Friday, 30 November 2012

Boxing Day plans....

Being a greedy sort of family, we generally have TWO feast meals over Christmas. On Christmas Day, it is the traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings. On Boxing Day, we have a huge baked ham with new potatoes, roast parsnips, something fresh and green that we didn't have on Christmas Day (probably broccoli, it depends what's available), parsley sauce AND Cumberland Sauce. And we follow it with the mince pies and brandy butter that we didn't have room for  the day before.

Cumberland  Sauce, if you haven't come across it before, can be made quite simply by heating together roughly equal quantities of port, redcurrant jelly and orange juice together until the redcurrant jelly melts and dissolves into the liquid, then cooling to room temperature.

As for the gammon, we always have it with a richly caramelised brown sugar and mustard crust.

To make the coating, boil or roast the ham in your preferred way and then just before it is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and strip off the skin and most of the fat, then score the remaining fat into diamonds. Stick a clove into the centre of each diamond and then spread a thick layer of Dijon mustard over the whole surface and press as much Demerara sugar as will stick on to it all over the surface.
Then put the ham in a foil lined baking tray (if you don't use the foil, you'll end up throwing the baking tray away!) and put into a fiercely hot oven for around 30 minutes until you have a nice glossy caramelised surface. Stand and serve in your usual preferred way.

Here are the parsnips we had last year - home grown ones!

And then mince pies to follow (sorry about the tiny photo, Blogger is stubbornly refusing to allow me to resize it. I'll try again in a day or two when hopefully it isn't being such a sulky Blogger)

I'm joining in with Food Friday at Carole's Chatter

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Great candy at Studio 12

Studio 12 at Polkadoodles has a £50 goody bag to give away this month, including CDs, stamps, promarkers and embellishments - follow the link to see how to join in!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Food Glorious Food

No, this isn't a recipe post (really must get back in the kitchen, but this cold wet weather turns me into a "meat and two veg" woman and that isn't awfully creative) but yet another craft one. Yes, I'm having a lovely weekend crafting - so very relaxing and it stops me from looking at the saturated ground outside and sighing!

I'm really enjoying making this year's Christmas cards as I've gone in for such a wide variety of styles. I've been making them all yesr too, so what a pity I've only recently found the Winter Wonderland blog.

Anyway, I've found and followed them now and this week's challenge is Food Glorious Food. To my surprise, the only Christmas food themed goodies I had were a Christmas Pudding stamp and backing paper, so here is my take on the theme. I am entering it into the Food Glorious Food! challenge at Winter Wonderland

Singing the Blues

Several of my friends and family have birthdays in December - several MALE ones. And I need to make cards for them. I can hear 90%  of you groaning - cards for men are so hard to make, especially men who don't like the traditional male card themes of booze, sport and fishing. But all the men in my family appreciate landscapes, and I like to create a wintry looking scene that isn't specifically a Christmas card. I reckon that way they can sneakily carry on displaying their birthday cards right through Christmas and make it look as if they had more Christmas cards than usual!

So here is a card I have made with that in mind. I die cut the circle and stamped the scene, then masked off the scene and the card below it and  also a circle for the moon. Then I sponged two shades of blue ink over the circle and blended them with horizontal strokes of a watercolour brush to create a wintry looking sky. Finally I highlighted the snow with touches of holographic glitter to reflect the blue.

I am submitting this to
 CAS-ual Fridays CFC79 Winter Blues
Addicted to Stamps and More CAS challenge 4
Addicted to Clean And Simple ATCAS #1 Snow

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Glamour and Glitz

With this card, I am joining in two challenges:

Less is More - 95 - recipe: Glamour and Glitz
Oldie  But a Goodie - Anything Goes

When I think of Glamour and Glitz, the very LAST thing I think about is "Clean and simple". My instinct is to pile on the bling! But of course glamour means fashion too, and I remembered some old peel-offs I bought when I first started cardmaking about 15 years ago.

Isn't it funny, as crafting newbies there is a temptation to rush out and buy armfuls of peel offs. Then you get them home and wonder what the heck to do with them! Once you are an established crafter, you find that the ones you use most often are borders, corners and words, yet you can't bring yourself  to part with those early purchases.

So this dress is definitely an oldie but a goodie. In fact I think it is a great credit to the manufacturer  that after all this time the adhesive on it still works as well as if it had been brand new.

