Monday, February 28, 2011

Chocolate Orange Squares

...I will admit I have found some posts that I never made they have been sitting here as drafts - no idea why! So it seemed a shame not to share - so will post them over the next few days - they are all recipes:

I have done this recipe before - but I reduced it by 1 third and replaced some of the milk for fresh orange juice, although you can't heat the juice as it curdles the milk. I will try it with all juice next time and heat it up. I also grated some orange zest into the cake.

I baked it in a square tin I think just over 7 inches

Hot Milk Chocolate Sponge

Makes a 7 inch cake
3 eggs
8 oz Caster Sugar
4 oz Plain Flour
2 tbsps Cocoa
2 tspn baking powder
4 fl oz milk
1 oz Margarine

Chocolate Butter Icing:
3 oz butter softened
8 oz icing sugar
2 tbspn cocoa powder 3 tbspn boiling water, mix and cool

Whisk the eggs and sugar together really well until the mixture is thick and pale. Sift flour and cocoa and fold into egg mixture. Sprinkle the baking powder on top of the mixture. Heat the milk and marg together (I do mine in the microwave), make sure all the marg has melted and the milk is hot. Pour this on top of the mixture and allow to froth up, fold together. Pour into two 7 inch sandwich tins.
Cook at gas mark 4, 180c or 350f, for about 40 mins, cool on a wire rack.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I saw Pam (the Jam) on Hugh FW Riverside Cottage make piccalilli and it looked dead easy and as Paul often eats it I decided to give it a go. At the end of the last summer I had a glut of courgettes, so I bought a cauliflower, and there were radishes marked down in Waitrose (Pam had used these in the TV program), and I also added some chopped onion.

Pam's Piccalilli recipe

2kg washed, peeled vegetables - select 5 or 6 from the following: cauliflower or romanesco cauliflower, radish, green beans, cucumbers, courgettes, green or yellow tomatoes, tomatilloes, carrots, small silver-skinned onions or shallots, peppers, nasturtium seed pods
100g fine sea salt
60g cornflour
20g ground turmeric
20g English mustard powder
20g ground ginger
1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
2 tsp crushed cumin seeds
2 tsp crushed coriander seeds
1.2 litres cider vinegar
300g granulated sugar
100g honey
Method: How to make Pam's piccalilli
1. Cut the veg into small, even, bite-sized pieces. Place in a large colander over a bowl, and sprinkle with the salt. Mix well, cover with a tea towel and leave in a cool place for 24 hours, then rinse the veg with ice-cold water and drain thoroughly.

2. Blend the cornflour, turmeric, mustard powder, ginger, mustard seeds, cumin and coriander to a smooth paste with a little of the vinegar. Put the rest of the vinegar into a saucepan with the sugar and honey and bring to the boil. Pour a little of the hot vinegar over the blended spice paste, stir well and return to the pan. Bring gently to the boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes to allow the spices to release their flavours into the thickening sauce.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully fold the well-drained vegetables into the hot, spicy sauce. Pack the pickle into warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately with vinegar-proof lids. Leave for about 6 weeks before opening. Use within a year.

I checked out my book of preserves that I have had for years after I made this and note that they added 2 crushed cloves of garlic and used less sugar 175gms

...I didn't add the honey or cumin as I didn't have either, but I think I did the rest. It tasted lovely - I don't normally like it. The veg was actually recognisable, unlike supermarket stuff that is all diced. Having said that it was quite chunky for a sandwich!

I gave some away for presents - and realised I was an 'l' short in the label! It was very much liked :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tea cosy - crocheted

I have made a few of these using double wool and a 4.5mm crochet hook. The fluffy wool makes it a bit different and is dead easy, rather than having to make a pom pom or something else. Unfortunately it looks like the fluffy wool is not made any more so I won't be making too many :( I was lucky enough to get an odd ball on the charity stall in Ampthill for 50p last week, so that should some in handy.

I basically started from the top, and then split it in two once I reached the handle and spout and worked on one side, then went back and finished the other side. I joined both halves together with a couple more rows of crochet, and just added a few chain before attaching to make it a bit wider.

2 friends gave them for Christmas presents, so I have made another couple - but not really sure if there are too many people into tea pots and tea cosies these days.

My friend took me out for afternoon tea at the Inn at Woburn recently for my birthday, and I notice that they could have done with tea cosies as by the time we were onto our second cup it was going cold.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I have not been making cards recently I seem to have quite a stock of 'general' cards, but needed to make a couple of specific cards this week. They are pretty much a matching pair as I had the papers out, I decided to kill two birds with one stone as it were! The one with the heart was a Valentine for Paul, I actually gave a pressie too - a DVD and a bar of chocolate!

