Monday, 28 July 2014

Tommy K

Tomato Ketchup Recipe

Where would the British seaside institution of fish and chips be with out a spot of tommy k?  Salty sea air, the squawk of the gulls, bundled up in your rain coat, huddling on a cold harbourside bench, watching the boats bob about, munching on chips and tomato sauce... it's life affirming stuff and what childhood memories are made of!

Also I love ketchup my Sunday morning eggs... cereal, yogurt and fruit during the week is quick and tasty, but nothing beats a lazy weekend breakfast topped with sweet and tangy tomato ketchup... (except maybe bacon, obviously). 

So one morning as I was still trying to eke out the dreggs of a bottle of Heinz, rooting around with a knife for the secret cache that I was sure would be in there if i poked and shook it hard enough, my hubby suggested that I should maybe, you know, give up and buy some more... or even just make some...  Oh lord I love that man and his brilliant suggestions!

Tomato Ketchup Recipe

The recipe below comes by way of  Jamie Oliver... although I kind of disregarded a lot of what he says and did my own thing... leaving out some ingredients, making substitutions, adding in a few bits that needed using and brazenly skipping a bit of the standing-over-the-cooker faff.  So you can just go read Jamie's recipe, as i'm sure it's just as nice ;) or you can stick around and read mine... which is tippety top yummy too, but just a bit more rough and ready... either way, get your ketchup on!

Tomato Ketchup Recipe

A glug of olive oil
600g chopped mixed fresh tomatoes
400g tin of plum tomatoes
A stick of celery
1/2 a small fennel bulb
A small white onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tbs coriander seeds
1/2 tbs mustard seeds
1/2 tbs sumac
A good squidge of sriracha,
A grind of pepper
A generous pinch of salt
300ml water
Bunch of basil, leaves only
3 big gherkins
5 sundried tomatoes
150ml sherry vinegar
80g soft brown sugar

Roughly chop the tomatoes, garlic celery, onion and fennel, pop them in a heavy bottomed pan with the oil, tinned tomatoes, corriander seeds, mustard seeds, sumac, sriracha, pepper and salt and pour over the water.  Bring to the boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer 30-45 mins until it's reduced by half.

Add the sauce to a blender along with the basil leaves, gherkins, and sundried tomatoes, whizz untill as smooth as you think it will go, and then some. Now is the tedious bit, but i promise you it's worth it... Sieve the sauce twice it really does make it much more glossy, smooth and ketchup like.

Put the seived sauce in to a clean pan with the vinegar and sugar and then simmer until it reduces a bit more and looks like ketchup... about 15 minutes.

Decant into sterilized containers, store in a cool dark place or in the fridge until ready to use.

Enjoy on your chips.  Or eggs.  Or whatever else you fancy.

Tomato Ketchup Recipe

There are a lot of things you could add to or leave out of this recipe, I think at the very basic end; tomatoes, onion, water, salt, pepper, mustard seeds, vinegar and sugar should do it, and would probably be a touch more tomato-y.  If you're making your own though, why not add in some extras, feel free to mix it up.

Have a sweet and tasty week...

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Finding my Sunshine on a Cloudy Day... #100happydays

#100happydays

My husband being a star and cheering me up, love this man : : A cool drink on a hot day, made with smooshed up old school ice pops : : Wandering around the garden noticing all the pops of colour provided by the flowers : : Enjoying the evening sun : : Getting to spend time with one of my best friends : : An afternoon at the beach, splashing in the sea and eating ice cream with two super cute little bears who I haven't seen in a very long time : : Reading through my Nan's handwritten cookbooks, trying to figure out her writing, enjoying her comments and remembering long ago baking days : : Putting down the kindle and reading a proper book : : The Agapanthus flowers starting to open, i'm looking forward to the day they are in full bloom.

