Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Linen Smocking - My Latest Linen Obsession

Now, I think that my linen obsession is nothing new, but I've added smocked linen to that obsession. I'd love to know how to do smocking, but unfortunately I have more than enough on my plate for the time being!

Since I don't have the time to learn this skill, I'm going to have to be satisfied with some vintage smocked linens I bought on eBay and these gorgeous images of crisp white linen!

I hope you're having a great week!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

English Summer Days

I've been away enjoying a much needed rest the last few weeks and I was lucky enough to get away for a few days to one of my absolute favourite places in England - Bath. The city of Bath is a world heritage site, and when you visit this remarkable city there is no mistaking why.

The beautiful stone houses, the grand sweeping streets and the bustling energy of the place (okay, bustling compared to Cumbria!) make it a wonderful place and since the sun was nice enough to shine the whole time, it was just about as perfect as you get!

In my short visit I manage to cram in a whole lot and here are some of the things I would put on my 'must-do' list if you get the chance to go to this charming town.

The Parade Gardens

The Parade Gardens

The Jane Austen Center

The Royal Crescent

The Roman Spa Museum

Inside the Roman Spa Museum

The Roman Spa Museum again (yep, that's me!)

Sally Lunn's Bar & Restaurant

I also managed to fit in some shopping, a few ciders in the sunshine and got to visit Jamie's Italian (as in Jamie Oliver) and while I know he wasn't cooking it was still really cool!

Have a lovely week!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Plums in Port

The gorgeous sunshine that we've had all week has disappeared this weekend to be replaced with heavy rain and warnings about flash flooding here in the north. So having put off any indoor projects while the sun has been shining, I decided that today was the perfect day to get stuck in with some kitchen projects.

There's been a glut of plums on our trees, so I decided to preserve them in port now ready for a winter treat! This is a super easy way to preserve them (and much less time consuming than making jam) - and it smells like Christmas has come early while they're cooking!

Plums in Port
1 pound (440g) Preserving sugar (normal white sugar will do as an alternative)
250ml Port
200ml water
2 pounds (approximately 1kg) of plums
Preserving jars (clean thoroughly before using)

Clean the plums.
Mix the port, water and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil for 2 to 3 minutes. (Stir occasionally to prevent the sugar from burning.)
Add the plums, return to the boil and let it boil for around 7 or 8 minutes, until the plums begin to soften.
Remove the mixture from the heat and using a large spoon, place the plums in the cleaned preserving jars. Pour in a little of the mixture they were cooked in until the liquid is around an inch and a half from the top of the jar. Pour approximately an inch of extra port in before sealing.
Once you've finished, store the plums in a dark place for at least two months.

Have a great Sunday!