Stitchery Tuesday – Self Directed Study.

Things are really revving up here, six weeks until hand in and everything still to do. Which sounds like its not really revving up but it really is, the volume of work needed for hand in is, how shall we put this, enormous.

So when I said to my darling hubby a few weeks ago, ‘shall I make my next outfit to fit you’ and sunshine radiated from his face, someone should have just handed me a shotgun – for me not him – insanity reigns.

And so it was that added onto the volume of work, that sometimes nearly reduces me to tears when I think of just how much we need to get done, I’ve added this to my workload.  ‘Why?’ I can hear you all cry.  Well, its like this, there isn’t very much, not very much at all of pattern cutting tuition, I had thought there would be more, I know your shocked too, but apparently that is a separate degree and quite a specialised art in itself.  And as one of the tools I want to come out with from university on a personal level is to be able to look at a pattern cutting book and be able to understand what is going on and be able to make something from it,  I needed to bite the bullet for myself.

So, I opened Winifred Aldrich, Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear and started at page 1.  And after a long weekend, I had this. Draft 1Draft 2Draft 3

Just the sleeves and trousers to go.  Then the toiling and the adjustment of the block and then I can start on the design and the toiling of my designs (which need to be designed!) all in the space of a week..

Where did I leave them bullets….

Meatless Monday – Courgettes and tomatoes with poached eggs.

I love this recipe for courgettes and tomatoes.  I come back to it time and time again, as a side or as a main or a light lunch or tasty supper.  The men in my life hate it, I think its just too vegetably for them, but I adore it. And when your a busy girl it absolutely fits the bill, providing you with a nutritious meal that takes moments to prepare. Courgettes 1

This time I wanted something really fresh tasting, no garlic was used today.  It was simply a splash of vegetable oil, I choose rape as it gets to a higher temperature without burning than the others. Courgettes 2

I fried off my courgettes,Courgettes 3

added a tin of tomatoes and a splash of vinegar, (which forms the simplest of gastriques) and let it cook down for 5 minutes whilst you poach an egg or two. Courgettes 4

And it was at this point I served it with black pepper, it didn’t need any salt.

And then, just to make it really filthy… Courgettes 5

add a good grating of cheese,… you know you want to.

Its Christmas! – I know, its far too early!

I keep my Christmas very simple these days, last year I decided to not send cards to all but a few and I found it very…. Soothing.  We had three little decorations, a good dinner and Kings College caroling in the background, I don’t think we even exchanged a present, it was perfect.  There was no anxiety, it had all gone.  This year will be even simpler, I won’t be buying any Christmas cards to send, or worrying about it either. Those that know me and want to be in my life, are in my life, its that simple.  But even with all my baah humbug tendencies, I do love a good look around, with half an eye on the prettiness of it all and the other at how well the marketing men do these days.

And so it was I found myself in John Lewis and accidentally came across their Christmas floorChristmas 1.

I really liked these, simple but effective. Christmas 2

And I loved the double decker buses, I didn’t love the prices though,  £30.00 for the bigger of the two.Christmas 4

Reindeer seem to be quite popular. Christmas 5Christmas 6Christmas 7Christmas 8Christmas 9

I loved the new styles of trees. Christmas 10

And I can never resist a stocking. Christmas 11

Who wouldn’t want to tuck into one of these on Christmas day.  Christmas 12

And I know hubby would be loving these – sadly I didn’t buy him any – they wouldn’t last!Christmas 13

Its all just so pretty. I can’t wait to go and see the other stores, only two months to do it in!

Autumn at Borough Market.

Everything seems to be glowing at Borough Market at the moment. Its the time of year when it all seems to come together. the bounty of the harvests go beautifully with the ripening cheeses, fat fish which have been feeding all summer and tender meats which have been nurtured by sweet meadow grasses.Borough market 2

Sadly this is the closest I will come to it this season.Borough market 1

I’m already spent up this term, so no expensive foody treats for me. Borough market 3

Borough market 4

Borough market 5

And as I was a poorly girl last weekend Borough market 6

I’ve got some catching up to do, which involve being tied to a sewing machine and a computer, not gallivanting around, aah well, maybe I’ll get to trot around next weekend.

Flavoursome Friday – Tuna, tuna and more tuna.

