Thursday, 28 April 2011

Well ...

what are you waiting for? It's almost time!  You can either tune in or opt out, but either way the Royal Wedding is nearly upon us.  I'm having friends and family over for viewing or avoiding so there will be food and frolics a go go ... two tv's have been set up for those who do want to see every minute and the rest of the house and garden is a no fly zone!

I'm hoping the weather continues to hold, so we can sit outside and have eats set up there too.  The back garden is going to be opened up and I may even get out the paddling pool (if only for somewhere to keep the cider/beer chilled)

On the menu

Sarnies - Ham, Egg and Cucumber varieties
Mini Cornish Pasties
Mini Scotch Eggs
Chocolate Cake
Sweets (old fashioned style in plastic yet glass like jars)
Should I do cupcakes?
Scones, cream and jame
Burgers and Hot Dogs

Cava (do I look like Andra Carnegie?!)
Shirley Temples
Various fruit spritzers
Alcoholic Ginger beer (with Roses Lime as an optional dash!)
Fruit Juice
Tea/Coffee ...

I had intended to make a vertical layer cake with chocolate/strawberry sponge, but it's now 20 to 9 at night and I can't be arsed!

In true Oor Hoose fashion, it wasn't until about an hour ago I discussed with Taede that it might be an idea to hook up the different t.v. - cue much grumping, and we've got the x-box set up to stream it on the other telly assuming it's going to actually be that popular! :) 

I did, like a twit, resort to some red white and blue bunting which I may hang along the garden fence in the morning if I a. have time, and b. remember :D

I wish the young couple nothing but health and happiness, which is hard enough to get in a normal life, far less the goldfish bowl that they will conduct themselves... I've managed to avoid hype and hyperbole up til now and would just prefer it to be a day of relaxing with friends at home while something magical and mysterious (as well as historic) plays out in the background ... we'll see :)

So, what are your plans?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

excuse me, your cool Britannia's showing....

The Bank Holiday weekend isn't over yet for us, this being Taede's rota day off, but the boys are back to school!

We had a fab weekend, Friday the boys went to Deep Sea World with their Dad and I had work at night.  Saturday was a Dad day for the boys again, with him doing childminding duties while I slept.  An early sleep was essential as I was doing a backshift on Saturday night. I was allowed to go home early though, as I'd done something to the middle fingers of my right hand, and the pain is now excrutiating ... :(

Sunday was a big tournament for the rugby up at Strathendrick in Fintry. I wore a summer dress as it was sunny here, but it was dull and breezy up there! Not unpleasant though and what a day was laid on. Tombola, bouncy castle slide, hot food, and plenty rugby.  Sadly our p6's were laid low after a promising start.  And in the final pool play off Ewan was felled by a big lad from Hillfoots and had to be attended by first aider and helped off the pitch.  Never seen him in so much pain or so upset - he was gutted he was going to miss the last half of the last game. We carried him to the car after he got his medal and headed back to Granny and Granpa's for Easter dinner...

Which was lovely!

Yesterday, the boys were both expecting some mates to come over, but this didn't materialise, which given Ewan's stiffness of knee probably was a good thing. Not that he saw it as that.  I had a jewellery repair to carry out and Sigrid popped over for a wee sesh on how to upload and link to photos ...

Some tea and scones later and the pics are all up but I'm so not used to the magical workings of iE ...

Today I think I shall be waiting around in A&E to see if my finger really is broken ... oy vey

I'm off this coming weekend so I shall be making the most of having a house full for the Royal Wedding and the snarking should be good.  I am horrified at the amount of crap that is being punted, even by what I would class as a reputable business, with the union flag on it.  And the exorbitant price of this bandwagon claptrap ... I'm annoyed, because in the midst of all this rubbish, lie beautiful gems, lost and swamped by the tide of tat! If you must display your britishness and want to wave your flag, please buy responsibly. Or with humour ... I'm loving regretsy at the moment, and would love this mug ... *evil cackle*
If you're having willing mates round and there's going to be alcohol involved, or even if there's not - you could always try this drinking game on facebook.  pixpls if you do :)

toodlepip, and chin chin!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Hat Trick

I know, I know.... THREE posts... I warned you I was like something driven by Midland Bluebird* ;)

I was in the garden this afternoon, pottering, snipping, and hanging out laundry whilst Piper began to paint.  Yes, I let her have paint, and no, I didn't used to... but she got to at her granny's and I figure outside the mess can't make it much worse. Besides, it's a (reinforced) glass table top, easily cleaned!

So here she is, hard at work creating. And this is what she did - not bad for not yet three years old, stayed in the lines not too badly :)

The dog had fun too, she has a little bubble machine from Asda that she adores, turns out Alex likes to chase them too!

*an old bus! ;D

Moe hee toes

Well, I could wait no longer, so had to pop out some of these babies!

I have discovered through trial and error that the best way to free these chappies is to run a sharp knife just inside the rim, then lay the tray in a swiss roll tin of warmish water.  The key is to use the knife on all of them, but just the shortest time in the pan, pop out a fw, then lay back in the pan for a moment or two then pop out some more... more patience is required for photo perfect jellies, but I think you'll agree that for home use, these will do!

