chilekat's latest photos on Grows on You, where garden ideas are shared.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

DR WHO Style Fingerless Gloves

I recently knitted 2 Dr Who Scarves; one for a dear friend called Phill who now lives in Canada and mini version for Rob, aka him indoors :-)
It seemed only right to design a pattern for matching gloves, so here it is and here's what they look like:

The pattern is as follows:


3mm needles and DK wool in the following colours: GREEN, YELLOW, RED, PURPLE, GREY, TAN & BROWN.


Cast on 46 sts

Using your first colour, K1 P1 Rib for 10 rows, then change colour and St-St 38 rows, making sure to change colours to get your stripes - I did: 8 Yellow, 6 Red, 4 Purple, 10 grey, 4 tan, 8 brown. Then K2 P2 rib for 30 rows, I did this in the green. You can do the stripes whatever thickness and in whatever order you like. Just keep in mind that the first rib is 10 rows, the finishing off rib is 30 rows and the st-st in the middle is 38 rows of whatever you like. Cast off loosely, (I use a larger needle) this helps keep the glove entrance wide enough to push your hand through.


sew up the seam from both the bottom and top, leaving a hole for your thumb to go through - that's it! Simple ;-)

Rob loves 'em!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

How to Make a Raised Bed!

I recently decided to grow garlic after my success with the chillies, but wasn't too keen on using pots; I've also been tempted to dig up my lawn here and there to make it more interesting, so I decided the best thing would be to make a raised bed for garlic, chives and whatever else I can squeeze into it!

I'm putting this little tutorial here for anyone who wants to try it the way I did it.

I used:

2 x 2.4m Gravel boards
1 x 2.4m length of timber to be sectioned off for steaks (see photo)
1 Pack of 3 inch nails
1 Roll of Weed Control matting
3 -4 Bags of Topsoil
2-3 Bags of compost
1 Measuring tape
A Hammer
A Saw
A biro

If like me, you want to put your bed on the lawn; you don't have to remove the grass, but it's worth digging it and turning it over - it will improve the drainage of the soil that'll be pretty compacted after years of being walked on. The grass will break down over time and provide the soil with nutrients...Double Bubble!!

So first of all I marked out my work area, giving enough space for the bed and a border around the edge. My Bed measures 1m x 1.4m, to make best use of the wood I've chosen.

I marked it out using skewers into the ground and then using string between them as a guide, I cut a line out of the lawn:
Then using a fork, I dug up the lawn and turned it upside down:

Now to cut the wood:
Measure and mark 1 meter along one of the gravel boards and cut across it horizontally, giving you two pieces; 1 measuring 1.4m and one 1m. This is one front piece and one side - repeat this process to get your other 2 pieces! Simple.

Then we need some steaks - Take your thinner piece of wood and make 4 pieces 11 or 12 inches long, cutting one end of each into a point:

Now the fun of knocking it all about with some nails!....My granddad would be so proud ;-)
Take one of your side pieces and attach a steak to one end:

Obviously the steak in the above pic isn't lined up with the side, make sure yours is!
Repeat this at the other end. Now attach the remaining 2 steaks to the other side piece.

Take your longer pieces of wood and nail them to the sides of the shorter pieces:

And Hey Presto! One raised bed, simple but effective (and clearly upside down, but don't worry about that for now....):

So, back to the soil, and we need to put a layer of matting over the area where the border will be to stop any weeds coming through:

Position the bed over the matting (the right way up this time!) and hammer it into the ground. I made holes in the matting so the steaks would go in easier; once it's hammered down and level, pull the matting within the frame up and over as we don't want the matting to be in the bed, only around it:

Now fill it up with the good stuff!!:

Get in there!!!:
....that's the mucky stuff over which is a bit sad really; I kinda liked it!

Using some kind of decorative stone, cover the matting around your new raised bed:

And that's it!! I finished mine off with a few ornamental odds and sods, but again; that's up to you.... mine will look nicer again once the grass around it has recovered, right now it's all trodden down and covered in mud!

I'm thrilled with my new raised bed - now I'm off to plant my bulbs!! Happy growing :-)

Saturday, 21 August 2010


How brilliant is this show? If you ask me, it's mouthwateringly good and thoroughly entertaining (and that's just Adam Richman!) we just can't get enough of it at our house!
So much so, that we decided to make a tribute to the show by frying up some heaven-sent burger delights of our own.

Obviously I reigned it in a little as I'd hate to waste a huge pile of food, but our tasty face sized treats were still mega enough to be a challenge; each containing 2 burgers, 2 sausages 4 rashers of bacon, Monterey Jack Cheese, beautiful sun-dried tomatoes, rings of fresh red onion and a beef tomato slice; all served in a frizbee sized floured bap. I went for garlic mayonnaise and a homemade chilli relish that will melt your face - Rob went for nachos :-)

Under construction:


It's H U G E!!
Where the heck to start?!
That's it....
Get it in! Lovely, big, fat, juicy, flavoursome goodness in a convenient hand held package:
I'm happy to report that we did it! Well.... I say we; Rob did every last morsel but I left a bit of bread :-( Heck, it was either that or Rob would be scraping bits of me from the walls and ceiling for the next week. A most enjoyable meal that should see me right for a month....

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Kitty-Kat's Scrummy Chilli Recipe

So here it is; a picture by picture demonstration of how I cook my chilli - no beans involved as proper texan chilli doesn't have beans apparently! It's not supposed to have tomatoes either, but I put them in because I prefer it.


