Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Cake stands with a difference

I sometimes end up with a selection of odd plates left over from tea sets and I recently started putting these together and creating vintage style cake stands with the mis-matched plates.

The newest additions to the collection are now complete, and they had their first photo shoot out in the garden this morning.

single tier

Friday, 27 May 2011

Friday Suppers: Smoked salmon ravioli

I've decided to try my hand at a regular feature in which I will post a recipe suitable for a Friday night in. In the spirit of offering some variety, this might be a starter, main course or dessert and I'll try my best to come up with my own recipes although at times I may refer to one of my faithful cookbooks. I'd love to hear how you get on with these dinner suggestions, so feel free to leave comments.

So, the first Friday Supper is here and we're having homemade smoked salmon ravioli with a basil tomato sauce. Here goes!

You will need:

For the ravioli
Fresh lasagne sheets (shop bought or homemade if you have the equipment)
A portion of hot smoked salmon (you can use regular smoked slamon too)
3-4 tbsp cream cheese, such as Philidelphia
1 egg
A small bunch of fresh basil
Salt and pepper

For the sauce
A tin of chopped tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Splash of white wine
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Salt and peper, to taste
Grated parmesan cheese

Please note these quantities are approximate and will feed 2 people. You may need to upscale the recipe as necessary.

To make the ravioli
1. Flake the salmon into a bowl and break it up into small pieces. Add the cream cheese, tear the basil leaves and add to the salmon. Mix thoroughly with a fork, you want to get a fairly even texture, not too lumpy. Taste it then add more basil if required and season accordingly.

2. Lay out a fresh lasagne sheet and spoon 1tsp of the salmon mix onto the sheet. Depending on the size of the lasagne, you might get 4-8 raviolis per sheet. Remember to space out the fillings so that there is enough pasta around the edges so you can seal the ravioli.

Source: mothsoupstories.com

3. Beat the egg and use a pastry brush to brush over the lasagne sheets, around the salmon mix. This will help seal the ravioli.

Source: petitchef.com

4. Lay a lasagne sheet over the sheet with the fillings and press down around the edges of each spoonful of salmon mixture. Make sure not to tear the pasta as this will cause the ravioli to leak when you cook them.

5. Use a pizza cutter (or pasta cutter if you have one) to cut between the mounds and make individual 'parcels'. A bit like this:

Source: theitaliandishblog.com
6. Now the ravioli is made, they are ready for the sauce!

To make the sauce

1. Using a blender or food processer, mix the tomatoes, basil, garlic and oil until it is smooth.

2. Use a large frying pan to gently heat the sauce. Stir occasionally and add the wine when it starts to simmer.

3. Once the wine has cooked off slightly, add a spalsh of balsamic vinegar. Be sure not to add too much, you can always add more later! This might sound like a weird addition, but trust me, it works and gives a bit of depth to the flavour of the sauce.

4.  Mix well and season to taste. Add more balsamic if necessary.

5. While the sauce is cooking, drop the ravioli into boiling water to cook the pasta. When they float in the water, they are cooked.

Ravioli, just about ready

Sauce cooking while ravioli cook

6. When the ravoili is cooked, use a slotted spoon to life them out of the water and into the pan with the sauce. I find if you drain with a colander, they tend to stick together, so lifting them out with a spoon works best for me.

Ravioli in sauce

7.  Gently stir the ravioli in the sauce before serving. Top with grated parmesan to taste. If you want to be posh you can add a small sprig of basil to decorate.

Posh basil on top!

8. Serve with a large glass of wine and a chunk of ciabatta to soak up the sauce! Enjoy!!


NB. Mr PC made the pasta from scratch, and I didn't have the brainwave to create a Friday Suppers feature until halfway through the cooking process, hence the pics which I've borrowed from other websites. I'll also be more organised and take better pictures next time!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Liberty Button

Earlier in the week I posted about my visit to Liberty and mentioned the button I bought. I managed to get it sewn on quicker than expected, mainly cos I couldn't wait to see how it would look! I usually leave my sewing jobs languishing in the cupboard for aaages before I get round to them. There's something kinda mundane about mending things that makes me put it off but once they are fixed, I wonder why I waited so long!

So, my special Liberty button was destined for a fuchsia pink chunky knit jacketwhich my Mum knitted for me. Here's how it looks:

This jacket doesn't look great on the hanger (does anything?) but I can assure you it looks great on! It's just waiting for its first outing when the weather turns. The colour is right up my street and would you believe it will go with practically everything in my wardrobe? That's what's so good about my 'go to colour' everything I have goes with one shade of pink or another. Most people stick to black, but I stick to pink, it's the way to go for me!


This button does not photograph well. I don't know why cos it's so pretty. Maybe it's camera shy...

Is it wrong that I'm looking forward to wearing this when the weather turns cold again? Thanks Mum!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

NEW items added to shop

Last week I gave you a peek at some new items coming to my Etsy shop, and now I can tell you they are listed and waiting for you to purchase them!!

Just click the pics to see them in the shop.

Click here to take you to the shop. Don't forget you can get 15% off when using promo code 15OFF at the checkout!!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

A day in London Town...Part 2

Part 1 of this blog can be found here.

In addition to going to the hummingbird Bakery and Liberty when we went to London at the weekend, we also went to the Tower Bridge using the 2for1 offer you get with your train tickets. And it was £8 well spent!

I was concerned my vertigo would flare up and cause me to freak out, but it didn't. This was largely because there was a lift to take you up to the top (phew) and the walkways were well 'enclosed' and there was no chance of accidentally falling over the railings. The views were pretty cool, although the London skyline doesn't do it for me (sorry).