I'm fairly certain that for a virgin style of these you could substitute the rum for water and add a few drops of flavouring (though not too much as you don't want to really taste the rum, alcohol or not)

Mojito Jelly

2 cup water (1 cold, 1 fresh from kettle)
1½ cup sugar
1½ cup white rum
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 lemon
handful of mint (leaves and stalks -you're going to strain it!)
2 sachets of gelatin powder (or any equivalent of agar agar, or vegegel, or gelatin leaves )

I'm going to blab about gelatin first.  I haven't experimented yet with agar agar, but when I do, you will be the first to know!  I have the strands, not the powder. I use Dr Oetker's (you know they used to be supercook!) bog standard gelatin sachets, I also have the leaves, not tried them yet either.  I think that like me, you will have to trial and error in your own kitchen, but be aware if it doesn't set, you can boil the kettle, mix up 100ml water with a sachet of gelatin, fully dissolve it, and then add your original non-setting mix to it and you will have rescued it!)

Also the more strong a proof your alcohol is, the more water:gelatin ratio you will need to fiddle with. But you knew that was going to be the case, right? ;D

Back to the recipe.  Boil 1(cold) cup of water with the cup and a half of sugar, allow to reduce by half. remove from heat and add chopped mint, lime juice, lemon juice and white rum and mix well. You can leave this to infuse if you like, up to 15 mins, depending on how minty you want the taste!

In a heat proof jug or bowl, mix the hot, freshly boiled water with the gelatin as per the manufacturer's instructions.  mix with a fork continuously until it is all dissolved (a few grains won't make a huge difference, but preferably all dissolved).

Using a sieve, strain the other minty liquid into the jug and mix thoroughly. You can now pour it into your prepared moulds.  You can use any moulds you like, I spray my ice cube trays with Lakeland's bake release then swipe it around each with some kitchen roll, to absorb the excess. You can put it in a loaf tin, where the weight of the jelly will allow inertia and gravity to take it's course when turning out! (I've read that agar agar hates grease of any kind though)

Preferably chill in the fridge, flat, for a few hours, possibly overnight!

When serving, you can take a sharp knife around the edge of your mould and sit the tray in a baking tray half filled with warm tap water.  I'd recommend a dip, then turn out a few, then a dip again, rather than sitting it in the water for more than a few minutes.  You can firm it back up in the fridge though, if it gets too soft!

I just laid an extra mint leaf on top for presentation but you could sprinkle it with chopped mint, or the finely grated zest of lemon and lime (or mebbe just a fine shred of the lime peel?  Go wild!)

A jelly shot is absorbed less quickly than an alcohol shot, so even seasoned party hearty drinkers will have it hit them hard if you consume too many! (you can dliute it further with water if required, and these are teeny little shots as a taster)

Please drink and chew responsibly, I'd hate to be cited for the damage to your liver ;) Chin Chin! xx

Need shooting!

Recently I discovered this fabulous blog Jelly Shot Test Kitchen with fantabulous eye candy in the truest, and occasionally drunkest, sense of the word! (some, a lot actually are virgin recipes so it's not all adults only)

I love to create pretty things, so yes, I've preordered the recipe book...duh! I do have a nemesis in gelatin though, so I think after my gelatin stock is used up I will start making agar agar my jelly maker of choice! Then its all suitable for those of the vegetarian persuasion as well!

I also bought some funky moulds.  There's a tale about that

I bought this mould and showed it to a buddy who was round for drinkypoos the other night, and it was tacky from the packaging so without thinking I stuck it in the dishwasher... that's a tenner I won't see again in a hurry, but lesson learned *sigh*

So, this morning, armed with limited stocks of alcohol, I started remaking shots I did yesterday.  *smile*
I made a batch of mojito jellies, as I had just made some mojito cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book. Those were a hit and I shall definitely be making them again and other versions as well. I had an issue with my gelatin, having put more than enough in the pan, and a little extra for luck, and stirred it for what seemed like an eternity, I added the rum, lime and mint mixture.  It was only after straining out the chopped mint that I realised quite a bit of the gelatin hadn't actually dissolved.  So, now I have to buy a pan that isn't dark grey which I can see to the bottom and check properly.  Any excuse eh? :)

Not being a woman with an abundance of patience I checked the jellies about an hour and a half later and was surprised to see they'd thickened up considerably, so perhaps there had been enough gelatin after all?  This morning they hadn't firmed up any further so I wasn't surprised pleasantly after all.  Add this to the opening of the dishwasher and I was superbummed.

Yet not easily deterred.
One boiled kettle, an extra sachet of gelatin and some more action with a fork later, I had a nice clear mixture in my glass jug.  I added the jelly I'd made previously (wobbly mass of ..... no let's not go there) and stirred like a demon.  I'd thought I'd need another tray but the mixture very almost went back into the original trays (after washing, drying and regreasing!) Already they're firm - so it's looking good!

