Productivity

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I was given Beyond the Square for Christmas, but haven’t made a single motif until this week. The other evening I thought I’d play with #118 and figure how to join it as I went. It took five tries and I got it, I think. Others might have sussed it out differently but mine looks like it will probably work. Since then I’ve had a little production line going making middles and am now round twoing them all.

I have no idea what I’m making, or for whom, as it’s been so spontaneous but it’s another way to use up some of my oddments of Stylecraft.

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As I crocheted half-finished motifs, and tossed them into the basket beside me, I realised the colours are echoing those in my bouquet. This is nice, I like it.

Some stack their middles and half-done motifs beautifully, others lay them out in imaginative patterns to photograph; mine are tossed into a basket ends up and bedraggled! It’s all about doing some crochet again, not artful photographs. I can attempt to redress the balance and make sure they’re laid out with a CK mug of coffee in the background (tho I mostly drink tea) or my socked feet in the picture if you like? All the blogging photo cliches by request.
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Stop being silly and go into the garden.
The potato leaves are looking lush and healthy, hopefully the potatoes are too. I can’t wait to dig into the soil and see them.

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So many strawberries for one plant! My friend’s are redder and huge too, I think they get more sun in her garden, but I’m pleased my plant came through our wet Winter so well.
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The first tomato. I bought two varieties this year; yellow Golden Sunrise and Gardener’s Delight, a red cherry.
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The pepper plants look ready to fruit too. I’ve grown extra to swap with family this weekend.

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I’ve baked wholemeal and a white seeded – poppy, sunflower and pumpkin – loaves for this week’s daily bread. The white is a bit darker brown than usual on top, I blame that motif I was trying to whizz around – rather than just putting it down and getting to the oven a few minutes sooner. It’ll be fine though. The bottom and sides are a nice colour.

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For a week I’ve felt under par, waking up in the early hours with a thumping headache and sore neck/throat, had a hacking cough with lots of sighing and a bit of grumping. Today is the first time I’ve truly felt like myself and even slightly dynamic, rather than going through the motions. Three lots of washing washed and hung on the line too. It’s been a good day.

Oh and now it’s raining again, doesn’t that always happen just after you’ve done the watering?!

How are you feeling this week?

 

Oh by the way rather than just staring, hearting and commenting on others’ pics (only in the last few weeks – what can I say, I’m slow) I’ve started to join in on Instagram. Only three pics so far, but there’s scope for more! Let me know if you’re there too. I like the way you can swap quick chatty comments and search for hashtags, it feels like the best aspects of blogging and twitter. However I can’t imagine it replacing blogging, for me, because you’re limited word-count-wise…!

Artisan Bread

I’ve seen this recipe on Pinterest numerous times but find that I tend to pin away without actually going back to browse my recipes or patterns enough. A very good prompt, to actually make whatever it is, is when you see someone else has successfully had a go. I bet £1,000 that there’s no one reading this (apart from perhaps five people?) who haven’t seen Lucy’s Attic 24 post on this recipe this week.

I won’t rehash the recipe since it’s all there, plus the blog post on Simply So Good who seems to originally have brought the recipe (from a US newspaper article I think) to the blogosphere.

Here’s my loaf, baked today, straight out of the oven. You can almost smell the aroma can’t you?
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Although online notes about the recipe caution against using wholemeal flour, because the bread can be rather heavy, I didn’t know this last night. Since I had a half used bag of strong wholemeal bread flour in the pantry anyway I grabbed it, before quickly mixing the dough in my Kenwood and heading off to bed.
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It’s not the lightest bread in the world, but it’s fine – much lighter than rye or pumpernickel. You can see the air holes in the loaf. It gives a nice hollow sound when you tap it on the bottom (which you do to check it’s done near the end of the cooking process.) I cooked it in one of those white ceramic pyrex dishes with a glass lid. In my fierce oven 30 minutes was enough to bake the loaf and give a nice crust, without it needing an additional 15 minutes uncovered.
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We’re really looking forward to toasting some for breakfast and eating with blackcurrant preserve in the morning. I’m going to try making some more using strong plain bread flour soon, and will probably experiment with seeds, nuts or fruits in subsequent loaves.
This recipe (if you needed any more encouragement to try) is really great. I have made bread before but it’s so time consuming and this is a really good way to short-cut the process. Try a wholemeal version, or add some wholemeal flour to white to make a mixture and let me know what you think.

As the oven was on, and I’ve already lost the extra Christmas poundage this week, I decided 20140110-134323.jpgto make some of our favourite oat and raisin cookies. Actually they’re oat and sultana this time as it’s what we had. It’ll be salad for dinner!!!

Anyway: Make the bread, make the bread, make the bread! And, have a great weekend.

11/01/14 the bread has been pronounced a big success, especially when it’s toasted as it has a lovely crunchy crust that apparently rivals the local bakery’s sourdough. High praise!