Saturday, September 22, 2012

Berries, pie, Schnapps and scarf

So Summer has all but gone now but there are many fruits to collect and savour and preserve for the colder months. There are still many wild blackberries to be picked though many have started to wither and dry. And the figs are also just starting to ripen on our tree, a little later than normal but very welcome just the same. I decided to make a pie with them. If you want to make a pie it is the simplest thing on earth. I bought the fluff pastry and the nectarines from the supermarket. You can use any fruit that is juicy and sweet. I imagine peaches, plums and pears work well... well it is really up to you, but I would use seasonal fruit because it just makes sense. So... line your oven proof tray with your pastry, leave lining paper. Sprinkle the pastry with a tiny bit of brown sugar and then make a first layer with the berries, just throw them, no need to arrange them in neat rows. I think the berries work best underneath the rest of the fruit because they remain nice and juicy. Then cut the rest of the fruit and arrange in neat rows, this helps with even baking and restoring some order to the universe, and sprinkle again with a little bit of sugar. Bake at medium heat and check it now and then, when the pastry begins to cooks around the edges and turns a nice and golden, it is ready. Yum!

There are many Hawthorn trees, near our place by the creek, and I decided I needed to make something with the ripe berries. Schnapps... yes...of course. It will be ready just in time for the super cold months and the Christmas and New Year festivities. I have never made Schnapps before, but I am sure nothing can go wrong here. I followed this Hawthorn Schnapps recipe and it seems to be doing what it is supposed to do... but maybe on second thought I should make some more. All you need for this recipe is time, berries and vodka. The Schnapps you see is only one week old and the colour is already so beautiful, you can see how the colour has all but gone from the berries to the vodka. Triple yum!

To end the week... another scarf finished.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Release the hens!

Yesterday was a good day. We finally got our little chickens. The coop is ready to receive its guests but it still needs some final touches. But I think it looks pretty good already. The floor we covered with chopped up bits of dried grasses and pine needles. There are eleven chicks and they seem happy with their new home. Well... they were behaving like chickens should anyway, scratching around, stretching their wings open and catching some sun rays, pecking about looking for what I don´t know.

The five little egg shaped dishes I got from the antique fair in Guarda about a month or so ago and they had been inspiring me. I hope our chickens are happy enough to lay lots of eggs, if they come out in pastel colours they would be very handy come Easter time. The embroidered children´s bib is also very fun with the girl feeding the chickens and such a creative design. The bib belongs to Sra. Rita, she is now in her 80´s.  I might make one for me as a top and wear it to let the chickens know I am only there to feed them. I can´t get my head around the thought of eating them.

More weaving.

And one massive beautiful cloud to end the day.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Quilts and Hazelnuts

I started making two new quilts in bright colours. For the first quilt I used some antique hand woven linen which works very well for texture and breathing space. The stars in the star quilt are made from left over bits and pieces of extremely vibrant cotton used in the popular embroideries from Viana do Castelo. The quilts are far from finished but for now I am missing a few fabrics and so it is better to take a break. And there is much work to be done on the loom. I just got a new lot of wool and am ready to weave my way into the coming winter. Soon you will be able to order scarves and wraps online. 

And yes, that time of the year is fast approaching and we will soon be saying "goodbye" to Summer and "hello" to Autumn, and so like a good little squirrel would I have started to collects nuts. For now we have hazelnuts. I never knew they grew out of these bud like husks. They are so pretty. I have to leave them to dry before we can eat them.