I've really settled back into my home this week and have been re-establishing routines and trying to find my rhythm again. There was a time when I would have had bread on the rise, cleaned the kitchen, made beds, fed the outdoor animals and tidied up, all before 9am. That's not happening now and I'm not sure if it's because the cold weather is making me slower or if I'm still finding my feet. Either way, I'm enjoying my work and have decided to do things differently now so I'm trying a few things to see how they feel.
I was supposed to be doing one of the final readings of my book now but that's been postponed so this week will be all about routines, tidying up and sewing. I've joined the blue, purple and mauve colour swap at the Down to Earth forum. I've been partnered with moeymichelle in Perth and have some household linens sewing scheduled for her. I'm looking forward to it and when I finish writing this post, I'll be going through my stash to choose fabrics. We can make anything we like as long as it's within the colour range of blue, purple and mauve. I'm sure there'll be a wide variety of crafts travelling back and forth for this swap and I'm looking forward to seeing what the ladies make.
These are my toys - a Steiff dog, bought for me by Hanno when we lived in Germany 35 years ago, and a handmade teddy bear, given to me as a gift. I let Jamie play with the teddy and he lets teddy drive Peppa Pig's car. The iron cat is a copy of an Egyptian artefact found as grave goods in a pyramid. Kerry bought it at the British Museum.
ADDED LATER: I just remembered that the last cook book I bought was The Country Table. I bought two, one for Sunny and one for me, because it's filled with old fashioned Australian cooking. Sunny had just asked me for a recipe for corned beef when I saw it in this cook book, along with a lot of other traditional, well-known food.
I've been asked for this recipe a few times so here it is. You might recall that I rarely stick to recipes and sure enough, while this was a new recipe to me, I did make a few minor adjustments. I'll give you the correct recipe as it appears in the book, and let you make your own adjustments or stay within the recipe. Either way, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. It's an unusual slice because it has a pastry base with a cake top. It's delicious and wonderful with a hot cup of tea.
This recipe is published in David Herbert's Best Ever Baking Recipes, published by Viking 2012.
Base and part of the filling:
- 350 plain flour
- pinch salt
- 200g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
- 150g muscovado sugar
- 1 rounded teaspoon bicarb
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 120 mls double cream
- 50 g pecans, chopped
- 50 g mixed candied peel
- 100 g orange mamalade
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
Oven @ 180C
30cm x 20 cm baking tin, lined with baking paper
- Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with fingertips, add the sugar and mix until it clumps together.
- Spread half that mixture on the bottom of the baking tin and bake for 15 minutes or until light brown. Allow to cool.
- Tip the rest of the base mixture into a large bowl and stir in bicarb. Mix in the egg, cream, nuts, mixed peek and half the marmalade.
- Pour over the cooled base and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown.
- Warm the remaining marmalade with the orange juice in a small saucepan. Brush over the top of the squares when they finish baking. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to five days.
Hanno and I had a rare weekend away last weekend when we drove over to Toowoomba for a meeting with the simple living group there. Such a fabulous bunch of women! They all brought along some knitting, cross stitch, crochet or sewing and while we talked, they worked on their crafts. We had hot tea on that cold morning and it felt good to be alive and in the company of like-minded folk.
I'll probably spend most of today sewing and tinkering around in my room. Days when I sew or garden or knit or take time to do that kind of work enrich my spirit and give me hours to think about my tasks, my family, you, me and how it all fits together. It's a small miracle that we gain so much pleasure from fabric and the hours we take to sew it. Part of that miracle is that we connect with our ancestors by using a skill they would have known, that what we do slows us down in the most gentle and gracious way and that what was once a one dimentional piece of fabric, after being worked, becomes part of life. I hope you have a lovely day. ♥︎