Thursday, 24 September 2015

Quilt in a Day - Not

My one and only completed block.
Yesterday, I went on a 'Quilt in a Day' course at a wonderful shop called Patchwork Cabin in Great Bookham. We were meant to make a large quilt top in one day.  (See below.) Our tutor, Julia, was lovely and very helpful, but I found the whole process stressful because the photo on the left is the only block I finished! And I am a confident sewist. (Sewing from the age of 12 will do that for you.)
Perhaps the project was too ambitious.  It took me all morning to stitch together 40 x 10" blocks, slice them diagonally (I had help with this.) and stitch them together in another way.  Then, we were meant to slice them again and re-stitch them.  The finished result of all this labour is on the left and I'm not sure I even like the fabrics.
This has not put me off making quilts. Far from it, but I may not finish this one. Back to my Lotta Jansdotter - a more modern quilt with fewer fiddly pieces and colours I love.

This is the tutor's quilt.  Beautiful and something to desire,
but maybe not something to aim for. 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Why bother to sew?

 Don’t get me wrong.  I love to sew and there is something very satisfying about making something yourself. For one thing, you can get just the right fit. For another, you can choose your fabric and have a one-off garment.  However, I found this little linen shirtdress on sale in France, marked down from 69 euros to 23 euros.  I couldn’t resist. The fabric would cost as much and it would take me some time to make it. All that detail, pockets, plackets, buttonholes.  Now all I need is a day warm and sunny enough to wear it.
N.B. This is a post that I wrote in the summer.  Accessing the internet was either too difficult or too expensive.  I did, in the end, wear the dress.  I am now thinking of dying it black or navy to increase the wearing time because white linen is only really appropriate in high summer. What do you think?

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Make Ahead Mid-Week Meal, Caramelised Onion Tart

Caramelised Onion Tart is the perfect make-ahead meal.  It  keeps well in the fridge for two or three days and can be frozen and thawed and re-heated when needed. 
Caramelised Onion Tart is a great recipe for vegetarians as well as meat eaters.  It can be served hot, at room temperature (my favourite) or cold and therefore is easily transportable.  It’s one of my life-saving recipes when company is expected. It also makes a good dish for a street party, a fete or buffet.

Caramelised Onion Tart is easy to make, particularly if you use ready-made and rolled out pastry. In France, you can buy pastry rounds which, with a little trimming, just fit into a flan tin. In England you can buy ready made pastry in oblongs, which, with a little fiddling, will also fit into a flan tin. I have made this tart with homemade pastry as well, but it’s only worth the trouble is you have a lot of time and you make excellent pastry. Mine is variable!

What you need:
Ready-made pastry.
2 large onions or 3 medium sized ones.
2 tablespoons of oil and about an ounce (a knob) of butter. (The oil keeps the butter from burning.)
3 large eggs
¾ pint of liquid (I use about a cup of crème fraiche or cream and the rest milk to make it richer.)
1 dash of nutmeg (optional).
1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
About a cup of grated Emmenthal cheese.  (You can substitute any mild cheese, but Emmenthal compliments the sweetness of the onions.).

Lightly grease the flan tin and lay the pastry in it. 
Prick the pastry with a fork and brush lightly with egg.
Allow the pastry to hang over the sides and trim off excess later.
Blind bake at 200 C or 400 F for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Turn the oven down to 180 C or 350 F.
Meanwhile, in a frying pan, sauté the onions in the oil and butter over low heat until they are brown and caramelized but not burnt.  (This will take about 25 minutes.).
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and seasoning.
Add the milk and cream mixture.
Spread the onions in the pastry case.
Sprinkle the grated cheese over the onions.
Now carefully pour the egg and cream mixture over the top. 
Take care to keep it in the pastry case!
Put the tart in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until the creamy mixture is set. 
Cool to room temperature and serve.

Carefully fit pastry to tin and prick the base.

Blind Bake for 10 minutes. Mine cracked at little, 

but I was able to stick it together while it was still warm.

Salute the onions in butter and oil until brown and caramelised.

Beat the eggs, then add milk and cream and seasoning.

Layer the onions, egg mixture, and cheese in the pastry base.

Remove from oven when the egg mixture is set and the top is golden.


Sunday, 13 September 2015

Sue's Next Quilt

 I have been away all summer and it has been difficult to access the internet unless I pay my service provider vast amounts of money.  Actually, I have, but I have now cancelled my contract as they got greedy. I managed to get a few things on Facebook when we were out and about.  I even wrote two blog posts, but they did not get sent.
We are back in England now and I am ready to sew and blog again.  In fact, I am eager to do so.
Meanwhile, my friend, Sue, has been busy making another quilt. I love the colours and the arrangement, so I thought I would share them with you. It's a lovely quilt for a spare room. All that's left o do is the quilting - ha ha.