Friday, 21 August 2009

Something for the weekend...............

I really must try harder with the bread making, instead of buying it! I do make it often, but not often enough, I think, so I got out the triple tin this morning and set to, the above being the result. I got the tin several years ago from a stall at the Dorset Steam Fair. I can't remember how much, but under £10 I think; I'm fairly certain it comes from some sort of institution (prison possibly) as it has the arrow mark on one side. It only *just* fits in the RAyburn oven, so I took a bit of a chance when I bought it!It bakes a good loaf, and they're a good size - needed when there are two men in the house. I use a very plain bread recipe - flour, yeast and water, as that's what works best, and a very quick oven. One thing I really want to try is baguettes, so need to research the flour aspect of that and give it a go. I used the oven to bake two trays of flapjacks while the bread was proving, and made two lasagnes (one vegetarian) for tomorrow night, so it's an easy supper for then. Then the residual ehat was used to bake the bread and ehat the water for a needed cup of tea. :)
Wish you could smell my kitchen just now.......................

Dorset feather stitchery

I was very pleased to pick up this apron in town the other day; a real find in the charity shop, for £3! More than I'd usually pay for a secondhand apron, but this one just had to come home with's very special :)
After WW2, women were encouraged to work this emroidery as a way of brightening up their clothes and lives after teh austerity of wartime. I think I'm right in saying it was done through the WI, and the woman who started it was Olivia Pass, whose book on Dorset Feather Stitchery is the classic one to buy if you're interested, and not too hard to get hold of. There's not much ifnormation on tne net as such, Google more or less just comes up with details of the book.
Yous hould ge tsome idea of the style from the photos, though - curving stitching resembling feathers, designs resembling the Paisley pattern, couching; sometimes ric rac braid was incorporated too. This one has small areas of smocking under the waistband. The ends of the gros grain ribbon ties are couched as well, such attentiont o detail, and the standard of stitching is high.
This apron is completely hand stitched as far as I can see; it's enver been used/worn, which leads me to suspect it was made for a show or exhibition, or as an illustrative piece; maybe even as an exercise in school - I suppose I'll never know, but I know I'm fortunate in that it has come into my possession, where it will be well-looked after for the future.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Meeting friends

Yesterday I went into town on the early bus and met a couple of friends from the forum; was a lovely day, sunny and hot. The town was busy even early on - lots going on tow atch while I waited , knitting, outside the abbey; a young lad was digging two test pits for and archaeological dig prior to path widening; people on their way to work; milk floats and delivery lorries; cyclists weaving in and out; pigeons searching out their breakfast; clatter of shop shutters as they open up for the day, the rustle of pristine nespapers; sights and smells of a small town waking up. I don;t go intot own very often any more, so really enjoyed all this, and getting the heel turned and the instep done on the sock was a bonus LOL. Headed off to meet friends for coffee in my favourite coffee shop - lots of talking, exchange of views, gossip.......then a trawl around the charity shops which yielded a few very useful bits and pieces and an interesting book on country remedies I hadn't seen before. A lovely way to spend a few hours away from the kitchen at this time of year and a well-need break.
Oh yes - and the odd things you find in graveyards:


Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Making ratatouille

Here's the post I was going to do yesterday, until I got sidetracked by the rather lovely house LOL
I've made ratatouille for years, when the first of the courgettes and tomatoes ripen. Up until a few years ago, however, I was never completely happy with it - frying the chosen vegetables in a bit of good oil, adding herbs and garlic. The result tasted OK, but never got the "Ooooohhhh, that's good!" result I was after with such fresh vegetables straight from the plot. The tomatoes oozed liquid and made the whole a slightly wet and insipid dish. I then hit on the idea of cooking each vegetable separately; heat the oil well - use good olive oil, or flavoured oil such as basil for a bit of extra zing; add in sliced onions and cook until translucent and softened;trnasfer to an oven dish with a slotted spoon. Add another small slug of oil to the pan and add in halved or quartered tomatoes (depending on the size) and chopped garlic to taste, and fresh herbs if used. Cook until just softening, then transfer to the oven dish. Lastly, fry the sliced or diced courgettes until just done, but retaining a bit of "bite", then add them to the dish too. Season to taste - I use sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of sugar. Mix gently to combine the vegetables and into the oven for a thorough heat through and serve either as a side dish or a main course. This way, the vegetables stay separate and firm, retaining their individual flavours and textures.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

I was going to post about ratatouille.....

......but thought I'd put this link up instead. Just imagine living here; what an absolutely stunning location! I loved Clare when I went there a few eyars ago; I thought this house was particularly wonderful, and could see myself here. It's got everything I'd want, I think. Big sigh..........LOL

Monday, 17 August 2009

Stock Gaylard Oak Fair

We go to this local event every year - it's only about 3 miles down the road at Stock Gaylard (where the Blue Vinney comes from); a wonderful, small scale event for all those interested in wood and trees, the countryside and local food. We always see lots of folks we know from here and the surrounding villages, and it's quite easy to spend the day there.
I had a phone call this morning to say that I'd won tickets to the Oak Fair from a competition in the Parish magazine, so am very pleased about that, a good start to the week!