Christmas pudding surprise!

A few weeks ago I ran a couple of crochet workshops & would love to share my chocolate orange cosy ‘recipe’ with you!

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You will need a 3.5mm crochet hook, stitch marker, tapestry needle, scissors & good quality dk yarn in brown, white, green & red – I used Stylecraft Special dk in Sandstone, Greengage, Lipstick, & a Twinkly White yarn from my stash – don’t forget the chocolate orange!!

I have used the Amigurumi method of a continual spiral for the bottom & top of the cosy:

Bottom – brown

Rnd 1 – using 3.5mm hook ch2, 4dc in 2nd ch from hook (4)

Rnd 2 – 2dc in each st (8)

  • use a st marker in 1st st of each round

Rnd 3 – 2dc in each st (16)

Rnd 4 – 1dc in each st (16)

Rnd 5 – * 2dc in nxt st, 1dc in nxt st, rep from * to end (24)

Rnd 6 – * 2dc in nxt st, 1dc, 1dc, rep from * to end (32)

Rnd 7 – * 2dc in nxt st, 1dc, 1dc, 1dc, rep from * to end (40)

Rnds 8 – 14 – 1dc in each st (40)

  • depending on your tension you may need more or less than 14 rnds – use your Chocolate Orange as a guide

Rnd 15 – 19dc, 6dtrtog in 20th st, 1ch, 20dc (40)

Rnd 16 – 1dc in each st, fasten off with long tail (40)

weave in starting end only & cut yarn

Lid – white

work as for bottom up to Rnd 12 (or for as many rnds as to fit top of chocolate orange just up to brown bottom)

Nxt rnd – 20dc, 9ch, sl st in same st, 20dc (40)

Nxt rnd – * 1htr, 2tr, 1htr, 1sl st, rep from * to end, fasten off

  • keep 9ch loop below the edging

weave in both ends & cut yarn

Holly Leaf – green (make 2 or 3)

I like to use the Attic 24 Jolly Holly pattern which can be found here – Lucy’s Holly leaf is just the right size for the cosy & has amazing prickly prickles! 

leave a long tail when fastening off – weave the tail end down the back of the leaf & use to fasten to the white top – weave in starting end & cut yarn

Holly Berry – red (make as many as you like)

Once again, I like to use one of Lucy’s patterns from Attic 24 – the Berry pattern can be found here in her Autumn Garland: Ta-dah post

leave both ends for fastening to white lid

When you have made all of your pieces, you just need to join everything together:

  • sew the brown bottom on to the white top, using a few stitches at the back, underneath the white scallop edge, to create a hinge
  • using the green tails, thread the leaf ends through the white top & fasten together underneath the lid
  • using the red tails, thread the berry ends through the leaves & the white lid, fastening each berry securely underneath the lid – the berries will hold the leaves in place
  • pop in a chocolate orange & fasten the white loop over the brown bobble – TA-DAH!

 

hope you enjoy this pattern

❤❤❤

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an Autumn ramble…

Sunday morning & the sun was shining. Not feeling the urge to go exploring in the car, a ramble round the village it was! We set off along the village green & over the main road to splash in the puddles on Cow Lane…

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…so called as it was used by the local dairy farmer, many years ago, to take his cattle for milking. That farm & the dairy halt on the railway are now long gone, but the name has remained.

Along the lane & over the mainline railway bridge the landscape opens up over the surrounding countryside…

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In the past the lane carried on to a neighbouring village, nowadays the footpath runs alongside the railway line. We love waving at the high speed trains, seeing if we can get a toot from the driver!

Autumn jewels were still to be found along there…

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After a while the footpath leaves the mainline railway, skirts around the edge of a field & up on to the old dairy line. Nothing remains of this old railway now except the overgrown embankment, which has created a lovely walk in all seasons…

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Dropping down off the embankment you end up on a disused World War II airfield – lots of history to talk about with the littlies on this walk!

Now we were no longer in the shelter of the trees there was a cold wind blowing across the airfield. Looking at the approaching sky it was time to head for home…

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I love these relaxed rambles with the family. I end up walking, in turn, with each of my children. We put the world to rights, sort out any worries they might have, reassure them that they’re doing well at school, & help them to make important decisions about their futures. Not things which can easily be discussed in a busy home, with everybody about & many distractions.

The countryside & fresh air is an amazing place for helping you to think clearly.

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❤❤❤

 

 

Comforting Carrot Soup…

…add Coriander for a tasty twist!

