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Made from scrap
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Saturday, 31 December 2011

"2011" Looking back and Looking Forward "2012"

Looking back over 2011 we have had some 'Adventures'.  What a busy year, all those adventures made us hungry!  I hope we have even more 'Adventures' in 2012.  What a Blast!

And thirsty  hic!...I tried to use as much of my homegrown ingredients as possible.  Did somebody mention 'Healthy Eating Plan'?  Oh no!  Not for 2012!

I hope my Garden is good to me in 2012.  'As you sow so you reap.'

These were a great addition in 2011.  I hope they continue to stay healthy and have as much fun as they do now in 2012.  Long Live the Chickens and may there eggs be plentiful!

I hope there is lots more 'Hooky' time waiting for me in 2012.

I would also like to keep spinning.  (I really need the cupboard space).
Happy New Year and Best wishes for 2012.
Lots of Love
Lucy xxx

Friday, 30 December 2011

Pie Day Friday (3) - Delicious Calzone

My word is it 'Pie Day Friday' already?   I followed the recipe exactly from my 'New' Hairy Biker Pie Making 'Bible.
Calzone is basically and inside out Pizza.  You use a Pizza dough like a 'Pasty Shell' and put all you Pizza topping inside as a filling.  Henry's High School canteen sells them as 'Pizza Pockets'.  They are very portable and would make a great lunchtime snack for 'Teenagers' with places to go and people to see.
They use a basic Pizza Dough.  I made these once before but they were not a hit as the dough was about  3cm thick.  This time I got it right and used the rolling pin to roll out the dough to about half a cm.
I wanted to get creative with the topping/filling but kept to the recipe, which turned out delicious.  I found it useful to assemble all my ingredients together in smaller bowls as soon as the dough had been put to rise.  The Kitchen looked like a bomb had hit it, but these are really worth the effort.

Tomato Sauce:
Finely Chop an Onion and fry it gently until it starts to brown.  Add one clove of finely chopped garlic.  Cook for one minute.  Add 1 tin of chopped tomatoes and a teaspoon of sugar.  Let it cool.

Fry 150g of finely sliced Mushrooms in butter until they start to brown and let them cool.

I had some pepperoni in the fridge but in future would keep these 'Vegetarian'.

Two Mozzarella Balls, drained and diced.

Ground Black Pepper for seasoning.

Fresh Basil leaves.

Assemble your Pizza Topping, then I used water to moisten around the edge of the dough so it would stick when I folded it over.

Make sure the Calzone is sealed well to keep all those flavours in while they cook.  Bake in a hot oven for 15 - 20 minutes.  I made eight of these lovlies.  Very tasty, economical and filling...might make a change from turkey :)  

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Funky Hooks

I think 'Etsy' is great, in this World of Mass produced I enjoy looking at items made by individuals who are often highly skilled at their craft.  Without the Internet I would not know half of these items were 'Out there'.  Obviously these hooks are the 'Bees Knees' in terms of 'Crochet Chic', but they are also incredibly practical as they really increase the comfort factor of the hook, (no, it is not in my imagination!)   I sometimes get aching joints in my hands from 'too much Crochet'....I know you can not have such a thing as 'too much Crochet'...but these hooks are so comfortable they have reduced the aches and pains.  You decide what size hook you want and what design and colour you would like to snazz it up.  The 'Artist' is:
Berit Hines.
Etsy Seller 'ClayImages'
The Following is only a selection of Berit's work, she makes a lot more than the selection I have chosen to show you:
Very Cute Cat

The Angel of Crochet (We could all do with One of those!)


I like the Witches

How Adorable 'Penguins'

What Cheerful little Snowmen.


Killer Whale
Very very cute eh?  If you do get tempted, please don't forget to share with me what you decide to go for...

