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Friday, 24 August 2012

Shiney New Pins

Whilst on holiday recently, I came across a lovely little wool shop in Buxton. It had all manner of wools and patterns but these beautiful needles called to me as I perused the shelves.

I had read about them in a knitting magazine a little while ago but not seen any in the flesh. When I spotted them I just had to have them. They are birch wood, made by Brittany, and they are the most comfortable needles I can honestly say I have ever used. Not too expensive at just over £5.00. What I would consider an investment - your tools are your trade so better quality tools make work more fun, right?
Well that's my ethos and I'm sticking to it. The turned ends make them so pretty. Every time I see them poking out of my knitting basket I get a little rush, and the desire to pick them up is almost to much to resist.

I was itching to set about a new project and try them out. Considering Baby Bee is nine months old now, and I am ashamed to admit I have not made anything for him yet, I figured it was most definately his turn, and promptly started to make him a little jacket.

The wool I used was something I had picked up ages ago in a bargain bin on another of our travels, Robin Picasso double knitting.
I was really impressed with the quality of the yarn as I worked with it, and that, plus the beautiful new needles, made this project a pleasure.

Another project just finished is a cardigan for Miss Bee. For this I used wool I picked up from a day trip to Helmsley in North Yorkshire. I started it back in April, but time seemed to stand still a bit with this, and it has taken forever to finish. None the less, finished it finally is and I am really pleased with the result. This was a yarn from King Cole called Splash Rose Hue. I was a little sceptical as to how this may knit up as past experience with these flecked yarns have not always produced the best results, but on this occasion the pattern looked very even and the colours were very attractive. There are quite a few colour choices in the range. The buttons were from my local wool shop, but again I think they have worked really well with the colour. The important thing is Miss. Bee loves it. That makes me happy.

My next project is something for the baby but I will keep you in suspence for just a little longer - but I'm sure you will like it. Suffice to say, I got such a wonderful little butterfly in my stomach when I went to buy the wool today.
Hope you all have fun this Bank Holiday Weekend and whatever your plans may be, enjoy your day.
B x

Friday, 3 August 2012

'Emergency Rations'

Cherry and Almond Cookies

Following a wonderful (and somewhat tiring) family holiday in the South East of England, we returned home to - horror of horrors - an empty biscuit tin!!!!! Such a thing can not, and should not be allowed to happen in our house, but I suspect my cat sitter had their hands in the cookie jar. A small price to pay for my sister being kind enough to come and take care of 'stupid cat' every day, and I'm pleased to say  he did seem to have missed us upon our return. He is not an affectionate cat in any shape or form, but I know he loves us in his own funny feline way.

One of my first jobs to tackle, after setting the washing machine into overdrive, was to replenish the cookie jar pronto. These biscuits are one of the quickest and easiest recipes I have, and go back to again and again. I'm sure you will enjoy them.

You will need :

125g softened butter
125g caster sugar
2 tbsp condensed milk
1/2 tsp almond essence
175g self raising flour
75g glace cherries
Handful of flaked almonds to decorate

1. Pre-heat the oven to 150c/fan 130/ gas 2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy using an electric whisk or stand mixer.
2. Beat in the condensed milk and almond essence until smooth and well incorporated.

3. Mix in the self raising flour and then add the chopped glace cherries. I tend to  half my cherries because I enjoy biting into the cookies and getting a lovely big chunk of 'cherryness' but you can chop yours to suit your own taste.
4. Roll the mixture into small apricot sized balls and place on a lined baking tray allowing a 4 - 5cm space in between each cookie to accomodate for spreading whilst in the oven.
Flatten the dough lightly with your fingers or the back of a spoon, and sprinkle liberally with the flaked almonds. I usually get about 15-17 cookies out of one batch of dough.

5. Place the tray in the pre heated oven and bake for approximately 12 minutes. Keep a close eye on them and once the edges start to turn a lovely golden colour they are done.

6. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. At this point you can simply eat them and enjoy, or drizzle with a little icing if preferred. To do this simply mix 2 tbsp of icing sugar with a little lemon juice until a thick pouring consistency is reached. Pop the icing mixture into an icing bag and drizzle across the cookies in whatever pattern takes your fancy.

If you can wait long enough for the icing to set, sit back and enjoy with a cuppa.

Enjoy your day.

B x