple pie a day...

Our apple tree had gone berserk. I am rapidly running out of freezer space and my neighbours are going to start hiding from me if I offer them any more boxes of apples.
 At least the butterflies are loving them.
Forget buddleias. If you want butterflies in your garden, you can't beat piles of rotting apples on the ground. They are all rolling around drunk here.
I've done apple pies, crumbles, cakes, turnovers, betties. I've added blackberries, sultanas, cinnamon, even chocolate. I was all set to try a tarte tatin, then realised I have the wrong sort of apples. You need eaters apparently and mine are cookers. I may give it a bash anyway.

I think my favourite apple pudding has got to be chocolate apple Betty. It's adapted from a Nigel Slater recipe in his book Real Food. It is so quick to make especially if you cheat and buy the breadcrumbs.
Peel and roughly chop five or six large apples and soften them in a pan with a generous slab of butter and a couple of tablespoons of water. Add some sugar. I like my apples fairly tart but you may have a sweet tooth, so go for it. The topping is a mixture of 125g breadcrumbs, 100g soft brown sugar and 100g of chocolate broken in to pieces. Nigel uses dark, I prefer it with milk.
Melt 75g of butter in a pan and stir in 3 tablespoons of golden syrup, then pour over your breadcrumb mixture. Cook for about 35 minutes at 190°C.
It's lovely with cream, ice cream or custard.
Okay only another couple of tonnes of apples to plough through.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Kids clothes week challenge

Kids clothes week challenge kicks off on Elsie Marley today. The idea is to spend an hour a day this week creating clothes for your children. Then you can post your creations on Elsie Marley's flickr group.

I'm planning on making an A-line baby blue cord skirt with a pompom trim for Little P. The fabric was the last metre on the roll and was looking a little shabby so I got it half price. £1.77 a metre - bargain! It's churning around in the machine at the moment and I'm hopeful it'll improve after it's washed and ironed.

Here are some of the things guest bloggers at Elsie Marley have been making for KCWK...
Inspired? Get sewing. It's only one hour a day.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Laid back Saturday

Big M was working Saturday and I was half dreading it. It has been a tiring old week; Little M has been very unsettled at school and Little P has been poorly with a rash and high temperature, possibly related to the MMR jab she had a couple of weeks back?

In the end we had a lovely day together. This was the sight that greeted me when I opened the kitchen door first thing.
The kids had a playdate in the morning. It was actually a blind playdate with children they don't really know, so lots of potential for disaster but everyone seemed to hit it off alright. We stopped by the farmers market on the way home and bought lots of amazingly colourful vegetables.
The weather was back to warm and sunny so we hung out in the garden tor a while then headed out into the forest.
Fat cat enjoying the sunshine.
Little P has been to so many parties recently she has taken to wearing party dresses everyday. Maybe she is worried about being caught out under-dressed.

We found this hawk lying on the front lawn. I thought it was a pinecone at first glance. It was in perfect condition - apart from being dead that is. Our neighbour who should be a CSI figured out it had hit the top window then dropped down to the lawn. She picked it up and opened up its wingspan for us to see. Then she slid its eyes open - beautiful bright yellow. 
It is currently in the garage in a plastic bag as our neighbour insisted Little M should take it to school on Monday for a show and tell. Not sure the teachers will be so keen on having a dead bird in class. I am going to slip it into the dustbin when no one is looking.