Friday, 16 July 2010

49 years is a long time ......

Met up with my cousin Paula whom I haven't seen for 49 years and in my excitement I forgot to take pictures as did she! We had quite a lot to talk about and wished we had allowed more time or perhaps spent a holiday together! Still we won't leave so long next time and I will remember the camera!
Tony has been experimenting with bread - it is the standard loaf from the recipe I developed with additions. The honey and olive oil in the bread make it keep well. Here is the basic recipe for a 2lb loaf. 1.5 lbs of wholemeal bread flour, 1 sachet of easy yeast, 1tblsp good quality olive oil, 1tblsp runny hunny, water is dependent on the absorption capabilities of the flour but a guide is 15fl ozs of finger hot water, for onion bread add about 4 ozs of fried dried onion in with the flour and yeast. I don't use salt. Can be shaped into a cob but Tony uses a 2lb loaf tin. As this is made using easy yeast it requires just one proving so when mixed to a smooth non sticky dough (takes about 10 mins in kitchenaid) shape it, into the lightly oiled tin, leave to prove in a warm place, inside a plastic carrier bag tie the handles, until doubled in size - probably about 25 mins. Another variation of this is to divide the mixture at the dough stage into two and shape into 2 cobs, onto a baking sheet, using the handle end or your forefinger poke 'holes' over the top of the loaves, pour a little olive oil into the holes with sprigs of fresh rosemary, grind of sea salt over the top, leave to prove (for a baking tray either use the carrier bag as above or use a clean bin bag) and bake for about 40 mins. Now Tony puts the dough into a cold oven - not preheated as he finds this gives a softer crust, set the oven to 160c that's for a fan oven. Turn the bread out of the tin or if cobs turn them over on the baking sheets, knock the bottoms - should sound hollow, return to the oven for another 5 mins just to ensure cooked through. Try to resist cutting chunks off and spreading with cold butter - sooo yummy! I love making bread and enjoyed developing this recipe, it also good with 2 ozs oats in with the flour - remember to take out 2 ozs of flour to accommodate the oats or you will end up with a very dry crumbly loaf. When shaping the loaf - use some oats mixed in with the flour and sprinkle over the top. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

birthday flowers, rainbow bracelet and birdie brooches

As promised here are some pics of my birthday flowers - a beautiful handtied bunch presented in a boxy carrier bag from flowerbox in leicester. The lovely bracelet was made for me - handblown glass beads in rainbow colours with a ladybird and a bumblebee!
Here are some of the things I have made for sale - birdie brooches and corsage in welsh tweed, will put up some pics of the bags and knitted things - sheep tea cosies, socks and other bits.
I enjoyed making the birdie brooches the tweed was lovely to work with and I think the little birdies are quite sweet, people seem to like them!

Monday, 12 July 2010

happy birthday to me!

Good day today although it rained and that is the first time it has rained in my part of the country on July 12th for 56 years! Some record. Had a good day - went to Yorkshire Sculpture Park - membership there was one of my birthday pressies. Also had a pastel portrait of Hamish - the westie, taken from a photograph of him looking appealing, that was from Rachel. Lizzie and Ramadan gave me a lovely bracelet - hand blown glass beads in rainbow colours, the last one being coated in 24ct gold - the pot at the end of the rainbow - two of the beads have little friends on them - a ladybird on the the red and a bee on the yellow - made by an artist who exhibited at New Designers - one year on. Will take a pic and also put her name on my next blog. Also had lovely flowers from flowerbox in Leicester - peonies, stocks, green chrysanths, sweet william, canterbury bells, roses and rainbow roses (each petal sprayed!) delightful and beautiful - also from Lizzie and Ramadan
Part of my birthday celebrations was to have my eyebrows threaded - strange experience but very effective and a good shape. Have also had eyelashes dyed so feeling beautiful!
Busy trying to get a pair of socks finished for my uncle who is visiting on Thursday with my cousing Paula - she and I haven't seen each other for 49 years! Lots to say I am sure as our paths took very different routes! Will let you know what happens!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Back again .....

Sorry folks - just about settled in! Only 6 months since my last blog! Well life has gone on apace and is really very busy. We have been away to West Wales for a few weeks staying in a converted cow shed in Ceredigion at St Dogmael's. First stayed there in 1970's and I have to say it hasn't changed that much! Lovely time going round the woollen mills, Welsh tweed very different to Harris Tweed in that it is a double layer - my textile designing daughter says it's jacquard - which I am not going to argue about! Some lovely stylish and very expensive tweed at Meilin Tregwynt. Bought a lovely tweed rug at the Solva Woollen Mill - far too nice for the floor! The Wool Museum outside Newcastle Emlyn was amazing - particularly as one of the displays is a Hattersley loom - memories of Sheila's (Scalpay Linen) loomshed. When we weren't looking around mills we were on the beautiful beaches around St Davids, Tresaith and Llangrannog (lovely cafe there!)
Been very productive on the bag and sock front and selling well at craft fairs. Thinking about doing a regular market stall - the only problem being when I was attending the Sassygael fairs in Harris keeping the stock level up was so difficult - so I am being a bit picky about how many and where!
Enjoying being more central - the Yorkshire Wolds were a bit far out, here imbetween Wakefield and Huddersfield gives me good access to all sorts of things. Texere yarns is close so is Rowan at Holmfirth, access to all the things I need for my bag and craft production.
Have been to a Goddess session today in the tradition of the Sisters of Avalon to celebrate the Solar eclipse. I have been annointed with the Waters blessed by Domnu - Goddess of the Deep which where sprinkled over me by the Priestess using a long white swans feather - it involved candles, visualisation and meditation which I love so will be going again!
Anyway will get the camera sorted - the lens has jammed with sand from the welsh beaches when I shoved in my pocket which was full of shells and sand!
And good news Daisy, the ewe I reared from a day old who went to live with my friend Sheila is in lamb! I am going to be a stepgranny!