Monday, 5 December 2016

Monday baking

Been a while since I have put my KitchenAid Ruby to work so we started on Panettone today.  Takes ages in proving being it is an enriched dough but here was the first mix. had to be beaten until it looked almost stringy as it was beating.

This was after first rise then knock down. Already looking good but anemic.  We had new lights put into the kitschen a few years ago.  Although it is easier to photograph in the kitchen at night everything now either looks to dark or washed out/ So you will have to imagine the buttery yellow colour this looked like at this stage

Divided into 3 molds/cases and ready for the second rise/proving.  At this point I was pretty concerned I should of used just 2 cases.  But then remembered my last ones and how they almost overtook their cases.  Left it all to the cooking gods and got on with other things.

Swiss roll has been requested as one is to be made in school tomorrow so we gave one a trial run.  No idea what is going into the one at school but we decided to go for the basic swiss roll with jam this evening/  He is ours rolled up and cooling.

After bath/shower times we were both still pottering in the kitchen and the Swiss roll needed finishing and filling while the panettone was cooking in the oven.

The boy did good, look at that swirl! Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood would be so proud of this boy. I think he is taking after me in the kitchen.  I am so proud.

And here are the panettone, I did cover them in foil and they aren't quite as dark as they look in this photo.  Tomorrow we will open one and see how it looks inside. 

Pretty much all that has gone on here today. I was at the gym this morning with my daughter and spent some time with her as well. So a wonderful day all in all 

Take care 
Jules xx

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Sunday, all is calm and bright

Today there is a fair bit on in our little village.  There was a Christmas fair at the local community center and in the evening there is the turning on of Christmas lights in the village square.  The weather is absolutely lovely. We decided on a walk around the village and popping into the Christmas Fair.  First thing though walk over the old railway line and down through to the water meadows.  It was cold but such a bright and clear day so took a few photos.  First is our local church.

Then the Water meadows, loved how calm the water is and how the reflections are so clear. 

And a shadow photo of youngest son and I.  Yes he is the tall one on the right.  Someone forgot to tell the baby of the family to stop growing.  I saw these shadows and just had to take a photo.  Somehow it hit me more clearly with the shadows and him growing than just looking at him.  Strange but true.

Eventually we got to go round the Christmas fair.  Now I cannot show you most of what we bought as there are a few presents I don't want there being a chance of seen by others.  But we did get this lovely hat for Luke.  It's 100% Shetland wool and warm.  Am very surprised at his choice but is a lovely choice.  

Pretty quiet day other than that, we are going to have a fairly calm afternoon and evening and enjoy the rest of the weekend.  Will catch you all tomorrow 

Take care 
Jules xx

Saturday 3rd

I love Pokemon I really do but I don't love trying to do Christmas shopping with a screen addicted Pokemon addict who is not listening to what I am trying to convey.  Joys of parenthood I guess.  We did manage to get out of TKMax without me having to do my Mum voice and with teenager intact. I am not a big lover of shopping anyway.  I can play Pokemon, not walk into people, shop and hold a conversation if needed.  Apparently I can multitask well. 
Last year we had an amazing Yankee candle advent calendar and I am kind of kicking myself I didn't think to get one this year as we loved it.  So todays advent mission was to go choose a Christmas scented candle for the house.  Having not bought any Yankee candles for months I was in my element in the shop. How on earth do you pick one? Good job the festive scents were 30% off.

Luke's been banging on about sprout stalks for weeks now.  I think he finds them funny because if you asked him if he wanted sprouts with his dinner he would say no thank you. Had to do some vegetable shopping on the way home for the evenings dinner and even got a smile and pose.

 Treated myself to some Christmas teas. 

Quite a selection I thought.  And a new big cup for drinking my tea in.  So far  have hardly had an coffee since we came home and I really do run on coffee almost exclusively.  May suffer for that later but we will soon find out.

We couldn't pin down our choices to one candle so we came home with 3.  They will keep us going all through the season no doubt.  Candy came lane was my favourite from last year so it got my vote. Snowflake cookie took a bit of choosing between that and Christmas cookie.  Macaron treats is a new scent but so far my favourite. can't get enough of it.

