Sunday, 27 April 2008

Bread, Crepes and Crumble

This weekend I tried (again) to make some bread. I bought new yeast (Hovis fast action bread yeast for hand baking) and follow the instructions. The bread didn't have that strong yeast taste but it did not raise that much. I am using wholemeal flour so it might explain why. As I've got a fan oven, I dropped the temperature to 210˚C (instead of 230˚C) and got this:

It does look very compact on the picture (I guess it was really) but it wasn't bad. The crust was a bit thick. I didn't put enough salt so it was a bit bland but great with salted butter!
Well, this time it wasn't a complete disaster but I don't think I am ready to open a bakery...

Soon, it will be berries time in Scotland so I have to make some space in my freezer.
So, I made a red fruit crumble to use up the ones from last year.

Redcurrant, raspberries and blueberries...Yum!
For the crumble:
80g oat
80g wholemeal flour
80g demerara sugar
100g butter
50g coarsely grounded almond
I hope it will be good, I just made it up.

We are having birthdays party at work tomorrow (a lot of people were born around that time) and we usually all bake something so we have enough cakes for the entire week. One of the birthday girl requested some crepes.




the recipe:
250g flour
500ml milk
2 eggs
25g melted butter
mix the ingredients together. Leave it to rest for at least 1 hour.
Add a little bit of water if the dough is too thick then make the crepes.
They can be stuffed with whatever you fancy (cheese, ham, veg, jam, sugar, chocolate...).
If you like savoury ones, you can replace some of the flour with buckwheat flour.

Bon appetit!!!

Friday, 25 April 2008

At home

I am off today!
The weather is not great which is a good excuse to stay inside and knit. Yesterday (I was off in the afternoon as well) I finished the main part of my lace shawl and this morning I've started the border. I had to start 3 times to get it right...

This week, I've made some knitted brooches for a change:

and one of my colleague gave me 12 balls of this yarn (71% mohair, 23% acrylic and 6% polyester):
I don't know what I am going to knit with it yet. It is a bit bright for any clothing but it could be great for some home accessories...

I've turn the kitchen into a craft room just in case I have any inspiration for cards. Stephane is (hopefully) not coming back before 10pm, he is going to play table tennis after work.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Monkees

On Tuesday evening, Monkee Maker had a big Monkee sale at 10pm in her shop.

GruikGruik wanted a knitted primate to play with him so we were there on time for the sale opening.


Unfortunately, he wasn't quick enough with his little trotters and missed his dreamt monkey for a few seconds.
Poor GruikGruik!
He was feeling low for a bit and then he decided to learn to knit so he can knit himself a Monkee!!!


Sunday, 20 April 2008

Sunshine and knitting needles

This weekend, the weather have been very good, although very cold (well, there is a strong freezing wind from the North). I've been out for diner 3 evenings in a row and today I feel stuffed and tired!

Today, Stephane is golfing with friend (Hence, access to the computer to post something on the blog :0)) and I am doing some knitting, cleaning and cooking.

I've made another what's left in the cupboard kind of cake for Stephane's breakfasts.
I forgot to record the ingredients but it is a simple cake with wholemeal flour, sugar (not a lot because he loves putting jam on it), butter, eggs, citrus peel and some lemon juice.

On the knitting side, I am working on 3 things: a lace shawl, a baby's jacket and stephane's jacket.

The lace shawl (Myrtle leaf shawl from "Victorian lace today", Jane Sowerby) is coming along slowly but surely. I've now knitted 30 repeats of the chart (10 to go, which represents about 10-12 hours of knitting) then, I will have to knit the border... (To give you an idea of the size, the needle is 40cm long)

This is a detail of it but it still needs to be blocked:

I have also started a baby jacket (size 2 years). I am trying to use up some of my stash. I bought this cotton yarn last year at Liddl and it is quite nice. I have 2 more lots (orange/yellow and green, 6x50g each) so I might knit this jacket 2 more times (it needs the 6 balls exactly). I only have one sleeve left to knit for this one.

I am knitting a jacket for Stephane with the Lanark yarn (Donegal silk tweed) I bought in Glasgow. It is a pattern from Bergere de France ( I am just changing a few things because the yarn is much thinner than the one they recommend for the pattern). I've done the back so far.

