Saturday, 17 October 2009

a country mouse crochets up a storm

Country Mouse's crochet hook was smokin' last night. The postie finally brought my wool and I was able to crack on with this baby bottle holder for my nephew's birthday. I had to get it done as I'm seeing him today, so I went like the clappers and finished it at five past midnight this morning. Hook, hook, hook, sizzle, hiss.Here's the final result. The book is I Love Crochet by Rachel Henderson and Sarah Hazell. It has lots of easy projects but I can't share them with you yet as I have very ambitious plans to make some as Christmas presents and some of the recipients read this blog. The wool came from and arrived in a very exciting parcel, in which each ball of wool was individually wrapped in pink tissue paper. An absolute joy to receive. I would not like DH to know quite how much I spent though.
I also made my nephew a fleece hat from a pattern in another great book, Crafty Mama, by Abby Pecoriello. I highly recommend this book for quick presents as none of the projects require needle and thread, just a hot glue gun and some decent scissors. The wee red baby-wipe box below is an idea adapted from Crafty Mama. There is a pattern in the book for a baby-wipe box covered in funky fabric, which looked great but was footery to make and wasn't terribly durable. This version, with puffy stickers, might last a bit longer and will look cool in his nappy bag.
And since it is our anniversary today I made DH the sort of boy food he likes for dinner last night: chicken and ham pie and apple and blackberry crumble with ice cream. Good old Fay had a recipe for both. I padded the chicken pie out with extra leeks because I use organic/free range chicken, which costs a bomb for not very much.
I use ready made pastry for everything and wouldn't know where to start to make my own. So, for my version of Fay's recipe, you need a pack of ready-rolled shortcrust pastry, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 leeks finely chopped, 2 organic chicken breasts chopped to bite size pieces, 1 organic chicken stock cube, slices of prosciutto ham torn into strips, handful of shredded basil leaves, 8 tbsps double cream, 1 beaten egg. Oven 200deg (fan). Sweat leeks for 5 mins in oil, add chicken and brown for further 5 mins then pour into oven dish. Add the ham, basil and pepper then pour over the cream plus 4 tbsps of the stock. Pop on the pastry lid, brush with egg then bake at 200deg for 20 mins then turn down to 180 next 20 mins. Fay's version involved a loose bottomed cake tin and a pastry base as well as a pastry top but that looked like a lot of faff for a country mouse.

The crumble recipe turned out great and this time I even remembered to add the sugar to the crumble mixture. I used 6 small gala apples and 2 punnets of blackberries. Peel, core and slice the apples and put with washed blackberries into pan with lid along with a splash of water and cook gently for about 5 mins till softened. Pour into dish and put crumble mixture on top. Fay's crumble mixture is 120g wholemeal or spelt flour, 40g light brown sugar, 30g ground almonds and 100g butter, cubed. Bake for 40 mins at 180deg (fan). She suggests only scattering extra sugar on one half of the crumble topping so any children who eat it don't suffer too much in the way of dental trauma but Little R would never stand for that. She scoffed every scrap and says she wants it for dinner - not pudding - every night from now on.


  1. Happy Anniversary!
    Your gifts will be highly appreciated I think.

  2. Ahhh it's a baby bottle holder!

    Very impressed with your crochet!