Sunday, 27 July 2014

Baking disasters

Today I tried a recipe that I think I copied from a book belonging to my Grandmother although I am not entirely sure.  It was for a 1910 sponge cake. 

1910 sponge cake
6 eggs
weight of 5 eggs in sugar
weight of 3 eggs in plain flour
grated rind of half a lemon

break the eggs onto the sugar and beat well for twenty minutes
stir in the flour which has been dried and sifted
butter a square tin, dredge it with flour shaking out any which does not adhere
pour mixture in and bake at once in a moderate oven inclining to coolness rather to heat 

This was not a success; it took a very long time to cook and I do not think a sponge cake is supposed to look like half raw pastry when it is cooked.  It is possible that the weight of flour and sugar have been mis-copied at some point (maybe by me)  I will try it again with less sugar and more flour.

 All TV programs, videos and blogs about cooking and baking show beautiful works of art almost too good to eat.  I have been cooking and baking since my early teens if not before and this is not my first mis-hap :- there was the time when I fell asleep and baked the Christmas cake for eight hours instead of three; the time when I was too clever to label the jar of salt (you can see where this one is going) and put six ounces of salt into a cake instead of six ounces of sugar - luckily that one never got cooked.  I thought a different take on lemon meringue pie might be nice if a chocolate flan case filled with tinned  manderine oranges topped with meringue would be nice.  I was right it was nice but I broke the cake so badly trying to get it off the tin no one else got to try it.  
ready to bake
Even before todays effort got to the oven I was having problems with the eggs so I decided to cheer myself up and make some mincemeat squares with the spare eggs.  Just waiting for it to cool down so we can eat it.



Sunday, 20 July 2014

A summers day at the War and Peace Revival

It is the time of year when tanks, trucks, guns etc roll across the Kentish countryside to a massive event.  Static displays of living history, arena shows, army surplus stands have now (at the second year at the new venue) been joined by classic cars, a 'home front' village, vintage fashion shows and stalls with clothes - some vintage some replicas.
As this years show finishes at the end of sunday 20th July plans are already being made for the next show.

I love classic car shows like this with a lot of variety there are so many beautiful cars.

A friend of mine was taking part in a fashion show - but not the one I watched .... this one in the home front village was very interesting.  Finding out about the reduction of the number of buttons (to free up valuable time), how many coupons were needed for clothes and details about styling.

A walk around the camps and vehicle display takes a long time but worth it.

The Home Front village with tape across the glass, a pub, shelter in the dig for victory garden (with chickens), war memorial to those lost in the Great War gives a good idea of what things were like even on a hot summers day. 

DRINK BING a soft drink still available today in Kent.

 Just right for smoothing the showground ready for the next day.

I would recommend more than one day because there is so much to see and do, this really is the tip of the ice berg, there are dances and variety shows throughout the day and evening.  And in the true spirit of the Blitz even the rain and storms of the last two nights can't stop.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Lone soldier

A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO I WAS WALKING THROUGH ELLINGTON PARK on my way to work and I found this gentleman standing near the main gate.  As there was still sawdust on the ground this wonderful carving can only just have been done.
The Friends of Ellington Park have been putting a lot of effort into making the park great again - with new flower beds being planted and events being held.

I had to take pictures from all angles because I was so impressed with the workmanship of this woodcarving to commemerate the start of the Great War.

 I liked the dead tree that he had been carved from but this is even better.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Acquisition of a fleece and what happened next

Recently I was told by an acquaintance about their sheep giving birth and ever the opportunist I wondered if they had a use for the fleece.  The end result is I am now the very pleased owner of a beautiful fleece (with a nice long staple) and they did not have to throw away a perfectly  good fleece.

Having got my fleece I had to get it clean enough to use - it was a little messy with some wood shavings and straw caught up in it as well as a few dried sheep droppings, but it was free so no real complaints.  As I want to use it for felting I thought it should be alright to wash it.  When I got my first fleece I was told that for DROP SPINNING the fleece should be unwashed but for spinning on a WHEEL it should be washed.

I washed my fleece in the bath with cold water and soap flakes being very careful not to over agitate it. I gave it about three washes and then thoroughly rinsed it and placed it flat on a clothes dryer across the bath to drip dry.  It took about three days to dry completely.

While my fleece was drying I had time to look for my carders.  This ended up taking two evenings.  The first evening was spent searching through many boxes and cupboards and led to discovery of all sorts of treasures some of which I had forgotten I had. The second evening took me up into the loft and I found them in a bag with parts of my inkle loom.  Thinking about it they were in a very sensible place for something I haven't used for a good many years. 

I then spent a happy hour in the garden carding my fleece, hard work but fun and rewarding as I filled my garden trug with carded wool  There is a long way to go before the whole fleece is ready to use but that just means there is time to think about and plan projects to make.