beans and rice!

Well - I have been out and listened to my broad beans, runner beans and the beautiful purple melissa beans and I can't hear any of them ticking! AND I have been in my larder and listened to my very best basmati rice - silence.....! SO hoorah for magic beans and rice that are ticking!


how my garden grows

These are the new beds I built in the garden in Spring full to the top with delicious things to eat. We have had to freeze excess Romanesca and Kale this year in order to make the most of our sugarsnap peas and salad leaves - mizuna, red and green salad bowl, rocket, mustards and other tasty things. It's a pretty small plot but seems to be nice and fertile - plenty of courgettes for us and our friends and neighbours which is always nice! Like last year, I'm really enjoying finding new ways to prepare and cook the things that I've grown and loving Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook once again - it always inspires me to go out foraging for elderflowers, blackberries and wild garlic - yum


joining in

Here I am, daughter number two, joining in at last! I'm sitting here with my four year old son squeezed onto my lap and repeating everything I say so I hope that these sentences will be at least partly comprehensible! Anyway, as a new blogger, it may take me some time to warm up to this, although I have been busily taking photos with this in mind so I'll try to do a bit more next time - preferably without the parrot on my knee!
This time, I just want to thank my sister for the beautiful warm socks. I can't believe that I feel the need for such a wintery bit of comfort in July but the weather here certainly doesn't resemble any summer I remember! Anyway, thanks sis - much needed as you'll see from the very much loved and worn last pair!


a change of scene

It's the time of the summer where our garden starts to change colour. The legacy pinks of our roses and hebe fade and the stage is set for the whites, and they just shine against the dark green and purple foliage of the garden. The clematis is making an encore to join the late show and even the french beans are wearing white this year! ... C


so excited!

having been an avid blog reader for ages now and watching all these women being part of a great big community - i am now so excited that having started this thing we are actually getting comments from people around the world - albeit only 2 so far but heck!!! mind you it does make me feel i had better do my sewing, knitting and cooking better!!


anyone for supper!!!

no pics this time - but - here we are in belfast and been to the market this morning! bought some fab fish - asked about buying dover sole - most people would think it would be so expensive but we are so lucky - buying fish from the fishermen in the middle of the city!! so ended up with 3 dover sole for the price of 2 as they say - in the end we could only eat 2 and have to eat the third one cold. total cost £3!! we did what we have done before - tried to make the pescardo we had in northern spain - unsuccessfully mostly! but sometimes delish! combined with salad leaves from the garden - altogether a good meal - of course, with a bottle and a bit of wine from our other home in bordeaux! BUT we also have a HUGE ling - strange eel like fish - filleted and in the freezer for fish and chips. as always when you go to st. george's market in belfast there is a story... the nice man i buy from = one of three who now turn out to be brothers!!! oh - he said - ling is my favourite fish - pause....! i think it is because of my grandmother - she used to salt it - hmm dont know how she did that - and we ate it with potatoes and it was just the best thing - just lovely! then also there is my brother!! you know the guy you usually buy from - you know down the other end of the market - the one with the glasses! (yes i know). you will never find ling on his stall (correct i never have) he takes the ling - fillets it - cuts the fillets into 4 and then he has a smoke house and he smokes it and sells it smoked.....no idea how much for but...hmm.. thats added value!!!! oh i thought - i wonder where you can get that! then i bought local strawberries and i am going to make the strawberry sorbet i just came across on the hugh fearnley whittenstall - dont know if that the right spelling - in case chums come to eat with us before we head off to france again! THEN - there is the story of the mockcrocs.......! but thats for the telling!


round and round...