The paper I bought when I went out to lunch with Sue & Clare - they are 'old' but tbh I don't think the recipients will notice :) Love the colours.

What a rubbish weather day it has been - it is the start of half term as well, not very just been mooching around indoors and can't get motivated. Still trying to decide where to go on holiday!

It is the so will have to get a few things ready for the
Ampthill Farmers market next Saturday 26th Feb, Country Markets stall, and I have offered to put up a banner tomorrow in the Prince of Wales car park. so don't forget if you are around and about in Ampthill - come and visit. It is just opposite Waitrose.

Not sure I will keep this blogging up - but still have a few more things that need a photo and putting up here, so watch this space!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blackberry Jam

I made this in September last year and have already eaten most of it. I did two batches the second included elderberries :) I don't like lots of pips in jam, I find that as the fruit is cooked down the pip ratio goes up as opposed to eating them fresh, but wasn't fussed about making proper 'jelly'. So wandered around the internet, and after much searching came up with these quantities:

1 kilo of blackberries and 1/2 kilo of windfall apples chopped up whole - that someone had for free down the road and some water...

Made juice by cooking for a while and then I sieved the lot.

It basically made 900mls of juice - read somewhere to go for 75gms of sugar for every 100mls. Boiled it up using the normal jam making process - it wasn't perfectly clear like jelly, but no pips is what I wanted!

I guess I should show some out of the jar.....

I made labels as I intended to give some as gifts - but I have eaten quite a bit so kept it all to myself :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

More Barbie - well in my case Sindy

Another dress for my Sindy with a broken ankle - you can't see it - she just can't put too much weight on it. Luckily she is super slim and barely weighs anything....

So this one is dead easy - I wandered around the internet and saw loads of patterns and this was a conglomeration, I made one in yellow 4 ply (I had given to me from when Mum knitted stuff - probably for Owen!) and sold it on Ampthill Country Market before Christmas, just for £2 - wasn't really sure how much to charge....

The frill is just knitted in garter stitch, and after a while reduced down to 30 stitches - then it is st st and then rib for the top. But this was the first time I had done it with this particular 4 ply, and I really needed a couple more - so did increase it to 32.

I managed to find this ball for £1 at Hexton Village Hall - Country Matters. They have an eclectic mix of handmade items as well as other bits and bobs like wool. It is run as a co-operative, and well worth a visit if you are that way. They have a lovely tea shop - with a roaring log fire and homemade cakes. I thoguht they had a web site - but I can't find one now. Also in the village is the Bothy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hats - more knitting and crochet

I settled down and made a few hats to put on the Country stall market in Ampthill for the run up to Christmas, unfortunately we just don't get loads of the custom, so I didn't sell them all - but I did sell a few, not that I priced them that high - it was really for something to do and kept me out of mischief, and used up some yarn that I had for a while.

I made them in all sizes for babies right up to adult, mainly crocheted, but knitted a few. I gave some for presents and I also crocheted a couple from wool supplied to match scarves that my friend had woven, you can see some of her scarves on Ampthill Country Market, which is a little site I put together for them. Doing them in double crochet gives a close texture similar to weaving and matched in nicely.

So I guess I made around 15 of them but I do have a few left if anyone wants one :)

Friday, February 04, 2011

Hot water bottle cover

So here is another yarn project - you may already have seen it as I posted it on the forum.

So today's show and tell of past projects - was a quick crocheted cover for a hot water bottle that I bought in Poundland - I gave it to my Mum for Christmas. Sorry not the best picture - I have always been doing things in a hurry, and the light was not so good :) I made the pattern as I went along, and decided to start with a chain where I worked into both sides, so I didn't have to sew it up and went around and around. When I got to the top of the bottle I decreased it a bit just so there wasn't so much to gather, but you can still take the bottle out of the cover easy enough.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Kindle cover

I got a Kindle for Christmas with a beautiful bright pink leather cover, which stays attached to it. But the cover is quite bulky and heavy, so when I read it at home I like to use it without the cover. So I decided that I needed to make a slip cover for it. So out came the knitting needles, and this was the end result. I made sure that the rib was a bit smaller so that it can't slip out. I didn't want to put any buttons or hard items onto it in case it damaged it, so just finished it with a couple of crocheted flowers.