Monday, 10 December 2012

Samosas "Scrooge" style.

 Yesterday I had a bit of a brainwave concerning some mince left over from the previous nights mince and tatties: I would make spicy meat samosas. 
It's quite difficult to get the portion control of our home cooked meals just right these days. For years we've been feeding a family of five with the children rapidly growing into teens and young adults. With their healthy appetites it has been like feeding five adults for some time! With Sam at Uni and Bethany often doing her own thing we now find ourselves faced with leftovers that seem too much to throw out but not enough to make another meal. Now our Labrador, Angel, will always selflessly offer to help out here but we would hate to ruin her girlish figure! Anyhoo, here is what I did with the mince.

These samosas haven't been cooked yet as I intended to freeze them for Christmas. I popped them in the freezer just as they are on the tray then transferred them to a plastic storage box when frozen. Come our "picnicy teas" over Christmas I will remove them let them defrost before deep frying in oil until hot through the middle and golden and crispy on the outside.
My mince mix was fairly basic, made with onions, carrots, mushrooms and peas. To spice it up I finely chopped some fresh chilli, ginger and garlic and fried them for 3 mins. I added some ground cumin and ground coriander and cooked them for a further min before adding the mince and heating through. I seasoned it with salt, pepper and garam masala to taste.

While the mince cooled a little, I made up the samosa dough.
  • 125g (4oz) plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 25g (1oz) butter or marge
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub in until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water and knead to a smooth dough. Cover and chill while the filling cools.
When ready to assemble, divide the dough into eight pieces. Dust your board with flour and roll out each piece into a thin circle, then cut each circle in half.


Fold each half into a cone and brush the seam with water to seal. Fill the cone with a spoonful of filling, dampen the top edge with water and seal.
Either open freeze as I did or deep fry until crisp and golden. This amount of dough was enough for my large adult size portion of mince. You could make all sorts of samosa type snacks with left over bits and bobs. Let me know what you try out.   

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The finished tree.

Thought I'd better show you the finished tree (and snowman advent). I know there are many real v's artificial discussions at this time of year, all I know is-we love our tree! Funnily enough we came across the receipt from when we bought it and were astonished that it was ten years ago this Tree Day! It cost £47.99 reduced from £59.99, bargain!

We have a fab Playmobile Advent calendar too but the boxes for it are too battered to use now. We still put out Santa and his sleigh though!

Tree Day! Bluff and double bluff.

Friday 30th November was, by Hunter family tradition, Tree Day. Since Malcolm and I got together we have put our tree up in readiness for starting our advent calenders on 1st December. On Tree Day nothing is started until everyone is home from work, school or wherever. Even illness has not deterred this special event. This year, however, we had a dilemma; Sam was away at uni! Now, bearing in mind that our kids are now 20, 18 and 13, you would think that this would not really be a problem. Ohh noooo! Many have been the arguments and lamentations particularly from our eldest Bethany.
 "We have to put the tree up on Tree Day!"
"No, we have to wait for Sam to come home."
"But that's not for ages yet!"
What Bethany and Tom didn't realise was that Sam had already arranged to come home on the 30th. Malcolm and I enjoyed winding them up about it at every opportunity, such is our family's way (before you think us too cruel!) Our only problem then was the fact that he wasn't due back until 7 o'clock at night. How could we keep up the act for that long without the other two being genuinely upset? (You can see how important these traditions still are- they obviously thought we were just joking) Imaging the surprise when in walked Sam-onthe 29th November tricking us all!! I've never given him such a massiiiiiive hug for years. Malcolm was out with the dog at the time, there were no takers for "bet you a tenner Dad will cry." High five, Sam!

Our dog, Angel, wonders if she will fit on top of the tree.

Tom fills the Advent calender with chocs.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

My new toy!

