Monday, 29 September 2014

Hedgerow Pesto

Food wise, I don't think autumn can be beaten. I love big salads and super-fresh tomatoes in the summer, but as the nights start to draw in the comfort food can come out. I've also been exploring what nature has to offer, to pair with some of the more unusual ingredients that are arriving in my weekly veg box. This pesto creation is one of my usual slightly off-the-wall concoctions, but it is tasty so I'll share anyway. It isn't really a recipe as such, as I definitely didn't measure anything!

Tasty fresh ingredients are the key, so lots of fresh basil, which I have miraculously kept alive on my window sill. I used a good couple of handfuls, plus lots of good olive oil, a bit of garlic and some parmesan.

I whizzed everything up in a food processor, not forgetting the key ingredient, foraged hazelnuts. There are absolutely loads round here at the moment, and I think if they are picked when a bit green they work really well as a pine nut substitute. Plus they are free!

I got some beautiful fresh borlotti beans in my veg box, and didn't have much of a clue what to do with them, so I boiled them for about 45 mins until soft, in well-seasoned water with mixed herbs. I then mixed the pesto and beans together with some gnocci, sundried tomatoes, raw cucumber and a little greek yoghurt.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I will never be a food blogger ;)

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Thirty-six Psychadelic Grannies

Well hello there. So, earlier this summer I made my lovely Mum a quilt for her birthday present, so here is the big reveal! This is the third quilt I've made; see the first here, and the second here. I decided to challenge myself a bit more with this one, so went with a granny square block design, using 2.5 inch squares. I added white borders between the squares, so the quilt fits a double bed and consists of 36 blocks, which is 900 squares in total, thank goodness for rotary cutters :)

There are many proper tutorials out there so I won't bore you with my ineptitude, but the basic idea is, cut out an awful lot of squares...

Arrange them into blocks according to taste, I tried not to be completely random in my arrangement, aiming for two dark and two light patterns in each block. I think choosing fabrics is my favourite part of the quilting process, so many choices! This one seems to have gone slightly psychadelic, I like to think that suits my Mum :)

Square up the blocks, then spend 3 hours trying every possible permutation of block arrangement... (or just be more decisive than me!)

Sew the quilt top together, lay out with quilt back and batting/wadding in a sandwich - I always get a cotton sheet for the backing as it is so much cheaper than buying fabric by the metre, and I don't need to piece it either.

Wrestle with so much fabric and try not to make too much of a mess of the quilting. I would love to try one of those machines that lets you make swirly interesting patterns.

Embroider a date patch, because obviously this will become a family heirloom...

Edge with pink elephants, and done!

Love you Mum!

What block design shall I challenge myself with next?