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Very Random 'Post Christmas Blog Post'

The Oasis is and always will be, a totally unique aspect of Birmingham's personality. We offer everything from tattoos to tutus, beads to boots, and everything else in-between! 
The Oasis - Birmingham  As a kid in the 1980s this was my favourite place.  I would travel to Birmingham on the train and spend hours in this place.  I could buy clothes that I couldn't find in my home town, usually Kaftans imported from India with bells, mirrors, tassels and gold paint on them.  I could also buy beads and bangles, earings, groovy jeans, boots, incense etc.  I liked the eclectic mix of folks it attracted Punks with colourful Mohicans and alternative make up, rockers and hippy types.  This was and still is the place to go if you want anything funky, from hairstyles, to your anatomy pierced or tattooed, clothes and jewellery.  My kids had Christmas Money burning a hole in their pocket, Henry wanted to go to 'The Oasis' for his first time and Euan wanted to go to a specialist Retro and Nostalgia Comic Shop.  Visiting 'Oasis' for the first time in over twenty years as a 'Mom' was a strange experience.
   I find it quite an ordeal now to go to Birmingham with two kids in tow we decided to brave it.  I like to get up early and go before the crowds, needless to say that was the first mistake of the day, getting the teenager up early.  Phew was he a grump!  Euan was very excited about going on the train, he also gets quite anxious about it and worries about the platforms and missing the train and getting lost etc so he is quite hyper.
His brother was the opposite and barely awake.  Euan did not like Henry putting his feet on the seats and gave him a thorough telling off!  This didn't go down well but I backed Euan and explained it is not very community spirited as people have to sit on the seats and most people like to keep their clothes clean.  Grumpy teenager turned Sulky teenager.  They bickered for nearly the whole journey, policing each other, but I was ready for this:

  I made three on the journey there and three on the journey back.  I will take this opportunity to show you my beautious new hook:
Euan calls it my 'Death Hook'.  I love working with it.  Crochet does Grunge!
To be honest this little bag of Yarn saved my sanity today, all the bickering went right over my woolly little head!
Birmingham was not too busy today, I don't like crowds.  Henry did not like me taking photographs.  He said I was making a fool of myself and looking like a tourist!  I was not allowed to take too many and the ones I did I sneaked when he wasn't looking.  We had five minutes to wait for 'Oasis' to open so I admired the window displays.
You can't really see from the photograph but this cushion is machine embroidered.  Cool.
This Knitted Love and Peace Cushion is fantastic too.  I am a great one for seeing things and thinking I can do that!  I really think I could manage that!
Very cute Sesame Street hat and gloves.  May look a bit too silly on me though!
Inside the shop this bike caught Euan's eye.  Henry cheered up and found himself some 'Love and Peace' Bracelets, a CND studded belt and a Bob Marley T' Shirt.  He also got a very cool vintage black Levi Jacket.  I drew the line at 'The Middle Finger Patch' he wanted to sew on it!  Am I getting old?  I reminded him Bob Marley was a chilled dude and not crabby!  We paced around the entire three or four floors of the place at least twice!  Euan had great fun reading rude slogans on T shirts!
I sneaked a photograph of this Poncho - now I could do that!  I think Poncho's are hip and happenin!  I love the mix on this one of knitting and crochet.
I needed a Cup of Tea and a Pit Stop before finding the shop Euan wanted, again this incurred the wrath of Henry, he told me he would never come to Birmingham with me and Euan again!  He sulked a little bit more in the cafe...Euan and I slurped our drinks in oblivion!
Euan loves the comic shop and blew half of his Christmas money on Star Wars figures, he is loving them and playing with them now.  Henry is upstairs listening to Bob Marley.  He found some CDs in a Reggae Music Store.  We had lunch in the Chinese Restaurant that I went to for my 40th Birthday 'The Big Wok'.  It is an all you can eat Chinese Buffet.  The last time we went we all walked painfully back to the train station after sampling rather too much of the eighty dishes.  Today I did things in moderation, I only sampled about forty!  I made sure that included some healthy stuff like Tofu and mushrooms...we will forget about the deep fried stuff that I ate!  Somehow Euan had room for the help yourself ice cream machine too.  He did complain a bit on the train on the way home.

