A life inspired by my grandmothers

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Last Dance on the Beach

As mentioned in my last post I am doing Last Dance on the Beach Afghan with a CAL that is being run by a small group of CAl lovers on Ravelry.  The pattern is still available free from the Scheepyes web site. 

We are about to start week 4 and amazing of all I am up to date!

These are week 3 squares.


The pile is starting to grow


I still haven’t decided on the colour of joining yet, I have a grey in the same wool that might be ok.

This cal has special meaning for me as it commemorates a young designer the late Marinke Slump ( aka : Wink) from and was the final design she was working on at the time of her passing. In accordance with the wishes of Marinke’s family, 12 of her online friends and bloggers have completed her unfinished design to present this beautiful and sensitive CAL in Marinke’s memory and as a tribute to her work.

My first steps from doing granny squares was thanks to Wink and her blog,  These I did in 2014 –


I never finished this afghan as I ran out of cotton, I am thinking perhaps I should make a project bag out of them


These mandalas were published Simply Crochet, I cant remember which issue, they still adorn my bedroom!

You are sorely missed, even from the other side of the world Wink.

See you tomorrow with part 4 of the Lillianna Cal.





Hi, I am revitalizing this site,  it is obvious I am lazy at writing recipes, well I tend to eat them and then remember I need to take photos, lol.

Circumstances have changed for me recently, I am housebound due to a bad accident which involved falling off a ladder while hanging curtains.  I damaged both knees quite badly and am confined to the lazy–boy or crutches for the time being.  I have physio etc usually in the mornings or a home help comes in etc.  But the afternoons and evening are very long.  In the spirit of making a silk purse out of a sows ear I decided to get cracking on all the crochet and art projects I keep putting off because of lack of time.  So Alice and Phylis  is going to be my diary of my progress and hopefully by the time I am on my feet again the blogging habit is ingrained!

I downloaded one afghan  cal from Ravelry that I had an eye on and got sucked into a cal that was previous to that, similar design that would make a pair in my lounge.  Both in cotton from my stash even if one is aran thickness and the other is dk thickness.

I got stuck in and unfortunately I finished the 1st clue with two days and had to wait a week for the next part!  So that’s how the second afghan got started, same again!  So a third cal got started…. yes same again!  So I decided to go with it and have made a time table, a different project a day, it seems that cal parts are usually involving up to 4 hours of work.

Here is my time table

Monday – Lilliana Cal

Tuesday – Atlantis Cal

Wednesday – Mandilla Madness

Thursday – small projects i.e washcloths, toys etc

Friday – Amanzi Cal

Saturday – Off

Sunday – Last Dance Cal

As of today Saturday 21st Oct this is where I am at with the different projects.

The Lilliana Cal –

I have just started Part 4 which was released last night, tut! that’s for Monday, lol.


The Atlantis Cal

I have nearly finished Part 2, here is a photo of it  at the end of Part 1.


Mandala Madness

Have just finished Part 1

Photo to come

Small projects

I have been making toys and washcloths to sell and for charity.

Here is a selection of toys I have made recently.


Amanzi Cal

I only started this yesterday and haven’t finished Part 1 wihic is rather large as it is the central block athat is about 18 inches.  So, I am giving myself 3 weeks for that as it rather complicated  Part 3 came out today , but I see these are somewhat smaller, so I just might catch up.


The Last Dance Cal.

I am following this as a cal on a ravelry group I belong to. We are up to Part three, I have done part 1 and 2 and half way through Part 3,  part 4 starts on Monday.

Week 1


Week 2


There you have it!

I will post every days progress and there I will give out more detailed information about the projects.  What about your art projects, I hear you say, I am posting my progress with them on my art blog Rainbow Splashes every Friday.

See you tomorrow with my last dance cal.



Sweet and Sour Artichoke Salad

ImageI have an abundance of globe artichokes growing in my garden.  I have only ever eaten them by sucking on the ends of the petals(?)with butter.  A yummy experience but very messy.  On Sunday I decided to trawl through my cookbooks and see if I could find some different ways of eating them.  One book was a goldmine, The Italian Cookbook by Gabriella Rossi.  If you want pretty pictures, this book is not for you, but if you want to know about authentic italian cookery, then this is a good cookbook.

ImageI have modified the recipe somewhat, as I did not have any peas but had a lot of asparagus I wanted to use up.  I was a bit uncertain  how asparagus would go with a sweet and sour sauce, but used the logic that asparagus and broad beans go well together, so there was a good chance that it would work. I have to say that the combination was divine, and I would have asparagus in preference to peas any day.  Also the sauce was lovely and I am looking forward to trying it on other salads, cucumber springs to mind.



  • 6 small globe artichokes
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 175 g/6oz/1 cup fresh baby broad beans or shelled frozen beans
  • handfill of asparagus stems or 1 cup of peas
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • fresh mint leaves for garnish
  • For the dressing
  • 120g/4floz of white wine vinegar
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • handfull of mint leaves torn roughly


Peel out leaves of artichoke and discard.  Cut into quarters and take ot choke if there is one (thats the fluffy stuff, although if they are young there should be any.) Place in a bowl of water with the lemon juice.  Heat oil in large pan, add onions and cook till soft and translucent.  Add the drained artichokes to pan.  Pour in about 300ml/114 cups water and cook covered for 10 minutes  Add asparagus cook for 5 more minutes, add beans and peas if using.  Cook another 5 minutes.  Drain and cover and leave to cool.
To make dressing mix the ingredients in small pan, heat gently till sugar dissolves, simmer for 5 mins stirrinng occasionally.  leave to cool. To serve, drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and garnish with fresh mint leaves.


