Saturday 30 January 2016

SIPIDI! ~ January Round Up

I've tried lots of new recipes this month. A few of them have included one of my favourite things. Chickpeas.

These are the ingredients for Spanish Chickpea and Potato Bake.

It looked so good when it came out of the oven that we dived right in and I forgot to take a photo. The filling smells wonderful as it cooks. The Mechanic actually commented on it when he walked in the door that evening. This almost never happens. It's topped with sliced potatoes, which crisp up in the oven and spread with sun dried tomato pesto. Delicious.

Hummus is regular fare around here and often on the lunch menu. There are some unusual variations in Anna Jones' book, A Modern Way to Eat, using different pulses. The Happy Pear has a trio of hummus recipes too. The beetroot variety is a fantastic colour. I've not tried that one yet, but the roasted carrot version is lovely.

A quick mention for avocados,  which Deb talked about earlier in the week. Another favourite lunch staple of mine and something I've been having on toast for the last twenty years. Lots of great variations on the theme, if you're stuck for inspiration.

Links to everything on my Meat Free Pinterest board. If you've joined in with SIPIDI! this month leave a comment so that I can find your post and I'll pin you to the board. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Snap! ~ Frogs

Joining in with Helena's photography meme again this week. To find a visually linked set of between two and four images.

The hooded cloak I got married in.....

.....and the beautiful coat I found in a charity shop yesterday.

Both with frog fastenings.

I popped into the charity shop, in search of a cheap duvet cover or sheet, to make a muslin from, and couldn't believe my luck when I stumbled across the coat. It fits me perfectly and cost the princely sum of £8.50. If you'd like to see it in all its glory there's another one for sale here. I don't think I'll find a better bargain this year.

Monday 25 January 2016

Memorandum Monday ~ Bananas!

Well, you just knew it was going to involve food, didn't you?

Sliced banana, drizzled with honey, ready to be roasted in the oven. Then blitzed in the blender with a can of coconut milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Into the freezer in a plastic tub and stirred every 30 minutes. Trying hard not to devour the lot before it set. Yes, I made ice cream for the first time and it was delicious.

Waving to Sian, on a Monday which doesn't involve a 200 mile drive. Have a great week.

Wednesday 20 January 2016

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday #346

It's the third Wednesday of the month, which means another class at the Arts Centre for me. It also means there was something on my kitchen table to snap. Not the most exciting shot I'll grant you. This was the state of play at lunch time yesterday. Kitting and making all the in between stages, ready to demonstrate.

And this is what those pieces of Spring green card stock turned into.....

.....a box to house a set of Thank you cards.

Linking up with Julia and the Deskers today. Thank you to everyone who took the time to return my comments last week, even though I wasn't joining in. Your kind thoughts on my set of cards were very much appreciated. Happy Wednesday.

Monday 18 January 2016

Memorandum Monday ~ Chilli

January seems to be the month of foodie Monday posts. This week is no exception.

On Saturday I cooked Mexican Leek and Blackbean Chilli for the first time....

It was most welcome after a 200 mile round trip, in the driving rain, today.

Joining in with Sian, whose idea it is to share something new we learned or a first.

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Snap! ~ 1,2,3,4

Helena's weekly photographic meme has evolved for 2016. This year the aim is to find a visually linked set of between two and four images. The weather here has been wet and windy, not offering many photo opportunities, while I've been out and about. I looked through my archive for January and came up with these.

Four cards made with the same stamp set and an increasing number of ink colours.





The various shades of green and purple were achieved by stamping the leaves several times without re-inking.

These were the cards we made in class last week. A bright start to the year.

ETA It seems my first three cards fit the bill over at Daring Cardmakers this month. "Leaf it alone!" Making leaves the star of the show, rather than a foil to a floral design.

Monday 11 January 2016

Memorandum Monday ~ Chocolate Mousse Cake

If you missed it last week, Sian has had a shake up of Me on Monday and asked us to share something we did for the first time, or something we learned that we didn't know before, instead of our previous weekend recap. This little beauty covers both bases, although I hadn't thought of the thing I learned until I started typing.

It was a wet and windy Saturday afternoon here in Dorset and we'd decided on hot dogs and soup for dinner. While I was caramelising the red onions, I had a quick flick through my new cook book and came across the Chocolate Mousse Cake. I had everything except the flaked almonds and it looked pretty simple to throw together. It was. The hardest part was working out the new quantities.