Just to round the day off I made some balsamic glazed beetroot and carrots from the Jamie Oliver Christmas book.  With sprouts !!!  All in all a very eventful if not busy day. Nice one though as my Dad and his lovely wife came to see us in the evening on their way home.  Always good to see them and catch up :o) 

Oh and I finished my coat, don't all faint in shock, all I needed to do was sew one some poppers to do the coat up and I did that today.  So I can now wrap up in style.  Hopefully will get some photos soon 

Take care 
Jules xx 

Saturday, 3 December 2016

advent day 2

Todays advent mission was a simple one.  First Christmas hot chocolate of the season.  

Not sure what he is checking out here? Right ratio of cream to hot chocolate perhaps? It was enjoyed anyway.  It's been a busy interesting week so all that was wanted this evening was a relaxing evening and he got it.

I have been a lady of leisure today.  Tea, cake and baileys hot chocolate with a friend in the morning, and coffee and catch up with another friend in the evening. And as I am home now I am reading Jamie Oliver's Christmas cookbook and drinking sweet rhubarb tea. Making plans for cooking and baking for the weekend ahead.

I am not usually one for fruit teas but this sweet rhubarb tea by Taylors is delicious. 

So not a massively busy day, or wildly interesting one but it was a lovely day full of wonderful people and relaxing times

Take care 
Jules xx

Thursday, 1 December 2016

advent? blogmas? not sure what to call this

So our first box held the instructions to ask Mum for the first decoration of the season and put it together ready to display.  A 3D star with lights. 

I love Tiger the shop.  Full of lovely things and often fairly cheap to.  But this was a sturdy cardboard 3D star, which went together really easily actually.

Bit of fanning and and unflattening each spike of the star and adding the lights to the interior before using the toggle on the drawstring to keep it all in place.  Luke says it will look great on top of the tree when it goes up.  

And when finished.  Will look great in a lower light later in the season I bet.

I did also make up my quilt block. I used the log cabin method on this one but not really keeping it a true log cabin with light and dark sides. Does this make it a scrappy log cabin block? No idea but I like it.  Already have an idea on what to do with tomorrows block. 

Spent the day shopping with my daughter and got a few Christmas presents. So a pretty eventful but fun day. Tomorrow looks just as busy, with a both more sewing involved.  Unfortunately some of the things I am sewing are gifts so I cannot really share them just yet.

For now I am going to catch up with a few online obligations I have to do and get the bits ready for tomorrows advent box adventures.I think I get more excited over these things than any of the children ever did. 

Take care
Jules xx

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Preparing for Advent and plans

Every year I do something a bit different for Advent.  I really begrudge buying an Advent calendar with diddy cheap nasty chocolate in and that is about all.  So we do things slightly different here.  We have a calendar that rarely contains chocolate, although I did add some this year, and focus more of things to do to enjoy the season in little ways while also helping getting ready for Christmas day.  This year I couldn't find something I needed that was vital so had to change my plans.  So boxes it is with chocolate coins and paper chains.

I filled each box with a coin and a paper chain with the days instructions written on, and another  paperchain so they can be put together and added on to the other days each day.

And all ready for the morning.

Then I have a personal challenge.  I have these 2 jelly rolls I picked up from Fabric Land a while ago.  I am going to use these to make a quilt top.  I figure I can use these to make up a quilt block each day.  After the Advent season I am aiming to put them together by the new year. Should be an interesting experience.

Here are the range of colours in these rolls.

And as I finish up for the night I realise there is one spare chocolate coin left over.  I think I will have this with my coffee in the morning.  Being paid in chocolate is never a bad thing,

Take care
Jules xx

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

hilarious hindrance

Yesterday I decided to try and cut out the fabric to a skirt I want to make.  These innocent looking kittens are only innocent because they are worn out by helping me.  Can you hear the sarcasm in the words I just typed. After about an hour of doing something that should of taken me 15 minutes tops I finally got there and this pair were worn out from the fun.

See the cat tunnel toy that is on my fabric that I was trying to lay out flat? It wasn't anywhere near a few seconds before this photo. Soon as I started a cat tunnel complete with cat rolled over to say hello.

Now this is a big problem I have, The kittens are obsessed with pins!  They will pull them out of pin cushions, patterns or fabric, and merrily run off to play with them.  Being as dangerous for them as us and small children I literally have to keep all pins and needles under  strict lock and key. So I spent most my times saying things like "off" "leave my pins alone" and "come back here with that"  Then not to mention they are fascinated with the actually fabric being cut and will often jump in middle of it all to try and help/bat at the scissors as I cut with them.  My productive time may of increased by my production rate has severely plummeted thanks to these beauties.  Good job we love them.

