Sunday, 30 December 2012

Odd Sleep

I had a not so good night's sleep last night.  In addition, Mary-Jane was crying at 4am, thankfully settled herself down again, and she awoke again about half five, quarter to six.  I was starting to get a bad headache as I went to bed.  I put it down to being tired and off the hooks, so I didn't take anything for it.  Mistake.  Even through my sleep I could feel it.  My sleeping thoughts were lucid.  It's difficult to explain.  I am asleep, but I think I am awake and I lay there thinking and thinking and thinking about stuff.  Last nights topic was managing a prison healthcare centre and making sweeping changes and improvements, how I would go about assessing and improving, even down to wording policies.  I was even annoying myself with having this line of thought and was desperately trying to think of other things (like knitting and baking) but my mind soon wandered back to my Healthcare Centre.  I was trying not to frown about it, as I knew that if I frowned my head ache would get a lot worse.  A lot of my headaches are to do with nasal congestion and neuralgia.  As I was waking up properly, I had to keep telling myself that I had had a good sleep, I had not been awake, just my mind was off on one.
So when I did get up, I did feel pap.  But Positive Mental Attitude saved the day.  I thought lots of positive thougths, that I felt better, that my headache was going and that I wanted to have a better day.  And I did.
I am not quite up for baking yet, each day I am hoping that I am.  Knowing me I shall have a deluge once I'm up for it.  I did try to cook a good tea.  HK wanted a sandwich - he has been feeling lightheaded today - so I did myself jacket spuds with a topping of Mushroom Korma.  Tomorrow I am hoping to do something along the lines of beetroot, boiled eggs and feta.  Maybe also with bulgar wheat and veggie chicken style fillets.  Tomorrow is another day though!
I have been at one with my kntting tonight and last night.  Yes you can hear me cheering.  I am doing 'Grace Beret' which can be found on Ravlery.  I am using Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool  A lovely yarn to work with.  I haven't worked with anything with Silk in for quite a while.  I am 17 rows off finishing and ten of those are decrease rows.  Easy.  If things weren't quite as they are at the moment, I would have hung in tight tonight and gone for broke and tried to finish it.  The early nights are doing me good, so I must go with that.  I'm only going  just over an hour earlier than normal,it is helping considerably!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Christmas, Books and a Need To Share Grottiness

Christmas is nearly over for another year.  We have come through relatively unscathed and looking forward to a Christmas when we have our own home again.  Mary-Jane had a wonderful time.  She enjoyed opening her presents more than seeing what was inside them.   She spent most of the day playing with her new things, looking at the lights, dancing and singing.  She was so very excited.
I am feeling really grotty, physically.  I have had a lurgy/cold/bug for weeks and weeks now and I can't seem to shift it.  Just when I think it's going it re-invents itself.  It is anoying me now.  I shall try not to go on too much with a 'woe is me rant', but it is now emerging on the battlefield of 'I'm not going to let it get me down'.  Which is either a pre-curser to wellness or to worseness!  I went to bed very early last night, had to go back to bed during the day, and am going to have another early night tonight.  I am feeling positive in myself, which is good.
In my mind I wanted to do some baking today, my body just laughed at me.  Tea was reduced to a boiled egg sandwich (and trifle), I didn't have the strength about me to even do a proper tea or supper (I wasn't overly hungry).  I have to share all this grottiness with you, otherwise I feel that it blocks what I want to say and to ramble on about.  So I have to share.
Mary-Jane is still mesmerised by the whole christmas thing.  She loves the tree and all the lights in Granma's room.  She loves the decorations.  She is talking more and more about Santa, parties, music, lights, presents, games and snow.
What did Santa bring me?  Jane Austen Knits III, seven books all on various aspects of baking and a cupcake calendar.  I am one very happy bunny, busting a gut (literally!) to get into the kitchen!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Momma and Mary-Jane - Decorating Our First Christmas Cake Together

A bit of a long day, to be expected really.  And lots and lots of photos of Mary-Jane.  Granma put her tree up last night and her decorations up this morning. Mary-Jane was quite fascinated by these as they had lights on them, moved and made noise (singing etc).  Here she is sat in Grandad's old rocking chair, in Granma's room

My main Kitchen Task today was to finish decorating the Christmas Cake.  I had help.  Well why not.  Mary-Jane had helped me stir the cake when I was baking it.  It is kinda fitting that she should help decorate it.  I had managed to dye the sugarpaste red before she twigged on that Mommy was baking in the kitchen.  She spotted my small rolling pin and wanted to 'help Mommy roll the pastry out'.  I obligingly sat her in the chair and she rolled out the icing sugar on the table.
Then she added some trex (white fat) to what she was doing
Helping Mommy in the kitchen can be hard work, so a bowl of chocolate ice cream is just the thing!
Then the real help with the cake started.  I wanted to emboss the red icing with snowflakes, then have white snowflakes on top, with a partial white snowflakes around the base, in place of a ribbon.  Mary-Jane saw me embossing.  She wanted to help stamping, so off she went.  With encouragement from Daddy.  In some areas of the cake there was heavy embossing, almost down to the cake itself.  Mary-Jane had fun and it was delightful to decorate our first christmas cake together!  Things don't always turn out as planned.
As it was coming up to MJ's bed time, Daddy and I encouraged her to leave a plate of mince pies out for Santa, as well as a glass of milk and a carrot for Rudolph, as well as a key for Santa to let himself in with as there are no open fire places in this house.  I showed MJ the carrot, and that was it.  Poor Rudolph wasn't going to get much of a look in.  She has never been particularly fond of carrots in any way, raw or cooked.  She munched her way through 3/4's of it before returning it to the plate.
It was too much not to expect MJ to taste test Santa's mince pies.  She had a nibble and a bite out of both.  With the cake, I only got to do four white snow flakes.  I did a twisted candy cane style rope.  This seemed to pull the cake together a bit more and give it a bit of lift.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow and seeing Mary-Jane with all her presents, and her just generally enjoying herself and getting terribly excited!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

My Cake Has Broke!

The Chirsmas Spirit finally came nibbling at me today.  The Scene - HK and Mary-Jane in the front, Status Quo on the telly, me in the kitchen making chocolate mince pies.  I was dancing and baking to The Quo (!) and apparntely MJ was dancing too, but I didn't see her.  I felt Christmassy.  By this point I had already put marzipan on the cake.  I  know I am way late decorating the cake.  I was hoping to be done with it today, but no.  I did get Mary-Jane to help me roll the marzipan out, and HK helped MJ. 
A little later, when my back was turned, only for seconds, these holes magically appeared in the cake, yes they go right into the cake, don't they Mary-Jane?  I was alerted by the little lady herself, telling me that the 'cake had broke'.  I couldn't be mad at her, not in the slightest.  The holes are fill in-able.  I'm glad that I'd not finished decorating the cake or done it it a fancy manner.  I am gooing for quite a simple cake.  I shall watch MJ like a hawk and I shall not turn my back when she is around!
I made some chocolate mince pies.  They tast okay.  I rolled the pastry too thick, it did seem thin enough at the time.  Never mind. Live and learn.  HK is not keen on them, he did try one.  Good job I have more pastry and more jars of mincemeat.
Another pic of the Cherry and almond cupcakes.  I used a corer, rather than a knife to make the hole.  Much more neater.  It is an inexpensive tool that I would recommend.

I have wrapped all Mary-Jane's presents up, and stashed them in the spare toom (Auntie Annie's Room).  I didn't wrap HK's as he said he know what they were and it would only waste paper.  They are now sitting on his book shelf (they are books).  He promised not to look at them till Christmas Day.  He's good like that.  I wanted mine wrapping.  I do know what I am having.  By Christmas Day evening I won't know whether to Knit or Bake!  Books and magazines coming my way.
I still have lots of chrimbo baking I want to do.  I don't feel as much under pressure now I have started.  That hasn't stopped me from adding another one or two things to the list.  I would like to pick a book and work my way through and do every single recipe.  Hhhmmmm, just need to choose one.  Perhaps that can be a New Years Resolution.

Cherry and Almond Cupcakes with a Cherry Brandy and White Chocolate Frosting

Cherry and Almond Cupcakes with a Chery Brandy and White Chocolate Frosting

Makes 12.  Use foil cases.

125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
2 med eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp almond essence/extract
100g self raising flour
50g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk
60g cherry conserve
  • Preheat oven to 180c.  Put foil cases in 12 hole cake tray
  • Beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy
  • Gradually pour in eggs, then almond extract, mix well
  • Gradually add flour, baking powder and ground almonds to the  mix
  • Add the milk, fold it in till mix has a soft dropping consistency
  • Spoon batter into the foil cases, 2/3rds full
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Cool in tin for 5 mins then transfer to wire rack
  • When cool, use a cake corer (or knife) to remove the cores, put to one side
  • Fill holes with cherry conserve and replace the cores, pushing them down.


110g icing sugar
4 tbsp cherry brandy
100g white chocolate
  • Melt Chocolate
  • Sift icing sugar.  Add brandy and mix well
  • Add melted chocolate and mix well
  • Put frosting on cakes.  This frosting will firm up quickly

Thursday, 20 December 2012

One Whimsical Christmas Spiral Sock Completed

My first Christmas Whimsical Spiral Sock is complete.  I am one row into the rib topping on the second.  I am quite chuffed with it.  It looks good on, and is the right size for me around the calf.  I am interested in how well it will keep it's elasticity though.  It is very warm and I can't wait to jump around with the pair of them on.  Not on a shiny floor though.  It is a little loose around the ankle, to be expected I suppose.  The foot is loose fitting as well, not overly loose. 
 The sock comes to below my knee.  I didn't do the recommended amount of rows, 24 less I believe.  It would be interesting to see how this pattern can adapt to different yarns.

A nearly sideways angle, showing the looseness around the ankle and foot.  It is toasty to wear, fun to knit.  I shall speed along with the second one.

Today saw the last of the food christmas shopping.  I am anticipate that I shall not have to go food shopping for around two weeks, apart from for fresh stuff such as bread and milk.  And maybe cheese etc.  I have a sinking feeling that this may not happen.  My cupboards are full.  I did pick up a couple of bargains, always makes me smile. 
I still have the urge to bake.  This urge is not yet translating itself to actual time in the kitchen and goodies baked.  Hmmmph.
Mary-Jane helped me put the shopping away.  She put alot of the fridge stuff on the table, the mushrooms in the hall, watched me put the freezer stuff in the freezer.  She then put the parsnips, carrots and a can of baked beans one at a time gently in the washing machine, and closed the door, talking to herself.  I couldn't say anything other than 'Good Girl for helping Mommy put the shopping away'.  An unforgettable moment. 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

We have heating again

We have central heating again.  Woohoo!  Mary-Jane is quite in her bed, baking in the heat probably.  She woke again around five-ish, and at half one.  HK got up and I stayed in our bed with her.  She did try to settle for five minutes.  As she was settling, I could see that she was thinking.  She said 'I can't sleep, my eyes won't stay closed'.  Out of the mouths of babes, as the saying goes.  She still has her cough, but seems to be generally better in herself.  If the weather is not bad tomorrow, I may take her out for a bit.

My Christmas Spiral Sock continues apace.  I have four and a half rows till I start the toe shaping.  It seems to fit.  Hopefully it won't go too saggy once it's worn a bit.

I didn't manage to get any baking done today, due to the boiler being fixed.  Must try harder tomorrow!

I am tired in myself.  I am waitng for the last week or so to catch up with me - it has to catch me first, mind.  Lots of early nights for me and lots of relaxation.  And baking.  And knitting

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Banana and Chocolate Chip Lovejack (Flapjack)

We have been a little warmer today, thanks to winter sunshine and a few extra fan heaters.  We have put a portable radiator in Mary-Jane's room.  I am quitely confident - and have my fingers and toes crossed - that she has a good nights sleep.  She needs it.  She woke up just before 5am, started crying and saying that she was cold and that she wanted more clothes on and to put a scarf on.  She came into bed with us, tried for a bit to settle, but was too awake.  She did have a snooze this afternoon(we all did!).  Since going to bed this evening I haven't heard her even cough.

I have made some Banana and Chocolate Chip Flapjack.  Yummy scrummy

115g unsalted butter
75g light brown soft sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
350g rolled oats
2 medium size bananas, mashed
100g dark chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 180c.  Grease and line a shallow 8" square tin with baking parchement
  • Put the butter, sugar, syrup and vanilla extract together in a pan and gently heat until melted.  Stir in the oats and leave to cool
  • Add the mashed bananas and chocolate chips and mix well together
  • Put the mix into the tin, level, smooth and press with a back of a spoon
  • Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden.  remove from oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes then cut inot pieces.  Allow to cool completely in tin before turning out, then cut again with a sharp knife.
My latest baking reads, that I can recommend are - Great British Puddings by The Pudding Club and Baked in America by Outsider Tart.  I got them both from the library.  I know that the former is on its way from Amazon, via Santa for me, lucky me!

Today's baking is the first in my long list of Things I Want To Bake At The Moment.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Cold But Not Bitter

A few more days have passed.  These can be summarised quite easily.  Mary-Jane's cough has been getting progressively worse.  We have not had any central heating since Friday night, as the boiler is up the swanny.  I have been getting the rumblings of Mary-Jane's latest lurgy and HK has started with it today.  We are not the only ones coughing in the house.  We do have a couple of portable blow heaters.  Mary-Jane doesn't like the noise of them in her room when she is asleep, so we put it on in her room for an hour or so before I take her up, then turn it off.  We now have two more fan heaters to put around the house.  The portable radiator in the other front room will be put in MJ's room from tomorrow and the heater in there will be swapped with it, so MJ has a warm room at night.  The boiler should be fixed on Thursday.  West Cumbria in December is not the place you want to be without any heating.  But we do have some form of heating and at the moment I can't say that the weather is bitter.  It is such a shame that the fire places have been blocked up and the Aga isn't working!
All that being said, Mary-Jane is being very good, and very tired.  She did have a good night last night, where we didn't need to go into her.  For qute a few nights, she has been waking and crying a few times and from the early hours, the only way to settle her is to have her in bed with us.  She has been steadily settling quicker with us and napping, which we are thankful for, but it doens't eqaute to proper sleep!  Both she and I have had a nap or two during the day.  I have seen HK on the brink of napping as well.
Mary-Jane has been well wrapped up.  She has been wearing PJ's, then a Onesie (she has been bought four onesies for the occasion!) and she has had her dressing gown on during the day as well.  Toastie.  She has been eating well. so apart from her cough and cold, the only other major thing that I am worried about is how cold her room gets at night.  And she will be missing playgroup tomorrow due to her been unwell, I don't want her to pass it onto any other children, especially so close to Christmas.
Talking of Christmas, HK and I put our deccies up this evening.  I dont' feel particularly anymore christmassy.  I do smile when I look at them, all hand made decorations.  We have had to hang the stockings high up as we don't want MJ to pull them down.  Pictures will follow!
Knitting.  I started making a Grace Silk Beret night before last.  I had a few problems with the cast on.  I muddled through and got to about ten rows of the main hat pattern.  It seems that I muddled in the wrong direction with the cast on and it is way too small.  It will be frogged.  It would have been frogged before now but........ I got distracted with the massive holes in my socks, and with HK nagging me to knit some more, that I thought that now was a good time to make some more.  And with that thought, joined with the thought that these new socks are for weting roung the house, rather than wearing when being out, it was logical to think that the socks should be done with somthing thicker than a standard sock yarn.  There was only one pattern to do - Carol Wileys Whimsical Spiral Socks.  The cast on for these can be used (I'm pretty sure) for the Grace Hat.  It also has picot edge.  I have done it slightly bigger than the given pattern as I have good size calf muscles (due to lots of swimming and cycling in my early teens).  I am using a red acrylic aran.  The same as I used for MJ's red riding hood cape.

I am doing them on DPN's.  I can go so much faster on circulars.  I am working on 56 stitches, no where near enough to use circulars.  Carry on regardless.  No doubt the boiler will be fixed before I have one completed.  Nonetheless, I am glad to have been spurred on to make some house socks and be able to retire my old socks before they fall off my feet altoghter.
I have been meaning to bake for quite a few days.  A general tiredness has stopped me.  Perhaps tomorrow.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Head full of cold and cables

I've got yet another chesty cold.  Mary-Jane has a cold and a cough as well.  MJ slept slightly better last night.  She awoke twice, about tennish and again around half twelve.  She did eventually settle until her usual waking up time in the morning.  I have been dozing this afternoon.  Both of us are dosed up with paracetamol.  I just can't be bothered to be poorly, it's a pain in the butt.  I have lots of things to do and don't really want to be slowed down.  Amongst other things, I have a list of at least half a dozen things I want to make, and I still have to decorate the christmas cake.
I am having a break from my aran jacket.  I didn't realise I needed a break from it.  I have made a prayer shawl for a friend, I finished that last night.  I hope to see my friend soon, to give it to her.  Daft as it sounds, I don't know whether to ring her and ask to drop it off (this may be sensible) as she is awaiting a 'results' phone call.  Perhaps, looking at it, it is the best time to ring her and drop the shawl off.
I saw a pattern yesterday on Knitty for a celtic cabled cowl.  It nearly instantly had me wondering what yarn I could make it in.  I have selected a yarn now.  A few days before this, a fb/rav friend posted that she was thinking about doing  Grace Hat.  I rather like the hat and amazingly enough had the right yarn to do it in, so I cast on this evening.  I have one more round to do of the rib before I start on the main body.  I used the same yarn to do a pair of fingerless mitts in January, with a  pattern from the first Jane Austen Knits.  I know another friend would love the cowl, I shall see how I go with it and it may be a belated christmas pressie for her.
The sunny winters days are over for a bit - back to lots and lots of rain and wind.  It isn't as bad as I thought it would be, judging from the weather forecasters.  I have been sporting my 'Waking the Dead' hat and cowl.  I made these a couple of years ago, whilst watching a season of Waking the Dead, hence the name.  Take a peek on Rav for the patterns.  I used  Big Softie, a very chunky yarn, so it took no time at all to do and looks good, not to mention keeps me warm!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Spicy Squash Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I mentioned yesterday that Mary-Jane (and us) had a bad night Sunday.  This is my cutie pie come Monday teatime.  One minute awake, the next minute, fast asleep.  Couldn't resist it!
I am more than thankful that we all had a good night last night.  Mary-Jane and I went to playgroup this morning.  There were only six children there.  MJ had more of a run around and was less clingy than usual.  She seemed more relaxed at snack time, sat at the table, helping herself to the fruit.

I got some baking this afternoon.  I did the frosting this evening.  It almost feels that I am only just slowing down and stopping now.  I am determined to get an hours tv and crocheting before bed.  I also made a big shepherds pie for tea, yummy.  The cupcakes are Spicy Squash cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting.  The recipe is from Betty Crocker The Big Book of Cupcakes.  They are surprisingly very scrummy!  The original recipe uses pumpkin puree and a cream cheese frosting.  I find this frosting when I make it to be too sickly.  I did try to make a brown butter buttercream frosting but burned the butter.  It is a new type of buttercream to me - I must try harder next time!

The weather here is still quite cold, bouncing around 1degree.  It is clear and crisp, with a hint of a breeze at times.  The winter sun is very low and very bright.  No rain for a few days - I can put up with this!  There is some snow on the top of the fells.  All very beautiful.

I am still not in the Christmas Spirit.  Hmmph.  It is lurking a littl closer, but not yet on the horizon.

Sylvia - Thank you for the Christmas card - are you still at the same email addy?

Monday, 10 December 2012

Mary-Jane's First Christmas Party

Another hectic weekend acts as prelude to a busy week.  Saturday was good.  In the morning we went to the library.  Mary-Jane got another certificate for her attendance and borrowing books.  She is loving having the library books to read at bedtime.  Saturday afternoon was the Biggie.  The First Christmas Party.  We were first there.  Initially Mary-Jane was very shy.  Ten minutes later she was running round the room and looking at all the decorations and balloons like a very excited two year old that she is!  She calls the room The Big Room - it was in the same place as playgroup.  She joined in the games and singing and actions.  She sat to play pass the parcel - and won fair and square - a box of jelly babies.  She discovered that she very much liked cheeslets (a cheesy biscuity baked crisp, sort of similar to cheddars).  It was beautiful to see her let herself go and have as much fun as she could muster.  After an hour and a half, she was getting tired and asking to see Daddy, a new sign that she is tired.  When Santa arrived she was not impressed.  When it was her turn to go and get her present, she cried and cried.  I carried her to Santa and she clung to me tightly.  She had a Dora The Explorer backpack and a My First Nativity book.


Sunday we went to Workington, just for a blow out mainly.  We had lunch in Morrisons.  MJ did well, apart from when I went for a replacement cuppa as the tea bag had burst, MJ took flight and started to run around (looking for me I think), so Gramma had to chase her.  I caught her, sat her down again and she didn't try to get up until we were ready to leave.
Sunday night Mary-Jane wasn't much in the mood for sleep.  She awoke after midnight, screaming.  Once she settled back down again (after much more screaming), she awoke again just before four and was quite certain that she wasn't going back to bed.  She did have a few naps inbetween Daddy and I.  So this morning, indeed all day, we have have been tired.  MJ finally fell asleep when Daddy was making her tea.  She fell into quite a deep sleep for ten minutes or so.  So far, touch wood, we have not heard a peek from her!  We need as good sleep - play group tomorrow!
This afternoon was Woodlands Knitting group.  I was toying with whether or not to go, due to tiredness.  I had perked up and I decided that it would probably do me good.  It did.  I took some crochet for a change.  I am making a prayer shawl for a friend.  I am using James Brett Marble chunky, the same stuff that I used for the Apple Shawl.  It is showing off the colours really well.
My head is still quietly stuffed full of recipes from The Pink Whisk's 12 Days of Christmas.  I haven't had the opportunity to do any.  I did defrost the butternut squash puree to bake with yesterday.  As yet no baking and the puree is still in the fridge.  Will have to check on it and if its okay, then baking tomorrow afternoon is hopefully on the cards.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Now Fudge!

I am still liking and munching on my coconut ice.  However I was left with half a tin of condensed milk in the fridge.  I have used it now and made a small-ish amount of chocolate fudge.  I have not attempted to make fudge for donkeys years.  I was always told it was difficult to make, along with toffee.  It is chilling in the fridge.  I used plain chocolate as that was all I have in the cupboard.  Plain is not the first type I would go for.  Maybe next time I may use an electric whisk, we shall see.  I am eager and a little wary of trying it, incase it doesn't come out okay.  I suppose that is something normal when trying new things.  If it does turn out okay (I need more faith in myself at times) then I will try it with a milk chocolate, and I shall try rum and raisin fudge.  Oh and find a recipe for banana fudge.  No, it's banana toffee that I go nuts for, not banana fudge!  Maybe worth a try though?
This morning the WI were doing the refreshments for the Egremont Farmers Market.  I could only stay an hour as I had to get back to take Dad to an appointment.  I did notice that on the stall next door, they were selling hanks of Portland aran, from sheep at St Bees, for £8 per 100g.  My tongue was hanging out, espeically as I am knitting with aran at the moment, and well into cabling.
Then this afternoon, was the usual Friday trip to Tesco.  Exciting.  There was a bitter wind, coming, literally off the sea.  It has been blowy all afternoon.  The sky over Cold Fell has been as black as a gorilla's dangly bits.  No rain here though!
Tomorrow promises to be exciting - Mary-Jane's first Christmas Party in the afternoon and a trip to the library in the morning.  I have requested two books, The Pudding Club's newest book and 'American Baked' - muffins, cakes and brownies.  I'm not sure how long it will be before they arrive.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Coconut Ice, Banana LoveJack And A Napping Child

IBS has rocked my world today.  I have not had it this bad for a very long time.  If I had had tablets to take, I would have.  It drains me and makes me feel really miserable, as well as all the regular symptoms.  It is much better now, but it is still there.  It used to be this bad when It Was Bad.  It has been worse than this.  Tsk.

On to pleasanter things

I recieved a parcel from my Fairy Godmother, Paula.  It was a belated Halloween and early Christmas Pressie.  I am chuffed to bits, I really am.  I still have my fetish for cupcake papers, and today it has been spurred on.  I am formulating plans for cupcakes of my own divining, running along the lines of chocolate (not cocoa powder) and bananas.  I shall keep that under wraps for now, probably till Sunday at least.  Thank You again to Paula xxx
I have made some Coconut Ice.  I haven't made any before, that I can remember.  After I made it, I mentally put it on the list of Things Not To Make Again.  It is very stiff to mix, to the point it was starting to hurt my delicate hands (!)  I did think to ask HK to stir it, he had Mary-Jane resting on him at the time, so I didn't want to disturb them.  I tried dyeing half of it pink.  It came out orangey.  I was a little disappointed. I like coconut ice.  I always beleived it to be difficult to make.  I think now that it might have been more of a cast that the ingredients were expensive, back in the day.  This evening, I cut it up into bite size pieces and tried some.  Coconut Ice is now on my To Make Again List.  I have introduced a sub-group to this list - Ask HK To Help!  I may try it with cocoa.  I don't know if it would be too sweet coated half coated in chocolate?

Talking of Chocolate - yesterday I have the lastest edition from the Food Heaven magazines drop through the door - Chocolate Heaven.  I haven't looked through all the magazine yet.  There are a few things that are tempting me straight away.  The prime thing is Banana and Chocolate Chip Flapjack.  I first tried Banana Flapjack at Beautiful Days in 2005 and instantly fell in love with it, perhaps that why it was called Banana LoveJack - or was it because it was made by hippies?!  I tried re-creating it myself with a degree of success, but not quite the same.  Bananas are definitley on this weeks shopping list.

I am doing well with my Aran Jacket by drops designs.  I think I have been salling it my Decimal Jacket, but I have just remembered that the Decimal Jacket is actually a cardi that I am knitting in a pink 4 ply chenille style yarn.  So here it is anyhow.  I have finished the cabling and am working 22 rows up to the armholes.  It looks really big, no doubt will be snug on me.  It is going to be very heavy to knit, the more so as I go along, without stating the obvious.  Achey neck is will be coming on to the horizon.
Did I tell you that Mary-Jane has had a few early mornings of late?  Today and yesterday she has crashed and burned, but only managed to have a nap yesterday, whilst 'Ready, Steady, Dink'ing on Daddy.  Ready, Steady, Dink, is MJ sitting between Daddy's legs whilst the foot recliner is up.  She can't resist sitting there.  She sits there quite often when she is tired and needs a rest.  And more often than not, watches Tinkerbell.  Sleep overcame her this time.

Auntie Annie - did you arrive back safe and sound?  I am missing you!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A Quieter House

The house has continued to be busy.  We have had six and/or seven adults in the house over the last three weeks.  Auntie Annie was the last to go last night.  It was sad to see her go, and to think that she will be so far away and that I might not see her again for a year or more.  At least we have phones and the t'internet.

HK and I went to Workington this morning to get Mary-Jane and outfit for her Christmas party on Saturday.  She also has a new pair of Peppa Pig Slippers and a new pair of posh shoes.  She just needs a pair of everyday shoes.  We are planning to get these after christmas when there is less festive and party stuff about.

This afternoon I went to Woodlands Cafe in Santon Bridge to meet up with LA and M.  It was M's Welcome Home Tea as she has been home home to the Far East  to see her family.  It was lovely to see her again  We chatted and chatted.  One of the highlights of conversation was sieves with feet.  When I came out of the Cafe, I noticed that I had a huge piece of something hanging down under neath the car. The garage was on the way back, so I called in.  I had noticed a scraping sound when going over speed bumps for well over a week.  It turned out to be the plastic that keeps the engine cleaner.  The things that attach it had come away.  The garage fixed it free of charge (phew_ and I was on my way.  HK says that the garage would have had to have removed it to change the oil etc when they had it for MOT and servicing a week or two ago.

Mary-Jane and I got to playgroup yesterday morning.  She had lots of fun.  SHe is coming on well, each week.  She even sat at the table for her juice and fruit after only being asked once.  She accepted a piece of orange that the child sitting next to her offered her.  Smiles all round.

I have not yet been hit by the Chrismas spirit.   I usually have by now and am itching to put up the deccies and make a few last minute ones.  There is time yet.  We went on Sunday to the Egremont Christmas festivities and watch the lights being turned on - more of that tomorrow!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Cinnamon Pastry and ASJ

Last night  I had another rarity - I was taken out for a night out for a pie n pea supper and prize bingo at Wath Brow.  I quite enjoyed myself.  I didn't win on the Bingo but came exceedingly close to getting a full house - I only had one number to get (12).  I was taken out by Uncle Frank and my cousin Ian.  I won two prizes on the tombola, one was a box of wine gums - HK was highly delighted!

This is my 3d Santa.  It doesn't look toooo bad.  I shall be practising this technique, then I shall be off and away with it.  You really need to know your icing consisitencies.

I made a quiche today.  With the left over pastry, I rolled it out, cut it and dipped the pieces in cinnamon sugar, then sprinkled an extra bit on.  I was a bit inspired with the pinwheels - and I think they tasted better.  Sadly they have all been eaten now!  It is a fab way to use up pastry cut offs.  It has also been suggested to me to use a vanilla glaze.  They are only half a step away from danish cinnamon swirls and I have a thing for them.  A memory of cinnamon swirls has popped into my head - I used to take a lot of danish pastries into work with me when I worked in a cat b (male) prison.  I used to get them from the localish tesco on the way into work.  I used to get two packets - one of mixed pastries and one of just cinnamon swirls as myself and one other colleague had a thing for the swirls.  Funny how the memory works.  That was 8/9 years ago.  Lots of memories are on their way now.  I shall move on.
My ASJ.  I finished it a few weeks ago, but have only had the opportunity to have photos taken today.  As you can see, I made it a bit on the big side.  It's lovely and comfy to wear.  Needs buttons.  That seems a common factor on my finished garments!