Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Make Bake Sew Grow

{ Make }

Teacher gifts. It's that time of year. 


I thought that once I went back to work I'd stop the handmade gift thing, but it turns out I do it because I like it, and people really do appreciate something handmade, and that makes me feel good.

So we have good old crocheted washcloths, from a very good pattern by Kate of Just Pootling via here. I'm not one for frilly edging as a rule, but I really liked the way this turned out.


Marmalade was also put to good use as gifts, jazzed up with pretty labels and fabric toppers. Nice packaging will get you everywhere. 


{ Bake }

A batch of apricot and nut biscotti, also for those lucky teachers. (We have a lot of teachers, two per class, plus teaching assistants.) 


These are from the excellent Popina Book of Baking by Isidora Popovic. I've written about this gem of a book before, when I made these biscuits (I'd almost go so far as to say the book is worth buying for that recipe alone) and these parmesan crackers. You can find an online version of the biscotti recipe here; you'll see that it should also contain figs but I didn't have any so doubled the quantity of apricots. Anyway, an easy and practical gift for teachers or otherwise, as biscotti keep really well for much longer than normal biscuits or cookies. 


Something else I've tried recently was courgette fritters, also known as zucchini pancakes depending on where you live. 


I kept the recipe simple (pancake batter plus courgettes, similar to this recipe) and they were light as a feather and very fluffy, but maybe just a teeny bit bland. They need a lot of seasoning, and might benefit from some onion or spice in the batter. They were very good with a poached egg on top but would've been better with some crispy bacon too. But I'd really like to make them again so if anyone has any good recipes or tips that would be much appreciated.


{ Sew }

One ironing board cover, sewn on a whim in an hour, without any measuring or precision. I just got so sick of looking at my stained, scorched, frayed old one that one rainy Sunday afternoon I I pulled it off the ironing board, drew around it, cut it out, hemmed it, and pulled some elasitc through. It's not Great British Sewing Bee material, but that new (old) floral pattern makes me like doing the ironing a whole lot more.


{ Grow }

Redcurrants!



Yes, that's right, we have some actual homegrown produce going on in the back garden right now! 


Now, I don't know that I particularly like redcurrants, or that I know what to do with them, but I'm not going to let stop me. They're now bagged up in the freezer (all 125 grams of them) and I think they will eventually be used in a summer pudding.


*

One more day to go, one more day to go! Nearly there, nearly on holiday time... I'm so glad I started this Make, Bake, Sew, Grow thing as it's kept me blogging in a time of change and upheaval and for that I am grateful.

*

{ Make } Something for my home.

 { Bake } Something from the kitchen.

{ Sew } Something crafty.

{ Grow } Something in my garden

51 comments:

  1. Those redcurrants are so pretty, like jewels. I love your ironing board cover. I'm very glad to see that you're still getting use out of that duvet cover. You're a girl after my own heart. I looove zucchini fritters, by the way. That was the first of Ina Garten's recipes I ever tried and it got me hooked on her cookbooks. Now I want to be her when I grow up. :)

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  2. You have inspired me to get the Popina book....( a bit of an impulse purchase but for a bit over £3 including delivery..... I see it as a bargain.... :-) ....)
    Love the ironing board cover! Great idea!!
    Am really enjoying these series of make, bake, sew, grow posts. Have a well deserved holiday, Gillian, Pati x

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  3. Nearly there! Well done you. Love the ironing board cover. You could sell those for a small fortune, me thinks. I've been meaning to make courgette fritters too. Got a recipe in new cook book - Five O'Clock Apron. Will report back if it turns out. Other things I've tried from the book have been v good x

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  4. I am so jealous of your pretty ironing board cover - I need a new one, too, but can't be bothered to make one myself... I'm a buyer, not a maker, I'm afraid...
    Red currants are very versatile. They are nice to top off a summery salad, with goat cheese and rucola or other leafy stuff. And in Germany, especially here in Swabia where I am from, we love redcurrant cake. For us, that's the epitome of summer.

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    1. I love the idea of redcurrants in a salad, or in a cake. Thank you for those ideas. x

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  5. I'm making a note of courgette fritters, ready for the inevitable glut. Love the ironing board cover, it's so pretty. And well done on all of those homemade teacher gifts, you are no doubt legendary in the staff room. Enjoy the last day of term and that enormous summer feeling that always happens at the end of it all. Wheeeee! CJ xx

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  6. These courgette and carrot fritters are delicious :) http://pinterest.com/pin/284430532693092956/
    Not sure I've posted before. But love your blog. :)

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    1. Thank you for that link, I'll have a look at those. And thank you for the lovely compliment!

