Showing posts with label ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ideas. Show all posts

Friday, September 26, 2014

Creative Cookery: Warming Up With a Hot Drink

It’s the 26th of September and autumn has officially arrived in Norway. With it comes, the beautiful golden leaves falling, foggy mornings, and copious amounts of rain. Now when I say rain, I do not mean the heavy rain of the UK. No. Before I moved to Bergen I thought I knew rain, I was merely an interested amateur until I’d lived through a Bergen Autumn/Winter. Rain here comes in walls, like waterfalls from clouds, my husband occasionally describes it as “it’s raining elephants” and he is so right!

With the weather turning, everyone’s thought in the Northern hemisphere turns to warm drinks, hearty meals and woollen underwear.

So when, after asking my followers on Facebook for inspiration, I was asked for a recipe for a warm drink that was neither coffee or tea, I thought it was very apropos.

Three Hot Drinks

I started looking through my recipe books, and researching online for some candidates. The following three are what I found.

Pineapple and Ginger Punch

This recipe came from the reader’s digest page.

You will need:

  • 4 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 cup sliced fresh ginger (no need to peel)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick, split lengthwise
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine the pineapple juice, ginger, honey, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Strain and serve warm.

Hot Butter Beer

I have never made this drink outside of the UK, and as you can probably guess it is a nod to the famous “Harry Potter”, even if you’ve never read the books, or seen the films this is a delicious if a decidedly sweet drink. Not for diabetics!

You will need for 4 servings:

  • 1 litre of cream soda fizzy drink
  • 2-3 tbsps butter
  • 2-3 tbsps brown sugar
  • 200ml single cream
  • 4-5 wether’s original butterscotch sweets.

Put the cream soda in a pan and boil. In a separate pan melt the sugar and butter together, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved. Then making sure that the cream soda is still boiling, pour the sugar and butter mixture into the soda. Add the cream and the sweets, stirring constantly until the sweets have melted. Serve hot.

Mrs Egeland’s Note: For a night-cap add butterscotch schnappps.

And last but by no means least…

Chilli Hot Chocolate

It is a winter warmer, I promise, in spite of its name.

You will need for 4 servings:

  • 1 liter of milk
  • 40z of dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chilli pepper.

In a saucepan warm the milk gently with the cinnamon and chilli pepper, until its almost boiling. Stir in the dark chocolate, over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate has completely melted. You can throw it into the blender and whizz it up now, if you want it to be frothy. Otherwise pour into cups and serve.

Mrs Egeland’s Note: The chilli should be barely tasted, and only leave a warm tingling in the back of the throat.

Keep warm and enjoy. Feel free to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to subscribe.

Until next time


Friday, September 19, 2014

Imaginative Cookery: Lazy Lentil Soup

It’s not often I make soup, in fact I can’t actually remember the last time I made soup before today.

I don’t often make soup because my darling hubby once said that soup wasn’t food, it was drink. So its relegated to starters or lunch on my own, that means that if I’m in a hurry I want to make something simple I don’t make soup, because that usually means making another dish besides.

But this week, I decided to do a cleanse and the best thing about lentil soup is, its great if your on a fast or detoxing or anything like that. Why? Because its liquid, so you can have it on a liquid fast, its totally vegetarian so its allowed on a green fast, its nourishing, full of vitamins and quite filling.

Also lentils are super easy to cook.

This is a even easier way to make lentil soup.

Lentil Soup, the Cheat’s way!

You will need:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 can of green lentils
  • 1 can of red lentils
  • 500ml of vegetable stock

Mrs Egeland’s Note: Lentils are so easy to cook that even if you can’t get canned lentils then dried will work just as well.

In a frying pan, warm a little olive oil and a teaspoon of butter. Dice the onion and fry it until clear. Add the chickpeas, and lentils and stir.

If you’ve got dried lentils, switch to a saucepan and add the vegetable stock, simmer until the lentils are tender which won’t be long. Then blend and reheat.

Otherwise, put your onion lentil mix in a blender. They should be well seasoned from the vegetable stock, but taste and season if you think it needs it. Once they’ve been blended and are smooth, turn the mixture into a saucepan and add the stock.

Stir, mixing the stock well into the mixture and heat.

Your done, serve, eat as much as you like without having to worry too much about the calories. Unfortunately I liked this soup so much that we finished before I remembered to photograph the results.

