Tag Archives: Burns Night

Enough. Enough Now. Christmas In February Over.

Habitat Angel,Rocking Dog

Habitat Angel

Enough. Enough Now. Christmas In February is indeed over! Saturday saw us host a special Burn’s Night at the kennel to pay tribute to Wham’s “Last Christmas”. Guests were asked to bring nothing but empty tummies and donations for Young Carer’s (Christmas in A Box 2017).

The evening started with Careless Whisper cocktails served in retro Babycham glasses. There were freshly baked haggis sausage rolls and Christmassy flavour crisps.

Guests arrived, some gallantly attired in 1980’s ski chalet wear. There was a very dodgy wig or two and leg warmers aplenty! It was time for music. The lounge was filled to the gunnels with RockPipe musicians who played a half hour set of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, Abba Medley, “Don’t Stop Believin'” etc..

The Haggis was piped in and addressed. It was hot in the kitchen- turning out turkey and all the trimmings for 50 was no mean feat! There were so many comments (mainly women!) that it was so lovely to be eating a Christmas meal without having had to cook it.

Menu- Free range bronze turkey, Bourbon glazed ham, Bacon wrapped sausages, Homemade white nut roast, Vegetarian and non veg’ haggis. Sprouts with chestnuts & pancetta, peas, Buttered baby carrots, Roast potatoes, Cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire pud’s (SO sorry son Alex not homemade versions!), gravy and homemade spiced apple jelly.

People found places to perch, we even made one of the bedrooms into a fairy-lit
private dining space. Meanwhile back in the culinary HQ it was time to clear the decks and get puddings underway.

RockPipes noisily restarted and the set included “Last Christmas” and a wonderful rendition of “Careless Whisper”. Thank you Simon for your amazing Sax’ playing… tremendous. There was also the unforgettable YMCA complete with false moustaches. Great fun.

Puddings were served.

Menu- Black Forest inspired trifles, Hazelnut Macaroon with homemade lemon curd & Mascarpone, Mince pies, Christmas Pudding, Christmas Cake. The Christmas cake was made especially for the event and given a retro snow scene.

Thank you to all who lent chairs, cutlery, lanterns, and to all those who took a turn in the kitchen sink. Thanks to cocktail shakers and all those who entered the spirit with singing and dancing.

A million thanks to those who so generously donated to our chosen charity. An incredible £515 (plus Gift Aid) will be used for making up “Christmas in the Box” for Young Carer families in particular need Christmas 2017 ( breakfast, full turkey roast with all the trimmings, tea and treats)

The £5 Ikea clearance tree is down and decorations boxed, Billy the boar who graced us with his snowbally presence is leaving Bristol for the sunnier climes of Umbria, Bon Voyage Billy! A sense of normality is gradually returning, though there is still a rather large drum kit to trip over!

Enough. Enough now!

£5 Ikea Tree,Rocking Dog

£5 Ikea Tree

Sprouty Chains,Rocking Dog

Sprouty Chains

Italy Bound Billy,Rocking Dog

Italy Bound Billy

Private Dining,Rocking Dog

Private Dining

RockPipes & Sax',Rocking Dog

RockPipes & Sax’

Cake Anyone?,Rocking Dog

Cake Anyone?

Come To The Next Rocking Dog Huddle!

The Dogs' Haberdashery,Rocking Dog

The Dogs’ Haberdashery

Yes indeedy! This is a call out for the huddlers to gather on Wednesday (22nd Feb’ 7-9 pm) for the second Rocking Dog huddle. Bring knitting, crochet, a button to sew on, or simply nothing at all! A Rocking Dog mini project can be tackled or just come to laugh and chat. Perhaps i’ll get on with my long forgotten Kaffe Fassett needlepoint, those peas have been SO patient! Needless to say new huddlers will be warmly welcomed into the fold.

There will be delicious cake. I will probably be offering freshly baked Christmas cake, mince pies and double choc’ brownie. Sorry about the slightly festive unseasonal offerings but we do have the Last Christmas themed Burn’s Night going on this weekend. I never thought Christmas decorations would make me feel quite so nauseous! I hope by Wednesday all traces of the tree, paper chains, holly and ivy will have been well and truly banished.

Today I have mint syrup to make in readiness for the “Careless Whisper” cocktails. I’m ever hopeful Tom Cruise will put in an appearance on Saturday night to shake those old cocktail shakers! I am such a fantasist. Truth be known my crush has always been Bill Turnbull (strange but very true!) I can’t really imagine Billy shaking a good “Careless Whisper” can you? I can feel a good “who is your crush?” huddler conversation coming on when Wednesday comes about.

Back to the huddle, donations into the teapot for refreshments & materials. A proportion of donations will go to Fine Cell Work supporting prison inmates to learn embroidery and other sewing skills.

