Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Discussions and Decisions!

Today began with the usual rush of cake making... a lemon drizzle cake with pistachios  and poppy seeds (recipe and picture at the end) and also white chocolate and raspberry brownies - sorry no recipe as they were a Morrison's mix (which went down a treat with the girls).  Once they were in the oven, I set to to create the lunch menu which was chicken breasts, sliced lemons (using some of the left over skins actually as they still had lots of flavour and 'bits' left in them), sliced red onion and some home grown rosemary, all thrown in together and roasted with a modicom of water to stop it dehydrating (which I am very good at doing to my meals). Salad was easy enough to prepare and I just remembered in time to take the garlic and rosemary bread out of the freezer!

Alison arrived about 10.20 am  and we chatted about my next steps for a black and white based quilt for a friend of a friend.  she was kind enough to help me work out sizes, blocks etc which I still don't have much of a clue about how to work out... but I am learning! Then Janet arrived next having been waiting for a gentleman to complete measuring for carpets.. and had then popped into Needle and Thread on her way here. Chris followed closely and so we all settled to cuppas and cake.  

We  had a 'show and tell'; me with some lovely co-ordinating fabrics I had bought at the Festival of Quilts; Janet, her almost completed quilt top which she will teach a class for, and also some pins (decorative badges)she had bought at the Festival.   Amanda arrived later, after an appointment, (so we did a brief 'show and tell' again).  She stayed to have tea and cake and a good chat, then had to depart to look after some children as their family were at a funeral.  During this time Alison told us about her daughter's wedding and we all 'oohed' and 'aahed' over the tales and photos.  (She looked  beautiful, elegant and so relaxed, the family group photos showing the same.  The cake looked really pretty and the venue gorgeous.)  So on to some serious sewing.... after another cuppa!


Lunch was served, followed by a fresh fruit salad for desert and another cuppa.  Amanda had had to go by this time, but she had told us a little of her holiday in France and had brought us all some lovely soaps and a large flat tinned biscuit.  What do we do with the tins..? Well before we have even eaten the contents we were all trying to think what the 'recycled' uses would be, but it would most likely involve sewing of some description!!!!!

Stitching began in earnest for the girls whilst I ironed all my black and whie fat quarters.  Now to decide the size I need to cut and this is where the group are so wonderfully helpful.  After looking at images on google I had decided on a pattern, but how to present it and at what size to do for the completed blocks.  Alison and Janet conferred, drew out diagrams and gave me good advice.  Chris went home and then emailed me a picture of a Tiny Turning Twenty quilt top I had done and worryingly couldn't remember ever having doing it!!!  But it is ME in the picture.  Hmm!   Now to decide which I will do and so.... the girls departed, leaving me to make that decision.... after yet another wonderful relaxing day.

For the Cake
3 medium eggs
170g (6 oz) golden castor sugar
170g (6oz) SR flour
80g of melted unsalted butter.
50g (2 oz) ground almonds
50g (2 oz) chopped pistachios
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
2 lemons - grated rinds and juice
For the Topping
1 lemons- grated rind and juice
125g (4oz)icing sugar
Teaspoon of poppy seeds
50g (2 oz) chopped pistachios
Whisk eggs and sugar until frothy.
Combine almonds, pistachios, poppy seeds, rind and flour and fold into the mix.
Add the butter and fold in.
Add the lemon juice and fold in.
Bake in a 2lb loaf tin (buttered and lined) at 160 degrees for 45 minutes or so.
Take out of tin and cool for a few minutes.
Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the top.

I added a tablespoon of honey to help keep the cake moist and replaced some of the lemon with lime juice as I like things a little sharper than sweet!

Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Holiday Tuesday

A relaxing day was had by all.  Caroline arrived complete with sewing machine and was very keen to start.

Janet arrived in time for tea & cake - sorry no photo this week!

                                                                                   Caroline managed to sew together some of the Farmer's Wife blocks
Country Farm & Economy
Chris called in just in time for lunch & got on with the binding on a quilt already seen!

After a lunch of Chicken & chorizo risotto with salad, followed by fresh fruit & meringues we got down to the business of  the day,  It was a finishing off day for Amanda - all pins back into the pin cushion after doing all the mending!

   Caroline completed another square from the Farmer's Wife- Calico Puzzle.

Janet was busy finishing her Autumn cross stitch.

All too soon the day came to an end.  Some of us are off on holidays soon, hopefully to return refreshed and raring to get going on all those new projects (or the many UFO's!!).
Janet is at the NEC for the quilt show with Needle & Thread from Horsell.  Some of us are going to take photos, gain ideas and, of course, spend money on buying more fabric!!  Can't wait!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sultry Summer or Christmas in August???

Well dear readers, although another 'Conservatory day' had arrived and as it was such a beautiful day on Tuesday, we felt it was just right for sitting under the gazebo and doing nothing but laze the day away.  Full of good intentions as always, I had had a busy start to my school holidays with all things family so was looking forward to a day of good company - which it always is.  Knowing also that DH was having the car, I had shopped well and got everything sorted and what's more .. to where it needed to be the day before, so I had as little as possible to distract me from doing some much wanted quilting. Hmm!

First of all DD arrived, very cheerful and with a lovely iced coffee milkshake from our village cafe  (she was looking for a superhero costume from the shop next to the cafe - but hadn't realised it  had moved to Chertsey).  Next Amanda arrived and went to talk to DD under the gazebo, then Janet in quick succession and I had just made tea, when Chris also arrived -  virtuously on her bicycle!  We all sat in the garden as it was just too hot in the conservatory by 10.30.  We would have melted!   We sat,  drank tea, ate cake (Brazilian Coffee - Tesco's best), cookies (M&S Cranberry and Orange... very, very nice) and some delicious, sweet cherries  and conversed some more at our leisure.  Janet was the only one to be industrious and actually sew today as she had a fantastic Christmas Quilt to stitch the binding on .. this will be for Needle and Thread's stand at the Festival of Quilts (Birmingham NEC) next week.  Once that was done, she held it up and it looked gorgeous.

Lunch came next and what else would we be having but SALAD with Salmon and/or Southern Fried Chicken with all the usual trimmings, followed by Key Lime Pies, courtesy of Gu. Not one iota of stitching was done by any of us from that point on.  We chatted and supped cold drinks, chatted some more and then the girls were gone, earlier than usual sadly, but chores called!

Until next week!