Looks as if she is about to pounce on something doesn't she?

Hopefully today I might actually get to sew this skirt.  Depends if anyone is going to help me actually sew too.Time will tell.

Take care
Jules x 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Bandana bibs

We have all been ill, one after each other and at same times at times.  Then last week I got hit by Vertigo. Believe me I was really getting withdrawal from cooking and crafting.  Last night I said enough was enough.  I had in my mind for a while the idea of making a few bandana bibs. Who with babies doesn't need bibs? These are my first goes. I used a lovely bright cotton lion print for the front.
The inner side is a soft elephant flannel/brushed cotton.  To be honest you can use whichever side you please.  I have used poppers as a fastening but think velcro may be a better option if I make more.

And here's a view of both together but showing one side each.  A lovely little project that after a bit of tinkering I did a while back with drawing up a pattern I am pretty pleased with the outcome.

Hoping to get a few more bits done today for gifts so cannot really post those on here in case they get seen and surprise spoiled for the people receiving them. For now 

Take care 
Jules x

Sunday, 6 November 2016

crayon rolls for Christmas eek!

It's a day past Bonfire night her in the UK, we still had fireworks erupting everywhere this evening outside.  But today I decided to start on Christmas sewing OOOOoooo! These are not for anyone who will read the blog so I am not to worried about putting them up.  I need to do a few more of these.  They are crayon rolls.  Just need some crayons to put in them now.

Here they are rolled up and showing the button and elastic closure

Maybe hard to see the slots but here is the inside, minus crayons but ready to go.

And a view of the end. I saw these all over pinterest a while back and scribbled some sizes down on a piece of paper and made one for my granddaughter.  I think it's here on the blog somewhere.  But I found the paper the other day and remembered I offered to make 3 for someone to give to someone else for Christmas. So I am making progress in being organised and not waiting until the very last moment possible.  New idea for me

And just to show you the crayon slots are there and work here is an action shot. Ta dah!! 

Very simple makes and the past week have all been simple little things.  Just what I have needed to fall in love with sewing again.  I hadn't fallen out of love with sewing, but I think I had forgotten that it doesn't all have to be items of clothes and big projects.  Now I am raring to go and get to the sewing machine and see what creations I can come up with this month.  I even am planning on making my own Christmas cards this year. 

For now take care
Jules x 

Thursday, 3 November 2016

China the cookbook book review

A new cookbook? who me? surely not? Insert a giggle or two here.  Not that I need any more cook books but this one grabbed my attention.  I have the Italian Silver spoon book and the French and Spanish equivalents, and find I get more out of them than trendy specialist smaller books so when I saw this one I did try my very hardest not to want it.  Obviously I failed but, I am only human with a cooking addiction that overrides most other interests at the end of the day. The book arrived in the post a few days ago. After a short flick through it was obvious this was a book that would get used a lot when the need for Chinese food rears it head.

This book itself it a beautiful blue/green pale colour and the pages are edged in gold.  It is indeed a beautiful looking book.

Last night was a bit of a nightmare.  I was dealing with beginning of a migraine and the other adult in the house had a doctors appointment at the time dinner needed to be cooked.  Having been able to do most the prep for this earlier, which was a little chopping, this wasn't to strenuous to cook. I chose to make the Chicken with cashew nuts recipe.  Served it with plain steamed rice. This is ow it looked in the book.

And this is how it looked just before I served it up.  Only thing I did differently was add some mushrooms. May not look as wonderful but it was a great tasting dish.  The flavours weren't to complex, but was still really tasty.  The textures were all great, chicken was tender and the pepper and shallots crisp and sweet. What we loved was although there wasn't lots of sauce like from a restaurant or take away, there was still lots of flavours, and nothing masked all the individual flavours. Really looking into exploring this book more.  In the times of needing to save money and still eat well this book could be a real life saver for those evenings the family get a craving for Chinese take away food.  Best of it was only thing I had to buy on the day was a few shallots and cashew nuts.  Everything else was something we usually have to hand. For less than £2 expense we could make a meal that served for easily as a main course and no one complained about.  Other bonus was because I did most of the prep earlier in the day it took me as long as it took to cook the rice (25 minutes start to dishing up) and the actual dish only took around 7 or 8 minutes from heating the small amount of oil to putting the meal on the table. Less time than ringing up and waiting for food to be delivered or going to collect it.  I am very impressed 

Take care
Jules x