Monday, 16 April 2012
A Dinner of Herbs
Actually, we didn't dine on herbs alone, to be honest, but I'd just picked this little collection to go in the casserole and I rather liked the picture they made on the old tin plate! That happens quite frequently these days; I see photo-opportunities all over the place now that I'm uploading to the blog. I wouldn't say I've become a better photographer, but I am starting to look at composition rather than just snapping away!
When J and I went up to Walsingham last week we popped into the Farm Shop and bought some of their beautiful meat. (Veggie friends look away NOW!) I was looking for some brisket or skirt to slow cook, partly because the slow-cooking cuts are so much tastier than the posher steaks, and also because they are very much cheaper. I noticed a new-to-me cut of beef - short ribs, cheapest cut on the slab! and bought some. Slow cooked with leeks, onions, garlic and mushroom, peppers and celery, some nuggets of frozen spinach, stock and a generous few glugs of red wine, and of course my freshly picked herbs. It was a beautiful, aromatic, flavoursome concoction. If I do say it myself!
(My kitchen walls are not blue - that's a'hygeinic' chopping board you can see behind the knife block!)
I've never seen that cut before, and I've been cooking dinners for 40 years now, and never heard my mum mention it either. The young butcher said he'd always known about it but then he's only been butchering for 7 years. Do let me know if you've heard of or cooked short rib and also where you are from - it certainly wasn't on the menu growing up in Liverpool! But doesn't it look great?
Stitch and Bitch met last Wednesday. It was a chatty, relaxed group, who stitched, laughed, encouraged and consumed much tea, coffee, cake and biscuits. And lunch. It was a strictly female group, not counting J who popped in for coffee once or twice, and the noble exception of Arfa. Who really is an Honorary Member.
Arfa is a Galgo, or Spanish Greyhound (correct me if I'm wrong) rescued from a terrible life in Spain, by Yvonne. He has one eye, which actually has a cataract, and is deaf in one ear - hence his name, Arfa, as he is only 'arfa a dog. He is exceptionally well behaved, and is well used to accompanying Yvonne to her various stitching destinations!
"No, Arfa, you are NOT going into the kitchen!" says his mum, firmly.
Yvonne is working on a rag rug for Big Blue Sky, a shop which sells lovely 'Made in Norfolk' hand-made items. She also teaches rugging workshops and makes fabulous jewellery using silver, and semi-precious stones.
It's actually a proddy rug, but I've photgraphed it from the back so you can see the pattern better. Ooops, you can also see the ring-marks on my old pine table too! It gets sanded down, periodically.
Also photographed from the back is Pam's version of a Laurel Burch pattern of two horses. As she is working in reverse applique you can't really see too much from the front as yet.
Pam is the Queen of this technique. She won't admit it, but we know different.
Victoria is well on the way to completing her first quilt. Machine pieced, hand quilted, it started life as two pairs of pyjamas in beautiful Liberty prints. S&B today included a communal teach-in on double-fold binding.
Lynne K is stitching her way through a rag-book, based on that classic "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", which we have all given or read to our children and grandchildren over the years. Lynne is the neatest hand stitcher I know. I love to hand applique, but will never match her beautiful stitching.
Aren't those fabric choices inspired?
And I was just finishing off a small cot quilt for the craft fair. It'll look nicer when it's been through a machine-wash cycle, and looks a little 'aged'.
So there you have it, a swift whizz around the table to show you what we were up to. Next time we meet will be after the craft fair - I hope we are in celebratory mood! But if not, I know I'll be cheered up and sustained by this group of lovely ladies. And Arfa!