This has been a week about the home. Harvesting vegetables, fighting to get to the ripening raspberries before the birds feast upon the glossy, red fruits (I don’t have the heart or the money to net them) . I’ve also been harvesting the nasturtium seeds ready for pickling (see below ). I love nasturtiums, they add splashes of bright colour around the vegetable patch and the leaves, flowers and seeds are delicious in salads. We also pickle the seeds, which you can use just like capers. I originally began to grow nasturtiums as a way of luring the butterflies away from laying their eggs on the kale and cabbages a few years back. This has proved very successful, but as you can see from the picture above, the cabbage whites are feasting on the juicy green leaves of a few cabbage plants this year. I don’t feel I should complain though, we have loved watching the butterflies this year. The garden seems full of them and we’ve spotted at least 10 different varieties.
Baking a home coming cake for teen was a joy, it’s been too long since I baked a “proper” cake and the simple beating of butter and eggs calmed me down as I prepared all the paperwork for the dreaded tax return. On the subject of baking, I’ve added a book to my ever growing wish list, and I’m really hoping Mr T will take the hint and add this to my birthday gifts. “Small Plates, Sweet Treats”, written by Aran Goyoaga, the creator of the beautiful Cannellevanille blog, is bursting with natural, tasty gluten free foods. I’ve been living gluten free since last November, when tests revealed a sensitivity to some of my favourite foods. It’s been hard to find decent, creative recipes and discovering this blog was a revelation. Of course, it helps that the styling and photography are just superb. Do pay a visit, but be prepared to lose yourself for hours!
The return of the Great British Bake Off was a wonderful highlight to tv viewing (and such a “chore” to watch it again with the teen on Wednesday as she missed the first episode). Thirteen lovely contestants, all struggling to work under the pressure of tv cameras, filming direction and in strange kitchens. There is no way you’d persuade me to put myself through such torture!
The hooks and needles have been busy, with a couple of rather lovely knitting projects posted off to lovely editors. Look out for the Christmas issues of let’s Get Crafting, Craftseller and next month’s Homemade with Love, which all feature my work. Personally, I can’t wait for the new issue of Inside Crochet. The September issue is an “homage” to the Granny Square, which I am intrigued to see in print. You’ll also find a new design from me, which I really enjoyed pulling together. I am so lucky to work with some of the best editors in the business and to see my work styled and photographed beautifully makes all the pattern writing headaches worthwhile. I added two new patterns to Ravelry this week. The hearts are proving very popular and the the hedgehogs have been appearing in a few places (including at knit group today – how happy that made me). I’m also working on a collection of patterns for Christmas (sneaky peek above, which hints at the colour scheme I’ve chosen for this year, a twist on the traditional red and green).
I have a huge pile of books by my bedside at the moment, I’m loving “Knit Nordic”. Don’t forget there’s still time to enter the giveaway, just leave a comment here or on facebook, or tweet me a link to your favourite example of a toilet roll cover and I’ll add you to the draw. My favourite so far has to be a crochet Fez, I’m almost tempted to make one myself!
Here in the Uk, we’ve a Bank Holiday weekend to look forward to, this is a great excuse to catch up on some gardening and to pile up the cushions on the sofa for some “me knitting”. I’m hoping to finsh the Teen’s “Owls” jumper and start a pair of socks from Rachel Coopeys Knitted Sock Society. Published by Quail Books, this is a joy. Beautifully photographed and featuring Rowan’s new Fine Art sock yarn, this is just the most inspiring knitting book I’ve come across in a long time (and before you think I’m raving over a free review copy – rest assured – I paid for this one all by myself).
Now, back to those pickled nasturtiums, I first came across a recipe for these in the River Cottage Preserves book and was delighted with the results. My recipe has tweaked the original a bit, but the basic idea is still the same.
Pick the seeds while they’re still green, rinse and then soak overnight in a brine solution (I use a tablespoon of salt to every 100 ml of water).
Drain and dry the seeds and pack into small jars, leaving 1-2 cm at the top. I add a handful of peppercorns and some tiny sage leaves from a bush in the garden, then fill the jars with cider vinegar. Put the jars somewhere cool and dark for a month or so before you eat them.
*Do make sure to sterilise your jars first and use vinegar proof lids.