Two weeks, two days …. celebrate!!

by Helen on June 11, 2014

And what nicer way to celebrate than by scoffing cake!?!  This project will be in the July issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine – and will also be decorating Rosie’s cake table – in two weeks and two days time!



It rained on my party…..

by Helen on July 30, 2013

Yes, it rained on my party!  It was sunny the day before, and (mostly) the day afterwards.  Everyone started arriving at about 4 pm, and by 5 pm we’d all retreated indoors.  But …. despite (or maybe because of) the weather, it was a very good party (even though I say so myself!).  I meant to take lots of photos to show, but completely forgot to do so … all I can share is a picture of the buffet table – and even that is covered up to protect it from floating newfie-hair!  But I’ll show you anyway:

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 Possibly one of the least exciting pictures I’ve ever shared!  Much nicer is this shot of the beautifully cheery sunflowers Rosie brought for me .. 


 In a vintage enamel jug in the perfect position on the turn of the stairs.  One of my party guests was my friend Carolyn who is expecting a baby daughter in November.  She lives in Dubai, but is back in England for a few weeks, visiting friends and family.  I’ll be going to visit her there towards the end of the year and want to make a quilt for her baby to take with me.  So while she was here, I asked her to select some fabrics from my stash  as I’d like her to have exactly what she wants and also I don’t want to spend a lot of time making something she won’t like.  Here are her choices ….. 

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 They’re not a selection I would have picked – but they work really well together I think – clearly Carolyn has an eye for colour.  She’d like lots of white too, and a modern pattern with (sob) no embroidered details.  And this is where I need a bit of help please.  I’m not an expert quilter (as you know!) and so I wondered if anyone could suggest a modern cot quilt design that you think would work well with these fabrics?  And that is not too complicated for me to attempt!  Any suggestions would be very gratefully received!  


Garden Party Recipe

by Helen on July 26, 2013

Keep your fingers crossed for me tomorrow please!  I need sunshine, soothing breezes and NO RAIN as tomorrow is the day of my garden party.  For various reasons I haven’t hosted a party for quite some time – too long in fact, so tomorrow I plan to make up for it!

For my parties I like to make food that can be cooked ahead, then served at room temperature, as I’d rather spend time mingling with my guests than stuck  in the kitchen fussing over the catering.  I recently came across a delicious recipe for courgette (aka zucchini) and cheese flan which seemed to fit the bill and so it’s on the menu for tomorrow.  This flan is really easy and is perfect for using up a glut of courgettes – my lovely neighbour Julie very kindly donated some of her surplus for me to make this dish …


  1. 400 g  ready made shortcrust pastry 
  2. Plain flour for dusting
  3. 350 g (2 medium) courgettes
  4. 1 tbsp olive oil
  5. Knob of butter
  6. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  7. 2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  8. Small bunch of fresh thyme
  9. 150 ml double cream
  10. 1 large free-range egg, plus
  11. 2 egg yolks
  12. 130g mature Cheddar, finely grated


Preheat a baking sheet in the oven to 220°C/fan200°C/gas 7. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to line a 20cm x 3.5cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Prick the base all over with a fork and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Line with baking paper and baking beans or rice, then bake for 12 minutes. Remove the paper and beans/rice, reduce the temperature to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4 and return to the oven for 5 minutes. 

Courgette Flan

 Meanwhile, grate the courgettes into a sieve, toss with a little salt and leave over a bowl for 5 minutes. Heat the olive oil and butter in a shallow pan over a low to medium heat, then soften the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Increase the heat, stir in the courgette and thyme and fry for a couple of minutes until just golden. 

Courgette Flan

 In a large jug, mix the cream with the egg, yolks, two-thirds of the grated Cheddar and some black pepper. Spoon the courgette and onion mix over the base of the tart. Pour over the Cheddar and cream mixture, then scatter with the remaining cheese. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes until golden and just set.  

Courgette Flan


My pastry isn’t the neatest (a bit like my patchwork piecing!) but it will still taste good – and I’m sure none of my friends will mind if my edges are a bit untidy!   Now all we need is sunshine …….


Lunch Club Christmas Party

by Helen on December 20, 2012

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before, but I am one of the organisers of our Senior Citizens’ Lunch Club.  We are a team of volunteers who meet every Thursday to serve our members – some of whom are well into their eighties and nineties – a tasty home-cooked meal.  We have some very talented cooks, as well as willing drivers who will bring those unable to make their own way to our village hall, and helpers too who prepare the vegetables, lay and clear the tables and much more as well.  It’s a lovely club and I’ve made lots of friends over the years I’ve been involved.  Although we hold special events throughout the months, the highlight of our year is our Christmas Party when we serve a “proper” Christmas meal to nearly 100 people! 

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 Here’s everyone arriving – doesn’t the hall look lovely!?   I’m afraid I don’t have photos of everyone sitting down to show you as I am the Master (Mistress?) of Ceremonies  and was very busy with my microphone! (Yes, they actually let me loose with a microphone!).  But I did manage to video all our wonderful helpers and cooks when they performed their very own version of “My Favourite Things” – with apologies to Julie Andrews and the cast of The Sound of Music ….. 

Sorry it’s a bit wobbly, but I was holding my phone and trying not to giggle too much!!  We had such a good time – I always feel the Lunch Club Christmas Party with its mixture of young and old, volunteers and the vicar, carol singing, mince pies and music is the true beginning of Christmas for me.