If anyone had told me that I would love raw fish when I was growing up I would probably have replied with a very loud ‘Eeeewww’.  And certainly being landlocked in the middle of leafy Warwickshire Sushi wasn’t on the menu anywhere.  But overtime and being willing to give anything a go I found myself popping those lovely little mounds of rice topped with raw fish and a little smear of green wasabi into my mouth without a second thought – they were delicious.

Now I am in London – I can’t afford Sushi, well not as often as I’d like, but John Lewis have their food hall which is fabulous and I often wander in, about once a week, for a glass of wine in the almost hidden, not advertised to the outside world, wine bar and then a little shop around to find something delicious for a simple supper. Tuna 1

This time I found a packet of cubed tuna, (its about a third of the price of a tuna steak and is normally sold out!) a packet of potato salad, a little gem and some cherry tomatoes later with the added garnish of some pickled ginger and a home made french style dressing, supper is served.

Thursdays Knit and Natter – Hinksey Mittens finished at last.

At last some nice warm mittens all ready for winter. We had a bit of a gale the other day and it got me to thinking that I must really finish these lovely mittens. Since that day I have took them into University and back again every day without a single stitch being knitted.  I have good intentions and then other work simply takes over, that and I don’t want to be knitting a complicated cable on the train. But at last they are ready and I do love a bit of cable work to admire. Mittens 1

They took nearly a month for me to knit, which when you think what else I am cramming into a day isn’t too bad. Mittens 3

I’d have liked glamorous photographs but this is what’s attainable today,  you’ll have to look out for shots of them in my winter photographs.Mittens 4

But one thing is for certain, I love them and will most probably be making more cabled mittens in the future, they are just so cute. Mittens 6


I am deeply smitten.

And for those that are interested, this is Hinksey by Lily France, knitted in Fyberspates Scrumptious Aran (45% silk, 55% merino) in Moss on 4mm DPN.

Tuesday Stitchery – Working hard.

Sewing 1

There might not be much in the way of commentary in the next few weeks, mainly due to long working hours (12 hours yesterday!), illness (weird virusy thing – the weekend in bed) or sheer knackerdom (new word, you get the jist!).

This is what I achieved yesterday as well as making the vents of the sleeve, trying to get the sleeve set in was not successful and late, very late I got home, made supper and went to bed.

Tomorrow, as they say, is another day.

Meatless Monday – Bejewelled Lentil Bake.

I had a few bits and bobs left in the fridge and needed to make full use of them as student loans have still to pay me, I’m hoping by the time you read this it will all be sorted.  But it is better to use up your ingredients and have a cooking session and then freeze.  Even if you only have a fridge, if you have some meat or fish that would be better cooked that day, cook it, even if your not going to use it, you’ve just extended the life of it by another three days, which is why you see things like rissoles and poached salmon and fish pies on lunch time menus, they are using up the stuff and adding shelf life to it at the same time. lentil bake 1

So I had a bit of veg in various guises along with some beetroot from the garden and it set me on a path.  I was thinking of how brightly coloured they would look together and contemplated a beetroot and carrot salad and then spotted the brightly coloured red lentils, lentil bake 6

which I have never seen quite such vibrantly coloured lentils before.   They reminded me of a Chinese dish of jewelled rice pudding, long since eaten and completely forgotten how I made it – I must look it up, I remember it was very sweet and very pretty.

So I peeled and chopped up the veg, fried the onions and garlic until they were rich and full flavoured, added the mushrooms and fried until they became mahogany and glistened with their juices.  Then I added the diced carrot and beetroot and fried those to reduce their natural moisture and release their sugars, like a mini roasting in the pan.lentil bake 7

Added the sweetcorn,  lentils, tin of tomatoes,  water, salt, pepper, oregano, french mustard, tomato puree and balsamic vinegar and then let it bubble for forty minutes, or until the lentils are cooked.  I then decanted some because there was too much in the pan, peeled some potatoes sliced thinly to top the dish with and placed in the oven for an hour, then took off the lid of the pan for fifteen minutes to allow the potatoes to colour. lentil bake 3

Soon I had this which I quickly dished up for me because by that time I was a very hungry girl. lentil bake 4

And it made a magnificent lunch and I had all of this left for tomorrows meals and to feed Henry the Freezer.lentil bake 5  Just Brilliant.