more baking

28 October 2009

rhubarb muffins

The craving for afternoon tea usually strikes me around 3:15pm. On a weekday, this means a quick trip to the cafe downstairs, or in emergencies, the vending machine.  On weekends, I’m always frustrated by the lack of afternoon tea delights in the house, and too lazy to walk to the shops.

On Saturday, and I don’t know why, I had pre-emptive thoughts of afternoon tea at around 2pm.  So I baked rhubarb cinnamon sugar muffins, which came out of the oven just in time to accompany a pot of earl grey tea, in the sun.

(If making them again, I’d add some vanilla, because the muffin is a little bland.  But they are still pretty tasty).



This is my fruit bread recipe which is an amalgam of several recipes and some remembered wisdom.  Without wanting to sound conceited, it really is awesome.  I made some last weekend and resolved to make it more often.

:: ingredients

1/4 cup sugar
150ml hand-hot water
1 tbsp dried yeast
3 1/2 cups of flour
3 tsp mixed spice
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g butter, melted
50ml milk
At least 2 1/2 cups of dried fruit – you can use whatever takes your fancy.  In the picture above, I used half a cup each of sultanas and mixed peel, and made the rest up from dried figs, prunes, dried apricots, and dried cranberries.

:: instructions

Mix 1 tsp of sugar with the warm water, and add the yeast.  Leave to stand until it has a thick foamy head on it, like a pint of Guiness.

Mix the remaining sugar with the flour and mixed spice.  Add the fruit, and mix around with your hands so that all the fruit is coated with flour (this stops it sinking when the bread cooks).

Stir the milk into the melted butter.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the milk/butter, the yeast/water and the egg.  Mix until a stiff dough forms.  If it’s a bit dry, add a touch more water.

Knead the dough by hand for about 5 minutes or until it’s springy and smooth.

Put the dough back in the bowl, pop the bowl in a plastic bag, and leave in a warm place for an hour or until it’s doubled in size.

Knead the dough back to its original size again and shape into a loaf

Place the dough in a greased loaf tin, put the tin in the plastic bag and stand in a warm place for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 200C.

Bake the loaf for 30 minutes – it should sound hollow when you tap the top, and the top should be a nice light brown colour.

If willpower allows, let it cool in the tin.  If not, eat slices straight away with butter and enjoy licking the melted butter off your fingers afterwards.

fierce creatures

10 October 2009

(click to enlarge)

These guys might have converted me to the ugly-softie movement.  Pattern from dangercrafts.  Not as complicated as the instructions make out.  They’ve gone to live with Miss Kim and Miss Sarah.

Made from leftover scrap yarn which I think was Cleckheaton Country.

the elephant in the room

7 October 2009


:: elephant purse

Made on a whim in an afternoon.  Pattern from The Crafter’s Companion.  It’s been posted off to a mystery recipient.  Oooo!

Before anyone gets any ideas from this project and the two knitted elephants, I don’t have an elephant ‘thing’ going on.  As some of my long-time friends know, back in 1995, I bought a new watch.  Instead of numbers on the dial, it had little elephants.  The strap was made of coloured rubber, also in a design of elephants. It was colourful, quirky, waterproof, cheap, and large enough for my short-sighted eyes to see from a distance.

However, on seeing the watch, my friends and family, in a spectacular coincidence all  thought: ‘Alison loves elephants!  Let us purchase her an elephant-themed gift immediately!’  Over the next 12 years there came elephant socks, elephant t-shirts, elephant mugs, elephant stationery, elephant key-rings, elephant mouse mats, elephant undies, elephant coasters, elephant sculptures, elephant earrings, elephant book-ends, and numerous other elephant-themed objects which I’ve forgotten about and probably thrown away.

So I thought I should make it clear, again*, in case of a relapse. If you’re thinking elephants for Christmas, please replace that thought with a nice bottle of wine or a book token.

*because those with elephantine memories will remember that they’ve read this all before, elsewhere.

more goodies for luca

4 October 2009


:: some cute little shoes

These use the pattern from the Meet Me at Mikes book.  The star fabric is from Prints Charming (scraps left over from making this hat), the plain is left over from this top.


:: a cute little heffalump

Another Elijah just like the first one, and he’s wearing Luca’s hat.

All bundled up in a bag made from greenolive’s my bike fabric.


Cos I reckon every kid needs a bag, for taking toys to grandma’s, carrying library books, schlepping PE gear, running away from home, storing precious things, torturing the cat or younger sibling, hiding secrets… every kid needs a bag.