Thursday, 24 September 2009

Kitchen therapy - and a bit of knitting of course

Tuesday was a really boring day in the office. So I decided to cheer myself up and have a fantastic evening. Not that I don't usually have pleasant evenings, but you know how it is sometimes, you get home from work, potter around for a bit, make dinner, eat dinner, prepare next day's lunches and before you know it, it's time to go to bed. [You may have noticed washing up is not part of my routine, not because I've delegated this task onto Boyfriend (not anymore!) but because after a year and a half, we have finally started using our dishwasher - oh my goodness - we are in love with it!]. Anyway, I digress! In order to have more of a pleasant evening, I decided to skip the gym. This really isn't a good idea at the moment seeing that all my clothes have shrunk in the wash (wink wink), but honestly I just couldn't face it. So I indulged in an evening of kitchen therapy. I carefully washed my blackberries and made two lovely things out of them:

1/ blackberry crumble - also added a chopped apple in there and the juice of an orange, and added flaked almonds to my topping - what can I say - heaven in a bowl!

2/ blackberry and apple leather - I mentionned this a couple of days ago and you might be intrigued (or not!) to find out what they are. Well let me lift the cloud of mystery! This is what it looks like:

And it couldn't be easier to make. I found this recipe in an old Waitrose Food magazine. You need 500g blackberries, 400g roughly chopped apples and 200g caster sugar. Put it all in a large saucepan with 100ml of water, cover and cook on a medium heat for 5min. Then uncover and simmer for 10min until the apples have collapsed. Let cool for 10min. Put in blender and blitz until it's a thick mush. Put the mixture through a sieve to get rid of all the pips/ apple skins etc. Line two baking trays with baking parchment and divide the mixture between the two. Make sure it doesn't reach the edges of the trays. Put in an oven overnight at 75degrees C. The next day, cut in strips, roll the strips, sprinkle a little icing sugar to prevent them sticking to each other and store in an airtight jar. Can't tell you how long they last for, but the recipe did say they freeze very well too.

So my evening was pretty amazing by then. Pottering around in the kitchen is an activity I very much enjoy. The next part didn't involve standing in the kitchen but it did involve making Boyfriend happy. And that is even better. What I did was finish a little knitted 'pillow' cover I started a few months ago. I got fed up with it and put it aside until last weekend, when I found it while tidying up my yarn stash. Did any of you watch this programme that was shown on the BBC earlier on in the year about growing your own drugs? Well if you did, you might remember the presenter's solution for people who have trouble sleeping: mixing dried hops and lavender in a bag. Apparently the smell of hops sends you to sleep, and the lavender is relaxing (and stops the bedroom smelling of real ale!). So there we went, got some hops from the internet and lavender from our local farm.

And I started to make a nice little cover for the pillow. But it took me for-e-ver to make the back and I got bored. Bored. How terrible. So last weekend, I decided enough was enough, and on Monday evening, I finished the front of the cover whilst attending my local knitting group. I can now reveal the hop and lavender pillow!!!! Ta-dah!!!!

It's far from perfect, but I'm so glad I've finally finished it, and I think it looks kinda cute ;-) xx


lisa ridgeon said...

Ooh, i love crumble. It reminds me of sundays when i was a girl. My Mum made amazing crumbles.

The giant Jaffa Cake is very easy to make. It's a basic victoria sponge recipe, i made two batches but it depends on the size of your pan. Poor the mixture into a large frying pan and bake it in the oven. I mixed up one packet of orange jelly with half the amount of water and set it in a dish. Then i tipped the set jelly onto the cooled sponge and covered it in melted chocolate. Simple!

6p01127913f4cd28a4 said...

I love the blackberry and apple leather - looks fun too make and really tasty too. I shall have to give it a try!

Well done on your knitty creations - they look fantastic!

Hope the cosy evening at home really cheered you up! x