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Cornish Food Market

12 Aug

Lately I’ve been ordering from Cornish Food Market and am absolutely delighted by them!

They source fresh, seasonal food from local Cornish producers and their prices are really competitive. Plus, they deliver free of charge. You can’t beat that!

They also sell amazing cheeses, cut to order and beautifully packaged:

You can also order ordinary things from them – they sell cereal, jam, tinned things, baking supplies, cleaning products, etc. There’s really no need to ever set foot in a supermarket again.

But I particularly like the ‘special’ things that I don’t see anywhere else. This week I ordered edible flowers (which were lovely scattered over a salad) and purple carrots:

I roasted the carrots with olive oil, garlic and rosemary and they were delicious.

Also on offer is sustainable fish from Newlyn, Padstow, Fowey and St. Ives; Spanish treats from Falmouth’s Courtyard Deli; fresh Indian curries made by Ruby June; and breads from the incredible Baker Tom (a personal favourite of mine).

*Special offer this week: English jamming plums, only £1 a punnet!

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Iced Decorated Biscuits

28 Apr

I’m no Cait and these are far from perfect, but I’m still fairly pleased with them – especially as a first effort:

I’m not sure if they’ll be served along with the Royal Wedding brunch on Friday morning, or after the Royal Wedding barbecue on Friday evening. Yes, we’re planning a full day of fun!

I used Miranda Gore Brown’s recipe for vanilla biscuits. You might remember her as one of the finalists of last year’s The Great British Bake Off on BBC2. If you’re interested in baking blogs, give hers a go. It’s really good.

Make-Your-Own Knickers

28 Mar

Thanks to the lovely people at Flo-Jo’s Boutique, you can now make your own beautiful fancy pants knickers!

The patterns are available in gorgeous prints like the cherry gingham one above, and also blue gingham, black gingham, gypsy rose and, my favourite, vintage rose:

The kits, which sell for £12.50, include a graded pattern to fit sizes 8-18, knicker material, gusset material, frilly elastic, ribbon and a label reading “Handmade by me.”

If, like me, you don’t have a sewing machine (yet), you can also buy beautiful ready-made knickers from Flo-Jo. This pair, upcycled from a gorgeous vintage silk scarf, would be my pick:

A Lovely Sock

25 Feb

I have knitted a sock. I never thought I’d say that. The jury’s still out on whether or not the second sock will ever exist, but I’m rather satisfied with myself for at least getting this far. It’s not pretty. It’s not perfect. But it is without question a sock.

And I’m exceptionally pleased with the neatness of my turned heel.

Learn to knit a sock. Check.

Subversive Cross Stitch

13 Feb

Subversive Cross Stitch has some delightfully vulgar cross stitch patterns, but I chose one of their slightly less offensive offerings for my beloved on Valentine’s Day.

I bought an inexpensive frame at Mr. Cohen’s Shopping Emporium, along with some black card, and slapped it all together.

Don’t look too closely at the stitching. I had to do it when the aforementioned beloved was out, which meant stitching in a mad rush with failing light. And please don’t mention how off-centre it is. I know.

And I should probably have pressed it before framing, but it’s not easy to fit these things in in a small house on a weekend with a nosy husband afoot.

Wrapped  up in red tissue with a pink bow, it almost looks like a proper present. It’s just a shame the whisky-filled chocolates I ordered didn’t arrive in time, but I don’t imagine he’ll complain about getting them on the 15th.

Good news: The chocolates arrived!

Bad news: I just noticed that I forgot to stitch the apostrophe. Damnation.

Cranberry sauce

19 Dec

Making the annual “trough” of cranberry sauce is probably my favourite Christmas chore. First of all, it’s dead easy. And it also makes the house smell wonderful. And, finally, the finished product is so very delicious!

Ingredients
2 cups (475 ml) water
2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
1 orange, peel and juice (+ a little more orange juice if needed)
1 lb (455g) cranberries
2 Tbsp Grand Marnier

Put the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Peel the orange using a potato peeler, making sure to only get the peel, not the pith. Slice up the orange peel into thin matchstick-length pieces. Juice the orange and try to get ½ cup (118 ml). If your orange didn’t yield enough juice, just top up with some ordinary orange juice. Add the juice and orange peel to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for a good 20 minutes until it’s thick and syrupy.

Rinse your cranberries and add them to the saucepan. Put the lid on and wait about 5 minutes until the berries have finished popping – like popcorn, but not as noisy.

Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool a bit before stirring in the Grand Marnier.

That’s it! Then just pop it in some sterilised jars and try not to eat it all before Christmas. It should yield enough to fill 3 jam jars or so.

Knitting

18 Nov

I’m very much a beginner, so please be kind.

I’ve been taking knitting lessons for six weeks now and, sadly, tonight is our last class. I think we’ll be able to schedule a few more for after Christmas, though, so I won’t have to wait too long. I look forward to Thursday evening so much and will really miss our little gatherings at Knit Wits in Penzance!

