Tag Archives: random

Challenge & Liebster Love

27 Feb

So, my liebe readers, I’ve sent a bunch of random novelty yarns to a knitting Liebste, by way of a friendly challenge! Una is a pro at upcycling weird yarn so, if she can’t save it, I won’t feel the slightest guilt if it just gets recycled. :) If nothing else, let this be a lesson to you all: do not buy yarn on a whim! (I can’t decide what is worse – the brittle tweed yarn or the entangling ladder lace.) Here’s a photo of the horror package, awaiting Una’s judgement:

Balls of yarn.

Liebster Blog Award

I was kindly nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by Lori of Little Knittle, last year, and never got around to doing anything about it – besides saying “thank you”. (To the best of my knowledge, the Liebster Blog Award was created by Jasmin of Bird of a Paradise, in 2010, to act as a blogger PR campaign. Every nominee, taking part, nominates 3-5 of their favourite blogs – to create a chain of blog love.)

Liebster Blog Award

So… I duly nominate the following fabulous blogs, in no particular order, for the Liebster Blog Award and suggest you start reading them immediately:

  1. Great Balls of Wool by Una
  2. The Move to America by Molly
  3. Awesome Parenting Is Not What I Do by Char
  4. Women in the Scriptures by Heather

By way of disclaimer, the blogs are a tad diverse, to say the least. However, they are well worth reading and are authored by some stellar ladies. If you admire patience, kindness and ability to admit shortcomings while still overcoming life’s little challenges (neatly tying this into my post topic) then you’ll find something to amuse and uplift your spirits on a regular basis. :)

Finally, a special shout-out to:

  1. Handmade Blog by Susan

Susan Penny, author of many fab books such as Quick Knits Small & Pretty, loves all things handcrafted and is now blogging regularly on knitting, sewing, baking and everything homemade. One of these days, I’m going to find time to guest blog for her… Of course, that may be after my kids have grown up and left home! :p

And, on that note, I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging much recently and I accept, as my own personal challenge, to find more time to design, write and blog in the future. ;)

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Homemade Bread Recipe

5 Sep

Fresh homemade bread, hot from the oven, is a wonderful thing. It’s not knitting or crochet but we’ve all got to eat some time and knitted sandwiches are too calorie-free! Bread is pretty much a staple foodstuff so here is my favourite homemade bread recipe.

Sliced white bread loaf from an easy homemade bread recipe!

Ingredients:
1 lb plain flour (about 2 heaped cups) plus extra for kneading
1 tsp salt
2 oz butter or margarine (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 pt hand-hot water (rather hot but not so hot that you couldn’t stick your fingers in it)
1 sachet easy-bake yeast (7 g easy-bake yeast is equivalent to 1 1/2 tsp dried yeast or 1 tbsp fresh yeast)
2 tsp caster sugar

Method:
1. Mix the water, yeast and sugar together in a jug and set it aside for a few minutes until it starts to froth up. (It’ll look a bit like the head on a pint of beer!)
2. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
3. Rub the fat into the flour mixture. (Use your fingertips and keep rubbing until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.)
4. Pour your frothy yeast water into your flour mixture and combine thoroughly. (If it’s a bit sticky, don’t worry – you can work in some extra flour.)
5. Tip your dough on a very well-floured surface and knead like crazy. Seriously, knead like there’s no tomorrow – I’m not going to give you a second chance*, unlike most homemade bread recipes!
6. Shape your kneaded dough into a loaf and pop it into a 2 lb loaf tin. Leave your dough to rise, until it’s doubled in size. (This may take about an hour or longer; a warm room temperature will help.)
7. Bake your bread in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius (390 degrees fahrenheit) for 40 minutes. Leave it to cool for at least a few minutes before slicing!

This homemade bread recipe is very adaptable. If you want to make 2 loaves, divide your dough between a couple of 1 lb loaf tins and reduce the baking time to 30 minutes. Or, if you’d like to make bread rolls, shape the dough into small balls on a baking sheet and reduce the baking time to 15 minutes. You can change the flour to whatever you fancy; a half-and-half mix of plain flour and wholemeal flour works very well.

If you use non-dairy margarine instead of butter, then this homemade bread recipe will be vegan. Alternatively, if you don’t care for soft bread then you could omit the fat entirely; the fat is there to soften the bread texture.

*Most homemade bread recipes will tell you that white bread requires 2 risings and wholemeal bread only requires 1 rising. If you want to give your dough a second rising, well, that’s entirely up to you. You don’t need to!! ;)

Abbreviations & Glossary:
g = grams
lb = pound
tbsp = tablespoon
tsp = teaspoon
caster sugar (UK) = superfine sugar (US)
plain flour (UK) = all-purpose flour (US)
wholemeal flour (UK) = whole-wheat flour (US)

Courgette Bread Recipe

27 Aug

Courgette bread has nothing to do with knitting or crochet. However, I really like baking and I wanted to share this courgette bread recipe with you! I was going to come up with a yarn link but I decided it wasn’t worth the pretence. Oh, if I must: it’s based on a friend’s recipe and she knits and crochets too, so this is… Courgette Bread for Knitters. Yes, that was pretty tenuous. I told you it would be.

The humble courgette (US: zucchini) is a super vegetable. (Okay, technically it’s actually a fruit but so is a tomato.) It’s low in calories and has folate, manganese, potassium and vitamin A. With the optional egg, large helping of veg and some nutritious whole grain, this courgette bread is healthy* enough for an anytime snack or even a light meal.

sliced zucchini courgette bread

Ingredients:
1 whisked egg or 1 quantity egg replacer**
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp oil
1 cup grated courgette (about 1 small courgette; it doesn’t matter if it’s more like 1-2 cups, as this recipe is very forgiving)
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Method:
1. Combine the courgette, sugar, oil, egg (or replacer) and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. (I grate my courgette straight into the bowl and dump the other wet ingredients on top.) It will probably look like frothy soup – don’t worry!
2. Sift all your remaining (dry) ingredients into the bowl and mix them in thoroughly. The mixture will be fairly wet and resemble cake batter.
3. Pour the mixture into a greased loaf tin or a non-stick silicone tin. (If your courgette was about 1 cup then a 1 lb tin will be perfect; if it was closer to 1 1/2 or 2 cups then you’ll need a 2 lb tin.)
4. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees centigrade (350 degrees fahrenheit) for 50 minutes. Leave the courgette bread to cool for at least a few minutes before taking it out of the tin and slicing it; courgette bread will go a bit crumbly or squishy if you attempt to slice it while it’s still very hot.

*Okay, I admit it’s a bit like a cake. But it’s jolly healthy for a cake! Also, if you eat it standing up or from someone else’s plate then the calories don’t count. Maybe.

**If you use egg replacer instead of an egg, then this recipe will be vegan. (My preferred brand product is Allergycare Whole Egg Replacer; I’ve always had excellent results with it.) However, if you’re not vegan, then an egg provides some useful protein. I make this bread both ways and it works perfectly as veggie or vegan. The vegan version will have slightly fewer calories. (I sound like I’m on a special diet but I’m not. I should probably stop mentioning calories.)

Abbreviations & Glossary:
lb = pound
tbsp = tablespoon
tsp = teaspoon
bicarbonate of soda (UK) = baking soda (US)
caster sugar (UK) = superfine sugar (US)
courgette (UK) = zucchini (US)
plain flour (UK) = all-purpose flour (US)
wholemeal flour (UK) = whole-wheat flour (US)

American Tips:
If you are using all-purpose flour, adjust the baking powder measure to a scant 1/2 teaspoon as all-purpose flour has slightly less gluten than British plain flour.