A recipe for you!

Lebkuchen is a traditional German Christmas treat and is like gingerbread but softer. This is my favourite recipe after trying several last year when I was inspired by the gorgeous displays of Lebkuchen in Betty’s window display in Ilkley (Merry Christmas 2016). My attempt to create something similar was pretty dismal but I cut corners all over the shop and am not surprised. This year I’ll take care and make a decent job of it.

I gussied up the recipe with some gold foiling effect in Photoshop – I posted the instructions on how to do this here: Create a quick gold foil overlay in Photoshop. I’m getting into the Christmas spirit already!

Enjoy the Lebkuchen. I know I will.

Shake your booties!

Still absolutely loving these crochet hearts. They make such sweet eye candy and use up those oddments of yarn that could otherwise end up as ratty nests in the bottom of bags stuffed in the back of cupboards.

This one has some dried lavender with a few drops of pure lavender oil to give it some sweet smelling scent with calming properties as well.

The tiny yellow flower is from Attic24 and is called ‘Teeny Tiny Flower’.  The white flower behind it is a variation of the Flax flower pattern that can be found in ‘100 Lace Flowers to Crochet: A Beautiful Collection of Decorative Floral and Leaf Patterns for Thread Crochet’ by Caitlin Sainio.

I put up the link to the heart pattern a couple of posts ago.

I made this one, also with lavender, to pop onto a little wooden coat hanger with the cardi (KNITTED – and I really don’t like knitting and rarely do it but for this pattern, I made an exception).

And, just because I have conquered crocodile stitch and wonder why I found it so mysterious and difficult, another pair of croc booties. These have a few sprinkles of sequins. I have squashed the booties in my hand to text for scratchiness and couldn’t feel them so hopefully, over a pair of socks, these will look sassy and keep some little toes nice and warm.

I shall be in the UK this coming week. I am sure you have a fairly good idea why…

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

I made a lovely big pot of soup. It was delicious. This is the pot that went to table.

When is a pot not a pot? When it’s ajar… (groan all you like, I can’t hear you!). It’s the hue of something that would probably be banned if it was an artificial food colouring… It’s a colour only bogey men would love.

Or Gracie   (just joking, she must have been thinking of FISH here).


It is really amazingly good and simple to make:

I used 2 middle sized bags of frozen mixed cauliflower and broccoli florets (I like frozen veg – it’s ready prepared AND it’s very fresh – limp, withered veg cannot be frozen. It just cannot be used.

Veg is picked, prepared, blanched and fast-frozen. The so-called ‘fresh’ produce in the supermarkets can sit there for days and get sneezed on or picked over by hands that could have done anything.

Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup

  • 2 middle sized bags of frozen mixed cauliflower and broccoli florets, DEFROSTED overnight, spread out on a baking tray, spritzed generously with Fry Light and sprinkled with a little garlic powder and turmeric.
  • Bake for 30 mins on 180º.
  • Fry a couple of onions (I use Coconut oil because I know it is magic and will make me immortal).
  • Add all the cauliflower and broccolli to the fried onions and continue to fry.
  • Stir in 1600 ml of stock (I like Kallo organic vegetable stock cubes and used 4).
  • Up to you, but I added some more garlic powder, some black pepper, some turmeric, a little hot chilli powder and a little medium curry powder. I taste in between  (it’s all cooked so nothing to worry about germ-wise) till I think the flavour is about right.
  • Leave to simmer for about 30 mins.
  • Blend – I use a regular hand blender that does the job easily – and blend it till it’s smooth.

Transfer to a tidy tureen to take to table. Serve with crusty granary bread – I popped a large granary cob in the oven to warm it through and it was like freshly-cooked bread.

So there you go. It might look like Shrek’s snot (I’d never make a food writer, would I?) but it’s hearty and flavoursome. And, pretty healthy, too.

The news says the UK is being battered by storm Doris. Seems such an incongruous name for a wild weather bomb. Sounds like she’d be more at home with the People’s Friend and a knitting pattern. Ireland has been getting some of  her violent winds (she must have had some of my cauliflower soup) and the hoolie woke me around 5.30 am with a raging noise like waves crashing against rocks.

I finally gave up trying to drop back off and got up for a lovely cup of tea. I make a pot every morning and got out some crochet bits I’ve been making on and off.

