Sunday, 28 June 2009

Jam Packed!!!

I have defiantly recovered from Friday night's wine!!
I got up early and went car booting with Gem and Milo, a couple of bargains but not as many as my last expedition. A little jelly mold, a couple of old glass medicine bottles, and 3 tomato plants.
I was home by ten, Gav was up so we popped into town for a bit of retail therapy.
1 new top, and a new purse from TKMAXX, a pair of jeans from the YMCA charity shop and a beautiful silver ring from the jewellers. Not bad for a Sunday and all that before 1pm.
I did have a power nap (as Gav calls them) when we came home, think I over exerted myself this morning.
Then came the first try at Strawberry Jam making. My BF Gem came back round and we started the experiment together.
With yesterdays strawberry's all 4lb of of them & 2lb's of Jam sugar and we were off.
I went with the recipe on the back of the Jam sugar and kept my fingers crossed.
I have been collecting Jam Jars since Christmas in anticipation of the summer fruit season, so we got them out and did as Nigella does and ran them through the Dishwasher to sterilize them.
I started by blitzing the strawberry's in the food processor, then putting the pulp into a large pan with the 2lb's of jam sugar. Warmed the pulpy mixture until the sugar had dissolved and then let it come to the boil.
We let it come to a rolling boil for 4 minutes then took it off the heat.

I tested it on a saucer and it set. Hey presto homemade strawberry jam!!!!

We filled 11 Jars, Gav helped with the baking parchment circles for the top and we popped the lids on while the jars were still hot.

Then with my new found burst of energy, I planted my tomato plants and watered the garden.All the plants are doing well, we dug up some more potatoes and I have a few french beans on the bean plants, loads of peas and lots of little courgettes.

Popping noises have been coming from the kitchen all evening from the jam cooling, I did have a little spoon full on a slice of toast just to check it was edible, which it defiantly is.

Thanks to Pixie Dust at Faerie Nuff who gave me the inspiration to go fruit picking and to try my hand at Jam making x

Have a good week xxxxxxx

Saturday, 27 June 2009

The day after the night before!

Well I shall start by saying sorry I haven't posted anything in the last couple of weeks but it has been hectic in the Chez Sophie house hold.
Mum and Dad came to stay, then we had friends fly in from the states, work all week and then the weekend. Finally I have time to post!
Friday night turned in to an impromptu party in the garden, no time to cook so Pizza was delivered and wine was drunk, Lazy I know but some times you just have to give in to the take away!
Sore head in the morning but nothing that a bit of sun shine couldn't sort out.
We decided to go for a drive and see where it took us, we started at the garden centre then decided to go fruit picking at our local Pick Your Own farm, I was reading Pixie Dust's post on The Great Strawberry Project and have been bugging Gav to take me ever since. I haven't been fruit picking since I was a little girl!

The sun was shining and there was a really good choice of fruit and Veg to pick.
We picked Black Currents which were as big as Blue Berry's.
Red Currents which looked like Ruby's glistening in the sun, poking out between the leaves on the bushes.

And lush ripe Strawberry's.

One for me one for the pot, you know how it goes!!

Well now all I need to do is make Jam!!!
Lets see how tomorrow pans out and then maybe I will post about Jam making.
Have a Lovely sunny weekend xx

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Car Booty!!!

In a moment of madness Saturday night (after a few glasses of wine) I agreed to get up early on Sunday and go car booting.
Well it was worth it, up and ready for 9am (I know not that early) I was picked up and off we went to the car boot.
Milo the chocolate lab came to for a walk and we set off down the row's & row's of summer sellers.
My finds for the day encluded the following.
Some dinky little kilner jars, 10p each so I had all 4! Great for when I start Jam making.
A little heart shaped cake tin 25p,
A cream milk jug 50p. Total spend at that stall £1.15.
A few rows on I spotted an old cook book amongst a box of books, it's called Cookery Illustrated & Household management, £1 so I had that. I'm always intrigued to see what recipes there are in old cook books. I also found an old fashioned Cadburys tin 50p. Total spend at that stall £1.50.
Second to last row and I happened upon an obviously bored husband with 3 beautiful white painted ornate mirrors, two oval ones and one oblong one. So I asked the question "How much is the large mirror" thinking to myself it will be way out of my budget but worth an ask and guess what £5.00! Well I handed the bored husband a fiver and walked proudly off with my bargain of the day. I'm afraid that it has replaced the round gold mirror which was Gav's Grandma's but that will have a new home somewhere else.
So my new bargain mirror has pride of place in the blue room, above the newly installed fireplace.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Snap Happy

It was such a lovely day yesterday and as I said in yesterdays post I spend most of the day in the garden, well I took loads of photo's so I thought I would share some of them with you.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Down at the Bottom of the Garden

Saturday and the sun is shining!
My veggie match needed sum serious weeding and TLC.
So I spent the day pottering in the garden, and joy of joys some of the veggies were ready for pulling up. New potatoes, lettuces, and a few beetroots.
I'm looking forward to eating them over the weekend.

