RSS Feed

Author Archives: deliancrafts

Soup Addiction

Following on from the butternut squash and sweet potato soup I made recently I seem to have become addicted to soup making. It is quite a harmless addiction though and has resulted in my partner washing my vintage Kenwood so it is now nice and clean.

I dragged down and dusted my “Covent Garden Food Company A Soup For Every Day – 365 of our favourite recipes” book and have been making soup on a regular basis.

First off was Broccoli and Stilton – lovely.


Last Wednesday I made Spiced Carrot and Lentil and Easy Cauliflower Cheesy. I didn’t have curry powder to make the spicy carrot so used turmeric and a variety of peppers. It could have done with something darker to colour it – it looked a bit like very bright scrambled egg but it was tasty. The cauliflower soup was nice but do reduce the quantity of butter! I served these soup as a mix. I have wanted to do this for ages – I went to a dinner years ago where the starter was two soups served in one bowl – works better when there is a greater contrast really.

Easy Cauliflower Cheesy & Spiced Carrot and Lentil soups
Easy Cauliflower Cheesy & Spiced Carrot and Lentil soups

Spiced carrot and cauliflower soups

Spiced carrot and cauliflower soups

I will try the Broccoli, Cauliflower and English Mustard recipe next time I have a cauliflower. I do love mustard.

My latest attempt was Leek and Potato. This is one of my favourite soups but this wasn’t a great success. It was a bit on the bland side – my other half agreed so I think I will try some other recipes to see what the missing ingredient is.

This leek and potato soup was rather bland

This leek and potato soup was rather bland

Incidentally I’m not a fan of cream (well my stomach isn’t) so I replace it with crème fraiche. I know this is made from cream but I can eat it it without problems.

Oh, must tell you, having opened a can of coconut milk to make one of the soups it was looking at me (decanted into glass of course) from the fridge so I wondered what I could use it for. I am pleased to report it is delicious added to porridge

Pyjama Day

Not quite Eggs Florentine

Not quite Eggs Florentine

Bugs are rife at the moment and one day last week I took to my bed (along with a few cats).

I believe in “feed a cold and starve a fever” so wanted a big lunch. I had some leftover veg in the fridge, broccoli, carrots and cabbage so I made a cheese sauce and poached a couple of eggs to go on top of the microwaved vegetables.

I adore the square dish which was a Christmas present so didn’t bother with a plate – no need for elegance when eating with cats!

The Brasserie range from Sabichi.

I had my tea in my latest Emma Bridgewater mug. It is the Christmas 2012 special for the Garden Centre Group and I’m sure it makes everything taste nicer.

I’m pleased to say that whilst I remain overly tired I haven’t come down with anything nasty 🙂

Soup, lovely soup

Soup, lovely soup

I used the pan from my steamer to make the soup in

I can’t think of soup without thinking of the beautiful soup dragon from The Clangers!

Having bought Nigella Lawson’s Express cookbook I had an urge to try her sweet potato and butternut squash soup.

As it is the “Express” book Nigella suggests using a bag of prepared and chopped sweet potato and butternut squash. This must be a southern thing as nobody I have asked in Lincolnshire has ever seen such thing but a relative who lives in Oxfordshire says she has.

The hardest part was peeling the butternut squash. The skin really is tough and my peeler wasn’t man enough for the job. I ended up cutting the squash into two and then slicing down round the edges to remove the peel with a very sharp knife – this needs to be done C A R E F U L L Y !

Whilst the vegetables simmered I cleaned my vintage Kenwood Chef. My partner declared he’d never seen it used before – not true but it has been a while. Rather grimy!  In fact was an Easter present from him several years ago.  I saw it advertised in the local shop and as I’m not a big chocolate fan he said he would buy it for me as an alternative to an egg!  The soup making reminded me how much I love it – I must sort ou all the attachments as I have some I’ve not even used!