Finally finished the Circular Shrug (Ravelry link - sorry, but if you aren't on there yet, why the heck not?). Knitted in black Debbie Bliss Pure Silk - 8 skeins scored at the John Lewis sale last year and another added at the last minute (not a matching dyelot but I think I got away with it). The Pure Silk is lovely to knit with, though not terribly even and with lots of joins per skein, and the resulting fabric has a lovely drape and lustre. But it does pill like mad which is already making it look slightly scruffy. Might need to get my fuzzaway on it... The pattern is really clever although I changed it slightly to get over seaming the ribbing across the front which I doubted I could do neatly. Instead I worked on the main, central section first, using a provisional cast on and once I had my length and was onto the ribbing, I picked up the provisional cast on and knit in the round on a circular needle. And I used a twisted double rib, knitting into the back of each knit stitch, but that's primarily because my ribbing tends to look sloppy and looked wrong against the much neater mock rib. If I was to knit it again, I would include the section of mock rib that joins to make the armhole in the circular knitting to eliminate the small seam either side, and I think I would make is slightly narrower across the shoulders - I seem to have ended up with an excess of fabric at the underarm - especially at the back. But it's actually pretty adaptable, looking very different unpinned and pinned at the front, and even very different according to where you pin it. Overall I am as yet undecided about it - though the yarn alone makes me want to wear it. I think it might benefit from a bath and further pressing. It should make a nice winter garment over a polo neck or half sleeve T shirt, and you never know... perhaps I'll grow into it! ...C


you make your own luck

The first pair of socks I've made in ages. Very fluffy soft hugs in a lovely sage green for the feet of my sis. Very simple toe up socks with short row heel loosely based on many patterns, with a lightly frilled top to ensure extra comfy wear and no ribbed legs in the morning if you wear them to bed. I hadn't appreciated until now just how hard it is to photograph socks - tried them every which way but finally gave up and settled for this one when I spilt a cup of black coffee on the white linen tablecloth... Not so lucky as it turns out. But it's my habit to knit luck into socks by knitting them throughout in multiples of three - for the stitches and the rows. These were knitted with double stranded Rowan Kidsilk Haze - on 3mm needles of course... It made me think that for a so-called agnostic, I have a tendency to try to gather luck around me when I can, however I can.
Little cat charms from my brother in law which watch over us from the top of a picture. A figure brought back from Botswana by my sis (I think he guards our luck - though I could very well have just made that up). A black cat, though he rarely awakes for long enough from his daytime stupor to walk across my path. A little fairy - for what are fairies if not lucky? And lots of lucky stones... which mum calls footles. Or maybe that's futles. Footells? Who knows... In any case we have lots. Partly because the beach at Whitstable consists of almost nothing else, so if ever I feel in particular need of some luck, that's where I head!
Last but not least, my lucky four leaved clovers - one found here in England by the Working Man and one in France by mum - spookily just days apart. Actually mum found two in quick succession, so dad decided that it was a particular variety or at the very least caused by growing conditions and spent hours watching the ground at his feet as he walked - to no avail. We have a fourth lucky four leaved clover in the family - my granny's - which both my sister and I borrowed for our wedding days, so I like to think of mine being passed down too. Conversely, or perhaps that should be perversely, my granny swore that the luckiest day was Friday the 13th, and I'd have to agree, as I met the Working Man on one of those very days almost exactly seven years ago. No sign yet of the seven year itch, and of course, the passage of time and cell renewal being as it is, we're not even the people we met... but that's another story... C



wonderful, never ceases to amaze - whatever it is we are talking about!!!!! love


The first tomatoes - tiny, matt green jewels - have suddenly appeared on the plants, though since their appearance, I don't think the sun has shone once, so green they will remain for now. And the first, teeny, tiny courgette in the side garden. And then there was last week's other first, but everyone who needs to know knows, so I'll keep that under my hat for now. A week of firsts. Hoping for a slightly more sedate week this week...C

anyone for supper!!!

oh sorry - there are only two!!!
the artichokes seem really good this year - not as good as those lovely bunches of little ones you get in france - mmmm! but look better than for ages!
so - will cook them and let you know how they are.
now - with butter or something more complicated - oh well - butter it is then!!!
there are more so if you turn up i will cook some more!!!


one for the scottish ones!!!

here's one that was created for me - mum - for my birthday and came all the way to france!!! AND one we caught - little man particularly - cooked (not very successfully) and ATE!!!