Saturday, 29 August 2015

In my Garden: August

Well the weather hasn't been too kind to us here in the South West this month, but it did mean that the last of my crops in my veg box have been watered well. I harvested the last of my salad onions earlier in the month and made a batch of pickled onions with them. My courgette is still flowering but unfortunately the slugs are enjoying the courgettes before I get a chance to!

All I have left are my tomatoes (I have been picking the cherry tomatoes but the big heritage cooking tomatoes have yet to ripen), some leeks and just emerging from the soil are some radishes. As I am still learning with the vegetable growing - does anyone have any recommendations on what I could sow now?

Japanese Anemone

Usually at this time of year my garden is looking a bit shabby, but with the addition of a few new plants and the maturing of some others, I do actually have some plants in flower!
As always, Atticus, my Maine Coon is a constant feature in my garden and he can't resist "helping"!

Love Mrs Jones x

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Sewn: Ipad Mini Case

I made a case for my ipad about 18 months ago, but with daily use it had got really grubby. Unfortunately as my original case had cardboard inserts it wasn't suitable for washing and there were some other things that were annoying me on it too, such as the elastic being too loose and the top flap refused to lie flat.

So, in this model, I ditched the cardboard in favour of craft foam and dispensed with the batting altogether because that is what made it buckle and not sit flat. 

And inside, I have added some more secure corner supports at the base (the previous model was all elastic). This makes it so much more comfortable to hold.

I have a little bit of a gather going on inside, where my sewing foot kept catching on the foam (grr...)

The fabric is by Makower and I have also seen it in pink and blue colourways.

Love Mrs Jones x

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Pickled Onions and Biscotti

An odd combination! I have had some kitchen successes and failures this week: the pickled onions were a success, but alas the biscotti were not!

The pickled onions were originally spring onions that I left in my veg patch a little too long and had become salad onions. I can't see why they wouldn't work in place of the button onions/shallots that you would usually put in pickled onions.

The recipe I used was based on this BBC one, but I substituted about 1/5 of the malt vinegar with balsamic vinegar (I love honey and balsamic vinegar in a salad dressing so thought it would also translate well in this recipe). I halved the recipe as I only had a small amount of onions - just enough for one jar.

Given a shake now and again, they will be perfect with some cold meats and cheese at Christmas!

What didn't go so well were the Chocolate and Hazelnut Biscotti. Again, inspired by Great British Bake Off, I thought I would have a go at some biscotti - I loved some that an Italian friend had made once.

Contrary to how GBBO portrayed it, they were ridiculously easy to make, and look fairly good too, but sadly they just taste so disappointing - there is not enough flavour at all. It hasn't put me off making some more but I would go for a recipe that has some kind of spice or a much richer flavour.

Love Mrs Jones x

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Patchwork: Hello Bear Cot Quilt

Finally a quilt finish to report on with this cot quilt/play mat, which I have made for my step-sister's new baby girl. I really have no excuse for it taking me so long, because a cot quilt is one of the smallest things to make, but you know how it is - life just gets in the way of sewing sometimes! 

The fabric is from the timber colourway of the Hello Bear range by Bonnie Christine. I love the fact that it is both modern and cute - perfect for a baby! 

Each block is comprised of a square and two rectangles - from memory (the gift is on its way), the finished blocks were 25cm. I did write the measurements down at one stage, but that has since been lost!

The quilting was kept very simple with stitching in the ditch around each block. I followed the format of my first couple of quilts by quilting the top and batting together before adding the back and thus skipping the binding. The reason is that I think it will hold up to more frequent and vigorous washing this way.

My one regret with this quilt, is that I didn't fussy cut the main animal fabric, but it was so difficult to keep it in line with my chosen pattern.

Love Mrs Jones x

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Bake: Black Forest Gateau

Who doesn't love the return of the Great British Bake Off? It has been such a long time since I baked (unless you count the breadmaker bread I make four times a week), so I was inspired to have a go at a Black forest gateau. One of the few phrases that I remember from learning German is "Schwartzwalderkirschtorte mit sahne, bitte" - an everyday essential!!

The recipe I followed was this one from The Hairy Bikers, although if you read the recipe through, the linked photo doesn't resemble the description at all!

As usual, I meddled with the recipe! Firstly, I left it as a two layer cake - my sponges were pretty thin and I didn't think they would stand up to being split into two. I didn't have any Kirsch or cherry brandy so used Creme de Cassis instead - just one dessertspoon drizzled over one of the sponges before spreading it with sour cherry jam, and I did not included the dried cherries either.

I learned a valuable lesson about rescuing overwhipped cream too, as my son was in charge of the whipping (see how granular it looks in the centre). Just add a little more cream and whisk by hand until it is incorporated - it will loosen up to the desired consistency.

If you are inspired to bake, here is the link to the recipes from Week One.

Love Mrs Jones x