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Celeriac – Ugly But Divine



Dug up some celeriac this morning. This is the first time I’ve succeeded with Celeriac. I have tried three years in a row and failed miserably every time. They either bolted or stayed the size of golf balls. This was their last chance. You never see it for sale in the supermarket yet cheffy TV programmes and cookbooks all extol its virtue. So at long last I can try it. It doesn’t look very appetizing, but they say you never can tell a book by its cover.
I decided to google celeriac and have discovered a great place for recipes. The BBC lifestyle site has recipes from all their cooking shows since whenever.  I found 137 for celeriac! This one was from the Masterchef programmes.
Celeriac and Apple RostiImage

4oz potatoes (pref waxy),
4oz celeriac
2oz apple
2oz butter
2 tbsp oil
salt and pepper

Grate potato and squeeze out juices. Peel celeriac and grate. Peel apple and grate, Mix all together. Heat butter and 1 tbsp oil in fry pan. When sizzling, add the mixture and press down firmly. Season well and keep pressing down so strands form a rosti or pancake. Takes about 10 minutes on medium heat.
Melt remaining butter on top of rosti and turn over and cook other side till well browned. It will keep for 20 minutes on a low heat. Cut into portions and serve.  I tried to make mine too big and it fell apart, ended up looking like hash.  Next time I will use spoonfulls of mixture.

Divine! I had the rosti with some bacon. They went well together. Going to try it as a mash tomorrow with my Pork Chop. They all seem to rave about it as a mash. Another way that I am going to try it is to add some grated to coleslaw. I think it will be yummy that way too, especially with red cabbage. This is a vegetable I will never go without again, so versatile, I even snacked on some raw. Would be nice with sticks of carrots.

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Lemon Shortbread

I love Shortbread, in all its forms.  I started to bake it when  I was about 13 for my father as he loved it so much, then it was plain shortbread, now I have a tendency to add other flavours, such as this one with lemons or sometimes in summer I like to add English lavender flower seeds, or sometimes I like to add ground coffee.


Lemons are very plentiful at the moment and my little lemon tree is groaning with the weight of the fruit so I am finding ways to use them in all my cooking.

Lemon Shortbread


  • 200 gm (7oz)butter,
  • ½ cup(4oz) castor sugar,
  • grated rind of 1 lemon (NB lime is nice too, or a mix.)
  • 2 cups (8oz) plain flour sifted,
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut.


Spring flowers

My spring garden

Beat butter and castor sugar and rind till light, Work in flour and coconut, but not over work!  Roll out to 1cm (¼ inch) thick and cut into shapes of your fancy. 
Bake 20 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius , cool on tray.


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Fritters have always been part of our family’s diet.  When Mum got out the chopping board and the remains of the Sunday Roast we knew it was fritter night.  If there was no roast left it was usually vegetables in the fritters, mostly corn, but on frigal nights probably before pay day, it could have simply been potatoes and parsley.
Yesterday I was out in the garden doing my daily check up, when I noticed that the coriander was starting to go to seed, there was still lots of healthy growth, so I picked a handful and brought it in.  I didn’t fancy a curry, but I suddenly remembered Mum using parsley a lot, why not coriander.  They were delish!

Image Take your favourite fritter batter or follow this one.


  • 125g (4oz) s/r flour or plain flour and add 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg beaten
  • pinch salt
  • milk
  • handful coriander or a mix of parsley and coriander



Put flour salt and egg in bowl and add a bit of milk, beat till smooth and add herbs. Now add more milk till it is dropping consistency, (the amount depends on how much moisture is on the herbs after washing and drying).

Heat some oil or butter in fry pan (I use a mix as Then the temp doesn’t get too hot.  Add tablespoons of batter and fry till bubbles appear.

Flip them over and cook til the bottoms are brown. Place on oven proof plate and put in a low oven to keep warm while you cook the rest.  Makes 10.

Serve with a side salad of choice.
Next time I make these I might add some corn and perhaps a pinch of cumin and coriander powder or just curry powder.  The variations are limitless.


Anyways, a marvellous way to use up a gut of herbs.

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Gugelhopf Kiwi Style


Gugelhopf Cake

This cake is Alice’s version of her German mother-in-law’s recipe.  My great grandmother originally used yeast and sultanas and currants.  Over the years the fruit varied but a favourite variation was prunes or prunes and dried apricots.  Today, Ive used my favourite, prunes and apricots.


  • 3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 3/4 cup chopped pitted prunes
  • cold tea or water
  • 170 grams butter
  • 170 grams sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225 grams flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 125ml runny yoghurt or milk.


Cover the dried fruit with the cold tea or water leave for a few hours. Drain.
Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy, add eggs  and beat till well mixed if it curdles dont worry. Add the flour, salt, baking powder and yoghurt or milk.  Using yoghurt makes the cake moist.  Finally add the drained fruit.
Mix separately 110 grams brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and 1tsp cinnamon.  Place a third of the cake mix in greased 25cm ring tin or Kugelhopf tin,  sprinkle with a third of sugar mix and repeat twice.  Bake  at 170 C for 45 – 60 mins (I find it takes 60 minutes in my Kugelhopf tin) or until a skewer comes out clean.

This cake can be eaten plain or for special ocasions a lemon icing drizzled over it is scrumpious!

Gugelhopf is sometimes called Kugelhopf depends where you are from.  It is originally from the Alsace area but many European countries have a version.  It also can be sweet or savoury. I have made the yeasted version and it is very nice but like a lot of yeast cakes it has to be eaten on the day.  The version above stays moist for quite a while.