Onions and paper are the most basic ingredients of my wife Jane's two main pastimes - cooking and crafting. For some years now she has written a blog called the Competition Grapevine Blog, tied in to her business, which is about entering (and winning) competitions. [Did I mention that she has just won us a 12-day cruise down the River Danube from Vienna to the Black Sea?]. Recently she has branched out with a new blog about some of her other interests, and she has called it Onions and Paper.
I think there can be few households in Britain in which such good food is cooked as consistently often as ours! For us food is a hobby, not a duty. We love shopping for food; preparing food; cooking food; eating food; reading about food, and even sometimes writing about food. We fervently believe that the best food is that made from First Principles - i.e. from basic raw materials - with a knowledge of one's ingredients and an active part in deciding which ones / how many to use. None of that Ready Meals malarkey for us! Jane applies the same principles to her crafting hobby: assembling the ready-prepared pieces from a commercial kit is not much of a challenge, but going back to basics with paper and glue is far more rewarding - and more full of opportunities to exercise one's own individual artistic talents. This is why I want you to be aware of Jane's new blog.
Actually I can see this blog being a bit of a joint effort: although Jane does most of the cooking, I do also contribute from time to time, and I am also the chief food-stylist and photographer! I leave the crafting to her though, just as she leaves the gardening to me. Here's a "taster" for you, showing the sort of thing the new blog will cover.
Earlier last week our second granddaughter, Holly, was born, so Jane set-to immediately to make a New Baby card for her parents. She couldn't do this in advance because none of us knew the gender of the baby - and of course this has a big influence on the style of the card! Here is what she made:
The same day, because we were a bit short of time and she wanted to do something simple, Jane produced this amazing pizza for our dinner:
The base was naturally "made from first principles" though with the aid of our bread-making machine. The topping is chopped tomato macerated in balsamic vinegar, with mushrooms and mozzarella and after cooking we added shaved Parmesan cheese and fresh Rocket from the garden.
Here's another everyday meal - the sort of thing we eat on a typical weekday evening, so therefore the type of thing that Jane's new blog is likely to feature quite often. This one is a bacon and leek quiche:
My tasks were to photograph it; prepare a salad garnish (homegrown lettuce, shop-bought tomatoes with chives from the garden); and of course eat it. Mission accomplished!
I think it would be accurate to state that every piece of craftwork that Jane makes is completely unique. A large proportion of her output is in the form of cards. Cards for every occasion: sometimes made for a specific occasion or intended recipient, and sometimes just to keep in stock. For instance she usually starts making Christmas cards in about July each year, so that by December time she has a good quantity made and ready to go.
By the way, you must also expect to see on all of our blogs a few family-related things from time to time, simply because family matters make up a fair proportion of all of our lives, and both Jane and I see it as our duty and privilege to pass on to our grandchildren (as to their parents before them) as much as possible of our love for what we consider to be important. Jane says this is "The 3 Cs" - cooking, crafting and competitions, but I'm busy trying to find a synonym for gardening that begins with "C"...
|Our daughter Emma with her children, Lara and Holly. Check out the Big Sister grin!|
P.S. Many thanks to all those who offered their commiserations concerning the Tomato situation. None of the plants have actually died, so that's hopeful. On the other hand the weather has been so determinedly cold again today that the plants have remained confined indoors once more. :-(