Tag Archives: Rocking Dog Huddle

Rocking Dog Huddle Tonight, Festive Creativity Perhaps?

Scandi' Inspired Creativity,Rocking Dog

Scandi’ Inspired Creativity

Do you fancy a little festive creativity? The Rocking Dog Huddle meets at the kennel tonight for the last time in 2017, 7-9 pm. BUT… by popular request… there could just be a very sneaky glamorous present wrap session a little further along the line….watch this space!

Gentle chat, warming drinks, the very first batch of Rocking Dog mince pies and of course creativity awaits anyone who wants to venture in.

As ever, donations into the jolly teapot for Fine Cell Work, providing embroidery & sewing skills for prison inmates.

Much love an insomniac Rocking Dog x

PS Is it time yet?!

Mince Pie Count for winter 2017 thus far, 4 dozen and counting!

All That Glitters...,Rocking Dog

All That Glitters…

Buttons & String,Rocking Dog

Buttons & String

Creativity In White,Rocking Dog

Creativity In White

Cosy Kennel!,Rocking Dog

Cosy Kennel!

Warming Zinger!,Rocking Dog

Warming Zinger!

First Batch,Rocking Dog

First Batch

Rocking Dog Would Love To See You At Court House Farm

Italian Twist,Rocking Dog

Italian Twist

After a quick trip to London to see “Future Islands” (LOVE that band), the weekend now beckons and Rocking Dog is sewing frantically for the first of two festive events at Court House Farm, Portishead. Sunday 26th November and Sunday 10th December. There are wonderful stalls selling beautiful things to give … or keep! You will find delicious things to eat and there is always the opportunity to drink something warming whilst catching up with friends.

Rocking Dog would love to see you there and to chat, hopefully not through chatteringly cold teeth! Kick off time 10am and end of play 3.30pm.

Come and get Christmas sorted, whilst supporting individual makers.

Have a great weekend, Love Rocking Dog x

PS To all Rocking Dog Huddlers come and enjoy mulled drinks, homemade cake, gentle chat and creativity on Wednesday 29th 7-9pm. Donations into the teapot for Fine Cell Work supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider. New huddlers always welcome.

Advent Season,Rocking Dog

Advent Season

Stockings Galore!,Rocking Dog

Stockings Galore!

Crooked Hearts,Rocking Dog

Crooked Hearts

Ready To Give,Rocking Dog

Ready To Give

My Scandi, Rocking Dog

My Scandi

Beautiful Bags, Rocking Dog

Beautiful Bags

Cake, Crochet, Salsa and Atilla The Hun

NT Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake.Rocking Dog

NT Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake

A small but perfectly formed huddle congregated at the kennel last night. Crochet, cross stitch and chat went on as did cutting a freshly baked Rocking Dog cake. This months bake was from my newest cookery tome “Sweet” by Yotam Ottolenghi (yes that old chestnut!) & Helen Goh. I love the cover of the book, meanwhile there are some truly enticing recipes beyond its jam swirled cover. I surmise that some recipes would need an afternoon of completing layers, compotes, biscuit bases and delectable ornamentation. I needed something quick, there was poor old tooth extracted Real Live Rocking dog to rescue from the vet!

Lemon and poppy seed cake was chosen for the September huddle. The cake was easy to make and rather curiously included double cream in its makeup. After 40 or so minutes in the oven a lemon glaze was poured onto its golden top and it then left to cool. Simple!

As ever I didn’t do any sewing or anything creative but I did talk about my fast approaching visits to Belgian and French war cemeteries for the Rocking Dog “Remember Me” project. I didn’t quite realise what a feat it was going to be to pay homage to the local WW1 heroes. There are now currently 22 French cemeteries to visit, together with 4 Belgian cemeteries. Looking for a place to “camp up” for two nights Andyman and I thought it may be convenient to stay in Lens. Looking at airbnb’s in the area we thought it rather strange that everything looked picturesquely alpine chalet. Ah yes the snow, the wooden cabins, pines and roaring fires belonged to Lens, Switzerland and not Lens, France! Back to the drawing board!

Keep Calm & Carry On Karen did come to the huddle and gave us the latest on the house renovation. There were photo’s of buckets catching rain water, tile-less rafters, dust, Atilla The Hun (garian) builder and general chaos. We are in awe of you Karen and your faith in that all will be well. We can all understand your concerns about the 1930’s pump action yacht toilet which eccentric husband has enthusiastically bought. Di’ gave us the grim news that Christmas has arrived in John Lewis, is it just me or does the Christmas frenzy get earlier each year? “Strictly”, “Bake Off”, my being expelled from a salsa class, hoarding relatives, extension plans, olive picking and the joys of being a doctor in 2017 all provided lively discussion subjects.

