Friday, 29 January 2010

A hot chocolate and jelly bean sort of day...............

..... because that's what I feel like having. I received a bit of bad news last night which has shaken me; it's cold and bleak out there, huge rain clouds looming - I need a bit of cheering up this morning, so hot chocolate and jelly beans it is! :)

Uncopyrighted blog

I'm happy to share freely whatever is posted up here on Unbought Delicacies - feel free to copy and share recipes, patterns, my pictures, tips, etc - I really don't mind, and like to think that my advice and experiences learned over the years is being shared with a wider audience. If there's anything I don't want copied or shared, it won't appear here.
You don't need to ask my permission, just go for it!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

The sewing basket

My main anti-procrastination task today (two other small ones, now done as well) was to set to and sort out my sewing basket. I went in there for a thimble yesterday and couldn't find one, but it was a complete untidy jumble in there. So, into the kitchen, all over the table this morning, big cup of tea in hand. An hour later, a lovely tidy and organised basket, lots of memories revived too:)I think the oldest thing in there is probably the blue needlescase with the orange and pink on - I made that for an aunt, and it was returned to me when she died. I can't have been more than 7 or 8 when I made it I think. Another oldie is one of the French knitting bobbins, the one made from an old wooden cotton reel - I had that as a child; have acquired two more now, although one is Bean's; the third is hand made from beech and is particularly lovely, bought at the Oak Fair a couple of years back. The thimbles in the picture are reproductions of a Roman and a Medieval thimble. I did one year of a Fashion Design and Management course after school, and was taught to use a thimble properly, now I can't sew without one! The beeswax dates from college times too (1979), as part of the kit we bought to start the course. I have my thimble from college, but that's tucked into a bag of tapestry at the moment. Thimbles are kept in their own little padded fabric box so they don't get lost in among all the other stuff.
The old cotton reels are some of my favourite things in there - so tactile, and a pleasure to handle and use. I'd gladly pay more money for sewing cottons if they came on wooden reels again.:) I gather them up in charity shops, boot fairs, the tip, etc, and give them a home. The cotton itself is always useful too, and much subtler colours.
Pins - the iconic Dorcas pin box - anyone else got one/remember them? Dorcas is the patron saint of sewers. My mother had a pin box exactly the same. Various other items creep in - a marble, a button, a safety pin, a carpet tack. My mother's had things like that in it too. I don't remember putting anything but pins in there over the years - but the strays are there all the same - how do they get there?
The elastic was all wound up neatly and tied/pinned, likewise the bias binding, and popped into a tin for neatness. Things That Shouldn't Have Been In There were removed and put elsewhere, so all that is in there now is sewing kit. The basket was emptied upside down into the bin, its calico lining brushed out, everything being returned where it should be.

An hour well spent.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day.

Each year, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust urges everyone in the UK to pause and reflect on what can happen when racism, prejudice and exclusionary behaviour are left unchecked. On HMD we take the time to see how the lessons of the past can play a part in our communities today.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Sea glass jewellery

I've had a small collection of sea glass for some time, always with the intention of making it into jewellery of some sort; yesterday appeared to be the day for that to happen! I had the wire and earring wires/spirals "in stock" so had everything to hand, although I do need to get a fine chain or similar for the pendant. After wrapping the glass, a tiny blob of glue on the back just added extra security. I'm very pleased with the results, more or less exactly as I wanted them.
To make my own jewellery from found objects - that's quite a thing. :)

Monday, 25 January 2010

Burns Night

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, Scotland's own bard, on 25th January, 1759.
Most folk know or are at least aware of his "Address to a Haggis", so I thought I'd share a different poem with you, a portent of spring and primroses, sunlight and fresh starts.

The Primrose

Dost ask me, why I send thee here
The firstling of the infant year:
This lovely native of the vale,
That hangs so pensive and so pale?

Look on its bending stalk, so weak.
That, each way yielding, doth not break,
And see how aptly it reveals
The doubts and fears a lover feels.

Look on its leaves of yellow hue
Bepearl'd thus with mornng dew,
And these will whisper in thine ears:-
"The sweets of love are wash'd with tears."

I spent a few years living in Dumfries, the town where Burns spent his last years; he died there on 21st July 1796, aged only 37. I used to drink in The Globe sometimes, the pub where Burns enjoyed meeting his friends in the wee howff; I may have sat in the very spot that he did.

We will be having haggis for tea to commemorate one of my favourite poets, as we always do on this date; very rarely do we eat it at other times of the year.
If you'd like a go, here's the recipe I use:

1 breakfast cupful of oatmeal
1/2 lb suet
1 lamb's heart
same weight of heart in lamb's liver
2 onions chopped
salt to taste
plenty of pepper

Place suet and oatmeal in a bowl with salt and pepper. Mince the liver, onions and heart and add to bowl:
Mix it well with your hands - you should be able to smell the pepper You should end up with a mixture like this:
I put mine into sausage casings as that's what I have. My butcher is unable to supply me with the traditional sheeps' stomach, so sausage skins it is. If you don't have them, the mix can be wrapped in a loosish foil parcel and baked in the oven for 45 minutes or so. - tastes just as good. With the sausage shaped ones, either fry (prick first) or place in covered casserole with an inch of water and cook in the oven for 30 - 45 minutes or so.

Freezes well either before or after cooking.


Spent an hour this morning making these:

Tested them - lovely! Looking forward to supper!