Yesterday, on Ravelry, I had a message from one of the volunteer editor. It was a request to use the picture of one of my baby blanket: "We’d like to feature your photo on the page for Roost Blanket by Lucinda Guy". I have accepted, I am pleased, of course!
This is the picture (Diane posted it on her blog last summer):


It was the first time I was knitting with several colors. I made it for the second baby of a friend who lives in the south of France.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Raspberry biscuits

On Friday evening, I decided to bake something for the knitting group in Newburgh. So, I opened the cupboards and made up a recipe with what was in.

Ingredients:
100g whole almond (then I grounded them coarsely)
50g porridge oat (grounded)
100g melted butter
150g wholemeal flour
120g demerara sugar (you can add a bit more if you like cakes to be very sweet)
1 spoon baking powder
4 eggs
Raspberries (frozen from last year)

GruikGruik was helping, as usual (well, only when it is food related, especially if there is some Nutella involved...)Mix all the ingredients, except the raspberries. Spread some of the mix in a tray, add some raspberries and cover with more mix.
Cook for 25min (individual cake) to 45 min at 180˚C

In the meantime, Leon was surfing on the web (his mummy's website)....

Latter, GruikGruik joined in....

The biscuits were very good, they have all been eaten even if it was not very busy in Newburgh.
We stayed there till 2pm.
In the afternoon, Stephane and I went to an art exhibition at the University. The exhibition was good but we didn't enjoy the cycling ride to go there, it was pouring with rain. When we came back home (just before a hailstone shower) we enjoyed a warm lemon tart flavoured tea.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Yarn

For my birthday, my mum gave me this beautiful bamboo yarn from Plassard. I would like to knit myself a short sleeves or sleeveless top or jacket (I've got 7 balls).
I am looking for a pattern. Any suggestions ?

Last month, I was browsing through ravelry and I ended up on someones blog (I don't even remember who it was). She had recently bought some Alpaca yarn from Bolivia and was highly recommending it as the quality was excellent and the prices cheap even with shipping. So I had a look for myself and ended up drawing my credit card from my purse and buying 8x100g balls of each of these 2 colors:

They have an amazing choice of colors and the yarn is beautiful and so soft. If you want to have a look, it is here, but be careful, it is extremely dangerous, I did warn you....

At Christmas, I gave my great aunt, a ball of sock wool and needles and asked her to knit me a pair of sock. She measured my bent thumb (?) and then she sent me these. They fit perfectly. Warm and comfy.


The Newburgh knitting group is this weekend which is perfect as the weather forecast for this weekend is: knitting!!!!

Monday, 7 April 2008

Friendship

Today, I am off (I don't have the choice, my work place is closed because it is a local holiday).
The weather is miserable so I am staying inside.
I am listening to my favourite radio (cheriefm), surf the web (Stephane is at work so I can use the computer) and knit.
I am in a listening to music mood today.
One of my favourite song is a very old one, French, but I just want to share it with you. It is called "l'amitié" (friendship) by Francoise Hardy (I also love her song "mon amie la rose"):

video
Recently, Les enfoirés did a remake of this song in their new show, I quite like it as well.

The lyrics (in case you want to translate them):

L'amitié

by Françoise Hardy

Beaucoup de mes amis sont venus des nuages
Avec soleil et pluie comme simples bagages
Ils ont fait la saison des amitiés sincères
La plus belle saison des quatre de la Terre

Ils ont cette douceur des plus beaux paysages
Et la fidélité des oiseaux de passage
Dans leurs cœurs est gravée une infinie tendresse
Mais parfois dans leurs yeux se glisse la tristesse
Alors, ils viennent se chauffer chez moi
Et toi aussi, tu viendras

Tu pourras repartir au fin fond des nuages
Et de nouveau sourire à bien d'autres visages
Donner autour de toi un peu de ta tendresse
Lorsqu'un autre voudra te cacher sa tristesse

Comme l'on ne sait pas ce que la vie nous donne
Il se peut qu'à mon tour je ne sois plus personne
S'il me reste un ami qui vraiment me comprenne
J'oublierai à la fois mes larmes et mes peines
Alors, peut-être je viendrai chez toi
Chauffer mon cœur à ton bois

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Socks

The socks are finished! They were a bit big for me so I made them for Stephane. He is quite pleased with them and can't wait for the next ones. Although he will have to wait as I have a lot to knit.
I also finished the bag I made for Allyson's baby, Kelvin (born 4 weeks ago). I needle felted his name on it and added a snail. I hope she will like it.
We had some sunshine in the afternoon but the slit is back!
I am off tomorrow...

