May 24, 2013 § 2 Comments
I made these booties for one of my students whose baby is due any day now – I wanted to make something that I could make up quickly and these were so cute that I couldn’t resist! The pattern is from issue 3 of Simply Crochet magazine and they really are quick – once you’ve worked out the sizing at least. The pattern states a 3.5mm hook, but I had to use a 5mm to get the correct size even though I was (for once!) using the same yarn as in the pattern.
I made them in sage green cotton (Rico Cotton Essentials) – they don’t know if the baby is a boy or a girl and I’m not a fan of colour-coding children anyway, so a nice green seemed a good option! Since it’s going to be a summer baby, cotton seemed the best choice, but it’s ok – they’re actually quite cosy so perfect for a British summer.
May 21, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I don’t know why it took me so long to think of making a sweet focaccia. Perhaps because I love the original simple sea salt and rosemary version so much! I made this on the spur of the moment yesterday and I made another this morning – it’s that good.
I haven’t written a recipe for the dough as I just used some of what I’d mixed up for a loaf of white semolina sourdough (ripe starter, 2/3 white flour, 1/3 semolina, salt, enough water to make a soft dough and a splash of olive oil) – it’s nice to have the big loaf and something a bit different alongside without having to mix up two batches of dough. I pressed the dough into a flat disk about 3cm thick using a shallow cake tin to hold it. For the topping, I diced an apple and tossed it with a spoonful of fig liqueur (holiday souvenir!) – lemon juice would be a suitable alternative to prevent it from going brown immediately! I then scattered the apple evenly over the dough together with a handful of pecan pieces, pressed the fruit and nuts lightly into the dough, and drizzled it with a little olive oil. After proving for an hour, I baked the focaccia with the larger loaf at 220*C for around 20 minutes. While it was still hot I brushed the top of the bread with plenty of warm honey.
We ate this for breakfast this morning (although I used sliced rather than chopped apples this time, which you can arrange into more attractive patterns if you so wish!) and it was so lovely. I like that the dough itself isn’t sweet, and the apples and honey work amazingly well with the sourdough tang. Perfect.
May 20, 2013 § 2 Comments
The last week has been an interesting one, mainly spent in Croatia but also trying to readjust to normal life – always a tricky one for me. I haven’t had a chance to do any crafting since I got back – I managed an afternoon of much-needed gardening, and fingers crossed please that the slugs and snails don’t ruin my hard work! – but I’m feeling the need for a bit of hooking so hopefully I’ll be able to have a go at a little crochet in the next few days. Until then…
This picture represents a moment of true bliss…we had walked for three hours along a beautiful but fairly inaccessible coast path (well, we had also stopped for a picnic!) but stupidly I had left the bottle of water on the kitchen table as we left our apartment. By the time we reached this village by the sea we were desperately in need of refreshment! I loved the fact that ‘lemonade’ in Croatia is the same as my beloved ‘citron presse’ in France – freshly squeezed lemons with water and sugar on the side to sweeten to your taste. I like it so tart that you can only take tiny sips…weird, I know!
Sunsets can be beautiful wherever they are, but I have a soft spot for those involving the sea.
One day I will live somewhere where you can pick oranges and lemons from your garden, harvest the olives from the scrubland next to the house, and where my favourite herbs grow like weeds. This photo is a section of the coastal path we walked on Hvar – the vast majority of those bushes you can see are rosemary and sage, with a little lavender for good measure (although the famous lavender fields are mostly spread further along the island). It’s galling to see the rosemary that you pay so much for in a pot from the garden centre growing in massive bushes higher than your head all over the island – but it smells so heavenly that you don’t mind when you’re there!
Finally, this may not look like much, but if you go to Croatia try one of these! I suppose the best way of describing it would be a chocolate doughnut, but it bears no resemblance to any that I’ve eaten elsewhere. The dough was more like a super-light brioche, and there was a thick dark chocolate paste inside that tasted similar to the inside of a pain au chocolat but with a gorgeous conistency. Yum.
The next post will be back onto more usual topics!
May 18, 2013 § 2 Comments
Since the whole of last week was spent in Croatia, I feel entirely justified in sharing some of my holiday snaps for the 52 weeks challenge. It would be impossible to choose the usual four or five ‘happy’ moments as the whole holiday was amazing, but I won’t go too overboard – I could of course upload the entire contents of my camera card but I’ll try to be a bit more restrained! Here’s an (entirely arbitrary) selection of holiday moments…
The city of Split – our first port of call and well worth a visit if you get the chance. Sitting on the Riva (seafront promenade) with a glass of wine and/or an icecream is highly recommended!
