On my desk this week – 28 May 2017

I was hoping to be back with a new recipe at the tail end of last week but I’ve been laid low with what might be whooping cough (how Dickensian!!), so I haven’t been cooking at all.

Instead, it’s time for a craft update.  Can’t actually show you what’s on my desk as it’s basically a heap of crap which has nowhere else to go.  Clearing it was one of my tasks for last week but have hardly moved from the sofa.  Instead, I’ll show couple of projects I have on the go at the moment.

First up is this gorgeous baby blanket from A Year of Baby Afghans (Book 4) published by Leisure Arts.  This one is for the month of March and is designed by Mary C Abadir.  It’s the first pattern I’ve done from this book and I’m a little bit in love with it.  In fact, I keep looking at the blanket as it’s so pretty.  Once downside of the book is that a few diagrams would help for reassurance, but saying that, I’ve managed fine without them.  I’m using Drops Baby Merino, which is a 4-ply yarn, in Powder, Light Turquoise, and Light Grey, with a 3.5mm hook.  That yarn is thicker than some 4-plys I’ve used and the colours are gorgeous; I’m especially fond of the Powder which is a slight pink hint to it which, when mixed with other colours, gives a gorgeous soft neutral effect.

Another crochet project I’ve just completed (with the exception of sewing in 2 ends), is this Edlothia shawl by Jasmin Rasanen, available for free on Ravelry, worked in Sheepjes Whirl in Strawberries and Scream, with a 3.5mm hook.  I am very pleased with the finished piece but the pattern was a bit challenging to understand, perhaps owing to some translation issues. On a positive note, it really made me learn how to understand crochet charts!

Finally I’m still toiling away at the necklace I’m doing, incorporating this beautiful Lost Girl bead by Soul Silver.  I have been doing this in fits and starts for about a year and at the stage now where I’d really like to get it finished this week.  The flowers are from a pattern in Spellbound’s Floral Beaded Jewellery by Julie Ashford, and the rope design from Beautiful Beaded Ropes by Jill Wiseman.

I’m also at the finishing stage of a silver and copper bangle, using some form folding, at Silversmithing classes, so will hopefully have it home to show soon.

Thanks for looking.  Hope to see you again soon..and I promise I’ll have a new recipe soon.

xoxo

On my desk this week – 15 February 2017

The weeks are flying by this year already, so looking forward to spring coming.  I’ve got a few new projects on the go this week.  Two are long(ish)-term ones that I can hop in and out of to suit my mood and time availability.

First up, I’ve finally started the Persian Tiles crocheted blanket by Janie Crow.  This has been on my to-do list for a while now and I bought the pattern around a year ago, but have only felt like doing it now.  I’m using Stylecraft Special DK in 9 different colours.

Persian Tiles Colour Selection

I’ve finished my first motif and I’m pretty pleased with the way my colours have worked out.  I’ll be doing half the motifs in this colourway, swapping out Cypress and Pistachio for Storm Blue and Duck Egg for the other half.  I feel the chains in the middle are a bit long but hopefully the sections will stretch into themselves as I start to sew them together.

Persian Tiles

After my recent forays into cross stitching last year, I decided I’d really like to do some embroidery samplers, so although I’m a bit late, I’m going to jump into the “1 Year of Stitches” project.  Whether I’ll stick it out for the whole year remains to be seen but I would like to have a good variety of stitches in my finished piece.  I ordered some lovely Dove Grey linen …actually I ordered quite a lot, as I though it was sized in centimetres but it was in inches, but I’ll have plenty for a few projects.  I also couldn’t resist the little dinky oval embroidery hoop.  I only hope it isn’t too small to work on but if it is, I can always use it as a frame for a mini project and go back to one of my wooden hoops.

The last thing I started this week was at silversmithing classes.  I’ve decided my latest project will be a bracelet made of irregularly shaped links and connectors.  First link is done, although it still needs a good polish.  Doesn’t look much on its own but I’m hoping once it’s finished, the bracelet will be one I wear regularly.