Pretty short post, huh?

Well I will do better next time. Enjoy the soup.

Don’t forget to subscribe and follow. Comment below, show me your skills with photos.

Until Next Time


Monday, September 15, 2014

Imaginative Cookery: Party Food

Its not often that I attend or even arrange a party, this time I am only one of some friends organising a baby shower for a dear friend of ours. Thank goodness! I have organised a baby shower single handed, I have to say it was quite stressful, and I have no wish to do it alone again.

Our dear friend is having a little girl quite soon, no doubt she will be a marvellous mother. We decided we wanted to give her a baby shower, and of course there had to be a lot of pink! We invited her friends and asked everyone to bring food as well as presents.

My Contributions

I thought I’d better make both a savoury dish and a sweet, because in my experience everyone tends to bring sweet and then there’s nothing else.

So I decided to make chicken vol-au-vant, an 80’s classic, although I have tweaked the recipe a little because I didn’t want to add white wine.

I cheated and bought pastry cases, I was planning on making them but time escaped me. So this is really just a recipe for the chicken filling.

Chicken Vol-Au-Vant Filling

  • 1 medium sized leek IMG_2003[1]
  • A handful of button mushrooms.
  • 1 tsp dried thyme.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Butter.
  • 400-600 grs chicken fillet, diced
  • 4 tbsp cream cheese
  • Chicken stock
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Slice the leek and the mushrooms, and fry in a pan with some butter. When the mushrooms are cooked and the leek has separated add the diced chicken. Continue to fry, and cook the chicken. Add the cream cheese and add enough chicken stock to make a sauce with the cream cheese. Simmer for about 5 mins, or until the sauce thickens, add the thyme and cornflour at the end simmering for another 2 mins.

Fill your pastry cases and serve.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Taken from Muffins og Kaker, published by Spektrum.IMG_2002[1]

  • 6 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 55g chocolate chips
  • 225g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 25g good quality cocoa
For Frosting
  • 225g bar of white chocolate
  • 150g cream cheese

Preheat the oven to 200C. On a baking tray arrange 18 paper cupcake cases. In a bowl, mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure to beat each egg in well to combine. Add the milk, and fold in the chocolate chips. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa, folding them carefully into the mixture so as not to beat out the air. Fill the paper cases, and try to flatten out the tops of the cakes.

Bake in the oven for 20 mins, or until firm and well risen. Allow them to cool.

Mrs Egeland’s Note: I actually used a packet frosting this time around, it happened to be white chocolate flavour. The frosting here would have made a delicious alternative.

For the frosting, break the white chocolate into a heatproof bowl, and put the bowl over a saucepan of rolling boiling water, making sure that the water doesn’t actually touch the bowl or splash water into the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted, white chocolate is always a bit delicate, so don’t hurry it. Allow to cool a little. In another bowl have the cream cheese, and whisk it until its softened. Add the melted chocolate. Decorate your cupcakes. Chill them in the fridge for an hour before serving, to firm up your frosting.

Delicious Food, Good Company

The party was a success. Everyone had made delicious food, and my small offerings was well received. There were gifts and I’m sure the little baby girl will be beautifully dressed for a long time to come.

Until Next Time


Monday, August 18, 2014

Imaginative Cookery: Greek Cheese Pie

Dear Readers,

Sorry I’ve been away and occupied. I am trying to get my blogposts out more regularly, new routines with new jobs always take a little getting used to.

Anyway, in spite of the title of this blog, I’m not going to give you a recipe, because you see I’d feel a bit like a cheat.

Bar Flaky Pastry and Cheese

Whilst I was on vacation I ate quite a fair few pieces of this delicious pie, but since I had no idea what went into it bar flaky pastry and cheese I didn’t dare try to re-create my own recipe. I hadn’t the slightest idea where to begin or what cheese to use, so instead I went through my favourite resource for these things, Pinterest and found a recipe on another blog site.

The Shepherd and The Olive Tree had a authentic greek recipe for Tiropita, cheese pie and so I made that with the ingredients I could lay my hands on. Not an easy thing to do in Norway, at least not on this side of the country and certainly not if you don’t wish to increase your mortgage payments to pay for said ingredients. So I bought philo pastry sheets from one of the exotic food markets that have been sprouting up and around Bergen the last 10 years and made my way to Rema 1000 for the Ricotta cheese.