The view over the city from Marjan hill, the local park.
Sunset in Hvar harbour.
The view from our balcony in Hvar – a wonderful way to begin and end the day…
…and equally good for an afternoon glass of wine! Incidentally, the wine we drank in Croatia was without exception beautiful, and we certainly weren’t splashing out on it. I’m assuming that they don’t tend to export it, but if anyone knows where to find Croatian wine in Yorkshire please let me know!
One example of the amazing courtyards dotted around the old towns we visited – this was in Trogir.
Having grown up at the seaside, I love the power and beauty of waves breaking on the rocks. I insisted that we stood just close enough to catch the spray on our way to dinner one evening!
On the menu it was simply listed as “grilled squid”. I can assure you it was the best squid I have ever eaten, and one of the best meals I ate all week.
The view over Hvar from the castle on the hill.
I loved the contrast between the rich green pine trees and the deep turquoise of the water – I have lots of photos like this!
May 6, 2013 § 1 Comment
Just a quick post to keep up to date – we’re going on holiday tonight so there won’t be any posts for a while, although I’m sure I can make up for it in holiday photos when I get back! We’ve got a 7 hour coach trip down to Gatwick airport tonight, then an early-morning flight out to Split; the travelling part is made infinitely better when you realise that you’ll be in Croatia in time for breakfast tomorrow!
This week has been busy once more, but a few days of sunshine have once again made all the difference. Just to prove that sometimes the sun has even been warm, I have proof of Thursday’s sandal-wearing – I also had my shorts on (although not for long!) but my legs weren’t in any state to be seen on the internet…
I picked a posy of cheerfulness (the tiny daffodils) and forget-me-nots, which have been looking beautiful in a jam jar on the mantelpiece. Sadly the cheerfulness don’t last long once picked, but they look and smell so wonderful that it’s worth having them inside just for a day or two. And the forget-me-nots are just so pretty, you can’t help but smile at them.
This isn’t a great photo, but I wanted to show you the bracelet I made. It took me about two hours while watching the TV one evening, and it’s nice to have something to show for so little effort! Cotton and a 3.5mm hook – the flowers and strap were made up as I went along, and neither are perfect, but I like it anyway.
And finally, it was my husband T’s birthday on Saturday. We didn’t do much to celebrate as we are counting the trip to Croatia as birthday presents for each of us (my birthday is at the start of June so it works quite well!) but I got him a small gift – a Game of Thrones tshirt from here, highly recommend it! – and made him a birthday pavlova. T didn’t want a cake as we would have struggled to eat it before we went away, and asked for ‘something with rhubarb in it’ – so I made a meringue, whipped some double cream with a splash of vanilla, made a rhubarb compote from the stash in the freezer, and combined the lot, topped with a few blueberries for decoration. Pavlova has to be one of the easiest desserts to make, but it’s always rewarding! (Ignore the cracks in the meringue, there was a slight accident, but it tasted amazing!)
Right, I’m off to pack my sunglasses. Hope everyone in the UK is enjoying the bank holiday weekend; I’ll be back in a week or so!
May 2, 2013 § 2 Comments
…is enough to cut the grass (when the cat can hide in it, it has clearly grown too long); dig over a new strawberry patch – closer to the house than the original – and transplant last year’s runners into it; plant dwarf bean seeds; deadhead the lavender (er – last year’s!) and steal ten minutes in the sunshine. Whisper it…but I am also wearing shorts.
On top of that, I took the opportunity to take a few photos of the spring flowers that are finally in full bloom – better late than never, certainly, but it seems strange to be cutting the grass and wearing shorts whilst looking at hyacinths and narcissi.
Back to the computer now – but only four days until we go on holiday!
May 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
May is the beginning of birthday season for us – it’s full of them, and June is just as packed! Sadly for our friends and family, we’re both pretty busy until at least halfway through then, so there’s a limit to how much I can make! I did manage to whip this up this morning (before breakfast, in fact!) – it seems a tad unimaginative as it’s what I made Mum for Mother’s Day, but it’s a quick and easy pattern and it looks so effective – and I know my friend will love it. She also gets a card as I made a small pile of them a few months ago – I can’t guarantee that everyone this month will get both!