Pasta is fun to make and, if you have a pasta rolling machine, easy. If you don’t then you’d better make sure your an expert with a rolling pin and have a good dose of patience. Here are the ingredients for a very simple egg pasta. I’ve use it to make noodles here but it’s the same recipe if you want to make lasagne, spaghetti, tagiatelle or any of the hand-shaped pastas (if you have the inclination and time). 300g pasta flour (ideally pasta flour but plain flour will do if you don’t have any to hand) 3 eggs 3 tablespoons olive oil pinch of salt. I was making enough only for the two of us so the quantities in my pictures have been pared down to two thirds. Whack this into your mixer or thrash by hand until it clumps together and then form it into a ball. It sometimes takes a while to come together and if it really doesn’t want to stick, you can try adding a splash more oil. Once you’ve achieved a ball, let it sit for 20-30 mins. Then divi it up into four sections and roll out fairly thinly. (I know the dough looks unfeasibly yellow in the photos but that’s because these are my own eggs – well my hens’ eggs – and the yolks are really bright compared to shop bought ones. That’s because they get to eat a lot of grass while they free-range.) Anyway, pop it through the pasta machine at its thickest setting a few times until it comes through smooth with no air pockets or crimply bits. You might need to fold it a few times while you do this which I generally do in thirds. When it’s smooth, you can trim it with a knife to give nice neat edges and pass it through the pasta machine again, this time on progressively smaller settings until it’s the thickness you need for the type of pasta you’re making. In this case, from setting 0 (the widest) through 1, 2, 3 and finally 4. I normally pop it through twice on each setting before swapping to the next. I don’t know if that’s really necessary but it’s certainly therapeutic. Finally, swap the roller for the noodle/spaghetti cutter (or if you’re doing it by hand, take a deep breath, flour the sheets really well, roll them up, pray they don’t stick and then attempt to cut into strips). You’ll need to hang the noodles up to dry a bit before you cook them or they’ll stick together in the pan. I have pasta stand now but I used to use a wire coat hanger. Works just the same. If you’re going to cook them the same day it will only take two to three minutes in a large pan of fast boiling salted water. If you plan to dry them to use later in the week, you can either transfer them to a long thin pasta jar once fully dried or tangle them into baskets. I keep the inevitable little broken or short bits in a jar for popping into soups. Dried pasta will take 8-10 mins to cook depending whether you like if al-dente or soft. I would say, however, if you do want to dry them, you’ll find it better to use proper pasta flour as the pasta dries harder and won’t snap as easily. I used these noodles with a few prawns, some mustard and sesame seeds, onions, ginger, garlic, chilli and coriander for a very simple supper dish for the two of us.
This seems like a bit of an obvious requirement for someone who likes a bit of sewing and yet it’s something I simply haven’t got round to making. I think the last time I made one was in Home Economics at school some….ooh, too many years to count….ago.
I finally became fed up of scratching around in those plastic casings that needles come in (or worse, losing them in the pin cushion and never to be seen again but often ‘felt’. Ouch!)
So I finally got round to it and here’s my little needle case.
It’s very simple. Just a piece of scrap fabric or two, a few bits of quilting wadding, a couple of bits of cardboard and a recycled ribbon of unknown origin.
I found the centre point of he fabric and marked out where the spine and needle pad need to be positioned.
Highly technical stuff this!
I then cut out the large oblong where the needle pad needed to poke through leaving probably quarter of an inch allowance and cutting diagonally into the corners so I could fold it back on itself as a kind of hem. I then sewed round the outside of the case, leaving a gap sufficiently big to turn it inside-out and to get the wadding in.
I pushed some wadding into one side and then packed a couple of bit of wadding on top of the cardboard backing for the needle pad and slotted it in the gap I’d made for it and tucked the raw edges of the hole underneath. In truth, it could probably have done with a little more so I could have used it as a pin cushion too but hey ho. I did the same for the spine. and tacked everything in place so it wouldn’t move when I stitched it up.
Then I decided to do a quick bit of free-motion quilting swirls on the other side for a bit of interest.
If you haven’t tried that yet, give it a go – it’s great fun.
Then it was just a case of sewing up the gap…
and sewing on a piece of ribbon (rather coarsely) to tie it together.
Any that was it – done. Now everything’s neat and tidy which inspired me to sort out my notions box too.
I saw these beautiful blankets on Attic24. It’s a lovely blog which I recommend checking out.
“I really like that. They’re very pretty…. Hmmm. I think I want one.”
I dug out my crochet hook and went off to one of the very few yarn shops in my area and purchased some 100g balls of acrylic yarn, fifteen colours for a bargain price of £27. A few rows later, and it’s begining to take shape. It works very quickly compared to knitting so I’m hoping that a few rows a day will set me well on the road to having a new, hand-made blanket for the bed in the shepherd’s hut.
Here’s how it’s looking so far…
Now, I have to confess to being a bit of a donut. I wound all fifteen colours into small balls to take away on holiday with me feeling very smug at my cleverness, only to find that I’d stupidly wound each ball too short by about 10g! Aaarrgghh!
I ought to have weighed them out properly of course, but I’d eyeballed it, and got it wrong and I could have left it until I got home but I’m afarid once a fad has taken hold, I just can’t let it go. Instead, I dragged the boy out to the nearest big town in search of a wool shop in order to purchase some more.
“Why didn’t I use my small balls to make a matching cushion cover instead and save the blanket to make at home?”.
I'm going to come out and say that I'm not sure I really get the whole recycling thing. Reduce and reuse? Absolutely! But I just can't get my head around how recycling helps the environment.
We've all heard the cries from older folk about how milk used to come in bottles which were collected, washed and reused and how much better that was and we all laugh and nod in agreement. Then some bright spark points out that the energy cost of collecting, washing and sterilizing the bottles for re-use is much greater than using new plastic or cardboard cartons every time.
I just don't see how collecting, sorting, washing, shredding, transporting and then re-processing this stuff into some other product in other country miles and miles away is energy efficient.
We have a daft system in place here. Plastic, aluminium, and paper/cardboard is supposed to be separated into plastic bags (oh the irony) and collected from our doorstep with our household rubbish but they won't collect glass because it's too noisy!? So, we're then expected to deliver our glass items to recycling banks that could be many miles away. Crazy! All those householders driving around delivering their glass whilst great big trucks collect everything else from their driveway. You see why I find it all a bit confusing. However, there are greater powers than me busy calculating the relative costs and savings so I'll just have to trust that overall, it works.
But, for the sake of landfill – which I completely understand – I am happy to dutifully keep my recyclables out of the bin and ready for collection by an independent recycling man who collects and sorts everything for me – including glass – and charges a mere £10 a month. An absolute bargain!
With that little rant over, we get to why I'm posting today. The simplest of things make life easier and I need somewhere to collect my recyclables once I've rinsed them ready to take out to the collection bin at the end of the week.
My kitchen is small so I can't keep the bin tucked away anywhere inside but there is a little space next to the door where I could hang a bag out of the way and so that's what I set about doing.
I found some fabric and oil cloth in my stash – not exactly a beautiful and eye-catching match but somehow buying new wouldn't really be in the spirit of the thing!
I measured my space and drew up my plan… highly technical stuff.
I cut out the outer fabric and oil cloth (to keep the inside clean and free from leaks), re-enforced the button hole area from which I plan to hang it, put the button holes in and then sewed them into rectangular bags. Pretty straight-forward.
Then I squared off the bottoms to increase the capacity of the bottom
Matched the outside and inside, and sewed them together
Husband screwed some hooks into place for me and ta-dah, recycling sub-station complete.
No more running out into the rain.