Pleased With The Result

After a week of gathering my ingredients I made it, and I was very pleased with the result. It tasted very like the pie we had eaten whilst abroad, of course with the exception that I had never made this pie before and my cheeses weren’t Greek.


The filling was very yellow, unlike the pie we’d eaten on Samos, but I put this down to the eggs, as I’ve noticed that the yolks in Norwegian eggs are very yellow.

Weekend Recipe

I’ve still got quite a bit of pastry left over so I will try and make this again. It did take a while to bake, so I will probably keep it as a weekend recipe when my hubbie and I aren’t starving as soon as we get through the door and have the time to while away an hour waiting for dinner.

I served this with sausages and a light salad. It went well and was filling enough for us not to have wanted another carb alongside it. With any luck my attempts will improve and I will get confident enough to serve this to friends, I think it would make a great picnic or party dish.

Mrs Egeland’s Other News

I have become an honorary auntie. It seems that a lot of my friends are pregnant at the same time and have had or are having children in the very near future. I just want to congratulate all of my dear friends who are expecting or have had their bundle of joy.

Until next time


Monday, August 04, 2014

Mrs Egeland’s Every Day Survival Kit

Hey there, I know that I said that I would show you my painting today, and that it wouldn’t be just another recipe. The thing is I didn’t get time to even start painting this weekend, so instead I decided to show you my everyday survival kit

You Never Know

Ever since I was about 13 or 14 years old and my dad bought the SAS survival handbook I have been interested in knowing how to survive in difficult situations and lets face it life is full of those. I suppose you might call it a case of be-prepared mentality.

I have been alive and in this world for 32 years and my life hasn’t been what you might call typical of someone my age. I have reached the conclusion that most people don’t reach until their 50’s that life is un-plan-able. That the majority of things that happen to you are random acts of coincidence that you never even thought of let alone planned.

Sure you can plan a wedding, a baby or moving house even, those things are the things that you are in control of. You can plan to have further education and getting a degree, but you can’t plan having a career afterwards, at least not anymore, because that doesn’t rely solely on your ability to learn a new skill.

What I’m saying is that in this day and age we have to forever be prepared for those things that we don’t plan, good or bad that come into our lives without warning or notice.

A Lady’s Survival Kit

That’s why I carry a survival kit almost everywhere I go, and I’d like to show you what a woman can carry in her handbag without it being in anyway commando/bear grylls.


This is my survival wallet, its handmade from some material I had. I always have material of some sort around the house. It has press-studs instead of a zip, just recently I had to customise it again to get some new kit in it.



This! Its a Life Straw, or a portable water refiner that you can drink with. Its lightweight and easy to use. You simply put it in the water you are about to drink and suck like a regular straw. Always handy when you’re not sure if the water your drinking is safe.


My basic first aid kit: Its not going to help you splint a broken limb or sew up a wound, but with its plasters, sterile padding, wipes, painkillers and anti-histamine it will help you on a trip into the woods, camping or wearing a new pair of shoes.


Basic supplies: This is very basic, with this I can eat a few extra calories in a extreme survival situation and start a fire. It includes moist towellettes, tabasco sauce and fire lighting material. I would probably be able to survive two days on this while I was waiting to be rescued.


Nature doesn’t stop just because you’re stuck somewhere without a toilet. A girl has to be prepared for any unexpected moments, no matter where she is. Hairbrush and lipbalm are psychological survival aids. A woman always feels better with tidy hair, loose strands of which make excellent kindling, lipbalm can help with dry lips but also help as an accelerant along with the anti-bac hand lotion.

IMG_1945 Your teeth and mouth are very important and linked to general good health, keeping teeth clean helps no only physically but psychologically. Sewing kit could be used to make things or even sew up wounds. My foldable cup is handy in any situation and these heat producing pads are excellent when trying to stay warm.

I forgot to photograph but also in my kit is a pack of cards, because boredom and worry are the worst things to have to combat whilst in any survival situation.

I depend on my survival kit, its helped with cuts, emergencies and sometimes entertaining small children. I try not to leave the house without it. It even helped me help a lady with a small child who had cut himself quite badly on some glass in the road, thanks to my kit I was able to offer a sterile pad and some plasters.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my survival kit, maybe it will make you consider building your own.

Don’t forget to subscribe and comment below.