On Friday Mum, Bethany and I took the 'biddy bus' to Harrogate for the Knitting and Stitching show. I was uncertain as to whether Bethany would enjoy the experience as she is more into graphic design than needlecraft, but we all had a fab time. Bethy and I both agreed that our fave stand was Favourite Fabrics, we could have bought the whole thing between us! I was hoping to take loads of photos to share with you but it was sooo busy. Many stallholders, naturally, were wary of how I was going to use those photos too, so I decided to feast my own eyes on all the goodies instead of the camera lens. 
One thing I must share with you, however, is my new toy! This is the Sizzix Big Shot die cutting machine that Mum bought me for Christmas from the Cotton Patch stand. I'm not sponsored or paid by anyone for this plug-I just love it! 
She also bought my first die to go with it, I went for this 1/2 square triangle which makes a 2" finished square.

My head is now spinning with ideas for patchwork bags, quilts and hangings! I designed a wall hanging months ago, based around a seaside theme, and it was all triangles-a perfect first project for my new toy. I can't wait to begin and share my journey with you. My husband, Malcolm, can't believe that the Big Shot is still in it's box and not up and running. I'm trying reeeeally hard not to open it up before Christmas though, as I want to have it to look forward to for the holidays. Do you think I'll manage it?

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Amble Gansey

In an earlier post I showed some photos of the gansey my mum, Pat, knitted for me and mentioned our search for an Amble pattern as we now both live there. After much research and squinting over old, fuzzy photos of old, fuzzy fishermen, this was the pattern we devised between us. This gansey was knitted for Malcolm and will be perfect for dog walking in the depths of winter.
The pattern includes depictions of rope, open and closed nets and ladders. It also includes, as a type of border, a hens claw design which seems to be unique to the Amble gansey, Amble folk being keen keepers of hens, often on their allotments.

It's electrifying!

So, how many Hunter's does it take to change a light pull?
Late the other evening Bethany came downstairs with the light pull from our bathroom in her hand. "It just came off!" she wailed, and looked so upset that even we didn't have the heart to laugh. Now if it had been Sam it would have been much funnier, he having been blessed with the Harry Hunter gene. This means that, along with his Granda before him, if anything is to break / fall apart / drop off a shelf it will do so in Sams presence! 
Anyhoo, the next day we were faced with the prospect of replacing said light pull. Now neither of us is particularly handy around the house. D.I.Y. does not float my husband's boat (neither does gardening, but that doesn't stop him - a subject for another post methinks!) Electrics are best left to the professionals in our view. But how difficult could it be? It certainly didn't warrant an expensive call out fee, not to mention the embarrassment of being such D.I.Y. wimps. Sooo..., two very cricked necks later, we Googled it of course! One hour later we had our brand new, free from grubby finger marks, "Look what we did" light pull in place!
And the answer to my original question? 
Two, not because neither of us had a clue but 'coz between us we haven't got a decent pair of eyes these days. A case of the short-sighted leading the short-sighted you could say!!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Yeah, Sam's back!

Sam and his Dad at Bethany's 18th.

Our awesome (his word but he is!) son Sam has been home from Uni for the first time since he started in August. He's been back as far as Newcastle for a 'sesh' with his mates but didn't have time to make it all the way home! Anyhoo, we had been having trouble contacting him for a few days - not too unusual as he's not great at the best of times. It turns out that he was trying to keep his visit a secret so as to surprise us all, but he'd already mentioned coming up this weekend in a previous phone call! While he was trying to avoid letting the cat out of the bag, we were trying to organise bus times and meals!!
Needless to say we spent four days plying him with his favourite home-cooked food. Beef in black bean sauce, tandoori chicken and Sunday dinner complete with roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings. Then two well stocked bacon butties before he caught the bus back to Leeds! We did show him a few cooking basics before he first left and his sister bought him a cookery for students book for his birthday. To Sam, however, life is too short to even shop for a mushroom, never mind stuff it! He's a dab hand at fried egg sarnies and already getting free chips from his local burger bar, so I'm sure he won't starve!  

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Our first ever craft show!

