Friday, March 15, 2013

March Madness

So, I was up bright and early.... too early!  It was light out and that was what fooled me! LOL  The wind was blowing and my goodness it was cold, but with blue sky and sunshine, it was very mis-leading.  Alison had wisely decided to stay tucked up and warm at home as it really was chancing the weather to come up.  She had had lots of snow the previous day so a sensible decision!

The conservatory, chilly in the early morning shadow of the hill behind us,  glowed in the sunshine which began to sweep through it, raising the temperature more rapidly than the heater could.  It was nice and toasty by the time Amanda arrived (she braved the weather by walking round as her husband had her car for the day) and we had already consumed tea and a muffin by the time Janet arrived, closely followed by Chris.  The muffins - were Banana and Chocolate Chip from 'Muffins - Fast and Fantastic' by Susan Reimer, freshely made that morning.  Also a coffee cake from the Taste the Difference Range from the Co-op.

After our tea break, we had our usual Show and Tell session. Janet had been to Heather Quilters recently and done a class by Paula Doyle on Miniature Mosaics... What a lovely little quilt using the most vibrant colours.  Next, she had made up two blocks in a pinapple design.. one was 8" and the other 12".  They looked stunning.  These were experimental, but look sure to be crackers!  She had been following several blogs which have been referrred to
previously.  She began to cut out some lovely green fabric which needed careful calculations before cutting up into small corner stones and sashing strips.

Amanda showed us a wonderful quilt she had made for a friend who was going to an orphanage in Moldovia.  The quilt is for the children to sit on. The next quilt was made using Collection for a Cause and was just so fresh looking.  I really loved her colour choice and had a huge case of fabric envy! LOL

Chris was stitching some hexagons together and whilst working on them told us of her family's news.  First her eldest son had got through some pretty hefty interviews to land a great sounding job... her youngest son had got through the first stages of going overseas to do some voluntary work and her neice has gone through to a second stage in selection for the 2016 Olympics.  Congratulations to them all. It was at this point she had to go for puppy training so we said farewell to her for another week. 

My show and tell was from the Needle and Thread Class which I will mention further down (photos of them not taken but will add later).  My news was that my daughter had got her through to the 1 day appraisal session for going into the army. It will be in April. If she gets through that, she will have a 2 day session and then.. training will begin. Scary!

Lunch was of baked potatoes with herb crusted chicken, prawns and salad, followed by lightly spiced rhubarb and plumb crumble with custard or creme fraiche.  Then of course it was all followed by tea.

I did not have too successful a day as I could not find the pattern or info on the course I had done at Needle and Thread a few weeks back, so that I could complete my countryside scenes.  (I had brought themover for show and tell but wanted to create the final two to make a seasonal panel.) I had decided to be a little more organised and 'tidied up'... a lot of good that had obviously done me!  I fetched yet another project and found I hadn't done much on that either and so was attempting to try to 'run before I could walk' with it.  To remind you .. it was a hidden stars project  done with Carolyn Forster when we all went to Alison's for the day  a 'few' years back! 

Once more the day ended early with Janet taking Amanda home as she had a lot to carry.  I attempted to stitch on but soon realised it was going to take a while to heave my belongings back into my home.. so sadly it was time to stop.   We most likely will not get together next week as I'm working, Amanda has a family birthday to attend and Chris will be training.  You just never know though!  Watch this space.
It is rather late once more so...  Until next time dear readers..!

Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins
280g plain flour
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn bicarbonateof soda
1/2 tspn salt
3 large very ripe mashed bananas (approx 450g)
110g granulated sugar - I used demerara
1 egg - beaten
60-90 ml milk
90 ml oil or 85g melted butter
60 - 85g walnuts or chocolate chips
Prepare muffin tins and turn oven to 375 - 400F,  190 - 200 C or Gas 5 -6
To the mashed bananas add sugar, egg, milk and oil or butter.
 In a large bowl sift together all other dry ingredients.
Next, add all wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
If using walnuts add at this point.
Spoon into cups and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until tops are lightly browned and springy.

Herb Crusted Chicken
Breasts of chicken (as many as needed)
Very finely rubbed breadcrumbs - I always use the crusts from a seeded loaf  which gives a nice texture.
Herbs of choice (I use Italian mixed herbs) mixed into breadcrumbs with a little garlic powder.
I make it three ways..
The first one uses a thin topping of Philadelphia (whichever variety takes my fancy) then press the breadcrumb mix into the cheese.
For the second, I brush olive oil over the breasts and then sprinkle the herb and breadcrumb mix over them.
The third way I occasionally do it (especially if I have no other ingredients to hand) which gives a very fine, but delicious crust is to sieve a Paxo Sage and Onion Stuffing mix over the oiled breasts until covered.
Roast the breasts at 180C for about a half hour (or until cooked depending on size/weight).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Is it Spring?

It was a cold misty start today, but it soon turned in to lovely spring day.

Alison was the first to arrive from Hampshire, followed by Chris. We were soon having cups of coffee and tea together with Banana, Pecan and Sultana Muffins.

 Caroline would not be with us  as she was teaching today and after a phone call from Amanda, who would also not be coming as she was not well.

 We hope you feel better soon Amanda.

Chris was cutting 2 1/2" strips in to smaller pieces to make a quilt called 'Twinkle' from the book Scrap-Basket Sensations by Kim Brackett.

Alison was hand sewing hexagons to make a Grandmother's Flower Garden using 1930's fabrics.

Chris had to take the Tuesday Puppy Berry to agility class, so would not be with us for lunch.

For lunch we had omelette and salad, with a Count on Us Milk and Belgian White Chocolate Mousse from Marks and Spencer.

I was sorting our the pink and cream nine patches, this was a leaders and enders project.  I have to make another three blocks and plan to sash the blocks together with green and use the pink for the cornerstones.

Here is the recipe for the omelette, it is based on the Omelette Savoyarde from Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course book.

6 Eggs
Butter and Olive Oil
2 Medium Potatoes peeled and cut into small cubes
4 Rashers of Smoked Bacon cut into pieces
1 Large Onion chopped
Black Pepper

Wash and dry the potatoes and fry in the butter and oil for about 10minutes until they are golden. Add the bacon and onion and cook until the onion is soft.

Beat the eggs and add the black pepper and pour over the potato bacon and onion mix and cook for and few minutes to allow the base to cook and finish off under a hot grill.

Until next time.