Until next time


Monday, July 07, 2014

Mrs Egeland’s 100th post

Its a great day for me, you are about to read my 100th post! I’m really amazed I managed to write so much.IMG_1378

Firstly let me just show you how the breast feeding shawl turned out. IMG_1353Thank you very much to my dear friend Vivacious Vi for allowing me to show her image here. This photo was taken at the baby shower, thank you all who contributed to its success.

My 100th Post

Hooray for me! Alright, so I will admit that this is my 100th post since the beginning of this blog’s incarnation, which is probably cheating but I thought it deserved to be celebrated anyway.

Especially since I won’t be posting for at least a week! However when I return I will bring you tales of travels and whatever recipes I can pick up.

To celebrate my 100th post I thought I would bring you a tutorial made from Post It’s. Zany? Perhaps, but like the first year of marriage which is traditionally a paper wedding… I decided that this would be the first of many.

Post It Flowers

To make Post It flowers you will need:IMG_1380

  • Post it’s, or other paper notelets.
  • Sticky tape
  • Drinking Straws
  • Wasabi tape

In this tutorial I only used Post It Notes, although I’m sure you could use any space, colour or type of paper notelets.

Let’s Begin!IMG_1381

Start by taking your first notelet and rolling it into a cone, small enough to slip into the top of your drinking straw.



IMG_1382It should be thick enough not to need too much add tape to hold it in place.



Begin by taking your second notelet and wrapping it around the straw. So that it bells IMG_1383out slightly and leaves a point sticking up at the top.






Something like that.

Congratulations, you have made you first flower petal!

You may find you need to secure this with a piece of sticky tape. Feel free to do so.

This is basically how you are going to make your entire flower. Simply by repeating this step.


However when you get around half way, then you can start folding the petal edges down. IMG_1388


Continue wrapping notelets around the flower, doing around four petals at at time, and then folding them over. Until it looks something like this:


When you have reached a stage where you think it looks enough like a rose for your satisfaction. Then you can get the Wasabi tape out. I managed to get a hold of green wasabi tape, but of course you could use whatever coloured or patterned wasabi tape you like. IMG_1392

After that you should have something that looks like this. IMG_1394

They are so easy to make, that I made up five without to much time at all. IMG_1398

Well what do you think? I am quite happy with them.  Happy 100th Post! Please leave a comment and tell me what you think. Subscribe and don’t miss out on my new posts!

I would love to see any photos of your versions.

Until next time,


Thursday, July 03, 2014

Splendid Sewing: A Breast-Feeding Shawl

I wasn’t going to put this up until after the weekend, because this is a tutorial showing how I made a baby shower present. Except that if I put off posting this then I won’t be able to put up the celebratory 100th post. So here is my tutorial for a breast feeding shawl.

If you Google “how to make a breastfeeding shawl” you will find numerous clever ways that produce something akin to an apron with a underwire in it to make a little peephole for momma. This is not that kind of breast feeding shawl. This is a shawl or scarf that I made of silk, (I happened to have acquired a meter), it has press-studs but can easily been worn as a general cover up.

Unfortunately I have already wrapped it up, so I can’t show you what it looks like finished because I stupidly forgot to take a photo when I was done. I will post a photo of it being modelled on Monday. 

To Start You Will Need:

  • A quantity of lightweight material.
  • A sewing machine
  • 10 press studs
  • Thread
  • Sewing Needle
  • An iron

And about two days maximum to make it.

  1. Measure a piece of lightweight material by holding it against your upper body. It should be a bit wider than your shoulders and long enough for you to be able to close it in the front when you hang it around your shoulders.IMG_0820
  2. Cut said material to your desired width and length.
  3. Fold the edges in and iron them flat, I had to do this because of the silk being so smooth and slippery. You may find you don’t need to.IMG_0815
  4. Set up and sit at your sewing machine. Practise on a spare piece of fabric to make sure you have the right tension.
  5. Run a straight, plain line of stitching down each of the folded edges, try and make it as straight as you can. In the end you won’t see these stitches to much but it will make life a little easier if they are as straight as possible. After this the rest is hand sewing.IMG_1326
  6. Put the edged piece of fabric around you neck and figure out where you want to put your first press stud. This one needs to be high enough to stay modest, but low enough for momma to see her baby when she looks down.
  7. Sew the press studs on the outer edge, the pretty side where you can’t see the folded free edge. Space them out, remembering to have one press stud at the bottom and leaving enough space to fold the edge up again without folding over the stud. IMG_1327
  8. Once all the studs are sown on to the scarf, start with the wide edge and fold it over one more time, using an invisible hem stitch carefully sew the edge down. IMG_1328
  9. Once the wide edge is done, do the same to the long edge, so that the press stud eventually faces the inner side. IMG_1329

You should have a pretty scarf with hidden press studs that means momma can close them over herself should she feel the need.

