Ham, Leek and Pea Soup

This is possibly the easiest AND tastiest version of pea and ham soup I have ever found. It uses frozen peas rather than the dried split peas which gives the soup a brighter colour and a fresher flavour…and it uses gammon steaks which is great if you like to avoid the likes of ham hocks etc.

The Recipe: Paul Rankin’s Ham, Leek and Pea Soup
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1½ onions, chopped
300g gammon, chopped
6 leeks, chopped
600g frozen peas
900ml chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6tbsp double cream (optional)

Method:
Heat some olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, gammon and leeks and cook for around 6 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the peas and stock to the saucepan and cook for around 10 minutes. Season.

Take the saucepan off the heat and blend the mixture until the soup has a smooth texture. Heat the soup through without boiling. When its ready, pour into bowls and garnish with the double cream if using.

origami birds in flight…

Finally my origami birds pattern is coming to life!

Here’s my cushion cover in black and white…
Here it is looking particularly good on our dark couch…
And here is a set of napkins with mini origami birds in blue and white…

These and more are all available at my etsy store. Please get in touch if you want me to customise something specially for you : )

handmade by me.

Lentil and Chorizo Hotpot

This is one of my most favourite recipes ever!!! My good friend Nic who I used to live with, used to make this all the time for us… and every time we’d end up stuffing ourselves with double helpings because it’s so good!!! Anyways here is her recipe. It really is so quick and so easy….and more importantly sooooo tasty!

The Recipe: Lentil and Chorizo Hotpot
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
250g chorizo, chopped (be generous)
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
250g brown lentils, soaked overnight
2 stock cubes
1-1.5 litres of boiling water

Method:
Fry the onions, garlic, pepper, chilli and chorizo in a little olive oil until the onions are brown and soft. Add the lentils, carrot and potato, and cook for a further few minutes. Then add enough boiling water to cover everything…and a bit more…and throw in the 2 stock cubes. Stir well and simmer for 40 minutes. I would stir it a few times again while its simmering. Season to taste and serve.

SAVE OUR RHINOS

There’s been quite alot of hype lately about the increasing severity of Rhino poaching, particularly in South Africa where the Rhino species is held in trust by the South African government for, and on behalf of, the Citizens of the World. And it is getting progressively worse, so fast that soon in the next few years even, this beautiful animal could become extinct. After watching this video and signing this petition I decided to do something meaningful to help support this very worthy cause.

For every item bought in this design I will donate 10% to www.stoprhinopoaching.com.
I think this fabric will make lovely tea towels. The design features both the black and white Rhinos and if you look a little closer you’ll see that the little flower/fireworks are made out of rhino spoor (footprints).

You can also help make a difference too by signing this petition and by passing it on to help spread the word around the world and put an end to this savage and severe problem. Please click on the various links above to find out more about Rhino poaching and see what you can do to help.

Here is a photo I took last year of these beautiful animals. This is definitely a cause worth supporting!
PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD. THANK YOU.

Broccoli, toasted almonds and greek yoghurt soup

This should have been my first post of the year! What with it being the new year an’ all, there should be no better healthy way to start the year than with lots of broccoli! The toasted almonds in this recipe give this soup the extra dimension it really needs, so even if you’re not the biggest broccoli fan you can still really enjoy its benefits disguised with delicious toasted nuts and silky greek yoghurt instead of cream : )

The Recipe: Avoca’s broccoli, toasted almonds and greek yoghurt soup
Serves 4

Ingredients:
150g blanched slivered almonds
50g butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 litre light chicken stock
250g broccoli, stems and florets cut nice and small (particularly the stems)
4 dessertspoons greek style yoghurt

Method:
Spread the almonds out on a roasting tray and toast under the grill for a minute or two until golden. You need to toss them a little during this time so they colour evenly. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool.

Soften the butter in the oil and gently cook the onion without browning for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, then pour in the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked, adding the broccoli and two thirds of the almonds 5 minutes before the end. Then purée the soup.

Check the seasoning and reheat. Ladle into bowls, add a dollop of yoghurt, scatter over the reserved almonds and serve. (You can only add the yoghurt after the soup has been heated or it splits.)

Yay my first commission!

Finally the moment has arrived that I can finally reveal my first commission which I have been so excited about! My friend Sonya wanted to give her friend Nicky something unique and very special for her birthday. We decided to design Nicky some custom-made napkins. I based the design on a photo of Nicky’s vintage style bike which she loves, as well as her love of wild flowers to create something uniquely special for her.

Here’s the design I created:
Here’s a close-up of the fabric I had printed:
And the final product: a set of 6 handmade by me napkins
Sonya and Nicky both loved the napkins and the pattern and THIS is exactly what I want handmade by me to be about! Please if anyone wants to create something unique and different, whether it be for yourself or someone else, or maybe you just want to brighten up a room in your house, please get in touch and I can help you come up with something thoughtful and beautiful and really unique. I need quite a bit of lead time because the fabric takes a while to print so make sure you have lots of time before you need the final product.

I also have some great ideas to brighten up your kid’s rooms so all you mums out there, watch this space!

doggy bandanarama

Yay FINALLY i get to see pictures of my sister’s dogs in their little doggy bandanas I made for them!

Heidi wins first prize for wearing her bandana the best…look at her go!
And petal a close second cos she just looks so cute with or without it even though she is swimming in hers!!!!
Ollie unfortunately was her grumpy self and has nothing to show for herself!!! Not untypical by any means!

For those who missed the post on my design here it is again…now you can see where the inspiration for my design came from.
….see older posts for more details!