Wonky Link Bracelet

I have to dash now, as really want to start my embroidery project tonight.

I’ll be back soon with more things to show and make.

2016 recap

Well, last year’s attempt at getting back into blogging didn’t quite go according to plan.  To be frank, my whole year didn’t go quite according to plan.  Nothing terrible happened to me but the year just seemed to fly by and I managed my time very badly indeed.  That said, I did 2 beginners blocks of flamenco dancing and also started silversmithing classes, both of which I really enjoy and hope to continue into 2017 and beyond.

Had great times in the kitchen, cooking up a storm, although still haven’t learned to decorate sugar cookies or make quite as many new dishes as I planned.

Beading took a bit of a back seat, with only 3 projects getting finished but have some new ideas and plans in the pipeline and I’d like to incorporate some of my silver work in with it once I develop my skills a bit.

I’ve been crocheting up a storm, it’s such a nice hobby to do on the couch, in front of the tv, on cold dark winter nights.

Again, I’ve failed badly at my attempt to dedicate more time to dressmaking.  I’m really mad at myself, as I love clothes and it is one of my ambitions to become skilled at making them.  I actually think I may be putting too much pressure on myself, so this year I aim to just chill and enjoy the process.

I’m about to embark on an embroidery sampler project, which I’m really looking forward to – I don’t know many stitches at the moment, so it will be a bit of a journey of exploration.  Can’t wait for my linen to arrive.

Anyway, enough chitter chatter, I have a ton of unfinished projects just begging to be completed.

 

Coconut Ice

I’m not a huge sweet fan, and will almost always choose something savoury instead, however sometimes only sweet will hit the spot.  This coconut ice is really quick and easy to make, although I needs to set in the fridge for a few hours, preferably overnight.  I make mine in my food mixer because I’m lazy but it can be easily mixed using a bowl and wooden spoon.

This recipe will give you a nice coconut-y coconut ice, just the way I like it.

 

Coconut Ice
Print Recipe
Coconut Ice
Print Recipe
Ingredients
  • 200 g icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
  • 400 g condensed milk (1 tin)
  • 400 g dessicated coconut (2 packs)
  • a few drops red food colour paste* (optional)
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Grease a small baking tray**.
  2. Beat together the icing sugar and condensed milk until you have a smooth paste.
  3. Add the coconut and mix well.
  4. If you're making two-toned coconut ice, spread half the mixture onto your tray, levelling it off to approximately 1cm in thickness then beat the food colouring into the remainder until you have a nice even colour.***
  5. Spread the coloured mix on top of the plain one, again at around 1cm thickness and smooth down the top.
  6. Leave in the fridge overnight then cut into squares. You have my permission to eat any uneven edges you need to cut off.
Recipe Notes

* I  find red colouring gives a nicer pink than pink colouring

** I use a 20cm square silicone cake mould, so I don't bother greasing it.  The mix doesn't quite fit across of the bottom of my mould, but it's firm enough to hold its shape.

*** If you're not adding colour to your coconut ice, spread all the mixture onto your tray, keeping the thickness at around 2cm.

Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Seeing Spots

I have no idea where this week has gone; I always think the worst thing about winter is leaving for work and coming home in the dark.  It feels like by the time dinner is done and dusted, I just want to have the lights turned low and the flat nice and cosy, which means that really the only craft I do on weekday evenings at the moment is crochet, as I don’t need good light for it.  Anyway, there has definitely been a touch of light in the sky the past couple of days, so onwards and upwards.

Last summer I made a dress to wear to the wedding of close friends.  I decided that, as I’d been hearing good things about them, I’d try out a StyleArc pattern.  They’re an Australian company, but my pattern scuttled its way from the other side of the world really quickly.  I chose the Layla dress, mainly because I loved the neckline.  I made some basic alterations to the sleeve and skirt style just to make it look a little more glam. (original post about the dress is here if you’re interested.)

