Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Where does time go

Been feeling a bit tired lately and have had lots to do, so consequently writing this gets pushed lower and lower down the list of priorities. It's not supposed to be that way but hey, that is the way it goes. Husband and I have just come back from a quick break to Lagos which was supposed to refresh me but unfortunately today I am sitting here reeling from yet another encounter with the truck that periodically runs over me. Not in the least bit helpful either as we now have alot of work piling up. The garden plans are moving on and if all goes well it will be revamped on the 11th May. That is good but, and it is a big but, all the plants in my big purple boxes need re-potting into pots and moved. Not to mention all the rubbish needs moving and the shed emptying and thrown away! I know, moan, moan, moan. Not much work with the bank holiday weekend coming up you think??? Well that doesn't take into account social engagements and a very important visit to MIL who has just had some bad news. Phew I need a break again.

My poor crafting is suffering and I am having withdrawals again, I need to finish a birthday card by Sunday and am wondering how that is going to fit in. With difficulties I should think, shall I go and sob into a corner? Or shall I suck it up and get on with it? Obviously I shall do the latter but I tell you it will be very slowly and painfully!!!!!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Pen-pals and Yorkshires

I had a good weekend, don't know about anyone else but mine was fine. I cooked a rather scrummy roast beef dinner on Saturday for Sister, I even made Gluten and dairy free Yorkshire puddings, I was impressed with that I can tell you. I have never yet managed these delicious morsels and to be honest I thought I never would, but I did. I am getting more experimental with my use of flours as I get used to the various different ones and how they work. You could say it was a labour of love. Husband certainly thought so, apparently I can now make a large one filled with meat and gravy, I say give me a chance! It could have been a fluke you know, I think I may need to consumer taste test a few more batches just to make sure.....Although, I could be tempted to go for a Toad in the hole....hmmmmm. Ponder, ponder.

Whilst I was killing time on the internet the other day I was commenting on Various Facebook statuses, from people I rarely see and who some I might never see again and strolling through a craft talk forum and making friends. I like this idea of cyber friends, don't get me wrong I like real friends too, but sometimes when making real friends is harder than it appears the cyber life proves a good substitute. I know some people out there, (strange ones I am sure) do not "get" Facebook or do not choose to have a life on-line.... I am genuinely puzzled by this, my whole life these days seems to be on-line whether it is my calendar, linked to both Mother's and Husband's, to my contacts linked to a Google account and Facebook or my random outpourings on this blog, my banking, my shopping Sainsburys and frivolous alike. I find comfort in the fact that when my M.E keeps from  joining the big wide world that I do not miss out on the aspects of life that other's may take for granted. If I did not have the internet I would not be able to do food shopping on my own, I would not easily see the pictures of my gorgeous grandchildren, I would not be able to make friends and share my passions, I would, in a word, be lonely. Now isn't that a thought for all those that decry the internet?

Do you remember those days at school that we were made to write to strangers in letters, pen-pals, from this country or from others, offering up insights into our lives and the details of what we were doing? We didn't know these people and in some cases we had nothing in common with them yet it was an acceptable way of doing things. What are Facebook and forums but a large gathering of pen-pals? Slightly more instant admittedly, and yes sometimes I do miss the excitement of receiving a letter but it is slowly being supplanted by the excitement of an instant response of an e-mail. Yes! I have mail.

Gluten and Dairy free Yorkshire puddings

This is adapted from a recipe on the net, I haven't followed it slavishly and have changed a couple of things so I cannot claim credit for it all to myself.

50g white rice flour
50g tapioca flour
a good pinch of slat
2 eggs
150ml unsweetened soya milk
150ml water
10g dairy free marg melted and cooled
oil/veg shortening  for greasing

Oven  230C gas 8

Mix together the milk and water.

Sift the flours and salt into a bowl
Add in the eggs and whilst whisking add half the milk and water mixture making sure all the flour is mixed in, add the remaining liquid and cooled marg and stand for an hour. After this time it will need stirring as the flour sinks.

Alternatively you could just bung it all in a food processor or liquidiser and blitz until all mixed.

Pre heat the oven, either grease bun tins with sunflower oil or place a small amount of lard or shortening in each one and heat until almost smoking. When hot enough pour in the batter and fill each cup to 2/3 full.

Bake for approx 20-25 mins.

Remove, devour.

