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The Homemade Heart
Central Scotland
Recent Activity
In our village, we have a village hall. Originally built as the parochial school in 1813, it is a sturdy stone building with the main hall and kitchen on the ground floor (don't you just love a village hall kitchen?), and a smaller room upstairs, originally the teacher's lodgings. It is run by a group of volunteers who formed a Trust to take over the hall some years ago when it was threatened with closure, and is an asset to our village, and community. It is used by the scouts, the SWRI, the badminton club, the Zumba class, the Local History society, and various other committees and groups. One such group is the Beginners' Yoga class, where a group of village ladies spend an hour stretching, bending, contorting and perspiring every Thursday evening from 7.15 to 8.30. I have attended this class since last year, and just love every minute. However my favourite part of the evening is when our gentle teacher invites us to put on something warm and lie down for Savasana, or Dead Man's Pose. This is the well-earned relaxation at the end of the yoga class, and is quite delightful. My mind drifts off in all sorts of directions during Savasana, and I let it float freely, enjoying the scenes and memories this 'conscious relaxation' seems to bring forth. Often these scenes involve water, I have a sense of flying over the ocean, as if I were a seagull. I can almost feel the wind, and smell the water. Although in everyday life I am frightened of deep water, I find this sensation very relaxing when experienced during yoga. Some people put on socks and a sweatshirt for Savasana, some cover themselves with a fleecy blanket. Initially I covered myself with a cosy blue checked blanket which originally belonged to Jacob's room when he was a little boy. It is large, and soft, and warm. However after several months of yoga class I decided it would be very nice to have a quilt for yoga class instead. I wanted the quilt to approximate the ocean, starting at the bottom with deep sea creatures, then meander via smaller shoals of fish, wading sea birds and crabs towards the shore, as it appeared in my imagination, i.e. the top of the quilt. (Here is Isaac, kindly holding up my quilt in the back garden for photography purposes) I gathered fabrics I liked over a couple of m0nths, searching on line and in my local sewing shop. I wanted the quilt to be simple in construction, and decided on horizontal stripes of differing widths. Once these were joined, I added a broad border all the way round (I wanted it to be large enough to avoid draughts seeping underneath at yoga class). The backing is pieced from left overs, and I rather like it. I marked out horizontal and vertical wavy lines with quilter's tape, and used the lines as my guide, hand quilting with perle cotton in navy, and white. I imagined the horizontal stitched lines to be the water waves, washing towards the shore, and the vertical stitched lines to be sonar waves, reaching right down to the deepest ocean. Of course, it is not perfect, but that's ok. I really like this quilt, and I'm not sure why, it is almost my favourite of those I have made so far. It was easy and quick to make, and I find the regular rows of fish and whales, crabs and seabirds soothing, as they march (or swim) solemnly across the quilt. Having used it for several weeks at yoga class, I am also pleased to report that it is very comfortable, cosy and perfect for Savasana. My mind seems to have moved on from water to snow-scapes now, so perhaps my next quilt will be inspired by snow; watch this (quilt shaped) space! Continue reading
Posted yesterday at The Homemade Heart
Thank you Jules. I hope so too. Please read Christina's comment above, who has had much more success with this book than me x
Oh don't start me on Jamie Oliver- I have never written about him for fear of a libel prosecution, suffice to say I am not too surprised that your recipe didnt turn out! Yes I am hopimg that Rachel will give me better results X
Glad you found it entertaining, and yes, why does it all foam up- I join your shudder! I have made lamb curry for the carnivores in the past, and it has always gone down well X
I know, it looked great! Never mind, we move on now. X
I now have a very funny image of your chickens pecking about amongst the leftovers! Even worse I then had to fish out all the whole chickpeas out of the sink and put them in the food waste bin, so the whole experience was not particularly great! X
Hi Christina, so interesting to read about your very different experiences with the same book! I did feel that this was a better book than my experiences demonstrated, I think I was just unlucky with my choices X
Thank you Cathy- it wouldn't even occur to me that you were gloating, I know all my readers are too kind for that! X
Fingers crossed B! X
Of course Gina! I would love to read about your dish X
