Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Sorrow turned to joy!

This morning I decided to place some grocery items on a high glass shelf in my pantry. I had emptied said shelf a week or so ago as I had noticed the brackets beginning to pull away from the wall, and I had some very heavy pottery dishes on it. I had screwed the screws back into the rawl plugs, and as it had remained in position, and I'd given it a wiggle to make sure it was well-secured, I loaded it up with 'light-ish' items...

or so I thought...

I must thank my guardian angel for getting me out of the pantry -

I was in another room when I heard an almighty crash, and rushed back to find...

I don't think I've ever seen such a mess !

Thank the Lord, despite the great height everything had fallen from and the fact that the shelf itself was in smithereens, there wasn't a great deal of damage. A few broken cups, but even hubby's bottle of Mead wine, and a couple of jars of home-made raspberry jam, which I had foolishly placed on the shelf, were unscathed. The strangest thing was the sound of the glass continuing to crackle.

One bag of flour had burst, but didn't seem to have any glass in it, so after clearing up the debris, I decided to get out my bread-making machine, ...

The nicest thing was, as I stood looking at the disaster and he'd rushed in from another room to see what had happened, the bread-maker said, "I'm glad you didn't get cross about it Mummy" ... I must admit things like that don't make me cross, I think I was just so amazed by it all!

The old tin of yeast I found lurking in the back of my fridge didn't seem to have lost any of it's power!

You can tell which one the bread-making machine shaped for me...

Well, I'm glad the disaster motivated me back into making bread, even though I was exhausted after all the cleaning up...

(Edited to add, due to UKOK's comment! ...)

Good Bread Recipe

Quantities of loaves ............................3.............2................1

Flour (strong white bread flour.................3lb .....1 1/2 lb .....3/4lb
Salt (tablespoons)..............................1 1/2....... 1........... 1/2
Butter..........................................3oz ....1 1/2 oz ....3/40z
Yeast (teaspoons - tinned dried yeast)..........5.........2 1/2 .........1/4
Liquid (fluid ounces)...........................30 .........15............ 7 1/2

I tend to use organic bread flour - health-food shops, and some of the larger stores stock it (Waitrose is my nearest).
Yeast is made by Allinsons - it's not the stuff for machines, but that might work as well.
The liquid can be plain water (you get the yeast started by mixing it with half the quantity of liquid, at a lukewarm temp., with a teaspoon of sugar in it, left for 10 mins to make sure it's frothing).
However, for this recipe, and it turned out delicious, I used up a carton of Rice milk I'd kept in the cupboard in case anyone with milk allergies turned up! (It had fallen too, and looked like it might start leaking!)
Sometimes, for a richer recipe, I use two eggs (for the first two quantities, and one egg for the last) beaten, and then make up the rest of the liquid with milk (having kept some aside to get the yeast started).
I also add seeds (pumpkin, sesame, whatever you fancy!) - just chuck a couple of handfulls in to the flour, before adding the liquid.
Liquid is all added at once, once the yeast is frothing nicely, and then get bashing for ten minutes, UKOK should be alright as she has two bread-making machines she can use to help save her wrists!!!
Leave to rise for about an hour, bash down, shape, and leave to rise for another hour (although some people don't bother with 2 risings, I find it's better), place in or onto WELL BUTTERED tins, then bake @ about 200 deg.C for 10mins, turn down heat, to 180 deg. C, for another 20 - 30 mins. (It can all be done at one temperature, I'm never sure what's best, but this way it seems to turn out ok).
The way to test whether the bread is cooked, is to turn it out of it's tin (or turn upside down if it's on a flat tray), tap the base, and if it sounds hollow, it's done. If it doesn't sound hollow, (but looks cooked) I put it back in upside down, for another 5 mins or so, and that usually does the trick.
Happy munching - (you really do need the home-made raspberry jam for perfection!)

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Thankyou Alexa for the "I Love Your Blog" award. Not sure I want to answer the following questions with one word, but if I must:
1. Where is your cell phone? hidden.
2. Where is your significant other? school.
3. Your hair color? brunette (cough, cough).
4. Your mother? Welsh.
5. Your father? Scots.
6. Your favorite thing? gardening.
7. Your dream last night? pleasant.
8. Your dream/goal? become Christ-like (can't say that in one word, sorry).
9. The room you’re in? study.
10. Your hobby? bereft.
11. Your fear? losing heaven.
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? improved.
13. Where were you last night? in bed.
14. What you’re not? sad.
15. One of your wish-list items? detatchment.
16. Where you grew up? Gloucestershire.
17. The last thing you did? put coal on fire.
18. What are you wearing? denim dress.
19. Your TV? hidden.
20. Your pet? woodlouse. (we do borrow a dog called ' Bless' occasionally too).
21. Your computer? hubby's.
22. Your mood? middling.
23. Missing someone? hubby.
24. Your car? red.
25. Something you’re not wearing? trousers!
26. Favourite store? none (but John Lewis's if near one!).
27. Your summer? where was it?
28. Love someone? aha.
29. Your favourite colour? green.
30. When is the last time you laughed? today.
31. Last time you cried? few days ago.

