Alison Crowther-Smith

Archive for the ‘Afternoon Tea Knit Club’ Category

Macmillan Afternoon Knit Club, 15 June and 23 November

Monday, June 5th, 2017

These dates could do with a few more knitters.  Based on the current bookings, everyone will have to eat 3 slices of cake and a plate of savouries – and that’s just not fair, even by my feeding standards.

All the fees (£15 a head) will be donated by me to Macmillan Cancer Support.

So it would be awesome (overdone phrase, but in this case, justified) if you could see your way to coming along.  They start at 2, and finish at 5.  You can come/go at any time around these points.

It is just a knitting session, with afternoon tea served basically all the time.  I am making a couple of cakes and some sarnies and if you want to bring something to add to the tea table, that would be marvelous but not by no means compulsory.  Just bring your knitting and crochet.

Here is the link, where either date can be booked.

Please come. Thankyouplease.

The Afternoon Tea Club 2017 – in support of Macmillan Cancer Care

Friday, February 17th, 2017

This year, there will be two Knit Clubs, and the proceeds from these will go Macmillan Cancer Care.  Here is the page to have a look and book your places. All you have to do is book, turn up with your knitting – and a tea-time contribution. I will do the rest.

Tea, cake, knitting, raffle for knitting prizes – sounds good, right?

Please come!

The Allotment Project (AKA Oh My God! It’s Rhubarb Madness)

Monday, April 18th, 2016

When I first got the allotment, one lady told me that she had to take over-supply of produce (beans, I think) home in a wheelbarrow.  Yesterday, I had to take some rhubarb home in my wheelbarrow.

This patch of rhubarb is just incredible.  It has never died off totally over winter, which my rhubarb at home does.  I had to cull a lot of it in November as it had completely overgrown the shared pathway nearby.  And about three weeks ago, I thinned it by 1/3rd, composting all the old, woody stems, and still having about 14 lbs of fresh, tender pink stems left, most of which I gave away at the Knitting Club Afternoon Tea that week.

So we thinned it again yesterday, removing about 1/3rd again, as it had easily replaced all that I picked before, plus a lot more growth.  It stands at almost hip-height to me and is thickly dense with the finest, slim and pink stems, topped with lush, exotically huge shading leaves.  It is, effectively, forcing itself in this thicket.  I note that it is eleventy-pounds sterling for a half kilo in the hallowed halls of M&S, so this patch of mine is basically a huge money-heap, except that I will be giving it away, at Knitting Club Tea events, so do come!

I walked round the allotments before I left, to stagger back home with my cwt of rhubarb.  Almost everyone has some growing, but none is the size of mine.  I can, of course, take no credit for this as I inherited this nuclear-fruit.  Still, I do have a sense of reflected pride.  I haven’t killed it.  In fact, Mark and the others voted to dig it up and compost it when we first took the plot over, but I vetoed that.

In other news, the first lot of potatoes had once again peeped through so a fresh pile of loam was heaped on their little purple leaves.  Florence murmured that it must be the most dispiriting of all vegetable-lives, that of the potato, since any progress you make into the light and the air is instantly smothered with another bucket-full of earth.  No sign of the white potatoes yet, but these were planted three weeks after the purple ones.  More tyres have been acquired but we will need, I estimate, two more.

The broad beans are doing quite well.  These are a very early variety, that can be sown from November, which is what I did.  November was very mild, as warm at times, as September can be, and they instantly grew.  And then they grew some more.  Then we had a lot of storms and some were broken, others bent.  I began to worry that I had made a mistake, especially as no other plot-holders had any broad beans in at all.  Then, about a month or six weeks ago, other plots began to sport broad beans, but they were obviously not sown from seed in situ, as they just arrived as little plants.  I assume the idea was to sow a little later, and at home perhaps and then bring them down to the allotment after the worst of the storms had passed.

Anyway, mine are bigger (at the moment) than everyone else’s and a lot less straight!  But they are smothered in flowers and bees.  Broad bean flowers have a nice, sweet scent but you do have to lie on the grass or the earth, really, to get your nose close enough.  I am hopeful of a good if not a bumper crop, that will be mighty early as planned, so I can pop in the French beans once the broad beans have gone.

In the greenhouse, I have sown brussel sprouts and chard.  Plus courgettes (three varieties:  Black Beauty – in fact, dark green, it assures me – £1 for a lot of seeds, Wilkos; plus a pale green one and a yellow one.  So far, 100% germination from the £1 Wilkos, but some hopeful signs from their exotic sisters).  The chard will be red, and also an orange variety.  What is enchanting, is that the tiny, waif-like seedlings are already red and pale orange, right from the get-go.  So clever.

and orange:

Outside, kale is germinating.  I have also sown squash seeds – two types, both of which are sulking; and chillies, again a £1 Wilkos special.  Nada at the moment.

We earthed up the celery, apparently this is necessary:

And the beans and garlic look lush:

But I think the best news is that we have a breakthrough on the Vast Digging Project.  Aside from clearing a fresh mountain of weeds and roots, it is basically all now dug, from top to bottom.

My hip and knee injuries have probably not been worth it, but there we are.  When I think back to the bright and warm day in the autumn when we took it on, and my heart really did sink, to this weekend when it looks, if bare, under control and full of potential, I can’t really believe we did all that work.  I vow never to have to dig it again in this way.  I hoe it every week, all over, as the weed seeds which had such a field day last year are very determined to regain control.  I hate this job but it beats digging hands down.

In my wander about last evening, I had a look at the lot we almost got.  I do not know the man who has this, but it looks like civil engineering to me, and I certainly could not have managed this.  I am just so glad we got the plot we did, and that we have taken it from this:

And this:

To this:

Afternoon Tea Knitting Club

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

The Afternoon Tea Knitting Club kicks off this Friday, 1 April.  This inaugural knit-in is fully booked but there are spaces for the other three dates, so please have a look at these here.  You do not need to ‘join’ this club, you can come to them all or just one.  They start at 2.00 pm with a cuppa and we knit for a bit, then I will serve afternoon tea at 3.30.

I have just finalised the menu for this week’s club.  It is:  cucumber sandwiches, smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, warm cheese and rosemary scones with optional butter and cream cheese, and hot, buttered potato cakes.  Then, plain scones with cream, jam and strawberries, ‘slutty’ brownies and lemon drizzle cake.

Want to know what a slutty brownie is and what makes it so slutty?  Of course you do.  But instead of Googlating it, come to the next Club, in June!

This menu will be fairly typical.  You don’t have to eat it all, and I promise not to force you, but I am making it fairly wide-ranging to appeal to most people I hope.  I will adjust it seasonally though.

In the meantime, here is a glimpse into the pilot-baking I did to test All Of The Things.

Here is the sunny face of a lemon drizzle cake I made last week – just to check that I could still make them:

And here is a dark and gooey interior of the slutty brownie: