Month: October 2017

Elephants, bananas and mud!

Elephants, bananas and mud!

I am finally sitting down for five minutes to collect my thoughts and write some posts. Its been a bit of a whistle stop and hectic trip so far but all very good. This week I was able to tick something of my bucket list…

Drawing Elephants

Drawing Elephants

I have been without much internet for a couple of days so haven’t been able to do any posts. So in lieu of a proper full post here are a few drawings of the elephants I met, please say hello to Anna, Natalie Mali and…

Buddha’s in Bangkok

Buddha’s in Bangkok

So no prizes for guessing I’m in Bangkok! My head is still spinning from the journey and heat/humidity and general business of this city. It is a year since the ninth King of Thailand died and there are hundreds of thousands of extra people here (Bangkok is already made up of ten million people!) for anniversary ceremonies and events. Because of this happening the Kings Palace is shut for a month so I went to explore Wat Pho temple which is near by.

It is an amazing collection of buildings and structures highly mosaiced, painted and gold leafed. It’s like a total rabbit warren of paths around the buildings with little green areas with waterfalls and bonze trees. There are some shaded areas where the architecture is designed to help you to be cooler in the heat of the day.

There are Buddhas everywhere. all sorts of poses all sorts of materials all sorts of sizes.

The main attraction here is the reclining Buddha. It is 46 meters long and 15 meters high it is enormous! It is very hard to get across the vastness of this sculpture in a picture. Just think a huge hall filled with a buddha.

This Temple has the most wonderful paintings on the walls down either side of the Buddha. Every surface is covered and sumptuous.  It is clear that some of the paintings are older than others some have been restored and are brighter. I prefer the older peeling ones mostly they give a sense of history and of the story of the place.

A busy but rewarding and inspiring visit. It will be interesting to see where these new experiences lead me…

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Inktober challenge

Inktober challenge

It’s Inktober time again which means an ink drawing a day for the whole of October. To be honest its not really a difficulty its more of a pleasure. I was a little late starting as I had a nasty bug for the first couple…

Cathedrals and gin in Ely

Cathedrals and gin in Ely

Last weekend I spent a few days in Ely, Cambridgeshire. Ely is the fifth smallest city in England and as it is officially a city it means it has a cathedral. Being the fens the area is quite flat, especially compared to Sheffield where I…

HOW TO PRESERVE YOUR WINDFALLS (OR SOMEONE ELSE’S) PART TWO – spicy

HOW TO PRESERVE YOUR WINDFALLS (OR SOMEONE ELSE’S) PART TWO – spicy

I hope you still have some apples left as this recipe is a cracker especially if you like spicy food. It comes from my preserving bible mentioned in the previous post but with a couple of added tweaks. The recipe is a relish rather than a chutney so kind of has a liquid vinegary base with lots of tasty things in it.

 

First of all prepare 2lb 8oz or there about of eating apples cored and chopped small. place them in some cold water with a dash of lemon juice to stop them going brown until you are ready for them.

 

You will need 1 3/4 pints of cider vinegar. Place half of this into a pan adding the drained and dried apples and bring to the boil. Boil until the apples have softened. While they are boiling prepare the rest of your ingredients…

 

Chop 6oz of chilli’s finely (don’t be afraid of them it is a spicy relish but not unbearable!) Also ALWAYS remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling chillis!

 

Chop finely (or grate) half a large head of garlic and a large piece of root ginger. Measure out 3oz of mustard seeds and crush them up a bit to release the flavour.

 

I added some cumin a good amount (about 2 dessert spoonfull’s) toasted and then crushed for maximum flavour. Finally chop roughly 6oz of seedless raisins. Put all the spices into a large bowl and mix really well together.

 

All this time keep an eye on your boiling apples as they shouldn’t take too long. When they are done drain them (saving the liquid) and add the apples to the spices with the salt and stir really well.

 

 

Mix 12oz of soft brown sugar with 1 pint of cold water and bring to the boil. Continue boiling to make a runny syrup. Add the syrup and both lots of vinegar to the apple and spice mix and stir really well.

 

Now you are ready to bottle! Make sure your jars are clean and sterile fill up and add the lid. Although not quite to the top its not a good idea for the vinegar to touch the metal lids as it can corrode them otherwise use a kilner jar with a glass lid and rubber seal. They need to sit for two to three months for all the flavours to amalgamate and become extra tasty. It is beautiful with cheese or meat, to be honest a little bit on the side will spice up any meal! When they are ready decorate as you see fit and hey presto some wonderful Christmas gifts.

 

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