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  7. Good idea to make ironing more interesting (well, let's just say less dull ;-)), put a pretty cover over the ironing board !! What a pretty fabric !
    I also still like to make gifts - (most) people appreciate it, they realize you have sacrificed not only money but also your time ! I like those washcloths, I have never crocheted washcloths myself - what kind of yarn do you use for it ? Doesn't such a washcloth get very heavy when wet (compared to the ordinary version made from terry cloth) ?

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    1. I just use DK cotton yarn, the kind you can buy everywhere. I'd never really noticed the weight when wet but thinking about it no, it doesn't get at all heavy when wet, in fact they're surprisingly light. A wet terry flannel is probably much heaver. x

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  8. hurray for the start of the hols xxx I so love your make, bake, sew, grow series xxx

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  9. Very impressed by all the gifts, lucky staff! The pancakes look great, you could presumably vary the veg to get more flavour, though now I'm stumped for which one! Xx

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  10. Admiring your pretty currents, I realize I know nothing about currents...a subject to investigate. I have grated zucchini and potato and fried them like pancakes in a bit of oil until crisp, then seasoned with salt and pepper...not very fancy, but our family enjoyed the combination. I am very impressed you were able to make such lovely teacher gifts while getting used to your new work routine Bravo! My little ironing board is hidden from sight so I don't have to look at the scorch marks on its cover or think about ironing; however, your pretty ironing board cover is a cheery work of art and an inspiration for ironing. I should follow your good example, but am apt to just admire it. :) xx

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  11. You are good, I don't think I've ever made a teacher gift in my life. The pancake fritters sound interesting though I quite fancy giving them a go. Not sure what would make them a little tastier though...

    S x

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  12. Your teachers gifts look marvelous and redcurrants are beautiful. I usually turn redcurrants into jam or use them for cakes and muffins. About the fritters, I make them the same way, but season the batter with salt and pepper and add very small amount (less than half of demitasse spoon) of baking powder. Fritters go well with the yogurt sauce - plain yogurt, tbsp pr two of sour cream and tsp of mayo. It is my eldest favourite summer food!

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    1. I like the sound of that yogurt sauce, maybe with some mint stirred in too. Thank you! x

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  13. Love your ironing board cover :) My son was laughing at my holey old one the other day - need to get into my stash for a big enough piece of fabric!! (No he didn't offer to do the ironing, lol)

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  14. You've made some lovely gifts, i'm sure the teachers will love them. You inspired me a while a go to make my own wash clothes but i've not used them because I just think they're too nice to spoil. They do look nice in the drawer though. My mum always used to make her ironing board covers, yours looks really pretty!

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  15. Lovely Gillian and well done still making gifts whilst working. I think I saw a zucchini fritter recipe this morning whilst cleaning up some old bits of paper. I'll look it out and email it to you. I must admit to loving my "owl" ironing board cover (with which hubby helped me cover the board), much nicer to have something pretty when needs must. I've never tasted a redcurrant, but please let us know what you do with them eventually. Take care.

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  16. I have just copied all your links on to my Pinterest boards. The fritters are a great idea. I have a glut of yellow courgettes in the garden and this recipe may fool my children into eating veg! (I purposely grew yellow ones as they point blank refuse to eat anything green, except sweets....funny that?!).
    I also agree that homemade gifts are the best - I enjoy making them, and I enjoy receiving them, someone has put thought into that gift. Well done x

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  17. Everything looks so pretty Gillian. I used to have the Popina book, I have no idea where it is justnow,time for another rummage on my overstuffed bookshelves! X

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  18. Hey Gillian,
    I like a homemade gift too. I have three bags ready to give out this afternoon with jam and scones, and I shall pick three big bunches of sweet peas from the garden too. Your washcloths are fabulous. I use the one you gave me everyday. Here's to happy holidays!
    Leanne xx

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  19. Top marks Gillian – thoughtful, useful and beautiful presents. Those teachers are very lucky to have you! Echoing all the other comments, your Make, Bake, Sew, Grow posts are very good indeed. Have an extremely wonderful summer holiday. Sam x

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  20. Such lovely gifts Gillian - and such lucky recipients ! Have a good week, Kate xx

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    1. Thank you for the great pattern Kate. x

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  21. Home made gifts are the best gifts to receive I think, more thought to them. Sadly my red currants are still hanging on the bush, I've yet to harvest them but when I do they will be mixed with other berries to make a summer cordial. I like courgette fritters too but I add a smidgen of garlic & some small cubes of feta for a little hint of saltiness x

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    1. Mmm, garlic and feta, I like the sound of both of those. Thank you. x

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  22. I love Biscotti and my copy of the book is now ordered, just over £3 for a brand new copy including postage is a great bargain. I am going to try some courgette fritters tonight, my first attempt will be to steam them till soft then mash and beat in an egg or two with lots of seasoning, then just fry dollops. I am hoping they will work and so be gluten free. I think that I may have to pop over and look at the crochet pattern, it will be perfect for slobbing in front of the telly.

