There is nothing like the casual, off the cuff invitation to some new friends to come over and sew one morning to get you to start frantically unpacking your craft stuff. This week I found myself inviting three gals over next Tuesday and when I got home I realised that I might just have to unpack some of my stuff if we're to achieve anything other than drinking tea and talking all morning.
Firstly, I moved the cookery books into the conservatory:
which freed up this cupboard on which I slowly started to dump some of my stuff:
Then I emptied the dresser bottom but didn't quite get around to moving anything in there. I did however, go through all of my boxes in the annexe and I retrieved what I might need in the short term and repacked other stuff. At one point I did wonder about chucking this 'other stuff' out because if I don't need it in the short term am I just hoarding it (and the answer sadly, is Yes).
That job took me a couple of hours over two mornings and I must say that it's nice to have some of my stuff in the main house. Should inspiration ever visit me again I will be ready.
Meanwhile I'm enjoying my non-crafting and little blogging life. Most days I've had supper started way before the children get back from school which means I can sit with them and catch up on their news, do jigsaw puzzles with Raj and look vaguely at Amber when she asks me Maths questions. All this happens after we've had tea of course and (sadly for my waist line) most days I've managed to do a spot of baking. On Monday it was muffins:
I kid myself that these are healthy because they have carrots in them but the icing more than makes up for their wholesomeness. It's Philadelphia, butter and icing sugar and even if you halve the ingredients in the recipe you still end up with enough to spread on digestives biscuits afterwards. As you can see we fight over these.
On Tuesday it was Cowboy Cookies - a recipe given to me by Jodi in PA. They are yummy. I love the mixture of oats, coconut and chocolate chips and luckily the mixture makes 36 biscuits so they can last a couple of days:
Today Amber came home and made Macaroons from a Nigella recipe which really are the best ones I have ever eaten. Why? Because they have cardamom in them and she cooks them at Gas mark 6 for ten minutes so that the outside is crisp and the centre chewy. They are divine:
Here's the recipe if you want to make some yourself. You'll need two large egg whites, 200g ground almonds, 200g caster sugar, about a quarter of a teaspoon of ground up cardamom pods (the inside black bits) and 2 tablespoons of rosewater.
Mix the almonds, sugar, cardamom and egg whites together and knead with your hands to make a thick paste (or use the flat beater of your mixer).
Sprinkle some rosewater on your hands and roll into little balls - size of smallish walnuts. Place on baking trays and squidge slightly. Stud the centre with whole blanched almonds if you wish. Bake for 10-12 minutes at gas 6/200C/400F.
This recipe comes from her book 'Feast' which I received last Christmas. I decided last week that I was totally bored of cooking the same thing over and over again. Do you ever get like that? I love cooking but the chore of doing it every night gets you down sometimes. So I decided to try some new recipes from Feast. So far we've had Ritzy Chicken Nuggets which weren't that popular. One pan Sage-and-Onion-Chicken and Sausage was much better as was Meatballs and Couscous. Tomorrow it's going to be Blakean Fish Pie and sometime I'm keen to try her Involtini which is stuffed aubergine slices in a tomato sauce. I'm sure that last one will produce an "Ugh what's that?"
So, guess which dish got the thumbs up this last fortnight and the 'is there any more'? None of the above sadly but pancakes and bacon and maple syrup followed by cherry slice. Both of which took me minutes to produce. So why am I slaving over the stove each night ............
PS Amber wants me to point out that none of the above refers to her. She has a more sophisticated palate than her brothers.