What a grey, rainy, cold day needs is thick & yummy homemade soup for lunch…

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I like to make my soups in a slow cooker so that it just sits there until I need it, but this recipe works equally well in a saucepan

Ingredients – serves 4:

  • 50g oil or butter (or a mix of both)
  • 150g sliced onion, leek, celery – if you have equal quantities of each, that’s great – if you don’t have one of them, don’t worry, just top up with the others!
  • 400g sliced carrots
  • 25g plain or gluten free flour
  • 1/2 tsp tomato puree
  • vegetable stock cube – I prefer the Kallo range of organic stock cubes – they add just the right amount of seasoning, have great flavour & are gluten free
  • 1 litre water

Optional extras

  •  1 tbsp ground coriander
  • fresh coriander

Method

  • Melt butter & oil
  • Add the onions, leek, celery & carrots
  • Cook gently with the lid on – without colouring – for 5 minutes
  • Stir in the flour
  • Add the water, tomato puree & stock cube
  • If you’re using ground coriander add upto 1 tbsp now, to taste
  • Bring to the boil & simmer for 15 minutes or leave in slow cooker
  • Once the vegetables are soft, blend until smooth
  • Reheat gently with some freshly ground black pepper
  • Garnish with fresh coriander, if using – perfect!

Healthy Bits

  • 170 calories per serving using butter
  • 11g fat per serving using butter

Simple Stripey Jar Cosy

Jar Cosy 1

A versatile little crochet project that has many uses –  tea-light holder, flower vase, storage pot for crochet hooks or pens or whatever you like…

This pattern will make a cosy to fit a 340g Tiptree jam jar but is very easy to adjust to fit any size jar that you may have stashed away! The pattern for the little flowers is from Lucy at Attic 24

I’ve used Stylecraft Special dk with a 4mm hook – Yarn A Grass Green & Yarn B White – I like to support small independent businesses & currently purchase this yarn from Lynn at Lusciously Loopy

Once you’ve mastered the basics,  get creative – use different sized jars, change the colours, alter the stripes, embellish with buttons or crocheted flowers…the possibilities are endless!

Notions required:

  • scissors
  • tapestry needle
  • stitch marker
  • notepad & pen

Pattern:

With Yarn A start with a slip knot on your hook – 2ch

rnd (round) 1 – 6dc in 2nd ch from hook (6)

  • ss to join – 1ch

rnd 2 –2dc in each dc (12)

  • ss to join – 1ch – pull tail yarn to close

rnd 3 – 1dc in first st (stitch), 2dc in second strep (repeat) to end (18)

  • ss to join – 1ch – you may find it useful to start using a stitch marker now

rnd 4 – 1dc in first 2st, 2dc in next strep to end (24)

  • ss to join – 1ch

rnd 5 – 1dc in first 3st, 2dc in next strep to end (30)

  • ss to join – 1ch

rnd 6 – 1dc in first 4st, 2dc in next strep to end (36)

  • ss to join – 1ch
  • 6 rnds are sufficient for this size jar – if your jar is bigger just add further rnds in the same way increasing the 1dc in the first stitches each rnd

rnd 7 – 1dc in each st blo (back loop only) – insert your hook through the back loop of each stitch not through both – this will create a neat line for starting to work upwards (36)

  • ss to join – 1ch

rnds 8 & 9 – 1dc in each st (36)

  • change to Yarn B – ss to join – 2ch

rnd 10 – 1htr in each st (36)

  • change to Yarn A – ss to join – 1ch

rnds 11 & 12 – 1dc in each st (36)

  • change to Yarn B – ss to join – 2ch

rnd 13 – 1htr in each st (36)

  • change to Yarn A – ss to join – 1ch

rnds 14 to 19 – 1dc in each st (36)

  • change to Yarn B – ss to join – 2ch

rnd 20 – 1htr in each st (36)

  • change to Yarn A – ss to join – 1ch

rnds 21 & 22 – 1dc in each st (36)

  • ss to join – 1ch – if your jar is taller, just add a few more rnds now
  • the next rnd is the decrease(dec) rnd for the neck of the jar – as this jar cosy is crocheted in an amigurumi style, dec in flo (front loop only) as this will create a neater dec

rnd 23 – 4dc, 2dctogrep to end (30)

  • ss to join – 1ch

rnds 24 & 25 – 1dc in each st (30)

  • fasten off, weave in ends & slip your jar into your lovely cosy – sit back & admire your  hard work!

