Thursday, 3 December 2009

how to make Sarah Raven's apple chutney

Chop up apples, onions and dates

blitz in the blender

add sultanas

add cayenne pepper, ginger, brown sugar and a pinch of salt

pour in the white wine vinegar

stir thoroughly

leave for 36 hours

put into nice jars you've been saving up for months

cut circles of paper to put in the top of the jars

add labels and give to friends and relations!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Ahhh, a week by the sea... even in November it's very relaxing. I had a lovely week with mum, who was very pleased with her scarf, thanks for all your kind comments! Though I did sweeten the gift a little with some Green & Blacks ginger chocolate.

Mum has just moved into a tiny but gorgeous house, a terraced-cottage built in 1810. Despite its mini-proportions it has the biggest bathroom I've ever seen, and is decorated throughout with wood and teal blues. It has hard to leave.
After a walk along the pier and the promenade, with as much salt air as I could possibly want to breathe in, I dived into the Lanes for shopping and gawping with Mr HH. We had the most delicious seafood at English's, and visited the Angel Food Bakery cupcakery. I also fell in love with retro cafe Scoop and Crumb, where I had a Fruit Crumble Sundae, with cinnamon ice-cream, berry ice-cream, strawberry ice-cream, crushed shortbread, fruit coulis and whipped cream, and admired the wallpaper

I saw a whole heap of relations, and parted with Freddie the elephant when I met my 18-month old cousin Freddie. He doesn't talk yet, but has the most adorable laugh.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Just in time

I finished my Mum's birthday present, Haven in Lavender Ice (Rowan Cocoon).

I've folded it in half in the photo above, as it's very long, I used three balls of Cocoon, which as ever is lovely to work with, super soft and squishy.

I'm off to Brighton for a week, to deliver this present, and breathe in some salt air...

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The West Wing Chicken

Am I the only one who sees something cooking on TV and has to have some?

CJ - What have you been doing?

Toby - Well cooking this chicken took some time.


CJ - I'd like to learn how to make a chicken like that.

Toby - Stick a lemon up it and throw on some rosemary

CJ - Yeah?

Toby - Yeah, a little salt.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

calling all Jane Austen fans

I have just acquired a copy of 'Jane Austen - A Literary Challenge' by Helen Barton.

It's been fun to flick through and test my knowledge of my favourite novels, but, I am not a true Jane Austen devotee - I know very little of her life and family, I never went to see 'Becoming Jane' at the cinema, and I haven't read any of her lesser known works, or any of the biographies. This seems to me a really good little book for an Austen fan, surely there is someone out there who would appreciate this fun, but also seriously challenging, book more than me? I propose a mini-swap with the first person who wants this book. As I live in Bath I'll trot down to the Jane Austen Centre and buy a few trifles to send off with it too if you like.
So if you're interested leave me a comment and we can correspond via email, UK residents only though, I regret to say.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

books books books - a little late

I sort of forgot to do my 'quarterly review' at the beginning of October, so I won't call it that anymore. So, books I've read Aug - Nov 2009;

currently reading ~

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
Ramage's Diamond by Dudley Pope
LieutenantFury by G.S. Beard
BUtterfield 8 by John O'Hara

have read ~

1. Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
2. Ethel & Ernest by Raymond Briggs
3. The Third Sister by Julia Barrett
4. North and South (again!) by Elizabeth Gaskell
5. Sharpe's Fury
6. Sharpe's Escape
7. Sharpe's Gold
8. Sharpe's Eagle
9. Sharpe's Havoc all by Bernard Cornwell
10. Life in Nelson's Navy by Dudley Pope
11. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
12. misc Short Stories by Muriel Spark

books I've started but didn't like ~

13. The Penultimate Truth by Philip K. Dick
14. Star of the Sea by Joseph O'Connor
15. Walking Back to Happiness by Anne Bennett

more books I'd like to read next ~

Sharpe's ............. (all of them) by Bernard Cornwell
A Battle Won by Sean T Russell (the much hoped-for sequel to Under Enemy Colours)
Requiem for a Wren and Pied Piper by Nevil Shute
The Odin Mission by James Holland
Land Girls by Angela Huth

So I've read about the same number of books as in the previous three months, clearly I had much more time on my hands during the first three months, and I've now settled down to my true average rate of reading.

So in the last week I did that mythical thing, I found some truly good television programmes to watch! I highly recommend watching 'Beautiful and Damned' and 'Hooked on Hollywood' here if you didn't see them. There have some esp. interesting moments within them, including an inter-war makeover, Cecil Beaton photography, and some gorgeous film clips of Clara Bow in IT.

I discovered the website for the 'Do you doodle?' books does free doodles. Sometimes it's a good thing to get in touch with your inner nine year old. So I doodled!

Today I did something I've been wanting to do for several months, somehow I never got around to it, but I'm so glad I did because I enjoyed it so much, and it's so yummy! I made chocolate biscotti...

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

hallowe'en and elephants

Freddie the elephant ~ a present for my one year old cousin, who I'll be meeting in November during a week-long holiday in Brighton. It's exactly the same pattern as Peanut. Country Threads is really good for remnants, so he cost me less than £4 to make. The striped blue happens to be the same fabric as my regency wrap, and is an incredibly soft brushed cotton. I made one mod. - adding a square of the contrasting fabric to the end of the trunk, instead of gathering in the four corners.

I'm also going to give him Orange Pear Apple Bear, which I fell in love with during the Lit. Festival. My foodie experiences at the Mission Theatre also inspired me to try a new tarte, and I found this recipe on Delia's website for Parsnip and Stilton tarte. It's good, but not as bursting with flavour as Sarah Raven's spinach and gruyere.

Are you excited about Halloween on saturday? I already have my pumpkin done!

Have a fun weekend!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Lord Nelson :: a hero

James, dressed as Lord Nelson

(you can't really see, but he has long hair tied back in a queue with a dark velvet ribbon)

give you joy of the day!

James's hand-drawn (with a quill) map of the battle

Julian Stockwin himself

Naval artifacts
Julian Stockwin signing books

James's hand-made signs, others included the Lower Gun Deck for the basement, the Poop Deck for the first floor, and the Wardroom for the staff room.

Captain Hardy

Emma Hamilton
Beau Brummel

Saturday, 17 October 2009

tis the season to bake your christmas cakes (!)

Having never embarked on the whole christmassy-menu-plannery-thing before, I was surprised to be informed by one of my fellow booksellers that he had already baked his christmas cake. Apparently tis the season!

I promptly borrowed his loose-bottomed 8" cake tin and had myself a baking day. One cake for my Dad, as a christmas gift, and one for my own household, as we are having people to stay this year. Having never done this before, I was shocked at the sheer quantity of fruit involved - it's such a dense cake. I used easy-roll marzipan and icing, and nearer the time I'll add some gold or red ribbons.

Here are some 'outtakes' from my hair-messing - I took photos in order to see the back of my head/various angles. I tried the effect of a ribbon, but didn't want to cut the one I had (the blue clashes with the wrap so I won't be using it) and instead I'll try and find a white ribbon in Bath. I don't have long enough hair to create a voluminous bun, so have plaited my hair and tucked it up at the back, I'll try and get it more even next time. You might also spot that I have 'tested' the hairstyle with the dress...