Monday, 23 March 2015

Gently

 
Well how are we all , grand I hope !
I'm taking things slowly and gently at the moment , in fact the month of March is turning out to be a month of resting up and adopting a gentle pace of life .
On Wednesday I went into hospital as a day patient for my little op and everything went well , and once I had recovered from the anesthetic I was allowed home with a box of painkillers . I was told to take it easy for the next couple of days and I fully embraced the enforced rest .
So a bit of therapeutic crochet and a bar ( or two ) of chocolate seemed the way to go on my return home .
 
So the day after my little op I got comfy in my favourite chair with my feet up I sat gently working ,  bathed in the afternoon sunshine , bliss !
 
But that evening I started feeling rather unwell and by the early hours of Friday morning I had a full blown ear infection and burst ear drum , so back to doctors for antibiotics ( the second time this month ) . So all I've done is rest and sleep and pop pills for the last few days . Yesterday I woke with a swollen bottom lip with a cluster of 5 cold sores on it, so I seem to have some nasty virus whizzing around my system at the moment  .
 My husband kindly noted if I was a horse they would shoot me and put me out of my misery ., thanks Mr P !!
 
Today I've snuggled up in my chair with a hot water bottle under a blanket and sat gently knitting and working on my next batch of Mill Mice .
 I've been surrounded by yarn , texture and colour , particularly the vibrant colour of my get well soon  flowers  sent to me by two lovely friends . The colour of the tulips and daffodils are so vibrant in the afternoon sunshine which has really made me happy , a burst of colour has such therapeutic properties .
 
So I am taking this week slowly and at a gentle pace .
I hope you all stay well this week and if you are under the weather rest up and take good care of your selves and maybe get a bit of colour in your days .
 
So ta ta for now and thanks for popping by .
Tracy xx
 
 

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Spring is in the air !


Well hello , how are we all ?......good  I hope !!
I have just emerged from a fortnight of feeling truly grotty and exhausted with a horrid virus whizzing around my system , I even ended up on a week of antibiotics after ending up with a bacterial infection on my face , oh how attractive I looked !! not .
But on Thursday I woke up feeling totally back to normal , that's if I could ever be described as normal !
I feel full of the joys of spring , the days are getting lighter , spring flowers are opening up and giving us much needed bursts of colour after the dark drabness of winter . The sun has been shining too and there's even a bit of warmth in it if you get chance to sit in it . Oh how a bit of sunshine and little bursts of spring time colour lift my spirits . This week has really felt like we are waving goodbye to winter .
 
 A couple of exciting things have happened over the last couple of weeks , firstly I have a bit of an announcement to make . On Monday I bought my new business Insurance which in it's self is rather mundane , but my new Insurers policy now allows me to open up sales to the U.S.A. and although I still have some restriction to do with the percentage of sale I am allowed to go to U.S.A
( this is the boring bit ). 
It does means when I now pop items in my etsy shop ( link button to my shop handmade Over yonder is at the top right hand corner of this page ) I can offer  these pieces to a wider audience . This feels great as I've hated having to say no to people .
 
 
 
On Sunday evening from 8pm onwards (U.K. time ) I will be popping 5 of my Yorkshire Mill Mice into my esty shop www.etsy.com/shop/handmadeoveryonder and I will be able to sell to U.S.A customers , whoop whoop !
.
So that's been one bit of excitement and the other has been getting a new cooker !
Yes I know by a lot of peoples standards this would be pretty low on the excitement scales , but for those who now me well they know how long I have waited for this day . I have been managing with using a  cooker that has needed scrapping for since 2013.
Mr P and I started our cooker fund in 2013 and were starting to make headway by the beginning of 2014 and then my mum had her accident . Well, after a few weeks of travelling too and fro daily on trains to hospitals miles away from where I live our savings were wiped out . It was a bit of a set back but when life throws things at us we do what we have to do at the time . As we are on a very tight budget we knew it would be a while before we could get a new cooker .
 So the saving started again , a couple of weeks ago I decided to start checking prices out on ranges again , just to see what sort of figure we were talking about .
Well I couldn't believe my luck as a website I popped onto was having a sale and there was £150 off a cooker we had previously looked at , this meant we could afford to make a purchase .
Yay no more nylon cord holding the cooker door up ( the hinges had gone) , no more putting a chair against the cooker door every time I used the oven( the seals had gone too, totally disintergrated in fact )  and no more shouting for help when the door would dropped off as I was trying to get food out ( my patience had gone too ). Oh so many times I had stood in the kitchen with a hot oven door in my hands shouting for help .
My daily oven dramas are over .
The domestic bliss of having a new functioning appliance .
I'm such a happy lady .

