Friday, 21 November 2008

Cumbrian Hospitality & a little bit of history

Lets kick off this blog with a recipe which I tried this week at a friends house. She is a marvellous cook and runs a Guest House in Rosthwaite which is a cut above your average, with its own sitting room for guests, complete with open fire and their very own kitchen.

She cooks on an old AGA and her kitchen is a large roomy place where she has a table for her Bernina sewing machine and of course she is still sewing all sorts of things on it.

When I first went to the place I was shown all of the guest rooms and each one had a lovingly made quilt on it, all completely hand quilted by the 'lap quilting method'. After the tour of the house I was shown her latest 'block' for her next quilt and of course had to know how it was all done. That was fatal, as I became bitten with the bug. I made my first quilt with the lap method when I was still lecturing full time and remember stitching the blocks on my sewing machine and then spending many evenings by the lamp carefully hand quilting each square.

But let me not digress, I promised a recipe and this one is very good, but I don't have a photo as I have not had a chance to make it myself yet, but rest assured my husband was with me at the tasting and he liked it, so it will have to be made soon....

So here it is


4oz Margarine or butter
1 tbsp Golden Syrup

Melt in a saucepan


5 oz SR Flour
5 oz coconut
4oz chopped dates
2½oz sugar
1 tsp Baking powder

Mix and pour into a lightly greased tin size 11" x 7" and smooth the top.
Bake 300F 25 - 30 mins

When cool, heat juice of a lemon with 4oz icing sugar and pour over the top.
Cut into bars when cold.

Lastly enjoy with good friends and have a natter.

The reason I went out to Borrowdale in the first place was because I had bumped into my friend in Booths Supermarket and she told me she would like to donate some material to our stash as she had been given more than she could use by another contact. Well, we never demure when it comes to material because the rules are YOU NEVER HAVE ENOUGH...Even if your shelves are bulging it is still the same rule..

Well this material looks perfect for making bags. Carpet bags actually. So I trotted off to our meeting on Wednesday with a large cardboard box of the stuff expecting to have to cart half of it back home again after the meeting. Well I needn't have worried, because once I mentioned fabric suitable for bags and finished talking there was nearly a stampede.... But they were told to make the bags and bring them along to show the rest of us so that we could pick out the best ones and then we could set up a workshop to show how it was done.

It always seems to me that no sooner is one item made than they all want to set off and make another....Which is handy really because I had asked them all to contribute some embroidery to a 'banner' to be displayed at our Regional Day next April. We are co - hosting with Cumbria Branch in Carlisle and I wanted something to put behind the Keswick Stall so came up with the idea of a banner. I have since been told to change the name to 'wallhanging' so that I don't attribute the wrong words to the item. Anyway, if you are confused so was I.

I am still not sure what to call IT but IT has started to materialise at last and here are some piccies of work in progress on the ah humm item....

This is Sally placing the copper text at the top of the item. We decided to use actual copper for the letters as it represents the copper mining industry in the area.

You see the sheep left, what a lovely example of a Herdwick, that's the local sheep which is seen on most of the fells around here and in Borrowdale. It was the breed most favoured by Beatrix Potter and she and her farm manager at Hill Top Farm, Tom Storey used to show them at Keswick Show. They had a series of prize winning ewes spanning two decades at the agricultural shows when Tom joined Beatrix in 1927 after leaving Troutbeck Park. Beatrix used to impress her shepherds with her skill at drawing her sheep. Baa

This is one of the smaller squares which have been contributed towards the finished item by each member of our guild. We were all asked to make either a small square or a rectangle to go down both sides of the item which represent the white stones on the side of the Moot Hall in the market square in Keswick. These are acorns which are plentiful around here and they are done in crewel work to remind us of the wonderful day we had Phillipa Turnbull here last year to give us a workshop in beginners crewel work. It was a revelation to many of us and do you know that we all still do it thanks to Phillipa's inspiration. There were so many who volunteered to do a crewel work piece that I thought there might be a problem but happily we don't mind some duplication as all the subject matter is different.

Here is the embroidery of the Moot Hall showing the lovely placement of stone down the sides alternating between squares and rectangles. It has been worked with great skill by Sally who spent hours experimenting with fabric and threads to create just the right image. She used white felt in the end to represent the stones which are so distinctive a feature of the Moot Hall. It was built by German Miners in Queen Elizabeth I's reign to look like their meeting halls back in Germany.

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