1kg Stewing Steak
2 Bottles of San Miguel/Dos Equis or similar
5 Garlic Cloves
2 or 3 Sticks of Celery
2 Large onions
1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon of Ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon of freeze dried (instant) coffee
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Green Bell Pepper
50ml Balsamic Vinegar
1 Jar of Jalepenos
1 Tablespoon of Salt
1 Tablespoon of Coarsely Ground Pepper
3 Teaspoons of Chilli powder if not using fresh chillies. (For this recipe I used 8 fresh Cayenne and 2 Jamaican Red Hot peppers, straight from the plant. Firey!

Start by cubing the beef:

Here's my chilles!:

Chop the chillies, celery and onions. Chop both red and green bell peppers into short thin strips.

Heat a little oil in your pot and then fry the beef until it has browned:

Add your onions and garlic and fry for a few minutes:

Then it's time for your Celery, Chopped Chillies, Bell Peppers, Ground Cumin, Brown Sugar, Instant Coffee, A tablespoon of both Salt and Ground Pepper and the jar of Jalepenos - all in, liquid too! - You don't waste that lovely spicy juice :

Now put in your 2 bottles of beer - leave a bit in the bottom of the second bottle in case you need to add a bit more later; alternatively you could drink it!:

Bring it all to the boil for a few minutes:

And then add it to your slow cooker (Alternatively leave it on a low simmering heat on the stove)

How long you leave this is up to you, but I guarantee you that the longer you leave it, the better it will be; I give mine at least 5 or 6 hours....
By the time it's served up, the meat just falls to bits in your mouth, it really is divine!

Before serving, I blitz 2 or 3 ladlefuls in a bowl with a heaped tablespoon of flour. I then add this back into the chilli and it helps to thicken the sauce.

When the glorious time comes, Serve with rice and a lovely great dollop of soured cream:

You will spot that I have beans on my plate - that's because my fella won't eat it with beans in, he can't stand the texture. I think it's nicer with them, even if there aren't actually meant to be any in an authentic chilli! Heck.... I'll eat what I like :-)

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Caerphilly Cheese Festival 2010 - Fireworks!

On the last weekend in July, Caerphilly holds it's annual "Big Cheese" event which you really can't miss if you are in the area! Attracting over 70,000 people last year, families flock from all over the country to enjoy the fun that the festival has to offer. There's the funfair, reenactment displays, craft stalls selling all manner of goodies, falconry, music tents pumping out offerings from the local bands, food & drink marquees where Welsh producers gather to sell more delicious food than you can eat in a lifetime - "cakes, wine, liquers, sweets, chocolate, cheese, pickles and much more"; and of course....BEER!

However; with all that on offer, my favourite will remain the fireworks display on the opening night. Fireworks are pure magic and I'll never tire of them!

So without further ado, here are my photographic offerings for this year, made all the more entertaining by the fisher-folk who not only became my unintentional models for the evening, but also roped Rob into helping them land a monster carp!

Rob holding the net:

The girl on the right was taking a photo of the fish that her partner had just landed - The small light from her camera-phone lit the forground detail just beautifully:

I'm very happy indeed with the results and once again, a superb display by the fireworks team - Bravo!!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Nothing much....

With nothing much to write about during a time when a lot of things have gone wrong, and it seems no bugger is prepared to help us, with some people even making things far worse than they could have been.... I will simply borrow the words from a quote I found today:

"Just remember, there's a right way and a wrong way to do everything and the wrong way is to keep trying to make everybody else do it the right way." ~ M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter.

....we'll just stick 2 fingers up to the bastards and remember that whatever doesn't kill us will make us stronger.... we're past caring. We'll be fine so long as we have each other.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

My First Habanero Chilli

I knocked a Mustard Habanero from the plant earlier and as it seemed ripe enough, I decided to munch it. WOW. I've never experienced anything like it and am unsure of whether I'd like to do so ever again! I captured it on webcam - seemed like the right thing to do at the time!

Friday, 2 July 2010

The latest over in Chileville!

It's been a while since I've posted an update on my chillies so here comes a virtual amble around my babies....

The wonderfully hairy Alberto’s Locoto Rocoto are in position ready to take over my patio, sprawling out like great green spiders :-) I think they are going to be my favourite this year. Also in the picture, one of the Cayennes to the right and a poorly tom middle back:

I had a bit of a disaster with my tomato plants; I think they got too damn hot in the greenhouse so I've evicted them!
Still, the tomatoes loss is the chillies gain and now they have more room to...well... grow into - I can't really say move!




CORNO DI TORO ROSSO: (refusing to redden up just yet and has no new buds)

The same with the WORLD BEATER:

The purple unknown variety seem to have stopped growing any larger and the freaky fruit is reddening up:

The BULGARIAN CARROT also seems to have stalled, one or 2 pods are now going orange:

I'm sure they are fine and I'm just impatient, but it really does feel like the growth has slowed considerably.

My SANTE FE GRANDE is doing far better now it's been moved to the greenhouse:

The PRAIRIE FIRE is covered in teeny pods that look like teeth:

The ADORNO is in a similar state, though what pods are on is seem so very small - but I've nothing to compare to as no one I know is growing them; so I have to assume that whatever they are doing is right:

So that's the bulk of it, all is going well so far! I've eaten quite a few things from the garden now - the cucumbers are coming thick and fast and I've had a handful or more Cayenne peppers to cook with. I have to say it's marvelous to taste something you've grown yourself; there really isn't anything like it! I've not however, eaten any of the real hot chillis..... They'll be a while yet before they ripen. But when they do, I reckon it's going to be a trip to pain city!!