So far the lovely (and extremely patient) Julia has got us to knit a long garter stitch scarf, a stocking stitch shrug and a cabled bag. My in-progress cabled bag is above. Since I took that photo, I’ve actually finished the knitting part of the project and only have to attach handles.

I’m completely addicted to it now, which I’m sure those of you who knit will understand. There’s no better way to while away a chilly winter afternoon than sitting down with a cup of tea and some knitting, preferably without too many dropped stitches.

Drop Scones

3 Nov

Today I came across this wonderful Stuart Gardiner bag (and matching tea towel):

The perfect gift for the peacenik/foodie on your Christmas list!

Of course, that picture immediately made me hungry for drop scones, which I haven’t had in years. My mother used to make them for me when I needed comforting (i.e., school trouble, boy trouble or work trouble). Most people say they’re best warm and freshly made, but I always liked them cold, slathered with butter and strawberry jam.

Drop Scones

Ingredients:
225g self-raising flour
50g caster sugar
1 egg
50g butter, melted
300ml milk

Method:
Mix all the ingredients together to make a smooth batter. You may not need all the milk, or you might need a bit more.

Heat up a griddle or heavy frying pan. Grease it if needed. Drop the batter in by small spoonfuls. When each drop scone bubbles, flip it over and cook until the other side is golden brown.

I make mine small and dainty, so I got about 30 out of the mixture.

Simple, delicious and peace-loving.

Artificial Flowers

15 Oct

Let me preface this by saying that I always prefer fresh flowers to artificial. Always.

But I’ve been thinking about artificial flowers a bit more kindly today.

It all started this morning when I was tidying the kitchen while listening to Woman’s Hour. Jenni Murray did a feature about artificial flowers, whether they’re as good as the real thing, etc., and about recent trends in really gorgeous silk flowers which are making them a bit more popular these days.

So it started me thinking about how this isn’t a recent trend at all.

I used to live in Providence, Rhode Island, once home to Cal-Art, an artificial flower company. Cal-Art was founded as The California Artificial Flower Company in the early ’20s by Michael D’Agnillo, an Italian immigrant. It was in Rhode Island, so I’m not sure why he named it after California, but perhaps that had a bit of cachet at the time. Originally, D’Agnillo created paper and fabric flowers for use in shop window displays but, as they became more and more popular, he started selling his flowers to retail customers. By the ’30s, his company had grown so much that in 1939 he had the gorgeous art deco Cal-Art building constructed on Reservoir Avenue:

During its heyday in the ’40s, Cal-Art had extensive landscaped gardens, including a brook and a duck pond. Plants and flowers were imported from all over the world to be grown in Cal-Art’s gardens and to be used as living models for the paper and silk flowers D’Agnillo’s designers produced.   

In the ‘5os, Cal-Art began producing plastic flowers and it was all downhill from there.

I’m not sure if the company is still in existence but, luckily, the building is – although I believe it now houses a host of medical and legal offices. A far cry from the grand flower exhibition rooms that were once there.

And then, to top things off, just this afternoon I saw today’s post on the Café Cartolina blog about making paper flowers! I love coincidences like that!

You can find the original paper flower tutorials for six different flowers, including these two stylish lovelies, on Knuckle Salad:

           

Apple Butter

29 Sep

The apple streusel muffins I baked last week were lovely, but I wanted to do something a bit more interesting with the rest of the apples my mother-in-law gave me from her garden. So I decided on apple butter. I mentioned this to a few people here in the UK, but nobody seemed to have heard of apple butter, so I came to the conclusion that it must be a strictly American thing (though I think it  might be European in origin). Anyway, I was delighted to find an apple butter recipe in my copy of The Country Kitchen by Jocasta Innes, that very British queen of everything. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the recipe until I’d already made my apple butter, so the recipe I’ve posted here is slightly different from Jocasta’s.

Apple Butter

Ingredients
4 lbs cooking apples
1 cup cider vinegar
2 cups water
Sugar, about 4 cups
Salt
2 tsps cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp allspice
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Method
Cut the apples  into quarters without peeling or coring. Put in a large saucepan and add the vinegar and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer until the fruit is soft, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and force the pulp through a sieve or, better yet, a chinois if you have one. Measure your resulting pulp and add ½ cup of sugar for each 1 cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add a dash of salt, and the cinnamon, cloves, allspice and lemon.

Cook again on a low heat for 1-2 hours, sitting constantly to prevent burning. Cook until it’s good and thick – it should leave a trail when you spoon some across in your saucepan. When it’s done, spoon it into sterilsed jars.

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I don’t know how you like to eat your apple butter, but I have fond memories of late-night sandwiches at the Ivy Room when I was at university. My fellow Brunonians will know exactly what I mean. Cheese, apple butter and peanut butter, sometimes with alfalfa sprouts, in pita bread. It doesn’t sound so appetising now, but at 19 after a long night, it really hit the spot!

These days, I prefer mine on hearty granary bread, topped with a bit of grated mature Cheddar and put under the grill. That, with a good book, is the perfect lunch.