I was so pleased with my dress, I decided to make another one.  I chose this black and red polka-dot fabric because it reminded me of Sevilla, and we all know just how much I love that place!

Ooldes of Obliciousness - Seeing Spots

Again, I decided to slightly slim the skirt, add a godet, and lengthen the sleeves.  I’ll admit I hate my arms, so I much prefer to keep the covered.  I’m happy enough to do that because I do love some fancy sleeve detail, as you’ll see in my next dressmaking project.

As I used a stretch cotton, I decided not to bother with lining it, as didn’t want either the dress sagging over the lining or the lining bulking under the dress.  It’s always going to be a dress that I wear for a few hours at a time, and the fabric is a good weight (and I’m lazy), so I don’t think the lack of a lining detracts from the dress, other making it look badly finished when it’s hanging up.  Luckily no one sees the inside of it when I’m wearing it.

I wore it to a friend’s birthday party at the weekend, styled with black patent tango-style shoes and a waspy belt.  I wish my belt had been a bit narrower as I have a really short, high waist, but as usual, I left it to the last minute and couldn’t find one the correct width.  I have one on my shopping list now though.  Here I am in all finery.

Oodles of Obliciousness - Seeing Spots

Now, I need to make some nice black jewellery to wear with it.

I’ll definitely be buying more StyleArc patterns in the future.  This one needed barely any alterations, other than the design changes I chose to do.  The instructions were great and just seemed to make sense (hahah, if that makes sense!).  There are a few I’ll definitely be getting in the next month or so because I definitely have the sewing bug now and appear to have overcome my fear of inadequacy.

Until next time, thanks for looking.

L x

Woolly Bully

Just  before Christmas I treated myself to a copy of Vanessa Mooncie’s fantastic book, “Animal Heads – Trophy Heads to Crochet”.  Once I had looked through it, I wanted to make almost everything, but once I put my sensible head on and told myself I was only allowed to do one until I had some other projects finished, I decided on the bull.  It will be perfect in our bedroom, which you may recall from a previous post, will eventually have a Spanish flamenco bar feel to it.

The bull didn’t take too long to do, as he’s mainly done in chunky yarn.  Also, there weren’t too many parts to put together.  I did find my hands got a bit sore making him, especially my “holding” hand.  This is probably not helped by me being a bit hypermobile, as it’s pretty easy to overstretch fingers.

Oodles of Obliciousness - Paco

Before I added the embellishments, I had fun pretending I was Kevin Keegan with his curly hair – luckily no  photos exist. I would  have finished him last week, but I was held back a bit trying to source a wooden ring which was large enough to go in his nose.

Oodles of Obliciousness - Bull Nose

 

I’n not sure he’ll be to everyone’s taste, but I love him so much, in fact he’s quite possibly my favourite make to date.  At the moment he’s resting on top of one of the sofas, as he’s pretty heavy, so will need to get hold of a masonry drill to put a rawl plug in to support him.  I’d love to hear what you think of him.

OOdles of Obliciousness - Bull (finished)

As yet, he doesn’t have a name, but I’m on the case (…and open to suggestions).

Jelly & Custard Cupcakes

It’s was my brother-in-law’s birthday last weekend, so I baked him some cakes:

Piña Colada cupcakes – by special request.  I even put little umbrellas in them.

Oodles of Obliciousness - Pina Colada Cupcakes

I also made jelly and custard cupcakes.  These are always a great hit with the little ones (and big ones too!)