So that is how I made a breast feeding shawl for my friend’s baby shower. I may take photos of making cake pops to post sometime next week, also for my friend’s baby shower.

Please don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out. On Monday I will be posting the 100th post here at Mrs Egeland’s Creative Domesticity.

Feel free to comment below.

Until next time


Monday, May 19, 2014

Inspiring Crafts From History: The Norwegian National Dress

This last weekend was Norwegian Independence Day, 17th of May. This year commemorated 200 years of the Norwegian Constitution. It was a big deal for Norway, and that meant that the usual Norwegian Independence Day celebrations were especially grand this year.

Perhaps you are thinking that my blog-versation today isn’t the usual post of tutorials or ideas. You’d be right. Don’t worry though, I am not going to bore you with the ins and out of the Norwegian Independence Day.  However I thought that looking at the past might give inspiration for the present.

A Little Bit Of History

During 17th of May, National dress is worn and children are allowed to eat as much ice cream as they want. People parade the streets in their national dress, the “Bunad”, and in Bergen it inevitably rains some of the day. People fly the flag with pride from their flagstaff's and balconies. I personally don’t do any of this, except maybe eat ice cream, because who needs an excuse to eat ice cream. The Bunad, or Norwegian national dress hasn’t really changed much in the last two hundred years.

It all started as folk dress or farmer’s wear. It was different in different parts of Norway, each province having their own dress. In or around the 1800’s, Norway was griped with a national romanticism, suddenly it was important to have a national dress to go with their newly found national identity. 

Above you can see examples of Bunad’s from all over Norway. People tend to wear the bunad from the area they were born, raised or where their grandparents come from.

The Bunad was a status symbol, it indicated marital status, wealth and status in society. Even today, a Bunad can easily cost 30,000kr (about £3,000, 3,700 euro or $5,000), they are usually a conformation gift to teens, and its usual that they can be taken out at the sides so that they last a lifetime.

The Inspirational Folk Art

They are artisanal pieces of clothing. They are usually highly embroidered and the silver pins, and decoration are what make these outfits so expensive.

Above is an older piece showing the incredibly impressive embroidery from a bunad. Below is edging on a bunad skirt. Its this craftmanship that is so inspiring.

The silver jewellery, clasps and embellishment pieces are also highly decorative. Like other folk art of the middle ages from other countries, craftmanship was highly prized. Women embroidered their clothing during their free time, taking pride in embellishing things. Its a shame that we can’t say the same today, but we live such a fast paced life that taking time to embroider, knit or make clothes has become just hobbies for those inclined to do so.

I am one of those inclined to do so, I love trying to bring that embroidery and handcrafted feeling to my home. I suppose in that way I am more old-fashioned even than the 1950’s, when modern fabrics, mass produced clothing, home decor and machinery was all the rage. IMG_0719 (800x577)

Here is one such item, the pillow I made with the word Home embroidered on it. Its not a difficult thing to do, so long as you can sew then you can embroider.

I hope that this post has inspired you to embroider, to make something for generations to come to enjoy like the Norwegian national dress, or in fact any countries national dress. Take pride in your handiwork and make everything to the best of your ability.

Please subscribe and comment below, tell me about your handcrafts or embroidery projects. I’d love to hear about them.

Until next time,


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Imaginative Cookery: Luscious Lasagne

IMG_1067So here I am again, bringing you another delicious recipe, or at least I hope you think its delicious. I know my husband certainly does.

Italian Dreams

I have always liked Italian food, for a long while I wanted to move to Italy, unfortunately I didn’t quite get there. In fact I’ve never been to Italy, although I’ve tried learning Italian quite a few times. When I was a teen, I used to imagine I’d marry an Italian and have a horde of children whilst living in a Tuscan villa. I will probably end up with the horde of children, but any Italian husband would have to take me away from my Norwegian one and I couldn’t leave him. Who knows though? I may get my Tuscan villa yet.