Actually everything on this card is at least a year old. The grey card I used for the band across the middle was also one of my first purchases, I just KNEW it was going to come in handy one day. The paper I used for the dress was from a prize I won from a craft magazine last year, and the pink glitter card from a bundle I won last year. The shoes are from a RAK I received the Christmas before last and the sentiment was a freebie in a craft magazine absolutely years ago. Everything comes in useful if you hang on to it for long enough!

CASology #20 - Gobble

The cue card this week at CASology is GOBBLE. Now here in England, very few of us celebrate Thanksgiving,  so the whole turkey thing doesn't happen. Well, it does, but at Christmas, and we  tend to go for snowflakes, robins and penguins (why penguins? Santa lives at the North Pole, penguins at the South Pole. There is, quite literally, a whole world of difference!) on our Christmas cards.

So if I wasn't going to use a bird that goes "Gobble! Gobble!" or a Thanksgiving feast on my card, what COULD I use? What do most of us love to gobble?


So here is my interpretation of the cue card. With hindsight, I should have made the band across the card a few millimetres lower down. Looking at the photo,  it looks as if I was trying to get it across the exact middle and failed, when in real life it definitely looks  as if it's where I planned it to go  noticeably below the centre!

I'm joining on with this week's  challenge at CAS-ology

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Less is More 94 - Hardware

When I saw that this week's theme at Less is More  was hardware, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. I have some brads that look like screw heads and some decoupage of retro style ladies doing DIY. I would use the brads to attach a strip of woodgrain effect paper down one side of a cream card, then use the decoupage design to overlap the woodgrain and the white space.

But I looked in my brad box and there was no sign of the brads. I spent half of yesterday afternoon turning my craft stash upside down in search of the brads. Not a sign of them. "Never mind", I thought, "I'll use the decoupage and wood grain anyway, with some plain brads". So I opened my folder to remove the decoupage sheet - and found it bereft of designs apart from a couple of useful looking borders.

Yep, I'd already made the card  I had in mind for a male birthday last year, using up the brads and decoupage. No wonder I could picture it so clearly!

But while I was  searching for the missing bits of stash, I came across a box of metallic embellishments left over from a Hot Off The Press Christmas kit from several years ago - parcels, words, Christmas trees and reindeer, along with some bow and star brads for holding them in place. I don't know why I didn't use them at the time - I think they are so cute they need little else to set them off. Here are a couple of cards I've made with them.

Let it snow!

There's a new CAS challenge blog on the loose! It's called Addicted to CAS and the first challenge is snow.
Here's my snow-themed card. The snowflake is an acetate one I got in a goody bag a couple of years ago and I've never quite worked out what to use it for. I covered it with spray adhesive and white glitter, then stamped a snowflake border and greeting.

Sorry the photo is a bit blurred - I must ask Santa for a decent camera!

Friday, 16 November 2012

A Winter Salad

Oh dear, poor Onions and Paper - I've been neglecting you recently! I've been away to visit my Mum again, and the rest of the time I've been so busy my craft goodies are lying untouched on the table. In fact a half-made card intended for a  Less is More challenge two weeks ago is still glaring reproachfully up at me.

However we still have to eat, and one day this week I put together odds and ends left over in the fridge to make this colourful and tasty salad. The soft, sweet lettuces of summer are gone from the garden (and veg box) now, and have been replaced by the more bitter salads of winter - endives and chicories. In thefridge this week there were the remains of a radicchio  and a couple of chicons of chicory. On their own, that combination makes for a rather bitter salad,  but with a couple of sliced oranges for  sweetness and some walnuts for a warming crunch, the salad sprang to life.
This week for the first time, I am joining in with Foodie  Foto Friday  at The Crazy Kitchen
The Crazy Kitchen

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Spicy lamb bake

Last week I won a baking dish from a competition promoting minced lamb, so although it has a multitude of uses, it would have been rude not to include minced lamb on its first outing, wouldn't it?

Minced lamb always makes me think of Bobotie, the spicy South African dish that looks like a moussaka, tastes like a curry and feels like a meatloaf, so I dug out a   recipe for it. But it used raisins and flaked almonds, and I happened to fancy apricots and pistachios, so I played around with the ingredients and ended up with something that definitely wasn't Bobotie - the taste was  much closer to a Northern African dish, but still with the Bobotie texture.

Here's the recipe:

500g minced lamb
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
25 g butter
1 tbs white wine vinegar
1 tbs mild curry powder
1 tsp dried oregano
75g ready-to-eat dried apricots, roughly chopped
50g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
2 slices white bread
250 ml milk
2 eggs

Tear the bread into chunks  and soak in the milk for about half an hour.

