I’ve moved!

Hi to all my visitors – I’m just writing to let you know that I’ve now moved my blog to my very own website – http://www.katymariemakes.com where you can find not only my blog but a shop and news and events page and advice for budding creative entrepreneurs. If you want to keep up with all the goings on follow me on twitter – @KatyMarieMakes.

Much love,

Katy-Marie

Advertisements

Exciting new project!!

It’s been a few weeks since my last post as I’ve been super busy with the house and my HR diploma. The clocks have gone back and what a difference it makes to my energy levels, sleepy is my middle name at the moment. But an exciting new project has got me all fired up for the New Year (yes I know, I said New Year and its November but I’m writing November and December off until my diploma is finished!).

What is it? I hear you cry…..drum roll…. It’s the “Love What You Wear” project started by a lovely fellow Bristolian called Morwhenna – see blog here… http://thelovewhatyouwearproject.blogspot.co.uk/ officially it runs from 1st November 2012 to 1st November 2013.

So basically, the rules are- no buying any NEW clothes for a year, that’s no going to any shop that sells new clothes and buying any, not one, nickers and shoes are the exception (but with my recent boot bargain on ebay I may even stretch to no new shoes too). You are allowed to buy clothes from second hand shops, ebay, boot sales etc and you can swap, share  and upcycle what you already have or make new from sustainable materials (either recycled fabric or organic/ fair trade). Creativity and experimentation is a must and mistakes are very much ok.

Why is this so exciting? Well, I love a challenge first and foremost and this will encourage me to use the skills I have, learn new skills be more creative. Seeing things with new eyes can be a wonderful revelation!  I LOVE charity shop shopping and this is a great excuse to go (not that I ever need an excuse). Also I have a pile of clothes, consisting of at least two skirts, four tops, one shirt, 6 pairs of jeans , one pair of trousers and three coats that all need sprucing up by altering, mending, dying and accessorising and I’ve been meaning to do it for ages, what a great feeling to have all those clothes made into something new.

There are 18 of us and counting taking part in the project, what a brilliant thing to have joined 18 people together over a common idea and share it with so many others through our blogs and social networks. I’m hoping to make some new friends and meet lots of new interesting and creative people through the project.

Also, there’s an ethical stance to this project which really appeals to me and that’s as a challenge to the prevailing culture of throw away fashion. I’m talking about new clothes that are relatively cheap, made from fabric that won’t stand the test of a washing machine too many times, made by cheap labour and poorly constructed for time efficiency that people wear for a season and then throw them out, or if they reach the charity shop, they’re the ones on the rails all bobbly, flimsy and faded. What a waste!  Proper clothes, well-constructed made of quality material will last for years and once it’s finished its life as a garment it can be recycled into something else and I believe that’s a much more sustainable and generally lovely way of doing things. Not to mention keeping important useful skills alive but I’ll get off my soap box now.

So…. To seal the deal, let’s set some goals….

Things I want to make/learn:

  • Alteration techniques
  • Apron – full size and half size with zip pockets.
  • Skirt
  • Shirt
  • Tea dress
  • Party dress
  • Fabric printing techniques
  • How to knit properly
  • Knit a scarf and hat
  • Knit fingerless gloves
  • How to crochet
  • Accessories for clothes like fabric flowers
    Inspiration for the project, crafty books and shin buttons
  • Frilly knickers!

By the end of the project I want to:

  • Have cleared the pile of clothes that I’ve collected to alter
  • Made a skirt, shirt, tea dress, party dress.
  • Feel really confident in my sewing skills
  • Knitted scarf, hat and fingerless gloves.
  • Made a bunch of new friends
  • Have an beautifully unique feminine wardrobe

African Groundnut Stew

When the weather changes and the nights draw in there’s nothing better than a spicy, warm sumptuous stew and this is nutty, zesty, spicy offering is my current favourite. Which is just as well because I made enough to feed a small army, this recipe serves 6-8 hungry people, it’s great to make loads and freeze but if you’re not catering for a banquet – feel free to halve the recipe.

Ingredients…

  • 8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin off – organic or at least free range please
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions
  • Large knob of ginger (say 3 inches) peeled and grated
  • 8 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 5 medium sweet potatoes peeled chopped
  • 1 can of tomatoes or 400g fresh ripe tomatoes
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 250g of crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • Bunch of fresh coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 How to…

I made this in a huge soup pan on the stove top, if you wanted you could halve the recipe and put it in a stew pot in the oven on 160 for about an hour.

Brown the chicken thighs in batches and set aside. Sauté the onion on a medium heat until softened then add the ginger and garlic for a minute or so. Add the rest of the ingredients apart from the chicken, stir well and and bring to the boil. Finally add the chicken, stir again and turn the heat down low to a very gentle blip. Stir regularly until the chicken falls off the bone and the sweet potatoes are tender which will take about an hour. Serve over rice with a wedge of lime, chopped peanuts and fresh coriander.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooked Rabbit and Chorizo Stew

This stew is perfect for Autumn, rich warming and smoky. The combination of chorizo, paprika, sweet tomatoes and sherry is one of my favourites. For those of you who object to eating rabbits on the grounds of cuteness then you can use chicken thighs for this but in my opinion chickens are also cute, and funnier than rabbits.

Serves 4. You can also make this in the oven – cook at 160°C for about 2 hours.

Ingredients

  • 1 wild rabbit cut up into portions or 500g of diced rabbit
  • 1 chorizo – I love Bath Pigs garlic and herb chorizo.
  • Flour to coat rabbit
  • 2 largeish onions
  • 3 peppers – mix of red and yellow
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • Fresh sweet tomatoes (I used about 12 ripe vine tomatoes)
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • Hand full of olives – destoned and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp mixed fresh herbs (thyme and rosemary)
  • Good slug of sweet sherry / red wine.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

How to…

Turn on slow cooker to high. Chop chorizo into rounds and coat rabbit in four. Oil a frying pan and tip in the chorizo and then after a minute or two tip in the rabbit until brown on all sides (you may need to do this in batches).Put the rabbit and chorizo in the slow cooker.

Chop onions, pepper, garlic and celery, fry in the pan on a low/medium heat until softened. Add slug of sherry to the pan. Chop fresh tomatoes and add them to the pan with chopped tomatoes, sweet paprika and sugar. Simmer for about 10 minutes to reduce. Meanwhile chop and add the fresh herbs. Once the sauce has thickened taste for salt and pepper.

Tip into the slow cooker and stir to combine sauce with the meat. Leave on high for about 4 hours or medium for about 6. Test for seasoning, if it needs a little zing, squeeze in some lemon juice to liven it up. Serve with herby sauté potatoes, polenta or pasta.

Enjoy!

Something in the air…

There is something about Autumn flicks a switch in my brain and engages full domestic goddess mode. I don’t get it at any other time of year but something about the nights drawing in, the chill in the air and the leaves turning amber that makes me reach for the recipe books and my pinnie.

It’s not been unusual in the past fortnight to find me in the kitchen cooking up a storm, 2 or 3 dishes on the go at once or coming home from the gym at 8 and thinking I’ll just make some soup before bed. Speaking of soup, why am I suddenly so fascinated by soup? I printed 10 recipes off the internet last week and intend to work my way through every one of them over the coming weeks.

I love cooking at the best of times but Autumn sets off some kind of soup kitchen, feeding an army, stocks for the winter pre hibernation frenzy, leaving no pan un-used, no surface bare and the slow cooker working overtime.

The results of my latest cook-a-thon to follow…