Thursday, 21 June 2018

Substitutionary food.

I am sure that many of us remember the Bedknobs and Broomsticks spell, Substitutinary Locomotion, where Angela Lansbury  had military relics save the village, if not the country, from invaders.

Funny, entertaining and a regular film in my viewing history, almost ageless.

As you may have gathered, I am a part time vegan, part time vegetarian and full time greedy guts foodie who likes meat, fish and has a not so mild cheese addiction. I love finding new ingredients and recipes then toying with them and eating the results, mostly with pleasure.

However I have never gone down the road of Meat Substitutes. This is mainly because of a bad experience many years ago. We were on holiday on the South Coast and visiting family. After a day out on Hayling Island we were invited back for tea. We were assured that there was more than enough casserole and a few more sprigs of cauli and a couple more carrots would make enough veg.

We accepted gratefully and returned to the house, in due course the meal was served. It smelled a bit "funny" but I assumed that different herbs and seasonings to mine had been used.

   How    Wrong    Could    You    Be.

The "meat" in the casserole was in fact TVP, in the very early days of this strange product. It was an acquired taste, I did not acquire it, in fact the whole lot left my system PDQ.

I put it down to too much sun in my apologies and we left.

I expect that things have improved greatly since those days. 
They must have done as the shops seem to all have fast growing areas devoted to such stuff.
 Long gone are the days of the early incarnations of Linda McCartney veggy sausages. Not to mention the strange looking veggy rissoley things.

I saw on a podcast recently that Iceland have launched a vegan burger ", No Bull" that actually oozes red liquid when cut.

Disgustilating, is the only word that comes to mind. Apart from the fact that real burgers should be cooked through what vegan would want to see that?

The podcast that I saw this on is very entertaining and the presenter justified it by saying that newly converted vegans liked to eat familiar looking food.

I beg to disagree. In fact I think that the absolute opposite is truer.

Newly converted anything people are generally brimming over with enthusiasm and preach it from the rooftops.

We all know the new non smoker who bangs on constantly about the dangers/smell/ash etc. 

Or the new teetotaller who can quote, verbatim, large chunks of medical articles to support his or her fervour.

I can not imagine that vegans and vegetarians are any different. As a "foodie" I have to force myself not to prattle on about cooking from scratch, shopping wisely and using herbs and spices for added flavour. 
Well maybe I fail a bit in that respect, I do run on at times.

I have friends who are vegan, Will and Jess spring to mind along with their lovely daughter Ivy. All three are as healthy as can be and Ivy is a proper active little girl, I only see her still if she is eating!
There are some who are vegetarian, W for instance has been vegetarian for years. They too eat very well and are all brimming over with energy.

I only know one vegan who eats make believe meat, that is simply because she refuses to cook and lives off ready meals alternated with vast homemade dishes of beans/grains/nuts and salad. Her choice, her preference and the dishes that she comes up with are decidedly in the "tasty tasty very very tasty" zone.

I have not aimed at upsetting anyone with this post, I just do not understand why anyone who has given up using any part of any animal would want to eat something that looks like meat.

I did make the Black Banana cake, I had 4 large bananas so made just over double the recipe and made 3 cakes. Before they were completely cold I cut one, Oh My Word, let me blow my own trumpet, it was sooo good. Far too good and utterly moreish. We resisted temptation but the SO did wonder whether we should give one to W, he was only joking. At least I choose to believe that he was.

I may have eaten the little corners that fell off before finding the camera.

We settled on Pizza for dinner and in the interest of using the oven to capacity I made 2 loaves as well. 
One just basic wholemeal.
One a take on Bara Brith, with lots of cinnamon and mixed dried fruit with some candied peel and a couple of tablespoons of homemade marmalade.
The pictures refused to load. Duh.
These will NOT be cut till completely cold. 

I may have hidden the bread knife.

The butter may be hiding in the veg drawer.

Sometimes it has to be done.

Just 2 days ago this tin was full to the brim with my 10 minute cookies.

I have eaten one.

The dogs can not open the tin.


The grey skies started to clear late afternoon yesterday and this morning is bright and sunny. Woo Hoo.

