Sunday, 29 January 2012

Dinner tonight: The Ethical Chef Supper Club

Tonight we went to The Ethical Chef's Supper Club, at The Pot cafe in Cardiff. It was a fantastic evening of locally sourced (veggies from Blaencamel Farm), seasonal vegetarian food cooked by Deri. 

Slow roasted beetroot, cavolo nero & goats cheese risotto

Carrot and jerusalem artichoke soup with a lemon thyme oil

Polenta pancakes with a creamy leek, rosemary and puy lentil filling, olive fried charlotte potato pancakes, kale and porcini jus

Pumpkin pie with cinnamon cream and walnut shard

A great night, fantastic food. 

Here are some Ethical Chef recipes related to tonight's Supper Club:
Cheese and leek polenta pancakes 
Pumpkin pie
Beetroot and chocolate brownies

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Let the chitting begin

There are no garden centres just up the road from me. So I find myself popping into Lidl and Poundstretchers every now and again, awful shops, but they do have some gardening bargains from time to time... Today I picked up some Estima seed potatoes, a rhubarb crown, and some garlic. I've put the potatoes in egg boxes for chitting...

I planted out half of the garlic just now, before I read it's better to wait til March. Ah well, the soil is pretty warm already, we'll see how they do. 

Here are the garlic and potato growing instructions (for my own reference).

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Runner bean runner: Veggie Moussaka

Mel, a friend of mine has a blog called Runner Bean Runner, and she's been posting up veggie recipes. Yesterday I decided to make her veggie moussaka that she wrote up last week.

I used two aubergines as suggested, though I forgot to add the thyme. I made the b├ęchamel sauce too runny, so the whole thing was a bit too sloppy, but the roasted garlic pasted onto the aubergines was amazing, and there was enough for six greedy portions. Thanks Mel!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Clwb Cinio

For the past few months I've been going to a brilliant cooking club in Cardiff run by a friend of ours, called Clwb Cinio. A group of real foodies gather, pay a contribution, whilst others in the club cook dinner. We hold it at a lovely little community place, the Park View Cafe, near Victoria Park. 

I couldn't go yesterday, as they don't cater for vegetarians, and as I'm having a veggie January, that meant I missed out. They had a Chinese feast as it's Chinese New Year, and it included pork belly cooked in star anise, I was sad to miss that especially! But Steve came home with some leftovers, Chinese cooked tofu. It was great, I ate it for my lunch today.  

Monday, 23 January 2012

Hugh's North African squash and chickpea stew

this was tasty. From Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's Veg Every Day book. We missed out the dates, they would have been a nice addition, or some dried apricots. Steve says it would be good with some lamb in. I think he's missing meat...

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Food glorious veggie food

We've been enjoying some lovely veggie food this month (we're being Vegetarian for January). The last few days we've been eating out - on Thursday we were at our friend Lou's house. She prepared some lovely Goat's Cheese Tarts for starter, and a veggie chilli for main course, both out of her 'Easy Vegetarian' cook book. Both very tasty, thanks Lou! Then we watched Super Shark on TV, probably the worst film ever. 

Friday night we went out to Daquiris, a Mexican restaurant in Cathays in Cardiff, to celebrate Esme's birthday. Their bean chilli tacos were tasty, and good value, but I think we all ate too much!

Yesterday we were lucky, we got to eat a slice of Mikey's lime pie as he blogged in his Lunchbox Diaries. It was very, very good. Thank you Mikey.

Photos nicked from The Lunchbox Diaries blog
Then last night, after a concert at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay by the South Wales Clarinet Choir (a group I play with) 20 of us headed to Mimosa in Mermaid Quay. It's a casual bar type restaurant, and does nice food, but though they had some nice looking vegetarian things on the menu the 'butternut squash gataeux' which I really wanted to try was all sold out, so I settled for the monkfish with citrus cous-cous. 

Tonight after a day of cleaning the greenhouse and digging the garden, I'm cooking at home at last! We're having Hugh's North African squash and chickpea stew and it's smelling rather good.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A look at the knitted things in the St Fagans Museum archives

On Friday I got to see behind the scenes at St Fagans. Elen (the Curator of Costume and Textiles at the museum), and Sian (who works in the Learning Department) took me into the archives to look at their knitted items. I'm pretty much obsessed with knitting, and it was so exciting! There are boxes and boxes of amazing things in the textile archives, and it's so interesting looking through them. The items of clothing that people made and wore brings history alive for me. 

So I thought I'd share some photos of the things we looked at with you. 

First, socks. These are not just any old knitted socks, they are beautiful intricate socks, finely hand knitted, and most of them weren't particularly worn, so I suspect they were perhaps made for the craft of knitting the socks, rather than to be worn every day. I'm not sure of the dates of all of them, but one is from 1882, and I think only one is a recent reproduction.

This sock is from 1882, and has 'Jon G Jones' knitted in the border:

 This sock has a great diamond pattern on it, and is the only one that's really worn. I love the holes in the heels that have been mended and darned, some of it well, some not so well!

These socks have a fascinating story to tell. They are death socks, they were knitted by Elizabeth, for her to wear herself when she was buried (we think she knitted them whilst she was ill), but she never got to wear them as her legs were swollen when she died and they didn't fit. It's a really sad story, but these socks are so beautiful with intricate cables down them, and her name around the top band, and I can see how knitting could maybe be a real comfort to Elizabeth whilst she was ill.

Pretty wavy socks, I think this is knitted using a feather and fan stitch.

 This sock looked very plain, but on closer inspection you can see it's got an intricate pattern knitted into the heel.

 This sock has a pretty band around the top:

Wool dye book
There's a really beautiful book in the archive which shows examples of natural ways of dying wool. Here are some pages showing wool dyed with onion skin, and with sloe and elderberry.

1940s scarf
This is a handknitted scarf, double knitted from lengths of darning wool in 1944, donated by a lady from Llandaff North.  I love the brilliant colour combinations.

1940s cardigan with flower embroidery
This is a cardigan from the 40s-50s, with fantastic flowers embroidered on the top. I love the shape and the puffy style shoulders and sleeves. It was donated by a lady from Newport, Gwent.

1940s jumper
Here's a really unusual jumper, with hand knitted bobble buttons, and a strange grass symbol on the waist. It's from Wrexham.

1940s short pullover
A short little pullover, made with garter stitch (the simplest knit stitch, basically just knit knit knit!) and little rows of yarn overs to make the holes. It was probably knitted by a beginner.
1970s cardigan
I love this little cardigan, made of lots of different yarns including mohair, a great project to use up lots of ends of different yarns. Made by Alison Taylor of Barry. It's got button holes, but no buttons, so I think it's one of those UFOs - a term us knitters use for unfinished objects!

Lots and lots of inspiration here for some great new knitting projects. 

If you're interested in seeing the socks, I'm running a knitting workshop at St Fagans where we'll be knitting things inspired by the patterns on the socks, and it'll be a chance to see them first hand. The workshops are on Saturday 17 March and 19 May, 11am til 12.30pm. Booking essential, for more information visit the St Fagans website. There is also a quilt club (next one is Saturday 3 March), and embroidery workshops 31 March and 28 April.

Elen and Sian are on Twitter, and Sian has a very cool blog of the things she makes.

The Hairy Bikers: Mum’s everyday fish pie with cheese mash

A nice last day in Stafford spent with me, Katie and Mum making Mum’s everyday fish pie with cheese mash - a Hairy Bikers recipe which is available here.

Well worth the effort and expense! 

This finished off a lovely weekend in Stafford, now we're back home to little cat Seren who's very happy to see us.