Mmmm… Mushroom Soup

Rainy days require homemade soup for lunch…

Mushroom Soup

I like to make my soups in my slow cooker so that it just sits there until I need it but this recipe works equally well in a saucepan

Ingredients – serves 4:

  • 50g oil or butter (or a mix of both)
  • 50g sliced onion
  • 250g sliced mushrooms – button mushrooms give a nice pale soup, chestnut & field mushrooms will yield a much darker colour
  • 50g plain or gluten free flour
  • 500ml water
  • vegetable stock cube – I prefer the Kallo range of organic stock cubes – they add just the right amount of seasoning, have great flavour & are gluten free
  • 500ml milk

Optional extras

  •  extra butter & sliced mushrooms
  • chopped parsley

Method

  • Melt butter & oil
  • Add the onions & mushrooms
  • Cook gently with the lid on – without colouring – for 5 minutes
  • Stir in the flour
  • Add the water & stock cube
  • Bring to the boil & simmer for 15 minutes or leave in slow cooker
  • Meanwhile, fry the extra mushrooms in the butter until nicely browned
  • Add the milk & blend until smooth
  • Reheat gently with some freshly ground black pepper
  • Serve garnished with the extra mushrooms & sprinkled with the parsley – perfect!

Healthy Bits

  • 225 calories per serving using butter & semi-skimmed milk
  • 13g fat per serving using butter & semi-skimmed milk

Apple & Cinnamon Loaf

As I’m writing this blog I have a cup of coffee in my favourite mug next to me & a couple of slices of this tasty, moist loaf cake – sooo yummy!

Apple & Cinnamon Loaf

Quick & easy recipe – great for using up apples that are just past their fresh best – better still, it makes up perfectly using less butter for a lower-fat version…

Ingredients:

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 110g sugar – granulated or caster
  • for lower fat version use 55g butter & 30g fat-free natural yogurt or just use 110g butter
  • 2 small / 1 large apple – eating or cooking
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp milk

Method:

  • preheat oven 180’C
  • line or grease a loaf tin – I like to use preformed loaf liners
  • using a food processor or rubbing-in method combine flour, cinnamon, sugar & butter
  • grate apple – leave skin on for eating apples, peel cooking apples
  • add to mix along with remaining ingredients & combine
  • put in loaf tin – level – sprinkle with extra sugar for a glazed topping
  • bake for 45 minutes

Enjoy!

The Best Broccoli Soup

Soooo cold & grey here again – the sun seems to pop out occasionally but soon gets hidden behind a blanket of thick grey cloud – time for more yummy soup to warm us up…

…the best broccoli soup is made from roughly 1/3rd flowers & the rest stalk! The flowers are great as a side vegetable but do not have the substance to make a hearty soup – do not be afraid to use the stalk – it really is super tasty & contains loads of nutritious stuff – a great way of using food that you would normally waste…

…I made my soup in my slow cooker but it also works well in a saucepan

Ingredients – serves 4:

  • 50g oil or butter (or a mix of both)
  • 100g sliced onion, leek & celery (it doesn’t matter if you don’t have all of these ‘white’ vegetables – any combination will do)
  • 200g chopped broccoli flowers & stalk
  • 50g plain or gluten free flour
  • 800ml water
  • vegetable stock cube – I prefer the Kallo range of organic stock cubes – they add just the right amount of seasoning, have great flavour & are gluten free
  • 200ml milk

Method

  • Melt butter & oil
  • Add the all the vegetables
  • Cook gently – without colouring – for 10 minutes
  • Stir in the flour
  • Add the water & stock cube
  • Bring to the boil & simmer for 20 minutes or leave in slow cooker
  • Add the milk & blend until smooth
  • Reheat gently with some freshly ground black pepper – perfect!

Broccoli Soup

…we had ours with some cheesey garlic bread today – yummy!

After lunch all I really wanted to do was curl up in my warm, cosy cottage & get on with some neglected sewing projects but Alfie needed a walk & the littlies had been inside long enough! So off we set, across the fields in a circular walk taking in a nearby village…

Sign

…we passed a lovely, old rotting tree stump which is obviously now the entrance to somebody’s home – maybe Mr & Mrs Fox or a family of rabbits…

Tree Stump

…passing through the sheep fields I was reminded of when my Littliest E was very young – as we kept chickens he thought that all animals had feathers, not fur – so when out walking through a field one day, he exclaimed, look Mum, I’ve found some ‘sheep feathers’ & we’ve called them that ever since!

Sheep Feathers

I often think that our Border Collie is mad & this just proves it…

Alfie

…it’s an icy cold day & he still insists on going into the brook to ‘rescue’ the stones!

Gayton Church

… once we reached our neighbouring village it was back towards home past the church – a strange building of two halves – it has a brick tower & walls to the rear, & a frontage built of stone

A lovely walk, but I’m glad to be cosy & warm back at home – my little display of Spring sunshine greeting us as we came into the kitchen…

Yellow Tulips