I didn’t disturb Gracie for long. She soon settled back down and the wind didn’t bother her one bit.

I keep my crochet treasures (lol) in this ‘I love this you much’ – or something like that – box. It came in a set of three, each nested inside another. This was the small one and is very handy for the job. I keep thinking that I’m still new to crochet but actually I’m not a newbie any more at all! I’ve still got things to learn, though, and love reading crochet blogs to pick up hints and tips.

These are for a corsage for a green and lilac coloured-cardigan. The leaves haven’t been blocked so they’re a bit crumpled. They’ve all got their cotton tails on – I use them to help put the group together. Only when I’m happy with the composition do I weave them in. What a chore though, eh? Gah. The leaves are called Dutchman’s Breeches (not really leaves at all, then) or Bleeding Heart (who knows? Not me. I’ve seen the same pattern, more or less, with both names) which I adapted as the original pattern produced leaves that were dense and stiff.

The twisty noodle and small curl are simplicity itself and the hookey internet people share patterns for them just everywhere. The purple and mauve flowers in the middle were from a Mollie Makes free online pattern. Google Mollie Makes crochet flower corsage. Mine are slightly adapted (to make them smaller) but essentially uses the same pattern.

I also made a couple of crochet roses:

The scalloped roses (the orange and grey ones) came from a pattern on Attic24’s blog and the pale lilac coiled rose came from Pink Milk’s blog. Google – you’ll find both very easily.

I’m going to make like Gracie and chill out for a bit now. My domestic Goddess is fulfilled for a while, I’ve been very very good and have the house clean and sparkling (my halo is visible from space, you know) and it’s time to attend to other things. I am currently loading VMware onto my Linux laptop so that I can run Adobe stuff under a virtual Windows 7 machine. That makes me very happy.

Until the next time, it’s bye from me. Be good and be happy.

All-Butter Shortbread

Heylo Dare
Did you have a happy Valentine’s Day? Get anything nice? Give anything nice?
I made some all-butter shortbread – Mr Tree’s favourite.

1 lb plain flour
12 oz butter
6 oz caster sugar

Gas mark 2, or 140º for electric ovens for between 40 mins to 1 hour (depending on whether your oven is fan-assisted or not).

Basically, rub the ingredients together (or just tip into a mixing bowl with a kneading tool and let it mix till it turns into a pliable ball. I do this on a fairly slow setting).  Roll out and cut your biscuits. I have a cutter but you can easily make a paper template and cut round it with a knife.

Place on a baking tray giving them some room to spread. Cook till just golden and still slightly soft to touch.

Turn out onto a cooling rack, sprinkle with caster sugar and there you go. Made with love.

Mr Tree also got a family sized pack of mini eggs – a BIG treat.  Around easter he has to take a ten-step programme to get off them. I asked and asked if there was anything he wanted but he said No. He got everything he wanted at Christmas. He’s just not a materialistic kind of guy.

I, on the other hand, am a teeny bit the other way and got a gorgeous phone case and some New Shoes. *Sigh*

Have a happy day!

Little cottage cushion


Today I finished making a second little cushion. It’s got lots of hand-embroidered stitches, beads, buttons and wooly bits.  It’s  approximately 12″ x 12″ and has a feather-filled cushion filler inside and is deliciously plump and squashy.

It’s made from pink wool-rich Tweedy fabric with a funky floral design cotton material over the top.

Finally, a mid-weight linen panel with an appliqué cottage and tree to decorate in the middle.

layoutcushionNow that I’ve got a little repertoire of hand stitches mastered, I’m ready to move on.

I’ve been practising:

  • Twisted Daisy Border Stitch
  • Sheaf Stitch
  • Tete De La Boeuf
  • Russian Chain Stitch
  • Rosette of Thorns

They’re very pretty and not too difficult or fiddly to do nicely.

Some really need some guidelines and perfect for the job is an embroidery marker. Draw on the design or guidelines and when you’re ready to remove them, a quick spritz of water vanishes the pen marks away like magic.

My next project will feature a few of these new stitches and I’m really looking forward to doing something with them. If you’re looking for inspiration and help with hand embroidery, I recommend Sarah’s Hand Embroidery.

It’s a real treasury of stitches, techniques, information, tutorials.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...