It was such a lovely day, with perfect blue sky and fluffy clouds, it did look quite pretty. The bridge itself is a lot bigger than I gave it credit for and the displays inside were quite interesting considering they're about bridges. One of the boards had a quote from someone saying "London's Tower Bridge is the most famous bridge in the world" and I must say that I disagree with that statement. I don't know what the world's most famous bridge is but if you asked me, Tower Bridge would probably not feature in my list. I have seen photos of far more impressive feats of bridge engineering. I would say it is the most ornate bridge I've ever seen and for its time, it's pretty amazing, but to me it's not the most famous in the world.

Did you know it still opens 3 times a day? And in the 1970s a double decker bus jumped the gap as it was opening cos the driver wasn't paying attention. It took 8 years to build and only 10 men died during it's construction. That's quite impressive considering the time it was created and the fact that they used wooden ladders to do the job! It is clad in Portland stone and uses Welsh slate and the steel girders were made in Scotland. So I guess the bridge encompasses everything that Britain was about in those days and it truly represents all of the nations' best resources and skills. I can see why it's such a great attraction for visitors and the London skyline would not be the same without it. It looks great at night when it's all lit up.

After taking in some cultural, historical and retail experiences, it was time to head off for an alcoholic experience. Vinopolis is a fun wine tasting experience and we got in using our Tesco vouchers so only paid for half a ticket with 'real money'. 
Whilst I enjoyed it, I can safely say I didn't learn anything about wine or tasting wine and I didn't like any of the 6 wines I tried. I did however discover I like Bombay Sapphire Gin in a cocktail as we got to taste some of those too! So now I'll be saving my pennies to get a bottle and a cocktail shaker to make some at home! We were interested in speaking to the wine maker from Uruguay which we were told about at the beginning but by the time we got to his section, he'd packed up and gone home, so that was a disappointment. I didn't know they made wine in Uruguay...

At £26 for the cheap ticket, you'd have to be really into your wine to get the maximum value for money. I felt it lacked any atmosphere and the staff were not particularly interested in helping you choose which wines to taste. So for a complete novice (ie me) this means you end up pointing at any old bottle and saying 'that one please' in the hope it's something you'll enjoy. If you're going there for a booze up, you're best going to the pub next door. But that's just my opinion and I'm sure there are loads of people who think it's great and go back again and again. I would say it is probably a great venue for a corporate event of product launch. 

 After this we ambled along the South Bank and marvelled at the state some people were in so early in the evening. You just never know what you're going to see in London!

Next time I'm in London I shall be going to the O2 to see the Royal Ballet which I am beyond excited about!!

Monday, 23 May 2011

A day in London Town...Part 1

This blog is in two parts as there's lots to share! Part 2 to follow tomorrow.

Part 1

At the weekend, Mr PC and I had a trip to London which these days are few and far between (too expensive for regular visits!).

The absolute first thing we HAD to do was go to the brand spanking new branch of The Hummingbird Bakery which just opened near Liverpool Street Station.  After much deliberation, I opted for  a chocolate whoopie pie, and WOW was it amazing! Every bite was like a quick visit to heaven and I was sad when I ate the last bit. I will definitely be making these from the cookbook soon!!

We also went to 'world-famous' Liberty for a mooch.

Liberty - taken using the VintageCam app on my iPhone

Ever since Cherry Menlove blogged about the opening of the Dining Room, I have wanted to go feast my eyes on it! It was amazing. The perfect haven for any homebody. I was bitterly disappointed that pretty much everything I liked/wanted/had to have was out of my budget (the joys of being a contract worker) but I loved looking at all the gorgeous housewares anyway. I also drooled over the srcummy fabrics in the haberdashery dept and swooned over some truly amazing ribbons (£5 p/m, eek!) and trimmings. And, if you're wondering what I bought. Well, I can exclusively reveal, I bought this:

A large metal button with white and silver colours

Yep, that's right, a solitary button. That's all I could afford! It will take pride of place on a fuchsia pink jacket which my mum has knitted for me. I think next time I go to Liberty, I'll have to save some pennies beforehand so that I can treat myself to something lovely.

Liberty takes up the whole street!

That's all for today, tune in tomorrow for Part 2!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Arty Farty

I'm always looking for new ways to take photos of my items, and although I only have a regular point and shoot camera, I think it holds up quite well. I thought I'd share some 'arty farty' pics from a recent event I did, as I'm quite impressed with how they turned out.

If you would like any of the items featured in these pics, please leave me a comment and I'll let you know if they're still available!

Also, don't forget to use code 15OFF to get 15% off in my Etsy shop!! Until 31st May only, so don't miss out.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Coming soon to my Etsy shop...

...Rosette Brooches!!

Don't forget, you can get 15% off my Etsy shop with promo code 15OFF!!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

We love a discount!

As a special treat to you all, I am offering 15% off anything in my Etsy shop until 31st May 2011!! All you have to do is use promo code 15OFF at the checkout!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Essex Food Show

Last weekend saw us at a very busy Essex Food Show. We had a great time at this two day show and met lots of lovely people. I thought I'd share a few pics of our stall which we shared with The Traditional Vintage Flower Company.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

New products coming soon!

In preparation for The Essex Food Show this weekend, I am making lots of new things which I'm very excited about! I thought I'd share a few pics of the scrummy materials I'm using and give you a wee sneak peek!

Items in the making include bunting, memo boards and picnic rugs so watch this space and come along the The Essex Food Show to get first dibs!!
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