Wednesday, 23 June 2010

First Harvest...

We had the first harvest from our garden here at chez abigail*ryan last night! Our spinach has been going CRAZY so we gave it a wee trim and nabbed us some leaves to munch on at last nights dinner.

Ryan was chef de jour and prepared me a delicious dinner of pan sauteed Tofu steaks, with a gorgeous sweet soy and chilli dressing to spoon over (we also had half a super delicious crunchy Cos lettuce each, and enjoyed dipping the sweet hearts into the spiky sauce!) - then he pan fried some lovely chestnut mushrooms with a bit of garlic and added in our Spinach harvest to wilt down...

It was scrum!

I also found our first teeny-tiny green tomato on our plants last night while watering - exciting!!!

over and out...


Sunday, 20 June 2010


We've had a few visitors here in the garden at chez abigail*ryan in particular, was a little more unusual than the other ;)

We hope he hopped to a lovely new place and found himself a nice hidey-hole for the night!


Friday, 18 June 2010

Here kitty, kitty...

I'm loving these fantastic illustrations by artist Jamie Shelman...each is so full of life and fun that you can't help but smile when you see them. Each cat is so simply rendered, but so full of character, that it's hard to pick a favourite!

Her work is available on etsy and bigcartel, and through her own website...and, if you're in full stalker mode, why not have a peek at her blog, too!


Sunday, 13 June 2010

Satchel Love...

I found these awesome traditional leather satchels today via The Full Nilson and I fell in love.

The traditional shapes combined with the nontraditional colours of leather is just swoon-worthy - and although I am usually a sucker for red leather goods, I am seriously drawn to the punchy purple and the yellow! The fact you can have your satchel monogrammed just makes them even MORE amazeballs...

Check out the full range over at The Cambridge Satchel Company.


p.s. please excuse our lack of blogs this past week - we were attending some talks at the Ulster Festival of Art and Design, viewing the degree show and running to keep up! It was a busy week... normal scheduling shall commence from now on...

Monday, 7 June 2010

Dig down deep...

We've been out and about in the garden... working hard and planting some tasty eats for the coming summer - spinach, jalapeno peppers, baby carrots, a herb garden, mange tout peas (we already have tomatoes and strawberries coming along a treat!) and, having been in now for a couple of days, they are all coming on brilliantly with a little water every evening and some tending with our lovely Joseph Bentley garden tools...lettuces and beets still to go in.

My back has been badly out, so Ryan has been doing all the heavy lifting to help me loads - but still, all this nice sunshine leaves me itching to get on!! We took out our chairs and stools so we could enjoy the sunshine and relax a little under the pretense of work... deckchairs would have been like admitting we were just going to sun ourselves. ;)

We will be sharing a few of the little visitors we had in the garden of them, in particular, was rather surprising!

Enjoy the sun!


Friday, 4 June 2010

Dot to Dot...

You may remember Emma Bridgewater's iconic polka dot pattern from our post on her, then, newly released collaboration with Aga, so, with that in mind, we thought she would make a great subject for one of our regular "Save or Splurge" features...particularly as the teapot above is £125, and the butter dish £32.95.

Then we spotted this, I must say, rather heavily influenced range of ceramics in Tesco, and it seemed like the perfect candidate!

Named "Circus", each piece is hand-painted with a profusion of brightly coloured polka dots- perfect if the Emma Bridgewater range is out of your budget, or you want a full 12 piece dinner service (for only £25!) in one box.

Instant kitchen gorgeousness!


Thursday, 3 June 2010

New Robyn...

There are two very excited people here at chez abigail*ryan... the new album from Robyn is due for release next week and we cannot wait!!

Her last album is a firm favourite with us while we're working in the workshop, so we were keenly anticipating what she would come up with next. The two singles we have heard off the forthcoming album, 'Dancing on my Own' and 'Fembot', certainly do not disappoint! We LOVE them both...

Roll on next week!


Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The good life {part1}...

he looked very handsome whilst baking....
We baked a lovely cake the other day. A strawberry upside-down cake to be exact.
And... it was awesome...

So, we thought we would share the recipe with you. We also made one with apples, too (which you can try - 2 big Bramely's, if you want to know), but thought the strawberry was even MORE special.

She is not the best looking cake on the block when turned out, but hey, this girl tries real hard to be extra tasty and sure makes up for it with her personality! ;)

We wanted to make this as close to dairy free as possible (as R is lactose intolerant, but can take a tiny little milk if cooked into a cake) and as low-sugar as we could, while making a caramel, as my Dad is Diabetic...really pleased with the results over-all!

INGREDIENTS and METHOD (adapted and tweaked from Rachel Allen's Cranberry Upside down cake in Bake):

400g punnet of Strawberries (approx)

For the Caramel...

100g of Sweet Freedom Syrup

For the Batter:


200g Plain Flour
100g of Caster Sugar
tsp Baking Powder
half tsp Bicarb
good pinch of Salt


2 large eggs
200 ml skimmed milk soured with a splash of vinegar (or buttermilk if you have it)
75 ml of ground nut oil

Hull your strawberries and cut them in to halves or quarters as you like... while doing this, on a low heat, melt together your sugar, margarine and syrup in a pan to form the caramel. Once the caramel is melted, bubbling and golden, pop your fruit into the pan and stir to coat each and every one...

Carefully measure out your dry ingredients into a big mixing bowl, and your wet ingredients in a mixing jug - whisk these two together, wet in to dry, until you have a good, thick batter.

Pour your caramelly strawb's into a non-stick 10" oiled Spring-Form cake-tin and even out - onto this, pour your cake batter. Smooth out and immediately transfer into your pre-heated oven (180 C or 350 F) for baking 'till golden, raised and oozingly good (we did ours for 35 mins, or until the cake tester comes out almost clean).

Turn out, cool just a little...then... indulge! :)

You'll thank us later!