Bear in mind that gf flours do not brown as much as normal flours, so your puds will be paler.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Chocolate dreams

My chocolate order turned up today, finally, my Easter munching can begin. After a weekend when I felt decidedly left out from all the fun I can now assume the position of sloth on the settee and settle down to enjoy my delights. I've nicely parcelled up Husband's share, it looks suitably pretty and non masculine but I am sure he will enjoy the contents none the less. I can smell the chocolate, it's sweet smell is wafting at me, taunting me, begging me to eat it, maybe not all at one go, perhaps I can make it last 2 days at least...... But why does chocolate hold such a sway over us? When we are happy, in love or celebrating we are given chocolates, when we are sad, down or blue we are given chocolates, when we need a treat or feel we deserve a reward guess what we reach for? That dark seductive stuff, the stuff that melts in our mouths, the stuff that gives us such a rush of bliss that other pleasures can pale in comparison....Chocolate. It doesn't matter what type you go for the dark, 70% truly adult taste, the smooth creamy Galaxy bar or, the undeniable winner for most, Cadburys dairy milk the effect is the same instantaneous mouth rush of pleasure! Oh for God's or Goddess's sake stop... I can only eat dark chocolate, dairy free milk chocolate is a joke and I long for the taste of milk choccy, it's only been 4years and about a month since I last had any, not that I am counting you know. There are some things I will break my gluten and dairy free rules for and suffer the consequences but dairy chocolate is not one. Why? Because one bite and I will be hooked again, well and truly caught in the trap and I will have to cold turkey, again, to wean myself off. So rather than go down that route I refuse all offers and temptations, it is not easy it is not pretty at times when I am drooling but I will not succumb. No, never, not again. The absolutely sublime taste of Hotel Chocolat's Gianduja will more than suffice. it will have to, and thankfully the nearest shop is in Guildford or Basingstoke or mail order so instant choccy fix for me, for that my waistline thanks me!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Seemed like a good idea

Easter weekend and all is fine with the world, well apart from the small issue in our house of no Easter chocolate. Now as a witch obviously Easter is not high on the list of things that I celebrate, however I am quite partial to spending Easter Sunday slugging on the settee with a pile of chocolate. This is not going to happen this year, a small hitch with the internet and delivery. The yumptious order of choccy due to be delivered on the 5th is now coming on the 10th! Not entirely in time for Easter. Now the nice people at Hotel Chocolat have done their best to make amends, they are refunding the cost of the whole order and giving me a £25 credit on my account and I still get to keep the choccy, but not eat it til Tuesday! Will there be any left for Husband?

Saturday afternoon seemed a good day to do a spot of crafting, just a small amount you know. I had some wonderful ideas that I wanted to do, I had written them down in my inspiration book and started them off. Then something happened, as it quite often does, the idea did not match upcwith the reality. Art imitating life? Or just life? The things that we start, with definite ideas of how they will look or turn out that end up not what we expected. I am not saying that this is a "bad" thing, just the way it is. More often than not the end result is better than the original, a srprise that works well but there might sometimes be a niggle that thinks the original would have been best. My cards definitely seem to do this. This afternoons were no exception, the ideas were there, the finished articles however bore little or no relation to them.....

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Weekends come and go and crafty fingers itch

It's Tuesday already, where did the weekend go? I know mine didn't go quite as planned, there was no reading marathon and definitely no crafting marathon. I was a bit peeved about this, there is nothing I like better than spending the weekend curled up with a good book, and a huge heap of card projects. I did manage to feed Mother bacon sarnies and Husband an obscene amount of bacon and egg butties though. Does that count as being productive??? Also the filing cabinet was relieved of some of it's load, is it only me or does paperwork reproduce whilst hiding away from prying eyes?

I did manage to take the new bag out for a quick peek of daylight, I can assure you that it was suitably grateful to be seen in Sainsburys, maybe not the surroundings it imagined itself in but the words beggars and choosers spring to mind.

I have managed some crafting today, my monthly Craft club on a Tuesday, and good fun it was too, we tried our hands at Iris folding, I had never done this before and did not take to it at all quickly, apparently I was quite vocal in my opinion! I don't see it myself, I am never vocal - honest. But I did manage to make a credible job of it and although I like the effect I can't see myself doing too much of it, my heart belongs to ink and stamps I fear. As usual when I have spent the morning out crafting I have the itchy, crafty fingers when I get home, I did put it off long enough to get lunch but now once this has been written I may have to move down a position on the desks, there is a siren call, I can hear it quite loudly.

So there we have it, my weekend came and it went on a pile of 6 wine bottles, and now the week is slowly slipping by, soon it will be the long Easter weekend and I will wonder where that has gone too......

