Monday, 14 February 2011

With Love ... Happy Valentines Day

I made this just for you ...

Well actually I made this one for Ian, Alice, Ja Young, Sam, Sylvia, Andrew, Louise (especially Louise), Amelia and Grady yesterday -  an early Valentine's lunch.
You still have time to rustle one up today for the person/people you love.

Pavlova has to be the easiest dessert to make with a bit of a 'Wow" factor.
For this size (10 people)

  • 5 egg whites (room temperature)
  • 10 oz (280gm) white sugar (caster or granulated)
  • 400 ml (2 cups)  whipping/double cream
  • Strawberries
  • Set oven to 125C

  1. Whisk the egg whites till they form stiff peaks in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the sugar 2 Tbsp at a time and whisk well after each addition.
  3. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and grease lightly with flavourless oil.
  4. Spoon the meringue mixture onto the sheet and shape into a heart.
  5. Take a thin skewer and twirl the edges to makes little peaks (looks good)
  1. Put in the oven - lower than middle shelf and cook for 1 hour @ 125C. Then turn off the oven and leave meringue in there for at least 2  more hours or even better overnight. This will just let it dry more without browning.
  2.  Take the meringue out, find a big plate and add whipped cream and strawberries and present it to the ones you love.

To make a smaller one just use 3 egg whites and 6 oz (170gm) of sugar.

♥ Hope your day is filled with hearts

Monday, 7 February 2011

Skating on chairs ...

One of the less widely known attractions of Beijing in winter time is the long forgotten Olympic sport of skating on chairs.
Here are a few scenes from yesterday's action on the ice at Hou Hai, a frozen lake not far from the Forbidden City.
 All ages can indulge in this gentle sport, needing nothing more than a couple of seats fixed on long skates -- with a couple of over sized kebab sticks to provide forward motion.
 This is a battery operated version for the younger skaters - the 'cat' walks round to the tune of 'Jingle Bells' sung in Chinese.
Everywhere you look there are different modes of ice transport :- bikes with skates, rickshaws with skates, chairs with skates and even regular people with skates.
Here we are, stopping to catch our breath!! (In the background you see the ancient Drum Tower and Bell Tower)
It was so much fun, we may just go back again today!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Valentine inspiration

Images: Olive and Cocoa
A few ways to say I love you, all found on a new favourite online shop.

Rose box - just the right colours and size!
Pink martinis - the glass has a subtle tint to make a Martini or Cosmo taste even better.
Let's go to Paris! - now all you need are two air tickets.
Love birds coir mat - a lovely reminder every time you cross your threshold.

Do feel free to forward this post to any person needing an inspiring nudge before Feb 14.
Mine has his - I'll let you know if it worked Feb 14.

Found via the always inspiring hip hostess

Friday, 4 February 2011

How big is your heart?

Do you want to make a grand gesture for your valentine this year?

How about making the biggest cross stitch heart ever, to show how much you care.

I like the idea of sewing these big red stitches on a soft linen or maybe a beautiful silk...
It could be a single piece of fabric or layer it and turn it into a quilt to get cosy under.
Either way we'd better get started now - only a few days left!
Image: Alison Conklin
Love to hear your ideas.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

A New Passion for the New Year!

My Emotional Heartland

Did you like the quilts with words that I wrote about last month?

This week I tried writing with stitches ...

welcoming friends
Home is our 

Just some words that I had saved from an Elle Deco magazine last year, that encapsulate my hopes.

~ 3 layers : cotton, batting, cotton
~ Stitched a few rectangles and triangles - to look like houses
~ Left edges unfinished
~ Marked out the words in pencil
~ White stitching on grey cotton for an understated effect
~ Added a red heart
~ Finished the edges with black binding
~ Freehand quilting the words was easier than I expected. Just try it out on a test piece first!

What words you would choose to write on a quilt?

Hoppy New Year! It's the Year of the Rabbit

Today is the first day of the Year of the Rabbit...
Image: Ingrid in Beijing

With paper cut rabbits fastened to front and back doors, I want to be sure that the Rabbit knows he is welcome and remembered here! Sitting in Beijing with firecrackers sounding off all around me as Beijing welcomes in the year of the Rabbit.

If you want to embrace a little of the New Year spirit today, why not cook a nice dish with noodles or spaghetti  - the long noodles represent the wish for long life (so don't go breaking it in half!)
Set your table with chopsticks, use lots of red as this symbolises happiness and be sure to have a bunny or two. Oranges and especially mandarins are considered doubly lucky - the orange colour and round shape. These chinese mandarins are just the sweetest, juiciest fruit around, no problem feasting on them.

Have a wonderful day wherever you are in the world 
and I hope the Rabbit year will be full of good fortune for you and your family.

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