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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Clever Knits!

You may well wonder why such an amazing piece of fabric knitted and hooked to resemble moss is doing at the base of a tree in Thornham Walks, Thornham Magna, Suffolk and why it is being left to degrade, have real moss to grow on it and hopefully have insects living on it and in it! Read on...

The most fantastic part of Halfpenny Home is how it attracts such a great bunch of talented people through it's magical blue doors! We never know who is going to turn up but we can almost guarantee that they will have something interesting to say and hopefully something to show us!
I first met textile artist Jane Southgate last Spring, she came in and with a cup of coffee in one hand and a copy of Selvedge magazine in the other started to tell me all about her work...

Jane has been working with Ruth Richmond to create Rural Collusions - we've all enjoyed seeing (and in some cases helping to create!) some of the work taking shape before our eyes! The mushrooms were particularly popular and has led to Jane sometimes being referred to as Mushroom Jane...

We've had a fantastic time helping Jane to scource natural yarns and fabrics and dyeing fibres with plant dyes with the help of Samantha Hayes, who is a Tudor Re-enactor at Kentwell Hall every Summer.

Just love the colours on this piece of weaving! This is the first of Jane's pieces that you will encounter on the walk through the woods and it is breathtaking!

Can't possibly have a blogpost without a break for cake...Lady Galula's newest creations - raspberry cupcakes with glitter icing in exactly the same shade of pink as the sunhat I'm knitting for my niece!

Another artist who is a frequent visitor to Halfpenny Home HQ is Amy Louise Nettleton. Amy currently has some work on show at the Waterfront Gallery in Ipswich.

I went along to the Private View and loved the selection of work on show and it's all by local artists.

Although these photos are great you should really go along and see the work yourself - it's a fabulous space in such a beautiful setting! It will be there for all to see until 11th May, Nic x

Monday, 4 April 2011

Going to work on a (scotch) egg!

By now you will have (hopefully!) seen our beautiful book A Green Guide To Country Crafts published by CICO Books Ltd. and chock full of gorgeous photographs by Gavin Kingcome (pictured above) all taken around the lovely part of the world that we are so lucky to live in!
We had a lot of fun during the photo shoots and made the most of the brilliant beach and picnic projects - essential for any picnic is the scotch egg!
I started making these as a way to use up a lot of eggs and was inspired to do so by my mate Maria Matthews, she quite often adds herbs to her sausagemeat but I leave it plain - the instructions here are my quick and easy adaptations to many online and printed may have to jiggle the timings a bit as I get giant eggs from my ex-battery hens and teeny eggs from Button and Zsazsa the Silkies!

Jane Southgate - textile artist - and I got together to do some dyeing and whilst the rhubarb leaves were cooking we made a couple of these for our lunch - so here we go!

Boil your eggs

I use my little and very old Le Creuset pan that I got from the Sue Ryder shop next door...

About 6 - 8 minutes should give you a good yolk but as Jane and I were eating them straightaway we soft boiled them for runny ones! Take them out of the boiling water and sling them straight into a big bowl or sink of very cold water - if you get the timing right you wont get that grey line around the yolk...

Roll the peeled eggs in some flour seasoned with salt and pepper and set aside while you get on with the crispy, crunchy crumbs...
Blitz some old bread in a food processor and then toast them, I use a big griddle pan for this.

Watch them and keep turning them - I usually have to do this stage twice as I get distracted by a cake or knitting blog...

Grab your sausage meat - quarter of a pound for big eggs - squash it flat and wrap it right round, you don't want holes and dampening your hands first will make it easier to do!

Get a couple of eggs and beat 'em up! Rolling the sausagemeat wrapped eggs in beaten egg makes all those scrummy crumbs stick on fast and then you should end up with something like this!

Deep fry in some sunflower oil for about 8 minutes...being very careful and taking all the usual warnings about deep fat frying into consideration etc.

Turn them carefully and frequently so that they are evenly cooked and gorgeously golden brown!

Ta da!

Absolutely the best thing to do with eggs and they will make grown men weep with joy! Knitters, artists, cake makers and photographers are pretty keen on them too...

with love from Nic x