After being so excited last Tuesday at how easy I was finding this challenge, I struggled a lot on Wednesday, I've been having a touch of bother with my back and nothing seemed to be cheering me up at all... but inspired by a post i'd read on Seeking Victory i pulled up my big girl socks and looked around me...  it was as if the clouds had parted and a big 'ole ray of sunshine was beaming down on me... my hubby... corny as it sounds... he had provided all my happy moments that day, looking after me, cheering me up and generally being a bit of a star, I had found my happy.

I've spent most of the last week at home, so a lot of hanging out in the garden and reading, which is delightful, but only possible due to not being very much good for anything else, but you make the most of what you get!  I was lucky enough to spend time with some of my favourite people this week too, which were definitely happy moments and although it's hard to take a picture capturing a feeling of time spent with people, without actually putting them in the frame, I know looking at the two pictures above remind me of the fun I had with them.  It's been another nine happy days, and I feel so blessed.

I hope that no matter how cloudy your days are, you find something to brighten them,


p.s. you can read more about the #100happydays challenge here if you fancy trying it yourself, see my previous posts here and here, and my Instagram feed here.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream...


Hello Summer!
Let's you and me chill out together this year, take it easy, have some fun, yeah?
Love,  Ice Cream, xxx

Oh i'm so gatecrashing that party!  And I'm bringing Raspberry Ripple with me... she's a cute, flirty, pink, little number, just perfect for Summer!

Sharp and fruity, smooth and creamy, just delish, bring on the ripples...



60g cream cheese
pinch salt
500ml milk
vanilla pod
3 tbsp cornflour
250ml cream
150g sugar
2 tbsp glucose
300g raspberries
110g sugar

Lightly beat the cream cheese and salt together until smooth, set aside.

Whisk just 2 tbsp of the milk with the cornflour until smooth, set aside.

In a saucepan mix the milk, cream, sugar and glucose.  Split vanilla pod length ways and scrape out the seeds, pop both the pod and seeds in to pan.  Bring the pan to boil and then turn down to a simmer for 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture.  Back on heat, whisk for one minute until the mixture thickens slightly, then strain to remove vanilla pod.

Slowly incorporate the milk mixture in to the cream cheese mixture, whisking until smooth.

Put the raspberries and sugar in a bowl and pop in to the microwave for 1-2 minutes until the berries burst and the sugar dissolves, blitz in a blender, and then push through a sieve to remove pips, getting as much fruit through as possible.

Refrigerate both the cream mixture and raspberry syrup over night.

Churn the cream mixture in an ice cream machine, and when it's done empty in to a large bowl and fold through the raspberry syrup to create the ripples, transfer to a freezable container and freeze.

When you're ready to tuck in, take the ice cream out of the freezer for a few minutes to soften before you serve and enjoy!


Will you be joining the party too?

Happy ice cream filled summer!


Friday, 18 July 2014

Around the World Blog Hop...

I was kindly invited by Nicole to take part in this blog hop, which, after seeing some of the talented people who have been involved so far, is such an honour.  Thank you Nicole, you've been an amazing blogland friend to me, supportive, enthusiastic, and always there to inspire me!

Nicole is the author of My Garden Diaries, a fab creative blog where she writes about her garden, home, family, creative and culinary adventures, there is always something inspiring to read and lots of gorgeous photos.  You can read Nicole's blog hop post here, but make sure you stay and have a good look around!

Around the World Blog Hop
My handy little box of patchwork...

What am I working on?

Right now seems to be a slow time for creating, the summer weekends fill up pretty fast for me and I never seem to get round to really starting anything new.  But I do always have some patchwork handy for when I have a spare moment...  I love the easy gentle rhythm of English paper piecing, it grows so quickly and I find such delight in seeing the different patterns come together as one piece of fabric.  I have a few different long term patchwork projects on the go at the minute, a couple of quilts and a cushion cover, although the cushion cover should be finished quite soon, or at least by the end of the summer!

