MY LATEST PROJECT – A KNITTED GRANNY BLANKET WITH TASSELS…

“The knitted blanket is a glorious expression of any grandmother’s soul; it is the colours of her dreams woven in delicate and loving hands. She would sit in that old rocking chair, hands moving, brain at peace, and from those delicate fingers would come the blankets.”

Reading this paragraph in a book I was reading inspired me to knit a patchwork granny blanket. I had a box full of odd wool ends in a multitude of colours.

I decided right from casting on the first stitch that I would knit six squares one after the other in different colours rather than individual squares.

All my wool was double knitting and I chose a pair of needles in size 7 for a 9” square using garter stitch ( knitting every row) and casting on 35 stitches. I’m so pleased with the result I’m knitting another in black ( as I have lots of this wool).

CHRISTMAS TIED UP IN A TEA CUP AND MORE…

Last minute handmade gift ideas that are great for #christmas. Easy to follow these lovely teacup candles infographic from Pinterest.

If you haven’t got any tea cups to use how about these shells instead, also from Pinterest

If you are handy with the knitting needles and have some spare wool around why not get this free tea cosy pattern from Love Knitting on Pinterest.

Or copy this DIY cup cosy also found on Pinterest

There are lots of easy handmade gifts all around tea which could soon be knocked up for any tea lover. These were just a few I found on Pinterest. It has inspired me to quickly knit up some of the cup cosy for my friends.

.

EASY 3 MINUTE SPELT BREAD RECIPE…

Easy 3 minute Spelt Bread

Ingredients

500g spelt flour
10g fast-acting dried yeast
half teaspoon sea salt
50g sunflower seeds
50g sesame seeds
50g linseeds
500 ml warm water

Method

Preheat oven to 200C/Gas 6
Combine all the ingredients, adding the water last
Mix well and turn the dough into a greased lined loaf tin
Put straight into the oven and bake for one hour
Remove loaf and turn it out of tin, then return it to the oven without the tin for a further 5 – 10 minutes.

 

TEA & CAKE AT DUNELM …

A cup of tea and cake at Dunelm can be just as tasty as having it at a nice garden centre/restaurant or tea room.

I don’t know about you but I can spend hours walking around Dunelm and always manage to find something new to buy. But do you always stop and have a tea and cake while you are in the store?

Well if you haven’t been before then I can highly recommend it especially their tea cakes, which are large square ones and more than enough for a snack. The cakes vary daily but this time I tried a Bakewell sponge slice. I love Bakewell slices so I was sure this would be just as tasty and I was not disappointed.

TEA & CAKE AT TIMMERMANS GARDEN CENTRE IN WOODBOROUGH, NOTTINGHAMSHIRE…

After being indoors for over 5 days with a throat, chest and ear infection I decided a breath of fresh air was the next best medicine. Hubby decided a trip over to our local garden centre ‘Timmermans’, would be a better option then we could have a cup of tea and a cake.

Timmermans has been updated a great deal over the last twelve months and have won awards from the Garden Industry. They have a delightful eating area which is called ‘Belle & Joe’s Kitchen’. Belle & Joe’s Kitchen was voted as the ‘BEST GARDEN CENTRE CAFE IN NOTTINGHAMSHIRE’ by the Nottingham Post (May 2013).

They say that ‘Our homemade cakes are gaining a following all of their own and we make an effort to provide a varied range of freshly baked cakes with unusual flavours our speciality; elderflower, courgette, frosted blueberry. We communicate what has just come out of the oven on the ‘Just Made’ chalkboard at the entrance to the restaurant We use quality ingredients from local food producers and suppliers – our eggs come from Peter in the village, our milk and dairy come from the local dairy, our aim is always to use fresh, seasonal produce which is locally grown wherever possible.’

I had a slice of my favourite which is ‘carrot cake’which was delicious and worth every penny. The tea for two came in a pot which gave us both two cups and it was all extremely good value for money. I don’t think it will be long before I am back sampling their mouth watering afternoon tea.

We love Timmermans for their plants and never manage to go for a visit without bringing something back with us but all their plants are extremely good so it’s hard to not buy something.

 

EASY RAISIN TEA LOAF CAKE…

Ingredients

225g seedless raisins (or other dried fruit)

100g soft brown sugar

1 cup of cold fruit or chamomile tea

225g self raising flour

½ level teaspoon mixed spice

1 x Orange

1 Medium Egg

Method

Preheat oven to 325F 160C Gas 3

Line or grease loaf tin

Grate the rind of the orange

Put the dried fruit and sugar into a large basin

Add the orange rind

Pour over the cold tea and leave overnight or for 12 hours

Gently mix the egg

Add the sifted flour, mixed spice and egg to the mixture

Pour into loaf tin

Bake for 1½ hours

Leave to cool for 15 minutes before turning out of tin

Cool on wire rack

 

7 TIPS ON USING YOUR OVEN TO BAKE A CAKE…

  1. If you don’t have a skewer or something similar to check your cake try using a piece of dried spaghetti instead.
  2. Before putting your cake mixture into the oven, tap the cake tin on a counter to release any large air bubbles in the mixture.
  3. Never open the oven door in the first half hour of baking as the cold air will interfere with the rising of your cake.
  4. For a moister fruit cake in electric ovens or Aga’s, place a dish of water on the floor of the oven when baking.
  5. ‘Always’ turn Your oven on before you start, to ensure it is the correct temperature.
  6. Avoid opening the oven door to often as this reduces the temperature of your oven and can then cause the cake to sink.
  7. Do not overcrowd your oven, the pans should never touch each other, or be placed over or under each other.

THIEVES BREW(BEV’S TEA CO) AND PISTACHIO SCONES…

I have written before that I receive the Tea Tourist tea box’s which come with a surprise selection of loose teas from some of the hottest artisan tea companies each month. They are sent in taster size portions for you to try. In this month’s box I had yet another amazing selection to try from and after sampling the Thieves Brew from Bev’s Tea Company, I decided to try and bake with it as well. I turned out rather tasty to say the least.

THIEVES BREW AND PISTACHIO SCONES…

Makes 14 to 16 scones

Working time: 35 mins
Resting time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes

1 teaspoon Thieves Brew Tea (By Bev’s Tea) seeped in 100g/3.5oz of boiled water for 3-4 mins
250g sultanas
160g  milk
150g unsalted butter
600g plain flour
30g baking powder
150g caster sugar
160g double cream
75g crushed pistachios
1 egg
Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Seep the tea in the water for 3-4 mins.
  2. Add the sultanas and leave to infuse for two hours.
  3. Place the milk in a pan and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and leave to cool.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  5. Rub the butter into the flour. Add the baking powder and sugar. Stir in the cream and milk. Drain the sultanas from the tea infusion and add them and the pistachios to the bowl and stir into the mix until you get a soft dough.
  6. Dust with a little flour and rest the dough for half an hour. Roll it out to 3cm thick and cut out your scones.
  7. Place the scones onto a tray.
  8. Beat the egg in a cup with a pinch of salt and use to glaze the top of the scones.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Leave to cool.