Sunday, 8 June 2014

In my Kitchen

Well it's the last evening of the Spring banks holidays for me and my youngest we've had two whole weeks off together , Mr P. went back to work a week ago and my eldest went back to school a week ago too .

So, today all I wanted to do was spend some time in the kitchen and do some preparing for the busy week ahead . The kitchen really is my go too place to chill and boy I've had fun today ! I MADE BUTTER , I'm soooooo excited . This is something I've wanted to do for ages and today I made my first ever batch ( well actually that's a small lie I do vaguely remember making it at primary school when I was about 8 years old , 33 yrs ago !  ) .

I used a 600ml carton of double cream and popped in  my mixer set it to medium power and about 2 minutes later I had butter and buttermilk , wahayyy  one very excited me. I separated the butter and buttermilk ( saving the later for making some soda bread ) , In a fine mesh sieve I quickly rinsed the butter , then I started the process of patting it with two wooden spatulas to remove any remaining butter milk  , it was at this point I added a small amount of sea salt flakes. Once no more liquid was coming from the pat I popped it in the old butter dish my husband grew up with . Wow , I am impressed at how easy this process was and best of all the by product I can use in baking .
Buttermilk is ideal for Irish Soda Bread , this is a spiced fruit version I've started making for breakfast and I love the fact I can use my favourite second hand cast Iron pan to bake it in .

It is really simple to make ( preheat oven to 200degreesC/180Cfan/gas6 ) :Put your oats in a mixing bowl and add the diced butter . With your fingers rub the butter into the oats until they are totally coated .Stir in the Flours (note I use only Plain flour as that's all I've and in and it works fine ) ,caster sugar, bicard , mixed spices, 1tsp salt , the raisins , sultanas , dates and mixed peel .
:Pour over the buttermilk and quickly stir in with a round ended knife , note the mixture is a little wet . Tip onto a floured surface and gently bring together to a ball. Put on a floured baking sheet and cover the dough with the demerara sugar slightly pressing it into the top . Using a floured knife cut a big cross in the centre and bake for about 30 to 35 mins until crusty on the outside , note mine seem to take about 40 mins and I use a skewer to check its cooked all the way through , just like checking a cake .
Serve warm or cold with a bit of butter , nom nom .
 So in preparation for the week ahead and making everyone's packed lunches I made a batch of scones and a Madeira cake too . For my packed lunches down at my Studio this week I thought I would go with a nod to Greek cuisine , I made some Tazziki and some marinated Feta cheese .

At the moment there are quite a few buzz words like self sufficiency , sustainably , simple living and living frugally that keep coming up in conversation between me and Mr P when we're discussing our lives at present and what we want for the future of our family . We dream of living on our own little parcel of land and becoming quite self sufficient ,but  just because we've not got there yet , doesn't mean we can't start approaching our lives with as many of these ideals as fit with living in a Terraced house in town . 
So to the kitchen on my quest to be more self sufficient !!
Yesterday I was on a take it easy sort of day  ( exhausted as well as either a pulled muscle or trapped nerve in the left of my neck from all the lifting, after packing/cleaning my mums flat for her move then unpacking it all the next day in her new place . But we left her with a fully functioning , comfy , dressed flat that she could just start living in without loads to do . That was well worth any tiredness and aching body parts . ) , so yes a very take it easy sort of day and in the morning I had a thought . Why am I buying dried herbs that I grow in my garden ? I do use them fresh but in Autumn /winter their not at their best so I resort to my dried herbs and have you seen the price of herbs recently !! So I decided I should be preparing my herbs for drying while they are abundant and at there best , so scissors in hand ( and still in my p.j's ) I went off into my little back yard and started snipping .

So I have little bunches of Rosemary , Sage and Thyme wafting their heady sent in my kitchen whilst they dry  , the sage is wrinkling up nicely and its only been hanging for 1 day   . This should help save a bit of money in the future.

Tomorrow I'm back to working in my little studio space and my next lot of makes have been making slow progress through the holidays so I need to knuckle  down to it .

        But here is a date for your diaries the last in our present programme of Rag Rug Day workshops  .
As it says on the poster , recycling never looked so good !
So thanks for popping by and I hope you all have a lovely week , if your interested in booking on the workshop please just pop over to my face book page for Handmade Over Yonder and message me and I will get in touch .
Ta Ta for now 
Tracy xx