I'm also toying with the idea of scrap booking, I've been collecting memorabilia for years, and just recently have been drooling over some beautiful blogs and supplies.  I'm formulating some plans and slowly looking through the archives and choosing photographs.  I'm also trying to take more photos lately as well as documenting little moments from my day in a bid to remember the everyday and make it as special as possible.

Which leads me to the other project I'm working on right now; my health and my happiness, two things that I've not really given much thought to until recently.  I'm focusing on spending more time with the people I love, putting more effort in to the activities I enjoy and  intentionally finding the happy moments from each day, all of which I chose to look at as creative pursuits!

Around the World Blog Hop
One of those happy moments...

How does my work differ from others of it's genre?

This was an odd question for me, other than the obvious difference of my work being mine and no one else's, I'd never really had reason to think about how it was different until now...

I don't always follow patterns and prefer more to run with a general idea and make it up as I go along... when I get going I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kinda gal! This can lead to abrupt changes mid way through a project, which can often mean two styles exist within one item, or that there is an unusual twist, I like to think that I pull it off though and I hope that it comes across as one coherent project.

Around the World Blog Hop

Why do I write/create what I do?

I've never really thought about myself as a writer, I was always more into Maths than English at school, and i'm a super creative when it comes to spelling (spell check is my bff) but I realised when i sat down to write (umm, yep, write) this post that I am actually a writer, I have over 5 years of blog posts to prove it after all.  (Though not all of it good.)  I may only write about things i've made and done, places i've been, thoughts i've had, but that all still requires words... my words... so I guess, yes, I am a writer.


As to why I write?  I write because I make; I make and I do, and I live my life, and then I take photos and write about it.

I create just because I simply love to make things, always will, always have...ever since I was little and pretending to be a Blue Peter presenter as I made Christmas cards for my family!  I love to see something that is more than the sum of it's parts come together, a blanket, a scarf, a meal with friends.  When love and effort and fabric and go in one end and something much better comes out of the other end, it's like magic to me, I get such a thrill to see something I've made.  And really... it's just fun isn't it?  Messing around with bits of ribbon and yarn and washi tape, playing with colour, sorting though buttons, getting flour everywhere, capturing all those moments, it's just food for the soul.

Around the World Blog Hop
A twist... regular bottom left, irregular top right...

How does my writing/creating process work?

Unless i'm making something for someone to a deadline, i just let things happen...  I'm inspired by things I see on pinterest, instagram, blogs,and in magazines, as well as just looking around me... beautiful colour combinations or patterns, weird little sights, people I love...

Ideas for projects come to me in one of two ways, either very quickly and very spontaneously, or very slowly after much deliberation.  I can spend months thinking things through, looking for just the right materials, reading resources about the topic in mind, or a thought could just pop in to my head and I'm away.  Which ever way, instantly or after a good long brew, when I start a project I never really fully have the end in mind beyond... this will be a cake or this will be a cushion cover, and sometimes not even that, I'm a bit of a scatted brain with out a real plan.  Creativity just tends to flow, I let things happen, let the project re-inspire me as I work, which often leads to a change of direction, but it usually turns out to be just what I wanted without even realising!

I've loved taking part in this blog hop, and after reading Kate's answers over at Mossy Cottage (whose blog I only found last week through Nicole) I realised that it's a great way to find out a little more about people.  So I would like to invite the authors of two blogs that are also relatively new to me, to take part... Lucy at Foodie Force and Claire at Little Bohemian Butterfly.  I do hope you decide to take part, if so, please post during the week starting the 21st July. 

Wishing you a weekend filled with fun, love and creativity...

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Making the Happy... #100happydays

#100HappyDays

Feeling really grateful for my friends : : Trying out pink varnish on my toes and loving it : : Enjoying a cocktail in the evening sun after a long rainy day : : Feeling lucky to live near the beach, an after work walk : : Joining in with a march for public sector strikes, the feeling of being in that crowd chanting and waving flags was so amazing : : Noticing that the second shoot on the Amarylis was finally growing : : A thank you treat for helping my friend move some pictures to her new flat.  We had a lovely afternoon after the work was done, chatting and listening to HoundMouth : : Cozying up on the sofa with some patchwork while my hubby snuggled up for a nap : : The gorgeous coral colour of that melon matched with pineapple, pretty aaand tasty.