It contains quite a lot of sugar so I cut down the recipe. It uses 5 eggs, which I changed to 3 and reduced the other ingredients accordingly. Divide by 5 and multiply by 3. Fairly easy when you're working with grams, not so much if the recipe were in ounces or cups. It still made eight good sized portions and was delicious.

What did I learn? How to line the base of a springform tin, something I hadn't used before, without the faff of drawing and cutting a circle.

Simply cut a square of baking parchment/greaseproof paper, a bit larger than the base of the tin. Now comes the slightly tricky part, where you feel like you need two pairs of hands. Place the paper on top of the base and put the base inside the tin, tucking the corners through to the outside as you do so. Clip the tin together and tug the corners of the paper until it lies nice and smoothly in the bottom of the tin.

The recipe is from the Happy Pear cook book, but I've tracked it down online if you fancy it. My tin is 20cm, rather than the 23cm specified and my quantities were:

100g margarine
160g caster sugar
180g dark chocolate
3 eggs
40g ground almonds

Happy Monday to you. Have a great week.

Friday 8 January 2016

SIPIDI! ~ January

I've been having a rethink of the way we eat as a family and myself in particular. I was a vegetarian before I had my children and really it's just laziness that has kept me eating meat. The effort of cooking two separate meals became too much, with a challenging toddler and a small baby to look after as well as a part time job.

We've had "Meat Free Monday" for several years now and we quite often have a second meal during the week that is vegetarian and fish on at least one day. The Mechanic cooks home made chips on a Saturday. I have egg and mushrooms with mine, while everyone else has a meatier option.

That's four days covered and it doesn't seem quite so daunting any more. There will be some days when I'll eat vegetarian and the rest of the family will have their usual fare and other days when we will all have the same. To that end I'm looking for meals that I think my hardened carnivores will love. The Sweet Potato Quesadillas above were a big hit.

As was the Ultimate Chilli from The Happy Pear. I've also made this soup, found on their YouTube channel, to use up my vac-packed chestnuts. I only added 2/3rds of the stock suggested as I like my lunch soups nice and thick. On the strength of these two recipes I've ordered the cook book and I'm looking forward to trying a few more new things this month. I'll keep you posted.

All these recipes are on my Meat Free Meals board and you can find more information about SIPIDI! here.

Wednesday 6 January 2016

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday #344

It's a whole month since I last managed to show you my work space. December sort of swallowed me up, with too many demands on my time. Blogging just had to go. This was the state of play, at the kitchen table, yesterday afternoon. Evidence of the mad dash to prepare for class today.

When I woke up in the morning I had no idea what we'd be making. Not a comfortable feeling. I picked one stamp set, four ink pads and got started. Five hours later I had four card samples and a pile of kits. Phew! I've always worked best under pressure, but this was a little too close to the wire even for me. Not an experience I'll be repeating any time soon.

Here's one of them. A card to send to old friends, who didn't get the usual Christmas card greetings from me. That turned out to be the straw that broke the camel's back this year. At least it would have been, if I hadn't given myself permission to pack them away so they didn't keep looking accusingly at me from their spot on the dresser. On the bright side I'll be well ahead next year.

Linking up with Julia and the Deskers. Looking forward to catching up with you all.

Monday 4 January 2016

Memorandum Monday ~ Nuts!

The first Monday of the year and Sian has come up with a revamp of Me on Monday. Ideal for a quick and simple post, to kickstart a fresh new year of blogging.

You might know this already, but it was news to me. Soaking nuts in water for a few hours before eating them increases their nutritional value. It makes total sense, when you think about it. The nut wants to hang onto all its goodness, while waiting for ideal growing conditions. That's not in a bag in your cupboard. Who knew?

Friday 1 January 2016

Happy New Year!

I went out for a walk in the late afternoon yesterday. The rain was taking a short break and I took this shot as the sun was setting over the tracks and on 2015.

I always enjoy reading Neil Gaiman's New Year wishes. He didn't write a new one this year, instead here's last year's wish.

Be kind to yourself in the year ahead.
Remember to forgive yourself, and to forgive others. It's too easy to be outraged these days, so much harder to change things, to reach out, to understand.
Try to make your time matter: minutes and hours and days and weeks can blow away like dead leaves, with nothing to show but time you spent not quite ever doing things, or time you spent waiting to begin.
Meet new people and talk to them. Make new things and show them to people who might enjoy them.
Hug too much. Smile too much. And, when you can, love.
~ Neil Gaiman

Wise words.