Our blog is dedicated to seasonal living: cooking with local produce (sometimes our own), sewing for the home and searching out vintage bargains.

We believe that most of the pleasure is in the journey - in the making and creating, even if in a simple way.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Easy Bread

This is me on my hobby horse - so much shop bought bread is dire. It is not difficult to make - just seems that way. Irish soda bread is probably the easiest of the lot. However, this is also pretty easy and very delicious - actually a bit too nice. I've eaten far too much of it. It is also a great stress-reliever- kneading some dough. Try it

2 lbs mixed flour (I used a mix of white, wholemeal and seeded, roughly the same amounts of each, but it doesn't matter)
1oz fresh yeast.
About a pint of mixed milk and water, warmed.
teaspoon salt

Mix the yeast with some of the milk/water in a small bowl. Put all the flours and the salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. Gradually add in enough of the milk/water to make a sticky dough. You may need a little extra flour as you work the dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. Cover the bowl and leave to rise for 1 hour in a warm place. Knock all the dough back and knead again for 2 minutes. Form into 2 rounds, or cobs. Sprinkle a little flour on top. Put on a greased baking tray. Cover with a clean tea-towel. leave to rise for 30 minutes. Bake in a moderate - hot oven for about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire tray.

Monday, 28 March 2011

A project...stage 2

We had a busy weekend for this part of the project...demolishing the old greenhouse that Les made a long time ago.  I was very fond of it, but it had gone completely rotten.  It won't be wasted though as the timber will be cut up and burnt on our fire.

Once that was removed there were just the brick walls to knock down...needed doing, because guess what, the new greenhouse is a very similar size, but not exactly the same.   Wouldn't you just know!

This is my job.  I so like using a lump hammer...I do have to be a bit careful though...we're saving the bricks as they're lovely Victorian ones, same as our house.

Still had time to admire developments in the garden.  The chaenomeles has just come into flower and is looking especially pretty.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Now for a touch of style...

...not that you need any tips from me.  But I would like to show you a few possible ideas for spring.

 A useful source could be this magazine I bought for a few pence from a charity shop.

First of all of course there's all the equipment needed.

Just follow the instructions and a few hours later you too could be the proud wearer of one of these fab outfits...very 1970s!

The magazine is dated 1973.  Despite that there's loads of useful advice...if I ever decide to take up crochet again, I'll be reading this first.

A few more fun purchases - a couple of remnants of fabric, one Sanderson from 1981, not sure about the other, and loads of buttons.  Noreen gave me some of these...can't wait to use them.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A project...stage 1

Well, I suppose the first stage really was getting all the bits from a friend's garage loft.  And what a lot of bits there are!

Just a few of the million pieces.

Can you tell what it is yet?

After much heated debate (argument) and several hours, it began to take shape, not helped by the fact that there were no written instructions (not that, being male, they would have read them...ha!) 
The Krypton Factor's got nothing on this.

It may be some while before I can reveal stage 2.

So how about some flowers to keep us going. 

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Easy Ginger Nuts

These are not difficult to make and taste so much nicer than the shop bought version
5oz plain flour
1oz brown sugar
2oz butter
3oz golden syrup
half level teaspoon bicarbonate soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger

Heat the oven to Gas Mark 3, 160C, 325F
Butter a baking tray.
Sieve the flour, bicarb and ginger
Melt the butter, syrup and sugar gently until melted. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir.
Roll into small balls with your hands. Place on the baking tray, leaving room for them to spread.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove to a wire tray to become cool and crisp.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Pretty things

Out in the garden there are more developments...tete-a-tete daffodils flowering and some lovely purple hellebores.

But inside a few more pretty things, recent finds...a tapestry picture...and an intriguing black box that opens to reveal...

 a little ballet dancer!

She dances to the theme tune from Dr Zhivago, which just happens to be one of my favourite films.
Very kitsch, don't you think?

Friday, 11 March 2011

Now we know it's spring because...

...Gardener's World's back on TV.  I must admit, I'd almost stopped watching it. I never thought in a million years that I'd get bored with the programme, but to me it seemed to lose its way somehow.

But now yeh! We have Monty Don presenting from his own garden...I can see I'll be hooked again.

And I was quite pleased to see I'm not too late with the potatoes.  These are in the conservatory, chitting nicely.  Maybe I'll have a bit of time for digging this weekend.  Hope yours goes well!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Rock Cakes

These are easy-peasy and taste surprisingly good.
4oz self-raising flour
4oz wholemeal flour
half teaspoon ground mixed spice
half teaspoon cinnamon
4oz butter
4oz demerara sugar
4oz mixed fruit (raisins/sultanas)
grated rind of a lemon
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
Set oven to 375F/Gas Mark 5. Sift flour and spice. Rub in the butter. Mix in the sugar and fruit. Add the milk and egg. Combine to a into a soft but crumbly dough. Form into 10 or 12 rough heaps and bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a wire tray. Eat when fresh.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Simple recycling

Can you tell what they are yet?  Yes, I know they're bags...but in a previous life?

Yes, that's right, cardies...to be more precise, my poor old shrunken cardies.  In the spririt of make-do and mend, I decided there must be something I could make with them, so I shrank them some more so they were well felted, and cut them up.

The green one still had the original buttons, but I'd already recycled the buttons from the black one, so I raided my button tin for some replacements.  Strips from the sleeves make the handles and I found remnants of cheery fabric for the lining, applique and rosette.

Now, I still have a brown one, oh and a blue, so guess what I'm doing with them!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The joys of March

In like a lamb this last couple of days...can you believe, blue skies!  Some of our pots are starting to look a bit more cheerful, with pansies coming into flower.

It's heartening to see the crocus opening up - I like these purple ones most I think.

But even more I love the old piece of stone that Noreen's husband Brian made into an interesting garden feature for us.  It's only been in place since late last year and is beginning to settle and look like it's always been there, which is the effect I want.  If we keep on like this, we'll end up with a mini Stonehenge.
Just had to make sure it's buried fairly deep as I can imagine the more adventurous little ones trying to crawl through the hole...great game! 

Happy gardening!