I’m getting away from myself, lasagne and I have a long-term relationship. Its one of those accessible Italian dishes you can find almost all over the world. I always associate lasagne with Italian-American’s and not Italy at all, but that’s probably Garfield’s fault, since my first encounter with the dish was via the cartoon cat. Lasagne was the first meal I cooked for my husband, he had told me it was his favourite dish, and I, being the good retro woman that I am and believing that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I made it for him.

Ever after it has been my go-to recipe when we are having midweek dinner guests, which isn’t very often, and when my husband is feeling extra romantic we cook it together. This recipe has sort of evolved out of those occasions, and because of that it isn’t the fastest recipe I know. If you decide to make it, beware it can easily take an hour and a half to make. I usually would make this on a day I have plenty of time, it freezes well though so you could easily make it ahead of time.

Allora Andiamo!

This is what you will need:

  • 6-8 Fresh Tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • Sundried tomatoes in oil
  • Ground paprika
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 500g Ground or Minced beef
  • 1 tin of Peas and Carrots
  • 300g of red lentils, cooked
  • 100g butter
  • 100ml water
  • 100ml milk
  • 3tbsp cornflour
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cardamom
  • Tomato Purée or paste
  • 6-9 Dried pasta sheets (I used Barilla)
  • 200g grated mozzarella cheese.
  • Salt and Pepper

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Preheat your oven to about 200C, we’re going to roast the tomatoes now so you’ll either have to do some washing up or have two oven dishes. I had two oven dishes. IMG_1051So slice the tomatoes in half and put in an oven dish, put in the garlic cloves and sprinkle liberally with olive oil. Now put that in the oven for about 20 mins, or until you can smell the garlic and the tomatoes are beginning to bubble. I tend to do this by smell rather than time.

Take the tomatoes out of the oven, you can wait for them to cool a little, or if your blender is strong enough just throw those tomatoes and garlic in now! Add three or four sundried tomatoes, if yours are like mine and come in olive oil add a little of that too, if not, just leave it out. IMG_1054You just want the sauce to be smooth, and you’ll probably have a beautiful orange coloured tomato sauce that sort of reminds me of a Lea & Perrins bottle.

Making The Pieces For A Masterpiece

Great, now dice your onion. Then with a little oil in a frying pan fry the onions till translucent , or just beginning to go golden on a medium heat. I haven’t added any garlic here, because we already have the roasted garlic in the tomato sauce.

So now it time for the ground/minced beef, I always use lean beef for this particular recipe because I have quite a lot of olive oil in the sauce so it doesn’t need any added fat. Add the beef to the onions and brown it off.  Then add the peas and carrots and the cooked lentils. This doesn’t need much cooking so just go ahead and add the tomato sauce, tomato puree and paprika and stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper. (You can add a sprinkle of sugar here if you think it needs it.)

Basic White Sauce Or Béchamel

Now on to the white sauce. This is you basic white sauce, its really easy to make. IMG_1062In a saucepan melt the butter. Once its melted take it off the heat and whisk in the cornflour (You can use baking flour here if you like, in fact a traditional béchamel is made with wheat flour). IMG_1064Return the saucepan to the heat, keep stirring, you just want the flour to cook a little so it looses its floury taste. Add the milk and water (You can use just 200ml of milk if you want a creamier sauce), keep stirring! Turn the heat up a little and keep stirring, add the cardamom, this will make it taste creamier and take away any residual flour taste. It will thicken when you least expect it, as soon as its thickened take it off the heat.

Leaning Tower of Lasagne

Its time to build your lasagne. So in you oven dish put a layer of the tomato-meat sauce, then the pasta sheets (I can get three in mine.) Then another layer of meat sauce, and more pasta sheets, repeat until you’ve gotten at least three layers of pasta. IIMG_1061 try always to have enough meat sauce to put a layer on top of the top layer of pasta. Like this:

So now you can put a layer or the white sauce, you should have enough to put a generous layer of the white sauce. Then its cheese time.  Now is the time to freeze it, if that’s what you are going to do. Carefully wrap the top with tin/aluminium foil to protect the cheese and freeze.IMG_1067

Bon Appetit!

Bake in the oven for about 20 mins or until the cheese is melted and golden brown and the sauce is bubbling a little.