Welcome to the Cookery Calendar Challenge for May. If you would like to join the challenge this month, please take a quick look at the Cookery Calendar Challenge page, which will tell you everything you need to know. My chosen book for April was 'Persianna' by Sabrina Ghayour. This is a nicely produced book, divided into chapters such as 'Mezze and sharing plates', 'Roasts and grills', 'Desserts and sweet treats'. Sabrina's introduction is warm and welcoming, explaining her Persian roots, and the influence on those food traditions of thirty years in England. The first dish I cooked was Lamb and vegetable Tagine. Lamb is a popular meat in our house (though not with me, being a veggie), but it is expensive, so I don't splash out on it too often. I was optimistic that this would please the carnivores, and confidently predicted a double green tick for the hard working cook. To make the tagine, onions are fried off in olive oil, then ground ginger, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, cubeb pepper (which I did not have) are added, then the lamb is browned in the aromatic mixture. Saffron and water are added, and the meat is left to simmer for three hours. Following this, turnips, carrots and shallots are added, and the tagine cooks for a further forty five minutes, then chopped courgettes are added and a further thirty minutes of cooking is required. I omitted the courgettes and the extra cooking time, as the natives were demanding their dinner, and I felt I had been looking at the tagine all day. I served it on cous cous, and bore it proudly to the table but alas, it did bot receive a good reception. I had assumed with all those spices and the long slow cooking that the flavour would be rich and satisfying, but it was pronounced 'bland', and I was asked awkward questions such as 'Why did you put turnips in a tagine?' (A question which had crossed my own mind I must confess.) Dinner was eaten in disappointed silence and I washed up in disgrace (yes of course I exaggerate, but not much). I was looking forward to making my second selected dish, which was Spiced Vegetable Soup, containing my favourite ingredient ever; chickpeas. Sabrina cheerfully advises you to make this soup with 'whatever you find lying round your house and in your fridge', a nicely down-to-earth attitude which I applaud. I always enjoy making soup, and often have it for lunch when I am alone in the house. I actually have it reasonably frequently for dinner too; by the time I have cooked for two carnivores and the house fusspot (he knows who he is), sometimes all I want for myself is a bowl of home made soup with crusty bread. Butternut squash, courgettes, onions, potatoes, leeks, vine tomatoes, and garlic are roughly chopped and softened in olive oil, then ground cumin, cinnamon, paprika, and chilli paste are added, then seasoning. This wholesome mixture is covered with water and brought to the boil. When the vegetables are soft, the mixture is pureed to a smooth consistency, and then the chickpeas are added, reserving some for the garnish. Sabrina advises adding the chickpea water also, but I couldn't bring myself to; the cloudy water from tinned chickpeas (even organic ones) makes me feel queasy. Another twenty minutes cooking time is advised, and in the meantime, some thinly sliced onions are fried off with the remaining chickpeas to sprinkle on the finished soup, finally, feta cheese is crumbled in. The soup looked just like the photograph in the recipe book, but unfortunately had a bitter back taste which I could not eradicate. During cooking, I added a little sugar, to no avail, and as a last resort stirred in some double cream, but the bitterness lingered. The fried onions and fried chickpea garnish was also a bit greasy, so unfortunately this dish was not a success. I had made quite a large pot, intending to freeze some in portions, but sadly the whole lot went down the sink. Perhaps I was simply unlucky with both dishes I tried, it would not be fair to condemn the book on the basis of two recipes, but in all reality it is unlikely that I will revisit this book in case of further disasters. My chosen book for May is 'Home Cooking' by Rachel Allen. I have cooked quite a few dishes from this book, and enjoy Rachel's easy going, achievable style. Jacob gave me this book as a gift some years ago and wrote a message inside it for me. (On that basis, even if the book was 'Forty Ways With Frog Meat' I would treasure it for ever.) If you joined me last month, thank you. If you would like to join the challenge this month, this is what to do: The challenge is simple: the first week of every month, select a cookery book from your shelf, and cook two new recipes from it. The recipes can be for any meal. Cakes and bakes are excluded, but puddings are included. Don't worry about photographs; if you haven't taken a photograph of the dish, post a photograph of the recipe book you used. Similarly, you are welcome to share a recipe if you wish, but there is no pressure to do so. This project is more about the process of reconnecting with your cookery book collection, than about recipe sharing or food photography. At the beginning of the following month, blog about the recipes you have used, and announce your chosen cookery book for the month ahead. This is an ongoing project, it's never too late to get involved, and everyone is very welcome. I would appreciate a link back to this Cookery Calendar Challenge post in your post. Grab the Cookery Calendar Challenge badge to display on your blog too, if you like (just copy and paste the code on to your dashboard to display). You can also join via Instagram using hashtag #cookerycalendarchallenge (you will find me on Instagram @penny.homemadeheart ) An InLinkz Link-up Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2017 at The Homemade Heart
