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Monthly Archives: February 2011

Felted Soap

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Here’s my first attempt at a felted soap – was really easy to do and didn’t take very long, it requires wet felting along with needle-felting for the design. The wool felt acts as a wash-cloth and can be re-used with another soap when this one has been used up or added to a wardrobe or drawers with a few drops of essential oil to keep things fresh!

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Spa day

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My brother and sister in law kindly bought me a lovely trip to a Spa in the New Forest for my 30th Birthday, I decided to take my husband and booked it for his Birthday (which was Thursday). We had a lovely time and the facilities were really luxurious. I wasn’t as brave (or stupid) as him to tip the ‘iced water’ on myself after a hot shower but all the same was funny to watch his reaction! Our day also included a gorgeous afternoon tea with some delicious cakes and treats. Such a nice change from normal day-to-day life, to not be a ‘Mummy’ for a few hours and to have a giggle with my wonderful husband.

Cheesy mixed bean and spelt pasta bake recipe

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This is one of those meals that is eaten every week in our home – I think for the simple reason that we always have all of the ingredients in the cupboard or fridge and it can be thrown together without too much bother in the morning and then heated in the evening for dinner. It can also be frozen and is really low fat, really good for you, and even better – it tastes good!

Ingredients:

Approx 1 x cup of beans (any type at all or a mixture of any, pre-soaked and cooked) or a can of mixed beans.

1 x cup pasta (we use spelt but any shape/type will do

1 x can chopped tomatoes

1 x chopped onion

1 x cup chopped mushrooms

2 x chopped garlic cloves

A pinch of herbs

Seasoning

Olive oil (a glug)

Grated cheese – topped to taste

Method:

Cook the pasta until ready. In a seperate pan, add all of the other ingredients (olive oil first but the rest in no particular order) and simmer for approx 10 mins. Add the pasta, mix up and then transfer to a baking dish, top with the grated cheese and either wait until cooled and freeze or pop in the oven until golden and crispy on top on a medium heat. YUM! (I sprinkle with herbs on top too but it’s up to you!)

Tip – for non-veggies, a sprinkle of gravy granules adds to the flavour when cooking.

Getting things finished…..

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It was my plan this year to finish anything I started before starting the next crafting/sewing/knitting project. I have failed already and it’s not even the end of January yet. I am currently working on the following projects:

1) An A-line skirt created from some curtain material kindly given away on ‘freecycle’

2) A knitted dishcloth

3) A Beatrix Potter Cross-Stitch for my baby girl (started as soon as I found out that I was pregnant but once my bundle of joy arrived I couldn’t find the time to do it, so a lady in the US is currently finishing off the last few letters for me, can’t wait to get it back and hung on her bedroom wall!)

4) Bunting – it’s not quite long enough for the bedroom so I’m waiting for more fabric to come in before I can finish it.

5) A collection of Japanese memories to remind us of our honeymoon to be framed in our bedroom.

Today I’ve finished of mending a night-dress, mended another dress and I’ve added the poppers to a dress for my girl. Well, it’s a start.

Eco-cleaning

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I have put together a very basic ‘green cleaning’ kit which I use most days and mainly in the kitchen, there were a few reasons as to why I did this:

a) The move to Australia that we are planning is meaning that we have really had to save our pennies and this little collections of cleaning products is so cheap to make.

b) The post which I read (from my favourite blogger – Eco-milf ) inspired me to make this kit and is also where you can find the ingredients to make one – click here for the link.

c) A lovely colleague of mine made me aware of how many products that are bought from the shops are tested on animals, I now try not to buy these products either (seems there aren’t actually many around which are not tested on animals) so this is a solution to that too.

d) I seem to have a large and colourful collection of cleaning fluids, sprays, bottles and potions under my kitchen sink – I’m pretty sure I don’t need them all and have decided not to replace one when it’s gone if I can make my own cheaper and greener alternative (unless it’s REALLY necessary!)

It works a treat, the essential oils can be used for many different things at home too. I knitted the dishcloth from bamboo which makes it really soft yet absorbent and looks much nicer on the kitchen side as well. I’ve started knitting abother one out of recycled green cotton, one to use whilst the other is in the wash.

Carrot Cake

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I had a spare half an hour this morning so thought I would make a quick cake. The recipe for this carrot cake is one of Rachel Allens and is so easy, I’ve made it loads of times and it turns out well every time, plus the best part is that it is impossible to mess up, I don’t follow the recipe, just throw all of the ingredients in a bowl, mix up, and pop it in the oven for an hour. Delicious! (a link to the recipe can be found here)

Spiced rice, chilli lentils & lamb koftas recipe

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Rice and lentils are often eaten in our home and this is one of our favourite recipes, the rice part is easily adapted by taking out or adding the ingredients and flavours as required, we often have the rice and lentils with fish, tofu, chicken or any other meat. Here’s the recipe:

Spicy Rice:

Ingredients:

1 x cup rice

Large knob of butter

1.5 cups water

1 x tsp stock powder (or a cube)

pinch salt and pepper

2 x eggs

1 x small tin peas

1 x cup finely chopped mushrooms

1 x finely chopped onion

1 x tsp cumin

1 x tsp tumeric

1 x tsp corainder

1 x tsp gram masala

1 x tsp tikka spice

Method:

Add the water, rice, butter and stock to a saucepan and bring to the boil, As soon as it boils, mix it, turn off the heat and cover with a lid wrapped in some muslin or a tea towl, leave whilst you prepare the flavouring:

In another pan, add the eggs (beat them once they are in the pan) cook on a medium heat and mix until nearly solid, add the rest of the ingredients and cook together until all of the ingredients combine and then falll apart a little. Add this combination to the pan of rice, mix together and then cover until rice is soft and fluffy. Done!

Chilli Lentils:

Ingredients:

1 x cup lentils (any type or mix different types)

1 x pint water

1 x tsp chilli flakes

1 x tsp cumin

1 x tsp tumeric

1 x tsp coriander

seasoning

1 x tsp gram masala

1 x tsp tikka spice

Method:

Add all ingredients to a pan and bring to the boil, turn down the heat to a simmer and cook on the stove until the lentils are tender (time changes depending on which lentils are used) Season and flaour to taste once cooked.

Lamb Koftas:

Ingredients

500g minced lamg

2 x cloves garlic

1 x finely chopped onion

1 x tsp cumin

1 x tsp tumeric

1 x tsp corainder

1 x tsp cinamon

seasoning

dash of lemon or lime juice

Method:

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl, using a spatuala or your hands, mix together and once all of the ingredients are combined, shape into sausage shapes. Set in the fridge for 20 mins and then fry on a high heat to seal, followed by a medium to low heat for 10-12 minutes until cooked all the way through.