As for the cake, well it was rather delicious especially eaten with a spoonful of glorious Greek yoghurt. We bow to you Yotam and Helen.

Thank you huddlers you were great company on a dark and wet September night. Love Rocking Dog x

PS No October huddle due to those pesky olives! We will chattily reconvene in November for mulled wine infused creativity.

Naughty Bakery!,Rocking Dog

Naughty Bakery!

Recipe,Rocking Dog

Recipe

Loads Of Lemons,Rocking Dog

Loads Of Lemons

The Glaze,Rocking Dog

The Glaze

The C Word,Rocking Dog

The C Word

Vintage Appreciation,Rocking Dog

Vintage Appreciation

Kitchen Creativity With Lovely Young Adult Carers

Delectable Chicken Shawarma,Rocking Dog

Delectable Chicken Shawarma

Last night I was getting creative in the kitchen with a group of lovely Young Adult Carers. The group of eight cooked three healthy main courses before we sat down for a social supper. The dishes were a healthier version of Chicken & Leek Pie using scrunched up filo pastry,
Chicken Shawarma Flatbreads (including all the bits) and
Butternut Squash & Pancetta Fusilli. We had a great time in the kitchen and in just over an hour we were all sitting down to eat their dishes. Delicious!

We ended the social eating with a fruit platter and many enjoyed trying new fruits. They all left the building having eaten a good proportion of their five a day!

Many of these young adults have been coming to Young Carers for ten years or so. The centre and dedicated team have been a major support system and have provided the opportunity for youngsters to meet others with similar caring responsibilities. The nasty word funding is unfortunately never very far away.

Bravo to all, you were brilliant and it was a real privilege to share the kitchen with you.

PS. More creativity of the sewing and cake eating variety tonight- Rocking Dog Huddle 7-9pm

For The Pie,Rocking Dog

For The Pie

This Too!,Rocking Dog

This Too!

The Golden Result,Rocking Dog

The Golden Result

Choosing Dishes,Rocking Dog

Choosing Dishes

Any Butternut Squash?,Rocking Dog

Any Butternut Squash?

Pasta Plate,Rocking Dog

Pasta Plate

Eating Together,Rocking Dog

Eating Together

5 A Day, Rocking Dog

5 A Day

Trying New Things,Rocking Dog

Trying New Things

My 400th Rocking Dog Post

Exquisite Setting,Rocking Dog

Exquisite Setting

Sorry that there is no Rocking Dog gingerbread house or cake with the number 400 on it. Life has been busy shopping and preparing for a lovely wedding at the end of the week. Rocking Dog is going to be pulling out all the stops! The atmospheric photo heading this post is taken in the garden where there’ll be a marquee, an undoubtedly very glamorous bride and groom and a melee of equally gorgeous guests. I am slightly worried that my own outfit is all together rather Handmaid’s Tale – I’m just needing the bonnet! The garden this morning was young, fresh, verdant and with the happy sound of little children enjoying the first day of the summer holidays, yay! The borders are looking wonderful with Bears Breeches, Agapanthus, Hosta’s and other botanical loveliness. The old warm brick walls which formerly would have had lean-to green housing for the growing of lemons, pineapples and other “showy” edibles now hosts wisteria with its scented mauve chandelier blooms. There really is nothing like an English garden and this one is truly, yes absolutely truly lovely.

It has taken Rocking Dog 7 months to leap from 350 to 400 posts. There have been times where writing has not come easily. In fact reading doesn’t always come very easily either. I am ashamed to say that in June I read my first book in two years and that felt quite an achievement. The brain is such a difficult organ to fathom.

Importantly, there has been a new grandchild this spring and in turn the nurturing of new parents. The name Biddy (as in old) is becoming a term of endearment I really love. I haven’t given up leopard print or silver wedge shoes and yes, I know I will love him unconditionally even when he’s a grunting spotty teenager!

The seven months have seen Christmas glitzily come and go, and in fact come back again! Indeed, we hosted “Christmas in February” at the kennel and raised £550 (plus GiftAid) for Young Carer’s. We can do “Christmas in a Box” for families in need Christmas 2017. Wee Tam’, Old gout ridden Toby and Mrs Mack (the present from Fleetwood) are busy conjuring up the theme for next years Burn’s Night…watch this space!

