Sunday, August 12, 2012

Taste trials on Tuesday

Tuesdays seem to arrive quicker and quicker these days... maybe it's because I am on school holidays and don't want the time to pass too quickly!  This Tuesday was a  little on the grey side to start but soon brightened up.  The conservatory warmed up as a result and so the windows were soon opened.  Alison arrived first and whilst we waited (the others were going to be a little later) we tucked in to coffee/tea and muffins to which she gave me a thumbs up. Phew! Recipes at the end! Amanda was next to arrive followed closely by Gloria now an honorary Tuesday girl, (her mother having returned to Spain). Janet was almost immediately after . 

 Gloria had bought some very nice fat quarters of Xmas Fun by Lynette Anderson. They are really lovely fabrics and will be beautiful for the quilt she wants to make. We looked at one of Amanda's projects, which was being made in most striking fabrics ( anyone know what they were???) and worked on the  'quilt as you go' principle. 

Chris arrived at this point - which was nice as it was a few weeks since we had all gathered together and would be the last for a while due to differing commitments. She showed us a couple of bags she and her sister (who had been down visiting with her family) had made.  The fabrics were from Fabrics Galore (beach huts), Anna Griffin (red fabric) and a linen fabric for the outside, but not sure what.  She told us that she and her sister had been out and about one day near Hampton Court where she had seen a Singer Buttonholer... which just happened to come with a small motorised machine!!!  She couldn't resist.  We laughed as Chris must have quite a collection by now!

We were asked by Amanda if we would mind a lady (and possibly her daughter too) coming to a future Tuesday session so we could help with a quilt to commemorate her husband, using some of his shirts as her daughter was unable to part with them since his recent death.  We all thought it was a lovely idea and agreed.  More tea and cake was drunk/munched at this point then, sadly, Chris who was unable to stay for the whole day, left before lunch.

We carried on chatting and sewing. Janet had us all in awe as she has again been very busy and was binding several of her projects. The morning had vanished quite rapidly, but it was still quite a surprise to realise it was almost lunch time and so without too much ado, the oven went on and the salmon went in.  Today's variety was with a garlic and herb cream cheese crust (lightly toasted granary/seeded breadcrumbs topping the lot).  There were also a lattice pork pie, chicken fajitas, salad and all the trimmings.  For desert I had used two packs of Devilishh Panna Cotta (just need to boil the contents for two minutes and then pour into ramekins and chill to set - they came from Lakeland, but I have seen them in Morrison's on one occasion) with blueberries and raspberries or meringues with creme fresh and the fruit. Blow the diet... but just for the day!

After lunch and another cuppa, the Tuesday Girls got on with some more sewing.  We also, and thank you Alison for your help, put together a stand which I had found in one of our local charity shops. The pictures were very helpful too but I need to assimilate info SLOWLY! Then, as we talked about our quilting experience, the girls explained to Gloria that I had never intended to become a quilter!!! It's true, you see I had only ever intended to make one for my daughter a few Christmases ago, but then I did one for my MIL, one for a friend as her birthday was imminent, and so it went on.  I take my teasing in good humour as it reminds me that I have some lovely friends who know me better than I know myself.  As time was getting on, and I had a late afternoon appointment, we packed up and some of us went to Needle and Thread with Gloria so she could look at more fabric to go wiht her FQ's.  At this point, I then had a to dash off and yet another Tuesday was sadly over.  We won't all be together again for a few weeks although we may get together for a cuppa!  See you soon!

Today's offerings were both experimental.  They used a basic mix of ...

300g of self raising flour
2 tablespns of soft light brown sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder

Banana batch
2 eggs lightly beaten
3 tablespns of sunflower or vegetable oil
5 tablespns of soured cream ( I used natural yoghurt)
80g pecans broken up
3 ripe bananas mashed
100g diced apricots
a teaspn of vanilla essence.

Lavender batch
2 tablespoons of (Waitrose) lavender sugar to the soft brown sugar
1 tablespn of honey (if desired)
1 egg
225ml buttermilk (used natural yoghurt)
2 tablespns of milk
50g butter (melted)
Rind of 1 large orange finely grated
juice of half the orange and three drops of orange essence.

Use the remaining orange juice and 2 tablesoons of castor sugar
Incorporate some lavendar sugar 
Boil until sugar is dissolved
Pour over the still warm muffins and allow to cool.

As with all muffins, mix dry ingredients first then add liquid, stirring until just combined.
Each batch makes 12 muffins, baked at 190 degrees in a fan oven for about 15 minutes... till golden and firm.
*The Lavender sugar was added to taste... some people find it a little strong, so try it first.  The muffins were very moist.  They don't last long but freeze well.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Taste of Spain!!

Tuesday Girls with our Spanish Visitors!

My turn to host a special Tuesday (well, more so than usual!) this week, with most of us present.  Unfortunately Chris was the only one missing.
We were honoured to have two special visitors, Gloria and her mother, Mary Rose, from Spain.  Following a visit to Guildford Quilters last year, Gloria has been following our blog with interest, as she is also a quilter!
We were delighted to learn that Gloria is here in England with her family on holiday.  She has now met most of the 'Tuesday Girls'!

 There was a request in her email that they sample some of the cakes, as featured in our blog on a regular basis!!  As a result we had tea/coffee with chocolate brownies & Apple & Blueberry Spice Muffins from a book by Peter Schaffer - "The Genuine American Cookie & Muffin Book"

 Then it was down to business.  Everyone had brought along plenty to "show & tell".  Alison was showing off the hand quilting on her on-going block of the month!

Janet showed off her tulip mini quilt from a workshop we all did a few years ago.

Another of Janet's many creations - using the l'il twister ruler.

Caroline hand quilting around the stars in her "stars in the Cabin".

Two quilts for Janet's son's sofa, using the same fabrics. Everyone was very interested in how different the fabric looked in two different patterns! Cannot remember the fabric range, please fill in Janet!

Alison explained the technique of "English Patchwork" using paper hexagons.  I had used a range of pretty pink & green floral fabrics & Alison had used 1930's fabrics & also slightly smaller hexagons!

We also had another visitor in the shape of my husband.  He came to the rescue with the balsamic vinegar for the salad dressing!  As Mary Rose does not speak much English we decided to give Gloria a break from translating as Bobby speaks Spanish!
He declined the offer of lunch with seven women & went back to work!!

We enjoyed a lunch of salmon, chicken in garlic & herbs, smoked mackerel & pork in honey & ginger with new potatoes & salads.


Desert of meringue nests with summer fruits & home-made raspberry mousse.....


was soon followed by another cup of tea!!

 Laura, a friend's daughter is staying with us at the moment.  She was finishing a cushion cover that we started earlier in the year.
She also made a useful photographer, so thank you Laura for the photos!

 A busy & interesting day.  My family are camping in Spain soon & we are hopefully going to meet up with our Spanish friends whilst we are there.

 Apple Spice Muffins

Combine in a bowl:

12oz/350g plain flour
1tbs/15ml baking powder
1/2 teasp/2.5ml bicarbonate of soda
1/2 2.5ml salt
2teasp/ 10ml mixed spice

In another bowl add:

2 large beaten eggs
6fl oz/175ml milk
3fl oz/85ml sunflower oil
4oz/115g dark brown sugar
1teasp/5ml vanilla essence
6oz/175g apple, peeled & chopped

Mix together slowly until well combined & put into twelve large muffin cases.

Sprinkle over combined topping ingredients:

2teasp/10ml Mixed Spice
2teasp/10ml Gran Sugar

Bake in preheated oven Gas 5 190 degrees C for 20 to 25 mins.  (160 for fan oven)

Place on wire rack to cool.

I added blueberries to mine as I only had one small apple.  Any fruit combination can be added.

Enjoy the muffins!
Thank you to all our visitors!
See you all next week!