Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Garden Wandering

Just a quick post with some pictures from my weekend. I went up to my parents home in Leicestershire for a little birthday celebration with my family. When we arrived around 6pm the garden looked so lovely and I really enjoyed wandering around looking at everything with my dad. I've never really been that interested in gardening, I like doing pots and things, but a whole garden feels overwhelming. Our garden at the new place is looking better and better these days, thankfully. Actually, now we've had some rain and the grass is green again it almost looks "good". There is still so much to do though. In the meantime, I'll take you on a little tour around my parents' garden.


This is a very old wall. I'm not sure how old, definitely over 100+ I seem to remember. I like the little bird box to the left of the tree.



The bramleys are nearly ready, they look so tasty. My mum does her "toshiba apples" in the autumn because she has so many in the freezer. If you've read A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka you'll know why she calls them toshiba apples, although it is fairly self-explanatory.


Raspberry canes above. There used to be a wall behind them but one day, really early in the morning, it just fell down. My dad couldn't understand why the view from the kitchen across the fields was so improved. And then later he realised. We have used some of those bricks in our house, at least, I assume that's where they came from.


Home grown garlic! 






I hope you liked this mini tour. I'll do another one in autumn and see what's happening then.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Salvaged Trough

Hello again, another post for you. I've got a bad case of blog neglect guilt so I'll be posting a lot more regularly from now on. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy writing on this little nest egg blog, it's really fun.

So, I just wanted to show you some quick pictures of this lovely salvaged trough in front of the barn. It was there when we arrived and looked like this:


Looking at this photograph makes me feel so happy because the barn looks completely different and amazing now. I love the barn so much, it's like a giant den.

Back to the trough, I painted it duck egg blue, sealed it and then it looked like this:


The photo above has been instagrammed when I was going through my "blur the edges" phase so it's not your eyes playing tricks on you. I'm over that now thankfully, although still obsessed with Walden and Amaro.

Back to the trough, now it is summer, it looks like this:



I can't take any credit for this magical planting arrangement though. My lovely mother in law came to stay and got her green fingers stuck in. She knew exactly what what would flourish in that very sunny spot, and 4 weeks later it still looks fabulous.

Really must do something about all the weeds in the stones, they are so annoying. As soon as you've got rid of them, they come straight back.

Stairs!

Hello! Poor little nest egg blog, all neglected again. Was it really February that I last posted here? Where did those (5) months go? That's almost half a year. 

Anyway, onwards, we have stairs! So much other stuff has happened in the last 5 months, it's difficult to know where to start. So I'll start with the stairs.

Ordered over the internet for a rock bottom price, I forgot to take into account the steelwork around the well so there is a 15cm gap all the way round. Not exactly the plan, but we think we'll put some bookshelves behind as we have tons of books, and currently no where to put them. So perhaps it worked out for the best. If I were to go through this process again, I would call the carpenter, tell him I need some stairs and let him do the whole lot. Cost wise it would have been the same or less, and it would have saved a lot of time and energy. 

Our carpenter was absolutely brilliant, and the stairs look so good, especially after that awful ladder that we had there for about as long as the meatballs post has been up.  Below are some photos of the stairs being fitted: 







You may also notice some quite drastic changes to the sitting room. It is plastered, painted and the skirting boards are nearly all finished. We also managed to expose some of the original beams which was great and it's lovely to now have some original features showing through. 

What do you think? I need to take some pictures of the staircase fully fitted. Next time! It won't be 5 months again, hopefully. 

Monday, 11 February 2013

Spicy Lamb Meatballs

I haven't posted a recipe on here for a while so I thought it was about time. Full disclosure: this recipe is from a Waitrose recipe card which was adapted due to store cupboard failures. My old method of keeping track of what is or isn't in the cupboard based on my own memory let me down again. Do you do that thing where you're in the supermarket and you know you need something desperately at home (like black pepper, it's been 4 days now and still no joy) but you just cannot remember? I'm 31 years old, I'm pretty sure this should not be happening to me. And then there are other things I am so convinced we don't have that I buy more and that's how you end up with 17 tins of red kidney beans. We don't eat that much chilli. No one does. 


Anyway, back to these meatballs. They are good! Quick, tasty and nice on a snowy evening like tonight. 

Ingredients
  • 400g lamb mince
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 25g pack flat leaf parsley, finely chopped with a few sprigs leftover to garnish at the end
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tsp crushed red chilli, or a tsp of red chilli powder
  • Some fresh basil (if you have it, not essential)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil 
  • Spaghetti or other pasta
  • Grated fresh parmesan
Method

1. Place the mince, red onion, parsley and garlic in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, combine the ingredients together until well mixed. Roll into 12 balls and chilli on a plate for 10 minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the meatballs and fry for 12-14 minutes until browned all over and cooked through. 

3. Add the tomatoes and gently heat until bubbling and piping hot. 

4. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti or whatever pasta you're using according to the packet instructions. Drain well.

5. Add the basil to the tomato sauce at the last minute and garnish with a few chopped sprigs of parsley.
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