Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Savoury Friday Bun Day

As I bumped into a local baking buddy:Tony, in Town at the weekend, we talked about our baking, so have posted this up for him.  If you wish you could have a quick look at  my sourdough made with Khorasan also known as Kamut Flour made a few weeks ago, which I wrote about in May.

Fridays are usually 'home' days.  Baking is often top of the list, and fits round other activities pretty well.  Sometimes thinking ahead to the weekend leads to inspiration.  I knew that the current week's bread loaves would not be quite the right thing for Saturday Lunch, so started early with a long process focaccia.  By using my rye sourdough starter and white flour, the dough ended up a nice golden colour.  As it was rather warm, after the first rise, I set the dough in the fridge so that I could bake it more conveniently later in the day when it was cooler.

I've made sage and hazelnut focaccia from Ursula Ferrigno's The New Family Bread Book, on a number of occasions, and being a 'nutty' person, love the flavour combinations.

I used the oil I had left over from baking the peppers to dress the top of the bake before going into the oven.

Which gave a good colour and delightful taste.

I tried three flavour combinations for the 'buns':  all with a base of braised red onions, then two with roasted red & yellow peppers and tomatoes, another with spinach, and a third with baby courgettes from the garden.  I suppose these are a type of calzone.

This just shows that one can grown vegetables in a couple of pots:

So from the pots to the pan in seconds

Then onto 'squares' of dough layered with red onions, and slices of goat cheese,

finished with with an egg glaze, fennel seeds and rock salt.

The roasted pepper and tomato were sealed in as I thought the juices would be contained.  These would be great for a picnic, and certainly we had an easy supper in the end, as I made us up a large plate of various salady things and we had a courgette 'slice' with it.

As D usually hopes for a sweet bun when he comes home from work on Fridays, I made a batch of scones, so could have one with some of the blackcurrant jam I had made that day with berries from the garden.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Bright Flowers

I did not expect the Grevillea Canberra Gem to flower this year...but maybe the weather was just right.  The plant is flourishing in its pot.  The flowers with its intricate shape is beautifully contrasted against its sharp green foliage.  I read that Phosphates are a no no for these types of plants, so wonder what I ought to feed it with.

Another bright flower in the garden is from some self seeded hardy geraniums, again no name.

We spent the morning, until it got too hot, pottering at the end of the garden under the shade of the tree.  Well not quite pottering, the lower branch of the large conifer which was brushing against the shed roof was looped off.  This needed D to climb up on a ladder, so first we cleared all the 'potting' area, swept up etc.  The Bamboo behind the gazebo also got a good cutting back and thinning.

A quick shift around of a couple of plants, with a big root ball and plenty of water, as I thought my new Knautia Macedonica Thunder & Lightning would look better behind the  ophiopogon planiscapus niger, yes that the name for the little purple grass like plant.  I had to look that one up!  I had a lovely clump at our previous home, and brought a few pieces here, and now have a good patch.    I love the shape of the serrated green and cream leaves, and hope it will prefer this site with full sun.


A few years back I bought a bush in a pot, which had no name, or maybe I lost it.  I bought it from a good nursery, and really just like the pot and the lovely leaves.  Its gets moved around the garden in its pot, and this year it got repotted into a larger pot.  It survived the very cold winter when temperatures dropped to around -17C.  It is relatively slow growing, and each spring I give it a little trim.

From somewhere towards the back of the garden, I moved this to the patio last week, as it is covered in flowers.  With its young stems a maroon colour, its evergreen leaves with creamy white margins is a looker even without the flowers.

The central part of the flower I believe called the stigma is square at its base.

The reason I am writing up about this now, is that I think I have name.  It may be Luma Apiculata Glanleam Gold.  If anyone has a differing view, please add this to the comments.  July's edition of The Garden has a very good four page article on this group:  The Myrtles, with close family members Luma and Lophomyrtus.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Knitting the Maluka Shawl

Some time ago I thought it would be nice to knit something for a cousin.  I managed to catch up with this cousin through face book, or some such forum.  Since then we have communicated and I have gradually got to understand some of my early history, with aunts, uncles etc.  My father was the youngest in a large family, and when I was young there were only a couple of aunts and uncles left where we lived.  I feel a lovely connection through our common grand parents, and have enjoyed learning about her life.  She moved to Europe and our lives separated.  I had met her a couple of times at Aunty Suzanne's who lived opposite us in Mauritius, when I was about 8 years old, she was a very glamorous older cousin.  It was Aunty Suzanne who taught me to embroider.

