Friday, May 31, 2013

Stilton and Caramelised Onion Tartlets

200g shortcrust pastry
1 onion
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 Stock Pot
1 pepper (bell pepper)
100g Stilton cheese

Line 4 individual loose bottomed pastry tins with the pastry. Prick the base with a fork. Put greaseproof squares over the pastry and cover with baking beans. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 200°C. The baking beans will prevent the pastry base from puffing up.

Whilst the pastry is cooking slice the onions and start to caramelise them. Add a little water if needed. Slice the pepper and gently cook them in a small frying pan. When the onions have almost caramelised add the chopped garlic and stir. After 2 minutes add the Stock Pot and a small amount of water to help the stock disperse. Cook off any excess liquid. The onions should be moist, but there should be no liquids running off them.

Cut the Stilton into slices.

Take the pastry cases from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Remove the baking beans and paper.  Place the onions in the bottom of the pastry case, peppers in the middle and Stilton on top.  Return to the oven until the cheese has melted, bubbled and slightly browned.  


I made this with gluten-free pastry (DS-gluten free) and vegetarian stock.   The peppers were only put in two of the pastry cases as two members of the family do not like them.  The tartlets can be frozen.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lemon Muffins

Makes 10-11 muffins

250g self-raising flour (Dove Farm Flour for gluten-free)
100g white sugar
1 medium egg
240ml apple juice 
90ml vegetable oil
1 lemon
icing sugar

  1. Prepare muffin tin with paper or silicon muffin cases.  Preheat the oven to 190-200°C.
  2.  Place the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix, and the wet ingredients into a second bowl.  Grate the rind of the lemon into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix the contents of each bowl.  
  3. Combine the wet with the dry, mixing thoroughly, but working quickly.
  4. Divide the mixture between the 10-11 cases, and bake for 22-25 minutes.  
  5. Whilst the muffins are cooking, use a lemon reamer to extract the juice from the lemon.  Strain the lemon juice.  Slowly add icing sugar to the lemon juice, stirring as you go.  This will be about 3Tsp of icing sugar.  Combine it well.  This is the lemon glaze.
  6. When the muffins have cooked and are still hot, spoon a litle lemon glaze over each one.  Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes, and then place on a cooling rack.
The muffins freeze well, but they are best served warm.   They also freeze well.

Oat Bread

I have been meaning to make Oat Bread for quite some time, but haven't managed to get around to it.  Today is the day!

The original recipe is from  Yammies' Glutenfreedom, Gluten-free Honey Oat Bread.  However, there are a number of ingredients I either don't like or don't have.  Also the quantities are too big for my baking tins.   

This is my version of Oat Bread

200g of gluten-free oats
1 (7g) sashet of dried yeast
180ml of warm water
60ml of oil
2 tablespoons of sugar
80g of Dove Farm gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon of xanthan gum
1/2 tsp of salt
big pinch of cinnamon
2 eggs

In a food processor,  turn the oats into oat flour.  Add the yeast, sugar, flour, xanthan gum salt, and cinnamon.  Mix in the processor.  In a jug, break the eggs and mix, add the oil, and mix, then add the water.  Once combined, add to the dry ingredients.  Beat for a few minutes until fluffy. Turn out into a well greased loaf tin.  The dough will be a sticky mess at this point, not the beautifully smooth dough ball of gluten bread.  Place the tins in a warm place and leave to rise until it has doubled in size.  Sprinkle the top with a few oats, and bake in the oven at 175°C. 


Ohhhh!  That worked well!  Very well in fact!

How do you clean? In chunks!

Recently on an on-line discussion forum, someone asked 'How do you clean?'  This got me to thinking, how do I clean?  And that answer is 'In chunks'.

Let's explain that answer...

When I was a child, my method of tidying was to empty everything into a massive heap on the floor and try to cope with the massive heap.  This just created a problem that was too big for me to deal with.  I would work away at it for a while, but the problem was so big it didn't feel like I was making any progress, and so I would bundle it up and dump it in the wardrobe.  

In computing, I was introduce to the idea on specifying the problem and using the specification to find a solution.  The trick was to break things down into smaller and smaller bits until I think "Oh yes, I can do that."  By applying this technique to housekeeping, I was able to get rid of the massive pile on the floor that I could not tackle, and instead have a series of little tasks that I could manage quite easily.

Instead of setting a task of 'going through all of my clothes', I have little tasks like 'go through the top drawer in the chest of drawers', then the second, and the third etc.  Little chunks.

When I clean and tidy, I work on one chunk at a time.  On entering a room I choose the focal point.  In the kitchen this is the sink, in the bedroom the bed, the dining room has the dining table and in my craft room it is the craft table.  My object is to get that area done first.  Once that chunk has been done it has made a start, given me an access point, a place to spread out from.  

From there, I move to a nearby chunk and work on that.  Taking the bedroom for example, I made the bed and get that one thing done.  Next, I move around to the bedside table.  Now that the bed is tidy, I have a clean area that will allow me to spread out my accumulated clutter so that I can work on having a lovely bedside table.  The things that should be there (earring tidy, jewellery box, light, stack of books, clock, water glass and coaster) are replaced and the rest of the clutter is sorted.  It is either put away, or put out in the rubbish/recycling.