There has been lots of walking to be done with Real Live Rocking Dog with a myriad of wildlife- deer, kingfishers, weasels, buzzards, swallows and even a Russian Waxwing! The white rabbits still seem to be multiplying in the field and I never cease to think that it’s some weird scene from Teletubbies! Real Live Rocking Dog also got to walk in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany and finally Italy this Spring. Like us he likes the Umbrian way of life and he is particularly partial to the sausages stocked in the village shop!

Rocking Dog has continued to make food, sew, gallantly endeavoured to tackle two unruly gardens, volunteer, homemake, care for friends & family and always tried to be cheery (for a half empty glass gal’ I acknowledge I am).

Seven months in a nutshell! Somewhat alarmingly the next fifty posts should take me to Christmas 2017! There’ll have been Young Carer’s Christmas Boxes to pack, a charity pop up restaurant night under our belts, an olive harvest to bring in (fingers crossed), Real Live Rocking Dog having walked in the snow again and lots of happy times spent with friends and family.

Love to all those who follow my blog, I appreciate you hanging in there with me

Love Rocking Dog x

PS. Yes, another phenomenon of the 7 months is the Rocking Dog Creative Huddle. There is a Huddle this Wednesday (26th). Homemade cake (fingers crossed) creative stuff, friendly chat and you’d be very welcome 7-9pm. Donations into the teapot for Fine Cell Work inspiring and supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider.

Winter Walks,Rocking Dog

Winter Walks

Mrs Mac & Wee Tam,Rocking Dog

Mrs Mac & Wee Tam

Christmas In Feb',Rocking Dog

Christmas In Feb’

Marmalade Making,Rocking Dog

Marmalade Making

Cushion Making,Rocking Dog

Cushion Making

Creative Huddling,Rocking Dog

Creative Huddling

Field Full Of Flowers,Rocking Dog

Field Full Of Flowers

Chelsea Flowers,Rocking Dog

Chelsea Flowers

Quilted Flowers,Rocking Dog

Quilted Flowers

English Wedding,Rocking Dog

English Wedding

Spring In Umbria,Rocking Dog

Spring In Umbria

Swim In Umbria!,Rocking Dog

Swim In Umbria!

Strawberry Season- A Rocking Dog Salad

Strawberries For Supper,Rocking Dog

Strawberries For Supper

Rocking Dog was inspired to make a quick summer salad using some punnets of local strawberries. I love to use fruit for savoury salads, a favourite is sliced fresh peaches with buffalo mozzarella, basil and toasted pine nuts. Butternut squash, broad beans, feta and raspberries together with roasted pumpkin seeds and a zesty dressing is another delicious summery bowl. In late summer figs and goats cheese make a wonderful base for a salad.

Last nights salad utilised the following ingredients:- Edamame beans (I used frozen), strawberries, baby spinach, whole toasted blanched almonds, finely grated lemon zest, juice of one lemon, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped fresh mint, creamy feta crumbled, seasoning.

Drop edamame beans into boiling water and cook until tender. Drain and refresh the beans in cold water to help retain their colour. Toast the almonds by dry frying them in a small pan ( I use this method as I am less likely to forget them rather than toasting nuts under a grill!) Make dressing with zest, lemon juice, and a good glug of olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. Grind in some black pepper and salt. Assemble salad by tossing together all the salad components and the dressing. Serve with some good bread.

I loved the baubles I bought recently in the clearance section of Ikea. I knew when I saw them that they’d make good strawberries! I made strawberry leaves from tiny pieces of fabric found on Material Mountain. I used an air erasable pen to draw my leaves. After cutting the pieces out I used Beloved Bernina to sew lines of stitching to emulate leaf veins. I finally cut a small hole in the centre of the fabric to thread through the bauble wire. Voila! summer baubles to decorate gifts or hang for summer parties.

Whatever the weekend holds for you I hope it’s happy and summery

Love Rocking Dog x

PS Rocking Dog Huddle Wednesday 26th July 7-9pm. I would love to see you here at the kennel for chat, cake and creativity. Donations into the teapot for Fine Cell Work encouraging and supporting prison inmates to sew & embroider.

Strawberry Deliciousness!,Rocking Dog

Strawberry Deliciousness!

Chelsea Strawberries,Rocking Dog

Chelsea Strawberries

Rocking Dog Tart,Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Tart

Summer Baubles,Rocking Dog

Summer Baubles

Stylish Wrapping,Rocking Dog

Stylish Wrapping

Summery Rocking Dog Gift Tags,Rocking Dog

Summery Rocking Dog Gift Tags

Chocolate Roulade For The Rocking Dog Huddlers

A Taste Of Summer,Rocking Dog

A Taste Of Summer

A small but perfectly formed huddle gathered last night. We talked travel, home & abroad heat and stories of the young and of the old. Crochet was learned, calligraphy practiced, a needlepoint made to feel loved again and a wedding shopping list formulated. I also brought out my John Lewis sale buys for Christmas wrapping 2017 (I feel a Val Doonican knitted theme coming on!)

