Wednesday, 21 September 2011

How did it get to the autumn equinox so quickly?

I started the owls jumper this week and it's going well so far.  The pattern is surprisingly easy to follow if you take it section by section.

I went to jigsaw club on Wednesday night, we did a books jigsaw, 1000 pieces, we didn't finish it but we got half way through.  My friend made us pad Thai noodles halfway through!

On Thursday night we cycled down the canal to the fairy caves.

During my tidy session on Friday morning I made a 2 potato vindaloo from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty book.  I had to splash out on some new herbs and spices and a pestle and mortar.  It also took me a while to get hold of fresh curry leaves.  The recipe calls for 25 leaves which my Asian friends said was far too many, but I stuck to the recipe, and it was AMAZING!  It was so delicious and we had it for tea on Friday and Saturday, and for lunch on Monday.  Top marks for a cracking recipe.

It was the deadline for the Awards for All arts projects bids on Friday - we received 20 applications which we need to get down to 5 winners. 

We fixed the greenhouse glass at home on Saturday morning - it was a bit of a faff and Chris broke one of the panes, they seemed so fragile compared to the glass that's already in there.  It was wet in the afternoon Saturday so we stayed in and I did some knitting.  And in the evening we watched Peter Kay being interviewed on Jonathan Ross which made us laugh.

I bought the 'Nigella Bites' cookbook for £2 off the car boot on Sunday.  There's a recipe in there for Elvis's favourite sandwich - fried banana and peanut butter sandwich. I'll definitely be giving that a go.  Chris wants me to make chocolate cloud cake.

The tomatoes are still going strong and we picked loads. Perhaps I should sow the tomatoes a little sooner next year, so that they're not ripening so late.

We managed to make up a few veg boxes to give to our friends and they popped round Sunday afternoon to pick them up.

The sweetcorn in the greenhouse was full of flies. It doesn't do well as a late crop in greenhouse - I think it's better when sown early. If it's left later than mid to late August in the greenhouse it gets ruined by aphids and flies. There's one pumpkin in the greenhouse the size of large football, a few 'Jack Be Little' pumpkins and a few butternut squashes. The chillies are starting to turn red too. Everything's a bit late as there's been no sun. Wow, I can't believe it's nearly the end of September, where did the Summer go?

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Giant Revel 2 bike review

I love my Giant Revel 2. I was so overwhelmed which bike to choose when I signed up to the Cycle to Work scheme. I didn't want to spend a fortune, but I wanted something good enough for on road and off road biking. The bike is quite light so I'm fine lifting it over stiles when we're out and about. The gears work well, and I can ride up steep hills relatively easy. I'm glad I went for this bike, rather than the Raleigh or the Diamond Back I considered. It only cost me £300 and it looks cool. The suspension forks work well, and it's fun riding over cobbled roads. It's a man's bike, but fine for a woman too as the cross bar isn't completely horizontal, it's on a bit of an angle. We love going out on our bikes, and I already feel a lot fitter. It's amazing how far you can cycle in a short amount of time. I'm really pleased my new bike - I'd give it 5 out of 5, and I think I made the right decision to buy it.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Blackberry crumble and the wind picks up

Chris picked some blackberries off the plot so I made a delicious crumble. Here's how the allotment's looking:

We went for a bike ride up a large hill near where we live - it was a great view but it was a four hour ride and my bum was really sore when we got home. We spotted some magic mushrooms on our travels!  We also spotted some non-magic ones (pictured):

I completely cocked up the owlings glove I was making, but I think I've learnt from my mistakes, which will help me when I make the owl jumper.

The remnants of hurricane Katia arrived on Monday night and I was a bit worried about the greenhouses, but luckily they survived without any damage.

I was featured on the intranet at work, talking about how I volunteer at the shop and how other people should volunteer too. Though it would be some good free publicity.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Moomin treats and a week off work

Sorry I've been a bit rubbish keeping my blog up to date recently.

I took a week off work - so here's the brief summary:

I made an extra curtain for the allotment shed to cover up the unsightly gap under the bench where we store bits of wood and the BBQ.

I attempted to make a pinnie using the sewing pattern I ordered - I cut out all the pieces then got really confused and didn't get any further!  It's kind of put a dampener on my sewing exploits.

I splashed out on these Moomin goodies for my bedtime cocoa:


Was tempted to get this tray too!

I bought the Plenty cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and it's amazing.  I'd give it 5 out of 5 - it's the best vegetarian cookbook I own.  Every recipe looks delicious!  It's already one of my favourite books.

I picked a selection of flowers from the back garden and pressed them.

The dahlia has finally flowered.

I spotted this cool house spider on the kitchen window.

I picked lots more tomatoes and sweet peas.

Here's a few pics from the allotment.

The potato harvest - a lot had been damaged by slugs.

The San Marzano look great but haven't gone red yet.

Jenny's sweet peas are much better than mine.

A little caterpillar has made a chrysalis on one of the tomato plants.

I bought this cool onion pot off the car boot - it's made by Sylvac.

As well as some vintage buttons for a bargain price.

I put together a newsletter for the shop which seemed to go down well.

And I finally ordered the wool for the owls jumper. I'd been a bit reluctant to spend £35 on wool, because it seemed a lot of money, plus with the cost of the bamboo circular needles added on top, it was getting close to £50, and I still had to make the jumper myself. I bought the Rowan British sheep breeds chunky wool in Suffolk steel grey. I was a bit worried the wool might be rough and scratchy, but it's not. It's soft and chunky, not as fluffy as Patons eco wool chunky, but I think I like it more. I don't know if it's the natural lanolin, but it feels ever so slightly oily (in a nice way) and it glides off the bamboo needles and knits up really quickly. It also smells of sheep. I'll be very pleased with myself if I actually make the jumper! It seems quite an ambitious goal. But I know it will be so warm and lovely for winter. Wish me luck.