Monday, 30 May 2011

Baking day

Question: What do you do with a spare day, with nothing to do and horrible weather outside?

Answer: Put your pinny on, put a bit of Carpenters on the Ipod and do some baking!

As I was making my Apple dessert cake with the damaged apples left over (which my husband refuses to eat if they have the slightest blemish on them) and pelting out the words to "Close to You" it occurred to me that i should have been born in another era, i love nothing more than doing some cooking or baking, escaping into my little bubble in my kitchen. I think i would have like to have been a housewife.
People at work say to me that they would be bored if they didn't work but i would be anything but. I would love to be able to have the time to keep my house in order and still have the time for the past times i love such as baking, sewing, knitting etc. At the moment i have to divide my time between them. But until I can I'll just have to dream and take the opportunities while i can!

So today i made Apple Dessert Cake ( i think it is a Mary Berry recipe, my sister gave it to me) Its great for using up my bruised apples!

 8oz self raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
8oz caster sugar
2 eggs
half a tsp almond extract
5oz butter melted
12oz apples, peeled and cored
1oz flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 160oC/ Gas mark 3
Lightly grease a deep 8in tin

Measure the all the ingredients except the apples and the flaked almonds in a bowl and mix together then beat for a minute.

Spread half the mixture in the tin, thickly slice the apples and arrange them on top of the mixture mostly in the middle.

Spread the rest of the mixture on top, then sprinkle on the flaked almonds.

Bake in preheated oven for 1 and a quarter hours until golden.

It is delicious served warm with ice cream or custard, or cold on its own, my sister also has it for her breakfast at times!

I also made some flapjacks, basically i melted butter, syrup and honey together and mixed it together with oats, seeds, chopped nuts, cherries and sultanas, then spread into a tin and baked in a oven 180oC for 30mins. Cut whilst hot. I guessed a bit with the amounts but basically i just lobbed it all in!

I did have a photo but  for some reason my bluetooth isn't cooperating so I'll try to post a photo later!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Foodies Festival

Yesterday I went to the Foodies Festival at Tatton Park. It was a really good event, There were lots of stalls selling amazing food from all over England but mainly the Cheshire area, food and drink masterclasses and chef's demos. We went to a chef's demo, Norman Musa a malaysian chef from the Ning Restaurant in Manchester. The food he cooked looked and smelled amazing, we said that we must go and try out the restaurant. I later found out my sister Evangeline is friends with him! We bought some smoked chedder from the Cheshire cheese company, some jamaican jerk sauce and a bag for smoking food in the oven. Matthew had a kangeroo burger and  I had some paella. I tried some of the burger, it tasted nice. It was a really good day, I could have spent a lot of money but we only had about 20 pound cash which was probably a good thing! 

Sunday, 15 May 2011

At last I have had the time to do some sewing. Since being back at work I've only had chance to do knitting (which is coming on slow and steady, but nowhere near finished).
I have several projects floating through my mind but i initially wanted to have a go at shirring, and make a shirred top. I have some lovely floral cotton fabric which i thought i could use but after reading up on how to do it I have discovered that you need double the width of fabric so i didn't have enough fabric.
I decided to put together my Cath Kidston bag kit that I got with the Cath Kidston Book 'Sew' and it turned out to be really good to do. The fabric was pre-cut so that was the only bit i didn't have to do myself.
I don't know what it is I find it hard to just read instruction and do it i have to go through it in my head and work out how it would work, nevertheless i managed to get the hang of it and was amazed at how easy it was. I learned how to do the T-junction seams and did my buttonholes using the sewing machine.
Good eh? I was very impressed, I bought the book from amazon, for less than half the price, well worth it.
A closer look
My T-junction seams
My buttonholes

All in all I'm very pleased with it and there are lots more projects in the book which I'd like to try.

I found it much easier to do straight lines and keep a good margin from the edge. But my Mum was telling me about when she worked as a seamstress in a factory she went to work there when she left school.  She said that when they started they were taken to a room to practice their sewing skills and one of the things they had to do was to get a square of material and sew around the outside then into the middle keeping a good margin from the sides and when you had done it and it was neat you could progress on to the next thing.
So i decided to have a go on a scrap of material.
Not bad for my first go, It's quite a nifty thing to do to get to grips with your sewing machine!