 
I  christened my oven within a couple of hours of it being fitted , the first bakes were Hazelnut Nutella cake ( for this recipe please visit www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes and search Hazelnut Nutella cake )  and Walnut Brownies .
I love my new oven , but I also think a greater appreciation of things is felt when it has taken a serious amount of hard work to get them .

So as you can imagine I'm like a child with a new toy , I love spending hours in the kitchen  anyway cooking and baking for the family and friends too and this is making my experience all the more enjoyable .
Whilst I was ill I made a few different soups by far my favourite was Cauliflower and Stilton soup .  Now , this soup is not to every ones taste  particularly the rest of my family . But this hot creamy fragrant soup really hits the spot for me .

 So here is the recipe for anyone who wants to give it a try .
 
Ingredients :
1 Good sized Cauliflower , cut into florets
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lrg brown onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic , crushed
veg or chicken stock ( up to 1.2 litres)
125g Blue Stilton ( use 100g for soup , keep 25g back to garnish )
half a pint of milk
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
black pepper & sea salt
 
Heat the olive oil over a low heat in a large  heavy bottomed pan , add the chopped onion with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft but not coloured . Then add the crushed garlic and freshly chopped thyme . Cook gently for another couple of minutes the add the cauliflower florets and pour over enough stock to cover the cauliflower ( either chicken or veg stock , I use chicken ) . Simmer for a further 20mins or until the cauliflower is cooked , the cauliflower should be soft when pierced with a knife . Then add the milk and crumble the Blue Stilton in and at this stage add the freshly grated nutmeg ,continue to cook for another 5 minutes . Remove from the heat and allow to cool a bit before blending into a smooth creamy soup . Whether using a hand held blender or a food processor please be careful at this stage as hot splashes could burn your skin .Once your soup is blended start to heat up ready to serve hot , at this stage taste and see if a little more seasoning of salt n pepper needs adding . When your soup is in your bowl and ready to serve why not add a final flourish of some crumbled Stilton onto the surface of the soup and maybe serve with a crusty date & walnut bread .
Enjoy
 
 
My cooker love has continued with much baking , this is a family favourite Lemon Drizzle tray bake , the recipe can be found on www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes  the recipes actual name is Lemon and Violet drizzle cake ( I just leave the Violets out ) .
 
  As a member of my youngest sons school  P.T.A. I am always very willing to do baking for our money raising events , on our last coffee morning 2 weeks ago these giant Smarties cookies were all snapped up . Once again this is a BBC good food recipe and no I'm not getting paid by the bbc !! lol
It's just I have one of their recipe books and I often go to their web page to source recipes and I bake a lot of their recipes and they always work .

These giant Smarties cookies are a great bake for fund raising they are quick to make and you get 20 cookies out of the mixture .
My final sharing of my love of baking and the joy of using my new cooker is this Citrus Bars , This is a shortbread base with a citrus curd baked on top , and it is divine .
Where do you think I got the recipe from ? yep you guessed it , www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes
For anyone who has been attending our Creative Coopers knit/ Crochet n stitch groups on a Tuesday ( 1pm to 3pm ) & Friday (9am to 11am ish ) this cake is very very similar to their lemon squidgy cake . It's well worth making , in fact Mr P tonight had a slice and he said it had the same taste as lemon meringue pie . I think I will bake this for our next fund raising event .

 
Well it's been great popping by and I hope I've not made you too hungry and I do apologise to anyone who has given up cake for |Lent , I hope I've not put temptation in your way !
Have a lovely weekend everyone and ta ta for now
and thanks for popping by
Tracy .XX