(Almost) According to Paul Gayler: Chocolate Sorbet

Isn’t it nice when one’s work-place provides ice-creams mid-afternoon because it’s too hot? Quite the nicest sort of work-surprise, excepting a healthy bonus.

We were given an ice-cream maker a few years ago – it’s sat in its box in the cupboard ever since – and with all this heat at the moment, I was inspired to pull it out and test a recipe in an Ice Cream and Sorbet recipe book. Admittedly I attempted a vegan ice at the weekend, with blueberries, coconut milk and bananas, but it was just a bit too bananary for me. So I riffled through the recipe book, and settled on chocolate sorbet.

I’m not a huge fan of commercial chocolate ice-creams – they’re all a bit chemically and not nearly chocolatey enough -but this recipe I recall being quite good. And I had some cacao chips to use up.

Chocolate Sorbet


125g chocolate, pref. at least 70% cacao

(I used 100g cacao chips – gonna be a rich chocolate sorbet)

500ml water

250g sugar

75g cocoa powder

(I used chocolate flakes – no cocoa powder in my cupboards!)

60ml creme de cacao

How to Make:

Bring to the boil the water, sugar and cocoa powder and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes to create a chocolate syrup.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate over a pan of boiling water and stir until smooth.

Stir the chocolate into the syrup and add the creme de cacao. Stir until smooth.

Allow to go cold before tipping into your ice cream maker/pouring into a tub and popping in the freezer. If not using the magic machine, remember to take it out every hour or so and give it a good stir.


A Change of Projects

With this rather unexpected change into actual summer (sunshine and blue skies and everything! Quick, get the BBQ!), I’ve changed my July project. A bit late in the day, you might say, being as how we’re now over half way through the month, but I was hoping that the new project will be quicker. That was until I started stitching it.

You see, I began the kitchen clock. I counted my two dozen squares to the first available stitch, and then began doing the clock-face outline. I got all the way around, and discovered the two ends don’t match up like they’re supposed to. And I can’t see where I’ve gone wrong, so I’ve put that pattern to one side for another day and found a nice, simple, kitchen-themed sampler instead. (I found it on Etsy, if anyone’s interested, but I’m afraid I can’t remember which shop…)

It’s a little slogan which says “This kitchen is seasoned with love” and there’s a couple of hearts and it looked very minimalistic and straightforward.

So I started stitching. Letters take longer than you think. There seems to be far more counting, too. New July POTM

Yes, so far, I’ve only half-done the L…

A Way With Words

I got my stuff ready for July’s Project – cut the right-sized bit of linen, gathered my threads, found something to watch – and went straight back to June’s.

Which is now nearly finished. Just the last few stitches and the outlining to do.

A Way with Words

I think part of why I went back to this pattern was the relative mindlessness – cross-stitching squares. Nice and easy, straightforward. And now I’ve got to the point where, really, I need to finish this one before I can move on to July’s teapot-clock. At least up to the outlining.

(Almost) According to Hummingbird: Muesli Bar

I was looking for something vaguely virtuous, something I could, perhaps, easily take to work to nibble at lunch-time. Something which wasn’t a sandwich, and which wasn’t full of sugar, and wasn’t really flapjack.

What I found was this recipe for a Muesli bar in one of my Hummingbird Bakery recipe books. It involved oats and cornflakes and dried fruits and nuts and seeds, and quite a lot of sugar, if I’m honest. It wanted about 240ml of golden syrup AND about 240g of sugar. Bit much, if you ask me. So I switched the both out with a large-ish splurge of black treacle. Still sweet (ish) but not quite as sweet as it would have been.

Muesli Bar

Apparently, though, Mark doesn’t like treacle (I did know this; I forgot) so I need not have been so nice as to switch out the raisins for something else. I also skipped the cornflakes, having bought a box of Morrisons’ own brand. I’ll have to think of something else to do with them.

So basically, I ended up with some fairly virtuous flapjack, being butter and treacle, with oats, desiccated coconut, apricots, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and pecans. According to the recipe, it didn’t need baking. I think if I made it again, I probably would bake it. It’s quite melty and sticky otherwise.

And then I decided that so much virtue was too much, and melted down some old and needing-to-be-used-up chocolate to pour over the top.

Sigh. I tried with the virtue.

Baby’s First Rabbit

There’s nothing like the announcement of an imminent new arrival in a family for a happy crafter to get crafting.

Now, admittedly the imminent new arrival for our family isn’t due until January (not mine; Mark’s cousin), but I thought I’d get a head start. I have a cross-stitch sampler planned as well, but in the mean time I’ve dug out an old pattern for a rabbit.I think the pattern cover wants to suggest it’s some variety of collectable, not a toy, but I successfully made this in fleece when I was but a child, trying to replace a much-loved and sadly lost rabbit. So it works as a pattern for a soft toy.

Having found my pattern, I’ve also dug out some yellow flanneling (I think) which seems a good fabric for a newborn’s toy, with some yellow silk for lining the ears. Yellow is a good, neutral colour, given that it’s still too early to find out whether Baby’s male or female.

Rabbit Pieces

So I spent a happy afternoon pinning and cutting, and wondering how the front and back pieces are meant to fit together, and how I managed before. I’ve looked at them every which way, and still can’t work it out. Hopefully it’ll come to me while I’m sewing them together.

I’ve made it before, I can make it again – in true, Blue Peter Style: Here’s Rachel, one I made earlier (much earlier)…

Rachel Rabbit

I didn’t make the dress…

POTM July – Time for Tea

Although I haven’t quite finished June’s Project of the Month (for one, because I was distracted by a little Mouseloft kit in the final week, which I also haven’t completed), I feel like I am closer to completion than I was with previous unfinished Projects.


However, with the new month just begun, a new Project is required. This month, I’m beginning various projects, not all of them crafty. It’s Camp NaNo, you see, and my targets for my camping involve finding fun in my writing again with short fiction and my blogs, and establishing Good Habits of Routine and Discipline with regards to writing and crafting so that I use all my time efficiently and I get to enjoy all the things which give me pleasure.

So I might suddenly appear to be much busier with this blog – I’m working on a new plan for organising myself and my posts so I know what’s happening and I don’t feel unenthused or lacking in direction.

July’s Project of the Month is a clock-project, from CrossStitcher 289. One of Mark’s cousins is getting married in a couple of months and has asked for contributions towards a new kitchen. Every kitchen requires a clock, and I’ve been meaning to stitch this one for a while now, and thought I’d seize the opportunity with both hands.


It’s also, supposedly, a quick project. The time-frame given reckons it takes about 14 hours. So I might be able to go back to June’s project and get that finished too…