baking · comfort food · cooking · Recipes · Uncategorized

Just a Sunday

Today was the first restful day I’ve had in weeks so I thought I would do some baking. It gets awful quiet here on Sundays as Mark tends to work on that day almost every week. I watched Northanger Abbey whilst I did my housework so at least I had some company, even if from fictional characters.

I decided on making a cobbler but all I had in the freezer was a mix of fruits (peaches, strawberries, mango and pineapple) and decided to use those – I suppose it makes a sort of tropical cobbler. I also made a quick batch of custard (using Bird’s custard powder) for serving.

I also made a big quiche for our dinner tonight and lunches for the week. I often use a “press-in pan” pastry for quiches as it is quick and always turns out flaky and rich.

This quiche was a caramelized onion, double smoked bacon, and cheddar quiche. I used one onion, one thick rasher of bacon, and a few grates of cheese before pouring over the egg mixture. It is kept simple but I find it cooks best that way. And always turns out nice.

I also finished the tea cosy I was making today. I am very proud of myself for getting the hang of knitting and the tea cosy itself didn’t turn out too bad. It is a nice skill to have and to build on.

Other than knitting, I have been doing some free hand embroidery as practice before starting on bigger projects. I am not very good yet but better than I thought I would be. It is just nice to be creative and is better than surfing the internet aimlessly as I had started to do. Mark’s mom also lent me puzzles to do and Mark and I have been making them together. I am basically an 80 year old in a 27 year old’s body, but alas – it could be much worse!

I hope you all had a great Sunday. We are now just finishing up our dinner and my husband is happy with a full belly. Thank you for reading.

Sincerely,

Jacqueline

baking · books · lifestyle · Vintage Lifestyle

Christmas Baking & Gifts

Hello everyone:

I wanted to share with you all some photos of the baking I did for Christmas as well as some of the gifts I received from my family.  I also bought myself some gifts with the money I was gifted from my family.  I am not a big spender so buying myself some housewares was a treat and many of the purchases were items I had my eye on for years.

Firstly, I will start with some of the baking I did.  My husband and I, for the past two years, have decided to opt out of the Christmas rat race.  In doing this, I decided on primarily homemade gifts for our family members.  I made the cookies shown below, as well as soup and chocolate bark for my family members.  This will be a tradition I continue to do as it is not only heartfelt, but it a big part of my values to eschew the modern consumerism of this holiday.  This has been a big change for me during this time, but choosing to purchase and gift more consciously is very important to me.

25440325_10159643425690177_5219031492421221730_o
Mince pies and mince pinwheels made with the leftover pastry
25586937_10159645170030177_1253754167594230658_o
Chocolate dipped shortbreads
25587761_10159655689205177_6418264894514660353_o
Molasse crinkles, thumbprint cookies, and earl grey sugar cookies

Below are some of the gifts I purchased for myself or are from my family members.  I am very fortunate to have been able to purchase or be gifted these items and I hope you find them as beautiful as I do.  My mother also gifted me a new electric blanket as my previous one died (probably from all the love and use).

26685965_10159745576435177_5883764787161731523_o
A beautiful rose doiley from Wheaton’s (the cake stand was previously gifted to me from my sister-in-law)
26686003_10159745576440177_860645257241956794_o
I am a big fan of Susan Branch’s blog and artwork so I decided to order the newest edition of her first cookbook.

26678007_10159745612095177_6129819971437828885_o

26849918_10159745576445177_6071787871671142171_o
Quilted star placemat from Wheaton’s (tea set previously gifted to me from my Husband)  I had been longing for these placemats for years.
26756467_10159745612105177_2210964170546766955_o
This is a condensed version of Mrs. Beeton’s original household management.  As a lover of all things domestic and Victorian, I was glad to find a copy of this book for a good price and look forward to trying some of the recipes.
26758037_10159745612100177_8665689858303262005_o
From my Husband who clearly knows my love of Wuthering Heights
26685294_10159745634780177_3735709082740435528_o
Brooch made by my sister-in-law.  Her Embroidery Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/TheStitchingKitty

Thank you for having a look at my blog.  A lot of changes are coming and I hope you come back soon!

Sincerely,

Jacqueline

baking · Recipes · Uncategorized

Pumpkin Bread + Books I Love

I wanted to share a few things today that I have been loving lately.  Around Canadian thanksgiving,  I made this gorgeous pumpkin bread and thought I should share.  And it is easy-peasy to make.

I also wanted to share some books I have been loving lately.

First, here’s the recipe for the pumpkin bread.

pumpkin-breadIngredients

One 15oz can of pumpkin puree
1 2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil (melted butter or coconut oil is a fine substitute)
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or mixed spice
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sultanas (optional but makes a sweeter loaf!)

Method

Preheat oven to 350F and ensure oven rack is placed low if you have a small oven, or in the middle if you have a regular sized one.  Grease bottoms of two small loaf tins (8×4), or one big one (9×5) and place parchment paper on the bottom.  I trace mine out before hand so it fits in perfectly.

In a bowl mix pumpkin, sugar, oil, vanilla & eggs until well mixed.  Stir in remaining ingredients except for the walnuts and sultanas.  Once the mixture is well combined, fold in sultanas and walnuts.

Pour mixture into pans and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  It took me approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes for the big loaf tin.

Cool 10 to 15 minutes on wire rack before removing from the tin.  Let cool for two hours or so before slicing.  And enjoy with a cup of tea.

And here are the books.

all-souls-trilogydiary-of-a-witch

The All-Souls Trilogy is amazing for people interested in history, witches, and a bit of academia.  It was nice to find a series regarding witches, vampires, and daemons, geared towards adults.  If you are a fan of the Elizabethan era, I would suggest you do read these, as the second book is based during that time.  I think I enjoyed this series so much – and I have read it three times – because the author, Deborah Harkness, is actually a historian, so there are a bit of fun facts thrown in while you read.

The second book was a bit of an odd find at my local bookshop.  It is a fictional story, however, it does bring you into the darker parts of Scotland’s history – the witch trials.  The book is mostly in diary form which I love.  I must warn you that some parts of the book are truly violent and if you are squeamish or easily disturbed by violence (and sexual violence) against women, this is not the book for you.  I must say this book surprised me in its quality and I hope you do pick it up.

As you can see, these books do have a bit of a witch theme, and I suppose being halloween, it seems a natural selection however I must admit I have a fondness for the history of witches so I tend to read about them a lot.

I hope you all have a great Halloween/Samhain.

Thanks for reading.

Jacqueline

baking · Uncategorized

The best white loaf

My favourite bread recipe!

bread

Ingredients

500g flour
1 sachet fast-action yeast
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
300ml warmish water

Method

Mix the flour, yeast and salt. Add the olive oil and gradually stir in the tepid water, adding only enough to make a soft dough. Knead using your hands on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes or so, until the dough is smooth and bounces back.  Place in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size.

Oil a large loaf tin (I always use butter to grease for bread, but olive oil is ok too).  Knock back the dough and form into a log and place into tin.  Cover the tin with a damp tea towel and let rise until doubled in size once again.

Heat oven to 220C/425F.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.  Place on cooling sheet and brush with butter.

(recipe from bbcgoodfood.com)

Jacqueline