Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

The Last Leaves

At last, the sun came out today!  The last leaves were clinging on to the last moment and looked so beautiful against the perfectly blue clear sky.

My green lady had been looking rather disapproving of me lately at the lack of gardening that has not been happening.

But she has a hint of a smile now that myself and my Luke collected the leaves together and re-stocked the compost bin with overflowing delicious reds, browns and yellows.

My hooky projects have really picked up a pace now!  I think with December about to knock on the door, my panic levels are beginning to rise and the excitement of dreaming how the Christmas tree will look along with the mantelshelf of the fireplace.  It makes me tingle, just like seeing my kid's faces on Christmas morning itself.

The baubles are beginning to take shape.

The hearts still need their bells so I think my hubby can find these this weekend (I think they are with the Christmas decorations in the loft...and I'm not going up there!).

And the bunting, I absolutely love doing these!  So quick and easy.  I thought I would give them a black border so that they stand out more from the paleness of the fireplace and I can't wait to hit the craft shops next week for the felt, bells and more beads.

In between, I am attempting some birds to also sit on the tree.  I'm going to stuff these with lavender so they can be used all year round.  Here are my first attempts, I have nicknamed the one on the left Mary Bendy Legs!!

All in all, it has been a very busy week on the hooky front especially when I settle down in the evenings, and good therapy after quite a slow week.

But, this afternoon the gardening and hooky needed to go to the back of my mind and the good old paper and pen came out along with the books of Saint Delia, Nigella and Jamie and the larder lists began, ready for the 'Christmas shop'.  I love flicking through these books each year and working out what we will have Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing Day along with the little treats in between.  I usually have Scrooge on the TV when doing this, or Home Alone just to get properly into the spirit of things.  Yes, it's lots of work getting organised but I just love lists!  Once I have the main list, I then visualise myself going up and down the aisles to make sure that the list is in this order to save time (maybe a little OCD??) Knowing me, I'll do it all online anyway to avoid the crowds.

The Nigella way of cooking a turkey is a firm favourite although my first attempt wasn't without its dramas!  We had rather a large bird, so I went out and bought a huge covered bucket, filled it with water and added all the beautiful and wondrous herbs and spices, covered it up and left it overnight on the patio because it was cold, cold, cold outside.  About 4am...as you do...I went out to take it from the bucket.  Easy job??!  No!  The bird was nearly the size of me, the dog felt that it should be her Christmas breakfast and the water that had been absorbed in the turkey made it virtually impossible to get out of the bucket.  It's very hard holding a bird by it's legs (one either side of your head) and trying to knock away a ravenous dog with your foot without tipping over!!  I did it though and what the neighbours made of this sight on an early morning I will never know!...the result though...delicious...but I would recommend a smaller bird!

So, once everything was set up with the books, note book and pen...I decided I'd have lunch first - home made potato and leek soup with crispy bacon and some home made bread.  Yummy!!

The recipe is from Soups.  It is very quick and easy and I usually make a batch and freeze some for when I want it later.

So, you heat some oil in a saucepan and fry about 6 (in our case) peeled and sliced potatoes along with 3 sliced large leeks (don't forget to wash them!).  Fry them until soft but be careful not to colour them.

Att 1 1/4 pint of vegetable stock (I actually used chicken stock for a little bit of extra flavour), some salt and pepper to taste and then cook until the potatoes are tender.

Once done, put everything in a blender and blend this until smooth.  Add this back to the saucepan and add 10 fl oz of milk.

Now, to add a bit of oomph!!  I fried some bacon until crispy.

Once all heated through, put in bowl, add the crispy bacon in the middle and some chopped fresh parsley.

It looks a bit like a witches brew, but on a cold damp day it is absolutely gorgeous and warming.

Have a lovely weekend everyone xxx


  1. Oh! Your crochet is lovely!! I am looking forward to seeing the garland complete and hanging on the fireplace!! It looks like you "plan" just like me. I spent an hour on the weekend planning my Christmas baking. Such joy it is to flip through cookbooks and my Pinterest boards to find the perfect sugary treats!

  2. Thanks for leaving a comment about my new blog design, I did email you back but then realised you were a 'no-reply blogger' so you won't get the email! If you want to pop back and click the 'email me' link, so I have your address, I'll send it again for ya!! :)

    Sandra x

  3. Homemade potato and leek soup = yum! I'd love to get your recipe.

    I love your Mary Bendy Legs. Very cool.

    1. Thank you for all your help! The potato and leek soup is on the blog post now, just make sure that the bacon is really crispy, makes it taste completely different. Enjoy!! x

  4. A couple of years late on the commenting (sorry, but I've only just found you!) but I laughed at the idea of the turkey, the dog and you in the early morning wrestling match. I am so enjoying reading over your archives. And you definitely ahve the same style of life as I do. Loving the blog x


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