I sneaked this photograph of the Birmingham Rotunda.  (That is Henry's hat on the right.)  I used to call the Rotunda  'The Coca Cola Tower' as for years it had the 'Coca Cola' Logo all around the top.
We arrived at the station to see the back end of our train disappearing, much to Euan's dismay.  We explained there would be another in half an hour.  He spent the next 30 minutes asking 'How long is half an hour?'  On the journey home Henry retracted his statement about never going to Birmingham with Euan and I again.  I thought that was sweet!  They are both happy to be home with their goodies.  Apart from the six Granny Squares what else do I have to show for my day?  Not a tattoo, not a piercing, but:

I am definitely getting old aren't I?

Saturday, 24 December 2011

All Hands and Claws on Deck - There is Work to be Done

The boys have been 'enjoying' each others company and watching 'The Lord Of The Rings'.  The Girls have been helping Mommy with the Festive preparations.  To repay me for their nice clean coop and copious amounts of deep warm straw they decided to help me in the garden.  Today's job was digging for Parsnips to roast for Christmas Lunch.  They had great fun pecking and scratching and their was much vocalising at our haul.
I will deliver some parsnips to my parents later.
The Girls took their duties very seriously and were rewarded with the odd juicy worm.
I also picked some Parsley and Sage for the Chestnut Stuffing.
Oh Dear it's that Chicken and Sage thing again!  Bad thoughts, Baaaddd Thoughts!

Daisy was the best and digging and really was fascinated by parsnips being removed from the ground.

Poppy prefers to show off, positioning herself as high as she can and preen.
And Little Rosie prefers to perch on my back and shoulder, watching what I am up to and chattering in my ear.
I pointed the camera over my shoulder and clicked, while she cooed, bocced and brupped in fascination.
I was actually walking around the garden having a full on conversation with a chatty chicken on my shoulder.  A lovely Christmas Eve Morning.  These three will be Happy Hens for Christmas.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Teatime Treats Blogging Challenge -December 'Festive Mince Pie Somosas'

I have my entry ready for this fun Blogging Challenge 'Teatime Treats' hosted by Kate at 'What Kate Baked' and Karen at 'Lavender and Lovage'.  This month the theme is 'Christmas'.
My Festive little offering is a newly invented creation by moi and let me tell you they have gone down a storm in this house.  Let me true Willy Wonka genius style (apart from there is no Chocolate!)
'Mince Pie Somosas.'  Yeah Baby Yeah!
These are a cheeky little twist on the old Festive favourite.  If you are greedy then can be eaten in one substantial mouthful, if you are more demure, you can have two tasty little bites, or just go how the mood takes you!  They are delicious hot or cold.
250g of Plain Flour
1 egg (from your bestest clucky friends)  Separate the egg.
2tbls of vegetable oil
Water to make a dough
1tsp of ground mixed spice

1 Jar of Mincemeat

Add the egg yolk, oil and spice to the flour, mix quickly to make a breadcrumb like mixture.  Add enough water to make a smooth dough.  Roll out onto a floured surface, to about 3mm thickness.  Cut out Circles and cut each circle in half.  Using the egg white to seal the Somosas wrap the semi circle into a cone, place 1tsp of the Mincemeat inside the cone and use more egg white to seal the edge by pinching.  Deep fry in small batches until golden.  Drain on Kitchen Paper and sprinkle with Caster Sugar.

Happy Pie Day Friday (2) - Tasty Vegetable Somosas

I was delighted to find a 'Hairy Biker' Somosa Recipe in my New Bible of Pie Making.  I will take the opportunity to just flash you another picture of the 'Sacred Text' here:
Oops!  Sorry wrong Picture....