During all of this, I like to keep a TA DA! List.  'To do' lists leave me feeling overwhelmed, but when I have finished a task I can write/type it on my list, and I feel good.   I read through my TA DA! List and  feel contented.  I have accomplished something.  My world is a tidier, better place.  In the evening. 

Fifteen minutes on a sunny day

I love sunny days on my days-off; they make me feel alive and as if I could accomplish anything I set my mind too.  Today is a bight, sunny day, and it will be a '15 minute day'.  

Often we become overwhelmed by all the stuff we have to do.  But, I know that I am able to work for 15 minutes, and that can make a big improvement. On a '15 minute day', the day is split into chunks of 15 minutes.  I do one 15 minute task, and at the 15 minutes, I say 'Done'.  It will have been improved, but it might not be complete.  I can always go back and do another 15 minutes later.  After three 15 minute chunks, there's time for a 15 minute rest.

It feels so good to get so much done, and still to have time to play.

My first task has been completed; 'Put a load of white washing in the washing machine'.  I am now about to head into the front garden for a bit of weeding.  

  1. Put white washing in the washing machine
  2. Weeded the front garden
  3. Put away clean dishes and washed dirty dishes
  4. Cleaned window sill and area around sink
  5. Soaked the cooker hob in preparation for cleaning later
  6. More weeding done
  7. Put away dishes, pots and baking trays
  8. Blogged about cleaning and baking
  9. Make oat bread
  10. Made lemon muffins
  11. Hung out washing
  12. More weeding
  13. Tidied sitting room
  14. Did the washing up generated by baking
  15. Kept tidying the sitting room
  16. Brought in clean, dry washing and put it away
  17. Finished the tiding of the sitting room
  18. Collapsed in a pile, then ordered a Chinese takeaway :o)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Poetry in Motion

The buses on the Isle of Man have poetry posters.  This is one that I saw recently and rather enjoyed.

Head Lines 
by Hazel Teare

Is it tidy inside your head?
Have you dusted and made the bed?
Plans neatly stacked like church hall chairs
of where to go and what to wear.
Orderly lines of thoughts and words
or ideas flying free as birds?

Raspberry and white chocolate muffins

The basic muffin recipe is very similar to the one in  Muffins - Fast and Fantastic by Susan Reimer.  This is an excellent book and has many excellent recipes for muffins.  It gives lots of ideas for combinations of flavours.

Makes 12 muffins

250g self-raising flour (Dove Farm Flour for gluten-free)
100g white sugar
1 medium egg
240ml apple juice (or milk)
90ml vegetable oil
125g frozen raspberries
50g white chocolate chips

  1. Prepare muffin tin with paper or silicon muffin cases.  Preheat the oven to 190-200°C.
  2.  Place the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix, and the wet ingredients (including the raspberries) into a second bowl.  Mix the contents of each bowl.  Ensure that the frozen raspberries  are separated.
  3. Combine the wet with the dry, mixing thoroughly, but working quickly.
  4. Divide the mixture between the 12 cases, and bake for 22-25 minutes.  
  5. Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes, and then place on a cooling rack.
The muffins freeze well, but they are best served warm.   They also freeze well.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Using up leftovers

The friend who asked me to make the rainbow prayer shawl loved the colours used, but she does not feel confident in wearing them herself.  Therefore, I am using the leftover yarn to make a little blanket for her. This is a surprise, so don't tell.  ;o)

The first square was made last night, and  I rather like it.  

I was not terribly sure how to proceed and asked for some design help on Ravelry.  My ideas where to make a huge Granny Square, using the colours in rainbow order, or to make a number of small squares (12cm) and attach them.  

MissRain's suggestion was to make a number of small squares, but to cycle the starting colour.  I have greatly admired her multicoloured crochet for quite some time and love the the ways in which she plays with colour.  

This is going to make best use of the differing amounts of the colours of yarn, but it is going to look good!  

Knitting ever onward

A little while ago I finished a single adult bee sock.  This didn't fit the intended recipient correctly.  Making the adaptations required, I have made another adult bee sock which has a much better fit.  Its pair will be made soon.

23.  an adult bee sock

Normally I would start the second sock immediately after the first one was finished, but a deadline was looming.  A friend asked me if I would make a prayer shawl for a friend of hers.  Normally, I wouldn't do this sort of thing, but because of the person who asked, I agreed.  

Knitting, crochet and many crafts consume a lot of hours of work.  This work can be done whilst on the bus, watching television, listening to an audio book and in the times when people are hanging around waiting.  But, it still takes a lot of hours.  For this reason, I only make things for people I like, and only things I know they will love

24. rainbow prayer shawl

A pattern for this shawl will appear shortly.

Monday, May 6, 2013

More items to add to the list

The total stands at 17 finished items.  And now it is time to add in a few more.

18 and 19 - a pair of Colinette socks
20 a Laxey tartan doorstop

21 a single adult bee sock
22 a single baby bee sock

The second baby bee sock is on the needles and will be finished tomorrow.  The adult bee sock will remain single for a little while.  They are being made for a friend, but this first sock didn't fit correctly.  I will need to make a different size, and then I'll come back to this one and make a friend for it.

23 and 24 a couple more drawstring bags.

Wow!  Almost half way through the challenge.  Hooray!