So much lovin’ in the new Tuis and Home…

When I first saw the September issue of Tuis and Home magazines, I was just so excited to see what they had gotten up to on their shoot with our products, I had no idea it would turn out this beautiful (check out the placemats in the recipe section) or that they would feature so many of our products!! There is just so much beautiful Handmade By Me lovin’ going on here we just had to share it all with you…

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This wasn’t actually a product feature (below), but how cool was it to discover our Pretty Proteas cushion sitting all comfy on the couch of this beautiful sustainable house in Bo-Kaap!

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And then this… (sigh). See which products you can spot of ours…

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We spotted our China Plate, Fly Away Birds and Pretty Proteas placemats, our Striking Strelitzia napkins and our Fly Away Birds tea towel. All available for you to try and recreate this beautiful feast in your own home, from the Handmade By Me online shop : )

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Find out more:
website: www.handmadebyme.co.za
facebook: www.facebook.com/handmadebymeblog
twitter: @handmadebymeSA
shop: shop.handmadebyme.co.za

Now available from… Meisie in Wales

I am delighted to let you all know about Handmade By Me’s latest stockist, Meisie, all the way in Wales in the UK. Not only do I just LOVE that name for a shop overseas featuring South African designers and products, but I also LOVE that they support and donate a percentage of their profits each year to charities like Save The Rhino InternationalAge UKDog’s Trust and SOS Children’s Villages. So not only are you buying beautiful things, but you are also contributing towards a brighter future for many people and animals too : )

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Here is a little bit more about Meisie and what Cassandra Sprague, the owner, has to say about her lovely new shop:

“I started Meisie after realising that the UK and Europe needed to see some of the amazing things that my fellow countrymen and countrywomen are making. The idea of Meisie is to show you that Africa doesn’t just make wooden crafts; but has a wonderful collection of cultures that produce some amazing products and fashion. I hope you love the products as much as I do.” – Cassandra.

Based in Wales, we are pleased to offer everything from clothing to homeware, crafts and jewellery. We have a great mix of vintage, modern and quirky products to suit men, women and children and we’re adding products all the time. All of the products you see are ethical and unique, you certainly won’t find mass-produced items here.

All items are designed and manufactured in South Africa from locally sourced materials by local communities. Being supplied by small-scale entrepreneurs and community development projects, the idea is to create sustained employment where it is needed most.

You can find and follow Meisie here:

Twitter: @meisieuk
Instagram: meisieuk

 

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And just in case you missed the mention on facebook and twitter, the latest issue of Crush online magazine is out, and it features my Origami Birds cushion cover in their Essentials page. For those of you who don’t know already, Crush, is an award winning monthly, food, drinks and lifestyle publication (aka free online foodie magazine), and not only do they feature droolworthy restaurants and all kinds of delicious-related products, but they have a fantastic range of recipes to try. I have my eyes set on on the Picture Perfect Pavlova. Check out the latest issue here.

 

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Don’t forget we have a new twitter feed!! Follow us and everything we do here @handmadebymeSA

 

Awesome Autumn Minestrone Soup in winter again : )

Some of you may remember this post (awesome autumn minestrone soup (even though it’s winter))…or possibly the fact that when I started my blog, to get more readers onto my site, I used to make soups, all kinds of soups, make them look pretty, shoot them, and then blog about them along with their recipes. I stopped doing this after while, mostly because Handmade by Me started taking off and I had way more exciting things to blog about, but also because I started getting sick of making and eating soups!

This soup below is one of my alltime favourites, and after going through a whole bunch of recipes to help me decide what to make for dinner tonight I remembered this little gem of a meal . I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, its so tasty and hearty and it needs absolutely nothing else with it! I am actually really looking forward to making it again. If you are into soups, I have loads of other delicious and super easy recipes posted in the earlier days of my blog. Here is the post I did over a year and a half ago…

awesome autumn minestrone soup (even though it’s winter)

This soup has a pile of ingredients in it but it is oh so worth every one!!! I got this recipe off jamie oliver’s website and have simplified it quite a lot otherwise you’d be there cooking all day : ) If you want to grow your own beans, and cook them for an extra half an hour, and add some more ingredients to the list, feel free to use his original recipe….or….for anyone with no time on their hands and the desire to create the perfect 1 pot meal here ya go….

