Friday, 30 January 2015

Marmalade Making

Last week I decided that I would make a batch of marmalade!  Not sure why I came to this decision, my track record for jams and chutneys isn't great.  

So while doing the weekly shop last week a bag of seville oranges ended up in the trolley. The following day I set to work squeezing the oranges and chopping them up ready for their overnight soak.  I totally underestimated how long and how difficult it would be to thinly slice a kilo of oranges.  I tea break was called half way through.  

I used the marmalade recipe from River Cottage Handbook Preserves using their Sliced Fruit method.  Like the River Cottage Bread book there are lots of helpful tips to guide jam and chutney novices like myself along the way.

I have to say it was a total success!!!  I had a few problems reaching the setting point but that was down to me not using a big enough gas ring (I was being cautious following an indent with burnt apricot jam a few years ago!). 

It got the seal of approval the following day from Mr D!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Woolly News: January 2015

I have just realised that I never posted a woolly news for December.  Not sure why as I had a very special woolly delivery to shout about! 

In December my resistance to a very special yarn club failed.  After months of being strong, I signed up to The Golden Skein Power of Three Club for (Q4 2014, Q1 and Q2 2015).  The skeins are all one off exclusives to The Golden Skein and the inspiration for the colourways comes from a quarterly photo.  Quarter 4's photo was of a firework display named Celebration. My shiny gold parcel arrived when I was ill and laying on the settee. This is what was inside:

Golden skein celebration
 I sat next to them on the settee for several days stroking and admiring them!!!  The next quarter is due in March - I am already counting down the days.  The inspiration photo for Q1 is of Peacock butterflies (really, really excited about this one as Peacock was my maiden name).  I have not signed up Q3 and Q4 as there is a new club coming (information on their website) which only used British fibre and British dyers which I would love to subscribe to.  

Rosthwaite socks
Rosthwaite socks matching my beer and cake at Social Knitwork
I knitted a few christmas presents including Barley hats for my nieces and nephew.  I also finished the first sock for Mr D.  Things went a bit astray just before Christmas as KAL fever took hold. Within two days I had cast on Rosthwaite Socks by Louise Tilbrook and in celebration of The Golden Skein's 1st birthday, the Kunye shawl by Clare Devine.  I am still working on these two at the moment on top of my other WIP's (including my Vivid baby blanket for our new niece due to the end of the month!).  There are so many great KAL's happening at the moment and I want to join them all!

Are you joining in with any KAL's at the moment?  What have you been knitting or crocheting?  

Saturday, 17 January 2015

The Year in Books: January 2015

Just a quick update.   I decided to give up on The Lives of Others which I began in November.  Instead I have started a book I have been meaning to read for a while (borrowed from my father in law months ago).  That book is An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris.  Even after reading a few pages I could tell that I would enjoy it, unlike my previous selection!  I started An Officer and a Spy a few days after I posted my December The Year in Books.  I am just over half way through. 
Robert Harris An Officer and a Spy cover

The story is based on the Dreyfus Affair which took place in France towards the end of the 19th century.  Alfred Dreyfus was accused and convicted in 1895 of passing French military secrets to the Germans.  I have not looked into the facts but I understand that the majority of the book is based on the events which took place. 

I was really happy to read that Laura was going to continue The Year in Books in 2015.  I have really enjoyed reading what other people were reading in the second half of 2014.  It was also interesting to compare what others thought of books I had previously read.  

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Brimham Rocks

A belated Happy New Year to you all!  New Years Day seems a distant memory!  I hope whatever you got up to during the break was relaxing and enjoyable.  

We always try and get out between Christmas and New Year.   This time we headed to Brimham Rocks near Harrogate, North Yorkshire.  I had never been before but Mr D has suggested going on more than one occasion.  When it was mentioned again with the addition of how dog friendly it was, a date was set.

Brimham Rocks is a fairly accessible place with a path going through some of the rock formations to the visitor centre (unfortunately closed on our visit).  After that there are tracks to some of the outlying rocks.  There was still snow on the ground which meant that both ourselves and Fizz remained fairly mud free.  We walked around, throwing snowballs for Fizz, before heading to one of the outer formations to escape the many families who were also taking advantage of the bright day.  

brimham rocks
brimham rocksAfter a couple of hours exploring we headed back into Harrogate where Mr D treated me to a Morrisons cafe lunch. He knows how to treat a girl!

p.s. We seem to have lost our camera charger between leaving our holiday cottage on the Isle of Lewis and home.  These and subsequent posts are using photos from our phones until a new charger is purchased!

Brimham Rocks