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


  1. What a fantastic post Tracy - I've thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish! Such industry in the kitchen with wonderful results - and congrats on the butter, you can't beat home made, and you know there's no rubbish in it either! That fetta looks sooooooo good, you'll be enjoying your lunches this week, for sure! It's good news that you have re-housed your Mum and got her off to a good start and I hope your aches and pains soon dissipate! Have a wonderful well-prepared-for week! xoJoy

  2. So cool how you made your own butter! You make it look so easy. I love the idea of sustainability. Is never much into gardening but a lot of you and our school garden are so inspirational. One day. We need a house first.

  3. Lots of lovely homemade goodies. Thanks for sharing.
    Jacqui x

  4. I love your bread and butter, I am inspired to try and have a go now I know that it is as straightforward as the claims, and now that I have a stand mixer as well! I think that your herb drying idea is a really great one, and something that I should do as well. They also look so pretty hanging up in your garden while they are drying don't they! xx

  5. The butter and cakes/bread look fab! Did the butter taste better than bought salted butter? I really love salty butter, and get one with sea salt flakes in from Waitrose - I find I then use less of it, as you get the salty buttery flavour with only a small amount. Your lunches look nice - enjoy!

  6. Gosh, you really were productive in your kitchen with such wonderful results. I like the sound of your soda bread and have copied down the recipe to try out soon..

  7. I did a rag rug course a couple of years ago. It was great fun and a residential course for two days. My friend next to me ran out of fabric and we ended up cutting up a T shirt I had in my suitcase! It was hilarious!

  8. How lovely to see your self-sufficient and sustainable ideas. I'm a fan of this kind of lifestyle as well. Have you ever read Soule Mama's blog? You might enjoy it, she has a fairly self-sufficient life on a smallholding in Maine. I'm glad your mum's settled in her new home, I hope she'll be happy there. Have a good week. CJ xx

  9. A hive of activity Tracy, well done. I love spending the day in my kitchen, only produced a loaf of bread and some scones yesterday as I ended tackling our very dirty inside windows, I hate cleaning windows! Enjoy your week. Anne x

  10. I can remember having a go at making butter at about eight years old as well, but I've never thought about doing it since. Your soda bread looks fantastic, and you're quite right to be storing herbs now - I always have good intentions of snipping them into ice cube trays to freeze for the winter but never quite remember to do it. You have inspired me to get out the scissors! xx

  11. You are a perfect marvel Tracy and I never know what you are going to turn your hand to next with such lovely results. Great idea to dry your own herbs and having rosemary hanging must be gorgeous it is my favourite herb. Your cooking looks absolutely scrummy and I would definitely pop round for a snack if I lived nearer. Hope you are feeling better and so glad Mum is moved and I am sure settling in nicely. Take care xx lots of love Joy xx

  12. Your baking looks lovely - it would all go down very nicely in my house. I dry my own herbs for use in the winter - not only does it save money but they taste so much better! And the smell of herbs while drying is delightful
    Caz xx

  13. Hi Tracy,
    It's always a pleasure reading your blog and I think your recent post has definitely inspired me to do some baking. Mmm the soda bread looks very yummy and what a great idea drying your own herbs. Yes they are expensive to buy. Glad to hear your mum is making such good progress and hope your aches quickly go too. Enjoy your week back in the studio and look forward to seeing more of your beautiful makes. Thanks again for sharing with us.
    Lov Jules xx

  14. Wow Tracy you have been busy! I once accidentally made butter! By that I mean my mum set me on beating some cream but I took it too far........!

  15. Yummy looking food, and how fun to make it as you did, Tracy. You inspire me to want to dry some of our herbs as well. Your rag rug workshop looks very intriguing! I hope it is successful. I just posted about dragging around some cotton I have been crocheting into a basket...for many weeks, although it is in simple single crochet and not very big...but at least I am making progress slowly but surely :) Wishing you and yours well and am so pleased you were able to help your mom move to a good location to complete her recovery! xx

  16. Hi Tracy - I remembered you from The Attic 24 post where you two got the studio and wondered....where did Tracy go? It took a few minutes to find you again and I'm so glad I did. I've loved reading about your craft and homemaking, etc. You're doing a great job! I love the recipes and all, especially the critters. When you have a minute (right!) come over and visit us at Prairie Cottage Corner and we'll have a virtual scone and a cuppa. Meanwhile, keep up the good work and keep writing. We love hearing from you. Kathie, in Odessa, WA, USA