Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Spring is Starting to Spring

Spring is definitely starting to spring here on our hill and a few of the little flowers are starting to take a peep at the world

I went for a wander around our local market this morning and I just love the view I have on the way there, I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful rural area. It may be a 16 mile round trip to the nearest town but I wouldn't want to live anywhere else, I just don't think that I could live in a town.

On returning I decided to have yet another piece of yesterdays baking, yes the Almond Tart! and lovely it was.

I am already planning my next project when the hexagon throw is finished, and I thought that I would try another of Attic24's blankets. I have received my Style Craft yarn and it will be the first time that I have tried to crochet in acrylic yarn but her stripy granny blanket looks so so gorgeous.

I have just completed a small ripple cushion, I wasn't sure what to do about backing it, but found the solution with a plain cushion I found in the sales and I stitched it onto the front. I think that the results are pretty good!

I am also part way through a tapestry cushion cover I found the pattern in a Cath Kidston book that I had last year I am nearly finished but have found that with only a few stitches left to do I have run out of wool and will have to order another skein to finish!

I love Cath Kidston and really enjoy doing her tapestry, I did this cushion last year and I think it looks just stunning!!

As you can probably tell I do tend to flit from one project to another, I am always thinking what to do next even before I have finished what I am doing.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A New Week and Baking to be done!

A few more hexagons crocheted, I have to keep my momentum going, I'm just waiting for a few more balls of Rowan Handknit cotton to be delivered today.

I have visitors this week, my daughter is stopping over with my grandson whilst she has new floorboards in her bedrooms, so lots of chatting and tea drinking going on here!

So out come the homemade shortbread biscuits and on go the inches on the hips.
I just love baking but the cakes, biscuits and goodies never seem to stop long in the pantry before I am needing to do more baking for my little ones and not so little ones.

This shortbread recipe is so delicious and is great with a cuppa or with whipped cream and some fruit for a desert, so here is the recipe:

6oz of soft butter
3oz caster sugar
8oz plain flour

Set your oven to 150c mine is a fan oven so higher if yours is not.
Grease a baking sheet ready to go.
Mix the butter and caster sugar together until nearly white and fluffy, then mix in the flour until it forms a dough then the going is easy and fun, choose your cutters and roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut away to your hearts desire. Bake for about 15 minutes I like mine to have a pale colour rather than be too coloured. When cooled (I just leave on the baking sheet) either leave them, sprinkle with caster sugar of get the children to drizzle some icing and decorate.

Well the beef stew in now in the oven for this evenings dinner and I am going to make some lovely homemade bread to go with it and then back to restocking my cakes. This is all that is left of the weekends baking efforts, a few slices of chocolate fudge cake and some delicious lemon drizzle cake.

So here goes with the bread making, with have builders biceps by the time I have finished kneading this. My lovely little flour shaker was a Christmas gift from my son Elias it came from a little shop in Buxton called Atticusboo which is such a little treasure trove of pretty little things.

Well here is the kneaded result sprinkled with poppy and sesame seeds and proving on top of the Rayburn

30 minutes later and here it is all warm and smelling so mouth watering I am finding it very hard not to cut into it and give myself a severe case of heartburn.

So onto my next lot of baking for the morning an Almond Tart which is another really quick recipe that everyone loves and again does as just a slice with tea or coffee or for a more substantial pudding adorned with a big gloop of creamy yellow custard or a slick of cream. If you haven't got a greedy household like mine this will keep in a tin for 7 days without going stale.

So for Almond Tart the recipe for this is :-
1 quantity of shortcrust pastry (usual half fat to flour recipe) although you can get perfectly good shop bought pastry
3 tablespoons of good jam
4oz ground almonds
4oz softened butter
4oz caster sugar
2 eggs
A handful of flaked almonds to decorate

Set the oven to 170c again remember mine is a fan oven so yours may need to be hotter, put in a metal baking sheet to heat up.
Line a loose bottomed flan tin with pastry and give the bottom a good pricking with a fork, smear over the jam, I used a lovely bramble jelly that I had made last year. Put in the fridge until you are ready with the filling.

For the filling I just put the butter, sugar, eggs and ground almonds into my KitchenAid and let it do all the work. I am lucky enough to have my own chickens to provide me with the most beautiful deep orange coloured eggs and you can really tell by the colour of the mixture. When it is all well mixed smooth the topping over your jammy pastry case, sprinkle with the flaked almonds and pop into the oven on the pre heated baking sheet for about 40 - 45 minutes.

This is really quick and easy, no blind baking to do, but do make sure you put onto the baking sheet as this helps to crisp up and cook the pastry underneath. When I have fresh soft fruits about I sometimes put  some blackberries or raspberries on the jam and then cover, this is a real treat but won't keep as long.

I cannot tell you how good my kitchen is smelling at this moment in time and I find it such a comforting feeling when the children come home from school and the house is full of the wonderful smells of baking it makes me feel like a real Enid Blyton style Mummy with home baked cakes and tea on the table.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Family Sunday

Today we found some old video of our middle son from when he was 3 and 4 ohhhh the lovely memories it brought back, how children grow it makes you want to savour every minute of their childhood before they grow up and fly the nest.
We all had a Sunday roast cooked by me and we were joined by my grown up daughter and our little grandson. What a lovely slow day we have had!

The evening was finished off yet again at the local pub for a pint and steak sandwich and of course I took along my crochet to occupy myself with whilst the boys watched the football. I think the locals thought I was quite mad sitting with my colourful basket full of Rowan handknit cotton and little hexagons!

I am also trying to decide what to do with the pretty spools of cotton string I got from the Arkwright's museum yesterday


Sunday, 26 February 2012

A Glorious Saturday

Had a fabulous day yesterday it started by going to the collectors market in the local town. We sat in the buttermarket with a bacon sandwich and big mug of tea and watched the world go by

Here are my lovely purchases a vintage whisk a bargain at £4, s sooo sweet little pink strawberry condiment set, so lovely heart cookie cutters and some beautiful cotton doilies 50p!!! which I intend to hang some beads around and make some pretty little covers for my sugar bowl in the summer.
I also took a trip to one of my very favourite shops Bibelot to purchase a bundle of Cath Kidston fabric ( they stock so many lovely things I struggle to leave it.
Then I found this gorgeous red Gerba and it is now ordained with a little cover I made from RICO cotton to cover the plastic plant pot

In the afternoon we took a trip over to Matlock to visit the Arkwright museum which was great and then into the town for fish and chips before heading home via the local pub for a quick pint and chat with friends. A wonderful end to a glorious day!


Friday, 24 February 2012

A Spring Like Day

Hello Peeps,

Today has been another lovely day here in the Manifold Valley, the sun is shining and it makes me feel so happy!

I have quite recently taken an interest in doing a few crafty things, mainly to stop me just sitting watching the television all night and keeps my hands busy and stops me reaching for yet another little snack!

This afternoon I have done a little more on my hexagon blanket which was inspired by the wonderful attic24 blog and not a bad attempt either especially as I have taught myself to crochet only but 2 months ago from You Tube! I had originally started this as a single cover but have now decided to make it into a smaller throw, this is mainly because I have bought some more wool for my next project a stripy blanket and really wanted to make a start on that. I am so impatient!!

In fact below is a little purse I made one evening just to give me a break from the hexagons I lined it with some spare Cath Kidston fabric and I think it looks just fab.

Anyway as this is also my first go at blogging I will try to keep you informed of my progress