Saturday, 5 June 2010

Dorset Arts Weeks

I've had a lovely couple of days this week out and about visiting open studios and exhibitions for the D.A.W. Every two years, artists, makers and creators throw open their home and/or studios to the general public and put on show their work. Fantastic isn't a word I use often, but it is definitely pertinent here.
I've seen embroidery, quilting, patchwork, bonnet making, stained glass, weaving of various kinds, painting and sketching, lino cuts and photographs, feltmaking, wood turning - all sorts. The artists are very welcoming, delighted to talk about their work, show you round, offer you cups of tea and generally be lovely people, as artists of every persuasion are.
I came home hugely inspired, full of ideas for my own making, and with big plans to maybe even take part in the next D.A.W. in two year's time.
If you get the chance to visit working artists, do take it - make time to go and talk to them - there is never any hard sell, just a request to write in their visitor's book or similar, and they are invariably appreciative of your visit and your taking the time to look at what they do.
Do you visit local artists? Local galleries/studios?
I can thoroughly recommend it. :)

Friday, 4 June 2010

Herb Bennet

I have this lovley little plant popping up around the garden, where it gets left to its own devices. I might try the root for flavouring ale, though - that could be interesting! The following is taken from Wikipedia:

Geum urbanum, also known as Wood Avens, Herb Bennet, Colewort and St. Benedict's herb (Latin "herba benedicta"), is a perennial plant in the Rose family (Rosaceae) which grows in shady places (such as woodland edges and near hedgerows) in Europe and the Middle East.

Usually reaching a height between 20 and 60 cm, wood avens blooms between May and August and its flowers are 1 - 2 cm in diameter, having five bright yellow petals. The hermaphrodite flowers are scented and pollinated by bees. The fruits have burrs, which are used for dispersal by getting caught in the fur of rabbits and other animals. The root is used as a spice in soups and also for flavouring ale.

The Geum urbanum x rivale hybrid.Geum urbanum hybridises fairly regularly with Geum rivale as they are closely related and occur together.

In folklore
In folklore Wood Avens is credited with the power to drive away evil spirits, and to protect against rabid dogs and venomous snakes. It was associated with Christianity because its leaves grew in threes and its petals in fives (reminiscent of, respectively, the Holy Trinity and the Five Wounds). Astrologically, it was said to be ruled by Jupiter.

In herbal medicine
Wood Avens was stated to be a treatment for poison and dog bites. Paracelsus suggested its use against liver disease, catarrh and stomach upsets.

Modern herbalists use it to treat diarrhoea, heart disease, halitosis and mouth ulcers, and to prevent colic. Not all of these uses are supported by scientific evidence.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Homity pie

This is one I make fairly regularly; we all love it, it's quick, easy and cheap, and you can add little bits of leftovers to it, make extra pastry at the same time for something else, make two or more for freezing as it freezes well too.
I make mine in a metal spnge cake tin - it's best for cooking the pastry thoroughly on the bottom - nothing worse than a soggy bottom lol - and it's easy to remove from the tin as it has a loose base.

6 oz pastry (3 oz each white and wholemeal, 4oz butter, 1 egg, water to mix)
3 -4 large potatoes, boiled
2 medium onions, chopped or sliced and fried
1/2 pint very thick cheese sauce

Set your oven to hot, so the pastry will cook quickly, evenly and come out crispy. Make pastry, and roll out half to line the tin; combine sauce with potatoes and onions - I do this while it's still hot/warm. so a speedy dish to make as it's then only the pastry that needs to be cooked. Pile into the pastry shell, dampena round edges with cold water and roll out rest of pastry to make lid. Add holes to allow steam to escape (ensures the top won't be soggy on the underside), and into the oven until nicely browned. Leave to cool a little before serving, nice with roast potatoes and a green vegetable. Also good cold.
You can add all sorts of vegetalbe leftovers into the sauce - mushrooms, cooked vegetables, cooked carrots, boiled eggs, etc.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

A journey around my kitchen..........

For all intents and purposes, the ktichen is now finished - just the celing to go - as in make and install one lol. I'm thrilled to bits with it, it's a lovely room to be in and work in. I'm glad I waited for just the right colour of green for the walls too, as I wouldn't have been happy with anything else, I don't think.
So - this is where I spend most of my day :)

Monday, 31 May 2010

Our very first hay harvest.............

I'm very, very pleased with this, growing a bit of hay for the goats, all under our own steam, and on our own property! I let the grass in the orchard grow really long, and MrL cut it down yesterday and raked it; It's now drying in the sun, then will be bundled and dried off, for feeding to the goats. It will only make a small stack, but it's all mine, grown by me on my own land to feed my own animals. How great is that? :)) The sense of achievement and satisfaction with this one is amazing.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

First sweet peas..........

Summer's here :)