Monday 27 October 2014

Monday Happies


Once again I’m joining in with the very lovely Gillian.

I’ve finally cast on some new knitting. This time it’s a hat for me. I received the pattern and the wool as a gift last Christmas and then, of course, by the time I’d finished the dog for LittleR it was way too warm to even consider making a hat for winter. It’s an easy knit and is coming along apace. So much so I can already see the finishing line. Maybe I should’ve taken another picture of progress so far? Although it may be too warm for a hat. Although I’ve dredged the boots out of the wardrobe, I’ve actually been coatless today. Outside. In Leeds. At the end of October. The weather is unseasonably warm.

I used a birthday voucher for a trip to Bettys Cookery School last week. It was brilliant. Not only did I make some delicious dishes to take home I was well fed and watered during the day with lots of Betty’s cakes and biscuits. It was a smaller course than normal and I chose the ‘One Pot Wonders’ day – although there were so many tempting courses to choose from. I thought it would be better to try out some things I might actually cook again rather than a patisserie day or elegant entertaining – both brilliant but the former is too much faff for a school day and the latter unlikely to happen until my children leave home.
We ate like Kings for the next 3 days as the ABO and I tucked into; Lancashire hotpot, Steak and Mushroom Pudding (thanks to an IG cry out Sue saved me from a steaming faux pas) and a chicken, chorizo and bean stew. There were also Autumn fruit charlottes. And we didn’t have 2 each. With ice-cream on the same night. No not at all.

I’ve already recreated the Lancashire hotpot – well what I mean is as is often my way I’ve changed it completely but just used the potato topping with what I had in the freezer!! This time it was a hotpot with beef and veggies in the pot.

All this savoury cooking has meant I’ve needed some sweet treats to go with it. The ABO saw an interview with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall somewhere and was hankering after some of his ultra choc brownies (available in his new book). I resisted the book for about a week (I loved Everyday veg but wasn’t so keen on Three Good Things) but it has some interesting recipes in it and lots that can be adapted or are specifically for various ‘free’ diets (e.g. gluten free). 

The recipe for these brownies is gluten free but my supermarket didn’t have any rice flour or gluten free flour and as that isn’t a necessity in our house I just used regular flour. It didn’t seem to make a difference to the outcome. They were (please note use of past tense) very, very chocolatey. The recipe is available online here

The garden continues to surprise me. There are still roses about to bloom.

The blueberry leaves have turned the most gorgeous red.

And the chillies continue to ripen (until LittleR picks them and attempt to chop on one…fortunately she stopped before she bit into it!).

I’ve been browsing some seed catalogues and bulb seller websites and getting totally carried away.

Although I’m not usually a fan of the actual day (or the days after) the clocks change (one of my children thinks 4am is a newly acceptable time to put the lights on!), I’m trying to embrace it this year with more coffee opportunities and extra time awake to chat to BigR and read or knit especially as the ABO is on an early shift. Hopefully normal (by that I mean post 5am!) service will be resumed shortly.


  1. The cookery course sounds wonderful, I've always wanted to do one at a vegetarian restaurant near here, but I've not managed to yet. No use for elegant entertaining here though! The brownies sound delicious, I've written the recipe down in my "Recipes from the internet" notebook. Your chillies look fantastic, you've done well with them. CJ xx

  2. I would love to go on a cookery course. And I agree it would have to be something more useful than fancy cakes. My sister in law has asked me to bake her some brownies for he birthday this week. I rule the world of the brownie as far as my family are concerned! My roses are still flowering too. Something I didn't anticipate in October.
    Leanne xx

  3. I would love to go on a cookery course, too. I went to a Thai cuisine course some twenty years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it Elegant dining is overstated, everybody I know likes hearty portions and non fuss food. Our chillies were not spicy at all, not even the Scotch Bonnet variety. I read over at Kristie's blog (North of 49) that chillies plants need to be stressed to produce heat. Cx

  4. I enjoyed your happies very much. The cookery school sounds wonderful, what a great thing to do. I would like to do that myself someday, and I'm sure everyone else around here would appreciate it if I did. :)

  5. I really like your cookery class--you had Betty's treats throughout the day and you got to take home all the dishes you cooked! What a fantastic day. I also like how you're embracing your new (earlier) waking time--more coffee opportunities. Love that! x

  6. It's been very mild here the past few days but last week I did wear a hat for the first time since last winter. I'm looking forward to wearing hats more often as the weather gets chillier.
    I like the sound of your Lancashire hotpot. And those brownies (but have sadly just embarked on a pre-Christmas health kick)...
    Enjoy the knitting!
    Have a great weekend.
    S x

  7. Knitting, chocolate brownies and roses ... a post filled with my favourite things. I hope you're getting a bit more sleep now :)

  8. LOVE the look of that brownie mixture :-)
    And boy, do I know all about the 4 a.m. lights on thing. My kids both did that as toddlers. Glad that phase is over! I find that as my kids grow older (4 and 7, as if that's old!) they like to spend more time in bed (yeeeesss!). So please don't despair... xxx

  9. Horrid isn't it, the way the clocks throw out small people's body clocks. We had 6 am risings over half term, but luckily my two are old enough now to read in bed or play in their room, and I can attempt to ignore them. I love the sound of that course at Betty's, right up my street. xx