Bethany and I have finally done our first craft fair at The Country Barn where she works. We turned up just before nine to set up and immediately felt really small and unprofessional. We had all been asked to supply our own tables and the only one I had that would fit in my tiny car was a wee picnic table. Also, we didn't want to spend our limited funds on having business cards and such printed, so these were handmade using free gifts from craft mags and cheap card already bought for another project. 

The stool I had taken to sit on was incorporated into the display until I made some space by selling a bag! All in all I think we managed to make an attractive enough display and jotted down many tips and ideas on how to improve. 

Humble beginnings!

Despite feeling a tad unprepared we couldn't have had a better introduction to craft fairing. It was a small venue, only a dozen stalls, but everyone was so friendly and helpful it was a pleasure to be there. We ended up with some new friends and contacts, covered our costs, made a tiny profit (and, oh yeah, I got a stiff neck!) so all in all a good day.
Bethany's Christmas cards (yes it's creeping up on us!) received lots of good feedback, which made the tears and last minute cutting, folding and stuffing all worth while! She will be adding more designs and featuring them all on her Etsy shop as soon as she gets a chance.

I must share with you my favourite stall of the day and the two lovely ladies behind it. We were set up next to each other and they were so friendly and supportive despite our stalls being at opposite ends of the spectrum! Tracey owns the business and has huge support from her sister, Michelle, who is much more than 'the unpaid help'. They had a great rapport with the customers, Michelle encouraging people to pick items up and smell them and Tracey out front explaining the ingredients and how best to use the products. That said, they were never intrusive or overbearing, just enthusiastic about a fantastic range of products. Well done, ladies and best of luck to Tracey when she leaves full time work in December to concentrate fully on the business. I can't wait to see your Christmas gift boxes at the next fair.
Email Tracey at: or Tel: 07983 536402
She also has a website coming soon, I will keep you posted.

The Little Soap Company by the Sea.

Sooooooooo pretty!

And it smells gorgeous too!! 

Monday, 1 October 2012

New adventures.

The Slouchy Hobo.
Sorry if you've been trying to view my blog and it's been dancing about a bit! I've been trying to change it having seen so many lovely ones out there. I'll have to enlist Bethany's help (when she can fit me into her busy schedule, lol), she's just set up her own blog, and it's sooooo pretty. 
Anyhoo, I promised to tell you about our newest adventure. Bethany and I have booked our first ever craft fair appearances at the farm shop and cafe where she works (more info about her dreamy cakes in a later post!). My daughter is a designer,, as well as a cake maker and is currently working on designs for notelets and xmas cards. Can you believe it's getting so close?! I'm going to sell (hopefully!) my fabric bags and other handmade items, it's quite daunting thinking of people judging your goods right in front of you!

A bit of a practice on the bed! Some of the items ready for the stall.

I soooo want to keep this one!

If your in the area and would like to come along were at:
 The Country Barn, Widdrington 
Local Produce Fair
Saturday October 13th
Christmas Shopping Evening
Friday November 9th

Sunday, 30 September 2012


My apologies for not blogging for I while, I promise that I've been busy and not just lazy - although there's been a lot of that too!

Tom at the National Railway Museum, York.
The new school term began which is always chaotic in our household, none of us function well to the bells and whistles of routine. You would think that I'd be used to it being a T.A. and having an ex Teacher for a husband. Our maddest year was when each of our children were at different schools (first, middle and high school) and Malcolm and I worked at two other different schools. Trying to keep up with training days, bad weather closures and uniforms etc. was mind blowing! Anyhoo, we now only have Tom and myself in school now, and he pretty much sorts himself out once I've made sure he's awake! This is his first term at high school and he's loving it. They have to make their GCSE choices a year earlier now which seemed a bit harsh at the time. However it has meant that Tom has been able to go straight into the subjects that he wants to do and is fired up with enthusiasm as a result. Keep up the good work Tom, we're proud of you! 

