Monday, October 07, 2013

Catch up.

We did put the central heating on for a couple or so hours on Friday to get rid of the damp feel to the rooms, but soon switched it off as it was far too warm.  The forecast today is for 19C in this region (and most of the country), unseasonably warm but who cares - it saves on fuel.   We expect cold at the end of this week as the wind swings round to come from the north.

Not a bad weekend weatherwise, but today have woken to rain again.  It is a bit breezy so may soon clear.  I was busy potting up bulbs for indoor winter and spring display, so that's one job  done.  My main work has been tidying up the kitchen.   I had to role-play to get it done, the kitchen in such a mess.  
I became a split-personality, the 'mentor' along-side the real me.  Most of the time I was explaining to myself how the work should be done efficiently, and this entailed me talking out loud to myself..."You see, Mrs. Goode, if you make sure you scrape all the bits of dry pastry stuck to the board before you put it away, then you won't have to do it later" (scraping board then done).  "Clear all the utensils and empty jars that are not needed today, and put them away".  ("But I may need them later in the week" was Mrs. G's reply). "Then you will know where they are when you want them".... So these were put away.  Slowly, slowly, all the work surfaces were cleared leaving only essentials, also the kitchen table, and today the stack of boxes and baking tins that I've been 'hiding' under the table will now have to be put in a new place, their 'proper' place.  Even chores can be made fun when tackled in this way. 
I do appreciate my 'mentor', she is very efficient, knows exactly what to do, pity I can't normally keep to her standards.

Over the weekend made another loaf, extending it with half as much again of strong bread flour and water.  Nowadays use a blend of half milk, half water as this makes for a softer crumb and it doesn't seem to stale quite so rapidly.   As this made extra dough, the surplus I made into 'baps',. using the four-section Yorkshire pudding tin as 'bun-moulds'.  Worked a treat.  I also covered the top of the Yorkie tin with a 9" square baking tin so the baps would have room to rise but also cook in their own steam.  This also worked, the bap tops stayed pale gold and not as crusty as normal.  I've now taken to covering the loaf with a tent of foil (shiny side up), halfway through baking as this also prevents the top getting too brown and crusty.  We like crust but not as though it has already been toasted.

Experimented making spicy scones on Saturday.   B likes to toast tea-cakes, and enjoys fruit loaves etc, so thought I'd add some mixed spice and mixed dried fruit to a batch of plain scones I was making.  This also worked well although B said he'd like them even more spicy.  Lovely eaten warm with butter and pineapple jam. 

Although the Food Network tends to be very OTT when it comes to cake making,  now and again I learn something.  I've often seen the 'Amazing Cake' decorators start with great slabs of chocolate cake, layering them together before icing, and these 'slabs' seem very flexible.  At that size mine would break the minute they were lifted.   Apparently, if we remove half the flour and replace it with cornflour this will then bake into what they call a 'bendy' cake, one that won't crack when it is rolled or folded over.  This I must try some time.

At last managed to watch all of the '....Bake Off' (repeat) yesterday and glad I did. I reminded me to think about making B some suet pudding during the colder months, he is always asking for them but so far haven't made many.

This morning noticed there were no comments from readers sent to my email inbox.  Thought that perhaps everyone had been busy, but have just had a horrible thought.   Recently I've had a whole host of annoying comments sent to my blog, and on Saturday deleted these using the 'junk' button (this is something new I didn't seem to have with the earlier computer).  Perhaps the comp thought I meant ALL the comments from google mail, not just the ones I picked out.  Hope that I will find  comments sent have been published, but will have to publish this first before I can read them - if so will reply to these later.  Apologies if I've made a fatal error, sure it can be sorted.  Will now get on to Steve to see if he can sort it out for me today.   Will be back tomorrow.  See you then.