Beautiful things for you and your home!

Lots of homely thoughts on sewing, baking, papercrafts, gardening and all the things that go towards making your house a home

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

More Jubiliee Baking - White Farmhouse Tin loaf

Another recipe from Dan Lepard's 'Short & Sweet' book. This loaf uses what he calls the 'half sponge' method. You can start off the yeasty bit hours before you need to do the rest so it's a good one to do if you have to go out or you could do it the night before.

There's definitely more work in this one than the Easy White Loaf I did here but it's still not hard. I did mix up the dough when it came to it in my Magimix to save a bit of time because I'm not keen on the whole rubbing in method. That phrase just always takes me back to school Home Economics lessons!

Having said that, it still wasn't difficult, just a bit more fiddly than the other one. Taste wise, we weren't able to tell the difference between the two. Just because the Farmhouse loaf has fat in it, I imagine that one would keep a little longer - but that doesn't seem to be a problem we are having! The loaves are only small anyway so never really get a chance to go stale, as you can see from the fact I had to photograph the last few slices before they too disappeared!

All in all, another good recipe from this book. I'm eager to try the Cheese and Chive version of this one soon.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Nostalgia Baking

One of the things I remember baking at home when I was little was butterfly cakes. You know the ones, where you chop off the top, fill the dent with butter icing and stick in the 'wings' made from the divided cake top.

Feeling a bit off colour the other day, I was reduced to daytime television. This is not a good thing in general so I went channel hopping to find something a bit more enlightening to watch and came across one of the food channels showing Mary Berry baking cakes. I missed the whole Great British Baking programme but hers is a name I remember from my childhood too. So I sat happily ensconced watching some delightfully nostalgic baking.

When I felt better, I took that a little further and made some of my own butterfly cakes. Something I haven't done for many, many years!

Happy memories :)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Banana Cake Fail

I'd love to know if anyone else has tried the 'no fail' banana cake from Kirstie Allsop's most recent book 'Craft'. I wouldn't say I'm an expert by any means but I can generally make cakes ok. But somehow, I managed to get this apparently super reliable cake to flop.

Abandon ship! We're sinking!

When I put it in the oven, it had a sort of 'souffle' type texture to it which was fine - my favourite pudding has the same type of texture and that comes out great (ok, now I'm wanting to make that...yum yum yum) but as soon as this came out  it just started sinking and didn't stop! Despite being a recipe for a 2lb loaf tin, four bananas are called for. This seemed quite a lot, and more than other banana cake recipes I've used (which have all worked) call for. I do wonder if it's a bit much for that size cake.

Either way, I can't say it's something I'll be trying again. I'll stick to previous ones I've made that I know work but I'd love to hear if anyone else has had success with this recipe or if it's just me.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Lavender Heart Stuffies

I don't know if any of you subscribe to or buy 'Sew' magazine. I've been a subscriber for quite a while now but the last couple of months have left me disappointed. It seems to be going over to more craft than dressmaking. I love sewing craft as much as the next person, but that's not why I subscribe to what is a fairly expensive magazine. For instance, last month's was a Patchwork Special.

I'm all for reading, and trying new techniques but I don't really want a whole magazine devoted to it, when I buy that magazine for its original subject, ie, dressmaking. What also bothered me with last month's was that there was no 'proper' pattern. Sew's big draw is that it always includes a dressmakers' pattern, quite often Simplicity. This works well for me as they are usually patterns I'd like to try so that addition helps justify the subscription (as it's not the cheapest mag on the market). I like that it is modern, and looks at fashion as well as dressmaking. At least it used to.

Last month's pattern was for an apron (not exactly a shortage of these around), and a little girl's dress. Both are sweet, and both have to be downloaded. The thought of sitting there printing out bits of pattern that I need to use both time and ink up on as I churn it out and then try and work out what goes where does not fill me with glee. So far I haven't bothered.

Anyway, I'm hoping for a return to its roots for Sew very soon.

Along with the 'free download' offered last month was a pack of a few patchwork squares of fabric. I wasn't inspired at all by the projects shown in the mag so washed and ironed the pieces and put them away. Yesterday I felt like a play so ended up making these:

I drew a heart shape freehand and cut out eight larger size hearts, then drew around a biscuit cutter to make the smaller ones for the applique. I spray tacked the little one on the fronts and zig zagged around to hold it on then sewed two big ones together, sandwiching a little piece of grosgrain ribbon inside so that there would be a hanger for it. I tried it with some thicker ribbon to start but it was really hard to get it to hang right, so I unpicked and went with the thinner one. I then stuffed them with a mixture of pillow stuffing (quite literally from a pillow) and dried lavender.

I think they came out ok for a little bit of playing and for some fabric that I wasn't terribly inspired by to start with. I'm keeping the first one (which is a bit wonky!) and then giving away the rest. Yet another project to help me get used to my new machine.

I hope you like them and would love to hear your views on Sew if that's a magazine you read!