I’m always on the search for new baking techniques to master. One time it was madeleines, next it was macarons. I mastered Swiss buttercream after that. Now I’m on puff pastry, with the eventual goal of reliably and proficiently turning out homemade croissants.
I decided to ease myself into this, since while I was fairly sure I could manage it, pride goeth before a fall and the slow approach is usually the right one. The first step in this saga, then, was rough puff pastry. Specifically, sausage rolls.
Homemade sausage rolls
About two months ago, I signed up for my first mystery knit-a-long (MKAL): the Beyond the Wall MKAL (Ravelry link). I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into; I’m so used to being able to check my progress against provided photographs that I found that the hardest part of the whole thing. Continue reading
It’s been almost a year since I last posted.
It’s been almost a year since I last posted?!
It’s been a year of making: a year of baking, of cooking, of knitting, and even of some sewing. Halloween costumes were made. Holiday gifts were made. And some other stuff, too.
And now we’re back in summer. It’s hot out, but with the heat comes fresh fruit. And with fresh fruit comes… pie.
On this, the hottest weekend of the year, when it hit a heat index of 120 degrees just south in Dover, DE… Our central air broke. This wasn’t entirely unforeseen – it’s an old unit, definitely past the end of its expected lifespan – but that doesn’t make it any less beastly hot. So I did what anyone would do – made myself some hot-weather lounging clothes/pajamas. The tank top is a Stitch Upon a Time Versa-Cami – my recent favorite pattern for shelf bra camisoles. The shorts are Stitch Upon a Time Boxerwear for women – those will double as slip shorts underneath skirts and dresses for days I have to wear more than the bare minimum.
Ok, now I’m off to take a freezing cold shower and pray to the gods of central air.
This month’s Big Beanie Bag project was a cowl in four yarns: Berroco Maya, Juniper Moon Farm Moonshine, Plymouth Mushishi, and HiKoo Kenzie. The pattern was a simple one, which was perfect given that the stripes were only each three rows thick.
I used a reverse-engineered recipe from a carbonized loaf of bread from Herculaneum to make a loaf of bread. It’s so interesting to see what bread was like 2000 years ago! It turns out it was extremely heavy and a bit sour-tasting (no doubt from the biga acida). My husband and sons love it, but it’s a bit much for me for everyday.
This is a pretty accurate image of the crumb. It’s very dense!
I’m taking a food history class right now (five weeks, just for funsies) and this week’s assignment was Tarte Owt of Lente from Gentyllmanly Cokere (c.1500). This is the first self-standing pie/tart I’ve ever made! My only complaint is that the vent I cut in the lid sealed, so it puffed a bit.
I need to up my self-standing pie game. Think I need to learn hot water crust, because shortcrust really was not firm enough for this.
I finished the mitts from the May 2015 Jimmy Beans Wool Big Beanie Bag today – wove in the ends and gave them to my middle son, who put them on right away!
I need serious practice with color work. How do people stand all of this weaving in ends? How do they disguise the joins?
Although Raphael is happy with them, even if I’m not sure I am…
I switched my subscription from Jimmy Beans Wool’s Beanie Bag to their Big Beanie Bag – a difference of $15 (Bb is $10 monthly, Bbb is $25) but a huge jump in contents.
This month’s Big Beanie Bag included four 48-yard balls of Rowan Softyak DK, a chainette yarn composed of cotton, nylon, and yak down. I adore this yarn and can’t say enough great things about it! I often find wool scratchy, and yak down is just delicious without any scratchiness at all. The Big Beanie Bag also included a printed pattern for striped fingerless mitts, three Bar Maids samples (Lo-Lo Cuticle Intensive, Lo-Lo Lip Balm, and Lo-Lo Body Bar), and a trial packet of Heel foot cream from the makers of Soak wash – all in a big drawstring bag perfect for toting around a small project.
I chose the Neutrals color palette and the colors are great. They read bluer in the photo than they really are – three grays and a brown. I’m really pleased!
And now, back to the second mitt.
This weekend has been a fun one. Yesterday I took the family to Sheep and Wool Day at Springton Manor Farm, and what a treat! I had been to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival a few years ago, and while it is considered the sine qua non of sheep-and-wool events, I actually found it too crowded and chaotic. It was also quite large and sprawling, a difficult scale for me to navigate with a husband and three sons in tow – and just too much driving for a family day trip. So even though we’ve gone before, and even though that sort of thing should be my bag, baby, MDSW is just not. The Springton Manor Farm day, though – what a pleasant difference! There were plenty of things to see and do, all kinds of fiber arts and livestock and all of the things that make my heart happy, but on a smaller, more intimate and enjoyable, scale.
One thing I learned at the event yesterday was how to spin yarn using a drop spindle! I’ve had a drop spindle for about two years now but never really figured out how to use it. After a quick visit with the Lancaster Spinners and Weavers Guild yesterday, though, I’m on my way to fiber fabulousness. Here’s my first yarn:
Much chunkier than I like to knit with, but I don’t think it’s too bad for a first attempt.
I did my usual baking today – substituting in stollen for bread since I’d just baked our weekly family bread on Friday. I was going to take it easy with baking today, but the Mr. requested stollen (his favorite baked treat) and I couldn’t say no:
I make sourdough stollen using this recipe. I’ve been big into fermented/live foods and have been getting a kick out of using sourdough in almost everything baked. I use it in my weekly pizza dough, too!