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Tuesday, 23 August 2016




Our summer continues in a normal way; some good days, some bad, but on the whole the weather is OK.
The rain in the last couple of days was very welcome, DH was getting fed up having to water the garden every day.
And now we are due for another mini heatwave - yes, the English summer is still with us.

















I really got into crochet recently, and my Bohemian Rhapsody wrap is coming along, be it very slowly - so many colours and very fine wool.
So I got easily seduced when I saw this blanket pattern by Jane Crow ; worked in a double knitting yarn (with 10% wool) and larger hook, it grows quite quickly.




It is made in strips, connecting the lantern shapes as they are being completed, using the wool randomly.

My St Germain quilt has been resting in its project box for long enough; time to do some more work here. 
I have now started the second long border.


My "play cloth" has been out too.
I am filling in another block; just playing, no idea where this will take me, but just enjoying practising french knots for a while.



My young stitching friend (my granddaughter) has brought her first sewing machine - a present from her parents for her 11th birthday earlier this summer, and together we discovered "how it all works".
One of the first projects she has made is a present for her younger brother.






Back in the kitchen and more jam making.
We now have new English plums in the shops - time go back to my roots again and make "povidla", a traditional plum preserve.
I make it similar to the way I make all my jams, but the cooking time is longer, at least 2 hours, to get a thick texture. The taste will get even better with age.








At the last week's market I bought first Discovery apples this year - rather early, but they did look inviting. 
Unfortunately, despite the look, they were not ready to eat, but just nice for a pie.
 I use a simple quick shortcrust pastry (flour + 2/3 butter + enough water to make a soft dough). To avoid using any sugar, I added to the apples some dried fruit I had at home - apricots and cranberries, and flaked almonds for little crunch,





and some cinnamon . Brush the top with milk before baking




Result.



Tastes wonderful, good with little fresh cream (even better if it is whipped with little icing sugar) or vanilla ice cream.






©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2016



Sunday, 14 August 2016

Just a quick one - block 14 of Quiltmania's BOM "Les Fleurs du Mardi" quilt.



I wish you all a wonderful week!



©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk

Sunday, 7 August 2016

and it is August;








after a very brief mini heat wave a couple of weeks ago, 

the weather has settled to what they call "normal for the time of year", mostly quite pleasant. 




Which means some quality stitching time in the garden.












This week I made another (no 13) block for Quiltmania BOM quilt,



and finished sections 7 & 8 (out of 18) of Bohemian Rhapsody wrap.
For those new to my blog, this is a crochet design by Mary Lena Lynx, for Renaissance Dyeing, using their Merino Lace yarn in 75 shades and no 3mm crochet hook - yes, a long job.





The garden is looking great now, with sunshine and the odd rain, it has managed to catch up.









Even the figs are growing.



This is where DH and I are spending lots of our time.





When it was too warm for stitching, I was doing some reading, and the one book I really would like to recommend, is this one, All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr.

It is a beautiful story, so well written, I just could not put it down.
Shane wrote about it on her blog earlier this year; thank you Shane, for the tip.

The author is new to me, but I like his style of writing, and 
found a couple more secondhand books by him.
I look forward to reading them.




Do you remember our new garden acquisition earlir this year, a selection of violas?
They have come on beautifully, quite a show.
They are so pretty and some of them have a lovely scent too.









Have a wonderful week!




©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2016

Saturday, 30 July 2016

still in the kitchen

                             and making more jam, today's fruit - gooseberries and apricots





I got the idea for using these two fruits together from a book by Olia Hercules. 
I bought this second hand book few weeks ago and it has been very useful so far.

It was a perfect summer day today, so I prepared the fruit early, sitting in the sunshine.






And tonight we have some more sunshine in the jars.
It is the first time I have made this jam and I must say - it is delicious! 



There is another recipe from this book I would like to share with you, a very nice chicken dish, just right for summer days, 
but rather unusual in the way it is cooked. 




By the way, for UK bloggers, the same recipe is in the current issue of Waitrose Magazine.

You need some chicken thighs, bone in, skin on.
Although after the first time I made it, I stopped leaving the skin on, because I found the finished dish little too fatty. 
But bones are important for keeping the meat together during cooking.

Heat little oil in a large, heavy frying pan, and fry the chicken (+ salt & pepper) for few minutes on both sides.
Turn the heat down to very low, add some butter and crushed garlic
( I leave this to your taste).



Cover with baking parchment/ greaseproof paper, and now you need to put some substantial weight on the top (another heavy frying pan or something like that) and again something heavy on top of that, a couple of cans of beans possibly. 
This is my solution:



Cook on a very low heat for about 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.
In the meantime chop up a selection of herbs (use quite a lot) - dill, basil, tarragon, coriander, flat leaf parsley; it is up to you and your taste.





When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan and add chopped herbs to the juices in the pan and cook for a couple of minutes.






Break up the chicken pieces, taking the bones out, arrange in a serving dish and pour meat and herb juices over the chicken.



 I serve this with new season potatoes and summer vegetables. 
It can be cooked in advance; it keeps well in the fridge overnight and re-heats well; I also popped it in the freezer for a couple of days, in the serving dish, and it tasted just as good as freshly cooked, when defrosted.
The recipe suggest using the chicken meat for buns or wraps; so handy for picnics. 

Have a great Sunday!


©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2016

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