Creating in the Kitchen: Quick Red Onion Chutney


Welcome to Creating in the Kitchen, brought to you by The Project Bag; that is to say, brought to you by me, Gemma.

This week I'd like to share a speedy red onion chutney recipe with you.  It requires just 3 ingredients (and maybe some goggles if you're sensitive to crying over onions!); it's quick to make, quick to "mature", and scrummy with all sorts of treats! 

7 medium sized red onions
250g caster sugar (you may need to add 50g more later)
2x 350ml bottles red wine vinegar

Chopping board
Sharp knife
Deep stock-pot or saucepan (preferably non-stick) with lid
Wooden spoon
Ladle *optional - the spoon will suffice but it's easier to use a ladle to fill the...
Glass jars - this recipe fills approximately 5 jam jars
Apron * again, up to you - depends if you like to live on the wild side!
Goggles * if you're a total cry-baby like me!
Oven gloves

Let's get started!

Step 1:  Pre-heat the oven to 200C.  Thoroughly wa…

Word of the Year 2020 - Balance

Well it's that time of year again, when we find ourselves reflecting and setting goals.

Last year my word of the year was "Grit" - see here for the blog post about what grit is and some links to great resources.

This year, I will admit to having struggled.  Hope is too banal and immeasurable.  If I'm honest, I wanted "grit" again - one year surely isn't enough to perfect something is it?  I know it isn't for me.  But then I hit upon it:  balance.

For more than a decade I have struggled with balance.  As a dancer, my physical balance is excellent, provided my eyes are open (if they're closed I tend to just topple over backwards).  But as an adult?  Forget it.  The constant juggling and plate spinning of trying to manage work and life and a relationship and taking care of myself physically and mentally and squeezing some sleep in there occasionally is a skill I've yet to master.  I tend to be an all-or-nothing kinda gal, generally giving work …

Procraftination - causes, effects, and how to combat it.

Hello friends,

It's been quite a while since I last posted here - this is for various reasons.  Initially it was my daughter's first birthday - a difficult time as we figured out how to celebrate her life in the midst of our grief.  This was swiftly followed 32 days later by the anniversary of her death, another really difficult thing to navigate.  Then I landed a new job as manager of a yarn store: The Yarn Dispensary, in Faversham, Kent, and my feet haven't touched the ground since.

However, as time went on, there became another reason why I didn't post.  The longer I went without writing, the harder it became to get started.  In short, I was suffering from...


So after some months, as I finally sit down to type, this is what I want to talk about.  Procrastination, procraftination, why it happens and how to combat it.

Procrastination is about fear, really.  Fear about getting it wrong, about not knowing how things will turn out; it's an act of res…

What's New for The Project Bag in 2019

Hello friends,

It seems like I've written about this a lot this year (and as the year is only 8 weeks old, give or take, that's impressive) but as you know another change has come upon me in the past couple of weeks so once again it's time to take stock.

I've been doing a lot of thinking - what else do you do when you've had to quit the day job? - and thought it might be time to share some of it with you!

Firstly, though, let me say a heartfelt "thank you" for your kind wishes and support over the past year or so, but especially over the past couple of weeks as I've struggled to come to terms with my PTSD and also gone through a particularly challenging emotional time of my daughter's first birthday.  Your love, support, encouragement and general loveliness has meant so much.  Thank you.

Secondly, I need to apologise (sorry, Aileen!):  I try to keep the blog, instagram and the podcast all fairly independent of each other in order to keep things fr…

Word of the Year: One Month In

Dear Readers,

How are we all?  January is very nearly over so I thought it was time to have a little think about the new year so far, and to check in and see how we've done.

Viewers of the podcast ( will know that, rather than picking a list of NYRs, I've chosen a word instead.  And focused my time on setting goals, rather than resolutions.

So why reject resolutions?

I keep diaries.  Each year, a new diary, but old resolutions.  What?  Resolutions were always the same:  at least 10, generally aimed at bits of myself I didn't like or didn't feel good about, all of which required total abstinence from something, or a 100% dedication to embedding a new habit.  Immediately.  Is it any wonder I never managed to keep them?

It takes, apparently, 28 days of hard work to embed a habit. Why, then, do we get to NYE, or the 1st January and suddenly think we will be able to transform ourselves instantly?

Resolutions have taken different shapes for me.…

"Spinning Plates: Coping with the demands of the modern world" or, "the reality behind the scenes"

Dear Reader,

As I write, the laptop is squeezed on just about the only part of kitchen surface that remains clear.  Beside me, in very real danger of burning my arm if I am just a little careless, is a slow cooker (I believe those of you over the pond call it a crock-pot?), with a chicken casserole bubbling away.  Immediately behind me to my left, on the stove, is a big stock pot which has the filling of a meat lasagne also bubbling as it reduces down.  That reminds me, I need to put the red wine in....hang on...

Ok, I'm back.  Now where was I?

Ah yes, the lasagne filling is reducing behind me (now with welcome addition of a quarter bottle of merlot that I'd had left over from the other week), and when that's reduced, part of the filling will go into a lasagne dish, layered with pasta sheets and white sauce.  The other part will then get turned into a chilli, with spices and beans added.

Am I having guests?  Throwing a spontaneous Sunday night party?


Also on the stov…

Making and Minimalism Series - Part 1 - Why Minimalism?

Why Minimalism?

When you hear the word minimalism, what do you think of? What associations does it conjure for you?

Perhaps you think of some of the following:
* no luxuries
* bare walls and empty rooms, with perhaps just one chair
* restriction
* saying no to everything
* no hobbies
* no crafts

Perhaps you imagine a kitchen drawer with one fork, knife and spoon.  Or a cupboard with a single glass, cup, plate and bowl?

For me the idea of minimalism was simply unattainable and unworkable.  There have been times in the past when, overwhelmed by "stuff" I've longed for a simpler lifestyle, even been tempted to chuck everything out and start over...and I mean *everything*.  But, by and large, it was something I dismissed as unrealistic and stressful. Plus I'm just not the sort of person who is minimalist. 

I am a messy person.  Ask anyone who knows me well to describe and "tidy" and "organised" wouldn't feature highly on their list.  Actually, I d…