A second pair of socks were cast on last night, photo later.

This pair had the ends woven in and scarcely had time to land on the little table that I use when knitting, before they were grabbed and put on.
He has a serious sock addiction.

He is very knitworthy.

I am off now to peg out my washing, deep joy, and then get the dogs out for a walk. First I will need to remove Herbie from his bed. He played most of the evening with various toys and was really tired when we went to bed. Before I was in bed he had snuggled into his and was snoring.

                           TTFN                                          Pam

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Climbing back up.

Not back on top yet but getting there. I managed to take Ben and Herbie out for a little walk (or should that be swim).
It rained.
We didn't care.
We needed some fresh air.

I managed to get some photos sorted, some were not playing ball so I deleted them. No patience, that is the problem.

I did some pattern drafting over the weekend, just a casual top and skirt. The prototypes are wearable and will be fine, but there is room for considerable improvement.

A simple tee with grown on sleeves and a scoop neck, I didn't bother with facings just overlocked the edges and turned 1/4" under and sewed it down.

Simplify is my mantra.

The skirt is also simple, 2 identical skirt pieces and 4 pocket pieces. I only had a small piece of gifted fabric, a remnant from a dress, so the waistband is very narrow. I did not have a zip the right colour hence it is elasticated. Apart from that I am happy with the fit, just the right amount of fullness in the skirt for me. I will be making it with a proper waistband and zipper, I may will experiment with different pockets.Much as I like the simplicity (there it is again) of side seam inserts I do love the curved jeans style pockets, and the Hollyburn skirt pocket style. 

The log cabin quilt is done and dusted, it hangs over the bed nicely and is long enough to tuck in at the bottom. It has been folded and tucked away for the cooler weather. It is not quite as "wonky" as I had imagined so there may be another in my system, just not quite yet.

Ben is still a sofa surfer at every opportunity.

He is happy to share though.

Even shares his basket.

He is not too certain about sharing the squeaky toys though. This particular one belongs to Rufus, who brought it round to play a few days ago and left it behind.

The SO made dinner last night, it was lusher than lush. Pasta in a sauce that was bursting with good things, sweet with cherry tomatoes with the salty hits of green olives. Loads of garlic, it is the law that garlic and pasta go hand in hand, isn't it?

Tonight is undecided, a quick rummage in fridge and freezer will settle the matter. 

I have a small heap of things on the sewing table to sort through and a few inches of a cardigan front to knit.
There are lovely speckled bananas in the fruit bowl, I have some glorious dark chocolate and some toasted hazelnuts. I feel a Nigel Slater Black banana cake coming on, make that 2, W likes a homemade cake on a fairly regular basis. 

He has become a good friend as well as a neighbour and deserves a treat as much as we do. Plus I will not put the oven on for one thing and we would eat 2 cakes as fast as , the recipe never fails even though I tweak it every time.

I just had a moment of excitement, I though that the sun had broken through. It was just the sky lightening, so perhaps the sun is on it's way for a visit.
 Thanks to Bovey Belle I have found where to get the Cordyline that the SO wants. We will probably leave till tomorrow when I hope to be back on top form.

That's all for today, I must get that stuff sorted I want my sewing table back, I plan on a second top in white with some satin stitch embroidery and some satin binding in the same colour. I will share whether it works or is a dismal failure.

                         TTFN                                 Pam


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Under the weather.

I woke to grey mist both inside and out, the valley is once more wreathed in gossamer and I feel decidedly below par.

Nothing major, just a feeling of being out of step with myself. A bad hair day, all over my body just about sums it up.

The SO has taken the reins and I have done some gentle knitting and read a little I had a snooze early this afternoon and am feeling a bit more like myself now.
It is not lack of sleep, now that the temperature has dropped I am sleeping like a bump on a log.

The only fly in the ointment is persuading my photos to load and then crop and rotate them. Someday,s it works like a dream others it is a nightmare.

I have lots of projects whirling round in my head and Wool Warehouse has a drops yarn sale on..............Nooo, there is no room for more yarn...Step away from the 'puter... do not select not hit the buy now button...

Whew!  I made it safely to the other side.

