Autumn Tomato and Vegetable Soup

Lunch in our home right now doesn´t always happen at lunch time. Sometimes it doesn´t happen at all, but we do eventually eat and everything tastes even better as hunger – so they say – is the best seasoning.

Soups are perfect as they just need to be heated up and can be eaten quickly if we´re in a rush, or enjoyed with a hearty sandwich or some cold meats and cheeses if we have the luxury of a little time. This was a quick one to prepare, and was warming and tasty due to the addition of fresh ginger and smoked pimentón.

Of course, I´d recommend a soup bowl and not a coffee cup without a handle, but the choice is yours!

Ingredients (serves two to four, depending on how hungry you are)

  • 500ml of sieved tomatoes (passata)
  • 500ml of water or vegetable stock
  • 1 large carrot peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 1 large courgette peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 1 large onion peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium parsnip peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • About 10 green beans cut into small pieces
  • A level teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • One heaped teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
  • A teaspoon of marmite (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • A tablespoon of fresh olive oil

Put all the ingredients except the oil into a saucepan and simmer until all the vegetables are tender. Taste for seasoning and either serve as is with chunks of vegetables or add the olive oil and blend until smooth and creamy.

PS. The pretty napkins were made from an old sheet my best friend gave me that she found in a charity shop. She knows how I like to recycle and refashion and was sick of me commenting that I was missing sewing/knitting/crochet etc.  She gave it to me and said “there you go, it´s big enough for you to make a tablecloth and six napkins by hand”. So I did!

Sewing Sunday – Summer Skirt

Remember my Safari Skirt? When I bought it, I also came across another one, in a pretty pale blue pattern.  This was more fitted, made up of panels, but way too small at the waist. It also had a zip.

Here´s how I made it fit (and I can be quite determined when I want to be)!

First I cut the skirt from around the top to give me the length I wanted less 2cm (I was going to add a waistband).

Then I unpicked the zip from the piece I had removed (you may need to do this first if it overlaps into the section of skirt that remains). I unpicked the side of the skirt to the length of the zip and reinserted the zip.

The skirt was now too big around the waist for me, so I added some darts at the front and back to make it fit comfortably.

Then I cut the piece of fabric from the top of the skirt lengthways to make two narrow strips which I joined together to make one long strip (this would become my new waistband, although I would not need it all as it became one very long strip).

This was pinned wrong sides together round the outside of the skirt.

I left a few cm at each zip edge to turn in.

This was stitched down, then the waistband turned over and under on the inside of the skirt and stitched again. I did this by hand because I enjoy hand stitching, but it could be done more quickly with machine stitching.

Finally I tucked in the ends of the waistband to give me a little overlap to add some snap fasteners and I also reinserted the hanging loops which I had recycled from the original waistband.

The finished skirt, which will is cool and comfy…I love soft cotton which is slightly “worn”, perfect for running around in the heat.

Get Shorty!

The photo makes it look very short and “stumpy” – I should have removed the half-finished top from Marilyn, I am sure that would have helped!

 

Sewing Sunday – Safari Skirt

As some of you may know, I enjoy a trip to the local (well, 50km away) Charity Shops, I think they´re known as Thrift Stores in the US. There are several reasons for this. I´m not a sylph-like babe but I´m not a pensioner yet. Many clothes made here in Spain for the more…shall we say…curvaceous woman, are designed with a 90 year old widow in mind, so I don´t tend to even find many new clothes which I´d actually want to wear.

Secondly, I love to sew and enjoy the challenge of refashioning a well made garment into something for myself and knowing that rather than ending up in a landfill somewhere, it´s enjoying a second life.

Finally, the charity shops are there to provide much needed help to those in need. The two shops in the little town I go to support different causes. One (CUDECA) is a Cancer Hospice for the terminally ill which makes no charges at all to anyone living in Andalucía who needs to spend their last days in such a facility.  The second, (APARIV) rehomes stray dogs, of which there are a huge amount. The second charity also ensures the dogs are fit, well and (very importantly) sterilised or neutered, before they go off to their new homes around Europe.

So…here´s a typical refashion for me. I find a lovely dress which is way too tight across the chest, but fits me from the waist or hips down. I couldn´t get it onto my mannequin Marilyn, as she is set up to be roughly my shape (poor thing), but you get the idea. Do make sure to wash the garment first (apart from the fact that it will need a good wash, you want to make sure it doesn´t shrink after you have altered it). I loved this fabric as, apart from being in my favourite orange, the print made me think of safaris (a dream of mine)!

I started by measuring where I wanted the hem of the skirt to be on me.  I then pinned the outer fabric and inner lining all the way round just above my natural waistline and then cut the dress just above the pins.

After tacking the fabric and lining together (you could also machine this) I turned the fabric in to create a new waistband leaving enough space to thread ribbon or elastic through. I´ll show you another day how I do a similar refashion but with a zip. I sewed by hand (because I enjoy it) but this could easily be done with a machine.

Finally I threaded some ribbon through (I have since bought some matching ribbon, but it ties and hangs on the inside anyway).

The finished skirt, which will be enjoying the summer with me up the mountain!

This is a great technique to use on any skirts you have hanging, forgotten, in your wardrobe because they are a bit tight at the waist. As long as you don´t mind losing a little length, you can cut them down from the waist and – voilá – you have a wider waistband which you can then refashion as above and either insert elastic (or ribbon) or move the zip down.

And don´t worry, the top half will be refashioned into a new top for one of my more petite friends.

Sewing Saturday – Green Circle Skirt

Did you see how I cleverly put the word “Sewing” into the title so that anyone expecting a recipe would be warned and steer clear if they were not interested?!

If you´re still with me though, thank you!

I recently found a beautiful skirt in the charity shop for a couple of euros.  It had a tiny waist (which would probably have fitted over one of my thighs) but was quite long.  I loved the fabric and bought it thinking I could make a bag out of it.  Once I had washed it and taken it apart, I saw that in just one half of the skirt there was enough fabric to make a half circle skirt for me.

Fabulous Fabric

I cut it from the top to the length I wanted then made a simple black cotton waistband which I fitted a piece of elastic into after I had re sewn the side together.

Stretchy waistband to allow for large lunches

And that was it – a quick re fashion into a beautiful skirt which I think Alfi has a longing to wear!

Dog Friendly Fashion

For more fantastic “Refashions”, do take a look at my blogging pal Jillian´s fantastic site here.