21 November 2012

Braided Rug Company baskets

I know I've already professed my love for the Braided Rug Company, but a recent trip to the Country Living Christmas Fair at the BDC in London refreshed my memory and renewed my obsession. 

Spurred on by my sister who, I'm pretty sure, was somehow brainwashing me to spend FAR more than I had originally planned, I extended my collection of braided furnishings to include one of these lovely, lovely baskets. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I'm using it to store the makings of a knitted patchwork blanket which is now stretching into its third (or maybe fourth...) year of assembly. Despite their soft look though, these are sturdy baskets which could easily support something much more substantial. They come in a range of sizes and would look lovely in the corner of a room filled with firewood, or all of those magazines that you never know what to do with.

The Braided Rug Company has a little shop in Aberdovey, in Wales, but you can also buy online or visit them at different shows throughout the year. You can find out where they'll be here.

13 November 2012

Luna Lighting

The Country Living Fair was packed pretty full with lovely things, but some of my favourites were these hole-punched, ceramic lights by Luna Lighting. They're all designed and made by Anna Perring from her studio in Bloomsbury, London (a place made famous by these fellas). Maybe I like them especially because we're heading towards Christmas which is, of course, a time of all things glowy and sparkly, but I think I also love the fact that they're all such simple designs, but created with painstaking detail. 

ps - Anna's studio is part of Cockpit Arts - a self-professed "creative incubator for designer-makers." Most excitingly though, they hold open studio events twice a year which sound well worth a visit.

11 November 2012

Homemade peanut butter

Gosh, has it really been THAT long? It appears to have been just about forever since my last post, but a visit to the Country Living Christmas Fair this morning has put me in a crafty-Christmassy mood and I'm jam packed with ideas for new products to rave about, and new crafty things to have a bash at. 

However, to get myself back on the blogging horse, and as it's getting all dark and cold outside, I'll plump for something quick, easy and comforting to start with. Homemade peanut butter. 

I'd never made this before last weekend, but I have absolutely no idea why. Granted, we do struggle a little bit with peanut butter in our house - an open jar is pretty much an empty jar, so its "healthy" properties are mostly swamped by the sheer volume consumed. But if you make it yourself, well, that's so worthy it has to be good for you, right? And it could not be easier.
The recipe is easily tweakable depending on your taste, but I like peanut butter when it's quite soft with a bit of a salty hit, so that's what I made.

Homemade peanut butter
Makes 1 small jar

200g peanuts (I used raw, but if they're already roasted/salted, you can miss out those steps)
2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
Sea salt

If they're not already roasted, spread out the peanuts on a shallow tray and at 160C for about 10 - 15 minutes. Leave them to cool a bit then blitz them in a food processor with 2 tbsp oil. There will be an almighty racket at first, but just keep the motor running and eventually you'll start to get a paste. Add a little more oil if needed to get the consistency you like. If you haven't used salted nuts, add a pinch of sea salt and blitz again. Taste and add a little more salt if needed. 

Decant into a jar and try not to eat all at once.  

ps - if you haven't tried it, you must try peanut butter on toast with cucumber. My Dad introduced me to the idea, and it's a revelation!