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Saturday, 30 July 2016

still in the kitchen

                             and making more jam, today's fruit - gooseberries and apricots

I got the idea for using these two fruits together from a book by Olia Hercules. 
I bought this second hand book few weeks ago and it has been very useful so far.

It was a perfect summer day today, so I prepared the fruit early, sitting in the sunshine.

And tonight we have some more sunshine in the jars.
It is the first time I have made this jam and I must say - it is delicious! 

There is another recipe from this book I would like to share with you, a very nice chicken dish, just right for summer days, 
but rather unusual in the way it is cooked. 

By the way, for UK bloggers, the same recipe is in the current issue of Waitrose Magazine.

You need some chicken thighs, bone in, skin on.
Although after the first time I made it, I stopped leaving the skin on, because I found the finished dish little too fatty. 
But bones are important for keeping the meat together during cooking.

Heat little oil in a large, heavy frying pan, and fry the chicken (+ salt & pepper) for few minutes on both sides.
Turn the heat down to very low, add some butter and crushed garlic
( I leave this to your taste).

Cover with baking parchment/ greaseproof paper, and now you need to put some substantial weight on the top (another heavy frying pan or something like that) and again something heavy on top of that, a couple of cans of beans possibly. 
This is my solution:

Cook on a very low heat for about 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.
In the meantime chop up a selection of herbs (use quite a lot) - dill, basil, tarragon, coriander, flat leaf parsley; it is up to you and your taste.

When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan and add chopped herbs to the juices in the pan and cook for a couple of minutes.

Break up the chicken pieces, taking the bones out, arrange in a serving dish and pour meat and herb juices over the chicken.

 I serve this with new season potatoes and summer vegetables. 
It can be cooked in advance; it keeps well in the fridge overnight and re-heats well; I also popped it in the freezer for a couple of days, in the serving dish, and it tasted just as good as freshly cooked, when defrosted.
The recipe suggest using the chicken meat for buns or wraps; so handy for picnics. 

Have a great Sunday!

© 2016

Friday, 29 July 2016

fruit time

This is another block for Quiltmania BOM quilt - this one is no 12.

Now is a jam making time; I like making jams and I like to experiment with various fruit combinations, depending on which fruit is around. 
I already made a plain strawberry jam a couple of weeks ago, so now for something little more interesting - peaches, apricots and yellow plums jam. 
I made this jam last summer and we have just finished the last jar; it was a real success.

I make my jams in small batches; by autumn I should have a selection of various flavours.

I use a very simple method.
I cut up all the fruit, weigh it and then use just a half of this amount in sugar (I don't add any water).
I put layers of fruit and sugar in a large saucepan, cover and leave for few hours (usually overnight).
The fruit releases its own juices and then I simply boil it until it reaches a setting point.
Ladle into warm jars, screw the tops on - it is as easy as that.

In the middle of the winter, on a cold and wet morning, 
we will be spreading a little bit of sunshine on our toast.

 Have a wonderful weekend!

© 2016

Saturday, 23 July 2016

cool flying geese and bubbles

Summers is with us at last! We even had a mini heatwave at the start of this week, 30C +, too much, but now the temperature has settled to more comfortable mid twenties, with lots of sunshine.

Despite the warm weather I managed to finish hand quilting my "Cool Flying Geese" quilt.
The design is from the first ever issue of the "Simply Moderne" magazine by Quiltmania; the minute I saw it I knew I had to make it.
I tried to use as many fabrics as in the original design as I could, mainly Kaffe Fassett's, because it was the colour combination which I like about this quilt.
This is the second large quilt I have finished this year.

Memories of childhood - in the summer my mum used to make Bublanina ( which could be translated as Bubble Cake), traditionally made with cherries and when cooked, the cake looks like it has bubbles in it. 
I do make it with apricots sometimes and it also tastes great.
Cherries are in our shops right now, so used them today.

Life got more hectic recently and I haven't been spending much time with my computer, but I promise to make my rounds of your lovely blogs soon.
Enjoy your Sunday!

© 2016

Friday, 15 July 2016

July? Really?

And half way through! How did that happen? 
June wasn't a very good month, and I am not talking only about the weather!
But as a summer month - a total disaster, wet and cold, at times we even switched the heating on, in June!

A slight improvement arrived with July; at least drier and some sunshine at last, although the wind still comes from the north - cold. Last night the temperature dropped down to 6 C !!!
The drier weather gave me a chance to sort out the summer house and make it comfy again, a retreat from the wind for DH and me,  with a cuppa (or glass of wine), a book or some sewing.

There is a quite different view of our little garden from here.

A good place to dry few garden flowers too.

The lavender comes from the lavender bed in our front garden;

some of the plants did not survive last winter, strange, considering how the rest are doing so well.
I had to replant several of them.

"Queen of Sweden" roses like the front of the house.

What else is going in my garden?

 No stopping these two!

I had been hand quilting the flying geese quilt,

and now I am stitching on the binding. I like to be at this point; nearly there - time to think about the next project to tackle!

And another block for Quiltmania BOM finished.

I wish you all a wonderful stitching weekend!

© 2016

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