Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Waffle Cloth


This was another unfinished project from last summer.  My first attempt at knitting a cloth using dishcloth cotton.  All that remained to be done was to knit the top border and tie off the yarn, but it is amazing how long it took me to complete it.  I didn't use a pattern ~ just an idea from a photo that I had seen on the internet.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Spring

Finally, we are seeing signs of spring in our garden.  Blue and white grape hyacinths.


Yellow and white narcissi.  Oh what joy to see their pretty display of colour! 

As those of you who use Blogger will know, I've been unable to post or comment for the last couple of days due to technical problems with their service.  It looks like normal service may now have resumed.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Bread

I've been experimenting with bread-making on and off for years, but somehow never quite managed to make the perfect loaf ~ until today.  I found a recipe for French Bread online quite some time ago, but it seemed so complicated that I abandoned the idea.  Then, when I made it recently, it came out heavy and unappetising, so I decided to change the recipe and make it my way.  These two loaves are the results.


The best part of the changes that I made is that the bread takes very little effort on my part.  I also adjusted the salt content, as I felt that it contained far too much.  If you are looking for a good recipe for French Bread, you may like to give this a try.  Not only does it taste good, but it also fills the kitchen with a delicious aroma.  Happy baking!

French Bread

12 fl oz water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp dried milk powder
16 oz all-purpose (plain) flour
16 oz bread flour
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried yeast

I used a bread machine on dough setting to mix all the ingredients.  This takes two hours, but once I've measured everything out, I can walk away and forget about it.  After two hours, I removed the dough from the pan and kneaded it lightly, divided it into two and formed loaf shapes, scoring the top with a sharp knife.  I placed the loaves on a baking sheet and covered with a clean cloth and left them until they had doubled in size.  (You can make baguettes if you prefer, but I find it difficult to roll out the dough).

Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C, gas mark 6).  Place a dish of boiling water on the bottom shelf of the oven and bake the loaves until they are brown and sound hollow when tapped.  Mine took about 20-25 minutes.

If you want it more crusty, I think that you need to reduce the oven temperature after 15 minutes of baking.  Lower the heat to 350 F (180 C, gas mark 4) and bake for a further 25 minutes.  (I forgot to do this, as I was busy with other things!)

Apologies for measurements in Imperial, but the original was in cups and it was the easiest way to convert it.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Cable Cushion


I started this knitting project last October after I purchased this gorgeous Sulka yarn, which is a mixture of Merino wook, alpaca and silk.  I grossly underestimate the quantity required, as I did not have a detailed pattern, but a rough guide found on Mia's Country.

It was the first time that I had attempted cabling without a pattern and I thought that it came out rather well. 


The knitting ground to a halt once I got part-way up the back of the cushion cover because I didn't have any buttons. It took me months before I found any that I liked.

I finally tracked some down on eBay ~ beautiful rosewood buttons made in Italy ~ and they were definitely worth the wait. This weekend, I was able to complete knitting the back of the cushion cover and stitch it together.

I have to say that I'm very pleased with the results and I love my new cable cushion.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Chair

My lovely glider chair was a Christmas gift a couple of years ago.  I had wanted one for a long time ~ ever since we stayed in a cottage in Nova Scotia and I spent most of my time there gliding to my heart's content.

The dilemma was what to do to make it more comfortable.  A cushion seemed the ideal answer, but what type of cushion?  I bought a cushion pad and then spent ages deliberating. 

I found an idea on another blog and set it aside for when I had more time.  To read the rest of this story, you will have to come back another day, but yesterday, I finally completed this project, which has been far too long in the making.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Home Comforts

Sometimes I feel that if I don't find a way to fill my time, I'm going to go crazy.  Yesterday was one of those days, mainly due to the fact that I was waiting for news which will affect my future, but it didn't arrive.  It had been an anxious twenty-four hours; so I decided to do some baking.

My initial plan was to make honey oatmeal cookies, which are favourites in my house, but then I got into an almost meditative state and I didn't want to stop.  I made a lemon drizzle cake and then I made a malted loaf.  In the meantime, I had made bread dough and made a couple of loaves of French bread (no photos, as I was told it looked like "Dino-Bread" ~ not very complimentary, but I noticed it was eaten regardless!)

Not only did all this domesticity fill me with feelings of peace and satisfaction, but it filled the kitchen with the delicious scent of home baked bread.  All in all, a very satisfying way to spend a day.

It looks like spring has finally arrived and the forecast is for sunny, mild days.  Not warm enough to think about changing to summer clothes yet, but at least I won't need my winter coat and boots!

Whatever your plans, have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Luscious Lemon Meringue

I've always loved lemon meringue pie and as I got a large bag of lemons which were on sale during Easter weekend, I decided to make one.  I used the recipe from The Gentle Art of Domesticity, which is made using a biscuit base, so no fiddly pastry.

The filling was a touch on the runny size, but that had to do with the fact that condensed milk does not come in the right size of can here, so I used a little less (I think that I should have cut down on the lemon juice to compensate).

Fortunately, I didn't walk away and leave the oven on the timer, as the meringue browned really fast.  It tasted as good as it looked, though it was a bit difficult to get it out of the tin (which is the reason for the absence of photographs!)  Now I'm watching my weight after over-indulging, so I won't be making another one for quite a while.