Best ever winter warmers!

This is the time of year when all you really want is comfort food. I’ve been busy in the kitchen rustling up some satisfying winter warmers to share with you. Look on the recipe tab to find detailed instructions so you can make them too. These meals might not be great if you’re counting calories but they’re certainly satisfying!

Jamaican Chicken

Jamaican Chicken

Firstly – ‘Jamaican Chicken’. I don’t know where this recipe originally came from as it is a family favourite, which I have been cooking for years. Not a very ‘refined’ looking plate, but tastes amazing on a cold winter’s night – a spicy sauce with chicken and potatoes, all cooked in one pot. Add some green veg towards your 5 a day and, hey presto,  – a delicious winter warmer.

 

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Next was a new ingredient for me – game. My local supermarket was selling packs of mixed game so I thought I’d give it a go. I found a recipe for mixed game stew and adapted it to make it simpler and then added a puff pastry topping to make my own indulgent version of game pie. To complete the meal, I served the pie with mashed butternut squash and celeriac. Yummy!

 

 

As we’re now in February, my thoughts have turned to Valentine’s Day. I’m still hooked on crochet at the moment and I found loads of instructions for crochet hearts and used the free pattern here. Cute, aren’t they? Valentine's Day heartsThey’re dead easy to make, in fact it takes less than 5 minutes to make one and before long I had a large pile of hearts. What could I do with them?

I decided first to make a garland. See crochet section for instructions.

Valentine's garlandimage

I really like the look of this garland on the dining room mirror, so I’ve decided I’d like to make another one to put up when Valentine’s Day is over. I’m thinking crocheted flowers – yet another project to add to my list!

I still had some hearts left which I didn’t want to waste so came up with another idea to make these cute napkin rings.Next week I’ll post the pattern for these.

Valentine's napkin ringimageIn the meantime, have a good week everyone!

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Burn’s Night Bonanza

A glimpse of Spring to cheer up grey January days.image

 It has been a busy week. At the weekend we travelled ‘up north’ to visit the family – we celebrated a family birthday as well as meeting the newest member of the family, who was only just over a week old and very cute.

Burn's Night Supper

Burn’s Night Supper

Having been away for the weekend, we weren’t home in time for Burns Night on 25th January so we had to delay our Scottish feast for a day. Having Scottish roots, I always try to celebrate the occasion and now haggis is readily available in my local supermarket. I like to buy Macsweens haggis as it has sentimental value. My mother, as a girl, lived in the flat above the original butcher’s shop in Edinburgh; now Macsweens is a well known international  business.

Haggis wrapped in foil

Haggis wrapped in foil

Some people don’t like the idea of what is in a haggis and, to be perfectly honest, I try not to think about it too much myself! For those of you who have never sampled the delicacy, it tastes rather like spicy mince. Traditionally it is served with ‘tatties and neeps’; tatties, of course, are potatoes and neeps are turnips. However, if you live south of the border, neeps are actually swedes. Yes I know it’s confusing. Cooking haggis is easy, it’s just a matter of heating it thoroughly. Wrap in foil, place in a dish with a couple of cm of water and pop in the oven. Simple! I bought a haggis which was supposed to serve 3, but as The Husband and I love haggis, we scoffed the lot! It took 1 and 1/2 hours at gas mark 4. Whilst it’s warming in the oven, peel the potatoes and turnip and boil until tender enough to mash. It’s a real winter warmer and should also be accompanied by a ‘wee dram’. Not a contender in the fine dining stakes, but absolutely delicious!A hearty winter meal!I have managed to finish the ripple baby blanket this week. I have really enjoyed working on this, based on the pattern from Lucy at Attic24. All I needed to do was add an edging and now it’s all ready and waiting to be wrapped up when the baby arrives next month. Ripple baby blanket  Finally, the allotment. With some trepidation, I wandered over to see what state the plot was in, knowing that it always looks a bit dismal at this time of the year. There’s still clearing up to do from last year’s crops, including some leeks to harvest. Last Autumn, the Husband managed to dig over one of the beds so there’s still another 3 to go. The brussels, which were far too small to use, need to be dug up…. The list is endless! At the beginning of the year, I always wonder how we will get everything done and planted., but somehow it happens and we end up with lots of lovely fruit and veg.

Hard work needed

Hard work needed

The beginning!

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Welcome to the first post of Pam’s Yarns!

The weekend started with a blast of wintry weather.                                 Looking out of the window, we could see tiny little flecks of snow falling, gradually building up to flurries of snowflakes which began to settle in the garden. With great excitement and anticipation, we pulled on our boots and wrapped up, ready to take the dogs out for their walk. The dogs seemed oblivious to the cold, whilst we were more than grateful for our coats, hats, scarves and gloves. Oscar’s shiny black coat began to glisten with the snowflakes as they landed on him; we laughed at Rosie ‘snorting’ as she stuffed her nose in the snow. Walking home the sun came out and by lunchtime the snow had disappeared! No prospect of any ‘snow days’ in the near future.

 

Sizzling SteakSaturday night – cooking in the kitchen. Armed with Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals, I set to work to prepare Sizzling Beef Steak with Hoi Sin Prawn and Noodle Bowls. Delicious!

Although I have to admit it took me a little bit longer than 15 minutes! Probably 15 minutes to collect all the ingredients together and then another 3/4 hour preparing ingredients and cooking. It seemed to go down well and The Husband said it was worth the wait!

 

 

The cold spell has been a great excuse for sitting on the sofa and getting on with my crocheting. My Granny taught me how to crochet many years ago and now it really seems to have come back into fashion. I have enjoyed looking at the Attic24 blog which inspired me to take crocheting up again. The site has so many great ideas and lots of simple projects. Luckily, there’s been a spate of babies amongst my friends and family so I have had a great excuse to pop into the wool shop and get busy with my crochet hook! I have used the ripple pattern from Attic24 and this week have been busy on this baby blanket. I love the colours.

Ripple blanket

I used Sublime baby cashmere merino silk dk, which worked out to be pretty pricey, but it is beautifully soft and snuggly. I’m sure baby will love it! By next week I hope to have completed the blanket and added the edging then I’ll be ready to move on to another project!

So excited to be publishing my first post – hope you’ve enjoyed it!