Whatever you are doing this weekend, hope it’s a lovely one for you.

Love Rocking Dog x

PS. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!. Ok Michael… you can come out for one night only..after all this Christmas nonsense in February is for a good cause. (“Christmas in a Box 2017” for Young Carer’s)

Material Mountain,Rocking Dog

Material Mountain

Bookish Inspiration,Rocking Dog

Bookish Inspiration

Patient Peas,Rocking Dog

Patient Peas

Bygone Age Buttons,Rocking Dog

Bygone Age Buttons

Festive Cake,Rocking Dog

Festive Cake

Ohhhh Nooo! Mince Pies!,Rocking Dog

Ohhhh Nooo! Mince Pies!

 

Yay! Haggis Sausage Rolls For Burn’s Night

Straight From The Oven,Rocking Dog

Straight From The Oven

Oops! slight oversight I forgot Burn’s Night! Married to a Scot (oops sorry Andyman not your team!) and being half Scottish myself that’s slightly unforgivable. I spotted a MacSween Haggis in a butchers window and that’s when the penny dropped.

So, the Rocking Dog Huddlers will be offered haggis sausage rolls this evening. I made these golden beauties using an Abel& Cole recipe,credit to my lovely girl Sorrel. However I cheated a little by using ready made Taste The Difference all butter puff pastry. There’s a delicious vegetarian haggis version too for anyone feeling slightly queasy about the offal and entrails involved in the art of haggis making.

Burn’s Night always gives me the opportunity to talk about my Toby Jug folk and to be just a little bit silly… so here goes! Mrs Mack (the present from Fleetwood) has waddled across the mantlepiece, unable to resist the kilted charms of Wee Tam. Poor Toby, his beer swigging ways are not going down well with Mrs Mack (she is a convent girl after all). Toby’s Gout, flatulance, swarthy complexion, beer belly and moobs, she really wants to move on and find out just what Wee Tam wears beneath his kilt. Is he really so wee?!! For The time being she’s just enjoying his ticklin’ and Sean Connery accent. Ooh she’s a wee flirt!

Anyway enough of this nonsense, have a very happy Burn’s Night one and all!

Stop Your Ticklin' Tam!,Rocking Dog

Stop Your Ticklin’ Tam!

Cheery Projects To Cast Off Winter Gloom

Winter Mood Board,Rocking Dog

Winter Mood Board

Rocking Dog has been doing cheery projects to cast off winter gloom. No frosts, no snow, no cold but lots of grey, damp and mud!

In between all the usual domestic dross I have been striving to complete some more constructive and pleasurable tasks. Yesterday morning I made Christmas cakes, “Oh no you didn’t, Oh yes I did!” An 80’s Christmas themed charity Burn’s Night is on the cards next month. I am going to hone my spiky snow scene icing and have plastic robin , snowman and cake frill at the ready! Incidentally there’ll be turkey and all the trimmings together with Christmas pud’s and retro’ cocktails. I’m nursing our Christmas tree carefully in the hope I can put it back up. Sad but true!

Christmas cakes baked, I moved to Beloved Berlina to creatively sew. Sewing makes me happy, especially with two or three omnibus editions of “The Archers” in the bag!

Despite the mud and greyness Real Live Rocking Dog is always up for a walk. No matter the weather it always feels great to be out. The change of seasons brings a myriad of different foliage, wildlife, noise and smells. Mossy twigs and ferns placed in a large majolica jug beautifully brings the outside in.

Very cheerily Seville oranges have started to trickle into the shops. I feel a therapeutic marmalade making session coming on!

Winter Walk,Rocking Dog

Winter Walk

Winter Vase,Rocking Dog

Winter Vase

Winter Fuel,Rocking Dog

Winter Fuel

Sugar & Spice,Rocking Dog

Sugar & Spice

Eggs To Crack,Rocking Dog

Eggs To Crack

Happy Bake,Rocking Dog

Happy Bake

Comfort Food,Rocking Dog

Comfort Food

Time To Sew,Rocking Dog

Time To Sew

The Sevilles' Are In Town!,Rocking Dog

The Sevilles’ Are In Town!

No More Sewing Procrastination!

Cotton Reel Chaos!, Rocking Dog

Cotton Reel Chaos!

After a hectic and noisy Burns’ Night and with the fleet of glasses tucked away, furniture reconfigured and copious bottle collection ashamedly left out for recycling, it’s now time to return to some serious sewing. There is to be no more procrastination, absolutely none!

