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Friday, 18 June 2010

Cushions and flowers and how to make smashing homebaked bread!

Well here we are again Friday. it has been a good week. So what have my achievements been this week? Any Cushion and Cake related, well, yes. I've been busy this week making and baking so I look forward to taking you through some of the bits that have made this week particularly good.

Well I suppose number one is weather related (Scots are obsessed with weather), I've eaten outside more than three times this week. That is a pretty good number too, could've possibly been more but that was more about me rather than it not being warm enough.

I was really please with a cushion I made a couple of days ago. I love stripes at the moment and this one allows me to continue my stripey theme. It is an Oxford style cushion. I'd never made this kind of cushion cover before, but it turns out to be quite a nice one to make provided you have measured with care and taken time to line up the stripes properly. It is a rectangular shape too which I haven't done so many of. I really like it. It is on for sale if you like it as much as I do!
I'll really enjoyed making this so perhaps in a week or so, I'll post a tutorial on how to make it. It really is a lovely cushion to make.

I've baked loads this week. Yesterday a baked a lovely coconut and lime cake for my dad's birthday. It was very popular but the achievement I'm most proud of this week, is my home baked bread.
In my opinion, it was just perfect. My friend Gerry was pretty impressed too when I served it to him warm with homemade tomato and basil soup for lunch yesterday.I've made bread before but i was never terribly impressed with it, but this time it was sot on. The two things I did differently this time was I used the best strong white flour I could find. Avoid shops own brand and I started it the night before, and left it to prove in the fridge overnight. Well worth the little extra expense and preparation.
I used a really basic recipe so if you wanted to have a go, here are the ingredients.
500g really good strong white flour (please don't skimp here, you WILL be disappointed!)
1x7g sachet of fast acting yeast
2x teaspoons salt
1x tablespoon olive oil
300 ml luke warm water
  1. You need a hot oven, 220 degrees.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together then make a well in the middle
  3. Add the olive oil and slowly add the water and mix until a dough forms
  4. Get your mitts in there and really give it a good knead
  5. Once you have a nice dough which is elastic like and not sticky, put it in a bowl and cover. Leave in the fridge over night if you can to let it double in size.
  6. Next day, take it out of the fridge. It should have risen quite a bit now. You need to knead it again. Knock it about a bit then put onto your baking sheet and leave to double in size again for about 1 hour.
  7. When ready for the oven, make some cuts with a knife into the bread. It makes it look good, I'm not sure if it assists with the baking part but I do it anyway.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes. When you take it from the oven, tapping on the underside of the loaf, if it sounds hollow, it is ready.
  9. Leave it to cool on a wire rack. Don't be tempted to scoff it immediately because I think that it does a little bit of drying off on the inside while it cools so you don't get a yeasty, soggy bread.

I popped out to meet a friend for lunch today, and also to drop off a batch of large scones she wanted for her mum. They looked pretty good, I might make more later today for me! On the way home I had to pop into the florist to buy a peach rose. Stuart and I are going to a wedding tomorrow so I wanted to make him a buttonhole. I got a lovely peachy coloured rose (it goes with my peach dress ;-) ) but while I was in they had bunches of one of my favourites, peonies. They look lovely on super long stems with their big heavy heads about to burst into a big blousy flower. I took a picture of them but I can't do them justice until they start to open up.

I have so much to do the rest of this afternoon so I'd better get on it. I have to get my dress ready for tomorrow and have a think about what this buttonhole will look like. I'll post pictures of it in the making.

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