Friday, 26 July 2013

Strawberry Time

With summer having started rather late in the UK we've been enjoying a prolonged strawberry season this year. To make the most of it we went to one of the local Pick-Your-Own places and brought home two huge baskets of strawberries.

strawberry harvest

strawberry harvest

I couldn't think of a better way to preserve that distinct flavour of summer by making vast amounts of jam, using 3 to 1 preserving sugar to keep it as fruity as possible.

making strawberry jam

Although I can think of many ways how to enjoy the 4 kg of jam, my favourite would be a traditional Cornish cream tea.

strawberry jam and scones

To make some scones for my cream tea I got my ancient original GDR pastry cutters out. These will probably be exhibited in a museum in a few years time.

GDR cookie cutters

GDR cookie cutters

And here it is: the freshest and best ever cream tea.

cream tea

cream tea

cream tea

I enjoyed it so much that I'm planning on making another batch of scones this weekend.

I used the rest of the strawberries to make some refreshing strawberry ice cream.

homemade strawberry ice cream

The best thing about this delayed summer is that despite the fact that it's almost August there are still plenty of strawberries in my own garden.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Edna's new Necklace

chicken with bread necklace

We gave our chickens a few slices of bread and as usual they picked the centres out first, but our Edna is a bit of a crazy hen and decided to toss the hollowed out slices around until eventually one ended up around her neck.

She proudly walked around the run wearing it like a necklace, occasionally pecking a few more crumbs out of it.

chicken with bread necklace

Lottie certainly admired Edna's edible jewellery until it fell off for everyone to enjoy.

chicken with bread necklace

UPDATE: Lottie, who looked quite impressed on this last picture has since figured out how to make a bread necklace for herself. Unfortunately we didn't have the camera to hand to document it, but I've got a feeling she'll soon do it again.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Starry Night in a Jar

Now that the evenings are finally a little warmer and we can actually sit outside until dark I felt we needed a source of light that would allow us to stay out even longer.

So I saved two empty pickle jars, stuck some star shaped stickers on and spray painted them.

diy jam jar star lantern

diy jam jar star lantern

Once dry I carefully peeled off the stickers ...

diy jam jar star lantern

... and popped a candle inside each jar and ended up with a couple of very effective lanterns to brighten up the night.

diy jam jar star lantern

diy jam jar star lantern


Saturday, 6 July 2013

Tomato Relish

Last week I got a bit carried away in the reduced to clear section in our local supermarket. They were selling off punnets of cherry tomatoes for 10p each, so I decided to buy 10(!) of them, actually it was after I put the 10th pack in the trolley that Jamie stopped me from getting any more or else I would have ended up with even more. There was nothing wrong with the tomatoes, they weren't even going soft, they'd simply reached the sell by date printed on the label. So I ended up with over 7 lbs of tomatoes for just £1.

homemade tomato relish

Then the question arose what to do with all those cheap tomatoes. Jamie claimed about a third of them to make a delicious cream of tomato soup - soooo much nicer than the tinned stuff. Unfortunately there's no picture of it as I didn't manage to put my spoon down in time to take one until the entire bowl was finished.
With the other two thirds I decided to make a spicy relish.

homemade tomato relish

homemade tomato relish

homemade tomato relish

The relish is super tasty and in fact the nicest I've ever made, so I'm really pleased, especially considering how cheap the main ingredient was and the fact that my own tomatoes in the garden are nowhere near to producing any fruits yet.
We've been invited to a BBQ tomorrow and I will be taking some of the relish, so everyone can try a little with their burgers.

Monday, 1 July 2013

An Attempt in Gilding

Amongst other things Jamie and I got ourselves a very pretty, but slightly plain ornament from our honeymoon in Venice.

Gilding

To spruce it up a little I thought it might be a good idea to gild the figure, so I got some gilding glue and a few sheets of gold leaf to see if I could improve our souvenir.

Gilding

Gilding

Although the finished object isn't perfect and could do with a bit more buffing with some cotton wool to smooth it, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Gilding

Whilst I was working on the figure I also practiced by covering a few sea shells and a starfish we found on holiday last year.

Gilding

Again I'm pretty happy with the results.

Gilding

I've got a few sheets of gold leaf left, so I'm thinking of either gilding a frame for one of our wedding pictures or maybe having one of our wedding pictures printed on canvas in back and white and then highlighting a few features in gold. I really like the idea of the latter, but it sounds quite challenging to me. I will let you know should I ever get round to trying this, that's if I ever get round to sorting through all our photographs. It's been two months now since our little DIY wedding and I still haven't managed to blog about it, but the thought of sorting and editing almost a thousand pictures and to choose the right ones for a post (or even an album) seems quite daunting.