Today, I will finally sew the Roman blind. Fabrics have been selected from the newly reformed Material Mountain. I have chosen a dog tooth gingham (Ikea) and have paired this with a heavily hand embroidered vintage border taken from a curtain bought for £20 in Bartlett Street Antiques Centre. The embroidery is exquisite and I hope Beloved Bernina will be able to cope with the thickness and density. The backing fabric is from a 100% cotton sheet purloined from my mother in laws linen cupboard.

I am using the printed instructions acquired whilst attending the Roman Blind making workshop at The Makery, Bath. I also have the little prototype blind to refer to, again this originated from the workshop. Fabrics have been duly carefully measured and cut in readiness for the sewing to begin.

Roman blinds are a really cost effective way of dressing a window. Curtains require much greater quantities of fabric to provide the necessary fullness, and, often involve expensive curtain poles and finials. A blind requires a simple wooden batten and dowelling rod, both inexpensively purchased at a timber merchant or DIY store.

With the blind sewn and hung it will be time to move on to making a seat cushion for a wonderful wooden Art Deco armchair. With lots of feathers to deal with…. it’s gonna get messy! The chair has spent too long feeling unloved, and with its bare springs it’s currently not a comfortable seating proposition! Photo’s of this project will follow in due course.

By the end of the week I want to have made some Christmas prototypes in preparation for a business pitch. In between all of this there is a Birthday cake to be made. Even that’s going to have a bit of a Christmas theme going on!

The prospect of some serious sewing is a good one.

 Material Mountain, Rocking Dog

Material Mountain

Blind Bible, Rocking Dog

Blind Bible

Makery Prototype, Rocking Dog

Makery Prototype

The Components, Rocking Dog

The Components

Yummy Border, Rocking Dog

Yummy Border

After The Blind, Christmas Returns!, Rocking Dog

After The Blind, Christmas Returns!

Wrapping Up For Spring

Spring Bloom Wrap, Rocking Dog

Spring Bloom Wrap

Walking yesterday in the warming transient sunshine, it felt as if a welcome waft of spring had arrived. Though the lilac is far from flowering, and the Magnolia isn’t yet tempted to burst forth, there were hopeful signs of less grey and less wet! Inspired by the shows of Daffodils, Croci, Wild Violets and Snowdrops I thought i’d share my Wrapping Up For Spring.

M & S have excelled themselves in a particularly beautiful paper edition “Adventures In Spring” (pick up a free copy in the food department of any M&S). There were pages of Spring florals, perfect for wrapping a Birthday present and dressing a pot of Hyacinths. Non flowery pages did not go to waste, and were used for wrapping another couple of gifts.

I complemented the floral loveliness with some artificial pansies (which cleverly disguised some wording), thin gingham ribbon and a luggage tag. I am a big fan of Lamy fountain pens and am adoring the exciting colours of their new ink cartridges. For this label I used violet ink, but i’m desperate to try out the orange and lime green. Oh, i’m all together SO fickle!

Today i’m preparing for a belated Burn’s Night which is happening over the weekend. Pipes, drums, addressing the haggis, a quaich of whiskey or two, food with an Italian slant, i’m sure Rabbie will hear us toasting his poetry prowess!

Whatever you are doing this weekend I hope it’s going to be enjoyable, and not as ear shatteringly noisy or whiskey laden as mine!

Love Rocking Dog x

Now for getting Real Live Rocking Dog into the bath!

It's A Wrap!, Rocking Dog

It’s A Wrap!

Tied With A Bow, Rocking Dog

Tied With A Bow

Hyacinth Frou'ing, Rocking Dog

Hyacinth Frou’ing

Spring Collection, Rocking Dog

Spring Collection

Vintage Violets, Rocking Dog

Vintage Violets

The Real Thing, Rocking Dog

The Real Thing

Time To Cook The Haggis- It’s Burns’ Night!

Wee Tam' Waiting For His Haggis Supper!, Rocking Dog

Wee Tam’ Waiting For His Haggis Supper!

There is no hope for me and a minimalist lifestyle! Another Toby jug has appeared on the mantlepiece. So old Toby and Mrs Mack (the present from Fleetwood) have been joined by Wee Tam. Poor old Toby with his gout and ale supping ailments cannot compete with the handsome Tam! A fine figure of a kilted man, resplendent in his gilded sporran, tartan sash and Tam’o Shanter, he is ready to nimbly sword dance with the blushing Mrs Mack!

Enough of this nonsense, indeed it is Burns’ Night when folk across the world celebrate the Scottish poet Robert Burns. A good excuse then to cook some haggis, neeps (swede) and tatties and wash it all down with a wee dram of whisky. Even better to be eating and drinking to the sound of Andyman and his pipes.

The decision needs to be made as to whether Wee Tam will be filled with whisky or Gravy. Let me see now what makes less mess when he’s doing his nocturnal Highland Reels with Mrs Mack!

Happy Burn’s Night to one and all.

