Finding work for idle hands: making, baking and more.

Knitting for children* November 27, 2006

Filed under: Knitting — lauravw @ 7:56 pm

*As in teaching children to knit, not how to knit stuff for them to wear.

For the past couple of months I’ve been helping out at Brownies, and this week we are teaching the Brownies to knit. (Apparently some of them already attend a knitting club, which sounds very wholesome.). I’ve been trying to find resources for how to teach them, and thought I would post them here in case they’ll help anyone else:


Typhoon kitchen linens November 26, 2006

Filed under: Gifts,Shopping — lauravw @ 7:37 pm

typhoon.jpgThe fabrics used in Typhoon’s range of kitchen linens are very attractive and would make an excellent Christmas present for the cook in your life. I’ve bought myself a set of the mocha ones pictured here – Lakeland are selling an apron, two tea towels and an oven mit for £24.99. I’ve only ever had old or drab aprons in the past – the one I have now is so pretty I want to wear it all the time, and am concerned about spilling food on it while I’m cooking. I’m not sure I can bring myself to use the tea towels…


Ah fudge! November 22, 2006

Filed under: Food,Places to go,Shopping — lauravw @ 8:23 pm

On the way home tonight I stopped to buy vegetables, and by the cash register they had little packets of yummy looking fudge made by Roskilly’s of Cornwall. We tried the chocolate and orange, and it was delicious – it’s all organic, and they have a very sweet note on the package inviting you to visit them at their farm, where you can go on woodland walks and visit their ice cream parlour (with 24 flavours – plus they used the magic word: “sundae,” something I would consider making the long journey south for). Sounds like a nice way to spend a day! And if you’re nowhere near Cornwall, you can buy a few of their products online.


Pink cloud sauce November 20, 2006

Filed under: Books,Food — lauravw @ 8:24 pm

Over the weekend I made pink marshmallow sauce, which I served with some chocolate brownies, and sprinkles on top. (It looked very pretty, but I’m afraid I didn’t have time to take a picture.)

The recipe was from the Accidental Vegetarian book, which is strange as it’s not technically vegetarian. Marshmallows have gelatine in, and, while I’m normally very strict about not eating gelatine, I really wanted to make this recipe and so decided to go for it.

Anyway, if you want to have a go, it’s very simple: you bring a small container of double cream to the boil, adding to it the seeds from one vanilla pod (that’s the expensive part – I only used half a pod). Boil for five minutes or so, and then add a bag of marshmallows. When they start to melt a bit, you’re done. Serve it quickly before they melt too much and disappear.

They give more precise measurements in the book, but I don’t think it needs to be an exact science in this case.

And if you’re in the market for an interesting vegetarian cookbook, this one comes recommended by me. The author, Simon Rimmer, is the chef and owner of a little vegetarian restaurant in Manchester called Greens. It’s a fantastic place – the food is wonderful, and it’s not scarily expensive. (It’s not cheap either, but you feel you’re getting what you pay for.) A search on Amazon reveals that he has recently published a new book which I’ll try to get a look at soon – it’s not a veggie one this time though. And further digging reveals he’s recently opened another restaurant.  He’s also been on TV a bit of late – the BBC food pages publish a few of his recipes.


Lots of nice stuff November 16, 2006

Filed under: Food,Shopping — lauravw @ 10:04 pm

I’ve been looking at the Cakes, Cookies and Crafts online store longingly – I already own a cowboy cookie cutter (who doesn’t?!), and while I’m quite keen on the idea of religious-shaped cookies, I think a dragonfly and a butterfly are the next ones on my list.

The range of sprinkles on offer is one of the best I’ve seen in the UK – the candycane and gingerbread sprinkles are tempting…


Carbon neutral November 15, 2006

Filed under: Places to go — lauravw @ 11:12 am

I worry a lot about the planet and the bad things we’ve done to it – it makes me sad that humans are damaging things and all the other species we share the world with just have to put up with it.

And while I recycle everything that moves, buy local vegetables and re-use things as much as I can, I can’t escape the fact that I do like to travel. On average I seem to take one return flight within Europe each year, and one longer flight (recently to North America). The carbon emitted by these flights means that I do a lot of damage to the planet, more than I can ever hope to repay by recycling. The travel section of the Times this week reported that:

“…one passenger flying to New York and back [from London] creates 1.5 tonnes of emissions. That’s roughly the same as the domestic emissions (heating, hot water and cooking) that the average British individual is responsible for in a year.”

So I’m making a new year’s resolution to start contributing to one of the organisations that plant trees or take other steps to help you offset your carbon emissions. On the Climate Care website you can use their calculator to work out your contribution – my flight to Seattle earlier this year would call for a donation of £16.35, and my trip to Amsterdam £0.90. If you’re made of stronger stuff than me, you could consider the Flight Pledge – a promise not to fly at all.


Lollies November 14, 2006

Filed under: Food,Shopping — lauravw @ 9:34 pm

Lollies!I’m very tempted by these tubs of tiny chocolate lollies – they come in a few different flavours, and i think would make nice Christmas presents for someone with a sweet tooth (me!).

The Cocoadeli site mentions a few stores that sell them – I will see what I can find and report back…


Very extremely busy doing important things November 12, 2006

Filed under: Christmas,Gifts,Shopping — lauravw @ 4:48 pm

I have fallen for Charlie and Lola, the wonderful characters created and illustrated by Lauren Child.

To that end I have got a small Charlie and Lola advent calendar to look forward to this year, made by Petit la Borde. (I also found an online store called Pink Milk that sells a lot of the merchandise -the mugs are lovely, and these garlands shaped like biscuits!)

UPDATE: I bought one of the biscuit garlands from Twist in the Tale. It arrived this morning and I love it – they sent it off to me very quickly, and postage and packing was free. I have no idea what I am going to do with it, but the pictures on it of biscuits from my childhood make me happy.


Full of chocolate

Filed under: Food — lauravw @ 4:31 pm

On the Lovescool website, there is a wonderful account of a tour around the Lindt chocolate factory in Switzerland. (It’s not open to the public, sadly… though our guidebook says otherwise. Hopefully it will re-open for tours in the future.)


Tins November 9, 2006

Filed under: Food,Gifts,Shopping — lauravw @ 7:36 pm

Pandoro tinJohn Lewis are selling the most fabulous Italian tins with cakes in – they are part of the Christmas food offerings they have, and very beautiful. I bought a massive (it’s more than a foot high) tin which contains a giant Pandoro cake – I plan to give it to my mother for Christmas. The website for the company who makes the tins is here (they have an English language version – but sadly no pictures of the tins). There are no pictures of the tin I bought on the John Lewis site either, but there are pictures of other products in the range.