Pinning Dinner – Olive, Caper & Tomato Dressing

unnamedI have a real weakness for Pinterest.  It keeps my over active mind engaged in the evenings especially at the moment when there is little on television apart from sport.  I rarely pin recipes as many of the Pinners I follow are in the US and the recipes are often hard to translate due to their different measurements and with ingredients I can’t find.

However, the other day on a particularly warm evening I came across this recipe, Chicken Escalope with Olive, Caper and Tomato Dressing, which was just the right thing to cook on a summer’s evening when the thought of another salad or BBQ was too much.  The recipe, is on the Simply Delicious blog written by Alida Ryder.  It seems Alida was trying to come up with a recipe to use some Calamata Style Olives which she had to develop a recipe for.

The recipe is wonderfully simple so requires little time in a hot kitchen.  You escalope the chicken breast, flour it and fry in some oil.  You make the dressing with cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice – you can access the actual recipe here.  The dressing is the star of the show – the combination of ingredients gives a nice blend of sharp, salty, bitter and fresh taste. It is very refreshing.

unnamed dinnerI added some new potatoes and yes I know I will win no prizes for presentation, there is too much dressing on the chicken and possibly too many potatoes but the meal was only for me so it doesn’t matter.  I have  made the dressing again already this time to go with some pork escalope.  I think it might also go well with oily fish such as mackerel or sardines – maybe I will give that a go next week.

 

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Roman Blind Project

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I could start this post by saying its ages since I posted etc etc but I hate that so I won’t instead I will show you one of the projects I have completed this weekend – The Roman Blind.  I think it needs capitals as it became a bit of a cause celebre in my house and I am sure both my sons are pleased that it is finally completed and they don’t have to listen to me on the subject of ‘The Roman Blind’.

I have said before on this blog that in my late teens I used to make my own clothes including complex designer Vogue patterns without a second thought but with age and a loss of confidence for reasons I won’t bore you with I find myself struggling at time to believe that the project will turn out as I imagine it in my head.  I am also a very tough self-critic – never a good thing.

Anyway, the downstairs toilet has been a room that has been unloved by me since we moved here 9 years ago.  It is the domain of my son and was alright but not one of those facilities you would necessarily be in a rush to suggest guests use.  Last Autumn I decided to give it a face-lift.  The room was painted a soft grey to bring out the colour in the tiles and my youngest son put down a new floor which has a black slate effect.  Very smart, very masculine.  The room is a strange shape and has a recess which isn’t enough for a shower but is wasted space so we put in some book shelves – why not? I also around this time found a mahogany framed mirror at the local flea market and so I match the toilet seat to this and the whole space took on a new feel – masculine but more elegant; my eldest says it makes him think of a ‘Gentleman’s Club’! The only problem was that the room is flooded with sunlight and the books were in direct line of the light and I didn’t want the covers bleached.  I didn’t want another roller blind, as the old one was never used, but I wanted to dress the window in such a way that the strength of the sun was reduced.

I spent some time on Pinterest looking at instructions for making false Roman Blinds, before coming to the conclusion that I might as well go the whole hog and make a real Roman Blind. How hard could it be, after all its only a rectangular of fabric with some cording.  It’s not the cording that is the challenging bit but the mathematics that go with making such a blind.  I chose the material; a grey toile pattern which  I think added to the Edwardian feel of the space.  My local soft furnishing shop are very good.  They started off by giving me some printed instructions to take away to look at and which showed me how to work out the material I needed and how many folds etc I should have.  It wasn’t that hard once my head was in the right place so having completed my maths test I went back and bought all the bits and pieces – it came to around £45, a lot less than I paid for a similar blind on another window to be made.

I started at Easter cutting out the material.  I dither when it comes to cutting material as I am convinced I am going to make a mistake.  I did this time as I got confused somewhere along the line between the instructions in inches and centimetres so instead of adding 2″ for the slot along the bottom I added 2cm – whoops.  I have never made any window dressings nor lined anything so the lining took a while to work out but I got there.  By the end of the first session I had sewn on the lining and sewn the bottom slope for the bar that weights it all.

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Two months have nearly passed while I have been busy with this and that mainly to do with the garden but also making excuses for not finishing the blind.  It sat there on the side goading me until this weekend I decided enough was enough and to deal with it.  I sewed the velcro along the top and then after some more sums to adjust my measurements for my decimal/imperial mistake I sewed on the tape and inserted the rods.  I was dreading the cording bit but this was actually the easiest task.

Luckily at this point my 6’6″ son came to help  and saved me from going up and down a step ladder. He put the other half of the velcro on the batten using the opportunity to play with my new staple gun! He then screwed in the eyelets and threaded the cording through them for me and hey presto it was up. The cleat that you wind the cords around to keep the blind up still needs to be done but this morning when I had another peak at the blind I was really pleased with the result.

It definitely reduced the glare of the sun and the folds are beginning to settle into shape. I think I now have the confidence to make another one for the landing window when I decorate that area, which is the plan for this winter.  I will though make some notes on the instructions including some large notes reminding myself not the muddle imperial and decimal.  Luckily the blind just fits the length of the window and isn’t really intended to be down much so the lost few centimetres don’t really matter.

So if you have pondered making a Roman Blind I would say go for it, just double and triple check your measurements and sums before you start!