 Preheat the oven to 160 C, gas mark 3.

 Chop the onion and fry gently in the butter until sort and golden, adding the garlic when it is almost cooked. Cool slightly.

Squeeze the milk out of the bread, reserving it for later.

Mix together the lamb, onion and garlic, vinegar, curry powder, oregano, apricots, pistachios, lemon juice, seasoning, one of the eggs, beaten, and the bread. Pat into a medium sized ovenproof dish, smoothing the top.

Beat together the milk left from soaking the bread and the remaining egg. Pour over the lamb, then bake for around 1 hour until the meat is cooked and the top is golden.

The leftovers were delicious  cold the next day, with salad and chutney

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Random recipes #22 - Birthday number

This month at Random Recipes, Dom suggested we should pick a book to cook from by counting along our bookshelves until we reach the date of our birthday. Now this is all very well if you separate your books by subject, but I don't, so counting along 13 books on the first shelf (my birthday is August 13th) brought up this little gem, which I've had since school days.

Assuming you don't want to know the atomic weight of Molybdenum or the square root of 397, I moved on to the shelf blow and counted 13 books along. Now I have a huge collection of exotic, interesting and historic recipe books from all over the world, yet the magic birthday system came up with.........


Actually this isn't my first copy of this book. When it was re-issued, I bought it to replace my old copy, bought in 1981, which is just about worn out (although I've not been able to bring myself to part with it yet)

Well-used, as you can see, so I thought I must have cooked just about everything in the book. Yet the random page it fell open at was a recipe I had never tried - Delia's version of home made pork sausages.

The only change I made to the recipe was to cook them in sunflower oil rather than lard, as  I no longer keep lard in the house. The sausage mixture was very obedient and easy to shape

And after frying looked quite appetising although rather dry.

We served them with mash, Savoy cabbage and onion gravy, and our verdict was that they tasted good but were, as we'd anticipated, quite dry.

I suspect that for health reasons, supermarket minced pork is very much leaner than it was when  Delia first wrote the recipe, and with no skins to keep the juices in, the result is a healthier but less appetising sausage. The ones my husband made based on a recipe in "Sausages" by Paul Gayler were far superior.

I am joining in Random Recipes over at Belleau Kitchen

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Candy from Polkadoodles

Fans of  Nikki Hall's lovely Polkadoodles range will love this! There is a £50 goody bag being given away on the Studio 12  blog.  Hop over there and enter before the end of November,

And if you are NOT familiar with Polkadoodles, here is a card I recenly made using stamps from the range.

Actually I was going to give you several photos of cards I have made from Polkadoodles CDs, but I have just opened my "Jane's Cards" folder on the computer...... and found it empty. So I've looked in my backup folder and found that empty too.

So excuse me while I go away and cry......

A plethora of pink

This week at Less is More, it's a colour challenge and the colour is PINK.  Now, as many of you will know, I am not a pink kind of person at all. In fact I'm so unfeminine that people are often surprised to know that I love cooking and crafting so much. My handbag tends to be used  as a convenient place to carry my screwdrivers and I feel more at home in P C World than Dorothy Perkins.

My older daughter, whose lovely family blog can be seen at Mellow Mummy,  is just the same and it is a constant surprise to both of us that her daughter Lara, who loves to craft with me, always chooses pink whenever she has the chance. So I really thought I wouldn't have anything pink left to play with, after her last crafting marathon a few days ago!

However  rummage through my drawers (ooh! Mrs!) yielded a surprising amount of pink, but very few stamps that would work with a pink colour scheme. At least, I thought that at the  time - having looked at some of the wonderful work form other bloggers for this challenge, perhaps I should think again.

I stamped a simple floral motif in Brilliance ink and added a background of pink pearlescent card embossed with the 'Bug for my first attempt. I used a square backing card but it looked all wrong so I trimmed it down and I'm afraid I still hated the result. it's too........ PINK. But here it is:

Really not me at all, so I thought I'd try for something bolder.  I dropped the idea of stamping and used die cutting to produce this card. Well, I did add a stamped sentiment, but the texture of the card is all wrong for stamping on so I had to cover it up with a die cut one.

I can't say I'm really thrilled with how this one looks in the photos, but actually it looks a lot better in real life. The photos don't  really show the amount of dimension that it has. So this is the one I am submitting to Less is More this week.

And now I have a pile of pink odds and ends on my craft table - what a pity my granddaughter is away on holiday and I can't invite her over to play!