Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Hallowe'en!

This year has been the first year I've ever really entered the Hallowe'en spirit. Never being allowed to as a youngster, I never knew how much fun it could be! I carved my first ever jack o' lantern and loved every second - it was so much fun and I really enjoyed it - we made him kinda spooky and kinda dopey at the same time.

I went to a Hallowe'en party yesterday, for my godson. All the children were dressed up - George was dressed as a pumpkin (SO cute), and two others had the cutest vampire outfits on. I dressed up like a witch, sort of - big red wig, scary makeup... None of the other adults were in fancy dress!! Typical!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

What a lovely pear

Last night's pudding was poached pears, spicey chocolate custard, and crumble baked separately.

To poach the pears, peel and place in a saucepan of water, with:
1tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
Bit of orange zest
Poach for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the crumble mix:
1oz butter
1oz sugar
2oz plain flour
Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until golden and crunchy.

Make the custard as normal (Bird's powder, I'm afraid, one of my guilty pleasures) and then while it's thickening place about 20g of Green & Black's dark chocolate with orange and delicate spices, and stir briskly to melt.

Serve in a large teacup.

One of my favourite puddings. The poach is lightly spiced, the chocolate has a lovely warmth and delicate kick, and the crumble adds more comfort and texture. A brilliant pudding for chilly nights in. Comforting for the soul when you need it most, when you feel let down and disillusioned with the world and those around you - there's nothing quite like custard to heal.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Big quilt on the way

I've been asked to make a friend a large quilt for her sister's 21st birthday / Christmas present. It's a variety of colours, with cupcakes, cherries, and handbags as special fabric. I decided it was easiest to put together as 6 blocks of 42 squares (252 altogether - if my maths is correct!).

Today I had the day off work and I've got the first 42-square block done. I love seeing it all come together! It's taken ages to cut all the squares out - the most laborious part, and my least favourite. But once the sewing machine kicks in, and it all starts to make sense... I don't want to do anything else.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Kirsty Allsopp said "lovely"

I was mentioned on the actual radio this afternoon. Crafter, baker, and maker on the telly Kirsty Allsopp (also of 'Location, location, location' fame) was on the BBC Radio 2 Simon Mayo show, talking about her attempts at local craft fayres and crafty stuff in general. After hearing him mention said upcoming interview, and the selection of quilting-related songs on the playlist, I emailed in with the vague hope that I might be mentioned.


He read out my email about my quilting, and Kirsty bloomin Allsopp said "lovely" in reference to the pic of my quilt I attached to the email. So proud and impressed - I know it's quit ridiculous to be so pleased at a little mention on the radio but it really made my day.

Here's a link to the radio show, although I'm not sure how long it'll last - you need to go to about 1 hour 8 mins in and listen from here.

Quilts, on the radio... whatever next. I'll be hosting my own patchwork show!!

This was the pic that I send Simon Mayo off the radio: 

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Peaches & cream - not a dream

I made peaches & cream cupcakes. They weren't great! They certainly didn't look good when they came out of the oven.

I was meant to use paper cases, but I didn't have any - I didn't think it would matter, but as the fresh peaches nestled at the bottom, they didn't really do well. Taking them out of the tray was a bit of a challenge, and I realised this batch wasn't going to win any awards on the attractive scale...

I made a lovely buttercream frosting, and that helped to cover up some of the ugliness, but I really ought to go on a cake decorating course.

Some of the peaches went a bit funny in the oven (and turned a bit purple), so I decided this was a batch my discering boyfriend could eat. As he's called the Human Dustbin he has no quarrels with eating dodgy purple peach cupcakes and thought they were lovely.
Back to the drawing board on these. I think tinned peaches might be a better idea. And definitely paper cases.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Crabs and Cornwall

My latest baby quilt!

Commissioned for a friend's friend who lives in Cornwall, near the beach - hence the squares of sandy fabric, and crab/fish/turtle fabric.

A simple quilting round the large blocks:

Cute! My next project starts straight away - a bigger quilt, throw size, for a grown-up this time, not a baby. The cutting out starts here...