Friday, 30 April 2010

making

I'm heading out the door to see Pipany for the rest of the day, accompanied by fresh doughnuts from the farmers' market, a bag of wild garlic, and a little handmade gift, and Walter (of course!).


One cannot visit a blog friend and arrive empty handed.


I've been meaning to make some new little notebooks for a while, and this was the perfect reason. I'll call this prototype 1.


I've used various different papers inside, with one of my photos on the front.


I hope Pipany doesn't mind being my guinea pig. And I hope she doesn't have time for a blog peek before I arrive.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

eggy

I was gifted some eggs on monday - chicken eggs, duck eggs and a goose egg. A lovely mix of size and colour. Have you seen a goose egg up close? It's seriously big.


Who knew you could have such fun photographing eggs?


Lining them up, comparing their sizes, admiring the delicate colours of their shells - especially the palest blue of the duck eggs. And making sure they don't roll off my little stool and smash on the floor.


The goose egg is way too big for my egg cups.


It made a delicious and generous-sized omelette, served with wilted wild garlic leaves.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

rich pickings

After a lean winter the foraging season is well under way. Last week I enjoyed the earthy taste of some nettle soup. I'd forgotten just how much I like it. This weekend, inspired by this recipe, I made a nettle and yarg risotto.


It was one of the best risottos I've ever made. I mostly followed the recipe - including the new-to-me method of dry frying the arborio rice, which not only shortened the cooking time, but also added a depth of flavour. My only substitution was using three-cornered leek (grows like a weed down here) instead of onion and garlic.


I garnished mine with some crumbled yarg, and the delicate white flowers from the three-cornered leek.


I also picked a large basketful of wild garlic. This is far harder to find locally, but my neighbour pointed me to a nearby patch. (Liz, do you want to know where?). The other day I gently sauteed some leaves in butter. Delicious.


This lot is destined for soup, I think. It's been a rather satisfying weekend for eating. I also made some more tiffin. Because it's quick, delicious, and goes beautifully with both morning coffee and afternoon tea.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

a present for walter

The postman arrived with a little surprise parcel, addressed to 'Diana and Walter'. What could it be? Beautifully wrapped inside and out, with a little note saying it was a late easter present, this is is what was revealed:


Lovely Lindt eggs and a bone-shaped cookie cutter. I have wanted one of these for so long... I will, of course, be making biscuits for Walter (which I do from time to time).

What could be more perfect than bone-shaped treats for my boy?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Sunday, 18 April 2010

birthday moments

Today I turned 46. How did that happen?

An oddly mixed day, but very enjoyable...

A phone call this morning started: "Happy birthday, old girl...."

Another phone call... a very loud happy birthday is sung...a duet...I can't for the life of me work out who it is singing. How I laughed when all was revealed.

An early walk in the woods, just me, Walter and the sounds of nature

Picking nettle shoots for soup

Pottering in the garden....thinking some pots could do with a scrub


Scrubbing algae off a wall in my courtyard

Painting said wall

A gin and tonic with my neighbours this afternoon, followed by an impromptu barbeque

Making and eating tiffin cake


Receiving a beautiful handmade card from Simone!

Sitting down for a while with a copy of The Edible Garden, and feeling inspired (I've been following the series on iplayer, have you seen it?)

All in all, a pretty blissful day....even if I am having trouble relating to Diana, age 46...

Monday, 12 April 2010

a random conversation

Late afternoon today I was walking Walter down through town to the sea for our afternoon constitutional.


The park was busy - students on easter hols sprawled over the grass, the odd holiday-maker... and an elderly lady. As we were passing by, she paused and greeted Walter, telling him how handsome he was, and didn't he know it! Walter laps up all this attention, while I smile and agree (of course) and say:

"Yes, he does know, I tell him every day how gorgeous he is".

She laughs, and then says:

"Of course, it's like men, you have to be nice to them, praise them (don't criticise) ....and then they just have that look about them, and they puff their chests out."

I knew exactly what she meant. And I'm still chuckling.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

random acts of kindness

"Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty"

I first came across that phrase in a tiny little shop in St Ives that sold gems and crystals. It was stuck on the wall for all to see. It immediately struck a chord - for what is nicer than doing something for someone else that is unexpected and unasked for? The wikipedia definition is:

A random act of kindness is a selfless act performed by a person or persons wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual or in some cases an animal. There will generally be no reason other than to make people smile, or be happier. Either spontaneous or planned in advance, random acts of kindness are encouraged by various communities.

And another thing, I love surprises. Don't you? So it's in this vein that I'm having a giveaway of a different kind. A giveaway that will last all year, and one where you can join in at any time. No deadlines, and no drumrolls and announcements on my blog, either. I will be sending out small random gifts for the remainder of this year. They will often have a paper element, (because I love making cards, chopping things up, cutting things out..) but not always. There may be some gocco. Then again, I may sew or knit something. Who knows what I may come up with? I'm just putting together some cards from my dahlia series, for starters.


There is an element of trust required for this to work - I can't send you something as a surprise if I don't have your address, but believe me when I say I won't pass on your details to anyone else.

Here's how it works:

Send me an email (my email address is in my sidebar) with 'Random Acts of Kindness' in the subject line. Then include your name and address (and blog, if you have one). That's it. Then, who knows? It might be your turn to have a good mail day. Oh...another thing....I know some of you know I already have your address, but humour me, please, send it again, it makes the admin bit easier.

Note: there's no obligation to blog about anything I send, and I certainly won't be blogging every time I send off a little gift, either.

This is open to everyone, near and far, old friends and new. Please join in!

Friday, 9 April 2010

elevenses

Just back from the farmers' market with a sticky pecan bun and some anemones. Coffee is brewing. The sun is shining for the second day on the trot.



I'm telling myself the weekend starts here....even though I have a lot of work to get through today.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

pebbles

It's no secret that I love pebbles, and often come home from a beach walk with my pockets stuffed. But there is one place I occasionally visit where taking pebbles is a criminal offence. They're also the sort of pebbles you would just love to take home and pile in your garden.


Porth Nanven, near St Just, on the north coast of Penwith, is tucked away at the end of a secluded valley in an area rich with the relics of mining's heritage. As the cliff erodes, the huge granite boulders are exposed, until eventually they fall and join those carpeting the tiny cove.


We came here on sunday afternoon for a walk down the valley and a potter in the sunshine.


There aren't many things that please me more than relaxing on a giant pebble listening to the sounds of the sea tumbling over the rocks, while being warmed by the gentle heat of the afternoon sun.


It was a memorable Easter sunday.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Thursday, 1 April 2010

easter prep, day two

More jewel-like foil wrapped eggs + one large bowl = visual treat + potential chocolate overload.