Old-fashioned pickled eggs

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Ok, so you may be thinking “WHAT”!!!!!! but I promise you these are delicious and a great way to preserve your excess eggs. (chicken owner or not!)

Here in good old Blighty they can often be found in our fish n chip shops but they’ve got nothing on these babies. Honest, once bitten twice smitten!

They look gorgeous as a gift and are scrumptious for supper and also as Hors derves at a dinner party or family gathering.

Grab yourself:

4-6 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

480 ml (16 fl oz) white vinegar

2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) mustard

25 ml (1/2 teaspoon) salt

2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) pepper

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

How to:

Put the cloves and cinnamon stick in a saucepan with the vinegar and bring the mixture to the boil. Add the mustard, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Place the eggs in a jar with a wide mouth and a tight-fitting lid. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over to cover. Screw the lid on tightly and refrigerate for up to six months.

This is another recipe from my gorgeous book: beginners guide to chickens by Lee Faber.

 

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Eggs to use up? try these forgotten cookies

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To be honest with my three little chooks I don’t have this problem, but hey I don’t need an excuse to make these little beauties!

I’ve got an a lovely book on keeping chickens (Beginner’s guide to keeping chickens by Lee Faber) and in it some lovely egg recipes to share with you. These are small meringue cookies with a hint of chocolate which last about 5 minutes with my lot!

I’ve gotta be honest it took me a few goes to get these right and things got pretty messy! But after a little tweak to the original recipe they came out right!

Grab yourself:

2 egg whites

4 oz caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

pinch of salt

6 oz white chocolate chopped into small pieces

How to:

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). Cover two baking sheets with aluminium foil.

Get a large mixing bowl and put your egg whites in (you can’t have the slightest hint of yolk or it goes wrong!) using an electric hand whisk on its highest setting whisk the egg whites until firm but not dry. Now you need to add the sugar, but do this a teaspoon at a time and after each addition whisk in thoroughly on the highest setting. When the meringue is glossy and forming stiff peaks and is glossy you are done!

Add your salt and vanilla essence and very carefully fold in your chopped chocolate.

Drop 24 teaspoons of the mixture onto your baking sheets and place in your oven. Turn oven off immediately, and leave for 6 hours.

Then behold a plate of yummy cookies awaits!

Come on chooks enough already!

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omg! the chooks are so ruling the roost in our gaff right now!

It’s been raining bucket loads our end and the wind is blowing a gasket, as for the chooks, well lets just say they are not best pleased!

For all the noise they’ve been making I may as well have a cockeral! I tell you they can certainly blast out a good racket, they’re worse than the kids!  I reckon I’ve worked out what the fuss is all about: they want in, into our gaff I mean, I know this cos they keep pecking at the door!

Well I’m sorry chooks much as I love you it’s not happening, like never!

 

 ♥

Pretty crochet flowers

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If you ask me girl can never have too many flowers. I love to give and receive a bloom, but what I really love is to crochet some! There’s nothing cuter than a little bunch of crochet flowers displayed in a simple jam jar on your kitchen table, as part of a brooch or even to brighten up winter shrubs in your garden, and with a little practice you can easily achieve some stunning effects.

Give it a try and see if you don’t get hooked yourself, if your not already that is!

The pattern I’ve used here is from one of my fave books: Crochet Bouquet by Suzann Thompson.

make 5 chain and join with a slip stitch to form a ring. then there is only one round:

make 3 chain and do 2 treble clusters into ring. yarn around hook, insert into ring, yarn around hook and draw through 2 loops on hook (do this twice) yarn around hook and draw through all 3 loops on hook. Repeat for a total of 5 times. Fasten off, and weave in all yarn ends.

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♥ Gifted Crochet Bracelet ♥

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I love crochet and once you have mastered the initial steps you can whip up a lovely gift in next to no time! I found the best way to  learn was heaps and heaps of practice, so here is a little project to have a go at!