The Recipe: Autumn Minestrone Soup
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 400g tin cannellini beans
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
4 rashers smoked pancetta or bacon, preferably free-range or organic
2 small red onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
½ a head of fennel, chopped (if you can’t find fennel crush 1 tsp of fennel seeds…don’t leave it out!)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
a small bunch of fresh basil, leaves and stalks separated
2 x 400g tins of good-quality plum tomatoes
a glass of red wine
2 small courgettes, quartered and sliced
200g baby spinach, washed and roughly sliced (including stalks)
565ml chicken, ham or vegetable stock, preferably organic
55g dried pasta (I used spelt pasta which is great if you want something wheat-free)
a block of Parmesan cheese, to serve

Method:
To make your soffrito, heat a good splash of olive oil in a saucepan and add the chopped pancetta or bacon, onions, carrots, celery, fennel, garlic and the finely sliced basil stalks. Sweat very slowly on a low heat, with the lid just ajar, for around 15 to 20 minutes until soft, but not brown. Add the tomatoes, courgettes and red wine and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Now add the spinach, stock and beans. Put the dried pasta into a polythene bag, squeeze all the air out and tie the end up. Bash gently with a rolling pin to break the pasta into pieces. Snip the end off the bag and empty the contents into the soup. Stir and continue to simmer until the pasta is cooked.

If you think the soup is looking too thick, add a little more stock or some of the reserved cooking water to thin it down a bit. Then taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the torn-up basil leaves and with some extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the top. Put a block of Parmesan and a grater on the table for everyone to help themselves. Heaven!

monday afternoon catch up…

I am super happy to let you all know that I have had one of my fabrics featured in the latest edition of House and Leisure alongside a really great selection of fabrics by different South African textile designers. You can see my pink vintage squares fabric there on the third shelf from the top! The fabric is available to purchase by the yard directly from the handmade by me online shop where I offer 3 different types of fabric in the same design (100% soft cotton, a linen cotton blend and an upholstery weight 100% cotton twill), all depending on what you would like to use it for. You can find all the info you should need at the pink vintage squares fabric listing, and if you would like any more information or have any questions please email me, I am happy to help : )

Here is the shoot House and Leisure did…

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Here is a closeup of the fabric in the linen cotton blend…

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I would also like to point out the AMAZING “3 ways with chilli” recipes inside, which were created and made oh-so-pretty by the great chef and owner of The Woodlands Eatery Larry Steenkamp and food stylist Kristy Snell. Who knew baby corn could look so pretty! And I’ve had that red chilli prawn curry…and it is truly HEAVENLY with that salsa!

And on a completely different note please don’t forget to enter the presents in the post and handmade by me awesome giveaway! Its super easy and you can win a secret suprise in the handmade by me design of your choice delivered right to your door. The competition is only on THIS WEEK so get entering and please spread the word!

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And for any pink vintage squares fans out there, here are some ready made products available to purchase in the pink vintage squares design…

cushion cover

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tea towel

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napkins

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vintage apron

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tote bag

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wallpaper

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All available directly from the handmade by me online shop : )

HMBM Shop

Italian Chicken and Lentil Soup

I found this recipe on eatbetteramerica.com’s website and decided to give it a try. I have been looking for a chicken soup to make as I haven’t posted one up yet. I normally avoid chicken soup recipes as they usually involve a whole chicken which you have to cook first and then add and I just personally couldn’t be bothered. This recipe uses chicken thighs which are alot easier to manage. I also love lentils so it was already a good combination. The original recipe involves a slow cooker which I don’t have and american measuring units whcih I can never get my head around so I have transformed this recipe into a much easier good ol’ “put it all in pot on a stove” kinda way.

The recipe: Italian Chicken and Lentil Soup
Serves 6

Ingredients:
Olive oil
454g boneless skinless chicken thighs (I used boned ones)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium courgette, chopped (2 cups)
4 medium carrots, sliced (2 cups)
230g dried lentils, soaked overnight
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
85g sliced mushrooms
1 tin diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
Shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired
Salt and pepper

Method:
First remove the skin and fat, if any, from the chicken thighs. Heat some oil in a pot and cook the chicken and the onion slowly for 10-12 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and mix well for a few minutes. Then add the lentils and do the same again. Add the tomatoes and stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently for around 20-25 minutes. If you are using chicken thighs on the bone, you can now remove them from the pot and shred all the chicken off the bone and return the meat to the pot. Give the soup a good stir and add any extra seasoning. Pour into bowls, add a good bit of chopped basil and grate any parmesan on top, and enjoy!

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.

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.