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!


  1. Loving this blog, seeing exactly what the 'Stitch and Bitch' group get up to. Always thought it would be more than idle chatter..

  2. Hello! The herbs look wonderful... and what a sweet dog!! I have a friend who has a rescued dog from Spain, too. She's a Pharaoh Hound, though, very unusual colouring...sort of orange and white! I LOVE the blue rug that looks like an ammonite. Beautiful. L xx

  3. Hello and thank you! @Yve - I'm thinking I know who you are - but you might not be! I know several Yve's, come on, give us a clue!!!
    Lizzy, Hi, yes Arfa is one of the gang, where-ever Yvonne goes there he is; he's still a bit wary of men because he was ill-treated, but he seems quite happy to be with us.


  4. Hi Lynne
    NP here, not sure why it won't let me log in!
    It's lovely to see what the others in the group are up to, and to see Arfa!
    It has been suggested that the horses be made into a birthday present for someone... hmmm wonder who!
    I loved having the Very Hungry Caterpillar read to me, and I have bought it for a lot of friends kids too!
    Great to see you are enjoying the photography and you are thinking like a photographer too!

  5. hello, very nice blog and cute photos , herbs are great, we should eat healthy things but rarely eat them. I'll be happy if you check out my blog too =)

    1. Hello Gokce! Yes, we know what we SHOULD eat, but perhaps we don't always do as we should!

      Have left a comment on your blog - great to hear from Istanbul! (Sounding like the Eurovision Song Contest now!)


  6. Thanks for visiting my blog, great to find another Norfolk blogger. In answer to your question, we did well enough to want to have another go. Look forward to seeing more of your great work.

    1. Yes, Gill, there are a few of us about here in Norfolk - we should have a get-together some time! Be in touch, Lx.

  7. Can't believe I've only just found your blog - I knew I would enjoy it as soon as I saw the lovely Header. The quilt work in those pictures is gorgeous. From Cathy - another Norfolk blogger!

  8. Cathy, I've just hopped across to check oout your blog {{{{{{{quivering all over}}}}}}}}}! To say I love the odd pot would be an understatement, but the colours! The textures! Love it all! Sorry, it's gone midnight and hence am a little Lynne!

    Have left you a comment. Great to 'meet' you!

    1. You made my day .... think you may be a kindred spirit!! XCathy

  9. @Cathy:

    Indeed! Will contact you via website as need to talk about a pot! Lx.

  10. Loved the Blog Lynne and all the pictures beautiful needle craft should do very well at your craft fair (good luck)
    I haven't heard of that cut of meat either and my mum used to buy cheaper cuts because she would put that into a casserole or stew with lots of veggies and cook it longer as it always tasted better.

  11. Hi Lesley, thank you, the craft fair is looming! You can only put yourself out there and hope someone want s to buy what you've made.

    No, never heard the expression myself, and never come across it in cookery books - and I've read a fair few! I wonder if it's a continental cut? Whatever, it is cheap, and very, very tasty when slow-cooked. No stringy bits, just lovely meat, and two pieces of marrow-y bone to enrich the gravy. I do trim most of the suet, I have to say, but there's no great lumps of nasty fat. I suppose I could save the suet for pudding........


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