Buoyed by this success I decided to have a bash at some red jewels/hearts with some vodka and grenadine.  I had seen a recipe that used sachets of quick setting gel as well as gelatin.  Whilst the jewel tray is buggered the hearts are quite deep, and (I think I inherited it from Sigrid - ta chuck!) took up most of the mixture.  Due to the proportions of liquid to gel mix/ gelatin it remains quite cloudy, but still *hic* tastes ok, if a little potent.

So, what have I learned from this I hear you ask?

Do not wash silicone ice cube trays in the dishwasher....
Be fully prepared with your liquids measured, any colourants you will use handy
If one more person tells me I'll need extra gelatin due to alcohol I'll lamp them one
Once you find something that works, stick with it, perfect it
(don't you dare say it Sigrid! ;) re extra gelatin)
Get better cake release stuff with finer spray and less residue!
Perhaps it's not politically correct to use an old baby bottle for measuring one's alcohol.
Nor is it such to have your almost three year old help ... have I mentioned she likes to cook? And now has a fascination for jelly .. so obviously we had to make some virgin stuff for her :)

Can't wait til my space invader tray and lego tray arrive.  I want to do the rainbow ones soon, with the stalked cherries! I better get on it quickly though... got some to make for a night out in a week or so!

So, happy Easter everyone, I hope you all have a relaxing weekend *love and hugs*

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Nice Weather

for ducks at the start of the week

For those of you who haven't caught me on facebook, I love this song.  I love a lot of songs, but right now, this song is driving me 'quackers' (sorry)

Now that I have that out my system, I need to show you just how busy I've been and how lucky I am to have beady friends online and in real life!

I received a wonderful BeadBuddie birthday table treat from Carol Passaro, aka Bead Queen.  The coulours of the buttons whilst fab were completely taken on with the colours of a mixed pack of beads, so much so I made this ring (twice) and then added the buttons to make another!

Carol has also sent me another pack of lovelies and I can't wait to make something worthy of them !

O:TTBS colours are red, black and white this month which is well within my spectrum of comfort.  I have still got a commission that I should be doing that is in these colours but I was influences by the moodboard and what I had in my stash as well as the wonderful method of Odd Count Peyote stitch that Sigrid passed on to me! 

Bead Buddies also have their new colours up for the monthly challenge, and boy did these colours stump me.  Not because I don't have them in my stash, far from it, I just didn't know what to do.  First I got carried away and did a bezelled cab of Tan's.  I have ogled, stroked and purred over these beauties so it was nice to finally make something with them.  They were much simpler to bezel round than I had anticipated and whislt I liked the result, it wasn't wuite 'me'.  So I raked out some other stuff and again, a surprise extra from Carol came in handy here too!

Bead and Banter at The Bead Shop Scotland in Edinburgh was on Tuesday evening, and fresh from an afternoon's beady play with Sigrid, it was great to get out with fellow beady buds Mary Marshall and Lisa Broadley.  We had such a laugh, and boy are these ladies talented :) I love Lisa's 'laissez-faire' and 'que sera' attitude.  Such an adaptive creative person :) And those shoes Lisa, just wow! ;)

I must also thank Lisa for the loan of her texture mats for cupcakeness this weekend and for the fantabulous card stock she gave me for the children (well, I'm a big kid too eh? ;) )

Personally, my health is at a low ebb, so whilst I've tried to stay busy, I've been on a bit of a downer!  As a result, I think I am likely to miss out on a night out at work.  Whilst I'd love to go, I really need to take time for me, and try and recuperate.  Needless to say, the cure from the doc's is almost (but not quite) worse than the disease :)

I've enjoyed baking this week, including banana bread, brownies, peanut butter cookies, scones, scones and damned scones as well as cupcakes for mother's day (which was the best ever according to the boys! ;) ) and also tonight.  I have also been donated some chocolate and condensed milk which I have to turn into Millionaire's Shortbread for a girl at work!  Her hubby loves it apparently so hopefully he'll like mine ;) Should really teach her how to make it herself, eh? :D

I also have started making a tutorial of the odd count peyote project, which I'm determined, as much as Sigrid, to credit, if not the originator of the idea, at least someone who taught it!

I shall put it here when it's done!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Dear Blog

Here is a beautiful star shaped cushion fashioned entirely from size 11/0 beads by my lovely mate Sigrid.

She is too shy to expose the world to her beautiful neat freak beadwork so I am going to have to do it for her, that and we're experiencing technical difficulties with our host *eyes the other half glaringly* :)

The star is based on a Jean Power design and will be an ornament in her family room.  

We've had an afternoon of, beading, tea and cakes so it's all good. Off to Bead and Banter tonight too, we're spoiled :D

Friday, 1 April 2011

Thank You

This is a thank you post to Sarah and the gang at Operation: Tackle That Bead Stash! for the lovely prize I won for mentioning their birthday giveaway here on da blog ...

Here is the prize that is pretty in pink!  Trust me to have inspiration now that March is over! ;)

Check them out now for this month's colour push and get yourself some insiration as well as that necessary punt to get you motivated ;)

I'm starting to believe in the motto on the front of the card too, but that's a story for another post! ;)