This project can be made using any yarn or beads available to you, you just need to adjust your hook and needle accordingly.(Usually your chosen yarn will specify the size of hook required, I usually find the best thing is to have a selection handy and play around until you reach the desired effect. Here I have used necklace cord and a 2.5 mm hook.)

Once you have chosen your yarn the first thing you need to do is thread your beads. Get a length of thread and arrange in a U shape threading the ends of the U through the eye of the needle (as shown here):

Then arrange your yarn through the U:

Thread the needle through your bead:

Thread through and pull your bead down until it reaches the yarn:

Continue until all your beads are threaded. (it’s much better to have too many than not enough as you won’t be able to add more beads later):

Great, you are now ready to begin your beaded crochet. The next step here is to fasten on. Make a slip knot as illustrated here:

Insert the hook through the loop, and catch the tail with the end. Draw the yarn through the loop on the hook:

Pull the tail to tighten the slip knot around the hook:

Now we can begin to crochet:

Yarn around hook and pull through, you have just made your first chain stitch!

Continue 9 more times for a total of 10 stitches:

Now you need to slip stitch into the first chain to form a ring:

Yarn around hook and pull through, you are now left with a ring:

Yarn around hook and make 5 chain stitches. (you can adjust this number according to yarn and wrist size):

Now you can start your beaded crochet. Bring your bead right down to your work on the hook. Yarn over hook and chain stitch as normal incorporating the bead:

Continue this process until all beads are incorporated with an even spacing between them of 5 chain stitches (or your chosen amount). After your last bead work 5 chain, then a further 10 chain stitches, finishing with a slip stitch into the first chain of the 10 to form a ring to match the start:

Fasten off. (cut yarn leaving a good length for darning in, Yarn around hook and pull through.) Thread an embroidery needle to the end of your yarn and darn in neatly through several stitches, and cut thread:

Yay! one cute bracelet:

And from the back! You can either hook the ring around the bead to fasten or pull through to give a leaf effect:

Now you can gift wrap your creation. I tend to keep a whole stash of boxes, tissue paper etc. for this. Grab yourself a cute box and pop in the bracelet wrapped in tissue paper:

Customise your box by adding a cute crochet flower:

For a vintage feel wrap using some wallpaper. This one is vintage Laura Ashley. (You can find loads of stuff like this at charity shops and thrift markets.)

Wrap up and tie with a scrap of yarn and you got yourself one cute little parcel:

           ♥

What are we doing today?-10 quick and free answers

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 ♥  ♥

1: Have a picnic

Head to the park and chill together.    Raining? no worries picnic on a blanket at home!

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2: Hold a talent show

Have you got some dressing up stuff at home? if so let them use their imagination and put on a talent show, you could invite friends and family and make a party of it!

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3: Home at the movies!

Get together to watch a dvd with everyone’s fave snacks.

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4: Go on a nature hunt

Pop outside rain or shine with suncream or wellies and see what you can spot. (flowers/birds/bugs etc.)

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5: Artist for the day

Let the kids show their creative side by drawing a portrait of someone using just a pencil and paper.

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6: Find out about your town

Most towns have a museum, which can sometimes be free. Pop along and find out more about the history of your town and make scrap books to show friends and family.

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7: Cake decorating competition

make some fairy cakes together and have a competition to see who can make them look the best! (invite some friends, the more the merrier!)

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8: Junk modeling

Raid your recycling and let the kids show their creative side by making models from it with sticky tape/string etc.

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9: Mini toy sale

Have your little poppits got any toys they don’t play with? If so have a rummage and a mini sale to your friends and neighbours. Any proceeds can be used to buy a treat.

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10: Blind taste testing

For a bit of fun try making some sandwiches with nice fillings and a few with horrors like jam and ham or Marmite and custard and see if there spotted! you’d be surprised!

Retro game fun!

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If you have a good old hunt in your local charity shops, car boots or jumble sales etc. It can be easy and fun to find some really groovy retro games.

Whether it’s a rotten old rainy day or a snuggly winters evening it’s lovely to settle down with the kids for some nostalgic fun!

Happy hunting!