Warning! If you are a bit spider squeemish then you might want to look away. I was on exhibition road the other day in London and on a friend's recommendation popped into room 17a at the V&A.
The display is only small but showcases the world's largest peice of cloth made from spider silk. This silk is from the golden orb spider. It's silk is naturally this golden yellow and orange. It has not been dyed.
These spiders are found in the highlands of Madagascar. They are captured each day to produce silk and then freed at the end of each day. They cannot be kept in captivity due to their cannabalistic nature.
24 spider threads are used to make one thread. This 24 strand thread is then carefully woven into various patterns some of which include the spider.
I was at the 'Make It!' craft show on Sunday and visited the Japenese Embroiders Guild
, do checkout their website their work is amazingly intricate, and I ended up chatting to the ladies for quite a while about the spider silk and showing them the photos on my iphone.
Anyway if you are passing the V&A I recommend popping into room 17a.
I made this cake last weekend with some spotty bananas to fit with my no waste food challenge
. You don't need many strawberries for this recipe but it tastes and smells of summer.
300g of bananas or 3-4 large bananas
4 strawberries finely cut or more if you have them
100g butter softened
150g self raising flour
1tsp on baking powder
- Heat the oven to 180 C.
- Cream together the sugar and butter.
- Add the eggs, flour, and baking powder.
- Mash the bananas and add to the cake mix.
- Gently fold in the strawberries and add to a lined loaf tin or silicone mould.
- Bake for 40 mins until cooked and golden brown. You can check to see if the cake is cooked by testing it with a skewer. If the skewer comes out of the cake clean, it is cooked.
A couple of years ago I visited a friend in Madrid. I stayed in a lovely hotel which served a luscious breakfast of cake, fruit, cereal and hot breakfast. What I remember most was the spanish omelette. It was served with a tomato sauce and I found it a really nice start to the day.
I vowed when that when I got home I would learn to make this dish. I make it every now and then and cut it into slices. I wrap up each individual slice and put some in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. I then grab a slice from the fridge on my way out the door and eat at my desk for breakfast. It is also a really good way to use up leftover potatoes.
500g of boiled or raw potatoes or about 6 potatoes
1 large onion
- Start by heating some olive oil in a big frying pan (one that can go in the grill).
- Slice the onion into rings and gently fry.
- Either slice the bolied potatoes or thinly slice the raw potatoes.
- Add the raw potatoes to the frying pan and cook until they are soft and brown.
- If your potatoes have already been boiled add them to the frying pan to brown.
- Meanwhile beat 5 of the eggs and add the mixed herbs.
- When the potatoes are browned take them and the onions out of the pan and add them to the egg mix. Stir until mixed.
- Add a little more oil to the pan and then add the potato, onion and egg mix.
- Gently heat and using a spatula push the sides of the omelette into the pan.
- Put on the grill whilst the omelette is cooking.
- Beat the final egg.
- Pour the last egg on to the top of the omelette.
- When the bottom is cooked place the pan under the grill to cook the top. By adding the last egg at the end I find this gives a better finish and texture to the top.
- When the omelette is golden brown, take it out of the grill and gently ease it onto a plate.
I am entering this into the Breakfast club
which has as its theme this month, eggs. The club is being hosted this month by the lovely Karen at Lavender and Lovage
I am so so pleased with how this has turned out. It had been an idea for a while and I made this as a Christmas present for a friend.
I am a little haphazard when I make and bake and often can't be bothered to follow patterns or instructions. More often than not this leads to disaster and a very big mess but sometimes, just sometimes, something turns out beautifully.
I made this using an old pair of brown cropped trousers and scraps I had lying around the house. It is weighted with a zip lock bag of gravel and then stuffed with more fabric scraps.
I will talk you through how I made it.
- To begin with draw your pattern on an A4 piece of paper.
- Find a base material to use. I used an old pair of tweed brown trousers.
- Cut out and pin the pattern to the trousers.
- Make sure your fabric is folded in two (or just a trouser leg!) and cut out the pattern.
- Measure the length of the sides of your pattern and cut two triangles that have their longest edge measuring the same as the pattern length.
- Measure along the bottom and the sides to cut a rectangle for the bottom.
7. Now cut out the other pieces, the wings, feet, beak and eyes.
8. Pin these onto the front side of the owl.
9. Applique these features onto the front piece using a close zig zag stitch on your sewing machine.
10. Turn the front and back piece so that the nice sides are facing each other. If you would like a ribbon hook at the top pin this inside. Sew along the top.
11. Now pin on the sides, again nice sides facing in, and sew together.
12. Sew on three sides of the bottom, again inside out.
13. Fill a bag with stones of gravel to act as the weight. Make sure this is securely taped up.
14. Fill the owl with toy stuffing or cut up scraps of old clothes.
15. Make sure the stone bag is at the bottom but pack stuffing around it.
16. Hand sew the last side of the bottom together making sure you tuck in the edges.
Every month Choclette
sets a 'We Should Cocoa
' challenge. The aim is to use cocoa in a recipe together with something that is chosen for that month. February's challenge is to use cocoa in something vegetarian and savoury. I am very nervous as this is my first ever We Should Cocoa entry!
I had been racking my brain and thought that cocoa would go quite nicely with pumpkin and cheddar cheese. In order to match the cocoa with darker flavour I used some rye flour in the recipe. Now this was all in the aid of experimentation and the challenge. My parents weren't too convinced. I thought they were very nice with a dollop of cranberry and apple chutney
Next time I would probably add more cheese and maybe slightly less rye flour and I have tweaked the below recipe accordingly in case any of you are crazy enough to try it!
Makes 8 Scones
25 g butter
30g grated cheddar cheese
100 g of rye flour
15g of Green and Blacks cocoa powder
100g plain flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
150 mls of milk
10g of pumpkin seed and a few more to sprinkle on top
1. Grate the cheese.
2. Mix the butter, cheese, flour, Cocoa and baking powder together in a processor until you have breadcrumbs.
3. Add the pumpkin seeds.
4. Slowly add the milk and knead until the mixture forms and dough.
5. Form into rounds and place on greased baking tray.
6. Brush with a little milk and sprinkle with grated cheese and pumpkinseed on top.
7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese has melted and slightly browned on top.
Enjoy these as a healthy breakfast snack with butter, cream cheese or chutney. Any thoughts from the real foodies out there on whether this was a good idea would be appreciated!
I have been saving this picture of a crisp for quite a while now!