PS. If you haven’t ever tried Haggis before it really is delicious. If you find the thought of the meat version a little stomach churning try the vegetarian haggis which is also very tasty and doesn’t involve any offal!

Rivalry For Mrs Macks Attention!!, Rocking Dog

Rivalry For Mrs Macks Attention!

Carb’ Fest Before The Famine!

Chocolatey Moreish Morsel!, Rocking Dog

Chocolatey Moreish Morsel!

Yes, I am going on the straight and narrow…… so that I can be more narrow! But before the banishment of anything which tastes remotely delicious there was just time to fit in a few lovely moreish morsels.

On a trip which saw me drop off dry cleaning, take back a rug, deliver a Christmas present (!), take the car to the garage, send post etc.. I decided to sit for 1/4 hour before more tasks sent me hurtling off in another direction. I chose to sit in Bakers & Co on Gloucester Road. A lychee and stem ginger spritz was a great reviver. I naughtily ate a delicious toasted Salichon, cavolo nero and emmental sourdough doorstep, and took photo’s of cakes which I was simply too guilty to eat!

During a wet and miserable dog walk early last week I spotted a rainswept poster. Attached to a telegraph pole (yes they really do still exist!) the poster invited women, (i’m guessing it precluded men as it was a WI poster) to a bakery demonstration. Interesting! So on Thursday I took myself to the church hall, paid my £3 as a visitor and had a thoroughly entertaining and inspirational evening. The speaker/demonstrator was Michelle Fricker who runs Crust and Crumbs from her home near to Bristol. She opens her doors one day week (Saturday) when visitors can purchase freshly baked breads and cakes. She and her chef husband typically have an hour or two’s sleep before getting up in the wee hours to bake through the night. With the couple having South African and Portuguese roots some of their bakes are influenced by their heritage. However, the Marmite and cheese loaf is definitely a British affair!

Michelle, together with two WI volunteers made some white bread dough using Shipton Mill flour. They kneaded enthusiastically and with increasing skill with Michelle’s guidance. The WI volunteers would later take their dough home, leave it to prove and then bake their loaves.

It was very obvious that Michelle was so passionate about what she does and so keen to pass on her bread making expertise. She had a plethora of delicious breads to taste together with breads, cakes, homemade Turkish Delight and marshmallows to buy. There were also local preserves and Peri- Peri sauce to sample and purchase. My thoughts were with Michelle and how she managed it all. I am guessing she would have been up in the early hours of Thursday morning to bake for the WI Session, then the session, and a days grace before getting up early hours of Saturday morning to bake for her regular Saturday Bakery. All this whilst juggling three tiny children. I felt exhausted by proxy!

Michelle’s enterprise reminded me of another home bakery which we discovered by word of mouth in Italy this year. Like Michelle, an ex potter opens her kitchen on a Wednesday and a Sunday for people to pour in to pick up artisan breads. The woman baker was German and her husband Italian, so there was focaccia, ciabatta, rye and pumpernickel, those wonderful multi-country influences, delicious!

Saturday, Andyman and I went to our first Burn’s Night of 2016- bagpipes (lots of them), kilts (ditto), haggis, and a whisky room (yes really). I didn’t do any highland reels so that haggis remains steadfastly on my waistline. Boo Hiss!

Sunday, we ventured with friends to the Souk Kitchen in Southville. Truly wonderful food – unless you’re a plain eater. Loved the halloumi with mango, carrot fritters, and pomegranate ice cream.

So, the time has come for me to be good, really, really good!

Edible Doorsteps!, Rocking Dog

Edible Doorsteps!

Chocolate & Cinder Toffee, Rocking Dog

Chocolate & Cinder Toffee

Rainswept Poster, Rocking Dog

Rainswept Poster

Chelsea Buns, Rocking Dog

Chelsea Buns

Umbrian Home Bakery, Rocking Dog

Umbrian Home Bakery

Last Supper At The Souk', Rocking Dog

Last Supper At The Souk’

Sticky Toffee Pudding

syrup pudding tin tate lyle rocking dog

Syrup Pudding Tin

One of the deadly sins- Gluttony!

Sticky Toffee Puddings baked in Tate and Lyle tins.
The centenary of Scott of the Antarctic’s expedition we baked twenty seven of these beauties for a Burn’s Night (raising funds for the preservation of Scott’s hut).
The choice of pud was determined by the fact I’d spotted a Tate and Lyle tin in a photo of the famous hut. We had an awful lot of syrup to endure that year and the blessed puddings have in fact zilcho syrup in their make up! A good bracing walk is needed this morning and repenting my sins in a Confession Box!

sticky toffee recipe rocking dog

Sticky Toffee Recipe

treacle pudding tin lyle rocking dog

Treacle Pudding Tin