If you’re cooking it from frozen you might need to leave it in the oven a bit longer. Double the cooking time, checking with a knife after the first 20 mins and approx. every 10 mins after to make sure its cooking in the middle.

I forgot to take a photograph of the finished lasagne, and it got eaten so quickly that there was no time to remember. I made it for a midweek dinner party and everyone had seconds.

I hope you will try this recipe and tell me what you think of it. Please subscribe and I would love to hear if you tried it, or if you had any ideas to improve it in the comments.

Until next time


Monday, May 12, 2014

Splendid Sewing: A Hobby Basket

Dear Readers,

I recently commercialised my blog by adding a few more adverts. You have probably noticed, or maybe not, and you’ve only noticed the posts. Well, I hope I have your continued support in spite of the advertising. However, please feel free to comment on it below. Back to today’s subject.

Splendid Sewing

In my life, I am well known among my friends and family as a competent seamstress. So when someone needs something made, fixed or altered they look over at me with puppy dog eyes and ask me to do it. I find it hugely flattering that they ask me, occasionally I over extend myself and take on too many “projects” leaving me exhausted and stressed trying to finish them all, but thankfully, my friends are gracious and patient. Of late, I have tried to rein myself in and stop taking on so much , that’s why what I am bringing to you now, was just a pleasure to make.

The Brief

My friend is an avid crocheter, she gives presents to  all our friends who are expectant mothers of booties, baby blankets and little dresses all made with her crocheting. She is now, happily, expecting her second and asked me to make her a bag for her wool and crochet hooks. This was the brief, the bag had to be:

  • Retro in style. She, like myself is a lover of the 40’s and 50’s.
  • Big! As I said she’s an avid crocheter and she has a lot of wool.
  • Packable. There are plans for my dear friend to move in the near future, so it was important that the bag could be flattened down and easily packed.

The Design

With all that in mind, I started to design and plan. It had to be retro! The picture that came to mind was of a vintage purse, rather like the photograph.

A rounded top then. The great thing about the 50’s was that the designs of that period were desperately trying to forget the austerity of the war years. Everything was sleek and colourful. New, modern, innovative, colourful, bright and cheerful items were what people wanted, everyone looked forward with optimism to the future. When you are trying to recreate that look, with those things in mind, you have a free hand with colour.


Which is why I eventually choose these two fabrics. A PVC red fabric with stripes and this jolly patterned fabric with florals, and gingham.

Time To Cut To The Chase

I was a bit haphazard about the size, I knew she wanted big so I traced around my biggest handbag to get the size of the side panels. IMG_0924 That’s how I got these!

I decided to line the inside of this basket with the second fabric, so after cutting out the bottom panels…IMG_0925 Like this.

I traced around the side panels on to the second fabric, like this…IMG_0927 twice, of course!

Then I cut four side panels from the second fabric. Two panels per side, since I was lining the inside of the bag with the second fabric, but I also wanted the side panels on the outside to contrast with the red striped first fabric.

And So To Sew

Constructing this bag with its lining was a challenge. It took me quite a while to figure out how exactly I was going to put it together so that it would look how I wanted it to. So I started by:

  • Stitching the two large red side panels to one of the red base panels.
  • Then I stitched the inner large floral side panels to the red large panels. IMG_1041
  • After that I stitched the second red base panel to the floral side panels to make a sort of misshapen tube thing.
  • Next I stitched two of the smaller floral side panels together. Leaving the other two to one side.
  • Then I stitched that panel to one side of the large red panels and the base too. I also stitched it to the two large floral panels and the second red base. IMG_1042IMG_1043
  • Next I stitched the one of the other smaller floral side panels to the other sides red large panel and base.
  • After that I stitched the other smaller floral side panel to the large floral side panel and the second red base. So that it was like a large misshapen deflated ball of some description.
  • Then I turned it all the right way round and pushed the floral half inside the red striped half to make a bag. IMG_1044IMG_1045
  • I made a pocket in the open side panels.
  • I stitched an edge around the top the bag and I was done! IMG_1047IMG_1048







I haven’t shown my creation to my friend yet, so I’m hoping she likes it. I’m quite happy with it, and I think it fulfils the brief she gave me.

I hope this tutorial has given you ideas for your own hobby baskets. I’m sure you will make much better versions of it than I have. Please subscribe and comment below.

Until next time,