Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mother's day at the mill

What a gorgeous weekend we've had! More of the blue skies, sunshine and warmth please!

I spent Mother's Day with my daughter at Quarry Bank Mill, a National Trust property about a half hour's drive from our house. I thought I'd share a few of the highlights.

One of the reasons for our visit was to see the 'A woman's work is never done' exhibition which I'd seen featured on the local news. It mainly told of the lives of the millworkers: although women worked similar roles to the men, they were paid significantly less. Sad to think that more than 100 years later, this still goes on.

There were also stories of the women who married or were daughters of the millowners, strong, intelligent women who fought against stereotypes to make a difference in their communities and society.

Dotted around the room were these illustrations by Jacky Fleming from her book The trouble with women which did make us laugh! You can see more of her work on her website.

With Child - Carina Ripley

We also looked around the mill which still has working machinery. This one in particular caught my eye with its rows of reels and spiders' web of threads.

After a pit stop for lunch, we headed over to Styal village to admire the pretty cottages built by the Greg family to house the workers. One of them will be open to the public later this year, as will the Greg's house.

Next up was the mill gardens. Last time we were here, the restoration of the glass houses was still going on and they were covered in boards. The middle curved section is apparently very unusual. And very hot inside!

We preferred the cool of the greenhouse with its rows of succulents and flowers. I'm adding one of these to my 'when I win the lottery' list.

There aren't many flowers in the gardens as yet but these hyacinths perfumed the air all around.

More flowers and a welly vase - my Mother's Day present :)

A lovely weekend and hopefully a lovely week to come. xx

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Cookery Calendar Challenge: February

Back in 2014 I set myself a cookery book challenge to make at least one recipe from one of my cookery books each week for a year. There were highs and lows but overall it was a great year and really extended my repertoire. Since then though I've slipped back into my usual habits and end up making old favourites. I've had half-hearted attempts at resurrecting it and was considering having another go when I saw Gillian's post about the Cookery Calendar Challenge being organised by Penny. It seemed like perfect timing.

The idea is simple: the first week of every month, choose a cookery book from your shelf and, over the course of a month, make two recipes from it that you've never made before. Given that my own challenge involved a different book each week, this seemed very do-able. You can find out more on Penny's site, plus links to other bloggers taking part.

Here's my entry for February then. I decided to re-use the slips of paper from my old challenge to choose one at random and the first out of the hat was Delia Smith's How to Cook Book 3. Chickpea groaned loudly as Delia is definitely not one of her favourites. Even she had to agree though that we managed to find a couple of good recipes to try.

First up was Turkey Saltimbocca which is served in a Marsala sauce. I've made similar recipes before so knew this would be good. The only change I made was that I had to use dried sage rather than fresh as my local supermarket didn't have any. It didn't make any real difference and still gave a flavour hit as you ate.

The second recipe was Sea Bass with Puy Lentil Salsa. This was another really simple dish to make with just a bit of light chopping for the salsa. If you were feeling extra lazy, you could use ready-cooked lentils though I did cook them from scratch. We also enjoyed the sweet potato fries tossed in polenta which was a supermarket buy.

You can see what I made from Delia's book during my original challenge here.

And so to my pick for March.

Gino's Italian Escape was a Christmas present. I haven't made anything out of it yet so there should be plenty of choice.

If you want to see what the other participants have been making you can see the links on Penny's blog. More information about the Challenge can be seen here.

To end, a bonus image. There was a pandoro lurking in the cupboard so I made French toast with it for Valentine's. The slices made a lovely star shape, perfect for decorating with heart-shaped starberries :)

Hope you're enjoying a lovely weekend. It's absolutely chucking it down here so I'll be catching up with housework and crafting. x