Window shopping may be a nice pastime, but real shopping is better.
I am sticking to working through the stash. So far so good.

I have watched the rest of season 1 of Forgotten. really enjoyed it, even the bits that were obvious.
Season 2 has to be paid for. Hmmm I don't think so. I can wait.
Season 3 is being made now. If it comes on the TV I will record it and save it till we have seen the second.

We are watching Sanctuary and Warehouse 13 again, they were good the first time round and this time I am noticing details that i missed. So a win win.

That,s all for now, I hope to be firing on all cylinders tomorrow.

                           TTFN                              Pam.

Monday, 18 June 2018

In the weather.

The air is damp and warm, we are living in a cloud in the valley.
The house fronts over the road can just be seen but after that it is like an old photo that has faded away to almost nothing.

Occasionally the mist slithers back up the valley sides, just to descend again minutes later.

The dogs have been walked and they and I have returned covered in tiny droplets of moisture. It is like living in a sauna with the heat turned right down, goodness knows what it is like for those living higher.

My changing rounditis has gone, I am very pleased with the extra space that we have gained. I do have a heap of things to donate and will have to get that done in the next few days.

The garden has been left to fend for its self, but as long as it does not rain hard tomorrow we plan on getting stuck in.
I have a heap of well rotted compost to be forked in, plants to go in and bark to mulch them with.
The wheel barrow is ready and the plants are waiting, I just have to mix the growing medium. The plants are all Alpines so I will be mixing John Innes no 2 with sharp sand and vermiculite. The SO would like a feature plant in there as well, it will be in a pot and he plans to change it according to the season through the year.

There is a tentative list which includes a Cordyline Pink Passion (if we can find one) and a Pieris Forest Flame. Possibly a Winter flowering Jasmine and a Fuchsia Pink Elephant.

Nothing much else to tell you, it has been quiet here. We just plod along enjoying what we do, even the dust bunny eviction had an element of fun.
 If anybody visits me and faints, at least when they come to they will see that the carpets are bunny free.

I did a little baking yesterday, 2 batches of my 10 minute cookies and 2 chocolate and coconut cakes. We had Spicy Chicken with Sweet Potato jacket, peas and sweetcorn for dinner. 
Tonight it is Barbecue baked beans, they are simmering away as I write. They are glorious, I should make them more often, and we will have them on toast. 
A lazy dinner followed by banana cake and some fruit, if we want a pudding.

I have done all the usual Monday jobs, I even put the bed linen onto wash, it will probably go in the drier later as tomorrow should be wet.

The latest pair of socks is all ready for me to start the Fleegle Heel and I will be knitting after dinner.

Yesterday we found a series on Netflix, Unforgotten, and found it interesting  enough to watch 3 episodes back to back. We also watched the follow on film The Day of the Triffids. It was okay, not as good as the first and with some glaring holes in the story line. The ending was woolly and some obvious questions were never answered.
Francesca bought the black Panther film on Prime last week and we did watch that. I did not think that it would be my sort of film but I enjoyed the pure escapism. The "baddy" got his comeuppance which is always a plus.

I think that is it for now, I hope that you all enjoyed your weekend.

                       TTFN                                    Pam.

Catriona, will you email me please with directions to your facebook page. I have managed to empty my email address book and my snail mail one to boot. Me and technology is not a match made in heaven, or anywhere else for that matter. More like oil and water than salt and vinegar.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Rain stopped play

But started some long overdue work.

We woke to a grey misty morning and it was an instant joint decision to get stuck into the kitchen and the sewing room.

Things are being moved around a bit. Deep cleaning in dim, distant corners and some heavy duty dusting is occurring.
 No dust bunnies will be harmed, they are being relocated.

I have found a quilting ruler that I was convinced had been evaporated, or eaten by Herbie. 
My sock yarn oddments are now all in one place.

My fabric scraps have been breeding, either that or some nuclear fission has taken place.

If anyone would like to start a scrappy project I will be happy to send off a starter kit of decent sized bits, either random or if possible colour coordinated. 
Just drop a comment, and I will contact you.

At one point, with my head in a tight corner and my rear in the air, I almost expected to meet David Bellamy "rummaging through the undergrowth".