Oodles of Obliciousness - Jelly & Custard Cupcakes

The Piña Colada ones were from Love Cupcakes, my hands down favourite cupcake book.  The jelly and custard ones are also based on a recipe in the book but I’ve tweaked it so many times it doesn’t bear much resemblance to the original.  Here’s my recipe for them:

 

Jelly & Custard Cupcakes
Print Recipe
An homage to that old favourite childhood pudding - jelly and custard...in cupcake form.
Servings Prep Time
12-18 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12-18 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Jelly & Custard Cupcakes
Print Recipe
An homage to that old favourite childhood pudding - jelly and custard...in cupcake form.
Servings Prep Time
12-18 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12-18 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
for the cakes:
  • 125 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs (large, at room temperature)
  • 125 g self-raising flour
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • raspberry jam
for the frosting:
  • 125 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp (heaped) custard powder
  • milk
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
To make the cupcakes:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees c and line a muffin/cupcake tray with cupcake cases.
  2. Put the butter, caster sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of your mixer and beat until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and mix to combine (don't worry if it looks a little curdled at this stage, adding the flour will sort that out).
  4. Add the flour and baking powder and beat again until combined.
  5. Add the milk and beat again.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly between your cupcake cases, bake for approximately 20 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean, and turn out on a wire rack to cool.
  7. Once cupcakes have cooled, using an apple corer or knife, removed a section of cake from the centre, taking care not to go straight through to the cupcake case. Fill the space with raspberry jam and pop the piece of cake you removed back in.
To make the frosting:
  1. Beat the butter and vanilla until pale and fluffy
  2. Add the icing sugar and beat, slowly at first, until the mixture comes together. Add the custard powder and beat again to incorporate
  3. At this point, you will probably find the frosting to be a little too thick. Add milk, one tablespoonful at a time, until it reaches your desired piping constituency.
  4. Add the frosting to the cupcakes using either a piping nozzle of your choice or spread on with a palette knife.
Recipe Notes
  • I use a very heaped tbsp sized measuring spoon to measure the mixture into the cupcake cases.  This will give around 16 cupcakes.
  • I find squeezy seedless jam ideal for these cupcakes.
  • I prefer about 4 very heaped tablespoons of custard powder in my frosting, as I like it to be quite custardy.
  • I like to use large nozzles, as they allow me to cover the cake quickly and easily (cake decorating is not a skill I possess!).

 

 

Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Bedroom (P)revamp

I’m so pleased I’m sticking to my craft project list and not adding anything new until I tick something off.  It has helped hugely that my lovely hubster has been clearing out someone the old stuff we seem to hang onto for no reason.  It means I have space in there to take photos and set up a temporary work tables and when I need it; it’s just down to me to go through all the bags and boxes of craft stuff I have and get rid of anything I won’t use.

I’m really looking forward to having a more minimal craft stash. As often I find the sheer volume of stuff I have is a bit daunting and ends up putting me off making anything.

I’ve also decided to decorate our bedroom in a Spanish flamenco style.  In case you didn’t know, I love Spain, especially Andalucia and dream of living in Sevilla one day. It’s one of those jobs which will take some time to complete así don’t want just go out, buy a ton of stuff, and shove it in the room; I want it filled with Spanish style knick knacks but also want it to reflect our own style and taste.

The first thing for the walls is almost finished…

Oodles of Obliciousness - Paco

…all will be revealed in the next day or so.

Oblibby xx

New Year, same old Oblibby

Happy New Year, Oodlers.  Hope 2016 brings you everything you wish for.  I always have mixed feelings at New Year; excitement at the fresh start and all the projects I’m looking forward to undertaking in the next 12 months, mixed with sadness (and a touch of anger) at everything I’ve failed to achieve in the past year.  I know I can’t do everything, but I really, really want to structure my life so I become more productive and use my free time better this year.  We shall see…

When I’m making up my project list for this year* I’m definitely adding a couple of things from these books I got a Christmas.  Both look wonderful and have so many things I’d like to make.  I think I’ll got with the orangutan from Edward’s Menagerie and the bull from Animal Heads as the first one from each book.