Thank you so much Amy X
Toggle Commented Apr 30, 2017 on Spring comes late at The Homemade Heart
Oh dear Gina you will have to make up for that chocolate deficiency pdq! X
Toggle Commented Apr 27, 2017 on Spring comes late at The Homemade Heart
They do, I always think spring flowers are my favourites, then the summer roses come along and I change my mind again! X
Toggle Commented Apr 27, 2017 on Spring comes late at The Homemade Heart
Thank you so much Lizzi x
Toggle Commented Apr 27, 2017 on Spring comes late at The Homemade Heart
Oh interesting! I suppose I am thinking of my Instagram feed, where beautiful shots of trees in blossom, and spring flowers appeared weeks before anything much sprouted in my garden. The seasons are so fascinating x
Toggle Commented Apr 27, 2017 on Spring comes late at The Homemade Heart
Oh yum, I absolutely love rhubarb but usually dont make anything more adventurous than rhubarb crumble or rhubarb fool. I have a couple of Sarah Raven books, will have a look for that recipe. I love Lindt chocolate, could eat it by the pound! X
Toggle Commented Apr 27, 2017 on Spring comes late at The Homemade Heart
Love the twist on the rice crispie cakes for traffic lights! Such a simple but effective idea. X
Toggle Commented Apr 27, 2017 on Spring comes late at The Homemade Heart
I know what you mean about different ovens, it makes such a difference to how things turn out. What a shame about your tree. Our neighbour has a ginormous magnolia tree which makes ours look like a twig! I admire it every spring. X
Toggle Commented Apr 27, 2017 on Spring comes late at The Homemade Heart
Hi Chy, yes it's a beautiful privelage to witness our children growing up, and one I don't take for granted. I a, even used to my boys towering over me now! X
Toggle Commented Apr 27, 2017 on Spring comes late at The Homemade Heart
Spring in Scotland comes late, and is perhaps the lovliest of seasons, with colour slowly infusing garden and field, lane and woods. After a long, driech winter, the bright Spring sunshine makes the eyes water. We are fortunate to have a profusion of daffodils in our garden, which come after the dear little snowdrops fade; their rich egg-yolk yellow trumpets are a cheering sight to winter-jaded eyes. There are also paler narcissi, with their dainty white petals and orange centres. The small magnolia tree has bloomed beautifully again; its papery petals now slowly blow across the grass as its season passes for another year. The daffys seem to have gone over very quickly this Spring, and the blood red tulips are starting to flower. I can see the aliums slowly beginning to open in their turn also. We had a quiet Easter this year, just the four of us, and made a small celebration with a nice brunch. No egg rolling or treasure hunts in the garden now, as we used to when the boys were small, but each age has its joys, and sitting chatting round the breakfast table with the boys is such a delight. It being Easter, a little chocolate was necessary, so my very quick and easy chocolate cake recipe was pressed into service, with some seasonal decorations in the shape of candy eggs and a chocolate bunny; it looked very jolly, and tasted good too, perfect for our simple Easter celebration. Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2017 at The Homemade Heart
I love the sound of your kitchen table Sarah, and can just imagine you sitting sewing in the good light before hastily tidying everything away ready for the next task or meal time! X
Toggle Commented Apr 19, 2017 on My kitchen table. at The Homemade Heart
Thanks Kimberley. I can understand the sewing machine would have been an almost irresistable temptation! Hope the essay writing is going well x
Toggle Commented Apr 17, 2017 on My kitchen table. at The Homemade Heart
Please do Gillian, I am sure others must have done it too somewhere in the blogsphere so it is probably not an original idea but it made me appreciate my hard working table even more, writing about it! Yes the joys of being a childhood bookworm generate such warm and happy memories, I am sure you are the same X
Toggle Commented Apr 16, 2017 on My kitchen table. at The Homemade Heart
Thank you Chy, for your very kind words! How lovely to have several gathering places to eat in your house. Sometimes nothing beats a 'tv dinner' ! X
Toggle Commented Apr 13, 2017 on My kitchen table. at The Homemade Heart