Saturday, 31 December 2011

Celebrating a fresh start - 2012 begins today

So, turning a new leaf. For 2012 I'm planning on expressing some creativity with carpentry - my christmas presents to self included a new power drill and a portable workbench. First I'm going to make some saw horses. But high ones that will support a table top that I can use for printing.

Sometimes I feel just like this - going nowhere much and growing into myself. Pretty OK really.

Monday, 19 December 2011

recipe for Christmas Mince Pies

My recipe comes from Jane Lambert who was a neighbour in Cairns. Her ambition was to set up a home-based cooking school. I wonder if she did, she would have been fabulous.

Anyway, she says these freeze well unbaked. What I did for the mincemeat filling was to buy some from the supermarket, and put it in a saucepan with extra stuff - grated nutmeg, a grated green apple, grated lemon zest, chopped almonds, some gin (I didn't have brandy), and a few more sultanas. I also went on a seek and destroy mission for large pieces of bitter peel. These I either cut into wee bits or chucked out, because I personally don't like coming across them in my mince pies. Result was definitely a superior quality of mincemeat, so it well worth this step.

275g plain flour  (I confess to adding a bit of cornflour at this stage, which is not in Jane's recipe)
25g ground almonds
 175g unsalted butter
finely grated rind of half a lemon
1 egg yolk (thinks to Madge who is back laying regularly again)
3 tbsp milk

Sift flours and use short burst of the food processor to cut in the butter. Add sugar and lemon rind and blitz again. Lighty mix in the egg yolk and milk. Turn out onto flour-dusted baord and knead lightly until smooth. Shape into disc and cover with gladwrap, chill for 30 min before using.

Lightly grease patty tins, stamp out circles with fluted pastry cutter. Put a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat in each.

You can make wee pies by cutting slightly smaller circles and dampening the edges, or bake as they are and when cool, drop a little icing made with pure lemon juice into the centre and decorate with a bit of sliced red and green glace cherries (this looks great!). Or, as I did, cut a pastry star, and sprinkle it with caster sugar before baking.

Bake in a mod hot oven - 180 to 200 depending on your oven, for 10 - 15 min - but watch they don't burn as they can brown really quickly.

Happy Christmas!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Wet weekend

It rained all weekend, but I still didn't manage to finish the SuperMario beanie. The new Addi circular needle is great, much easier than trying to manage multiple colours on dpns - that was driving me nuts. I was hoping to be able to send the finished hat to Matt for Christmas, but it is turning out way too small, and I'm going to have to start over with an extra Mario.

Unless Matt's head has shrunk?

Oh well, at least the mince pies were successful.

And I have finished a few more dishcloths, including one using shadow pattern. The blues don't really show up the full effect of this intriguing colour technique.

 The second one is the old ball and chain pattern from Mason Dixon knitting.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Mmmm, brown bananas

Can't go past the good old Edmonds cookbookwhen it comes to making a banana cake. Yum