Aaah, that's the one...this is a truly spiffing book.
I would be delighted over the festivities to find Authentic Indian Food on offer.  In fact I would cheerfully eat these Somosas in place of much of the 'traditional' Christmas foods.  Supermarkets do sell ready made Somosas but they are disappointing imposters.  I always though 'Somosa' making was out of my league, until I discovered this recipe (Which as usual, I have adapted a wee bitty bit!).  I can't believe how simple these are to make.


For the Pastry
250g of Plain Flour
1 egg ( from your bestest Clucky Friends) Separated in to the Yolk and the white.
1 tsp of salt
2 tbls of vegetable oil
75 - 150 mls of warm water

For the Filling
1 Onion finely chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic finely chopped
1 Medium Potato (diced)
1 Sweet Potato (diced)
50g of Frozen Peas
2tsp of Garam Masala
1 tsp of Chillie Flakes
50ml water
The Juice of 1 Lemon
Salt and pepper
fresh Coriander

Gently fry the onion until it is soft.  Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute.   Add the potato, Sweet potato and the spices and fry gently for five minutes.  Add the water, lemon juice and peas, cook gently until the potatoes are tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Leave to cool.  When Cool stir in chopped fresh coriander.
    The pastry is very easy to make.  Put the egg yolk, flour, oil and salt into a bowl.  Mix lightly until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add enough water to make a ball of 'pastry dough'.   Roll out the pastry so it is approximately 3mm thick.  Cut into rounds (I used a tea plate).  Cut the rounds in to semi circles.  To fill, fold the semi circles in to cones, half fill with the filling and use the egg white as 'glue' to seal each somosa.  Deep Fry the Somosas in small batches for 4-5 minutes and drain on Kitchen paper. 

I enjoyed mine dipped in Home made 'Tamarind Sauce'.  I will definitely be making these again and will experiment with Aloo Chana Chaat (Chick pea and Potato Curry as a filling).  I will let you experiment with whatever filling you like.  I am thinking of making my 'Mince Pies' Somosa style today.  

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Delicious 'Festive Nut Roast'

Last week after the 'Vegetarian Debate' in this house I think we have decided to be 'Part time Omnivores'.  This has already taken effect and involves reducing the meat that is consumed in the house.  Last week I made my first 'Nut Roast' in years.  I was very pleased with the results it had a great flavour, sliced well and made a substantial meat-free main meal.  I decided to create this 'Festive Version' for the holidays.
This is a hearty, nutritious 'Festive Nut Roast' flavoured with Cranberries, Chutney and Mixed Spice.  It is delicious served as a roast meal and is equally delicious served cold with pickles.  It will keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days.  It can be mixed in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to roast.  It also freezes well.  A very versatile Vegetarian option, perfect for the festivities.

400g Wholemeal Bread crumbs
600g Chopped Mix Nuts
100g Dried Cranberries
1 large courgette (grated)
2 Carrots (grated, no need to peel)
1 large onion (grated)
3 tablespoons of a good quality Chutney (I used Tomato and Chilli Jam)
2 tsp of Dried Mixed Herbs
1 heaped tsp of Ground Mixed Spice
Salt and Pepper (Season well)
4 Eggs (from you bestest clucky friends)
2 tablespoons of Olive oil

Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until all the ingredients are really well combined.  I use my hands.  Turn the mixture into a buttered roasting tin or loaf tins.  Cook in a medium to hot oven for 1hr  30 mins.  Check the Nut Roast to ensure it isn't burning and adjust the oven accordingly or cover the top with tin foil..  It is good to make sure the Nuts are roasted throughout the dish as this brings out maximum flavour.  It smells so good while it is Roasting.  Serve hot with vegetables and a Vegetarian Gravy.   It is also delicious to serve cold in slices or chunks with pickles, crackers and cheese.

         On the Craft Front, Euan is collecting UFO's (Unfinished Objects) at the almost the same rate as his Mom!  He has several Yarny things on the go too.  Today we had a quiet moment of fun using this book:

We have not had the snow that the 'Weatherman' practically promised us, so we have had to make our own, ours is very pretty.