Wednesday, 16 October 2013

A party and some creativity!

In the few weeks since I last posted I've been busy. The little man turned two! I can't believe it TWO! How did that happen?! He has grown in a blink of an eye from the wrinkly, little baby that he was on the day he was born....
... to a little boy, full of energy and mischief.

 I made his cake. It's a chocolate sponge cake with chocolate butter cream filling and icing (to mimic a muddy field!). I was going to attempt to model a tractor from fondant icing but himself made a very good suggestion of just using a toy tractor which I did. The green lettering was used to look like the "grass" left in the field. It didn't turn out exactly as I had imagined but I was happy with in nonetheless. It was quite yummy and I was glad that himself suggested using the toy tractor. I have a very bad habit of giving myself way too much to do and making way too much food when we're having any sort of party or even having people over for dinner. So not having to model a tractor was one less thing to do. Just as well as I was icing cupcakes about an hour before the party was due to kick off and about 15 minutes before some of the guests arrived.

His birthday also made me get busy an finally finish his quilt. I had it all finished and basted just before the little lady arrived but then things got extra busy and I didn't get around to finishing it until now. I also needed to get a walking foot for my machine. So for the two weeks before his birthday, during nap times and after bedtimes I got the sewing machine out and quilted and bound the quilt. I'm quite happy how it turned out. It may not be perfect but it's hand made with love and that's all that matters. It's also my first attempt at a quilt so I'm very proud of it.

In other creative news, I've released 2 patterns this week! I'm very proud of them as I'd never designed anything beyond a few dishcloths before. After sewing so much and knitting very little for a few weeks, I needed something small to get into the swing of things. The little lady needed new booties and so A touch of lace booties were created. They're knit in sport weight yarn and are knit in two sizes, 0-6 and 6-12 months but could easily be sized up by adding a few rows to the foot and sole shaping or using DK yarn. Those are the little lady's feet modelling the booties. They stay on really well too. I have very wriggly babies who kick off booties and socks all the time so the ability to stay on was a big thing in my design.

Next, is a hat pattern that I have had in the works for a few weeks now. The Little Harvester hat has some very easy cables which remind me of wheat. When I designed it, it was harvest time for the farmers in the area so that was the inspiration. It's a beanie with a generous fit for growing heads and could be easily sized up by adding extra repeats and a bit of extra length before the crown decreases. It's written for DK and worsted/aran weight yarn both in 4 sizes, 0-6 and 6-12 months, 1-2 and 2-3 years.

 I have a few more designs in the pipeline at the moment and I'll be back to tell you all about them when they're done.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Autumn Apples

It's a miserable, grey, wet October day here. This of course means it's a perfect day for baking. In particular, baking something of the warm, comforting dessert variety. I still had a few of the last of this years apples from the trees in my parents garden so of course that warm, comforting dessert that the day called for had to be an Eve's pudding. To me this is like a baked hug - warm, comforting and capable of lifting your spirits.

So here's the recipe if you feel like something yummy on a grey, rainy autumn day. 

Approx 1 lb of apples, peeled and chopped.
1 oz of sugar - the amount you use will depend on how sweet the apples are and also how sweet you like them to be in a pudding. I like them to be a little on the tart side as I like the contrast with the sweet sponge on top.
1-2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

6 oz self raising flour
6 oz sugar
6 oz butter
3 eggs
3 tbsp milk

1. Preheat oven to 180 C/ 160 C (fan oven).
2. Put about half the sliced apples in a pan with the sugar and a little water (about 1 tbsp) and stew until they are nice and mushy, like apple sauce. Mix in the cinnamon and the rest of the sliced apples. I like that mix in texture of pureed and sliced apples but you can just puree all of the apples of just slice them and not puree any. 
3. Place the apples in the base of a pie dish. The pie dish I use has about a 9 or 10 inch diameter and 1.6 L capacity.

4. Now make the sponge. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs and flour and the milk.

5. Place the sponge mixture on top of the apple. It might look like there isn't enough but don't worry it will spread out and rise up while baking.

6. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 40 minutes until the sponge is well risen and golden in colour. A skewer placed in the centre of the sponge should come out clean.

 Serve with custard, cream, ice-cream, creme fraiche or even toffee sauce and enjoy!!