An Easter present years ago

An Easter present years ago

Nigella suggests decorating the soup with buttermilk but that isn’t something I have in the house so I’ve used both balsamic vinegar and basil olive oil which have been nice. If you feel really creative of course you make a soup of a different colour and swirl the two into the bowl……

Buttermilk to decorate

Buttermilk to decorate

The soup was delicious and there was enough for me to take some to work for lunch and for us to have it for tea again later in the week.  Second time around I bought some rolls from the local deli to go with it too!


On Saturday a friend and I went off to Newark, Nottinghamshire.  It is getting on for an hour away but quite an easy drive – apart from the roadworks which have become a permanent feature of the A46.  If you like cones do come visit!

First stop was the lovely wine shop that is Ann et Vin.  I had some loan glasses to return but needless to say picked up half a dozen bottles whilst I was there.  We also had coffee and delicious apple cake too.

One of the wines I picked up is a Valentine present for my other half.  The label is so pretty – you can see what it is like here – isn’t it pretty.  The bottle I bought is actually rose and the hearts are pink and shiny.  I love the heart on the top.

I love the packaging of this wine - ideal for someone you love!

I love the packaging of this wine – ideal for someone you love!

Wine purchased we had a mooch round the town.  I love the little signs that are in so many shops these days and added two to my collection.


There is an Oxfam bookshop in Newark and I picked up Nigella Express for £2.99. I have used it today to make sweet potato and butternut squash soup – more of that to come.

By the way, the lovely little cat sign is from Rose and Peck, which is in The Arcade, a beautiful proper old arcade too!

If you fancy a visit to Newark do stay at the lovely Compton House – Lisa will make you feel right at home!


The first snow came on Monday, 14 January.


Most of it was still around when we got a second heavy fall during the night of Friday, 25 January. It was thick on the ground on Saturday but rain during the night meant that by Sunday it had virtually all gone. Now we are left with sodden ground and still can’t garden and the poor goats could do with wellies!




The joy of a real fire

The joy of a real fire

This isn’t a great quality picture but when I saw Maisie stretched out like this I had to grab my phone and take a picture. She is a real poppet. As I type this she is sat inside my laptop case (neoprene ) having a wash.

Snuggle time

Snuggle time

This is the adorable Sparta!

At a loose end

I’m not a fan of this wintery weather but with a roaring fire going it is quite nice to sit with one’s rug on one’s lap and darn in ends.  OK, so nice is maybe overstating it but it warm and cosy.  With the TV on I have spent several hours with a fine crochet hook and a darning needle and my loose ends are disappearing.

I have also had instruction on how to avoid so many joins in the joining by stitching the squares into long strips – ie joining in pairs but then just joining that pair to another pair by using the same piece of thread.  I can see how it would work but it must be very “floppy”. 

If I find myself making another blanket with squares I might try it.

Actually I am doing some squares.  With this blanket I had bought some DK baby yarn to use but the squares came up smaller.  I have unpicked my brown edging and done another round in the baby yarn.  Friends have a baby due at the end of March so I think I shall make a baby blanket.  I will try the smooth joining method though as I think that will be nicer for a baby.

Ruffle edging!

Ruffle edging!

To be honest I still have ends to darn it and the odd seam still to do but having bought a lovely book of borders I couldn’t wait to get started on the edging. I went back and forth through the book (I think there are 150) but kept coming back to this one and I am loving it.

I didn’t block my squares so the whole blanket isn’t entirely square which makes this choice of border ideal – because it means the blanket is no longer square anyway. It puts me in mind of a poppy and I really want to do it in black and red. In fact the book is so nice I just want to do borders now!

I bought the book from Amazon, having been given a gift voucher, the details are:

I should mention that it is an American book so the stitches are called by their US equivalents. I always check the working of a stich before I start a pattern so this didn’t bother me.

Borders book


It has been a while but I am just dropping by with an update!

I went away for a few nights between Christmas and New Year, staying at the beautiful Thoresby Hall.

As a result of some intensive crochet around the beautiful old parts of the building I can now report that my blanket is all in one piece.  There are couple of seams unjoined I think and lots of ends to darn in but the worst is over.  I don’t think I will do another with a “pattern” to it – far easier to just be able to join as you go along.