Making more bread

I decided last Friday that I would try and make one of the bread recipes in my food processor recipe book.

One of the recipes said it made a sandwich loaf, so I thought that I would try that.

Unlike most bread recipes the liquid used was milk. Now the first bread I had made were some ‘morning rolls’ when I was in school. That recipe used milk and we had to mould the dough into various twists and plaits and mini cottage loves. Later I used the same recipe to make an ordinary loaf shape and I remember that the bread had a different sort of texture, closer to cake.

Using the food processor it was very easy. No hand kneading, just using the dough blade in the processor for one minute and then allowing the dough to rise followed by shaping and putting in a tin and allowing it to rise for another thirty minutes while the oven heated up.

This was the result. (These days I have to admit I am not editing my photographs as much as I once was. Not sure the colour balance is quite right in this one.)sandwich loaf

Unlike the ‘artisan bread’ I have made, this had a much softer crust and was very easy to cut with my fairly cheap bread knife. The texture was softer too.

Not being an especially large loaf, I manged to eat it all over the weekend so on Monday I decided to make some more bread: a wholemeal loaf this time.

Since I am avoiding kneading because of the arthritis in my wrists, I remembered a Delia Smith recipe for a no-knead wholemeal loaf that I had made in the past.

Basically, you mix the dough then spread it out into a rectangle three times the size of the bottom of the tin. (I am not being so picky about how I make food either! being rather tired all the time.)dough spread outYou then fold a third into the middle and the other third on top and put it in the tin. dough in tin

I then put it in the airing cupboard. When I took it out it had risen nicely and this is how it was when I put it in the oven. loaf ready to be cookedWhen it was cooked. finished cooked loafThe texture is quite dense, denser than if the bread had been kneaded but still very tasty and just as edible because it is wholemeal. I can see I should maybe have taken a little bit more trouble putting the loaf together but nonetheless it was quite delicious!


We had more snow!!!

I had to go out to Eastleigh on Saturday because my washing-up bowl had a crack in the bottom and the one I had purchased from John Lewis, although ostensibly the same size, in fact had a smaller base and my everyday plates wouldn’t lie flat in it. I had brought the previous one from Robert Dyas and now the nearest Robert Dyas was in Eastleigh.

As I set out on the bus there were a few white specks flying through the air but I didn’t expect them to amount to much, however by the time I came out of the Swan Centre clutching my new bowl the air was full of large swirling flakes of snow. I didn’t try to take any photographs at this point but the next morning when I looked out the snow was thick on the ground. Maybe not as thick as the last time and it looked more powdery. snow on stepsAlthough I am over my cold sensitivity, for now, I decided that I would not try to make a snow something both because the snow didn’t look as if it would work very well and because I decided that maybe my health suggested getting that cold was still not a good idea!

My Lenten Roses were back under cover! Lenten Roses under snowand out the front there was a trail of footprints and tyre tracks in the road. footprints and tyre tracksEach cars was covered in a blanket of snow. cars covered in showLater in the morning I stopped and talked to a woman who was trying to remove what was a very thick blanket of snow from her car, in order to go out.

These first few photographs were taken with my camera but later I decided that I would see if I could catch a bus and get to church. On the way I saw lots of trees embellished with snow, just has I had coming back from Eastleigh. I tried to take a few photographs of the trees I found on my way after I got off the bus but the difference between eyes and the camera is that eyes can ignore the background but the camera doesn’t. I did take a photograph, though, of this interesting grid pattern snowy gridand a nearby pub. snowy pubOn the way back I did manage to get a few photographs of trees and snow without a distracting background on the wide area of grass and trees in the middle of the Road known as The Avenue. Though had I stopped in the parks I could have got much better ones.snow on treesNot sure my phone got the focus quite right for this one!

snow on treea bit better perhaps!

I had to go the hospital early this morning, I couldn’t get a taxi but luckily the ground was not too icy so I walked. Waiting at the bus stop to come home I took this photograph. tree, snow and ivyThe snow is receding.

Montage – January

At last I have put together the montage for January. I added December to the menu item but when I looked I discovered that all I shared in December was the November montage and a picture of my Christmas roses. So no normal montage for December.