Well I saw just the pattern on Ravelry.  This is a world wide forum and fantastic facility for knitters and other wool and stick crafts aka as crochet....I read all the useful comments from fellow knitters on how to tweak the pattern, which was written by Bea Schmidt.  I think it is a German Pattern and translated into English, which is where a little help in interpreting the pattern notes comes in helpful.  Usually I work from a chart, but in this instance wrote down the stitches line by line for the 12 row repeat lace border.

In my stash I had a lovely ball of pale pistachio green baby alpaca and silk yarn.  I have cherished this for years, having bought it at the same time as I was being mentored by my great friend and knitter Judith.  So when I was knitting this shawl I enjoyed many happy memories as well as thinking about my cousin.  The other item I knitted from this was for my friend Marie-Claire.  What a coincidence, both ladies from Mauritius!

I also managed to use one of the lovely stitch markers made for me by Sue to mark the middle of the scarf.

Washing and pinning out the shawl takes a little time, but I was listening to some lovely music at the time.  I use a couple of 'discarded' pilates mats from my Pilates Teacher Jane Bilsborrow, and remembered to do a few stretches during the process.  I like to take a picture of the blocked shawl, as it is easy to see where little adjustments have to be made.  A few after this photograph was taken made sure the scarf was symmetrical and even.

Picked this little posy in the morning, and thinking of my sister in Australia....

Monday, 7 July 2014

Busy as a bee

I've awarded myself this lovely Busy Bee Badge, by Debbie Colby.  My very dear friend Jayne came down for the day, and on our travels around various open studios in Kenilworth, also popped into Sew Arty to get Jayne some crochet hooks.  Its green, its got a lovely bee on it, hand made, so I just could not walk by and not get this.

Yesterday I made a whole lot of delicious apricot jam with Kernels, which I have written about on my other blog....

During the evenings when it has been a little cooler, I've been tidying up in the garden, and weeding the stones.  Germinations of the Carex Comans Bronze Form needs to be kept in check.  A bonus is that from that level, I can see all the bumble bees on the new and old thymes, which make them worthwhile growing.

Last week, I was in a particular rush on the Wednesday of the Kenilworth Horticural Club Meeting, and very nearly decided not to go.  Meeting up with Knitting Friends in the morning, then a visit to my Uncle and Aunt to take honey to them, then back to cook, and then out early to stage entries....But my conscience pricked.  I 'volunteered' for the Committee, after I stepped down from being Chairman of Kenilworth in Bloom, and felt that the rest of the committee would complain that I was not supporting the club!  So very early as I went for my usual tiptoe down the garden, I cut a few blooms, and put them in a bucket of water.  They were not as good as I would have liked, and almost all the roses were resting.  Its been a strange growing season, flowers coming earlier than usual then all the heavy rain...but it is the same for other gardeners.  Here is the outcome, with the shield for best in show for the white pinks!  No the judges do not know the name of the entrants...and then only judge when the room is empty!  I had popped in, then gone to do the shopping with the car on the way back, then quick dinner, then back to the club.

I was really pleased to receive the well rooted plantlets of Phuopsis Stylosa which were potted up immediately, before I took the flowers to the show!  

Looking particularly good at the moment is this Silver Jade succulent which has spent the last couple of months baking on the patio...I have five magnificent stems in flower.

and Super Excelsa on the pergola by the shed.  This is now blooming after the other roses have finished their first flushes

Also in full flower is a big clump of alstromeria, growing in quite the wrong place, but which yields plenty of cutting material.  It was given to me about six years ago by a fellow Kenilworth in Bloom Committee Member, and which was unnamed.  Its large enough to need splitting and replanting in a better place, so that is now on my list of jobs to do, when the time is right.  

I was cutting out the seed heads on the Iris Sibrica and think they make a nice addition to this bunch, but already hints of autumn are creeping into my bouquets.