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  23. What lucky teachers. And thank you for sharing the biscotti recipe.

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  24. You really have been busy even with the new job. The teacher pressies look great! I like the idea of courgette fritters, definitely one to try. Enjoy the hols !! :-)

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  25. Gillian your life mirrors mine! Just finished picking the redcurrants, always on the lookout for courgette glut recipes, and I made an impromptu ironing board cover 2 weeks ago but didn't blog it because I didn't know what to say about it but I too just drew round the old one and guessed a bit!! happy holidays...soon. Jo x

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  26. a lovely post and that ironing board cover is so cheerful!

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  27. Your teacher gifts look amazing - such lovely ideas and packaged so beautifully too. I'm sure they'll love them.
    Hope you all have a wonderful summer! xx

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  28. Such a wonderful, bright and yummy post today. Love those washcloths.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  29. How wonderful to be able to pick your own currants! I love the pyrex bowl too! xx

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  30. They are beautiful teacher gifts Gillian. They must have been delighted. I can totally see how you would enjoy ironing on your pretty new cover. I've made courgette fritters with feta cheese mixed in. Mine were less like pancakes and more like patties for want of a better description. They were good but definitely not as aesthetically p!easing as your pancakes. Definitely more lumpy and bumpy! ;) Enjoy the holidays, Bee xx

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    1. I like the sound of that, I think the saltiness of the feta would work really well. Thank you Bee. xx

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  31. Lucky, lucky teachers - I love the crocheted washcloths; so pretty. Your courgette fritters look lovely too - I've also made courgette, feta and mint fritters - I think they may be a Delia and perhaps have a bit of potato in too; they're certainly more potato cake looking than pancake. Gorgeous ironing board cover - mine could also do with a bit of a makeover! xx

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    1. Definitely think feta would be an excellent addition, I'm going to try it! x

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  32. Your makings are brilliant!
    Pancakes; chives or spring onions and a dash of chilli, if you like it. Yum! (Although I make these without batter, just binding the courgette with egg.

    Red currants; An adult pudding; Red currants, almost the same amount in weight sugar and a dash of alcohol of your choice (vodka, rum, brandy...) Let seep overnight, eat cold from fridge.

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    1. Thank you, they both sound delicious.

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  33. I love all the things you've made and I'm sure the teachers will too. I think hand made presents are so nice to receive. We get some redcurrants in our garden though not an awful lot - I just mix with other fruit in a summer pudding. I would never have thought of making a new cover for the ironing board. This is now on my list of things to do as I have plenty of fabric that I could use.

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  34. Your hand made, homemade, home baked presents are lovely. I'm sure all the teachers will love them. Schools here finished last Friday. I made bags for my daughter's teachers and really enjoyed making them. I'm already wondering I'lll be making next year :-) The red currants will be very good in summer pudding. We made summer pudding a few days ago and I find it's really nice with (Longley Farm) double cream. Enjoy the holidays. It's nearly there! X

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  35. I felt hungry after reading this post. You can make a redcurrent equivalent of sloe gin, should you need an aprescourgette pancake tipple

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  36. Love your ironing board cover! I need to do the same for mine. My all-time favorite zucchini fritter recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. They're amazing. We've just returned from camping and discovered some very large zucchinis in our garden. Now I know what I'll use them for tonight!

    http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2011/08/zucchini-fritters/

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  37. hello gillian,
    just beautiful.......your handmade-homemade gift are sooooooooooooooooooooo beautiful.i am sure all the teachers will love them.the zucchini-fritters looks and sound good to me. i have made with my redcurrants jelly.also can you made a likör.
    have a nice week,
    regina

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  38. I'm sure the teachers were very appreciative of all of their gifts. The biscotti looked lovely, I agree good packaging makes such a difference.
    Lisa x

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  39. What lovely gifts for your children's teachers hope they were well received ;). I love making courgette fritters I make two types one with feta, mint and potato which are a bit faffy but tasty, think they were a Delia recipe. The other with mozarella and parmesan which is really easy, recipe here.

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  40. Lovely post Gillian. I adore your new ironing board cover.
    Marianne x

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  41. I love courgette fritters with a bit of blue cheese crumbled in and some crispy bacon on top. It's one of the few ways that I persuade my son that courgettes are actually food!! Hope the teachers liked their gifts! I'm afraid that this year's teacher didn't rate a handmade gift from me--maybe next year's will be luckier ;)

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