Warm and hearty chickpea and vegetable soup

Firstly a big thank you to everyone who came out to the Flea Market in THAT weather yesterday! It was a great success and all your support was much appreciated!

And since this cold, torrential rain and gale force winds never seem to cease here’s something to help warm you up a bit! I got this recipe from the Marie Claire recipe book, Lunch. Its actually a chickpea and vegetable couscous soup recipe, but I don’t particularly like couscous, plus the soup is already so hearty, so I leave it out of my recipe. I highly recommend the suggested serving of plain yoghurt and shredded mint on top, which is delicious and totally makes it by the way, but I left it out this time as I was making to freeze. This soup is so tasty with all the spices and chilli and is alot heartier than your usual soups. It makes for a perfect chilled dinner with friends and you can add some fresh crusty bread with olive oil if you like.

The recipe: Chickpea and Vegetable Soup
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon mild paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 large potato, cut into bite size pieces
1 large carrot, cut into bite size pieces
1 yellow courgette, cut into bite size pieces
1 green courgette, cut into bite size pieces
2 slender aubergines, cut into bite size pieces
400g tin chopped tomatoes
400g tin drained chickpeas, rinsed
1 litre vegetable stock
2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
1 tablespoon shredded mint

Method:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion, garlic and chilli over medium heat until the onion is soft. Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes, or until they start to soften.

Stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 -30 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

Remove from the heat and serve topped with the yoghurt and sprinkled with mint.

Handmade by me will be at the Dublin Flea Market this sunday…

For any of you in the Dublin area, handmade by me will be selling their wares at the monthly Dublin Flea Market this Sunday 29th April in Newmarket St, Dublin 8. I will be there with my lovely friend Zoe of Horse & June fame who will be selling her gorgeous handcrafted jewelry. Please pop in, have a browse and say hi. Hope to see some of you there!

beep beep bespoke design…

My friend Sabrina asked me to design her a cushion for her newborn nephew Charlie’s new room. We toyed with the one idea of featuring cars and trucks, and the other of baby animals. Toys and trucks won instantly, and so i got to work on a design. Sabs sent me a picture of the curtains that were going into Charlie’s room (see below), the walls were going to be painted a light blue with clouds like the sky (so super cute), and the cushion was to go on a bright red chair. I used the same colours as the curtains for my design, and because the chair was red, I thought that green would look the most striking against it.

Here is the design I came up with…

And here is what the cushion would have looked like…

And here are the super cute curtains that the cushion was to match…

Welcome to the world little Charlie! Hope you like your new cushion : )

Handmade by me.

Available now in the Irish Design Shop…

I am delighted to let you all know that Handmade by me is going to be stocked by the lovely Irish Design Shop. “Founded in 2008 by jewellers Clare Grennan and Laura Caffrey, Irish Design Shop stocks the best of Irish design including ceramics, woodwork, textiles, jewellery and furniture. We provide a selection of best quality, design-led products, all produced by makers living in Ireland.”

And so I have been very very busy lately making lots and lots napkins, and cushion covers, to sell in their two lovely stores in Dublin. They are also planning to showcase some of my products at the Re-dress Better Fashion Initiative, which is an organisation dedicated to promoting better fashion practice, and is on until the 29th of April.

Here are a few pics of some of the napkins I’ve been working on…

Handmade by me.

striking strelitzias…

I recently thought that my pretty proteas fabric (see below) needed a friend, something similar but different, that would work well alongside it, but also stand out on it’s own. I immediately thought of strelitzias (also known beautifully as birds of paradise) as they are absolutely gorgeous and really bright and colourful. And since they are also common to south africa, I felt they were perfect for the job. They also happened to work really well in the same geometric style I used for the proteas…and so after some seriously tedious repeat pattern work…I present to you…my striking strelizias pattern…

here’s a closeup…

Here they are together with my pretty proteas…sigh…

The striking strelitzias along with the pretty proteas are both available in cushion covers, napkins and tea towels at my Etsy store.

Handmade by me.

cats and dogs…

My friends Serah and Paul asked me to design them some fabric of their very own to make into cushion covers and napkins for their home in Spain. The brief was to design something which included their cat Greebie and their dog Bluff. They gave me a list of the designs of mine they like the most and asked me to keep in mind the colours of their apartment which are beige and navy.

I decided to come up with something floral and decorative that would look lovely in their apartment, and then encorporate the images I redrew of the animals, so that they didn’t overpower the design but became something you noticed the more you looked at it. Luckily enough the pics they sent of Greebie and Bluff turned out to be really great and also worked really well together. I also brought in a bright red/orange to liven up the beige and navy, everyone needs a bit of colour!

This is such a perfect example of how the bespoke services I offer work! If there’s something you want me to create specially for you, or for someone else, please get in touch and we can chat about various ideas and options.

Here are the pics they sent me….so cute!!

Greebie the cat…

and Bluff the dog…

And here is the design I came up with! I look forward to showing you the finished products in sunny spain when they are ready!

And a closeup…

handmade by me.

now available to buy online in sunny south africa : )

I am absolutely delighted to let you know that handmade by me is now available to buy online in South Africa. Meekel is the name of the shop and www.meekel.co.za is the place to visit, even if its to look at all their other gorgeous products which feature “the very best in South African design from furniture, homeware and artworks to clothing, accessories and lifestyle products.”

I am so excited about this venture and look forward to selling lots of products with them. There is also some really exciting news in the pipeline…just not sure if I can mention it yet!!

ps…note that gorgeous cushion they featured on the homepage : )

which is your cup o’ tea?

As some of you may know, I absolutely love beautiful old tea cups and saucer sets. I have a few beauties in my collection which I love, but sadly seem to be more on display than actually used! Ever since Vera Wang did a collection for Wedgewood I have been OBSESSED with her work. So badly that everytime I am in a department store I try and convince myself that one cup and saucer is more important than eating for the rest of the month : ) This is the first collection I saw and drooled over….

It is SO going to be on my wedding gift list! And it inspired me to start a tea cup and saucer design of my own which I think will make really cool tea towels and aprons.

Here are my cups o’ tea….

And here is the pattern design in the form of a tea towel which I will be introducing to my collection shortly…

…and a closeup…

handmade by me.

Sweet roast pepper and tomato soup with chilli

Another soup recipe from one of my favourite websites, www.tastemag.co.za. I’ve made this particular soup quite a few times…its cheap and easy and the chilli gives it a nice kick! And it goes really well with a melted cheese toastie. Optional of course!

The recipe: Sweet roast pepper and tomato soup with chilli
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
8 tomatoes
4 red peppers
3 cloves garlic
Olive oil
2 chopped leeks
2 tablesppons chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
1 red chilli
1 cup chicken stock

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Halve tomatoes and red peppers. Deseed the peppers. Crush cloves garlic and scatter over the red pepper, then rub the pepper and tomato with olive oil. Roast for 40 minutes, or until soft.

Place the pepper in a plastic bag and allow to cool before removing the skins. Leave them in for a while, the longer you leave them the easier the skins are to remove.

To a saucepan over a medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, chopped leeks, chopped parsley, bay leaf and a red chilli.

When the leek is soft, add the roast tomato and pepper, along with any pan juices and chicken stock. Using a stick blender, roughly purée to a thick consistency, adding more stock if necessary. Bring to the boil and season to taste.

handmade by me.