Sam, by us.
We took Sam down to Leeds to start uni 3 weeks ago and haven't got used to his absence yet. Although most of the time he would be glued to his computer in his room he would always have something funny or profound to say on his way to the kitchen for a snack. Mealtimes are really odd now too. Since the kids were tiny we've always sat down to tea together, focusing on tasty homecooked food and good conversation. Now, with Sam away and Bethany occasionally out, we struggle to know what to cook for Tom, Malcolm and I. It just seems wrong to make one of Sam's beloved chinese meals if he's not here to enjoy it, or to make liver and bacon casserole for three as there would be tons left over (and it doesn't freeze). Needless to say we all wish him well but miss him like mad. 
Sam, by Bethany.
I have, in the midst of all this, managed to make a few things and Bethany and I are looking forward to doing our first craft fair soon, woohoo!! Look out for the next post, I will explain all and show pics.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Mum's gansey knitting revival.

Here are a couple of pics of the fisherman's gansey knitted for me by my talented Mum, Pat, from 5ply gansey wool. Mum, born in Scotland and now living in Amble, has knitted many ganseys for local Amble fishermen in the past, including my cousin who now lives and works in Brixham. This is the first one she has knitted for a while, however, as she is 75, and she enjoyed it so much that she has already started one for Malcolm. 
The deep rose wool used in my gansey is from her stash and she is unsure of its origin (sound familiar?). The pattern is a fairly basic herringbone style but many of her past ganseys had more complex patterned yokes which involved her combining traditional patterns to each fisherman's direction. 
Looking back over her original notes has rekindled both of our interests in gansey making. Mum has quite a few books on the subject, some of which mentioned a traditional Amble pattern and we began piecing together how this would look. Many thanks to Jan at Frangipani ( for her help in sourcing a book confirming our endeavours (watch for pics of Malcolm's gansey, coming soon!) and also for selling us the most beautiful gansey wool!
Obviously I'm not heading out onto the cold North Sea in my gorgeous pink gansey but it at least gives me a reason to look forward to winter!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Previous makes

I haven't got much crafting done today despite being up early to take my daughter, Bethany, to work. My elder son, Sam, had bought some Bermuda shorts on the internet for £2 and they were massive around the waist! I managed to sort them out for him by threading in some extra elastic that I'd recycled from some old trousers. I do love a bit of thriftiness, I'm sure I got a Brownie badge for that! I also had to unpick the top-stitching on the handle of the bag I'm making. I had a bit of a wobble off line 'cos I was hurrying to finish it before clearing up for tea. Does anyone else have this problem? Mine's exacerbated by the fact that I have to share with my model making husband! 
I thought I'd share a few of my previous makes with you. This is one of the first bags that I made, leading to a bit of a bag making obsession! I kept this one for myself and have sold a few to family and friends. The crazy patchwork is made from upholstery fabrics so is very textured and tactile. The random design also makes each bag unique. I can't wait to start on some new designs in lovely autumnal colours

These two cushions were made after pouring through library books on patchwork. I was instantly fascinated by the combinations of colour and shape. One book has a photo of a wall hanging that uses the straight lines of the log cabin design to make a beautifully curved and sensual depiction of sea and sand. My husband, Malcolm, and I recently saw another variation on this theme at our local high school 'A' Level art exhibition. I wish now that I'd taken a photo as it was so inspiring. 

Monday, 6 August 2012

A toe in the water

Hi everyone, thanks for visiting my blog. This is my very first post on my very first blog so I hope you will bear with me. I'm a bit of a Ludite when it comes to technology and rather envious of my 3 teenagers ability to understand it all as if by osmosis. Still you're never to old to learn so I've finally dipped my toe in the water. Please let me know how I am doing, I still have a long way to go!

I decided to start a blog because I have recently set up an Etsy shop to sell my handmade goods-hence the name. When I say recently, I actually set it up at the beginning of March, but have only now got some items ready to sell. I'm not the most prolific of crafters, between part time work as a Teaching Assistant and full time 'work' as a wife and mum. I have also been lucky enough to sell a few items direct to friends and colleagues which has kept them off the site. All being well though I should have more goodies to add soon.
Here are my current offerings, any feedback would be greatly appreciated.