It is invigorating to see more floor space and gaps on shelves, it won't last though. 
I put an order in to the Fabric Guild on Thursday, I have run out of backing fabrics and have some quilt tops to get made up.

I think that this year will be my last for big quilts, there are so many other things that I want to try and only so much time.
I had vowed to try some cross stitch, I even bought a little kit. I found it this morning, still in it,s slightly flattened box.

While I think of it I have finally finished with the rag rug making from ages ago. The rug has gone to pastures new and I will not be making another.
If anyone would like to have a bash I have a book, latch hook, cutting guide and some hessian. Once again drop a comment and I will contact you.

Oops, the time is flying and I still have quite a bit to do.  Better get a wriggle on.

                          TTFN                           Pam

Friday, 15 June 2018

Busy doing nothing...

Well, I have been busy but you can not see where. Mainly because I have been flitting from one little  job to another.

The front garden took a fair bit of time, some shrubs that did not survive the second onslaught of snow and ice have been removed. They were under planted with bluebells, hence the wait, I wanted to leave the bulbs in till the flower stems had died back. The bulbs have now been moved to another spot.

The compost bins will be emptied and the contents forked into the bed to replace nutrients that were washed away during last years non stop rain.
I have some small shrubs in containers that will be going into the ground over the weekend. Then I will be putting down a generous mulch. I will be trying very hard to leave space for my wheelbarrow.

I am off out today to pickup the mulch and hopefully some plants. I would like to fill the wheelbarrow with some colour.
I had to cut my Snow on the Mountain back quite hard again.It was rampaging over the border and drowning my roses. I did the same last year and it grew back bigger, next year it may take over the street.

We have a chance of rain tomorrow so the more we get done today the better. I will water everything in but rain does a much better job.

Herbie seems to be more energetic as the days go by, I took him out for a long walk yesterday and the minute his lead was off he picked a toy up ready for a game. Ben just lets it all slip past him, if Herbie tries to bully him into play he lets him know, in no uncertain terms, to back off. Or face the consequences.

He backs off every time.
He still tries it on now and then  though.

The sun is shining and I have washing ready to peg out.
I may put the kettle on first.
I forgot to make my overnight oats so it will be toast for breakfast.
Possibly with a poached egg.

                          TTFN                                      Pam

PS. The "casual" log cabin quilt will be ready for photo,s soon.
I love it. (most of the time)

PPS. I seem to have refilled the scrap bin with the remains of all the odd bits from the quilt.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Sunshine all the way.

The Amman Valley is basking in wall to wall sunshine, it is glorious. It does mean that I have to work in the front garden in the morning and the back garden in the late afternoon. By lunchtime both garden are in full sun and I become a sticky, glowing mess.

That is fine, it means that I can either prepare food, read or do some crafting. 
Who mentioned chores?
Yes I do a bit of that as well, just enough to be decent.
Laundry is a doddle.
Wash, peg out, get in, iron and put away. All in a couple of hours or so.

I was just pounced on by this creature,

He has one of his new toys, a small water bottle (empty) inside a sock. It makes all the crunching, crackling noises that a little dog could wish for and can be shaken and thrown about without harming anything or anybody.

Butter wouldn't melt in my mouth, look at my big eyes.

Ben has retreated to one of the beds and is keeping his head down. The wisdom of age.

We have been for our walk and breakfast has been served and eaten.

Back to the post.

The fruit trees are looking good, we have had strawberries a couple of times and will soon be using gooseberries.

There is a decent crop of apples and the Jostaberry is laden.

Howgate Wonder.


Safe behind a Herbie proof fence.

The step over apple tree, an unknown variety.

A forest of mint.
I use some almost every day.

Rhubarb with some Strawberry escapees.

A bit of colour.

My potted Holly, it will be going into the ground at some point.

The wheelbarrow is coming along and will be ready to plant up in a couple of days. I have decided against bulbs and will be having a look in the garden centre for ideas, maybe today.

Before. After photos to follow.

Now it is time for a cuppa before I get the washing pegged out, there may be rain later depending on which weather forecast you watch.

                                TTFN                                      Pam