Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Recipe Time

...and a card.
Last week's mixed media challenge on Splitcoast required us to choose three different types of tutorial from the resources section, bingo-style. I was short on time so selected scraps from my scrap box which covered various tutorials and put them together to create a little scene - and searching for a sentiment to finish it off with, this one from Art Neko seemed to work well.

The embossing-folder-stamped background was originally intended for a sea scene, that's one of the folders you gave me, Lorraine!

Blue birds on my card, and here a couple of photos not of the baby bluetits still very much in evidence in the garden but of a young robin, moulting into his adult plumage. I always feel they almost look as if they had some sort of disease at this stage!

And I promised a recipe. I had some sweet potatoes sitting in the cupboard since before we went away, and it was high time to use them. I often make soup, but wanted some different today, so I looked online for some recipes and found several which I bookmarked into my Recipes folder.

The one I tried came from the BBC Good Food website, Moroccan chicken with sweet potato mash.

I chose this recipe because I always have ras-el-hanout in my cupboard, and was able to take chicken out of the freezer so it was a meal I didn't need to go shopping for. I have been buying my ras-el-hanout from Seasoned Pioneers for about twenty years now, going back to the days of dial-up internet and long before it was trendy. In fact, I first read of it back in the days when I used to buy the BBC Good Food magazine.

Moroccan chicken with sweet potato mash: serves 4

1kg sweet potatoes, cubed
2 tsp ras-el-hanout, or a mix of ground cinnamon and cumin
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
200ml chicken stock
2 tsp clear honey
juice ½ lemon
handful green olives, pitted or whole
20g pack coriander (cilantro) leaves chopped.

Cook the potatoes for about fifteen minutes, till tender.
Meanwhile rub the seasoning into the chicken breast fillets and fry them for about 3 minutes a side, till browned, in 1 tblsp of the olive oil. Remove the chicken, lower the heat and cook the onions and garlic till soft.
Add the stock, honey, lemon juice and olives, return the chicken to the pan and cook till the sauce is reduced and thick, and the chicken done. Stir in the coriander.

Mash the potatoes, season, add a spoonful of olive oil or butter. Slice the chicken breasts into thick slices, and serve on top of a bed of sweet potato mash with the sauce poured over.

I left out the olives, as C is not a fan of them and they are not something I tend to keep in the house. I did mean to substitute dates, but forgot - I've made a note on the recipe to include them next time. Because we both enjoyed it, there will definitely be a next time - perhaps with couscous rather than the mash.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017


I had a piece of faux leather background left after making my card for the Art Neko blog last week - so I used it to make a card to share here this week. This sweet bird and nest are from the Flowers and Whimsy sheet of stamps. Next up will  be a card using that lovely birdhouse image, I think.

This one is stamped on watercolour paper and coloured with distress inks. My first background, whatever brand of masking tape I used curled when I heated it, so I had to gently heat it, take it all off and start again with a different brand. Hmm, I think most of what I have left is the one that curled.

A couple of garden birds - a very wet and presumably very hungry goldfinch this morning, and a little baby blue. We seem to have a lot of birds around since we came back from holidays - maybe because all the feeders are topped up again.

We got to see a lot of birds while we were away, first of all visiting the ornithological park in the Marais Poitevin - walking distance from the campsite, and then going back to the bird park in the Camargue. We weren't lucky enough to see bee eaters this year, but did get to see avocets and were also highly entertained by these bareback riders....

Monday, 3 July 2017

June Favourites

...are thin on the ground as we spent three weeks in France, camping, and some of what I made before we left were Christmas cards. Holiday photos to follow - still dealing with piles of washing and a tent which needs to be re-waterproofed before putting it away.

This month's header is a photo of some old dead flower heads from a bunch of flowers I had last July - I can't even remember what they were, but as the fell on the windowsill I thought they looked so pretty.

I'll leave you with a very short video of white peacocks. We were so fortunate to be walking along the river bank just at the right moment - I mostly took photos - and just watched them -  but snatched a short video: