Monday, 19 December 2011

Fruit Cake & Baking Bread

We normally head off to Center Parcs at this time of year but as Mimi has started High School this year we thought we'd better be good and keep her in school.  So!  We've decided to have bonding days instead.  This Tuesday was bread baking and cake making.

I haven't posted a recipe on this blog before but this is a seriously good one, easy too.

Boil in the Pan Fruit Cake

Cooking Time  approx 1 1/4 hours

Oven Temp 150 electric  gas mark 2


4oz butter
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 cups self raising flour
at least 2 cups dried fruit
2 eggs

Put the butter, sugar, milk and fruit into a pan, melt it all together and then bring to the boil.  Let it boil for five minutes, stirring once or twice to mix.

Let it stand for 5 minutes.  Whisk the eggs, then alternatively add the flour and eggs to the pan and mix.

Line bread tin with greaseproof paper and put the mixture in, cover the top loosely with tin foil.

Cook for 1 hour then remove the foil and cook for approximately 15 minutes more.  Keep checking to see when it's ready.  Much will depend on the amount of fruit and your own oven.

Try not to make the mistake as I did a few weeks ago of adding the flour before you try to boil the mixture.  But! if you do, it's not the end of the world.  It tasted fine.

Note the carefully placed greaseproof paper. Are you worried Nigella?

Our bread making went something like this:
We used Nigella's bread recipe which uses half white bread flour and half wholemeal which produces a lighter loaf.  Not that my dad and me are competitive, but he was told about five years ago on a bread making course that he had made the best loaf.  Have I ever heard the last of it? 

So our loaves went something like this
Kneading the loaf.  He doesn't want to be pictured since that unfortunate incident in Lytham in 1967.
                                                           Loaf ready to be left to rise

My dad decided to go for the old boring tin method.  I have to say though with the sun shining through the window it's pretty enough to make the Hovis boy weep.  And it tasted good too.  
Slightly ashamed of my cow pat version, even with the sun on it.  Tasted great though!

I promise we'll be back to woolly things soon.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

December Spinning Workshop & New Fibres

Saturday was spent in the safety of Knit-Wise's upstairs, out of the chilly wind and the rain, drinking tea, eating biscuits and fighting with spinning wheels.  Despite checking the wheels on Friday there was definitely a case of revenge of the machines, even from Alison's NEW Ashford Joy wheel which she brought from home.

Despite this, Gill and Annette managed to spin two skeins each and Alison spun Corriedale and Soybean fibre  The women were victorious!!

                                                      Annette with the first of her skeins

                                  Gill with her first skein, could be smiling or could be about to
                                                    throw the wheel right out of the window

It's always great to meet new friends through a love of textiles and Annette and Gill are both incredibly interesting, both have done City & Guilds in Textiles and Annette is in the process of completing a Fine Arts Degree at John Moores University in Liverpool.  It will be interesting to see how have spinning fibre as another string to their quite substantial bows shows itself.

I'm drowning a little bit in fibre at the moment,  hopefully in the next few days I'll be posting some new fibre onto my etsy shop (which I have to say is looking a little bit depleted at the moment).  The aforementioned soybean fibre, which both myself and Alison loved, will be on there in packs of 100g and also smaller packs to have a little go at if you're not sure.  I think this image shows the beautiful colour of the soybean which spins similarly to silk, a short staple and quite a lot of it up your nose.

It's either like a cossetted Princess' flowing locks or a tatty dogs underbelly.  You can decide.
The bamboo fibres look very lovely too

Beautiful.. but not as lovely as the Princess locks soybean.  There will also be some flax and some Wensleydale. Not sure about flax really, but as soon as I've spun some I will report back.
Just to finish on, here's a link to something that has had me laughing all week.  If you're feeling a bit down, watch this a couple of times. It you don't laugh, check your pulse!

See you soon