Most importantly we ate cake! This months confectionery was a tried and tested favourite, Chocolate and Raspberry Roulade. The recipe comes from a book called 100 Great Desserts by Mandy Wagstaff. I bought it in the 90’s from a cut price book shop, only later did I find that many but not all of the pages were written in German!

This is a great recipe for gluten free guests and a truly simple bake (promise!)

175g plain chocolate
5 eggs separated
175g caster sugar
2 tbsp brandy

Preheat oven 180 degrees (lower for fan oven). Line a 33x23cm swiss roll tin with baking paper.
Melt dark chocolate in microwave or in a bowl over a pan of simmering hot water.
Beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Add the brandy.
Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and then stir in a tbsp chocolate mix to loosen it. Fold in the remaining chocolate.
Pour mixture into the prepared tin and use a spatula to evenly spread the batter.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until springy to the touch. Remove from oven and cover with a slightly damp tea towel.

For the filling I used a small carton of double cream whisked together with a small tub of mascarpone and a little icing sugar.

Turn your Roulade out onto a surface prepared with a large sheet of baking paper. Remove the backing paper.
Spread your roulade liberally with good quality raspberry conserve. Spread cream mix evenly and sprinkle over fresh raspberries.
With the aid of the paper, roll the roulade as tightly and evenly as you can. At this point you can wrap it up in the greaseproof sheet rather like an old fashioned sweetie and chill. if you can’t wait to launch into the deliciousness move the roulade to a pretty plate and dredge with icing sugar and white chocolate shards. Voila!

(I used 1&1/2x the mixture to fill a larger swiss roll tin. Cherries and kirsch or cherry brandy would be a great alternative)

Thank you girls for the donations for Fine Cell Work inspiring and supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider.

The Whole Deal!,Rocking Dog

The Whole Deal!

June Frou,Rocking Dog

June Frou

Little Black Books,Rocking Dog

Little Black Books

Travel,Rocking Dog

Travel

The Heat,Rocking Dog

The Heat

Calligraphy,Rocking Dog

Calligraphy

Christmas Stash,Rocking Dog

Christmas Stash

The Old & The..,Rocking Dog

The Old & The..

Young,Rocking Dog

Young

Rocking Dog Creative Huddle, Weds 28th June

Come On Let's Get Creative!,Rocking Dog

Come On Let’s Get Creative!

Yes the months are whittling away, we’ll be onto Christmas makery before we know it! You are warmly welcomed to come along to the Rocking Dog Creative Huddle tomorrow. Rocking Dog is very friendly and won’t bite, even though the Real Live Rocking Dog is just ever so slightly grumpy! Come to think of it that’s a pretty fair description of Rocking Dog if temperatures rise above 29 degrees!

Lovely homemade cake, something cold to drink, gentle chat and if you want to “make” that’s lovely too.

Donations into the teapot for Fine Cell Work encouraging and supporting prison inmates to sew & embroider, £60 collected thus far. Thank you.

Don’t be shy, come along. Contact me if you need further details or directions.

Love Rocking Dog x

Rocking Dog Loves Frou!,Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Loves Frou!

Roll Up, Roll Up, Rocking Dog Huddle Tonight!

Haberdashery,Rocking Dog

Haberdashery

Yes it’s Rocking Dogs May creative huddle this evening 7-9pm. Bring along curtains to hem, buttons to sew, knitting, a crochet project or simply turn up for gentle nurturing chat. There’ll be coffee and cake, it’s Chocolate & Sweet Chestnut Turinois tonight. Perhaps i’ll even get to sew, i’m looking forward to using some of the vintage fabrics I bought at the recent Vintage & Handmade Jumble Sale. I particularly love the 50’s fish print towel, it would make a funky beach bag.

The house smells of caramelised sugar, with large batches of meringues heading into the oven. Rocking Dog is making a hundred large snowy white meringues for a fabulous wedding meringue pile up. They will be “glued” together with a summer fruit mascarpone cream. The tower will then be adorned with fairy lights and garden flowers. Look out for Rocking Dog’s blog next week for images of the sugary edifice.

I would love to see you at the huddle this evening. As ever donations go into the tea pot with a generous proportion going to Fine Cell Work teaching and supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider.