In January I put together three montages for the best of my work in 2017. There were so many things I had made that I separated them out into Celtic crochet, other crochet and knitting.

I also shared all the cooking I had done in preparation for Christmas plus a recent loaf of bread.

January montageOf course I never got to celebrate Christmas as I was in hospital but I shared a quick post about that.

The only crafting I did was knitting. I showed you a pair of socks I had just finished and another pair I was just starting. Lovely easy knitting socks!

Hope this isn’t getting boring!

Last week I finished the cables. I decided to stop after five repeats. As it seemed to pull in so as to be narrower I cast off loosely but had to undo the cast off and redo it as it was then too wide at the top as maybe you can see. five repeats of main cable pattern

I thought that I would crochet round it if I needed more width or length but when I pinned it to the piece I intended for the other side other side

It seemed to fit reasonably well.sides pinned togetherI tried fitting the cushion inside. fitted over cushionAnd it was about right. I am thinking of buying a new cushion pad so I will wait until I know what will be inside before finishing off and sewing the two sides together.

I have also started the second sock. part sock

As I want to use every bit of the wool, I didn’t even think of trying to make the socks match but just started at the end of the yarn.

And I made a brioche.

I am rather fond on brioche though I don’t buy it very often and have long wanted to make some but the recipe in my bread book uses 13oz of flour and five! eggs and this always seemed a bit extravagant. However I now have a food processor and in that it has a recipe that uses 250g (about 8oz) of flour and two eggs. You also have the advantage that the processor does all the mixing/kneading. So this last Friday I mixed up the dough and made this. I think next time I may cook it a little less but it is very tasty!

It doesn’t shine because I left off the egg glaze. I had meant to save a bit of egg for this purpose but forgot and getting a whole egg just for a bit of glaze always seems wasteful unless you have plans for omelettes later.

Monthly Montage: February

Looking back it does not appear that I did a regular monthly montage in December or January, though I did do an annual look back.

Being a perfectionist, I must remedy this for completeness, but now I will just give you my montage for February.

In February I only did a small amount of knitting. Continuing and completing a rainbow sock and then getting sidetracked into how I might use up the excess yarn for this pair and a previous pair in the same yarn. I also started a piece of cable knitting to be half a cushion cover.I did find time however for a little photography: first of flowers I had been given and then of some in my garden. I tried to enhance the photograph of a crocus to give an arty look.

I have got back to making bread and was so excited by it that I included a photograph of a loaf fresh from the oven!

Going, Going, Gone!

I have been plugging away at the cables this last week and am probably spending more time knitting and should be able to show you the finished cushion, or at least the cable side, next week.

However one other thing I have been doing is recording the snow in the garden.

The photographs have all been taken from indoors through the window of the patio doors, so they include reflections but are maybe worth sharing as a record of how it can be with snow in Southampton.

I showed you what it had been like on Thursday.

ThursdayWell the next day we had a much better amount. Friday late afternoon This was taken Friday late afternoon.

But the next morning it was already receding. Saturday morningAnd when I looked out yesterday. Sunday morningThere were just patches round the edges.

However by mid afternoon it had all gone. Sunday mid afternoonThe white you can see in the flower beds is eggshells.

But I was pleased to note that the daffodils had emerged intact. daffodilsand even the Lenten Roses that I was worried about, seemed in much better shape than I expected. Lenten rosesI also made some more bread and tried adding cuts. loaf of bread

I did some gardening! and snow!!

Last weekend I noticed that the fuchsia in the pot in the front was already putting out shoots. So knowing that once I’d had my next infusion I would have to keep in the warm I decided that I had better do some pruning.

I also have a Mrs Popple fuchsia in the back garden that I have shown you before in flower. And you can see it in the front of this picture And here it is pruned. I think last year I pruned it back even more because it does grow so big, but it was cold in the garden and I didn’t want to kill it so I was cautious.

I was also cautious with the one in the pot at the front. This is a variegated one: grown from a cutting take from the one in my younger daughter’s garden. Smaller flowers and I think you can just see what the leaves are like.

Apart from the need to prune them every year, hardy fuchsias are very easy plants and flower for ages over the Summer and early Autumn.