Now I'm supposed to tag someone with this award, but since most of my blog buddies are one step ahead of me, (or too busy, and grown up to join in these things) I reckon they've all been done, but anyone who's on my blogroll can consider themselves worthy of the award, that's why I've put them there!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Science lessons - homeschool style!

I've been too busy to post anything lately, due to the fact that we've actually started using a TIMETABLE which means I can't mess around any longer when I'm supposed to be teaching! However, we were supposed to be doing science this afternoon, and since the rather ridiculous chemistry kit in an oversized box with very little in that could not be found in an average kitchen (apart from the iron filings!) didn't inspire me to go beyond the making of rose-petal perfume (which was last week's exploit) I thought the blending of butter, sugar and eggs with mashed bananas, flour and baking powder, was science enough for the day...

In the interest of scientific accuracy, for those who wish to try the experiment themselves at home, I shall note down the proceedure...

Take 3oz (sorry modern science teachers*, I still don't believe in evolution, so grammes mean nothing to me either) of butter, blend with 6oz of caster sugar, until light and fluffy. Add 2 beaten medium sized eggs with 10 oz of mashed bananas and 8oz of sifted plain flour, 3 level teaspoons of baking powder, and a pinch of salt.

For our recipe, we added some sunflower seeds, and some flaked almonds, and sprinkled extra ones on top after putting the mixture into a 2lb loaf tin.

(2 oz of walnuts can be added, if desired).

Cook for about an hour at 350 deg. F, roughly! (We actually used Celsius, but my recipe says F. and I don't know how to convert it, so we played around and it came out ok - see how scientific we are) (My son does know how to convert it, but he thought it would take too much brain effort).

* (Modern science teachers will be relieved to know that my son does think in grammes, and thought my funny old fashioned z in oz was a g, and was about to weigh out 30 grammes, instead o f 3 ounces - fortunately I realised in time what he was up to - but would it have mattered? is there a big difference between 30 grammes and 3 ounces?? I'm musing to myself here...)

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Does anyone else pronounce these things "meh may"? - I never get the Dawkins connection at first!

Roses and Jessamine has asked me to answer this lot :-

"Where were you and what were you doing at...?"

1. JFK's Assassination 22/11/1963
Poking my baby brother in the eye? Playing with dollies? Annoying my older siblings? No idea!

2. England vs Germany World Cup Semi-Final 4/7/1990
Now if you'd asked me about the 1966 England vs Germany World Cup Final, well, I can distinctly remember watching it from behind two armchairs (presumably the front row was taken up by male members of the family) and feeling very excited because England had won! By 1990 I was far too spiritual to be worrying about such earthly matters!

3. Margaret Thatcher's Resignation 22/11/1990
Probably still floating on my spiritual cloud, but I felt immense relief that she'd gone and I'd be able to watch the news without having to stick my fingers in my ears every time she spoke.
4. Princess Diana's Death 31/8/1997
At my parent's house in Bristol. Early morning I came downstairs and my father, a newsaholic, had heard about it and told me - I didn't really believe him at first. I remember seeing her coffin brought through the streets of Northampton, (we lived there then) on its way to her final resting place.

5. Attack on Twin Towers 9/11/2001
At our house in Bristol. My sister had been shopping at the nearby Mall, and had seen news coverage of it on the TV s for sale in the shops. She came to tell us. We didn't have tv, but we managed to get the news coverage from the internet. We spent a lot of time shielding our young son from the in your face coverage of it (he's never been allowed to watch the news). I was glad a couple of years later that we had, when with a group of young children who were about the same age as him, it was obvious that it had impinged on their lives in an unhealthy way. He knows about such things, but not from seeing the horrific visual imagery.

6. Election of Cardinal Ratzinger to the Papacy 19/4/2005
At Mum and Dad's again, in Bristol - 'cos I saw something on the telly, and we didn't have one! I was so relieved. I had been reading his "Spirit of the Liturgy", and gradually turning into a rampant Traditionalist over the previous six months - it seemed a real answer to prayer.

I think most of the people I know have done this already, so whoever wants to, feel free to consider yourselves tagged.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Happy Birthday! Mary

I have long tried to achieve a 'blue and white' garden in honour of Our Blessed Mother; the last garden I had was just coming to perfection (after 5 years work on it) when we moved house. The current one has not had enough work done on it yet, not enough time, not enough money, sigh! Nonetheless, here are my gleanings, after a very wet and sunless summer, gathered this morning for Our Blessed Mother's birthday. Perhaps next year I will have a little less purple, and a little more blue!