Saturday, 31 July 2010
Thursday, 29 July 2010
Head over to the blog right now and help make Miss Baah's first giveaway a success - you've got until Monday 2nd August.
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Thursday, 22 July 2010
You can now find all of the blogging Glasgow Craft Mafia members in the one spot, as well as the blogs I check almost every day. And of course, I can highly recommend clicking on the logo of each of my followers, each of whom keeps a varied and interesting blog!
Sunday, 18 July 2010
First up is Curitiba, Brazil - one of the cooler places to visit in South America. Not just because of its relatively mild climate, but also because of its enviable and sustainable public transportation. Local Etsy seller GlassGift is one to watch, too. Look at this fantastic sushi set, it's making me hungry...
And where better to head next than Shizuoka, Japan? In the shadow of Mount Fuji, the scenery here seems so much more dramatic than the Ochil Hills behind my house! This stunning photograph is by Altus, on Flickr.
Next stop on this impromptu world tour is Castellon, Spain. It turns out that this is pretty close to a part of Spain I visited in 2006, when I attended the famous La Tomatina festival, near Valencia. Here's a photo of one of my favourite prints at home, which reminds me of Bunol, Eivissa, Palma and just about every small Spanish town I've visited. If you like it, go to Blancucha's Etsy shop to get a copy for yourself.
I visited some pretty interesting places when I lived in New Jersey, but I don't think I ever made it to Verona. It's home to the charmingly named Kip's Castle Park, which was restored recently after falling into disrepair. The photo comes courtesy of The Keystone New Jersey, where you can find more information about the history of the house and the grounds.
Staying in the USA for the last stop on today's itinerary, we're heading west to Granite Bay, California. Notable as home to Eddie Murphy, I thought that a little look at the local real estate would be in order. I wasn't disappointed. For just under $4m, look what Real Estate Ground want to sell me....
Quick, someone, buy 5 million upcycled envelopes from me and help make my dreams come true!
Thursday, 15 July 2010
Rather than boiling the backside out of your fruit, Ghillie James asks instead that you leave the fruit to macerate for two hours - this releases the juices from the fruits slowly, while keeping the integrity of the flavour, and hopefully some of the nutrients intact.
The first step in the process was to layer up all the fruit, and a few squeezes of jif lemon, with a pack of jam-making sugar. The sugar had the appearance of sea salt, lovely big solid crunchy grains. Yes I did try a bit.
Halfway through the macerating process. Looking good!
Next step: transfer to a heavy pan and simmer for 10-15 minutes. I used my trusty Le Creuset because I wasn't sure how much of a good idea it was to use aluminium with acidic fruits. I can't remember science very well from school.
The fruits start to break down as the mixture starts to bubble.
Next step, boil for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture reaches 104 degrees (and I left my sugar thermometer in my old flat) or until a spoonful sets on a cold side plate.
After five minutes of boiling, I have a mild panic attack for the wellbeing of my lovely range cooker. So I split the mixture into two pans. This may have been detrimental to the jam-making process but it made cleaning up much easier. See my sterilised kilner jars in the background? They're sitting in a bain marie so that I'm not pouring hot jam into cold jars. That's a bit of science I do remember.
So, after sort of getting the jam to a setting point, stirring in about a third of a bottle of pectin to be on the safe side, then reassuring myself with Ghillie James' book that jam continues to set over the next 48 hours, I decide after 20 minutes of boiling that enough is enough and ladle the jam into three jars.
And this is what I'm left with. The next day, the jam is still a little bit wobbly in the jars, but the taste test says I've done a great job. I comfort myself with the thought that this is more of a preserve than a jam, and a million times nicer than shop-bought.
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Here it is against the backdrop of our brand new sofa:
My husband recently finished painting the baby's room, which is still empty but for a Miffy toy, Phil's tool box and a pair of ladders. Some photos will be up as soon as it looks a little more presentable (and we're currently working on a 7 week deadline here), but it's a rich lilac colour, which should tone in with anything from beige to pink or blue. All bases covered!