We don’t often get snow in Southampton but we were promised it for Thursday (today) and when I woke up there it was.

All these photographs have been taken from indoors in the warm.

Not maybe yet enough to make a snowman (unfortunately I won’t be going out to do so even if we get more. 😦  ) snowy garden

The daffodils and crocus I photographed last week are suffering. daffodils and crocus in the snowThe Lenten Roses even more as far as I could see. Maybe even dead. I couldn’t bear to photograph them.

And here is the pruned fuchsia now. pruned fuchsia in the snow

No worse for the snow as far as one can see.

A sock and a sixth of a cushion cover!

Over the last week I have completed another repeat of the cables. I anticipate having to do four more repeats approximately so I have completed a third of one side – hence a sixth of a whole cushion cover ! since it has two sides. knitted cablesI think you can see the pattern developing now.

I have also finished one of my rainbow socks. rainbow sockMy original idea had been to make it a little longer but I liked the way the colours went and also it occurred to me that using the wool left over from my previous socks in this type of yarn older socksI could maybe make a hybrid sock to use up the rest of the yarn, with the pale rainbow yarn for the toes and heels and ribbing. So I weighed the older yarn and made a toe. toeMy hybrid sock may be a little short as I will have about a repeat of the rainbow colours of the newer wool. But if it is too short I could maybe add in some other left over sock wool since at least the foot part will be in this deliciously soft mini-mochi!

Signs of Spring

Today I allowed myself a little time in the garden, inspite of it being very cold, to take a few photographs and sprinkle eggshells round vulnerable plants to keep off the slugs.

Luckily I have a good view on the garden so I have been able to keep in touch with what has been growing, even if I have stayed indoors.

I am pleased to see that the snowdrops are still holding on and happy to see that the daffodils are finally here. There is also one lonely crocus. back over the other side, near the snowdrops, my Lenten Roses are giving a great show. Well it is Lent!You can see the remains of the Christmas roses at the front.

I am a great admirer of Leanne Cole and especially like her macro photographs of flowers, as that is something I enjoy experimenting with.

Recently she wrote an article suggesting how to edit macro photos using Lightroom –

Now I don’t have ‘Lightroom’ but I was able to apply some of her ideas to the photograph of the crocus and produced this – What do you think?

Starting the cables!

Following on from last week’s post I decided to start working on the cabled cushion cover.

First I made a sample swatch. SampleFor the first part I cast on 20 stitches to check the tension. As usual, I discovered that I knit to the right tension using the needle size recommended.

I then worked a few rows of the simple braid, to check I could do it.

Then I cast on an extra four stitches at each end to give 28 stitches so I could practice the more complicated part of the pattern which is charted over 24 stitches. (Two stocking stitches added at each end).

I was fine until about row 6/7 when I found I made mistakes and dropped a couple of stitches. (Not helped by using a too short (for me) cable needle so the stitches kept slipping off!)

Eventually I got this bit correct (or almost) after undoing a couple of rows twice!

This exercise was actually very useful as by the end I was beginning to understand the charts and to realise that the surface was either stocking stitch or reverse stocking stitch so if the stitches I needed for the next cable bit looked wrong it probably meant I wasn’t where I thought I was!

corrected one repeat
Replacement photograph!

Thus I found that I have managed to knit the first sixteen rows of the main chart, which is the repeat, and it looks okay and wasn’t as hard as I thought! I might even be able to do it in company! (I found my longer cable needles, though I seem to have mislaid the thicker one half way through!)

One repeat of cable patternHaving written the above and knitted another couple of rows I realised that I had made a mistake on the left-hand simple braid and so I had to undo a few rows. the mistake had been on row 14 of a 16 repeat so more undoing than I would have liked! You can see the mistake if you click on the thumbnail on the left!!

I  think I need about five more of the above for the full cover.

Interestingly, I am finding that my reduced energy levels and emphasis on looking after myself means that instead of the normal sense of pressure to knit or crochet all evening so as to complete the latest project and get onto the next one and thus have something for the blog, I am sometimes actually watching TV with no knitting and just pick it up when I feel in the mood. In fact I am probably watching more TV without knitting than with. I think I like this more relaxed approach.