Gav also pottered in the garden, he had designed a new water feature for the pond and wanted to install it. He decided to take out the waterfall and put in an old tap he had found. It looks great and we have the sound of constant running water, which is really therapeutic & cleans the water in the pond at the same time. The water is pumped up to the tap and then pours out onto a bed of cobbles which has a tank underneath it, then the water goes back into the pond though two pipes and the cycle begins again.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Fabulous Finds

I had the day off today as the Fireplaces were finally fitted!!
While Peter from Pyromania fitted the fireplaces I decided to go and run some errands, which turned into having a cheeky look round some charity shops. I found some fab glass objects for my collection, 2 more jelly moulds, a lovely glass jug which has RAF etched on it and an old cider bottle. I took them home and gave them a good clean up with hot soapy water and they look great. hope you have a lovely weekend xxx

Monday, 8 June 2009

Mother In Laws Loft!

How wonderful is it when you find what your looking for right under your nose!
Or more to the point in your Mother in laws loft!!!
I had been looking for pieces for my blue room for some time now, particularly a mirror & a bed side lamp. I really like the old antiqued gold gilt framed mirrors, and I want a real statement lamp, as I'm only going to have one in the room.
We were on our weekend visit to the parents and I was browsing through You magazine with my coffee as you do!, and happened upon the interiors section in which there was a mirror with a gold gilt frame. I showed Penny who exclaimed with delight that she had one just like that in the loft!! Well that was it we had to go and get it down, and it was just that. Perfect!

She then told me about a lamp which was her mothers that was also buried in the Loft, ceramic turquoise with cherubs on it! Sounded interesting, I don't normally go for cherubs but worth a look. She dug it out for our next visit, It is beautiful just the sort of thing I've been looking for.

She has had it re wired and now all I need is a shade.
These items both belonged to Gav's Grandma's, one from each side of the family. Which is lovely as they have now been passed down through the generations.
They are both now stored ready for the blue rooms final touches.
Thank you Penny for your family heirlooms we will treasure them xx

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Today's Finds

What a miserable day after the last 2 weekends of glorious sunshine.
No fun in the Veggy patch today, although I desperatly need to plant out my tomato plants as they are growing fast in the potting shed, hopefully tomorrow will be better.
So instead of playing in the garden I got engrosed in the Ironing, I've never liked Ironing but since the sun shone and I had to get all my summer clothes out I have had to do it and now I'm finding it quite theraputic.
Well Ironing done , I decided to go and visit my local charity shop, just encase there was something I just had to have and you guessed it there was.
A lovely old one pint glass beer jug, to add to my collection of glass objects.
I always find it best do two sweeps of any charity shop as you never know what you might have missed the first time, and yes second time round I found another glass cake stand £3.50, bargain. Not sure where I'm going to keep it but I'm sure it will have a home soon.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Patience is a virtue!

This week has been another busy one, we have been preparing for the fireplaces to be fitted.
The fitting has been pushed back a week which is quite disappointing but also gives us more time to learn how to wallpaper!!
The carpenter did come and scale down the oak fire surround we have bought for the living room, which looks fab.
The blue rooms chimney has been plastered ready for the wall papering which I'm quite nervous about doing as I haven't wallpapered for about 10 years. I have another Batch End Beauty to go up in there, It's a Laura Ashley wallpaper called Kimono in Duck Egg blue.
I can't wait for the room to be finished so I can post some photo's. We just need to get new wardrobe doors, put some shelves up and get the chimney breast & fire place done.
We need carpet too but that will have to wait a while.
I will post photos of our wallpapering experience soon, have a good weekend x

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Jamie's Italian - A real treat........

As a treat, work took us to Jamie Oliver's new restaurant in Brighton, Jamie's Italian.
I am a great follower of Jamie Oliver, he makes cooking so simple yet delicious & always shows such passion in what he's doing.

I was very excited about going and sampling the menu, as there was 18 of us it meant I could see and try many of dishes.

We started with the Seasonal Meat Antipasti Plank, which included Seasonal cured meat, Tuscan fennel salami, pistachio mortadella, San Daniele prosciutto and a guest meat, Italian cheeses, buffalo mozzarella, pecorino with amazing chilli jam.
Pickles, curly green chillies, green and black olives Salad, Italian coleslaw with lemon and mint.

And Vegetable Antipasti Plank which included Seasonal vegetables, sliced, char grilled and marinated. Italian cheeses, buffalo mozzarella, pecorino with amazing chilli jam.
Pickles, curly green chillies, green and black olives. Salad, Italian coleslaw with lemon and mint which are placed on the table on top of tins of tomatoes so they are high enough for people to share. Baskets of assorted fresh bread.
Then for my main course I ordered Char Grilled Chop Steak Beef Burger and Funky Chips. Yummy!!

It was enormous! and came on a really cute wooden chopping board and the chips came in a paper cone. All the food was lovely.
Needless to say I couldn't manage desert, so I had mint tea instead which came in a lovely iron tea pot.
I would highly recommend Jamie's Italian in Brighton, we all had a wonderful time and the food, service & surrounding were great xx
Check out Jamie's web site for more details