Snow

This morning when I woke up and look through the window, I saw this:

Stephane had planned to go golfing with friends so he cancelled it and went back under the duvet.
Whereas me, I was knitting his pair of socks.

I have now turn the heel, and just have 52 rows left for the leg.
The weather seems to get better now though. Stephane is vacuum cleaning so I can have the computer!
I am preparing a cassoulet for lunch (bought in Toulouse, it just need to be warmed up) which is perfect with that weather (I had to turn the heaters back on).


Saturday, 5 April 2008

Shopping (part2)

I took some pictures of the buttons in la droguerie in Montpellier. The wall was just covered with buttons. I wanted a few more than what I got but they didn't have any left except from the one on the wall. So there is no point buying only 1 button (especially when it is a crocodile and couldn't match it with anything else)!


Usually when we go to France we buy cheeses and some French delicacies but also tea. Living in the UK you would think that you would get the best varieties of teas, however, this is not the case. British people tend to like plain tea with milk or herbal tea whereas French people are much more fussy and demanding. We like having the choice, that's why Twinnings, for example, is making some flavoured teas just for the French market: red fruit crumble, mint and chocolate, lemon tart, raspberry and pear, green tea with aniseed...Lipton is making a very nice caramel tea, hmmmm.... Some of my (British) colleague and/or friends love them.

I love chocolate (only good one) and this one I've never seen it in the supermarket in Dundee. We can get up to 85% here, but trust me, the 99% is really powerful. You just need to eat a tiny bit and it last for a very long time. It comes only in 50g tablets but it last much longer than the 100g ones...I need a square...hhhmmmmmm.... Maybe I should have bought more than 2 tablets!

Friday, 4 April 2008

Shopping

As requested by Charlie, I took pictures of some of the cheeses we bought in Toulouse and made a photo montage. I should have taken a picture of the cheesemonger but it was really busy on Saturday morning.

I did the same with some of the pork meat: ham, saucisson, liver sausage, duck sausage... It should last a few months (Hopefully, till the next supply arrive).
When I was in Montpellier, I went to "la droguerie". I've just realised when linking the shop that they have one in Toulouse as well! Anyway, it is a really great shop, just a shame I had to wait quite a while to get served. I couldn't resist and I bought some buttons. They had a lot more and I would have bought more but I manage to restrain myself...
In Toulouse, I went to Phildar and Bergere de France and got some sock wool. I haven't finished my first sock yet but I am so pleased that Stephane want me to knit him socks that I have anticipated... (The phildar one will be for me though)

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Toulouse and Montpellier

We are back from Toulouse where the weather was awful! We had sunshine only on Saturday, the day we were leaving... Stephane didn't mind too much as he was working (conference) and I spent my time shopping and visiting museums.
On Tuesday morning we had a wee wander around the town with Stephane then his conference started in the afternoon so I went to "La Fnac" to buy some books. I bought one about bread making... I also bought some yarn, I'll show you in another post.

On Wednesday and Thursday I was in Montpellier with GG (who really enjoyed himself, as usual). The weather was gorgeous and it was great to spend some time with my friend Odile.

On Friday I went to "basilique Saint-Sernin" and to "musee des augustins" to see a great exhibition about grisaille and trompe l'oeil.
In the evening, we went to the theatre (it was part of a festival, "le printemps du rire", in Toulouse) followed by a Spanish diner.

On Saturday we had a few hours to do some shopping (mainly pork meat and cheese) and enjoy a good meal and the weather before going to the airport.


We stayed at friends on Saturday evening in Edinburgh then, on Sunday we went to my brother to see the newly born twins, Olivia and Matthew, and my parents.

Back at home, GG spend some time explaining to Leon what he has been up to and gave him a wee present he bring back from Toulouse especially for him!
I think I forgot to tell you that, although Leon is a pigeon and has got a valid passport, he does not travel with us because he is afraid of flying! I know, it is sad...