Monday, 26 October 2020

Cyclamen hederifolium in a Vase on Monday

As rain and wind set in this week, pottering around the garden will be isolated to a few sorties and a lull this morning allowed me to pick a few small blooms.  Cathy has gone 'Country Style' this week.  As we post we link in under comments, and hence can see what others are posting.

What drives one to collect?  Is it an innate quest to find the unusual, or just the quest for beauty?  I shall ponder this.  I've always collected as long as I can remember.  I don't hoard or feel compelled to keep to keep collections after my interest wanes.  My interest in cyclamen is still growing, so it was not surprising that I picked up a couple of cyclamen hederifolium with dark purple flowers, at the Rare Plant Fair at the Bishop's Palace this year.  

The dark purple cyclamen hederifolium make their debut on IAVOM today. The blooms are about two thirds the size of the other cyclamen flowers.

Other silver sword leaved and other hederifolium blooms join in too.

My smallest triangular glass vases, and a perfume bottle divested of its stopper is about the right size too for the miniature arrangements.

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Sunday morning walk from home - 25 October 2020

 This morning the clocks changed, and we decided on a compromise to get up three quarters of an hour earlier, which is a quarter of an hour later, relative to yesterday!  What amazed us that there were relatively few people out walking on such a lovely day.  I wanted to check out a turn off I wished I had tried on one of our recent walks to Wookey.

From home by going up Milton Lane reached Milton Hill.  I thought we were heading for Arthur's Point, but had not taken the map.  Had we followed the map and made for Milton Hill, we would have bypassed Split Rock Quarry.  What a little find.  Since arriving back I have, par hazard, found a link to a post by my U3A geology group. 

On the right hand side the Limestone is quite grey

On the other side layers of iron staining....

A path takes you through to the Eastern edge of the woods, with views towards Model Farm and their lovely orchard. As we retraced our steps, the autumn sunshine was stunning.

We then walked down Lime Kiln Lane

Then we walked down pass St Cuthbert's Paper Mill.  Back in September 2017, I was lucky enough to be taken on a tour of the Mills and see the world famous artist paper being made.

 then via roads and paths back home. Mr S made up lunch of doorstep cornbeef sandwiches which he had been hankering after.  On our walk, as we passed the mill and saw the lions he wondered whether the Lion there had been the symbol for his Lion Brand writing pad which he was given at the same time as his first fountain pen, when he was but a lad? Lions were used as symbols on all sorts of things 

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Covid Cardigan in Alpaca

 I remember knitting my first Trance Pattern up in red wool, and I am still wearing it over fourteen years later.  Trance is a knitting pattern by Kim Hargreaves that appeared in Rowan Magazine No 26, which I still have. With a nice stash of Alpaca yarn, I have others too, I checked the tension and that I had all the right needles etc.  It is finished now and is just finally drying off.

In the true spirit of using what one already has, I went through my button box and found some Fimo buttons which I had made at a workshop with Henlen Clues. I know they will last, as when I got back from the course, I sewed a button on the side of one of my hand knit socks, which I have worked out have been machine washed around 200 times. 

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Beyond 'standard' Babkas thanks to all those who inspire me

 I love the way that keeping in contact and sharing can widen one's horizons, and encourage one to step outside our comfort zones.  For several years I have been baking yeast doughs, then about ten years ago I got into sourdough. I love all types of yeast dough, having used fresh, dried, and wild yeasts.  Way back I met and became great friends with Vicki who used to bake for her artisan stall at Southwold, then I taught my friend Marie-Claire in Kenilworth to bake bread and to make preserves, then also in Kenilworth my friend Mandy who loves experimenting in the kitchen too, have all helped me enjoy and share my kitchen adventures.

Vickie introduced me to Bertinet, and various other great bakers and writers, on whose courses she had been on.  I am completely self taught, and enjoy absorbing and practicing techniques at home. Marie-Claire introduced me to Bake with Jack, and I have been following and enjoyed learning from him via his YouTube videos and blogs, and  Mandy suggested that I may find  Sourdough Bakers on Facebook, whose name has morphed to Wild Sourdough UK and Beyond, interesting.  

Last week after reading Joe Parke's details of his Babka on WSUB, I felt it was time for me to attempt a sweetened enriched sourdough.  

At the same time I wanted to try a 'filling' which Marie-Claire has used in some of her 'Chelsea Buns'.  So thanks to Marie-Claire, Mandy, and Joe Parke, my first Sourdough Babka is quite a success.  

The amusing thing is that I was completely unaware that Babka's had featured on GBBO recently.  It was  Marie-Claire who enlightened me after I emailed her with the Babka pictures as attachments with my rating of the filling she had sent me.  Now I understand the subtext to some of the comments on Joe Parke's post.  Joe is a professional working at Star Bistro, which is currently not open.  What a smashing place this looks, I wish them well and hope they open and are well supported as soon as safely possible.  With it not far from Cheltenham, I can just see that it would be lovely for Mr S and I to have a break in that area and drop in for a few meals at the Star Bistro.

Joe suggested I look up 'The Perfect Loaf'.  I happened on their post on how to make Ricotta, so out came the litre of raw buffalo milk from the freezer, and I have a cheese for a Pizza Blonde, another suggestion by an internet gardening friend Brian. The Whey is going in the dough, and also lunch time soup!

 Pizza Blonde about to go in the oven

Dinner is served!

Monday, 19 October 2020

In a Vase on Monday - Busy doing other things

 I'm later than usual: I've been busy doing other things.  Here is the quick arrangement of items I had picked yesterday. I am sure lots of others will have joined Cathy already. I've had a peep at Cathy's arrangement and I am charmed by her little prop this week.

On Sunday, Mr S came out really to start me off, on cutting back the variegated ivy growing on the side fence.   There was so much to cut back, just to make more room to move along the narrow path,   The Ivy had matured and sent up flowering stems, mainly on the sunny outer side.  Those have been left for the bees, and later no doubt the berries will be much needed winter food for the birds.  On the shady side they still have to be cut off so are the mainstay of the arrangement this week. White Solanum laxum album, and purple Salvia amistad complete the vase.  After posing here in the low autumn sun, they were made into a posy with raffia, and passed to one of our NHS heroes who lives in our close.

This morning I cycled into town to do our shopping,  when I had to complain to three people leaning across me in the supermarket, which made me hot and bothered. Its not as if there were many people, or that there was no room, surely if people are so hurried, they could ask one to move!

On a more successful note  I have been working on my first Sweet enriched sourdough.  Including the overnight fridge rest, these have taken about 42 hours from start to finish, and as I write this these beauties are on the cooling rack. Two different babkas one with date, orange and sesame seeds, and the other walnuts and spices, both with butter and sugar.  The little buns are samples!

Off now to have a cuppa and a sample.