Thursday, 29 October 2009

the scarf is finally finished!

I finished the seed stitch scarf this evening. I changed the design and added two hand-made pom poms. The scarf is off to Japan! My friend is over this week from Japan, she works for our distributor through my job. I've known her for many many years and when she is in the UK we spend some time together. On Saturday I am taking her to London for the day to shop in Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Liberty and Covent Garden. As its her birthday next week I decided the scarf had to go to Tsujii. I just hope she likes it. The picture makes it look the wrong colour, its actually raspberry and the pom poms are combined with Patons Jet Lolly Orange.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The weather has improved so I plan to tidy up the garden, veg patch and plant the onion sets that Anne gave me a few weeks ago. The two Acer trees at the back of the garden have now lost most of their leaves, so these need collecting for leaf mulch for next year. For a small garden there's lots to do out there today!

Yesterday morning Jack came with me and Moss for a walk along the beach, in the rain. Despite getting wet it was fun beach combing and we found an amazing stone full of fossils. Well they look like fossils.

In the evening I picked up my knitting needles and continued with my Moss stitch scarf knitted in Patons Jet Lolly Orange. It such a lovely wool to work with, shame I'm almost out of it. I'm trying to locate another ball to finish the scarf! I originally bought it months ago from Kemps and was using it for other small projects. The plan is to put a pom pom on each end. I'll post a picture when its completed, not long now. I am also waiting for my Wendy Fusion (in Spice) to arrive, so hopefully this will turn up on Monday.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Tomato & Apple Jam

Tonight I made a batch of tomato & apple jam. Here is the simple recipe.

500g tomatoes (skinned, deseeded and diced)
500g apples (peeled, cored and diced)
1kg granulated sugar
juice of half a lemon

Making and cooking it
1. Put the tomatoes and apples in a large pan with the lemon juice and gently cook on a low heat until the fruit turns into a pulp mixure.
2. Add the sugar and bring gently to the boil stirring often, and boil rapidly for 5 mins stirring lots to prevent burning.
3. Reduce the heat, and simmer very gently for a further 15-20 minutes stirring to prevent burning until setting point is reached. If using a sugar thermometer, the jam is ready when the temperature reaches 105C. If you don't have a thermometer, chill a saucer in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Spoon a little of the jam onto the cold saucer. Push the flat edge of a knife against the edge of the jam blob and if the surface wrinkles it is beginning to set. If it doesn't wrinkle, put the plate back in the fridge and cook the jam for another minute, then test again.
4. Allow to cool for 15 minutes then pour into sterilised jars. filling them almost to the top.
5. Cover the jars at once, using waxed discs and lids if you have them, set aside to cool.
6. If you don't have lids, when the jam is cold, cover the jars with cellophane, and secure with a rubber band.
7. Store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.
8. Don't forget to label the jam, including a date.

It's official knitting is back in fashion.

Well it never really went away did it?! It's just the credit crunch and people wanting to go back to comforting things that's bringing it back into fashion once again. I came across this article on a new blog I found today, give it a read it's really good The Daily Mail web site link is Anyway I thought of all my knitting friends and thought I would share it with you just in case you hadn't read it. The picture is brilliant!
Happy Knitting. Amanda x

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Spice up your life

I mentioned to Anne this week that I was selling the chilli jam for charity. She said £1 was a bargain and maybe that's why I sold out so quickly! So all 14 jars are now sold, well one saved for me and one for Jill as she supplied all the chillies! Thanks to everyone who gave me donations for Breast Cancer charity, so far I've raised about £15 and still more jars to deliver next week. So if you reserved a jar I'll be calling on you for your money! I'm now thinking about buying some chillies just to make some more. I've also added to the gifts and made some chilli goats cheese in virgin olive oil to sell next week.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Chilli Jam

I used Nigella's recipe for this one. Thanks mum for the loan of your Christmas book. But I think it's super hot as I used a few too many chillies! Oh well it was my first attempt and it does look wonderful and looks like chilli jam. I hope everyone at work can handle it! I've enough chillies to make another seven jars plus more green and purple ones to make another batch of pickled ones. The recipe was easy to follow but de-seeding all those chillies takes ages. I did wear gloves as I remembered what Anne said when she made a batch last year. If you are local and want to buy a jar, please email me or leave a message. Suggested donation of £1 (or more!) All proceeds to go to the Wear it Pink campaign as I am organising an event at work.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Pickled Chillies

I was given lots of chillies from Jill at work (mine were a disaster!) So I decided to pickle some for her (and me!) Here is the recipe I found on Jamie's web site. Mine should be fairly hot as I couldn't be bothered to take all the seeds out! I used about 60. I am also making chilli jam and selling the jars at work. All proceeds to go to the Wear it Pink campaign as I am organising an event at work.
Jamie's recipe for Pickled Chillies from his book "The Naked Chef"

600gr / 1lb 5oz medium green chillies
15 black peppercorns
5 bay leaves
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
5 teaspoons salt
6 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
1 litre / 1 3/4 pints white wine vinegar or rice vinegar

For this recipe you must buy perfect green chillies without any blemishes (you can use red chillies but they will be slightly hotter). Carefuly score from the stalk end to the tip on one side only and remove the seeds (use the handle of a teaspoon for this. Pour boiling water over the chillies, let them sit for 5 minutes, then drain. This will get rid of most of the seeds left behind.
Next put your black peppercorns, bay leaves, coriander, chillies and salt into a large jar or other airtight container. Put the sugar and the vinegar into a pan and heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. When this is quite hot, but not boiling, pour it into the jar with the chillies.
Allow it to cool down and then put the lid on, put into the fridge and leave for a minimum of 2 weeks before using. They will keep in the fridge for at least 4 months.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Hyacinth bulbs for Christmas

Seems a long way off but the shops are stacked full of Christmas stuff and its the start of October. The Iwade gardening club gave all the members three Hyacinth bulbs and fibre to plant up a Christmas display. I popped out today and bought an enamel tub for mine as it matches the other stuff in my kitchen! Anyway they are planted up now and tucked away in the cupboard for about 8 weeks but they have to be kept moist. I might make up two more for presents as I searched the net and they are expensive to buy completed. I'll post a picture when my camera battery has recharged! In the meantime here is one I found on the net.

Sunday, 4 October 2009


Today was the farmers market in Iwade (this first Sunday of the month). For those of you who are local and missed it, the next one will be on Sunday 1st November. I met a local farmer from Rainham, just up the road from Iwade. On their stall was almost every type of squash I've read about. I couldn't resist the Turks Turbun as I had read about this on I forgot to take my camera so here is a picture of the squash I bought home and some home made pumpkin & pear chutney bought from the same stall. All the squash in the picture were £1 each, which is great value. The lady who makes the chutney lives in Iwade and said she would like to come along to the Christmas fete, which is great if you want to stock up or buy for presents. The pumpkin will be kept for Halloween, I bought a small one as I couldn't carry home the large ones!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Raspberry Jam

I was in Sainsbury's tonight and they had lots of punnets of raspberries reduced. I picked up 3 punnets thinking they will be nice for pudding. Ah well they never made it as I had other ideas for them. At 9pm they were destined for jam! Here is the recipe I found and it made 2 large jars. Easy and it only took about 1/2 hour.