I'm really enjoying the #100happydays challenge, finding the little things in the everyday that make me happy.  I've surprised myself by how many there actually are, I think that I used to write off quite a few days as grumpy or nothingy.  But I'm finding that when I intentionally seek out happy moments, when I stop to notice the things that bring me joy, from colour combinations to odd little sights on the street, even when I can't capture the moment in a photo, really affects the way I feel.  My whole day seems to take on a more rosy glow, it seems that by looking for the happy, I make the happy, which really is the whole point of the challenge.

I'll be posting more pictures here next week, or you can pop over to my Instagram feed to see what's making me happy every day.

Find the happy where you can...

Sunday, 13 July 2014

#DICraftSwap: Books

#DICraftSwap

Yay!  I love snail mail!  This weekend was a good time for post, I got two exciting packages this weekend... fresh clotted cream through the post (yes really) from my parents who are on holiday in Devon (which will sooo be enjoyed with scones and jam later today) aaaand a lovely craft swap parcel from Jenny, who is the author of a lovely blog dedicated to all things, knit, crochet craft and geek... pretty column!

#DICraftSwap



Jenny's parcel was a delight, all the items separately wrapped, with wee clues on the tags...  And would you just look at that cute washi tape?  I took about 30 shots trying to get this photo, before I realised that there were actually more goodies inside to be opened...  d'oh!

#DICraftSwap

Jenny kindly gave me two notebooks, cute florals, and one she had upcycled with torn book pages, glitter and more fab washi tape... where do you get your washi tape Jenny?  I have a bad case of the wanties!  Two little crocheted dragons, to match our joint love of magic and enchanting reads... which she's suggested could be used as applique pieces... and a stack of gorgeous red and cream fat quarters, gah, I'm so lucky!

#DICraftSwap

#DICraftSwap

Thank you Jenny you're a star, my parcel was so thoughtful, I'm really looking forward to using all my gifts!

I was given Hannah, the swap host and author of Dainty and Ivory, as my recipient.  Hannah told me that if she could be any character in a book, she would be Lucy from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, so after a bit of umming and ahhing, and a millionty different ideas, I finally decided to make a cushion cover with a quote featuring Lucy.  I used two of my favourite fabrics, a lovely grey wood grain and a blue and turquoise wave pattern and freehand stitched the quote, (after a bit of a water soluble fabric pen malfunction,) in tuquoise and pale blue embroidery thread.  It maybe could have done with being a bit bigger, but I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out...

#DICraftSwap

...She immediately stepped
into the wardrobe...
a moment later Lucy...
was standing in a wood
with snow under her feet...

#DICraftSwap

I also popped in some yummy looking white chocolate praline bars from The Grown Up Chocolate Company and a travel notebook, as Hannah had mentioned how much she loves, and would love to do more, travelling... I hope that she has fun planing out a dream trip in her little notebook!

It's been a while since I joined in a swap, but I've really enjoyed this one and the opportunity to connect with more like minded crafty bloggers.  If you want to join the #DICraftSwap head over to Hannah's blog to find out about signing up.

Wishing you all a happy crafty week.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

#100happydays

#100happydays

Day one... The sun peeping out from behind the clouds...  It was an odd day yesterday, life and weather wise, but when that sun came out, I felt so happy and lucky.

There are 100 days to my birthday, so it seemed to me like the perfect time to start the #100happydays challenge!  I've set myself a few other little goals to achieve before my birthday too, blog, craft and health goals, and now nicely rounded off with a happiness goal, wish me luck!

I'll be posting my pictures on here every so often, but if you want to follow along day by day, you can find my Instagram feed here, if you're taking part let me know, I'd love to see your happy days too.

Wishing you a week full of happiness,