Oodles of Obliciousness - Christmas 2015 Crochet Books

*Actually, I think maybe listing the projects I want to do and ticking them off as they’re complete might be the way forward for me.  Ideally I’d only like to have one large and few small projects on the go at any given time, as I’m terrible for starting larger projects and having so many on the go I become overwhelmed and end up doing nothing.  I’ll report back on the list situation and let you know if it’s working or not.

I’m also looking forward to trying out my new cooking and cocktail books.  The Nopi one will be great for dinner parties and special occasions, whilst Spuntino is full of hassle-free food to cook at weekends.  Tequila Mockingbird is full of literary based cocktails, so looking forward to posting some fab booze pics soon.

Oodles of Obliciousness - 2015 Christmas Cookbooks

On the subject of cooking, I’m definitely going to get back to posting regular recipes here.  I’m also going to slightly change the way I cook and start doing more batch cooking for midweek meals, instead of cooking something from scratch every night.  I’m hoping this will free up a bit more time to spend on my crafty projects, as I’d really like to do a fair later in the year.

One of my current makes is taking a little longer than expected.  I’m making a Fair Isle tank top, using a pattern from Debbie Bliss’ Blue Faced Leicester DK book.  I’m using Patons Merino Extra Fine DK in shades Camel (105), Wine (132), Olive (171), Chartreuse (174), Blue Nile (155), Black (199), and Cream (102).  It’s a long time since I’ve knitted anything and had forgotten just how much longer it takes to do than crochet.  I’m really enjoying making it although it has to be said it’d definitely a design which needs my full attention.  Here’s my progress so far.

Oodles of Obliciousness - Tank Top

Thanks for looking.  I would love to see what you’re making or cooking, or even projects you’d like to do at some point in 2016.

 

Patatas Bravas with Chorizo and Poached Egg

Hello again!  You may have noticed, my last attempt to keep updated didn’t quite work out according to plan, but the good news is I now know what was causing my fatigue and I’m well on the way to recovery.

I posted a picture of this on my facebook feed and one of my friends asked for the recipe, so I thought what better way to kick start my blog again.  This one’s for you, Moogle ;).

 

Patatas Bravas with Chorizo and Poached Egg
Print Recipe
Crispy potatoes with spicy tomato sauce, chorizo, topped with a poached egg. Perfect comfort food.
Servings Prep Time
1 10 minutes
Cook Time
40-45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 10 minutes
Cook Time
40-45 minutes
Patatas Bravas with Chorizo and Poached Egg
Print Recipe
Crispy potatoes with spicy tomato sauce, chorizo, topped with a poached egg. Perfect comfort food.
Servings Prep Time
1 10 minutes
Cook Time
40-45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 10 minutes
Cook Time
40-45 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 baking potato (peeled or unpeeled, depending on your preference; I prefer the skin on)
  • 50 grams chorizo (cut into chunks)
  • 0.5 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 0.5 tsp chilli powder (increase or reduce this amount to suit your own taste. I prefer a little more, but whilst the dish should be spicy, it shouldn't be searingly hot)
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees and brush or spray a baking tray with oil.
  2. Cut the potato into 2cm (approx) cubes, place on the baking tray and spray or coat with more oil. Sprinkle salt on top and bake for around 20 minutes until the potatoes begin to crisp up on the outside and soften in the middle.
  3. Sprinkle the chorizo on top of the potatoes then cook in the oven for another 5 minutes or so.
  4. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, mix together the tomatoes, garlic, paprika, and chilli (don't worry about pre cooking the garlic, as the sauce will cook in the oven later).
  5. Add the sauce to the potato and chorizo mixture, reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees and cook for a further 10-15 minutes or so until sauce has started to thicken -
  6. When your potato mixture is almost done, poach your egg.
  7. Put the potatoes in a dish, top with the egg, and sprinkle with a little more sea salt.
Recipe Notes

If you want to be really decadent, you could deep fry the potatoes in true Spanish style, and top with a fried egg.

Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe