Monday, 13 March 2017

Balsamic beef in an Instant pot

Now and again I will come back to this recipe and tweak it to cook in a different way or tweak the flavours.  Over the years I have cooked it in slow cookers, In the oven and even on the stove top. I have never had anyone eat this and not say good things about it.  Definite family favourite.  All starts with a humble piece of beef brisket.  I stabbed it a few times and inserted lots of cloves of garlic into the beef. Seasoned it well and seared it off in the Instant pot.  Any pressure cooker could be used, or even start it in a pot then cook on low for 8 hours in a slow cooker.

Remove the beef and start to cook a few big onions and a bulb of garlic peeled. Keep stirring and when they start to go brown at the edges pour in 2-4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.  It will sizzle lots and will lift off the brown bits on the bottom of the pot if you keep stirring.  When the vinegar has almost evaporated add in a cup or so of beef stock, how much depends on how much gravy you want.

Put the beef back in and set the pot up to pressure cook for 45 minutes. This piece wasn't quite tender enough on one side after that time so I turned it over and gave it another 15 minutes while I cooked the vegetables. 

Came out so lovely, tender and juicy.  The onions , garlic and stock left in the pot were just blitzed with a hand blender and they create a fantastic gravy.  The amount of onions and garlic are what naturally thicken it.

So it may look very rustic and not to appetising but this is one o my favourite meals of all time.
What's yours?

Take care

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Sticky stuff and me

Popped into our local fabric shop one day last week for bias binding and saw these kits in the window and in the shop.  Something I have been thinking about doing for a while has been covering or recovering lampshades. These kits seemed a fun idea. Everything you need to complete a lampshade once you add your fabric. With a new sewing/craft desk I decided to also replace the football themed lampshade in that room to.

What's in the box? you might wonder, been a theme for the week here that question, Looks pretty basic and instructions are easy to follow. But then I realised there was a great long sheet of sticky backed PVC to be stuck onto the fabric.

This is the fabric I chose. It was this or pale pink with kitty faces on it. But I was eventually drawn to the butterflies.

And back to the sticky stuff.  Sorry for lack of working photos.  It was after 10 pm at night and had no one else to help take a photo or two. Sticky stuff and I don't tend to play together well.  I have a condition referred to as kack handedness according to adults when I was a child,  So when I realised I had to evenly stick a LONG piece of sticky backed PVC lining onto my fabric I almost tossed the box out the window after getting myself, fabric and cat almost permanently welded to this stuff.  Luckily a deep breath was just needed and told myself to pull myself together.  After all what did I expect after reading the box.

Then came the fun of covering the metal rings with double sided tape, more icky stickiness, these went a lot more smoothly luckily.  Then I got to evenly roll the sticky rings onto the prepared PVC backed fabric evenly.  The instructions say another person would be helpful here.  My view is it's the kind of joint activity that could end in divorce if the coordination together didn't go well. However I managed it on my own,  If I can do it I think most people can.

This bit of cardboard amused me, it's not exactly sturdy and I did wonder if it was a random offcut.  Turns out it was a great tool that saved me having to utilise my nails to much. the curved edges are used to help smooth and push the fabric around and under the sticky covered rings.  Took a few minutes to work out the most effective way of doing this but it went well, well kind of.

By this point it's almost 11 pm, In between the stages of making this I have sung to music I got distracted by and chatted and did a few bits online.  Was a lovely project to make. I am proud of my creation and will definitely be shopping to see if i can get some more PVC backing for light shades and renovate a few in our home.   

So for now I need to decide what else I can get up to, Possibilities are endless. 

Take care 
Jules x 

Monday, 6 March 2017

Top 10 list

Oh boy has this house been sick lately.  Todays been the first day I have not sounded like Darth Vadar while breathing through my nose.  I will no longer ever take the sense of smelling for granted again. 

Last week or so I have been sneezing, coughing and complaining everything hurts.  In return I have been told to sit down and not to do anything. All great but does anyone actually realise I get bored in half a second flat. 

Few things have kept me partly sane and YouTube was one of them. I thought you might be interested in the list of 10 most watched channels in my subscriptions.  They are in no order and I have at least another 50 subscriptions so here goes 

My older son mentioned this channel a while back. Joe has been in prison for 7 years and YouTube is his way of making the experience into a positive thing.  He makes daily videos and shares his experiences from in prison and now that he is out. Much more watchable than I first believed. 

I play Pokemon Go.Yes really! And Nick has been great to watch and helpful. What he did for Japan was awesome. So many gamers out there online but not that many that don't wear me out watching them over emphasize everything.

You can't help get caught up with Gabbys enthusiasm and brightness with her sewing vlogs.  Now and again we have the lovely Megan of Pigeon Wishes appear too. And of course the total star of the show Hobbs the dog :-)

The Fold Line are great for sewing inspiration.  They do a monthly round up fashion at the moment or about to hit then go looking for patterns that capture the styles of whats hot now.  They do more but always worth keeping up with The Fold Line.

Crochet, knitting and sewing.  Really love Claires style and wish her shop was closer to me.

I have to admit I need energy to watch Bunny and her Sassy bun! First impression Fridays, Dos this thing really work. Bunny is amazing and so much going on I would be typing for hours trying to explain her to you.  Grab some tea and go watch a few videos and make your own mind up

When I got back into sewing I stumbled across Tree and her channel.  I virtually inhaled most of her earlier tutorials and love her simple to understand tutorials which leave you with brilliant items at the end of it. 

I got hooked watching Aprils thrifted transformations.  Such an amazing mind and talent.

Another great person for transformations.  Annika also does a segment called Make Thrift Buy where viewers suggest an item for her to ta make and she makes it to see if it is worth making and cheaper sometimes.  

Sewing Tutorials every Wednesday. Sometimes it's a small item and other times we get to see a prom dress being made 

Wow that went fast. Might do another 10 soon as didn't realise how constricting just ten of something was.

What are your favourite channels on YouTube? Do you prefer lifestyle vlogs, make up and beauty maybe? Cooking or crafts.  Drop me a a comment and let me know what you love to watch.

For now I think I am going to try and sleep while I can still breathe easily and hopefully it won't be to long before I am back to show you what I have almost finished sewing.

Take care

Thursday, 16 February 2017

How to upset your youngest granddaughter

This is my eldest granddaughter Ever, you can tell from the beautiful smile! She is modelling the collared cloak I made with the help from her younger sister Ruby and her Mum Leanne yesterday.

Here is the view from the back. 

Younger granddaughter looks scared doesn't she? Beautiful but scared.

And here you would of thought we had been torturing her.

Story behind these photos starts off a long time ago in the fabric shop.  I found this lovely soft fabric in 2 colours.  They have like a rose swirl design on them.  I was so taken with it I dragged my daughter in to ask what she thought and maybe if something could be made for the girls with it? The girls are in need of dressing up bits so we decided this colour would make a brilliant princess cape for over the princess dresses they have.  At this point Ruby is in love with the fabric, so soft and fluffy.

Fast forward to yesterday, text from Leanne and can we do something together? We decided on a making day. So dragged out the fabric and a pattern and had a lovely time cutting out the pattern pieces, Ruby helped all the way including with the pinning and ribbon choice etc.  Lots of 'I do it's' and 'I help' Absolute delight in the whole process,  And believe me she helped a lot. She was enchanted watching the sewing machine sew. And after a few hours we had this beautiful satin lined cloak.

Then She refused point blank to wear it for a photo for me her Nana. OK fair enough, it went home with her and Leanne said she would try after shower time. Then I think it became all to much for her and there was no way this was going to happen willingly.  Poor child looks like she is being tortured into wearing something she really hates lol. So in the end the beautiful Ever stepped in and modelled it perfectly for Mum so I could have some photos to share.

So that folks is how to upset your granddaughter, simply get her to help make something she really loves and ask her to wear it.

So onto more less dramatic items I think 

Take care