New Fabric Stash,Rocking Dog

New Fabric Stash

Fifties Fish,Rocking Dog

Fifties Fish

Eggs For Meringues,Rocking Dog

Eggs For Meringues

Come For Coffee,Rocking Dog

Come For Coffee

Rocking Dog Loved Her Time At Chelsea

Mexican Heat,Rocking Dog

Mexican Heat

Rocking Dog made a welcome return to the Chelsea Flower Show last week. Alas last year she had to give the show a miss as it  somewhat inconveniently clashed with the boys wedding! Can it really be a year ago that I cooked three courses for 120 guests, sewed table runners, cutlery pockets, and ran up a tent? Happy 1st wedding anniversary Alex & Kylie.

An early start saw me hurtling across London last Thursday to try and beat the crowds. London was bathed in glorious sunshine and I was soon enjoying planty loveliness. There were many fewer show gardens this year, and I can only imagine that the cost and time required to pull off one of these botanical and architectural masterpieces is colossal.

The show garden which won best in show was a somewhat controversial choice and I witnessed many mutterings of show goers feeling that Chris Beardshaw had been robbed! Inspired by an abandoned Maltese quarry the winning garden was dramatic. The massive stones in its makeup had been quarried, cut and transported from Malta. The planting was wild, scrubby and Mediterranean. I was intrigued by the garden and was glad that I revisited it in the heat of the midday sun. The smell of the wild fennel and other sun parched herbs was intoxicating.

The highlight of my day was introducing myself to garden designer Sarah Raven in the Radio 2 Feel Good Garden (Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden). Daughter Sorrel had previously worked for Sarah at Perch Hill and on events at Sissinghurst. How lovely to be invited to drink a cup of refreshing Lapsang Souchong in Sarah’s corrugated tin roofed bothy. A few photographs taken within the exquisite bee buzzing garden and then it was time to move on. Thank you Sarah it was SO lovely to finally meet you and I so wanted your delicious garden beamed up and plopped down in the Kennels’ weedy outback!

Some of my favourite gardens weren’t the big budget show gardens but the more intimate artisan and fresh gardens. “City Living” with its massive orange Anglepoise lamps and “Beneath a Mexican Sky” enjoyed being showcased in brilliant sunshine. Not a great admirer of Acers or Maples I however loved Japanese Gosho No Niwa’s “No Wall, No War” artisan garden. It contained the most exquisite naturalistic waterfall and verdigris metal framed glass house. The house had been transported from Japan and apparently it had been nerve-wracking for the designer. There was no back up plan if the large glass panes had been broken in transit.

In the Pavilion there were iris’s, cacti, orchids, daffodils, ferns, plants for sun and plants for shade. I really loved the way the humble spud was exhibited by Morrice & Ann Innes Potatoes. More colourful and definitely more scented was the David Austin Rose stand. It was a truly beautiful spectacle and how lovely to spot Cerys Matthews under the blooming bowers.

The trends I perceived at this years Chelsea – Lupins are back in fashion, the colour purple, foxgloves, grasses, copper, caring for wildlife within the garden. Many of the gardens sported quite shaggy (should I say weedy) borders. Again I was aware of mutterings about planting not being neat. When I came home I rather loved my herbaceous borders infilled with ground elder, couch grass, bellvine and the like. I am SO totally on trend! I can down tools this summer and sit back in a deck chair with a long G&T and a good book !

Much love and hope you have had a lovely bank holiday weekend.

Love Rocking Dog x

There is a Rocking Dog Creative Huddle this Wednesday 31st May 7-9pm. All welcome. Homemade cake, drinks, chat and maybe the odd bit of sewing/knitting! Donations into the teapot with proportion heading to Fine Cell Work, teaching & supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider.

Best In Show,Rocking Dog

Best In Show

Feel Good Garden-Colour, Rocking Dog

Feel Good Garden-Colour

Tin Shed Tea,Rocking Dog

Tin Shed Tea

Breaking Ground Garden,Rocking Dog

Breaking Ground Garden

Japanese Magic,Rocking Dog

Japanese Magic

5 Star Bug Hotel, Rocking Dog

5 Star Bug Hotel

The Humble Spud,Rocking Dog

The Humble Spud

City Living,Rocking Dog

City Living

Cerys & Blooms,Rocking Dog

Cerys & Blooms

Copper Loveliness,Rocking Dog

Copper Loveliness

Copper Planting,Rocking Dog

Copper Planting

Copper Couch,Rocking Dog

Copper Couch