Friday, 30 March 2012

Mama said there would be days like this

Well maybe not my Mama!!

The morning had arrived, Husband and I are laying in bed sharing a cuddle with our smart phones, when I remembered that the nice man from Coach had not phoned me yesterday to let me know my bag was on it's way. I was a bit down in the mouth I can tell you. Oh yes I caved in and bought it!! Oops did I not say that? ;-) So after reluctantly leaving the arms of said smart phone I toddled downstairs to make a pot of tea and a grown-up breakfast of Rice Krispies when the door bell rang. I shuffled off thinking " what the heck has Husband ordered now" to be confronted by a very nice Postman with a VERY nice package in Coach stripes. I think they may have heard my scream from quite a way away. Oh I like a good bit of unwrapping, such nice packing, it's own box, ribbon, and bag to keep it in. My bag has a bag! Can you see my happy dance? So there it is, my beautiful, expensive purchase, just sitting there, on my bed coz I'm not going out today.......I did of course post the obligatory picture on Facebook, and was sitting there admiring it when aforementioned nice man from Coach phoned me to say he had dispatched my bag yesterday and it should be with me by Wednesday. What a nice man, quite surprised he was too when I said it was here and on Facebook!

I think the blood went to my head though, because not only did I decide to make pie for tea, and anyone who has cooked gluten and dairy free knows that that is not a task to be taken lightly, but cleaned most of the kitchen (can't have the new cleaners delaing with a dirty kitchen) and am trying to perfect the art of soft, white rolls. I will obviously keep this blog informed of the success of the rolls, the pastry I already know to be good.

I spoke to not Daughter daughter today, she of course tutted at me for being sooooo extravagant with my money, personally I think that the Pink Poppet granddaughter, who is showing alarmingly Chouet like behaviour, will appreciate them when I am dead and gone. She does seem to have "inherited" my shoe and fashion habit. Got to love the power of nurture over nature. Didn't work quite so well with the not Daughter daughter, she resolutely refuses to get excited about these things....tut tut, she could of course still grow into them, she is young still!

One more bag related thought, my bag has a serial number! It is of course a limited edition, I think I can safely say that I have never had a bag with a serial number.

Potato pastry.

75g white rice flour
50g cornflour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthum gum
1 tsp baking powder
100g butter/marg chilled and cubed
200g cooled cooked mashed potato ( smash is a breeze for this)

Place the flours, salt, xanthum gum, baking powder and marg in a food processor and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs, or rub in my hand.
Add the mashed potato and mix until combined
Cover in cling-film and put in the fridge for1/2 an hour, then knead for 2mins until smooth and put back, uncovered, in the fridge for another hour.

I usually roll it our between cling-film or baking parchment as although stronger than some GF pastries it can still crack and break up.

I use this for yummy chicken pies and it works so well. Husband is so impressed that I can feed him pie again. Not too much pie though, that would not be a good thing.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Bags, bags, bags

Sigh, I think I need to rob a bank, either that or get a handle on my bag addiction. I have fallen in love with yet another bag, do you want to know the details? It's a Coach bag it's beautiful and perfect for the summer, quite small for me too, but, yes there is always a but, it's £275..... For a bag, I know. I could tell myself of the quality of Coach bags, they are incredibly well made and good quality and I have one already so I do know, but still I come back to the slight, teeny tiny issue of cost. More to the point I am sitting here credit card at the ready willing myself to order it ( or not if you listen to the angel on the other shoulder) and I haven't even seen it in reality. Am I really going to go to Westfield or Bond Street just for a bag???? Don't answer that!

I know I will buy it, I will forgo many things to do this, more "essential" crafting equipment and supplies, clothes, shoes, yes even shoes would be foregone for this bag, it has taken on such a lustre in my soul. I could split it interest free over a couple of months and still have some play money. Let's face it I will have this bag! The last time I felt like this over a bag I didn't buy it and spent 3 years whimpering about it until Mother, dear Mother, bought it as a combined Christmas present and thank-you present. I outright cried on Christmas day at the sight of my Mulberry Bayswater, in oak, a classic. Now of course there is a little devil which sits there saying " ooooo get more in different colours", bad devil. Said Coach one is a bargain compared to the Mulberry habit!

This also raises another query in my mind, how can one who is Witch, wise to the ways of nature and the seasons, eco friendly and spiritual, be quite so materialistic when it comes to bags??????? Or Shoes???????

Luckily the very nice man in the Coach shop says they are out of stock. I'm not fretting, he has my details to let me know when they come back in stock.

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